Hello Helotes! I would like to introduce myself; my name is Willis Gray, Commander of The American Legion, Robert F. McDermott, Post No. 309 located in Helotes. Our story officially starts on September 14th, 2017 when we received our temporary Charter. We received our Permanent Charter on June 13th, 2018!
Oscar Fabela and I were tasked by Past 20th District Commander, Al Alford, to start a new American Legion post. At that time I was the Sergeant of the Color Guard for Post 336 in Leon Valley. I told Commander Alfred once I visited my father, won the Department Color Guard completion I would help open the new post. The rest is history.
Here is a little more history. The American Legion was organized on March 15th, 1919. It was chartered by Congress on September 16th, 1919. The American Legion is the world’s largest Veteran Service Organization. The organization was established on four pillars, (I), Veteran Affairs and Rehabilitation, (II), National Security, (III), Americanism and (IV) Children and Youth.
All honorably discharged veterans can join us. Within a ten-mile radius of Helotes, there are 680 eligible veterans who have already joined The American Legion. Those of you are in the department holding post, Post No. 345. You are on your first step to joining our local post. If you email firstname.lastname@example.org and inform us that you would like to transfer to our post, we will contact you and get the ball rolling. I cannot venture a guess as to the number of veterans that live in Helotes who have not joined our organization to-date. I do know Helotes has an exceptionally large veteran population and hope this letter to the editor motivates you to become part of our post’s family!
We certainly look forward to growing our Post in Helotes to support and expand on our community service. We are involved in as many programs as our membership can handle. Our Service Officer is assisting veterans with VA claims. We are involved with O’Connor High School with many activities. We support the O’Conner Fight Panther Air Force Junior ROTC unit. We have sent many young boys to Texas Boys State. We offer all students to compete in The American Legion Oratorical Competition where they could receive college scholarships.
We support our local senior Citizen’s Center, Casa Helotes. We purchased and painted picnic tables for the Casa Helotes Activity Center and continue to support “The Casa” by helping keep the grounds clean.
We participate in all Helotes parades, 3rd of July celebrations and the Veterans day event. We have volunteers at the Audie L Murphy VA Hospital and South Texas Fisher House, as well as joining Toyota of Boerne’s Turkeys for Troops event.
Our Color Guard has presented the colors at many events in the area including Wreaths Across American, Mission Baseball games, Turkeys for the Troops, Churches, and businesses throughout the greater San Antonino area. The Honor Guard’s most honored event is being asked to render final salute to our fallen servicemembers.
We want to continue to support the Helotes community veterans, and children and youth. To be able to do this we need to have a “Post Home”. Currently, we are in search for land to build our “Post Home”. Being we are a 501 ( c) (19) Non-Profit Organization, a donation of land would be a taxable write off. We are looking for approximately ten acres of land to build a building, baseball field and an additional building for our junior shooting program.
We have a vision of mutual helpfulness with the community, the schools, and the City of Helotes. We feel we have a lot to offer the area of Helotes. We ask that you join us. We look forward to meeting all of our veterans living in and near Helotes.