Community Volunteer Opportunities
AMERICAN LEGION 7th and 8th GRADE SPEECH CONTEST
Participation in this competition gives students a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the United States Constitution and furthers their research, essay writing and public speaking skills. Entering this contest gives students a valuable insight into the rights and privileges of American citizenship and of the associated duties and responsibilities.
Contestants must be 7th or 8th grade students in the general Naperville area attending any public, parochial or private school, or home schooled and be under the age of 15 on the date of the current years county contest.
Each contestant presents a four to six-minute speech on some phase of the Constitution of the United States. The students will be judged on content (70 points) and speaking skills (30 points). They speak from a podium and should not read their speech, but may refer to notes during the speech. They will be shown a time card at the 3, 4 and 5 minute marks. There are penalties for time violations. Legionnaires, family members, and other interested parties are encouraged to attend.
Each school may enter up to two students. Additionally, two home schooled students (selected in the order of receipt of registration form) may participate. The student must complete a registration form and mail to Post 43 or email to email@example.com by the announced deadline. The competition is held at the Post 43 meeting hall, 10 W. Chicago Ave, Naperville, 2nd floor, in early to mid-April.
Each post in the DuPage County may advance two students for judging in the County 7th and 8th Grade Speech Contest. The county competition will take place shortly after the post level contests. It is held at the Visitor Center Theater at Cantigny Park, Roosevelt and Winfield Rds, Winfield, Il. Post 43 awards are $100 for 1st place, $75 for 2nd place, $50 for 3rd place and $25 for 4th place. Additional awards will be presented at the county level for students advancing from individual post competition.
AMERICAN LEGION BOYS STATE
AMERICAN LEGION BOYS STATE
Eastern Illinois University
“A WEEK THAT SHAPES A LIFETIME”
Boys State is a seven-day hands-on experience in the operation and fundamentals of government. The program draws together the best and brightest high school students during the summer before their senior year – to help lead them down the path of individual success and leadership through doing, not just learning. This is an enjoyable experience for all who attend and a very valuable learning experience as well. Naperville Post #43 sponsors boys from our five local high schools. I addition to sponsorship we cover enrollment and transportation costs. You can find out more about Boys State by visiting www.illinoisboysstate.org .
AMERICAN LEGION GIRLS STATE
Girls State is a program for High School Juniors that teaches the fundamentals of our government. Girls State is sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary. It is a week long Program in June every year, and is currently hosted at Eastern Illinois University. Eligible candidates for Girls State must be between their Junior and their Senior year of High School. Participants have the opportunity to run for politcal office and assume the duties and responsibilities of government officials. Program information for the next session is available in December and January of the upcoming year.
BLUE STAR BANNER RECEPTIONS
The Blue Star Banner was designed and patented in 1917 during WW I. It quickly became the symbol indicating a family member was in the military service. Today, Blue Star Service Banners are displayed by families who have a loved one serving in the armed forces, including the National Guard and Reserves.
American Legion Post 43, in conjunction with VFW Post 3873, holds receptions in which families are presented with a Blue Star Banner, a certificate and various Blue Star Jewelry to acknowledge the contribution they and their family member are making in service of our country.
The frequency of the receptions is based on need. They are held more frequently when the military is involved in extended hostilities such as during the Iraqi and Afghanistan conflicts. Blue Star Banners are available on request when no reception is scheduled for the current year.
GIFTS TO THE YANKS WHO GAVE
Founded in 1944, this American Legion program provides Christmas gifts to our veterans in the VA hospitals, Illinois VA Nursing Homes, Homebound, and Local Nursing Homes. We support 3 retirement centers in Naperville and Lisle and plan to support more in the next year. There are over 35 World War II veterans that are members of Post 43. Gifts include quality sweat suits, blankets, gift bags and sweaters. Volunteers develop a list of veterans, get their wish list, place orders to the Department of Illinois, wrap, and deliver the gifts in late November or early December. We would like to have a group of 5 to 10 members to assist in this veteran outreach program.
MEMORIAL DAY: PLACING FLAGS ON GRAVESITES OF VETERANS
Every Memorial Day we prepare to place small US Flags on all known Veteran gravesites in area cemeteries. This includes Big Woods; Illinois Benedictine (Lisle); Sacred Heart (Lisle); Wheatland Township; Zion Lutheran Church; St Peter and Paul; and Naperville Cemetery. In 2018 we placed approximately 2500 Flags place on gravesites.
To prepare for this we have someone that maps out the 2 largest cemeteries prior to this week-end while we update the rest of them as we place the flags. Also the flags that are placed at Naperville Cemetery are stored at the VFW, while all others are stored by the American Legion.
As to when we place the flags, we will do the 4 smaller cemeteries on Thursday; St Peter and Paul on Friday morning; and Naperville Cemetery on Saturday morning prior to Memorial Day. To make easy work of our 2 largest Cemeteries we invite any and all Veterans to help out. And we invite both Posts’ Boys Scout Troops; our local Navy Sea Cadets “Ghostriders” Chapter; and any other youth groups are always welcomed. This serves as a great learning experience for all that come out.
On the Tuesday following Memorial Day, we pick up all the Flags we had placed the previous week starting with St Peter and Paul @ 8am, then proceeding to Naperville Cemetery to finish picking those up. After that is done, a couple of us go and pick up the Flags at the remaining 4 smaller cemeteries.
All of our Volunteers are honored to do this to show our respect to all our fallen Veterans regardless of when they served or where they served. If they wore the uniform of our country and have passed, we will ensure that they are properly honored on every Memorial Day here in Naperville.
NAPERVILLE AMERICAN LEGION RIDERS CHAPTER 43
Naperville American Legion Riders Chapter 43 was chartered in January of 2013 with 17 members who enjoy motorcycling and supporting the four pillars of the American Legion. We currently have over 40 members. We are melting pot of all Legion families--including members of the American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary, and Sons of the American Legion.
Chapter 43 Riders are dedicated to two major causes--Chicago Honor Flight and the American Legion Legacy Scholarship. We attend the Chicago Honor Flight Welcome Home events at Midway Airport; sponsor a ride to the DuPage Veterans Association fundraiser that supports the Chicago Honor Flight; and participate in the National American Legion Riders Legacy Run which supports the American Legion Scholarship Fund. The Legacy Run starts at the National Legion Home in Indianapolis, IN and travels to the city were the National American Legion Convention is held. This college scholarship assists surviving children of deceased active duty military personnel since 911.
Riders have also participated in Naperville parades, flag/flag pole dedications, Mass Burials at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, escorts for returning veterans both deceased and living, walk thru to honor our deceased veterans, and to keep the bugs on our windshields our monthly chapter rides during the riding season.
If you own a 350cc or larger motorcycle, are a member of one of the Legion families, come check us out! Rider meetings are usually held on the fourth Wednesday of the month. To verify the time and place you can call Don Chasteen, Director, at 630-531-1050 or our Assistant Director Doug Deetjen at 630-674-1133.
Director, Naperville American Legion Riders Chapter 43
NAPERVILLE CITIZENS OF THE YEAR
Naperville American Legion Post 43 began naming a Citizen of the Year in 1986. In 2014 the program was expanded naming a Citizen of the Year in three categories— Service to the Community, Service to Youth, and Service to Veterans.
Each year we ask for community assistance to identify deserving candidates in each category.
Nominees must be Naperville residents; and their service must have been performed in a volunteer capacity, rather than as part of compensated employment.
Anyone may nominate a candidate by sending a letter or email that includes a comprehensive description of the services the nominee performed, the time frame, duration, and significance of the service to others, and the category they are being nominated for, along with the name and contact information for the nominee and the person offering the nomination. Letters from others endorsing the nominee are encouraged.
Naperville is blessed with people who serve their fellow citizens. Typically, the judges have a very difficult task. Comprehensive information-attachments and endorsements may be included - are of great help to them in selecting the winners. Materials can be mailed to American Legion Post 43, Citizen of the Year, Post Office Box 4, Naperville, 60566 or emailed (preferably) to firstname.lastname@example.org to arrive by the announced deadline in mid-March.
Winners are announced in the local media and honored at the Legion’s Awards and Recognition Banquet in April.
Traditionally the poppy has become a symbol of the sacrifice of lives in war and represented the hope that none had died in vain. Since 1918 it serves as a reminder to America that the men and women who have served and died for their country deserve to be remembered. The poppy, as a memorial flower to the war dead, can be traced to a line in the poem "In Flanders Field" by Col. John McCrea M.D. "In Flanders fields the poppies blow; Between the crosses, row on row"
The financial benefit realized by our nation's veterans as a result of poppy distribution is huge; nearly 3.5 million poppies were distributed by posts/units last year, raising $2.1 million. Post 43 supports the Poppy program by distributing poppies at our 3 train stations (Naperville, Lisle, and Route 59) on the Thursday before the Memorial Day weekend each year. It's great to have 15 to 20 Post members who commit all or a portion of 6:15am to 8:15am on that day to spread out to the 3 stations and be available to distribute poppies and collect donations. Each station has a lead member who coordinates the station activity and is responsible for all poppies and donations.
POST 43 SCHOLARSHIPS
"In order to assist a deserving young man or woman to pursue their education after high school, Post 43 annually awards a current year high school graduate the sum of $3000.00, to be applied to the cost associated with continuing education at any technical school or degree granting college or university in the United States.
Children, stepchildren and grandchildren of a member of Naperville American Legion Post 43, or Chapter 43 Legion Riders are eligible to apply, as are current members of Boy Scout Troop 106, Ghostriders Sea Cadet VF-142 Squadron, participants in Post 43’s High School, Constitutional Oratorical Contest and Illinois Boys/Girls State attendees sponsored by Naperville American Legion Post 43. They must also be a resident of Illinois and a senior in high school.
Selection is based on a candidate's letter listing their academic achievement, leadership and participation in school and/or community activities, honors, community service, patriotic involvement and an essay describing the responsibilities of citizenship in a democratic society. The essay must be the original work of the student; other material must be footnoted. Grading of the essay is based on grammar, spelling, originality, context and content, at a level consistent with exceptional high school work.
The application deadline is announced each year but generally occurs in early April. The winner is notified by telephone and e-mail. The award is presented either at the American Legions Awards and Recognition Dinner or outside the winner's high school depending on COVID restrictions at the time.
Send all required material and supporting documentation. including name, address, phone number & email address to American Legion Post #43, P.O. Box 4, Naperville, IL 60566, Attention: Scholarship Committee."
The Post Historian compiles a narrative of Post activities throughout the year. Highlights include reports on the American Legion’s participation in Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day activities, scholarship awards to local students and results of student oratory contests. The Post Historian also collects significant news stories that cover Post 43’s contribution to the community.
In addition to the routine duties, the Post Historian, jointly with Lauren Evans, past Keeping Posted newsletter editor, prepared a history of Post 43 from its formation as part of the celebration of the national American Legion’s 100-year anniversary coming in 2019,
SENIOR LIVING CENTERS - COFFEE WITH VETERANS
We visit our senior Veterans for coffee, snacks, and conversation for about one hour, at these locations:
Monarch Landing, 2255 Monarch Dr., Naperville, 10:00 A.M.each first Saturday of the month.
Brookdale Plaza, 1700 Robin Lane, Lisle, 10:00 A.M., each second Saturday of the month.
Independence Village, 1030 Aurora Ave., Naperville, 10:00 A.M.each third Saturday of the month.
Storypoint Naperville, 504 N. River Rd., Naperville, each fourth Saturday of the month
Hines VA Hospital, Maywood, each second Tuesday night of the month, except July and August. We help patients in the spinal injury section play bingo. Meet at Judd Kendall VFW. Bus leaves promptly at 6:15 P.M. returning to Naperville usually before 9:00 P.M.