American Legion threatens to cut ties over fund changes

By Jennifer McDermott (

Group says state setting them up to fail, worries veterans no longer a priority

The American Legion is so upset with the way the state has changed the fund it administers to help Connecticut veterans that the service organization has voted to cut ties with the fund.

After 94 years of disbursing payments to veterans in need, the American Legion Department of Connecticut will stop administering the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Marines’ Fund on June 30 unless the General Assembly rescinds changes made through the state budget or restores funding.

“We’re not going to try to attempt this with insufficient resources and fall on our face. The reputation of the Legion is involved,” said John D. Monahan, the administrator of the fund and Legion treasurer. “We’re being set up to fail, and we can’t have that.”

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy initially proposed giving the Legion total control of the fund, and the Legion agreed to accept responsibility for it. But the budget Malloy signed in June keeps the state treasurer in charge of the trust’s investments while the American Legion operates the fund. The Legion will receive up to $300,000 annually to do so, which Monahan said is about one-third of the fund’s current budget.

The nine state employees who work in the fund office will either retire or be reassigned, and the Legion may not set up the nonprofit charity as it had planned – to accept tax-deductible donations to the fund and to streamline the process for delivering aid – because it does not have full control of the fund.

The fund, which was established in 1919, helps state veterans in need and their families with their rental or mortgage interest payments, utility and medical bills, funeral expenses, food and clothing.

The fund is currently valued at about $64 million. The state allocated about $3 million annually in recent years to provide aid to veterans and run the agency. The interest from the trust’s investments is used to reimburse the general fund.

About 3,000 families are helped by the fund each year, Monahan said.

He said he is not convinced that state leaders still consider caring for veterans and their families a core function of state government.

“We view it as something that has been a tremendously enlightened public policy. If attitudes have changed and that is no longer considered to be the case, it is our view that it ought to be a matter for discussion in the legislature and a vote,” he said. “The point here is, we shouldn’t be tormented by death by a thousand cuts. Where is the part where they say, ‘Thank you very much, we’re proud of what you did and you’re dismissed?’”

Karen E. Buffkin, deputy secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, said she had not been given any indication that the arrangement was not workable. Buffkin said OPM was led to believe that the fund could be administered with fewer staff. She said she did not know about the Legion’s decision, but noted it is written in state law that the Legion will administer the fund.

“I suppose the American Legion could contract with another entity to administer it on their behalf if the law remains unchanged, or they can advocate, as anybody can, to have the legislation changed,” she said.

Buffkin said she could not speculate as to whether the fund would be dissolved or whether another state agency would take over if the Legion does not change its mind before June.

“That is a long way off,” she said. “A lot can happen in nine months, and as always, with any of these groups, we’re always happy to talk to anyone who has concerns about an issue or a better way to do things.”

House Speaker Brendan Sharkey said he plans to meet with representatives of the American Legion and all of the relevant stakeholders in the coming weeks to talk about the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Marines’ Fund.

“If we determine that there is an issue with the funding available for the administration of the fund, we will work together to find a solution and ensure that Connecticut’s veterans are having their basic needs met,” Sharkey, D-Hamden, said in a statement.

Monahan said $300,000 is insufficient and perplexing since the war in Iraq recently concluded, the war in Afghanistan is winding down and thousands of servicemen and women will be returning to Connecticut, many of whom may need help from the fund during their transition to civilian life.

The Malloy administration did not ask the Legion before the budget passed how much should be allocated to cover expenses, Monahan said. Rather than allocating a fixed amount, he said, the state could have specified that no more than 25 percent or 30 percent of the projected revenues of the trust may be spent on administrative costs, with a provision for certain exceptional circumstances.

The money from the trust is invested conservatively, and with the economic downturn, the rate of return on the investments is lower than it has been in years past. The fund’s expenditures exceeded the revenue each year from 2003 to 2012 and the state paid the difference, a total of nearly $5.5 million over the decade, according to OPM.

Buffkin said OPM decides what resources are needed based on plans and projections, and the final budget implementing bill in the state budget for fiscal year 2014 to 2015 was a compromise.

“There are ways to find efficiencies and to streamline things and that is what we have been asking,” she said. “Right now, that is what we ask agencies to do regularly.”

Monahan asked Attorney General George C. Jepsen in July for an opinion as to whether the state’s action was lawful, since a Connecticut Supreme Court case, Bissell v. Butterworth, found that the fund’s income could be used to pay “reasonable charges and expenses” to prevent the fund from failing.

Jepsen replied to the Legion in a letter dated Aug. 21 to say he could not offer an opinion because “the amount necessary to administer this fund is a fiscal policy judgment for the legislature to decide.” Jepsen encouraged Monahan to bring this issue to the attention of legislative leaders.

On Monday, Monahan introduced a motion at a meeting of the Legion’s executive committee in Connecticut to cease administering the fund. The group unanimously approved it. The Legion plans to reconsider its action in May if the General Assembly rescinds the provisions related to the fund or alters the language to provide sufficient resources during the February to May session, Monahan said.

The changes to the fund are scheduled to go into effect July 1.

“We have been in conversations with the American Legion and those conversations are continuing,” Buffkin said. “We fully support the work that they do and the governor fully supports the work they do. They provide an important benefit to servicemen and women and their families.”

This article was originally published by ‘The Day’ and written by staff writer Jennifer McDermott.

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Legionnaires bring military bears to Sandy Hook

In the four months since the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 27 dead and collectively broke a nation’s heart, an outpouring of support and donations have been given to those students, parents and community members affected by the tragedy. A group of Legionnaires and a military-friendly businessman did their part earlier this month, giving the students an opportunity to be regular kids for a day.

With the help of Connecticut Legionnaires and Auxiliary members, Jeff Craddoc, owner of, brought a teddy-bear making studio to nearby Newtown United Methodist Church on April 13, inviting students of the school and their parents to spend the day together building their own customizable teddy bears.

Connecticut Past Department Commander Boyd Saxton and his wife, Alice Saxton, a past department president for the Auxiliary, helped Craddoc arrange the event at their church, providing refreshments, activity books for the students, and other Legionnaires and Auxiliary members to volunteer.

“A word comes to mind – awesome,” Alice said. “It was great to see the kids come in and have a fun day. Nothing was said of what happened prior. They came in and they were themselves. They came in and laughed and played like kids should always be able to.”

The event, which came almost exactly four months after the tragedy, had been in the making since Craddoc first heard news of it. Craddoc, whose business is a “military bear” version of the build-a-bear stores that are popular with youth, realized the opportunity he had to do a good service for the children and parents of Sandy Hook in the moments after the shooting.

“The event at Sandy Hook was created in my mind the same day as the murders occurred,” Craddoc said. “I was not sure to what extent, or even how I could make it happen, but those were just details that would be figured out later.”

Craddoc ultimately had to iron out several “details” before he got a portable bear-building studio to Sandy Hook. Due to the overwhelming support given to the residents and students of Sandy Hook, the school had to turn away good-natured individuals like Craddoc in the weeks after Dec. 14. The school also could no longer serve as a premises for any events similar to the one Craddoc envisioned.

Craddoc enlisted the help of the Saxton’s, who are Sandy Hook residents. They helped him arrange a site – their church – for the event and put the donations that many posts and Legionnaires had sent them to help those affected by the tragedy toward refreshments, coloring books, and other gifts and activities for the estimated 400 parents and children in attendance.

“Posts from all over sent us donations,” Alice said. “My husband and I extend our heartfelt appreciation for everyone’s gratitude.”

The operation hit one final snag on the day of the bear-building event, when an air compressor broke on Craddoc’s stuffing machine. This forced parents and volunteers to help the children stuff the bears by hand.

Craddoc said the mishap made a memorable day even more memorable for all those involved.

“It was another way that (the parents) got to spend quality time with their children and instead of the time being over in minutes, they probably spent 15 minutes creating a bear and a memory together that will last forever,” Craddoc said. “These families have a memory that was seared into their minds that will never go away.”

- Original article from –

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CT American Legion Endorses Gov. Malloy’s Proposal

The American Legion Department of Connecticut Endorses Governor Malloy’s Budget Proposal for the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Fund

The Governor proposes the transfer of fund management, investment responsibility and associated operational costs to the American Legion, the legal administrator of the fund and the nation’s largest wartime veterans’ service organization. This transfer will provide the American Legion with more flexibility and control, it will increase the efficiency of state operations by reducing redundant activity and it will streamline state resources by reducing the number of state appropriated funds.

On Tuesday, February 19, 2013, at a special meeting of the Executive Committee of The American Legion Department (state) of Connecticut a resolution was unanimously approved accepting the proposal to transfer the responsibility for and authority over full administration of the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Fund from the State of Connecticut to The American Legion.  The resolution also resolves that The American Legion will take all necessary and prudent action to enable a smooth transition of the state agency.

The American Legion will organize administration of the Fund through a charitable non-profit corporation, to be known as “The American Legion Foundation of Connecticut, Inc.” which will be organized, administered, and governed in accordance with applicable law and regulation, so as to ensure the continuation of the fulfillment of the charitable mission of the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Fund.

The Department Commander appointed an Ad Hoc Committee on Transition of the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Fund, chaired by the Department Treasurer, and including, the Assistant Treasurer, the National Executive Committeeman, the Judge Advocate, the Adjutant.  This committee is charged with “taking all necessary and prudent action to effectuate the transition of the state agency, such as planning, organization, coordination, liaison, contracting, financing, delegating, as well as such other action as may be necessary to bring this motion to full effect”.

The Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Fund, established in 1919 provides needy wartime veterans and their families with temporary assistance and these benefits have been responsibly administered for 94 years by The American Legion, the legal administrator of the fund.


Contact:  Everett G. Shepard III, Department Adjutant (860-436-9986, 860-377-1889)

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Past Department Commander Ed Barry Passes

Edward Daniel Barry of East Haddam, husband to Joan (Krauth) Barry, who was born during the blizzard of 1933, on March 21, passed away peacefully during the blizzard of 2013, on February 9, at Chestelm Health Care & Rehabilitation in Moodus, CT. He was 79 years old.

Born to Edward and Edna (Danielson) Barry, he grew up in East Windsor CT and graduated from Ellsworth Memorial High School in 1951. He served proudly in the United States Air Force, during the Korean War, from 1951 to1955.

After his service, he worked for 20 years as an insurance agent for Metropolitan Insurance Company until he went to work for the State of CT. in 1973, where he was a Veterans Aid Investigator until 1985. From 1985 to 1987, he served as the Assistant Administrator for the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Fund and then became Administrator in 1987 until his retirement in 1999. Even after retirement, he served as a volunteer representative, helping veterans in need. Ed was very proud of his service and others who served for this country. He joined the American Legion – Post 156, where he served as Department Commander from 2001-2002 and was a member for 45 years. In this capacity, he would tend to veterans in need and cook at the monthly breakfasts. He was also a member of the East Haddam Lions, where he played Santa Claus at Chesthelm Health Care and Rehabilitation for decades, a member of the Knights of Columbus, a 3rd Degree member of VFW Post 3336 and a member of ERIECO Women’s Post 1586 A.L. Men’s Aux.

Ed loved to be outside in his yard, especially gardening, and had many beautiful vegetable gardens at his home. He was incredibly knowledgeable in American history and loved to share stories with people and he was always reading an American history book. Living in the country of East Haddam, he enjoyed cutting trees and splitting firewood for his wood stove. He was predeceased by his sister Aileen Brown and leaves behind his five children, Kathleen Barry Twigg and her husband Harry of Rockville, Daniel Barry of Moodus, David Barry of Moodus, Aileen Barry King and her husband Donnie of Vanzant, Missouri and Elizabeth Barry Hahn of East Hampton. Also, he leaves behind four siblings, John David Barry and his wife Glenna of East Windsor, Thelma Pease of Broad Brook, Elizabeth Wheelock and her husband Ed of Broad Brook and Ann Madsen and her husband Edward of Spring Hill, FL. He leaves behind 10 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. We would like to extend a very special thank you to Dr. Robert Dwyer of Essex and the entire staff at Chestelm.

Friends may call at Biega Funeral Home, 3 Silver Street Middletown, Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. Burial with military honors will be held in the spring at the State Veterans’ Cemetery. There will be a Celebration of Remembrance this Saturday, February 16 at 1:00 p.m. at American Legion Post 156 on Neptune Avenue in Moodus

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Wounded Warrior Project – P.O. Box 758517 – Topeka Kansas 66675 and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – 262 Danny Thomas Place – Memphis, TN 38105

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Veterans’ Affairs Elevated to Full Standing Committee of the General Assembly

Heightened status will afford veterans’ issues and related bills equal standing and priority before the legislature

HARTFORD — After eight years of “select” temporary status, the General Assembly’s Veterans’ Affairs Committee was elevated today to permanent “standing” status for the 2013 Regular Legislative Session, and all legislative sessions thereafter. Committee Co-Chairmen Senator Carlo Leone (D-Stamford) and Rep. Jack Hennessy (D-Bridgeport) joined with legislative leadership, military veterans and veterans’ advocates to make the announcement.

Senator Leone, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, said, “Our nation’s commitment to serve our veterans in their retirement is an ongoing and unending one, in recognition of the enormous sacrifices that we call upon them to make. After many years, the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs finally has a permanent status commensurate with such an important responsibility. This change has been very important to the veteran community, and I am excited we were able to accomplish the task for this new session. I personally want to thank Senator Williams and Senator Looney for their advocacy, as well as Speaker Sharkey and all of the veterans and advocates who worked hard for so many years to make this a reality.”

“I am pleased we are conveying this strong message to all of our veterans and active service members that we believe the Committee on Veterans Affairs should have the authority to move legislation,” said Rep. Hennessy, himself a veteran of the U.S. Army. “I thank the veterans, advocates and House and Senate leaders for making sure that from this point on we may properly represent veterans in the State Legislature.”

“Our veterans have dedicated so much of themselves in service of our country,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Donald E. Williams, Jr. (D-Brooklyn). “The elevation of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee to full committee status reflects the legislature’s commitment to helping our veterans transition home and find meaningful employment.”

“We must always stand in support of our soldiers and veterans,” said House Speaker Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden). “Our state is the proud home to many veterans from each of the branches of our Armed Forces, and it is appropriate to have a full standing committee dedicated to assisting them.”

Wednesday marked the first day of the 2013 Session of the General Assembly. At the beginning of the session, both the House of Representatives and the Senate voted to adopt rules elevating the Veterans’ Affairs Committee to permanent “standing” status. Since its creation in 2005, the committee had to date only been designated a temporary “select” status.

“Select” committees may not bring bills directly to the floor of either chamber of the legislature. Such bills must first be taken up and passed in another committee, then brought to the floor by the other committee’s chairperson. Bills introduced in “standing” committees do not face these same requirements.

The decision to elevate the Veterans’ Affairs Committee to “standing” status was arrived at in a bipartisan manner, with broad support amongst legislators of both parties.

Senator Jason Welch (R-Bristol), who has served in both the United States Coast Guard Reserve and Army National Guard said, “Allowing the Veterans’ Affairs Committee equal standing in the legislative process simply makes sense. Our veterans are facing some very difficult issues unique to those who are active military and those who have served. As a member of the committee charged with overseeing public policy related to veterans, I am pleased to see our general assembly take this important step. I would like to extend my thanks to Senate Minority Leader John McKinney and to Senate Minority Leader Pro-Tempore, and Veterans Affairs committee member, Len Fasano for their strong support in this ongoing effort. It’s our obligation to look out for those who serve their country.”

“Our veterans have sacrificed so much for us and we owe them a debt that, frankly, can never be repaid. This long overdue action to make the Veterans’ Affairs Committee a permanent standing committee is a recognition and a promise to our veterans that our state government will not let their service be forgotten. I look forward to using my position on the committee to advance the interests of our veterans this session,” said State Representative Dave Yaccarino (R-North Haven), a former member of the U.S. Navy Reserve who will serve as the leading House Republican on the committee.

The move was also heralded by the Connecticut Veterans’ Military Coalition and many other veterans’ advocacy organizations.

Dan Thurston, Chairman of the Connecticut Veterans and Military Coalition (CVMC) and Past State Commander of The American Legion said, “It has been the goal of the Connecticut Veterans and Military Coalition (CVMC) to have the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs become a Standing Committee. This is a significant event for our States’ Veterans and active duty military to be represented by a Standing Committee in the halls of our government. We are looking forward to continuing our excellent working relationship with the Committee.”

“I think this is one big step that the State of Connecticut has made to help its veterans,” said Wayne Morgan, State Commander of the American Legion.

American Legion Department Adjutant Everett G. Shepard III added, “The American Legion is very excited to hear that the Select Committee for Veterans Affairs will become a Standing Committee. This is an action that we have endorsed for several years and re-affirmed by vote as recently as our November 25th Department Executive Committee meeting. We look forward to many years of support to the Veterans Affairs Committee.”

“This upgrade of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee creates the best access we can have for veterans to the state legislature. It brings veterans’ concerns into parity with other issues. Those who raised their right hand and swore service to their country deserve that. It has been a long time coming. The Committee has already passed a lot of good legislation, like placing the veteran status flag on drivers’ licenses. I can’t say enough to legislative leadership, Senator Williams and Speaker Sharkey, for taking this under their consideration. It means a lot to the veterans,” said General Daniel McHale, Transition Assistance Advisor for the State of Connecticut, and Chapter President of the Association of the United States Army.

“The Veterans of Foreign Wars of Connecticut commends the members of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the members of the General Assembly for their work to make Veterans’ Affairs a standing committee of the General Assembly. As an increasing number of Connecticut’s active duty servicemen and women rejoin its civilian population the Standing Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will, for the first time since 1947, stand poised to most effectively address their needs as veterans,” said Bob Hunter, Veterans of Foreign Wars of Connecticut (VFW) Legislative Chairman.


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Past Department President Passes at 91

Bernice (Bailey) Benjamin, age 91, passed away on Sunday, January 6, 2013. She was the wife of the late Stanley A. Benjamin.

Born in Litchfield, on November 23, 1921, she was the daughter of the late Harold and Mildred (Squires) Bailey.

Bernice retired from Edwards and Finest Supermarkets in Litchfield after 31 years. She enjoyed volunteering and was very active for more than 50 years in the American Legion Auxiliary Post No. 27, where she served as District President, Unit President and Department President. She was a Brownie and Girl Scout Leader and had been a member of the Girl Scout Troop Committee for over 50 years. Bernice was also a member of the 40 & 8 Organization and member of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Litchfield.

She is survived by her daughter, Faith Richard and her husband, William, of Torrington; two grandsons, William C. Richard and his wife, Elisabeth, and Kevin Richard and his wife Patricia; granddaughter, Tammy Casey and her husband, Patrick; sister, Ethel Miller of Harwinton; six great-grandchildren; and eight great great-grandchildren.

A Funeral Service will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 at Rowe Funeral Home, 283 Torrington Road, Litchfield. Burial will follow in Bantam Cemetery. Friends and family may call on Thursday, Jan.10, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the funeral home. The American Legion Auxiliary will have a brief service at 6:30 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to the 6th District American Legion Auxiliary Scholarship Fund, c/o Heidi St. George, 119 Long Swamp Road, Wolcott, CT 06716.

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Support for Sandy Hook

Updated: 12/20 – 4:00pm

The State of Connecticut suffered a horrible and tragic loss on Friday, December 14, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. It is hard to imagine that so many innocent lives were senselessly taken, but harder to fathom that 20 of those were young children. The American Legion, Department of Connecticut extends our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. In addition, our hearts and our prayers go out to the students, school staff, parents and all of those affected.

American Legion leadership in Sandy Hook has been contacted and we are awaiting more information to help us determine if any Legionnaires have been directly affected by this tragic event. To the best of our knowledge, none of the parents impacted are Legion members, however, we do not know if we have some grandparents or other extended family members who may belong to The American Legion or Legion Auxiliary. We believe some of the first responders are Legion members and we know this has impacted them deeply.

Past Department President Alice Saxton has a thoughtful plan of support that will be implemented this week before she and Past Department Commander Boyd leave for Florida on Saturday. (please see her note below). *Goal Reached!

The Department of Connecticut will support Jeff Craddoc (maker of our Military Bears), who is working on a plan to customize a bear for each of the surviving students at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He already has a commitment from his supplier to donate enough teddy bears. The donations will be to The American Legion. His goal is to have these ready for delivery before the end of this week.

The United Way of Western Connecticut in partnership with Newtown Savings Bank has created the ‘Sandy Hook School Support Fund’ that will be able to provide support services to the families and community that has been affected.

Check donations may be mailed to:

Sandy Hook School Support Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Bank
Main Street, Newtown CT 06470

Or may be dropped off at any Newtown Savings Bank branch location

Our continued thoughts and prayers are with the community during this trying time.


Message from Newtown American Legion Auxiliary:

Hello All,

I want to thank all of my Auxiliary sisters who have expressed their concern for those affected by the tragedy in my town. I have not heard from the town yet as to what can be done but after much prayer in asking for God’s guidance I think I have found the way I want to honor those lost. I want to present each family with a ”Chicken Soup For the Grieving Soul” book along with an Angel inscribed with their loved ones name. I believe this will help them heal and it is something they will always have. The cost of one book and one angel will run about $24. If a unit would like to donate the cost of one or two books and angels there will be an inscription in the book that I am still working on and it will be noted which unit donated the book and angel. I would also like to give two books each to the Sandy Hook Fire House, Newtown Police Department, Newtown Ambulance and the Southbury State Police barracks as they were the first responders and I feel this might be a comfort to them also.

I know all donations should go through Department but I am leaving for Florida for two weeks on the 22nd and would like to give them out before I leave so they have them now instead of three to four weeks from now. If you are willing to trust me, contact me if you or your unit wants to donate and I will make arrangements to pick up the funds. I will keep and present a full accounting to the Department and the DEC. We will need 35 books at $12 ($420) and 26 angels at $12 ($312) for a total of $732. If there is more money donated than needed for the books and Angels I can donate it to the fund being set up for the families on behalf of the Auxiliary. I will email Becky the inscription as soon as I have it completed. I can be contacted by email (removed) or my home phone (removed). Once again thank you for all your prayers and concerns, Sandy Hook has suffered a terrible loss and has been bent, but will never be broken. God Bless.

Alice Saxton,

President Newtown 202

*Note: American Legion Auxiliary Unit 202 has met its goal! Thank you everyone who helped. UPDATE BELOW

I want to thank all my Legion family who have called expressing their concerns and asking what they can do to help those affected by this senseless tragedy.  Today (Monday, 12/17), I visited our First Selectman’s office and was able to visit with the Chief of Police who had just come back from a funeral for one of the children.  I thanked him for a job well done and offered words of encouragement and prayers for continued strength.  I also spoke with the First Selectwoman’s Assistant and was told that they are being inundated with stuffed animals, toys, etc.  Donations to the fund that was set up for the families are coming in from all over the nation and beyond.  So after talking with Alice, we thought that if any posts want to make a contribution, it could be to the first responders of the all-volunteer Sandy Hook Fire Department who were first on the scene and continue to be there.  These men and women are all connected to the families they serve and many are Legion members.  I am sure that any money received, although not asked for, will be much appreciated and put to good use.  I hope you will join Post 202 in this worthwhile endeavor. 

Checks can be made out to The Sandy Hook Fire Department and sent to:
PO BOX 783
SANDY HOOK, CT.   06482
For God and Country,
Boyd Saxton, PDC
Alice Saxton, PDP
Newtown Post 202




Mailing Address Established For Families Of Victims
From “The Newtown Bee”

Newtown Post Office has set up a special address for those who wish to send cards, notes or gifts to the families of the victims of the December 14, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Cards and gifts should be mailed to For The Families Of Newtown, PO Box 3700, Newtown CT 06470.

Postmaster Cathy Zieff says that any mail received at that address will be forwarded to the Board of Education, along with any mail that has been sent addressed to Sandy Hook School.

“We spoke with the board this morning and they told us they have crews of people who are working on sorting all of that mail,” Ms Zeiff said Tuesday, December 18. “They will open outer envelopes only, to determine which family the contents should go to, and make sure each family receives the mail that is meant for them.”

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No-Cost $5,000 Accidental Death Benefit for all Connecticut Legionnaires

Legionnaire Insurance Trust – $5,000 Accidental Death Benefit at NO COST to You.

As a member of The American Legion in Connecticut you are entitled to a 100% free $5,000.00 accidental death insurance policy. Legionnaire Insurance Trust also offers additional discounted insurance plans, just for being a Legionnaire Legionnaires now have the opportunity to assure their enrollment in LegionCare, the newly enhanced Accidental Death benefit available at No-Cost to Legionnaires. LegionCare is a one-of-a-kind no cost benefit offered exclusively to Legionnaires. LegionCare provides all Legionnaires with:

  • $5,000 in Accidental Death Coverage for covered accidents that occur if you are traveling on official Legion business.
  • $1,000 for all other covered accidents.
  • 24/7 protection that covers Legionnaires at home, at work and while they are travelling away from home available for all Legionnaires in your Department.

IMPORTANT: All Legionnaires must activate their $5,000 in protection in order to be covered. Post Adjutants will be mailed enrollment postcards for the Post to use when processing membership. The Post Adjutants are asked to distribute the LegionCare postcards with each Legionnaire’s Membership Card. The Adjutants are also asked to provide the postcards to Paid Up For Life (PUFL) members. Legionnaires may also activate their coverage by going online at

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Milford team wins State Championship

Congratulations to both Milford (Senior State Champion) and Stamford (Junior State Champion).

by David Greenleaf

Milford swept five games to claim its first ever State American Legion baseball championship in a rain-plagued tournament that featured five extra inning games.  Milford broke a 5-5 tie with a run in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat Rocky Hill-Cromwell-Portland in the championship game as tournament MVP Christian Baglini earned his second win of the tourney in relief.


Milford’s run to the championship included a 5-4 15-inning marathon win over fellow Zone 2 opponent Branford in a game that had to be moved to an alternate site at Trumbull High School due tot he backlog of games caused by rain in the opening days of the tournament.  Milford also scored a thrilling 2-0 win over top seeded Greenwich and a 4-1 victory over previously unbeaten Avon that propelled it to the championship game.


RCP advanced to the championship round after suffering a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Montville in its second game when Montville scored four times in the bottom of the ninth.  RCP went on to defeat Orange, Branford, Avon and Greenwich to reach the finals.


Baglini earned MVP honors with a .444 batting average to back up his stellar play at shortstop and was the winning pitcher in a relief role in two of the Milford victories.  B.J. McNaughton of RCP, who was 2-0 in the tourney with a 0.58 ERA was named the tourney’s Outstanding Pitcher and RCP outfielder Pat Sirois was the tourney’s leading hitter with a .514 average.


Milford, which finished third in Zone 2 int he regular season, became the seventh team to win a state championship after advancing out of the play-in tournament.  RCP also advanced through the play-ins, marking the first time in history that no zone regular season champions were in the tournament final.

Both Championship games can be viewed on at any time 
will be rebroadcast periodically on television on CPTV beginning this week as follows:

Monday, August 6th  Senior State Championship Game 7PM
Milford vs. RCP

Tuesday, August 7th Junior State Championship 7PM
Stamford vs. Southington

CPTV Television:     Cablevision          channel  139

Charter                 223 & 224

Comcast               185, 187 & 744

Cox                        805

Thames Valley     87

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Commander Morgan Elected

This past weekend marked the start of a new membership year in the Department of Connecticut, the annual Department Convention. The year long work of the last slate of officers is reported to members and a new slate of officers are elected for the upcoming year. In the off hours old members and new members alike can be heard laughing and joking as they recant stories from time in service and in The American Legion. After long days, and even longer nights, of informing all members in attendance of the successes of the past year it all comes to an end when a standing ovation is given to the newly elected Department Commander.


From Hughson-Miller Post 71 in West Haven, Wayne Morgan has been elected by the membership of The American Legion, Department of Connecticut to hold the high position of Department Commander. Wayne enlisted in the United States Navy in 1968 where he served aboard submarine tenders in support of the Vietnam War and received and honorable discharge in 1972. In 2011 Wayne retired from Yale University where he had worked as an equipment mechanic for 25 years.


Wayne is married to Ruth, who is also a very active member of the American Legion Auxiliary, and they have two sons, Jerald and Andrew. Wayne has been a very active member of his Post in West Haven, where he has served in many roles to include commander. At the district level Wayne has served as a two term commander, as well as holding many other offices and chairmanships.


For the Department of Connecticut Wayne has held the offices of Historian, Sergeant-at-Arms, and most recently as Senior Vice Commander, in charge of membership. Wayne has served on many committees and commissions to include VA&R, Boys State, Internal Affairs, Children & Youth and Legion Racing. Wayne currently serves on the National Children & Youth Commission.


As our newly elected commander has said, “Lets bring the fun back, and the membership up!”.

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