The American Legion Association, an organization of 100-year-old veterans, counts all those who have worked in any branch of the United States Armed Forces as members. But even if they were members, it didn’t seem like a place for young Latino veterans like Marcos Torres and Daniel del Libero to veterans like them. did.
“When I joined the United States Army in 2007, when I arrived at Fort Sill Oklahoma for basic purposes, we arrived at the airport in Oklahoma City,” Torres recalls. “There were legionaries there, and soon they gave us snacks and gave us food,’Sign this paper here, sign this paper.
“I knew they were like veteran social clubs with certain unique hats, but I thought they were just an older generation of veterans,” Del Libero said. Told.
At the end of his working hours, Torres forgot all his short encounters with the American Legion. But he was still looking for a veteran companion in his community. Torres visited after hosting his own Veterans Day event for several years. American Legion Tatler Post 973 I was inspired.
“I fell in love with it. That is, everyone was amazing. So I started asking,” Hey, where are your Latin brothers? ” Where can I find African American brothers? Where are they? Why don’t they have a post? “Torres said. “And I thought I knew what it took to start the American Legion post on behalf of the soldiers in that community. That’s how they are being taken care of. Make sure they are being spoken. “
Brent Webb, commander of the Tatler Post, helped Torres charter a rare new American Legion post, and in 2019, Sergeant Jason Basquez Post 939 It became official. Marcos Torres has taken the post-commander position.
“I think what Post 939 is doing is really amazing,” says Webb. “Marcos and the team he created have done something that brings together some of the veteran communities that felt alienated. I’m here to support it 100%. We. It’s more patriotic than wanting to bring together individuals who want to do something for their neighbors. “
Torres and his team are building posts with a clear and deliberate Latin identity. It is named after a 24-year-old National Guard who was killed in Afghanistan in 2008. Torres led the soldier who euthanized Jason Basquez.
Torres first contacted Basquez’s family for approval of the post’s name. Basquez’s uncle Ricky Davila said he was “thankful and honored” for Post 939 to carry on Jason’s legacy.
“How wonderful it would be for Jason to be part of the Legion, and it would be in our community. We could celebrate and unite somewhere,” said Davila. That means a lot. “
The zip code is also Latino, with 939 being one of Puerto Rico’s area codes.
“It’s like our little trademark or watermark that goes on forever after we leave,” said Post Deputy Commander Christopher Gullivey.
Post 939 also has a clear mission to support the mental health of Latino veterans by providing communities and representatives.
The military has a big word. “Suffering in silence,” said Post 939 adjutant Daniel del Libero. “When I was working, asking for mental help was essentially ineffective. You weren’t working and you weren’t helping your peers. And it was It’s a kind of thing, and I think we can change that by following the culture of veterans. “
“When it comes to the veterans community, we know they are at high risk of suicide, homelessness, unemployment and underemployment,” Gullivey said. “Therefore, for all veterans, it is our job and responsibility as a post of the American Legion to address these issues systematically.
One way the Post 939 plans to make Latino veterans relax is to share their history.
“As Latino veterans, our needs are different, our environment is different, our music is different, our food is different,” said Waldemar Cruz, a member of Post 939. “We are always known as a culture that wants to dance and have a good time, but at the same time we want to share our veterans’ experience and history. Bolink Eniers, Puerto Ricans who served in Vietnam. “
Post 939 Sergeant Samuel Dominges believes it is important to look at the history of the revered Latin American veterans in the local post.
“When I go to the post, I don’t see a picture of Roy Benavidez. He’s a recipient of the Medal of Honor. He describes the 10,000 Mexican-Americans who fought in the Union Army in the fight against slavery, and There’s nothing to talk about about it. When you come back from your deployment, or back from your service, it’s important to keep track of them so that we can thrive. “
The leader of the Jason Vazquez Post 939 is scouting the home base location of Humboldt Park or Logan Square. But until they find the place, they meet at the Tatler Post in Lincoln Square.
“This is a cozy place where you can come and laugh, make jokes, and feel that fellowship really heals many veterans,” says Torres.
Chris Gullivey wants you to join us. “Post 939 is marching and looking for someone to join this mission with us.”
Latin American Veterans Charter American Legion Post 939 | Chicago News to Build a Community
Source link Latin American Veterans Charter American Legion Post 939 | Chicago News to Build a Community