KENNEWICK, Wash. -- The age divide between veterans is growing and so are their needs and the ways they communicate. That is why Jereme Ekiert, an Army Paratrooper and Chris Tucker, who served in the Desert Storm started a new American Legion Post 4 for the veterans in the city of Kennewick.
The goal is not to compete with other AL Posts, like the one in Pasco. But they do have major differences. For example, the building on Sylvester in Pasco has a bar, the new Legion in Kennewick doesn't even have a building. The group meets every second Thursday of the month at the Sports Page in Kennewick. It begins with an "Eat and Greet" at 7:00pm and then continues to the order of business. Ekiert says with the use of technology and teleconferencing they have grown from 17 members to 40 just this month.
"They socialize in four hours more than we used to in a month and we have to learn to adapt to that to get them to handle issues, to get then to reintegrate with their families. They have different issues than what we've had before. the multiple deployments over multiple years has created different issues," said Bruce Rick who is the District 12 Commander which covers all the American Legion Posts from Prosser, Richland, Pasco, Lynn, Connell and Dayton.
The Post 4's efforts are concentrated on recruiting the younger generation of veterans, those who are returning from Iraq, Afghanistan and the veterans who served in Desert Storm.One way they're reaching out is by using social media, websites and blogs.
The Commander, Chris Tucker says they recently had a teleconference to recruit more members using Google Plus. "We're trying to reach out and bring you into a fold where you have similar experiences with your veteran brothers and sisters," said Tucker.
The new post is working on several community projects for veterans including Gardens of Freedom, Camp Patriot and Operation Thank You.