The start of a new year is the time when most organizations look back at
accomplishments and successes. For Ocean City’s Sons of the American Legion
Commander Mike Byerly, there were plenty of both during 2013.
Not only did the Sons participate in established Post 524 events such as Ocean City’s annual Block Party, the Veterans Rest and Relaxation Program, and the open-to-the-community Breakfast with Santa, but they were active in three signature projects: The Hero Helpers Campaign, Children’s Welfare Fund and The Wesley Manor Veterans Appreciation Outreach Program.
“The Sons place an emphasis on preserving American traditions and values, improving the quality of life for our nation’s children, and caring for veterans and their families,” said Commander Byerly. “Membership is open to men whose relatives served in the United States military.”
Annually, the Sons participate in Ocean City’s Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Veterans Day celebrations. They also are active as standard bearers at specific locations during the Post’s Walk for the Wounded and Run for the Fallen. Members also attend the MIA (Missing in Action) ceremony to demonstrate that no military person will ever be forgotten.
Ocean City’s Sons Squadron 524 was recognized in 2013 at the New Jersey American Legion Convention for surpassing its donation goal to the Legion’s Child Welfare Foundation, which awards grants to nonprofit youth-serving organizations, such as the Boy Scouts of America and the Childhood Leukemia Association.
“The Foundation was founded on three guiding principles: strengthening families against the forces of today’s complex society, supporting organizations and facilities providing services for children, and maintaining a well-rounded program that meets the needs of today’s young people,” said Adjutant Frank Hetzel.
Through the Shores at Wesley Manor Veterans Appreciation Outreach Program, the Sons honor veterans on their birthdays with a small ceremony and the presentation of lapel flag pins. The Sons also provide transportation and a free lunch each Wednesday at Post 524 for all veterans and spouses residing at the assisted living facility.
“We work closely with Mary Kate Somers, Activities Director at Wesley Manor,” said Sons Junior Vice Commander Steve Koch. “This program has hit a homerun. It offers the opportunity for local vets to socialize with members of our Post. But, we’re not done yet. We are always looking for ideas to help recognize tour local vets.”
When Sons Senior Vice Commander Ed Zucchi heard that some older Ocean City vets needed a helping hand around their properties, he swung into action. He formed the Hero Helper Campaign to assist vets with household chores. Volunteers come from Squadron 524, as well as local boy scouts and Ocean City High School students completing their community service projects.
“Hero Helpers Campaign volunteers donate their time and energies to complete household chores, minor home repairs, light moving and yard work, “ said Zucchi. " We proudly help our veterans by trying to make a difference in their lives"
Each Sons activity is guided by the group’s Mission Statement: “Proudly Serving Veterans.” The Sons squadron is always looking for new recruits to increase its roster, which presently numbers 104 members.
Prospective members should contact Commander Mike Byerly at the Morvay-Miley American Legion Post 524, 3304 Bay Avenue, or call 609) 398-1751. Meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month.
For More Information:
Morvay-Miley American Legion Post 524: http://www.legion524ocnj.org
The American Legion: www.legion.org
American Legion Child Welfare Foundation: www.cwf-inc.org
— News release by Doug Otto for the Sons of the American Legion