As of Thursday, August 22, 2013
The members of Sunnyside’s American Legion post have a lot to be proud of... service to the country, a fantastic veterans memorial in Sunnyside and now an unexpected accomplishment in membership recruiting efforts.
Less than two months into the recruiting season, Sunnyside American Legion Post 73 has already exceeded its membership goal for 2014. So far the post is the only one in the state to even meet it membership goal, much less exceed it.
“Our post membership chairman is Troy Monholland, who has deep ties with the American Legion,” said Post Commander Greg Schlieve. “His theory of members is ‘just ask’.”
The result is 63 paid memberships for 2014. The post had a goal of 54 for next year.
“The membership goal is set by the state organization to exceed the previous year’s membership,” said Schlieve.
He said the post had 38 members at the end of June 2012, and 52 at the end of this past June. Surprisingly, 15 current members haven’t yet paid for 2014. Schlieve said the difference for the post is in new recruitment.
“Of our 52 members last year, five have passed away,” he said. “We had 29 members who served in WWII or Korea. Quite a few of our members are in their 90s. American Legion posts have to recruit just to maintain membership numbers.”
And by simply asking eligible veterans to join, the local post has managed to keep growing.
“With our beautiful memorial here in Sunnyside, people are proud to say they belong to the Sunnyside post,” said Schlieve.
Any veteran who served in any branch of the United States military during wartime, including military operations such as Grenada in the early 1980s or Panama in 1989, is eligible to be a member of the American Legion. Schlieve said a majority of veterans fit the requirements and all active duty personnel are also eligible.
Monholland will soon be impacting the American Legion at the state level. He has been asked to be the membership chair for the incoming state commander, Jim Davidson of Grandview.
“Everyone here wants to make everyone else look good,” said Schlieve. “We’re helping Troy and Jim with our membership numbers.”
The state membership clerk, Lynn Kellogg, said that Sunnyside’s accomplishment is unusual.
“This is pretty soon to have reached the membership goal,” she said. “No other post is even close. I wish they would all turn it in that quickly.”
‑ Laura Gjovaag can be contacted at 509-837-4500, or email LGjovaag@DailySunNews.com