About Bat’s Relationship With The American Legion and VFW
Not having served in the United States Armed Forces, Bat set out to find a way to show his support and appreciation for the men and women of our nation’s military. After much thought, he hit on the idea of performing for active duty personnel when possible. Conversations with several Veterans yielded the answer; Veterans told of their experiences while deployed overseas, and more often than not, their best memories were of times when a USO show came through their area.
Bat started writing to the Department of Defense, and after some months, obtained the phone number of AFE (Armed Forces Entertainment) and began calling. Once contact was made and interest in the project began to build, AFE sent a delegation from HQ in Arlington, VA. To see him perform. The result was positive, and Bat was on his way to Japan.
The touring for AFE/DOD continued for ten years in almost every place on Earth with a US Base, Camp, Consulate, Port, Embassy or Trooper. Also included were deployed ships, wherever they happened to be whether in port or at sea.
After a decade, Bat went home to tend to other matters.
During the last few years stateside, many veterans and troops have attended Bat’s shows all over the country. One of these (Brad Schroenghamer, in particular) happened to be the Chairman of American Legion Membership in the state of New Mexico. He had a problem, and he approached Bat with an idea.
His point of view was this: the rate of membership in his state was declining, and the average age of Post members was growing steadily higher. Younger Veterans from more recent wars were joining less and less, and troops returning from the current wars were not joining at all. How can we boost awareness about the legion, and attract younger people to join -- and feel included in -- the greatest organization in America? His solution was this: provide newer music that walked hand-in-hand with the older music; live performances (affordable to posts on limited budgets) that were both interactive and entertaining. Get younger Vets to stomp, shout and sing alongside their brother Vets from former generations. Dismantle the stigma between past and current Vets, and open an avenue for dialogue among them. Make the younger ones feel WELCOME at a post, not out of place.
This is what Bat (along with his wife Brenda) is trying to do, and so far it seems to working in the Posts in New Mexico and West Texas. The music that he performs caters to all generations; it is easily observed that an older Vet will sit through a modern song or two if he knows that the music will turn back to his style and time period. And vice-versa. The younger Vets will gladly listen to older music if they know that their preference and requests for newer tunes will honored. All music is valid.
Bat has not only performed in various local Posts, but also for National Commanders at Annual Conferences.
The American Legion and VFW are fine organizations, and need to be perpetuated and stewarded towards future generations. The only way to accomplish this is through new membership. Bat’s performances at local A.L. posts are just one of Brad’s many ideas, and the result thus far has been rewarding. Let us also not forget about Elk’s Lodges and Moose Lodges, most of which share many members in common with A.L. and VFW. Bat has performed for these organizations as well.
Click on the Subpage below to see
Past Veteran's Events
Click on any attachment below to view recommendation letters from Post Commanders!
Where's Bat ? >