Commander's Corner


9 March 2021

Greetings to the Second District;

  I have a lot of subjects I want to cover.  Please forgive the long message-and I will try to be brief.  If my brevity leaves you with some questions, just hit reply and ask and I will gladly answer.

  Last year we ran LEGION Act ads in June that told the public of the new eligibility dates.  There isn't any way to judge their effectiveness unless you help.  If someone calls to ask about joining, please ask what urged them to call.  The best guess is that we got 2 new members last year and 2 more lately that were associated with these ads.  This year they will run on the 14th of March in Dubuque and the 15th in the Quad Cities and Cedar Rapids newspapers.  Let's hope it helps bring some more members in.

  If you've looked at the Iowa Legionnaire newspaper, you know that the National Oratorical Contest has been cancelled, but each department winner gets a $5,000 scholarship.  Lots of other things are cancelled, but at this point our summer convention is set to go, as is the National Convention, the Legacy Scholarship Run and Iowa Boys State.  On that note, our District Spring Conference will be by zoom on 10 April.  The District Auxiliary will zoom on the 17th.  I will send the link to the Legion session in a couple weeks.  Please spread the word.  We will elect officers, identify the delegates for the National Convention and identify who will attend the committee meetings at July 9-11 Department Convention.

  Upcoming suspenses include the Post Data report and Consolidated Post Report (CPR), both of which are attached in fillable PDF format.  The Post Data Report form is due 15 April and the CPR is due 15 June.  Please submit them so they are acknowledged as soon as you have the data.  We got 100% on the CPR last year.  I ask for your help doing that again.  If you have any problems getting that done, please do not hesitate to ask me for help.  You can do your CPR online, but if you do, please submit at least 3 days in advance (12 June).

  By now you have heard about the changes to myLegion that are coming.  There are lots of training sessions that can help you prepare:

https://vimeo.com/518232870    https://vimeo.com/496923973    https://vimeo.com/showcase/4552712/video/472753331

  Now the dreaded Membership bit.  I will start by congratulating 4 posts for being at 100% or better.  Post 650-Epworth, Post 513-Baldwin, Post 473-Oxford Junction and Post 297-Center Point.  2nd district is currently in 3rd place.  The district is currently over 90%.  21 of our 47 posts are over 90%, so we are doing pretty good.

  If you are sitting on any membership to turn in as a batch, please go ahead and submit them.  If the department can get over 90% by 15 March, then they will get $2,000 which can help us keep from dues increases.  We have 5,763 paid members of our 6,372 goal.  That leaves us 609 to hit goal.  There are still 486 second district members that paid in 2020 but not in 2021.  Of those 91 with only one year in the Legion and 44 with two years.  Many of these are those younger veterans we always say we want- so go through your lists and at least call those members and tell them you still want them.  It can make a difference.

  You guys and gals are the best.  We lead the department as the only district over 5,000 members.  We are over a thousand in just a count of members to our nearest rival.  And, we got 100% on the CPR last year.  Only one person in the Department Executive Committee remembers a district doing that.  I'm sure it is not the first, but the only on in many legionnaires that have many years of experience.  We can do wonders if we work together.

Roger Norfolk
Commander, 2nd District
Department of Iowa
The American Legion
sabot6.76@gmail.com   
(319) 651-0977

Veterans Strengthening America.

Second District
Second to None!




24 February 2021

Greetings Second District;

  The Department Legionnaire will be out soon, and my message in it addresses some ideas on membership.  We've been staying in the top few districts in the department.  Please keep up the good work.  The next goal is 90% by March 15, the Legion Birthday.  As of 19 February, we need 6 more members to make that goal.  We will have that one!

  The Mid-Winter Conference is done.  The training sessions and the joint sessions were recorded, so you can watch them at your leisure.  My two classes were designed with you, my posts, in mind.  I don't have a lot of experiences beyond that.  They are on the Department Website at
Mid-Winter- The American Legion of Iowa (ialegion.org)
Post Constitution and Bylaws, and Developing a Post Training Program were my two classes.  They are consecutive and begin at 2:18:09 on MW 21 General Session 2.  The class before that was CPR reports by Past National Commander Dave Rehbein.  It is also worth your while.  I'm counting Mid-Winter Conference as one of our district training sessions.  The oratorical contest is also on the website.

  At Mid-Winter I learned more about the rules COVID places on our email votes and virtual meetings.  In short, unless your constitution or bylaws say anything like "members present" to vote, your documentation are good and your actions legal!  Check your constitution and bylaws to verify there isn't anything that implies you must be present to vote.  We are reviewing our district documents to ensure they are in compliance.

  Kudos to June Van Meter Post 190 at Clinton.  They started an SAL Squadron on 20 February.  They have also started a Riders Chapter and are looking into building an Auxiliary Unit.  Post Commander Ron Mussmann, SAL Commander Gregg Obren, and Legionnaire Bill James and Mark McConohy are to be congratulated for their hard work and were recognized during their ceremony.  Check out their website at https://clintonpost190.com.  They already have pictures of the presentation of the SAL charter on it.

  I have been including some personal comments in these messages about my father.  As he recovered from his time as a POW of the Japanese, he was in Schick General Hospital in Clinton.  Attached is a picture of his meal ticket from his times there (click here).  I am amazed at the documents that he kept and am planning to share them with history- probably with the WW II Museum and perhaps with the POW museum.

  Spring Conference will be conducted on 10 April, using Zoom.  One of our tasks is to review and approve the fall meeting minutes.  They can be found at this link https://www.dropbox.com/s/jmuwzztobpddzz5/-%202020%20Fall%20Conference%20Minutes.docx?dl=0 please review them so that any corrections can be made and business continued without reading the minutes during the meeting.  At this meeting we elect new officers and committee chairpersons should be set.  If you would like to be on or chair a committee, please let me know at seconddistrict@ialegion.org.

  The 2020-2021 CPR form is attached (click here).  Online submission is easy.  Remember, if your post merely copies the data from last year's report and puts it on the next year's form, this last year has not been like any other.  Take some time to be as accurate as you can be.  The CPR is due June 15.  Every post got theirs in on time last year.  Please help repeat that feat.  Not once in the last 20 years has any district gotten them all, except us last year!

  As of today, Marion Post 298 has indicated they want to host the 2021 Fall Conference, and Clinton Post 190 has asked to do Spring 2022.  If you would like to vie for this honor, make sure and bring it up at the spring conference.

  You are all performing the duties of The American Legion well.  Present the Legion in such a way you are proud of it, and others want to join it.

Roger Norfolk
Commander, 2nd District
Department of Iowa
The American Legion
sabot6.76@gmail.com   
(319) 651-0977

Veterans Strengthening America.

Second District
Second to None!




22 January 2021

Hello 2nd District;

  I've been waiting for more information, but wanted to pass along some things in motion.

  First, some successes:  Oratorical contests continue.  We had one contestant go to the Area competition in West Union last Sunday.  Results will be coming soon for that and we will find out who will be presenting at Mid-Winter for Department Champion.  We have also had success in our 5the Grade Flag Essay contest.  13 Posts had a total of 777 essays turn in to them.  The District winner has been sent to Department.  More as notifications are made to the individuals and families.

  Second, we continue to do well at membership.  The week ending 22 January, we are 87.76% and in second place, .5% behind first place.  Please continue your efforts.  The goal is 90% by Mid-Winter.

  The Mid-Winter Conference is 12-14 February and will be held as a hybrid event.  The hybrid part is that the main sessions of training and updates will be streamed by some program - Vimeo was mentioned.  The Friday Committee and Commission meetings are scheduled to be held by zoom.  Unless you have some other reason to physically attend, you do not have to go.

  I have a meeting on Friday that also is to be zoomed, but will teach two classes on Saturday, so I will be there to represent the district for any requirement.  If you have a requirement or just want to attend, please call and confirm your reservations.  The hotel has said it will give penalty free cancellations up to the day of the reservations.  If you do get sick or just want to back out due to slow vaccine arrival, you can.

  There will be a central hospitality "room" run by the hospital.  Do not bring goodies to share.  Name tags will have a colored code of Red, Yellow and Green for your preference how much space others should allow you.  I will wear Red.

  Naturally, all the normal things will change.  No caucasus will be held and most optional meetings are either postponed or zoomed.  At this time, no advance notice of participation has been requested, but some of the scheduled meals will be tough without it, so it may come later.

  Saturday afternoon is training for post level subjects.  I wanted to share the schedule, but it is not out yet.  I will teach "Constitution & Bylaws" and "Developing a post training program" as the last two events on Saturday.

  This is about as safe as plans can make it.

  Spring Conference is set for 10 April and will be conducted by Zoom.  The report of date and location had to be submitted earlier this month.  Perhaps the conditions will allow a change to physical, but the prospects are not good at this time.  Spring Conference is also when our elections are held along with a lot of business for the upcoming year.  If you, or someone you know is considering running for a position, please encourage them to let their District Vice Commander know.  It would be nice for Second District to have it's second woman commander or it's first Commander of color!

  I'm still quite partial to the old slogan, "For God and Country".  It says a lot about what we as an organization do.

  God bless you all.  Be safe and carry on with your help to veterans and our country.

Roger Norfolk
Commander, 2nd District
Department of Iowa
The American Legion
sabot6.76@gmail.com   
(319) 651-0977

Veterans Strengthening America.

Second District
Second to None!




31 December 2020

  Won't it be grand when it isn't 2020 anymore?  At midnight I won't say Happy New Year.  I will say "Jumanji" to get out of this game (from the last two Jumanji movies).

  May you and your families be happy and healthy through the new year.

  I have a task that needs your attention.  Every contestant for the Oratorical Contest needs to be known by Don Thiltgen as he has the responsibility for the COVID protocols for the contest, which is 9 January!  If you have a contestant for the District contest, you must get with him as soon as you can.  If there are many contestants, the number of post and family members allowed in may have to be small.  Don't let someone have to be told at the door that they cannot come in.

  As you were all hopefully aware, today was the last day to reserve a space for Boys State at $250.  From now on it is $300.

  On Jan 2, the 5th Grade Flag Essay contest entries are to be in Don Thiltgen's hands - I hope you have already sent them to him.

  One high point to share.  We are still second in membership and have passed 85%.  Thanks for the hard work.  Just remember that at midnight all those who have not renewed are no longer continuous membership.  National uses a short grace period, but help your members not lose the credit for continuous years as a member.

Don Thiltgen
818 7th Street
DeWitt, IA  52742
(563) 659-9582

Be safe.  Happy New Year.

Roger Norfolk
Commander, 2nd District
Department of Iowa
The American Legion
sabot6.76@gmail.com   
(319) 651-0977

Veterans Strengthening America.

Second District
Second to None!




6 December 2020

  December 7, 1941 is a date we must always remember.  As the nation remembers the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII on September 2nd, 2020, we also remember the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th.  The loss of 2,403 people deserves a moment of our time.  My father was in the Philippines, on the island of Corregidor, guarding the Bay of Manila.  On December 8th, the Japanese attacked the Philippines.  The valiant U.S. and Philippine soldiers held out until ammunition was running out and on April 9, 1942 the Philippine islands fell and finally on May 6th, 1942, General Wainwright surrendered Corregidor.  The infamous Bataan Death March followed these defeats.  My father survived and was a robust man who loved his family, loved to work, and loved to eat after three years and three months as a Prisoner of War.  He lived a good life until the end,  He was a good Legionnaire and member of the VFW.  The VFW Post in Palmyra Missouri is now named the Norfolk-Smith Post.

  We all have stories to share.  We all have gifts to give and places we can still make contributions to our community.  Try to find that in this season of giving.

  I love that our old motto was "For God and Country".  It encourages me to share that I believe and to say Merry Christmas - and to remember the reason for the season.  The new motto is "Veterans Strengthening America".  I will wait to see how that catches on, but it does give a focus on what we do.

  6 December was the date post level oratorical contests were to be completed.  County is to be completed by 20 December then District is 9 January, Area is 17 January.  Please email me the results of your contests - how many contestants and who won.

  5th Grade Flag Essay post winners are due to Chairman Don Thiltgen on 2 January.  I hope everyone has gotten them from the schools before they break.

  I had planned to try to hold another district training session in December.  It would have been done by Zoom, as this crazy virus continues to take down good people.  I didn't get many responses to requests for instructors, so we will try again after the holidays.

  We were close to being in first place in membership at the Membership Rally on 14 November, but I am still damn proud of how well we are doing.  Most posts are ahead of where they were at this time last year.  We are currently at 80% of our goal.  There is doubt we will get all members to renew by December 31st, but that is when the 2020 membership ends.  Epworth and Baldwin are our only posts at 100%, but it is possible for all to make it.

  This time of year is tough for many people.  If you can find the time, call those you may not have heard from in a while and ask if they are ok and if they need any help.  If is the right thing to do.

  So, Second District, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Roger Norfolk
Commander, 2nd District
Department of Iowa
The American Legion
sabot6.76@gmail.com   
(319) 651-0977

Veterans Strengthening America.

Second District
Second to None!




15 November 2020

Hello to the Second District;

  My congratulations to everyone that has worked memberships, and it is everyone's job-but to the Adjutants and Membership Chairs, my special thanks.

  The District with the highest percentage of their membership goal on 11 November will have their post with the highest percentage receive the Colflesh Trophy.  On the 6th we were in first place, on the 13th we dropped into second.  They won't tell me if we were highest on the 11th, but if we were, both Baldwin and Epworth were at 100%.  Maybe 2 awards?  Thanks to both of them for for your work.

  On the 21st of November, many awards will be determined at the Membership Rally, being held virtually on Zoom.  So, between now and Friday we need to get in as many memberships as we can.  Please don't hold back, waiting for a bunch to do.  If we had 3 more memberships last Friday, we would have kept first place.  Please process as many as you can by Friday.  If you mail them in, they have to arrive by Friday.  Let's win this one!

  By now the 5th Grade Flag Essays are probably going well.  Several posts have let me know how many essays they received and enquired about turning them in to Don Thiltgen, our chairman for both Oratorical and essay contest.  The essays for District competition need to be to Don by 2 January (I had mistakenly put 2 December in my last message).

  Oratorical should also be in swing.  I've only heard of 4 contestants.  The first contest I was told of would have been today, 15 November.  Post contests should be done by 6 December and county contests by 20 December.  District competition is 9 AM, January 9th at the City Hall in DeWitt.

  This is from Legion.org.  Training Tuesdays.  The last Tuesday of each month American Legion National Headquarters staff will present 60 to 90 minute sessions on topics aimed at post commanders and adjutants.  The November session will be held Tuesday. Nov. 24, at 7 p.m. EST.  The topic is on what post adjutants should know to make their term a success.  Attend the training session by visiting www.legion.org/training/training-Tuesdays. The last session has some technical difficulties, but was well worth the time.  Those classes are recorded and can be found on the Legion.org website.

  Boys State has the Early Bird deadline of 31 December.  It is time to start looking for those candidates so you can project and get the Early Bird discount.

  It is tough times.  The virus continues to spread and by now we all know someone who has contracted the disease.  My thoughts are to hold our Spring Conference virtually.  I enjoy getting around others, but I would prefer to not have another person sick that we can avoid infecting.  The projected date is not set, but early April is what is normal.  I'd like your feedback on if you think this is a good move or not.  We get about the same attendance either way, so far.

  My parting thought is the Legion has come out with a new motto.  "Veterans Strengthening America".  We shall see how that goes along.

  My thanks to you all.  My wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving for each of you and that you remain safe.

Roger Norfolk
Commander, 2nd District
Department of Iowa
The American Legion
sabot6.76@gmail.com   
(319) 651-0977

Veterans Strengthening America.

Second District
Second to None!




31 October 2020

Greetings Second District Members;

  I feel confident that since we all served to protect the rights of our citizens, that you will all vote.  I have friends and loved ones on both sides of the election.  Smart people I respect.  Once the election is finalized, they will still be my friends and family.  It is the same process every four years and we all need to work to help our country keep being the land we love.

  One hot topic I need your action to accomplish real quick.  On 7 November at the Department Executive Committee meeting, I am expected to brief Commander Kessler on the status of the District efforts for the Oratorical Contest and the 5th Grade Flag Essay Contest.  I ask you to email to me and the District Chairman the actions for those two programs.  District Chairman is Don Thiltgen at email mrtillie@mchsi.com for both programs.  Please send the name of your chairman and the status of your efforts.  By now you should have their County contest set.  The District contest is at DeWitt City Hall on 9 January at 0900.

  5th Grade Flag Essays will be due to Don on January 2, 2020.  I apologize for putting 2 December in my last message.  A short note of your success or not in getting into the schools for those two, and your dates for them to happen.

  Of high impact to all myLegion users is the change in how you will log in.  December 21, 2020 is the date given as the switch to the new myLegion access procedures.  You will have to have a valid email address in your personal record in the Legion database and a personal myLegion account in order to access the members database.  The logins will no longer be by post, county or district account.  All users must log into myLegion with their personal myLegion account to get in at all.

  Here is a video of the requirements and steps to your first login to the new myLegion:  click here

  I encourage everyone that works with myLegion to sign in to your myLegion account now, in case you get errors or need help.  It will make life easier when the switch happens.

  Call, email, smoke signals- let me know if you have questions or if I can help you.

  Watch for information about a new motto for the Legion- "Veterans Strengthening America".

Roger Norfolk
Commander, 2nd District
Department of Iowa
The American Legion
sabot6.76@gmail.com   
(319) 651-0977

Second District
Second to None!




14 October 2020

My fellow legionnaires of the Second District, Greetings;

  This year has put a serious cramp in everyone's plans.  Without our fund raising events, we don't have the money to run all our programs.  Some of those programs don't require a lot of money, but will take some additional work to make them successful.

  The High School Constitutional Speech Contest is a program that affects a low number of students, but the rewards of their study and preparations will be theirs for the rest of their lives.  Your local high school may be virtual, instead of physical, and may not have a speech class.  Perhaps then a government teacher could be a good resource.  It will require extra work to get in with them to make it happen. Please try your best.  The post contests need to be done by 6 December-that is closer than you think.  Please work it quickly so the students have adequate time to prepare.  County contests need to be done by 20 December and the department contest is scheduled for 14 February 2021 at Mid Winter Conference-Yes it is still planned to be held as of now.  I'd appreciate if each post would have their chairman or someone send me a short message of the status of oratorical, and the number of probable participants as that develops.

  The second item I'd like to hear back about is the 5th Grade Flag Essay contest.  This one should be easy to still make happen, but will have the same issues trying to get into the schools and to get teachers to agree.  With the COVID 19 problems, everyone is stressed, so find that subtle way to make the teachers think it is a good idea for the children to learn a bit more about citizenship, not an extra burden.  The essays are due to our 2nd District Chairman, Don Thiltgen, on 2 December.  Do your back planning on when you need to contact teachers and when you would need the essays at your post to allow selections of winners and forward to Don.  Don is also the Oratorical Chairman, so keep in touch on both these with him.

  Membership is going well.  We are at 66.96% and have been switching first and second with 8th district for a while.  The 9 October report has us back in second-0.86 of a percent behind.  From first to last place is only 6.4 percent and 3 of us are at 66%.  A close race.  I hope you have tried the District's plan for this year.  September's focus was to call the 2018 non renewals; October the 2019 non renewals and November/December the 2020 who have not renewed by then.  Try to spread the word that those who have not renewed by 31 December will have expired memberships and are no longer eligible for any of the benefits until they do renew.  As an example, the National Emergency Fund, which many legionnaires and posts have recently had to use, is not available if your membership has expired.

  I hope you all got your Post Officer Forms in by 15 September, and you sent them electronically to our adjutant so district knows your officers.  These are due even if there are no changes.

  American Legion Boys State (no longer called Hawkeye Boys State as it was seen as a program of the university).  Boys State Orientation Dates are due on 15 November, and as soon as they are set, I'm sure Don Arns will put them on our website that he maintains so well.  Hard to think that Early Bird registration is due 31 December.

  We had our Second District Fall Conference on 19 September.  Two of our counties had only one person attending.  That is not very good!  The conference is recorded and the link is on the Second District Website.  The minutes are attached as are the references and reports.  I ask that you share this information with your post legionnaires.

  Long message.  Sorry.  I just wanted to reinforce the actions we need to take now for the only two programs we really can have going, the oratorical and 5th Grade Flag Essays.  Please work on them.

  Of highest priority is to ask you all to be safe.  We unfortunately lost one of our Post Commanders recently.  I commend the Post for the support they showed.  It was not COVID related, but keeps in mind our mortality.  Be safe in how you interact with others.  We probably all know someone who died of this disease, and must be smart to stop the spread.  Be smart and stay well.

  You got this.  For God and Country.

Roger Norfolk
Commander, 2nd District
Department of Iowa
The American Legion
sabot6.76@gmail.com   
(319) 651-0977

Second District
Second to None!




11 September 2020

  As I write this, I am preparing to attend the Department Leadership College in Des Moines.  It is a physical meeting and I am sure cautions will be taken for our safety.  National recently announced the postponement of the National American Legion College until spring of 2021.

  I had initially planned to wait until I returned from the college to send this, but a reminder within 7 days is often too late - and too hard for many posts to get the word out to theirmembers that may want to attend.  Dyersville has indicated they will set up a station at their post for multiple attendees, and Department Vice Commander Hogan indicated he will set one up at Marion.  These are some good ideas to help make sure everyone knows they have the ability to participate in the leading of the district.  On that note, Zoom allows people to call in if they don't have a computer or smart phone.  They may not see what is displayed on the screen, but they can hear and have the ability to cast their vote on issues of District business.  One of my fellow District Commanders uses call in for attending Department meetings.

  Next Saturday, the 19th at 0900 is the conference.  I think we can easily accomplish the business in under 3 hours, with a break included.  The log in data has been provided to Post Commanders and Adjutants.  You can test your computer connection by hitting the link - but until 10 minutes before the conference you will not be able to enter - but it will show you the connection.

  The only other thing for right now is my thanks for your efforts in membership.  We are in number one sopt, but many of the Districts are very close behind.  VCdr Don Arns puts out the membership status frequently.  You should have picked up that September is our targeted time to look at those who have not renewed since 2018 and contact them, inviting them to rejoin our great organization.  October will be the 2019 and November the 2020 non-renewals.  December is our catch all and 729s to try to hit that 100% by the end of the year, but I know how the history goes.  Much of our success is done in March and April, but we can do this earlier by a planned effort.  Contact your Vice Commander (Don Arns, Dick Bries or Jeff Johnson) to get a list of those non-renewals.  Send them the invitation, go visit, call - whatever you can get to workfor you.  A list of 100 broken down to a group of 10 is only 10 calls in a month.  We can work together and make this a success.  We did well last year at 3rd place, but I know we can do better.  Our District Goal is 6,372.  We are at 3,617 on the Sep 4 report (the latestone) which lists us at 2,391 last year at this time.  We are collectively at 56.8%, but our posts run from a high of 76% at Troy Mills to 4.76%.

  I hope that everyone that gets this message will share it with at least a few others.  You need not sign up in advance, but I ask you sign in at 0900 ad not later.  To the other District Commanders, you may share this with whomever you like that may gain from attendance.  We have business to do, and no training included in this meeting.  We plan to have training in October that may be shared with all of the Iowa Legion.

  For God and Country

Roger Norfolk
Commander, 2nd District
Department of Iowa
The American Legion
sabot6.76@gmail.com   
(319) 651-0977

Second District
Second to None!



  

18 August 2020

Commander Kessler, Adjutant Derner, fellow District Commanders, SAL Commander Monserud- But mainly, Legionnaires of the Second District;

  I promised to make a decision a month before our 19 September Fall Conference, and have consulted Second District President Ernst, Host Post Commander Novak and the District Executive Committee.  Many have expressed they would like to have a physical meeting, but the status of the COVID-19 virus makes the physical meeting risky.

  The meeting is scheduled for the 19th at 9 AM aand is tentatively planned for 4 hours.  My goal will be 3 hours.  To attend, contact your post commander or adjutant our your District Vice Commander for the meeting link and password.

  My thanks to Post 26 Commander, Mike Novak for all the preparation for the physical conference, and hope this decision is timely for cancelling those steps without monetary cost or ill will from the caterer and lodging.

  I ask all post contacts to consider setting up a computer (or more) at your post home or other location for small, socially spaced groups to participate.  I also ask you to spread the word about the virtual meeting as widely as you can.  It is critical that all our members understand they are important and have the ability to participate in the decisions of the district.  Even if they just use a phone, they can listen and vote.

  I am saddened to make this decision, but concern for our health outweighs the necessity of having a physical meeting.  Besides, our virtual Spring Conference was a great success and well attended.

  For God and Country

Roger Norfolk
Commander, 2nd District
Department of Iowa
The American Legion
sabot6.76@gmail.com   
(319) 651-0977

Second District
Second to None!




3 August 2020

Fellow members of the Second District, Greetings;

  Let me begin by thanking you for your confidence in allowing me to be your commander for another year.  We had a good year last year, coming in third in the membership competetion and getting 100% of the CPR reports in on time.  I have not found anyone that remembers a district getting 100%.  Both of these are due to you in each of the posts.  My thanks to you all.

  We have changed some of the leadership in the district.  Bill Goodman has stepped down from adjutant after many years of exemplary service.  Carmella "Bella" Davis has taken up that job.  Please support her fully as she makes that position her own.  Rob Roben has stepped down from vice commander (VCdr) for Dubuque and Jackson counties and Dick Bries has taken up the reins.  Lyle Andersen has stepped down as VCdr of Linn and Jones counties with Jeff Johnson taking over.  Don Arns continues as the VCdr for Clinton and Scott counties and continues as our Membership Chair.  Several positions on committees have changed.  For all those stepping down and all currently serving, my thanks for keeping us going.

  Our Fall District Conference is scheduled as a face to face meeting in Davenport on September 19.  We are working to hold a physical meeting, however we are also preparing to have it virtually if conditions demand it.  We are also exploring the ability to do both at once.  if you want to attend a virtual conference, or virtual training session, and do not have a computer or smartphone, you can always call in and have an audio interface and participate in teh decisions of the district.  Both the Spring Conference and the 11 July training session are recorded and links are available on the district website.  Our goal for this year is to have training each quarter.  Our next one should be before November.  One of the quarterly sessions will be half a day on MyLegion.

  Something happening starting 3 August, is a set of training sessions run by national headquarters.  These are completely voluntary and you can attend any of them you desire.  The training is two, one hour sessions per day.  You can check it out at the following link.  https://www.ialegion.org/57th-annual-national-membership-virtual-workshop/ Most are very appropriate for posts.  Just another chance to learn.

  Within the next few weeks we hope to put together a plan of some recommended membership actions to take.  We did good last year, but can do better.

  As we go forward, everyone must make decisions of the danger of the COVID-19 virus to you and your families.  I will attend meetings at some posts, but until we have a working vaccine, I will not take efforts to visit all.  I will always contact you before I visit.  And, on that note, many posts are changing commander, adjutant and membership chairpersons.  When you do change someone, please let us know as soon as you can.  If you have a few additional people who are good at email that you would like added, send me their names and addresses and I will add them to my messages.

  Second District, this is going to be a good year.

  You got this!

Roger Norfolk
Commander, 2nd District
Department of Iowa
The American Legion

Second District
Second to None!




21 May 2020

Members and friends of the Second District

  Memorial Day events at Arlington National Cemetery this year will be limited to a private ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  How sad a statement to have to make.  For all who served, Memorial Day is when we give true thanks in respectful reverence to those who died in service to this country.

  It is my hope that each post is doing something, however small, to remember the fallen.  My home post, 298 in Marion, is having a yearly ceremony where we remember the members who transferred to Post Everlasting.  I believe the number is 55 right now.  At our simple ceremony, we will show respect to our country, have a prayer, taps and a volley.  All outside with lots of space to social distance.  Others will go to a cemetery and do taps and a volley.  No matter what you do, try to get some publicity as the general public only sees it as a vacation.

  Commander Mengler of Walcott asked me to give a Memorial Day address at his post.  Due to our current state of response to the COVID-19 virus, it is not prudent for us to assemble, so I have recorded my address.  Anyone of any organization is welcome to use it in any way they would like.  It will play from this link:


  No matter how you do your ceremony, the message remains the same.  We pay tribute to those who've fallen in service to our nation.  We offer support to the families they've left behind.  Above all, we pause and we remember - not just those close to us we've lost, but the generations of service members who came before us.

  Memorial Day is rough for many of our friends and family.  It is a somber day of remembrance, and for many that is tough to handle.  Remember to check in on your friends, or the families of those friends that are gone, and give them some support.

  May God watch over you and help this disease to dissipate into just bad memories.

  For God and Country.

Roger Norfolk
Commander, 2nd District
Department of Iowa
The American Legion

Second District
Second to None!



3 May 2020

Fellow Legionniares of the Second District;

    Our trying times continue.  Several counties in Iowa are experiencing the loosening of the restrictions used to stem the growth of the COVID-19 virus.  Respond as you best see fit, but please be safe.

    On 2 May the Department Executive Committee met virtually using Zoom software.  My notes are included below.  The July 10-12 Iowa Department Convention was cancelled.  That changes many things, and will make our 16 May Second District Spring Conference, which will be held virtually using Zoom software, even shorter.

    Before I continue on the district conference, let me address a few things.  As of today, Iowa's Second District American Legion membership was 201 members behind where we were last year.  If we do not do anything, we will allow the slide in membership to continue.  Here are my items in motion:
    1.  On April 29, 26 posts were sent email with a list of names that were new 729 members in their area, from a list provided to me.  Over 275, paid 2020 members of 729 were sent to the posts and they were asked to move on them and provide feedback by 11 May.
    2.  On or about 4 May, I will send an email to all members of this district who have not renewed since 2018 and have email addresses.
    3.  On or about 6 May I will send an email to all members of this district who have not renewed since 2019 and have email addresses.

    I hope that all the posts will look again throughall the non-renewals and call those with phone numbers and ask them to renew.  For those with neither email or phone numbers, please consider sending them an invitation letter.  MyLegion has the ability to put these together and are individualized for each person.

    I have refrained from contacting members directly from my level, as this is something we expect all the posts to have done, and I am not trying to take anything away from those efforts.  I'm hoping a message from the District Commander that also asks them to renew may sway a few.  We need 86 more members by May 13 to make the 95% goal.  If you have any memberships on hand and are waiting to send them to department, please do not hold even one waiting for more to send.  Please send them in immediately.

    Post Data Reports were due on April 15.  Post Consolidated Reports (CPR) are due June 15.  Every post is expected to turn a CPR in.  10 posts have started theirs on line through myLegion.  If you are doing it on paper, allow enough time for it get to department by 15 June.

    All of these issues are important, but let's discuss the Spring Conference.  One district had a telephone conference and seemed happy with the results.  They had more people telephonically attend than the normal physical attendance.  I think we can expect the same for us.  I have now participated in quite a few conferences, many of which were over 30 participants.  I have hosted most of these, and feel we can do our conference with class and style.  What makes it work really well is if each person that attends has done at least one in practice.  So, Commanders and Adjutants, you must make this information available to your membership quickly.

    The real conference link and password will be provided separately from this online posting.  We will begin at 0900 and go until we are done, but I anticipate 2 hours will suffice.  The test link below is live.  If you download the software and then click this test link, you will go to our practice meeting.  You may visit it as often as you like.  If others that also want to practice , all should go in from their own devices at the same time, you can get a fuller experience.  For those who are not computer savvy, you can use a smartphone and do very well.  If you don't have either, you can call in as a telephone conference.  That means everyone can attend if they want, from the safety of their own homes.  If 3-4 wanted to assemble in a convenient place and join the meeting and they have a computer and wifi signal, small groups can avoid exposure vice larger groups.  The telephone links at the bttom of this message are not live until the day of the conference.

    We will use software called Zoom that works well with either a smartphone or computer.  It is free to use and there is training available.  They have a lot of you tube videos on how to use Zoom on their website.  I am also available if you want to test - and, the steps are easy;
    1.  Download the saftware (wwww.zoom.us).  At the bottom of the page is Downloads.  PCs will use the Zoom Client for Meetings.  Smartphones will use Zoom Mobile Apps for their phone (apple or andriod).
    2.  Create an account.  From the Zoom pages, in the upper right hand corner is a "Sign up it's free" button.
    3.  Click on this link to go to a test meeting I have scheduled on 16 May that will let you go in and see you have connected.  (https://us04web.zoom.us/j/7300311921)

    I will go to that site on May 6 at 0900, May 8 at noon, and May 11 at 1900.  Please let me know if you plan to attend and which session (sabot6.76@gmail.com). An individual practice run on the above link can show you if your equipment is set up correctly.  You must give Zoom access to your camera and microphone as you install.  If you have any questions, send me an email and I will help you go through it.  We will have the first District Level conference in Iowa, so will have observers to watch and learn from many other district and department.

    If we all work together, there is little that can stop us.

    You got this!

Roger Norfolk
Commander, 2nd District
Department of Iowa
The American Legion

Second District
Second to None!


Notes from the virtual Department Executive Committee meeting on 2 May from 0900-1100:
    These are the notes of ROger Norfolk, and are not to be considered official or all inclusive.  They are in the order of my notes.

    36 people had signed in, 2 by telephone.

1.  A resolution was submitted and approved that cancelled the Iowa Department Convention for 2020.  A copy can be viewed by clicking here.
    A.  I raised a question when Post Commanders would assume thier charged duties, as most documents say it is at the end of the convention.  The Judge Advocate will look into it.
    B.  The annual Sweep Stakes will be run with a July 3 date of the prize drawings.
    C.  The date for the membership competition is changed to midnight, 10 June.

2.  Marcia Hoch's job has been posted and four applicants are vying for the job.  Two were mentioned as good candidates.

3.  The National American Legion College (NALC) has not been postponed or cancelled.  Its dates are november 1-6.  Iowa has one slot and often gets an additional unused slot.  Applications and suspense dates are on the website https://www.legion.org/college.

4.  The Department Leadership School will be postponed.  The proposal being considered is to move it from 29-31 May to August 7-9.  The proposal was made to go virtual for the event.  The Department Leadership Committee will develop a proposal for a virtual content.  The District gets 6 slots if the face to face school is held.  Check for people who you think will continue to contribute to the Legion to be our nominees.  If it does go virtual, there may be no limitation on number of attendees.

5.  Consolidated Post Reports (CPR) are due on 15 June.  I believe that every post, noo matter what size, has much to offer and does make an impact, and is expected to submit a CPR.  Only 10 of our 47 posts have started the online submission.  It can also be done on paper, but must arrive at department by 15 June.

6.  The Legion Insurance Trust sent a check to Department for $64,000 as a rebate for legionnaire's purchases from them.

7.  Department Commander Kessler emphasized the importance of doing Buddy Checks.  Veteran Suicides can be lessened by showing people care.  If each of us take the time to call a couple other veterans, it can help.

8.  Officer Reports are crucial in efforts to get word to posts.  I found out last week that a post had changed commanders last summer.  Even if there are no changes, they must be submitted with correct contact information.

9.  One good idea was shared by another district.  They have a FaceBook page, and asked if there were individuals who would sponsor older veterans dues.  One person wanted to pay a WW II vet's dues for the rest of his life, in honor of thier father.  A post adjutant reflected to me earlier in the week a similar idea of using some funds - In the past, I've seen people pass the hat to help out older veterans who had been a member for a long time, or to pay for veterans on active duty.

10.  Membership emphasis should be towards the 2019 and 2018 non renewals.  Discussion included examples of posts making coordinated call campaigns and arranging to come by and pick up dues from those renewing.  If you need any help creating your list of overdue memberships, let either me (sabot6.76@gmail.com) or Don Arns, District Membership Chairman (don.arns@gmail.com) know.  Let's put a little more push into this area.


18 April 2020

Fellow Legionnaires of the Second District;

  Looking for something positive to do?  Wanting all the things to go back to normal?  We all do.  But The American Legion, and specifically Second District, is moving forward.

  Our 16 May meeting, which was scheduled for Bellevue, beginning at 9 AM, probably could not be done safely as a face to face meeting.  To err on the side of safety, we will have this meeting virtually.  I know that may sound scary, but if you have a computer, I bet you have enough skills to do this.  We will use saftware called Zoom, that works well with either a smartphone or computer.  Is is free to use and there is training available.  Thay have a lot of YouTube videos on how to do things on that website.  I am available if you want to test - and, the steps are easy.
    1.  Download the software (www.zoom.us)
    2.  Create an account
    3.  Click on the link to go to a meeting I have scheduled on 16 May that will let you go in and see you have connected. (https://us04web.zoom.us/j7300311921)

  We may not be able to meet face to face, but we can support our Veterans, community, state and nation by continuing to do our programs.  If we are successful with this software, imagine the number of people who may want to attend your Post meetings that cannot get there.  It will take extra efforts, but it may give you rich rewards.

  On Tuesday, 21 April, Past National Commander Dave Rehbein will conduct online training at 1900.  You will just have to have the software installed and an account created before signing into the training.  The link should be sent out in the Iowa Legion electronic newsletter on Monday.  I intend to attend as I have much to learn.

  For God and Country.

Roger Norfolk
Commander, 2nd District
Department of Iowa
The American Legion

Second District
Second to None!


Notes from the 18 April virtual Department Executive Committee (DEC) meeting:
  The Department Executive Committee (DEC) met virtually on 18 April from 0900-1100.

  These are the notes of Roger Norfolk, and are not to be considered official or all inclusive.  They are in the order of my notes.

  39 people had signed in, 7 by telephone.  Past National Commander (PNC) Rehbein mentioned that telephone call in is only available through a paid host account.

  **There was no decision concerning the Department Convention.  We will meet again on 2 May and were advised to be prepared to vote at that meeting.  The overall tone of the group was optimistic and had a wait and see approach.  Approximately 23 departments have cancelled their convention, and one has postponed it.

  Several times references to the department website were made as the definitive source for information and decisions.  Recently a misunderstanding leader sent out a text which was broadly sent that was incorrect.  Look for official email or check the website for accurate data.

1.  Marcia Hoch's job has been posted on the Department website (www.ialegion.org) and will be advertised widely soonest.

2.  The National American Legion College (NALC) has not been postponed or cancelled.  Its dates are 1-6 November.

3.  The Department Leadership College has not been changed yet.  The proposal being considered is to move it to August.  That decision is expected on or by 2 May.  Still before our conference, but if it is moved, we will need to be prepared to nominate our attendees.  Check for people who you think will continue to contribute to the Legion to be our nominees.

4.  Department fundraisers have been disrupted by the virus.  IF the convention moves, the sweepstakes will be changed to a 3 July drawing.

5.  Boys State refunds should arrive soon to the posts.

6.  Baseball refunds are working.  Dialogue is going with the insurance company for refund of that portion of the fees.

7.  Consolidated Post Reports (CPR) are due 15 June.  I believe that every post, no matter what size, has much to offer and does make an impact, and is expected to submit a CPR.

8.  Revisions to constitutions and bylaws may be necessary to allow virtual conferences and active voting.  Guidance will be coming from the Department Judge Advocate.

9.  Zoom training will be conducted by PNC Rehbein.  1st, 2nd and 3rd Districts' time is 21 APril at 1900.  Link Information will be sent soon in the Iowa Legion Electronic Newsletter.  The individual wil be required to download and install the software, and create their account.

10.  I was asked by district members to find some answers to these questions.

  a.  Was money lost when Boys State was cancelled? (M Novak)
Adjutant Derner explained that loss was minimal.  No large outlays (food and shirts were mentioned) had been ordered.  There was only some supplies that could be used in later years or for other projects.

  b.  If the department convention is moved or cancelled, when would district and post officers take charge?  (D Arns)
There was not a firm response as the virus episode is unprecedented.  One district said how they would do it.  This evolved into a discussion of the Constitution and Bylaws changes that would be needed, including remote voting.  The Department Judge Advocate indicated some of that verbiage had been owrked out for other organizations, and that guidance would be shared.

11.  Membership emphasis should be towards the 2019 and 2018 non renewals.  Discussion included examples of posts maling coordinated call campaigns and arranging to come by and pick up dues from those renewing.  If you need any hel creating your list of overdue memberships, let either me (sabot6.76@gmail.com) or Don Arns, District Membership Chairman (don.arns@gmail.com) know.  Let's put a little more push into this area.


11 April 2020

Fellow Legionnaires of the Second District;

  This is a time we all must stay alert to prevent spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Please abide by the instructions for social distancing, staying at home as much as possible, washing your hands frequently and wearing a mask in public.  We are all in this together, and we are almost all in the high risk age.

  As things change due to the pandemic, I know you see many messages of those changes.  I'm going to try to give you a cumulative list and what it means to 2nd District.

  On 8 April the National Executive Committee met virtually and changed the date of the 102nd Convention to August 27th - September 2nd, 2021.  Terms of currently serving national officers, including National Commander Oxford, are extended until then.  There will be no National Convention this year.  This is a drastic step, but necessary for our membership protection.  Here is a list of cancellations, but may not be all inclusive:

National Oratorical Finals
Department Service Officer School
Membership Workshop
Junior Shooting Sports
Boys Nation
American Legion Baseball regional tournaments
The American Legion World Series
Legacy Run
Americanism Conferences
Children & Youth Conference
System Worth Saving and ROAR visits

The SAL national convention and Auxiliary national convention have also been cancelled.

  At this point, Department has not cancelled the Leadership College (The Leadership Committee has a virtual meeting on 13 April) nor the department convention (The Department Executive Committee has a virtual meeting on 18 April).  Watch for announcements for these may both be cancelled.

  At District, the second training session had been tentatively scheduled for 16 May, which was the only date that seemed plausible to move the district conference to.  Once we have done some virtual meetings, the training will easily transform to a virtual platform.  Once we get past these next couple of weeks, I will continue to work the other 2 training sessions, but now I plan they will be purely virtual.

  Spring Conference.  The Auxiliary President and I had decided to postpone the Spring Conference to 16 May, still at Bellevue from 9 to 12.  We had hoped to have a face to face meeting.  The virus risk appears that it will remain high, so it is my main focus now to conduct the conference virtually using software called Zoom.  If you would like to attend, you should download the software to a computer or smartphone and create a free account.  One district (in another department) reported they conducted their spring conference this way and had the highest attendance in recent history.  It works well.  For us to have an official meeting we must have 4 of the 6 counties represented.  I think that should be easy for us to do.  Perhaps, we could do distributed communication where small groups of 4 to 6 people gather around a computer in different locations.  If we can have voice and picture, WE can make this work.  This meeting would also be condensed.

  Of a positive note, we are 3rd in the department membership competition at 93.28%.  The next thershold is 95% by 13 May.  We need 114 more to get there.  It appears that the biggest loss is those members from 2018 and 2019 who have not renewed.  Please give them some extra effort.  Most of the members will be at home if you call now.

  Buddy checks are continuing to be important.  I had a post commander call to check on me.  He knows I am old.  I appreciate his calling.  If you don't have anyone that may need help, you are indeed fortunate.  Don forget the recently widowed.  This could be a truly traumatic time for them.

  We will get through this!

  For God and Country.

Roger Norfolk
Commander, 2nd District
Department of Iowa
The American Legion

Second District
Second to None!


Notes from the 4 April virtual Department Executive Committee (DEC) meeting:
  There were 35 members virtually logged in.  Nine of these called in as a phone conference.  The software used in support of the meeting was Zoom.  There are free accounts that can do all we would need, but only gives 40 minutes in meeting time.  (In testing a work around for this limitation was found that is very simple.)

  There is financial support for small businesses.  In the meeting, it was said that the money is expected to run out so posts that desire applying for the grants and loans should not delay.

  Marcia Hoch departs on 1 July, beginning her retirement.

  John Derner recommended that more Legionniares from the department sign up for the monthly electronic newsletter and "Like" the department FaceBook page in order to see update posts.  He also recommends members become familiar with the department website to remain informed on the status of actions in these trying times.

  Boys State refund checks should be out to the posts by 30 April, if not before.

  A discussion was held on how the contingency caused actions are being done, and the need for each post and district to update their constitution, bylaws, and articles of incorporation.  Updates should include what we are doing and allow smoother operations should anything similar occur in the future.  Department Judge Advocate, Dwight Dinkla, will work up some notes to share.  2nd District Commander requested that department update their constitution and bylaws first and we could mirror them down the chain.

Post Data Reports are due to department by April 15.

Consolidated Post Reports are due to department, or to be completed online, by 15 June.  Very few posts have started the report online.

We will have another DEC meeting on 18 April at 0900.


22 March 2020

Hello 2nd District;

  This message comes during troubled times.  Many districts have cancelled their Spring Conferences due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  I am just finishing a self-imposed quarantine due to my flights to and from DC with people I did not know.  I believe this is serious, but I also have faith we will get through this.

  Our normal Spring Conference has a hospitality night and a banquet that take careful planning and require an outlay of funds based on registration.  Many people will be reluctant to commit to that this far out with the restrictions imposed on us.

  In a vote of the Executive Committee, the conference will be changed to a smaller function.  We will not have a banquet, nor hospitality night.  With this, no monetary requirements are needed that could be forfeited if we completely cancel the meeting later.

  Our conference is now planned for 9 AM to 12 PM on 25 April.  If we just conduct our business, elections, selections of delegates for National Convention, changes to our Constitution and Bylaws and approval of a few documents, we can be done in three hours or less.  I'm sure I've not covered all our requirements, but you get the idea.  Legionnaires can drive to Bellevue for a 9 AM start without requiring a room for the night.

  That is our plan for now.  I will make the decision to cancel or not by mid-April.

  I appreciate your understanding and support.

Roger Norfolk
Commander, 2nd District
Department of Iowa
The American Legion

Second District
Second to None!



12 March 2020

Fellow Legionnaires of the Second District;

  In the last few hours, some severe actions have been taken to halt the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

  NCAA tournaments to be closed.  Hockey season ended for many.  Spring baseball postponed.  Disneyland will be closed.  Anything that gathers many people together is bad for now.

  I have just returned from the Legion Spring Meetings in DC.  I believe if what I see today had happened 10 days ago, they would also have been cancelled.

  As a part of the actions to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the National Commander's Membership Tour of Iowa has been CANCELLED.  This includes the visit to Marion Post 298 that you have been invited to attend.

  Also, Department has sent a message to the Districts that each district has the call on whether or not they will hold their Spring Conference.  Ours is scheduled for 25 April in Bellevue.  The call has not been made at this time, so plan on the meeting being held as scheduled.  We will make the call with as much advance notice as we can.  Lets see if the spread of the virus diminishes.

  Read the instructions put out by many channels about washing your hands and covering your cough.  Be smart about staying home if you feel ill so you are not a contributor to the spread if you have gotten it.  Most of the steps for protection are common sense.  Be realistic, we are part of that older demographic this thing targets.

  As part of history, I have taken this about the 1918 Spanish flu as sort of a marker that we must learn from the past.

  In 1918, a strain of influenza known as Spanish flu caused a global pandemic, spreading rapidly and killing indiscriminately.  Young, old, sick and otherwise-healthy people all became infected, and at least 10% of patients died.

  Estimates vary on the exact number of deaths caused by the disease, but it is thought to have infected a third of the world's population and killed at least 50 million people, maiking it the deadliest pandemic in modern history.  Many believe the flu began at Fort Riley Kansas.

  Be Safe.

For God and Country,
                     
Roger Norfolk
Commander, 2nd District
Department of Iowa
The American Legion

Second District
Second to None!




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