The American Legion believes national security must be maintained to fulfill the mandate for a strong national defense. As stated in the Preamble, FOR GOD AND COUNTRY WE ASSOCIATE OURSELVES TOGETHER FOR THE FOLLOWING PURPOSES: To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America... To safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy.
The Legion is an organization of veterans who fought for freedoms, which they are dedicated to keeping and preserving. As one of the Four Pillars it was founded on, the Legion believes national security is upheld by keeping a well-funded Department of Defense, a good quality of life for troops and a sensible transition between service and separation.
Law Enforcement Officer of the Year: Officer of the Year Application
Each year, The American Legion gives its National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award to a well-rounded law enforcement officer who has exceeded the duty requirements expected of his or her position and has demonstrated a distinct pattern of community service coupled with professional achievement. The award, which especially takes into account heroic acts, is presented annually at the Legion's national convention.
Department Law and Order Committees are encouraged to select and honor a Law Enforcement Officer of the Year at their conventions. Departments nominate their winners for the national award by submitting an application to The American Legion, Attn: National Security-Foreign Relations Division, 1608 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006. Applications must be received no later than Feb. 1. Departments may only submit one nomination per year. Only department winners are eligible for the national award, which should be accepted at the national convention.
Firefighter of the Year: Firefighter of the Year Application
The American Legion will give a National Firefighter of the Year Award to a firefighter who has exceeded the requirements expected of his or her position and has shown a distinct pattern of community service and professional achievement. The award, which takes into account heroic acts, will be given annually at the Legion's national convention.
Fire departments are encouraged to submit nominations to their state's American Legion department adjutant. Applications must be received by Feb. 1. Departments may only submit one nomination per year. Only department winners are eligible for the award, which will be accepted at the national convention.
Nominees must be active firefighters and U.S. citizens. Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are eligible only if they are certified firefighters. Posthumous awards will be acceptable only if the nominee's death occurs after the department's selection. Nominees must also reside and be assigned within their nominating department's state.
Blood Donor Program:
People have held blood drives and given blood since community service became an American value. It's only natural that The American Legion - with community service as one of its pillars - be heavily involved in blood donation efforts.
The American Legion Blood Donor Program has existed officially since 1942 to help that cause. Each year - especially since 9/11 - Legionnaires have donated in spades, and departments have coordinated efforts at the post level. The Blood Donor Program honors those departments that best participate in blood-donation efforts, recognizing departments in two areas: for post participation and individual Legionnaire participation. Post participation awards are given to departments with the highest number of participating posts. Individual participation awards are given to departments with the highest percentage of individuals giving blood to the program. Departments are separated into five categories (see below), according to membership size, and honored.
Legionnaires participate by giving blood and reporting it to their posts, which mark the donation on their annual Consolidated Posts Reports. Similarily, posts that host blood drives mark their participation on their Consolidated Post Reports, listing number of drives held and total pints donated (for Legionnaires and non-Legionnaires).
Legionnaires can give blood by making an appointment for a donation at The American Red Cross' website. Posts interested in hosting drives can set up a blood drive by visiting the Red Cross' blood drive registration page.
A healthy donor may donate red blood cells every 56 days or double red blood cells every 112 days, according to the Red Cross. Platelets can be donated as few as seven days apart but a maximum of 24 times a year. Platelets are essential for patients who are undergoing chemotherapy or kidney transplants and have weakened immune systems. Donors are given a brief health screening prior to giving blood. The results of it are always kept confidential. Often, lingering health problems such as irregular heartbeats or high blood pressure are discovered during these screenings.
The departments that have the highest turnout for Legionnaires and post participation are honored at the Legion's national convention. The national security chairman announces the winners in front of the convention floor. Certificates are then signed by the national commander and national adjutant and mailed to the winning departments.
Departments also award certificates to posts or individuals who make outstanding contributions or have an outstanding record in blood donor activities. These certificates are signed by department commanders and adjutants. Posts present these awards - signed by post commanders and adjutants - to Legionnaires and non-Legionnaires for exceptional performance in the American Legion Blood Donor Program.