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Nov. 2, 2021

Strengthening America with The American Legion

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Learn more about VANC: https://www.vanc.me/

Recently, on VANC’s SoCal Military News and Views podcast, Mike Walsh spoke with two members of American Legion Post 760, Vincent Barna and Matthew Shillingburg. Together, they talk about the history of the American Legion, what it does for the community, and how you can get involved in this incredible organization that helps veterans across the nation.

The American Legion is the nation’s largest wartime veterans’ service organization. With almost 13,000 chapters across the world, it holds true to its motto: “Veterans Strengthening America.” American Legion Post 760 was chartered at VANC to serve the community in Oceanside. Whether it’s helping veterans find jobs, raising awareness about PTSD in the community, encouraging patriotism, or supporting the next generation of Americans, the American Legion is there to serve military members and mobilize people to support veterans.

American Legion Post 760: Veterans Serving Veterans

Chartered by Congress after World War One to help disabled veterans, the American Legion has stayed true to its mission to serve veterans, help their families, encourage the youth, and strengthen this nation. The organization’s efforts have resulted in Congress passing the GI Bill and the establishment of the U.S. Veterans Bureau, which was the forerunner of the VA. Today, the organization and its members continue to be instrumental in helping veterans at every front, whether it’s on the federal or the local level.

Members like former Marine Vincent Barna and former Army Intel Officer Matthew Shillingburg understand firsthand the incredible work the organization is doing. Both men are part of the American Legion and VANC to give back to veterans and serve others. As Matthew Shillingburg so aptly stated, “When you serve in the military, even when you take that uniform off, you still continue to serve.”

Through American Legion, they have been a part of helping veterans struggling with thoughts of suicide find a path forward, ensuring that veterans receive their benefits from the VA, and moving Vietnam vets to more accessible housing.

In addition to helping fellow veterans, American Legion Post 760 is actively involved in encouraging the next generation of patriots. The organization has been working to help Oceanside High School’s Junior ROTC cadets develop their marksmanship by providing a space for them to shoot pellet guns at VANC’s facility. In addition to this, American Legion Post 760 sponsored Oceanside High School’s baseball team to be part of American Legion’s baseball league. As a result, the Oceanside High School baseball team was one of the teams to go to the American Legion’s State Tournament.

Not only is the organization committed to serving young people in the community, it is also dedicated to encouraging patriotism in civilians and highlighting who veterans are, what their struggles are, and how their needs can be met. However, this mission cannot be done alone, which is why organizational partnership is vital.

American Legion Post 760 has been integrated with VANC since the beginning, as it was chartered within VANC’s facility. This membership has enabled both of these organizations to accomplish even greater feats than they could have done on their own. One such example has been through their food drive during the COVID pandemic. At this event, they partnered with the Buffalo Soldiers and the Special Forces Association to give groceries to over 31,000 people during the course of the months-long food drive.

Stronger Together: The American Legion & VANC

The relationship between VANC and the American Legion results in a powerhouse partnership that supports veterans and the community in special, far-reaching ways.

Three years ago, when Matt Shillingburg was the Commander at American Legion, he partnered with Steve Lebherz, the organizer of the Turkey Trot and the Cardiff Kook Run. Together, they created Walk for the Fallen, which raises funds for veterans and veterans’ organizations. During the 2020 pandemic, Matt and Steve started planning events to raise money for VANC. Their next event will be a 5k and 10k Trail Run on November 6th to support VANC and its programs. Next year, Matt is hoping to have the Walk for the Fallen event in Colorado Springs, which may spark the beginning of a veterans association like VANC in Colorado Springs. 

Certainly, there are various organizations under VANC’s umbrella, which means that anyone in need can walk into the building and they will be provided with the resources they need. This means that VANC is able to help veterans find housing, employment, legal advice, and more.

Notably, one of the biggest ways that those at VANC and American Legion Post 760 are hoping to positively impact veterans is by changing the VA system, so that veterans can receive their benefits more easily. Under the current system, when a veteran transitions out of the military, their medical records are not automatically sent to the VA. This can have resounding and life-altering consequences when they need to receive benefits. For example, if a veteran lives in Oceanside where the cost of living is high, but he gets laid off from his job and cannot pay rent, he would not receive the $1,600 through VA benefits because he is not automatically in the VA system. VANC and the American Legion intend to change that.  

Regardless of how people would like to help veterans—whether it’s helping fix the VA system, raising awareness of PTSD, highlighting mental health resources, providing employment, supporting military families, or creating opportunities to engage the next generation of patriots—there is a place for them at the American Legion.   

If you want to learn more or get involved, click on one of the links below!

Get Connected

Discover more about VANC: https://www.vanc.me/

Donate to VANC’s Honor Wall: https://www.vanc.me/honor-garden

Contact VANC: info@vanc.me

Follow VANC on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VeteransAssociationNorthCounty

Learn more about American Legion: https://www.legion.org/

Check out what American Legion Post 760 is doing: https://www.vanc.me/american-legion-post-760

Volunteer with American Legion: https://www.legion.org/volunteers

Discover more about Walk for the Fallen: https://walkforthefallen.org/

Reach out to Matthew Shillingburg: matthewshillingburg@yahoo.com

Connect with Vincent Barna: vincentbarna@hotmail.com

Resources

Did you like what you heard? This show is produced by Imagine Podcasting dba Heard Not Seen Media, Inc. For more, visit Imagine Podcasting https://www.imaginepodcasting.com