This will be the second article in a series I will be featuring about our local Veterans’ organizations. I hope to bring to light some of the wonderful programs these organizations offer that many may not know about. I would like to introduce you to the American Veterans (AMVETS). As one of America’s leading veteran’s service organizations with over 250,000 members, AMVETS has a proud history of assisting veterans and sponsoring numerous programs that serve our country and its citizens. Membership in AMVETS is open to anyone who is currently serving, or who has honorably served, in the U.S. Armed Forces from World War II to the present, to include the National Guard and Reserves.
Our local Post, Mims-Russell Post 21 was established on December 17, 2009 and is currently the only active post in northern Alabama. Post 21 serves Veterans in Limestone County / Tennessee River Valley areas, including the communities of Athens, Decatur, Hartselle, Huntsville, Madison, Moulton, and all surrounding areas. AMVETS Post 21 is dedicated as a memorial to the two fallen Athens Alabama Police Officers killed in the line of duty, Sergeant Larry Russell and Officer Tony Mims.
The mission of AMVETS is to enhance and safeguard the entitlements for all American Veterans who have served honorably and to improve the quality of life for them, their families, and the communities where they live through leadership, advocacy, and services. One of the most visible programs is the network of trained national service officers (NSOs) accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Funded by the AMVETS National Service Foundation, these dedicated men and women can be found in close to 50 states, providing sound advice and prompt action on compensation claims at no charge to the veteran. In one recent year alone, AMVETS national service officers processed more than 74,000 claims, “In addition to supporting national programs, we have a lot going on,” says Finance Officer, Larry Stark. “We are responsible for hanging up and taking down the flags for the Flags over Athens Program. These flags are flown in Athens on patriotic holidays to honor and remember our Veterans. Flags are still available for purchase. We are also always looking for volunteers to help with this program. Post 21 recognizes our future leaders through the Junior ROTC awards program. Also this year, we will be starting the Americanism essay contest for students in 9th grade, the winner of which will receive a free trip to Valley Forge through the Freedoms Foundation.” Look for more information to come on this program.
With an AMVETS membership, one is entitled to a number of benefits and discounts on everything from insurance to vacation packages. For a detailed list, check the AMVETS website at AMVETS.org.
Commander Mike Hardy invites you to come to a meeting and find out more about this worthwhile organization. Meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month at the Post building which is located at 22679 Black Road in Athens. Meetings begin at 7:00 pm.
Please call 256-444-2793 for information about becoming a member or helping out with any of these programs.
By: Sandra Thompson, Director, Alabama Veterans’ Museum