The Marine Corps League is working to recruit new members in Missouri on this Veterans Day weekend, noting numbers are crucial for lobbying efforts on key issues like Agent Orange and PTSD.
Alan Sanning is the activities chairman at the Samuel Gearhart Detachment of the Marine Corps League in Jefferson City.
“Whenever the American Legion, the Marine Corps League, VFW, whenever their reps go up on Capitol Hill and they start jumping up and down on congressman’s desks to make sure that those benefits are there for our veterans that lost limbs, that have PTSD,” Sanning says.
Sanning’s concern is similar to one raised by American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad, who visited Jefferson City last November. Commander Reistad told Missourinet that day that the American Legion’s membership has decreased from 3.2 million in 1992 to about 2 million today.
Sanning tells Missourinet the Marine Corps League has also lost members from World War II and the Korean War, who’ve passed away.
He says the Marine Corps League is putting up booths in some locations, emphasizing the importance of issues like veterans health care.
“We understand, especially these young guys and gals in the War on Terror, they’ve got kids at home,” says Sanning. “By the time they get home and do homework and all this stuff, we know they may not be active members right now.”
Sanning says some members can only participate in one event a year, which he says is fine.
He notes the League also helps groups like the Special Learning Center and the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, both located in Jefferson City. The Marine Corps League also barbecues for the Cole County Sheriff’s barbecue.
“We do a lot of charity work, both locally and nationally. We have a lot of local activities. It’s a wonderful organization, we do a lot of good things,” Sanning says.
The Marine Corps League is the only Congressionally-chartered U.S. Marine Corps-related veterans organization in the country. President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Marine Corps League’s Congressional Charter in 1937.
Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and Alan Sanning of the Samuel Gearhart Detachment of the Marine Corps League in Jefferson City, which was recorded on November 1, 2019:
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