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Falcon Post 2008 fastest-growing in district

The prominence of a military presence in Colorado could be one of the reasons behind American Legion District 7’s recognition this year as the fastest-growing district in the country.The district encompasses an area of 4,223 square miles, with 14 posts in El Paso, Teller and Fremont counties; and a total of 2,851 members. District 7 soared to the top of Category 2 districts in growth. Category 2 includes districts with membership between 1,500 and 2,999 individuals, said Dean Noechel, District 7 commander.”Our district first met 100 percent of its goal of total members by March 31, just three months into the year,” Noechel said. They had set a goal to reach 2,765 members in 2016, but meeting that goal in the first quarter of the year earned them recognition among the 300 other American Legion districts nationwide, he said.District 7 is also the home district of the largest American Legion post in Colorado, Centennial Post 209 in Colorado Springs, which boasts more than 1,000 members.District 7 was recognized in 2013 as the most rapid-growing Category 2 district in the country.The fastest-growing post within District 7 this year is American Legion’s Falcon-based Dane R. Balcon Post 2008.”Joining the American Legion gives us the camaraderie some of us lost when we left the service,î said Chip Kossow, Post 2008 commander. ìIt’s amazing how quickly veterans fall back into war stories … without much more than a hello.îAmerican Legion provides support and assistance to veterans and their families, and works ìtirelesslyî toward veteran health care system reform, Noechel said. Each post raises funds and collects food and other items to support local charities. The posts provide morale boosts to veterans through socialization opportunities; they help keep communities clean; and assist families of deployed military members, including mentoring youth, Kossow said.Noechel said educating veterans to the support provided by the American Legion is something everyone can do.”When you’re talking to someone, ask if they’re a veteran and talk to them about American Legion,î Noechel said. ìFace-to-face networking is a great way to get the word out.îMembership also has the power to invoke change at the national level, allowing Dale Barnett, the national commander, to lobby Congress to pass, block or reform laws that affect veterans and their families. The more veterans represented, the more impact American Legion can have, Noechel said.Kossow said the biggest benefit as part of the American Legion is ìbeing able to give back to veterans.î”The American Legion’s most valuable asset is our members … . The more we grow, the more we can do.”For more information on the American Legion, visit the community calendar for information on a free child safety event sponsored by the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 2008.)

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