Where No Veteran Is Turned Away!

Where No Veteran Is Turned Away!

Where No Veteran Is Turned Away!

by Steve Gamel

Greg Garland may be the commander of The American Legion Post 88 in Lake Dallas going on almost 12 years now, but he admits there was a time when even he didn’t know the veterans organization existed.

A proud military veteran of 11 years for both the Navy and Air Force who moved to the area in 1998, Garland said he was running a snack bar in a building across the street from the local post when he was approached by a few legionnaires who were selling catfish plates as part of a community fundraiser. What happened next changed his life forever.

“They wanted to know if I would be upset if they asked people inside the building to buy catfish, and I remember telling them that they were more than welcome to … I didn’t even know they existed,” Garland said. “When I found out who they were and what they stood for, I joined because it meant something … and it belonged to me.”

Garland added, “I put 11 years in [the military], and by God, I was going to join.”

As we gear up to celebrate Memorial Day on May 27 and honor those who died while protecting our freedom, it’s important to recognize the countless organizations and non-profit groups nationwide who continue to pool their efforts to serve veterans who are still with us – many of whom live right next door and need a helping hand.

In Denton County alone, Garland said there are roughly $42,000 veterans.

The American Legion has been dedicated to this cause since it was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919. It is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization and is widely known as the largest wartime veterans service organization with more than 12,806 posts throughout the nation. Legionnaires like Garland assist veterans with getting the resources they need to get back on their feet and be contributing members of society.

Not only do these posts volunteer millions of hours and raise millions of dollars through their devotion to fellow service members and veterans, but they are also committed to mentoring youth and sponsoring and advocating wholesome programs and fundraisers within the communities they serve.

The American Legion’s success depends entirely on active membership, participation, and volunteerism, and is made up of the members, American Legion Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion, and Legion Riders.

The Lake Dallas post has roughly 280 members, and Garland said membership is $40 per year. Their post is unique, though, in that it is open to the public. Their building on Gotcher Avenue has a bar area and regularly hosts various events such as karaoke night and T-Bone Saturdays. It’s also a great place to watch fireworks on July 4.

“As a veteran, it belongs to me, and I just appreciate everything they stand for. I take an oath every year that no veteran will be turned away if they come in for help,” Garland said. “It could be something like needing money to fill up their gas tank to paying for hotels or pointing them in the right direction. There are so many other organizations out there that can help with housing, medical, and other things. We just want to offer support.”

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