JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — The National Commander of the American Legion paid a visit to Johnson City’s post to greet local veterans and learn about the community on Sunday.
Kings Mountain Post 24 is Johnson City’s American Legion post. The American Legion’s website states it is “America’s largest veterans service organization.” The nonprofit works to provide programs, resources and community to veterans across the nation.
National Commander Daniel Seehafer told News Channel 11 that the organization’s primary focus this year is suicide prevention among veterans.
“[It’s] a powerful voice where we [veterans] come together,” he said. “And there’s two concepts that I want to spread across this nation when I do my travels, especially coming here to beautiful Tennessee. And that is how we as the organization, the American Legion, change lives and we save lives.”
Seehafer said each American Legion post offers a multitude of events, activities and social gatherings for area veterans to find camaraderie at.
“We have numerous programs that we plug in our communities throughout the nation. We have baseball programs, oratorical programs where we’re part of the community. We’re not some separate entity, but part of the community.”
Seehafer said he and the organization intend to visit posts across the country to learn about them; then they’ll take that knowledge and share it with federal lawmakers.
“I’m gonna travel around the whole nation, go into every department and, again, boots on the ground, finding out what’s going on in your communities, what’s going on in your state, your department, again, from health care to those programs,” he said. “And I’m collecting all that information and coming back with it with a report. I will do that in Congress.”
Local veterans are encouraged to get involved at centers like the American Legion and its local Kings Mountain Post 24. Seehafer reminded veterans that “it’s okay not to be okay”, and that help is available 24/7 on the Veteran Suicide Hotline at 988 ext. 1 and online at VeteransCrisisLine.net.