Brett P. Reistad
2018 Dec MEMBERSHIP IMPACT REPORT
Renew your Membership Commitment for the New Year
My fellow Legionnaires, we are facing challenges concerning membership as we are currently about 70,000 members behind where we were last year. The new year is approaching so let’s renew our commitment to increasing membership through recruitment and retention.
As we remain committed to the service we have provided for the past 100 years, it is time to change the downward turn in membership and it begins with our Team 100. And it begins by engaging members.
I’m asking you to focus on two areas: renewal and recruitment.
Contact members who have yet to renew for 2019 and let them know we care. We have to engage our members and ask them to renew their membership before it’s too late. This engagement can be accomplished during the Legion’s 100th birthday week, March 10-16.
As for recruiting, about 12 years ago we were consistently recruiting over 100,000 new members through traditional efforts. Now we are below 60,000. We cannot wait for new members to come to us. We have to ask them to join. To help in this effort, play the “Join The American Legion Today!” video where I ask potential new members to join and become a part of our ranks. You can play this from your mobile phone or during events held at your post or within your community. You can download the video at https://vimeo.com/299986964.
To locate veterans in your area to join your post, use the “Find Members in Area” feature on www.mylegion.org or contact your department headquarters. If for any reason names cannot be acquired through these two channels, please request a list by sending an email to the Internal Affairs Division at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our veterans and our communities need us. America needs us. I am counting on you to help lead this effort in your department and post. Now there are new membership incentives that you will read on page 4 to help us go into our second century on a positive membership turn. Together we can accomplish anything because we are Team 100!
You are Team 100
By Brett Reistad, National Commander
Sep 10, 2018
As I prepare to lead The American Legion during its centennial year, I believe this is an opportunity to promote and educate communities nationwide about the organization’s history, four pillars, programs, and contributions to veterans and their families. To support this effort, I have chosen Team 100 to be our centennial membership theme - to bring all our resources to bear, increase our membership and start our second century of service off on the right foot.
You, my fellow Legionnaires, are Team 100. And I need your commitment to achieve this success, just as you once committed yourself to serving your country.
If we use the Team 100 concept effectively and everyone takes ownership, we can’t fail. Remember that each of us are stakeholders in this great organization.
Team 100 includes every member of the American Legion Family who has the talent and ability to guide our organization to achieve an increase in membership to begin our next 100 years. Eligible members are out there. Our role is to find them, to educate them about The American Legion, and to engage them, make them feel welcome and encourage them to participate.
During my national commander campaign travels to American Legion departments, I met a Legionnaire in Montana that was a recruiter. He came to me and said, “You know those future members are out there. They just need to be asked to be Legionnaires.” And he’s absolutely right.
A wise man once said, “In order to succeed, we must believe that we can.” I not only believe that we can, I know we can. I truly believe that you are the right team at the right time.
Success isn’t just about what you accomplished in your life. It’s about what you inspire others to do. I want to see us inspire each other. As a former grunt, I picked the infantry motto, “Follow me.” So follow me as we go forth to make history of our own.
Meet the National Commander
Brett P. Reistad was elected national commander of The American Legion on Aug. 30, 2018, in Minneapolis during the organization's 100th national convention. He has been a member of the nation's largest veterans organization since 1981.
A resident of Manassas, Va., Reistad is a life member and past commander of Post 270 in McLean. The Department of Virginia reached an all-time high in membership while he served as department commander from 2005-2006. He retired as a lieutenant with the Fairfax County Police Department after 26 years of service and began a second career as a law enforcement services coordinator for the Regional Organized Crime Information Center of the Regional Information Sharing Systems Program, a congressionally funded law enforcement investigative assistance program of the U.S. Department of Justice. He holds a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice from Virginia's Bluefield College.
Reistad's American Legion membership eligibility is through his honorable Vietnam War-era service (1974-1978) as an active duty U.S. Army infantryman where he served with the Presidential Salute Battery of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) at historic Fort Myer, Va. He participated in the inaugural ceremony for President Carter and other high-profile ceremonies. He has since been honored as a Distinguished Member of the Regiment.
Reistad has served at every level of The American Legion. He is a past president and honorary life member of the National American Legion Press Association. He recently completed a six-year appointment as chairman of the Department Legislative Committee and two three-year terms as a gubernatorial appointee to the Commonwealth of Virginia's Joint Leadership Council of Veterans Service Organizations where he helped coordinate the input of 23 veterans service organizations in crafting veteran-friendly legislation and advocating the proposed legislation before the governor and General Assembly. He is also a tenured past department historian and was recently bestowed an honorary life membership by the National Association of Department Historians of the American Legion.
He is a past Legionnaire of the Year from Post 270 and a member of the Sons of The American Legion Squadron 10 in Manassas. His wife, Jessica, and his family, are proud members of the American Legion Family.
His theme as national commander is "Celebrating Our Legacy," with special emphasis on the organization's centennial.
NATIONAL COMMANDERS NEWS
Keith Kreul Update
Keith A. Kreul, age 89, of Fennimore, died on Thursday Dec. 28, 2017 at the Grant Regional Health Center in Lancaster. He was born on April 21, 1928 in Mt. Ida Township, Grant Co., WI, the son of Harry and Elsie (Wehrle) Kreul. He was united in marriage to Dolores Morfey on Feb. 14, 1953.
Following graduation from high school, Keith attended and received his bachelor’s degree from U.W. Madison in Mechanical Engineering. In Oct. of 1951, he enlisted in the U.S. Army until being honorable discharged in Oct. of 1953. Keith was employed at Fairbanks-Morse in Beloit until he moved back to Fennimore and joined his father on the family farm operating under the name “Diamond K Farms”. In 1966, he was a part of the Fennimore Good Samaritan Society Steering Committee, which was instrumental in the building of the nursing home. Keith also held various positions within state organizations. In 1970, Keith was Chairman of the WI Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service, 1971, State Executive Director of that USDA agency, he managed the WI ASCS office in Madison, 1981, and Keith was appointed State Director Farmers Home Administration. He was also very active in the American Legion post #184; serving as County Commander from 1964-1966; District Commander from 1970-1972; Department Commander from 1973-1974. In 1979, he was elected National Vice Commander and in 1981 was appointed Chairman of the National Legislative Commission, and in 1983, Keith was elected National Commander. In 1985, Keith accepted a district director position with the ASCS agency where he held that position until Nov. of 1996 when he retired.
Keith is survived by his beloved wife of 64 years; Dolores of Fennimore, four children; Jeff (Lorie) Kreul of Madison, John (Karen) Kreul of Fennimore, Jim Kreul of Fennimore, Kim (Steve) Schroeder of Dodgeville, nine grandchildren and eight great grandchildren along with several nieces and nephews.
Keith was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers; infant LeRoy, Richard “Dick”, and Roger Kreul.
At the request of Keith and his family, there will be no formal memorial services held at this time. A private burial with Military honors will be held at a later date at the Prairie Cemetery in Fennimore. Memorials may be given to the Fennimore American Legion Post #184 or the charity of your choice in loving memory of Keith A. Kreul. The Larson Family Funeral Home of Fennimore is assisting the family.