The American Legion Wood – Smith Post 9 in Jasper held a special luncheon on Sunday in honor of Brett P. Reistad, the National Commander of the American Legion.During the American Legion’s 100th …
The American Legion Wood – Smith Post 9 in Jasper held a special luncheon on Sunday in honor of Brett P. Reistad, the National Commander of the American Legion.
During the American Legion’s 100th national convention on Aug. 30, Reistad was elected unanimously to the office of national commander for the organization.
Reistad hit the ground running once he was elected. He spent his first week in Michigan, and spent this past week visiting American Legion posts in Alabama.
Wood-Smith Post 9 Commander Dalton Banks welcomed Reistad as well as other visiting dignitaries to the luncheon at the Bevill State Cafeteria on Sunday. The visitors included Department of Alabama Commander Harry Christian, National Executive Committeeman Willis Frasier, Department of Alabama Auxiliary President Sharon Atkins, Auxiliary Unit 9 President Shannon Williamson, First Division Commander Wade Szakacs, Department Adjutant Greg Akers and Jasper Mayor David O'Mary.
During Reistad’s talk at the luncheon, he described the priorities of his staff during the coming year. His theme as national commander is “Celebrating Our Legacy,” with special emphasis on the organization’s centennial. Other priorities included expanding membership and working with Congress to craft veteran-friendly legislation.
He also praised Woods-Smith Post 9 for their direct-mail campaign, which helped bring new members into the organization.
Reistad said that American Legion membership is down because the nation is losing a majority of its World War II veterans that were once the bulk of membership. He says that the American Legion must reach out to Korean War, Vietnam, and veterans from more recent conflicts, inviting them to become members.