For some of you with children, it’s that time of the
year you may have looked forward to since the end of
the last school year --- BACK TO SCHOOL! “Yippie
Skippie,” you might be mouthing under your breath; for, we all know that you love those little adults-inwaiting to pieces. But…a little breather helps once in awhile, too --- like school.
Now, take a look at another change of circumstances.
That of a new commander for an American Legion post --- namely, this one. Lincoln American Legion Post 3. Now, now --- don’t shout for joy, or think about booing. Gaining a new commander for an American Legion post is much like a new president in the White House. But, admittedly, with less drama. So, what’s it going to be like with the “new sheriff in town” you’re wondering? Actually… not much different.
This is my third go-round as Post 3’s commander, dating back to the seeming lost years of my life when I aspired to serve my fellow Legionnaires by “stepping up to the plate” of leadership to see if I had what it takes. Yeah, I know, I am a U.S. Air Force veteran. And, therefore, I know a lot about leading people and managing operations like many of my fellow Legionnaires. The fact is: my fellow Legionnaires voted me into this high office, so I owe them a debt of gratitude for entrusting the leadership and management of this post to me. OK, enough of this sob story of veterans supporting veterans --- which is very true by the way.
Let’s get down to “brass tacks.” Post 3 is like any other American Legion
entity in that we promote the Four Pillars of the American Legion --- Children & Youth, National Security, Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation, and Americanism
--- in our effort to be of service to our Lincoln community and vicinity.
My job,as I see it, is to keep our long-standing run of promoting these programs --- 100 years now --- -- to the veterans and public we serve, and to those who would be interested in what we have to offer.
Commanding Post 3 is not unlike running an Air Force, Army, Navy, or
Marine Corps unit orderly room for active duty personnel. But, the fundamental difference with the American Legion is that we’re volunteers. Yep. That’s right. Volunteers!
The monthly dues we all chip in go towards supporting our Four Pillars,
including helping out stranded veterans and other veterans in need. While Post 3 cannot routinely provide cash assistance, we may be able to provide counsel on how and where to get sufficient help as needed.
When it comes to leading and managing something like American Legion Post 3, I believe it takes a consensus of the governed to pull it off smartly. That means I go to the post’s Executive Committee for ideas. If the general membership must vote on a proposal, then the entire post is in on the decision. Believe it or not, democracy does exist among Legionnaires, even as former American military service people.
What it boils down to is a leadership and management style that involves the whole troop versus some kind of wannabe ego that needs to feed off the other’s supposed lack of cohesion and direction to appear to be their savior. Naw. I see leading and managing Post 3 as a civilian extension of what we’ve all learned from the military: that is, utilize talent where it is available to the advantage of the entire post for the benefit of the many --- not the few or the one.
Rev. Dr. William Jackson
Commander, American Legi on Post #3