The American Legion Auxiliary
The American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) is a U.S.-headquartered patriotic service organization for women interested in voluntary service. It is a non-profit organization, affiliated with The American Legion (a veterans' service organization).
Founded in 1919, The American Legion Auxiliary has nearly 1 million members from all walks of life. The Auxiliary administers hundreds of volunteer programs, gives tens of thousands of hours to its communities and to veterans, and raises millions of dollars to support its own programs, as well as other worthwhile charities familiar to Americans. It is all accomplished with volunteers.
While originally organized to assist The American Legion, the Auxiliary has achieved its own unique identity while working side-by-side with the veterans who belong to The American Legion. Like the Legion, the Auxiliary’s interests have broadened to encompass the entire community.
The American Legion Auxiliary is the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization. Through its nearly 10,500 units located in every state and some foreign countries, the Auxiliary embodies the spirit of America that has prevailed through war and peace. Along with The American Legion, it solidly stands behind America and her ideals
Sons of the American Legion
Founded in 1932, Sons of the American Legion exists to honor the service and sacrifice of Legionnaires. SAL members include males of all ages whose parents or grandparents served in the U.S. military and were eligible for American Legion membership.
Although Sons has its own membership, the organization is not a separate entity. Rather, SAL is a program of The American Legion. Many Legionnaires hold dual membership in SAL.
The Sons organization is divided into detachments at the state level and squadrons at the local level. A squadron pairs with a local American Legion post; a squadron’s charter is contingent upon its parent post’s charter. However, squadrons can determine the extent of their services to the community, state and nation. They are permitted flexibility in planning programs and activities to meet their needs, but must remember SAL’s mission: to strengthen the four pillars of The American Legion. Therefore, squadrons’ campaigns place an emphasis on preserving American traditions and values, improving the quality of life for our nation’s children, caring for veterans and their families, and teaching the fundamentals of good citizenship.
Since 1988, SAL has raised more than $5 million for The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation. SAL members have volunteered over 250,000 hours at veterans hospitals and raised over $915,688 for VA hospitals and VA homes. The Sons also support the Citizens Flag Alliance, a coalition dedicated to protecting the U.S. flag from desecration through a constitutional amendment.
American Legion Riders
In Garden City, Mich., in 1993, Chuck "Tramp" Dare and Bill "Polka" Kaledas, commander of American Legion Post 396, shared an idea to start a motorcycle enthusiasts association within the organization. The two longtime riders wanted an environment where Legion family members could come together to share a common love for motorcycles.
Dare and Kaledas wrote a letter to Michigan Department Adjutant Hubert Hess, sharing their idea. Hess replied that he liked the concept and wanted to pursue it. Later, he gave Kaledas and Dare instructions for managing the program at the post level. He also explained how they could be approved to use the American Legion emblem, and how to gain Membership's support and recognition. At a regular meeting, Post 396 members passed a resolution for a new program to be known as the "American Legion Riders."
Joined by 19 other founding members from their post, Dare and Kaledas were flooded with requests for information about their organization. They agreed to establish a central source for the Riders to ensure that chapters formed not as motorcycle clubs or gangs, but as Legionnaires and Auxiliary and SAL members joining to ride as Legion family.
American Legion Riders chapters are well known for their charitable work, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local children's hospitals, schools, veterans homes, severely wounded service members and scholarships. Since 2006, Riders nationwide have participated in the Legion Legacy Run, to annually raise money for the Legacy Scholarship Fund, established to provide scholarships to children of U.S. military personnel killed since Sept. 11, 2001.