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Members of the American Legion Post 2001 know what it takes to help local veterans

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Military veterans serve their country and, sometimes, they need the service of others in return.

The American Legion, celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019, was created to serve veterans.

Locally, The Leonard W. Kidd Memorial American Legion Post No. 2001 in Ashburn has been serving veterans in Loudoun County since 2000. Of the county’s roughly 33,000 veterans, 90 belong to the Ashburn post.

Father James C. Hinkle, parochial vicar of St. Theresa Church in Ashburn, is the post’s chaplain. Several members of the post’s leadership are his parishioners.

Through the legion, veterans receive help securing benefits, finding employment and paying rent.

Receiving benefits from the Veterans Administration can be difficult, according to Bob O’Such, first vice commander. The post helps veterans navigate the benefits process with people who are trained.

Chuck Loomis, post commander, said it takes a veteran to know a veteran. This helps legion members understand the needs of the veterans and search for ways to help them.  

The post works in conjunction with the Loudoun County Veterans Services Coordinator Thomas Grant.

Grant said the keys to success in dealing with any person in need, especially veterans, is “the heartfelt expression of sincere empathy and the assurance that they are not alone in this hole in which they find themselves.”

To help veterans with financial needs, the post raises money through Memorial Day and Veterans Day poppy distributions, which symbolize the sacrifices made by World War I service members. An online donation page on St. Theresa’s website, and an annual salute to Loudoun County veterans, also raise money.

The post sponsors flag retiring days; supports a Cub Scout pack — No. 1500; sponsors the 19-and-under Ashburn Knights baseball team; and has adopted a portion of Clairborne Parkway between Hay Road and Ashburn Farm Parkway.

Legion members provide financial assistance and service to the Boulder Crest Retreat for Military and Veteran Wellness in Bluemont, founded by member Ken Falke; and each year they sponsor between 15 and 20 young men and women for American Legion Boys State and American Legion Auxiliary Girls State. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018