Veterans Memorial Post 347

Director - Allan Musengo

American Legion Riders, Florida In-State Unity Ride 2024.

“Vet Relief/Suicide Prevention”

The In-State Unity Ride is officially over! Thank you to all Post #347 Riders who participated in this week-long event that supported Project Vet Relief’s Suicide Prevention Initiative! You rode many, many miles with the Central Group, collected donations along the way, networked with riders from other posts, but more importantly are “BEING THE ONE” making an impact on the lives of Florida’s veterans who desperately need our help!

  • District #6 – Unity Ride central route.
    • Eight (8) Post #347 riders rode the entire 1,413 mile route, logging in ~ 168 hour per rider (totaling 11,304 miles and 1,344 hours); with several other members riding a selected portion of the ride/route.
    • Post #57 Lake City, Florida was the mustering point with a “meet& great”  
      on April 21, 2024 and the starting point for the Central District #6 Ride.
    • The ride, April 22 – 26, stopped at thirty- two (32) American Legion Posts along the way where donations were accepted in support of the 2024 initiative, “Vet Relief and Suicide Prevention”.
    • When the D-6 Unity Ride stopped at Post #347, on Monday April 22nd, a dinner was provided, for all the D-6 riders, by Post #347 SALs along with a generous donation.  THANK YOU!
    •  ALR Post #347 Riders provided the first drink for all the D-6 riders and an additional check was presented to the D-6 Unity Ride chairman.
    • Many Post #347 Legion family members were in attendance to welcome the In State Unity Riders to our post as they arrived on Monday 22 April 2024.
      • Thank You to ALL for making this a great welcoming experience for our visiting D-6 Riders. Well, Done!!
    • The In State Unity Ride culminated in a Rally on Saturday April 27, 2024 at Orange County Choppers in Clearwater, Florida. Several State Representative were in attendance, lively entertainment was provided, along with food, games and additional donations were being  made as we closed in our goal $400,000,00.

“Together we ARE making a difference”.

MAY 2024

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  •         Florida In State Unity Ride, American Legion Riders, is scheduled from Sunday April 21 st, 2024 through Saturday April 27 th 2024.
  •        District #6 – Unity Ride central route.
    •    Presently nine (9) Post #347 riders have signed up to ride the entire +1,100 - mile route, with several other members riding a selected portion of the ride/route.
    •    Post #57 Lake City, Florida is the mustering point with a “meet& great”  
      on April 21, 2024 and the starting point for the Central District #6 Ride.
    •    The ride , April 22 – 26,  will be stopping at thirty- two (32) American Legion Posts along the way where donations will be accepted in support of the 2024 initiative, “Vet Relief and Suicide Prevention”.
    •    When the D-6 Unity Ride stops at Post #347, on Monday April 22nd, proceeds from our recent ALR post #347 -  3rd Annual Poker Run will be donated to “Vet Relief and Suicide Prevention”.
    •    All Post #347 Legion members are invited and encouraged to be in attendance in welcoming the In State Unity Riders as they arrive at our post on Monday 22 April 2024(ETA 3:30pm - 4:00 pm).
    •    In State Unity Ride Rally on April 27, 2024 at Orange County Choppers in Clearwater, Florida.
  •        March 29th - National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
    •    Several ALR Post #347 riders will be attending Vietnam War Veterans Day events in Sumpter County, Lake County and The Villages showing their steadfast support and gratitude.
    •    Remembrance and recognition, National Vietnam War Veterans Day is an occasion to recognize, honor, and express gratitude to the brave men and women who served in the Vietnam War while reflecting on the lessons learned and the ongoing commitments to supporting Veterans and their families.

*17,284 Hours, 690 hours for the month.

*125 member, plus 8 Life Time members.

“Together we ARE making a difference”.

APRIL 2024

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Chapter 347 American Legion Riders successfully hosted our 3rd annual Poker Run on February 24th from 9:00am – 4:00pm

 Team Leader Wayne Rodgers and his team of hardworking volunteers met at 8:00 and immediately started setting up and preparing for the arrival of the poker run Riders from other posts. 

Registration started at 9:00 am, included coffee and breakfast burritos by Tina Burgess. At 10:00 am the riders stated off on the poker run, which stopped at four other Posts along the way. Riders picked a playing card, had their card verified, signed off by a member of Post #347( who was stationed at a post) and then they were off to the next stop until they returned to Post #347.

Upon arrival, all Riders were welcomed back to post 347.

The Riders picked their final playing card, turned in their tally cards to be counted where winers were announced for the “best hand” and “worst hand”. 

Then all the Riders were treated to Jim Wards mouthwatering pulled pork sandwiches, with a side of potato salad, coleslaw and a delicious cookie.

Music was  provided by our very own Rob Burgess. A great time was had by all.

 **The profits of the ride to benefit Vet Relief and Veterans Suicide Prevention.

A Heros Welcome Home … March 8, 2024.

WE were recently notified that another WWII Airman, also KIA in 1944, will be arriving in our area soon to be Interred at the Florida National Cemetery on March 8th.

 SSG Henry Stevens' B-26 had completed their bombing run before being hit by anti-aircraft fire over Bitburg Germany, resulting in it crashing in Belgium trying to return to England.  And like SSG Hall, (who we previously escorted to Leesburg cemetery), he was listed as MIA due to being buried in an unmarked grave.  Fortunately, though, his remains were finally identified via DNA testing.

SSG Stevens was 23 years old and married with an 18-month-old daughter at the time of his death. Daisy Marie, SSG Henry Stevens' daughter, will be in attendance for her father's Interment Service. 

 Update: Many ALR Chapters were represented for WWII SSG Franklin Hall's escort in Lady Lake last month.  We ended up with 168 bikes (22 of which were ALR Post #347 riders) pretty good turnout given the chilly morning temperature.

“Together we ARE making a difference”.

MARCH 2024

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This past Sunday, January 21st, Chapter 347 American Legion Riders were very busy volunteering in the kitchen; and riding/escorting in support of several veterans’ events.

Our Gold Team, led by Gene Haplea, was in the kitchen prepaing food and providing service for the Penn State Club; as well as our usual Sunday Bingo group.  In addition to the normal Sunday menu two additional items were prepared, Philly cheese steak sandwiches for the Penn State Club and a new menu item, chicken wings for the Bingo groups (the chicken wings were a big hit, a new favorite).

  • Several members of Chapter 347,  rode to Palm Bay to represent Post 347  in the Celebration of Life Honor Ceremony and escort  for Timothy Morris, an  American Legion Member and an American Legion Rider.  

   A Heros Welcome Home … January 21, 2024.

Recently the remains of a WWII KIA were identified as US Army Air Force SSG Franklin P. Hall of Leesburg, Florida that was KIA on January 21, 1944.  Yes, that exactly 80 years from the time his B-24 bomber was shot down during a mission to bomb a V-1 installation in Escalles-sur-Buchy, France. He was only 21 at the time. Chapter347 was represented by 22 riders in the escort and grave side service along with many other veteran motorcycle groups (estimated to be ~200  in total.)

  Chapter 347’s Annual Poker Run, is scheduled for February 24th from 9:00am – 4:00pm.  Registration starts at 9:00 am, includes coffee and breakfast burritos by Tina.  Riders -$ 25 and passenger- $15, includes a meal at the last stop, Post 347. **The proceeds of the ride is to benefit Vet Relief and Veterans Suicide Prevention.

 Note:  All Legion members of Post 347  are invited and encouraged to welcome the riders from other District 6 posts as they arrive to our post. (between 3-4pm).

“Together we ARE making a difference”.

FEBRUARY 2024

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Our annual Holiday/Christmas Raffle was held on December 17th, where the GRAND PRISE of a Premium Deluxe EBike, included hundreds of dollars of “cheer” (wine, liquor and etc.), was given away to a lucky winner!

Also. many additional baskets were given away; including power tools, rounds of golf, silver membership to Shooters World (including a practice equipment package), restaurant and store gift certificates. Congratulations to all the winners!

This fund-raising event was largely successful because of the helping hand and dedication of all the ALR members who tirelessly volunteered their time and talents; and the guidance and leadership of chairperson Ruthann Hilland and her committee of Beverly Fruehauf and Nancy Miller. Thanks goes out to ALL for a fund-raising event well done.

On a chilly and rainy afternoon Post 347 American Legion Riders, along with Post #347 members and Color Guard, were privileged to lay wreaths at the Lady Lake Cemetery as part of the national “Wreaths Across America” event.

A brief review of some of the 2023 events, activities, fund raisers and donations that Post #347 America Legion Riders took part in:

  • Several escort rides; including escorts of veterans to their final resting place at the Florida National Cemetery, Honor Flight escorts, escort of the new Vietnam Memorial monument to be placed at FNC.
  • Weekly ALR #347 member rides on Wednesdays (breakfast or lunch rides).
  • ALR D-6 Summit Meeting in Orlando.
  • Chapter 22 Ride and fund-raising event (dedicated to awareness and help for the 22 veterans who arepresently taking their lives on a daily basis).
  • State of Florida Unity Ride (representing District 6).
  • National Legacy Ride from Indiana to South Carolina (representing Post #347).
  • Seven Bridges POW-MIA ride and dedication ceremony.
  • Wreaths Across America event.
  • 9/11 “Oldies Dance Party” fund raising event.
  • K-9 for Warrior’s donation of a yellow Labrador Retriever named “Lady Rider”.
  • Tutus for Tatas – breast cancer awareness ride and donations.
  • Donation to the Sumter County Sherriff’s “Kids, Cops and Christmas” fund raiser.
  • ALR Post 347 members Christmas Party.
  • Christmas/Holiday E-Bike fund raising Raffle.

Thank you to ALL Post #347 members for your help given throughout the year, without your assistance and cooperation our year would not have been as successful as it has been.

“Together we ARE making a difference”.

Allan Musengo – Director

January 2024

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  • Our annual Holiday/Christmas Raffle is underway with the drawings scheduled for December 17th.  Raffle tickets are only $5.00 each for a chance to win prizes valued in the hundreds of dollars. With the GRAND PRISE being a Premium Deluxe E-Bike.
  • ALR Post #347 members donated funds to the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office benevolent fund, “Kids. Cops and Christmas Program”.  A program where the Sumter County Sheriffs invite over 350 children to come on a Saturday, in December, to Walmart to shop with a deputy with a set amount to spend on Christmas presents.
  • Post 347 American Legion Riders, along with Post #347 Color Guard, will be escorting “Wreaths Across America” on December 16th “to the Lady Lake Cemetery.
  • ALR #347 donated funds and several members rode in the District #6 American Legion Riders inaugural Brest Cancer Awareness Ride; titled, ”TUTUS For TATAS” .
  • On Saturday November 18th several members of ALR Post #347 attended the Fall Conference held at the Caribe Hotel and Conference Center in Orlando. A fun and educational event where past accomplishment were reviewed and recognized. Additionally, future policies, programs and a strategy for  going forward was  outlined.
  • Chilli’s restaurant” give back program”is scheduled for Monday evening January 8th, 2024 where 15% of the dinner sales proceeds will be donated back to ALR post #347.  Additionally, Chilli’s management is allowing us to use a portion of their parking lot to host a bike night event. Brochure’s forthcoming, stay tuned.

“Together we ARE making a difference”.

DECEMBER 2023

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  • Membership:  124 members with 3 pending.
  • Our annual Holiday/Christmas Raffle is underway with the drawings scheduled for December 17th.  Raffle tickets are only $5.00 each for a chance to win prizes valued in the hundreds of dollars. With the GRAND PRISE being a Premium Deluxe E-Bike.
  • ALR Post #347 members have decided to donate funds to the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office benevolent fund, “Kids. Cops and Christmas Program”. Sumter County Sheriffs have learned of parents who are struggling to make ends meet and don’t have the means to purchase presents for their children. A program where the Sumter County Sheriffs invite over 350 children to come on a Saturday in December to Walmart to shop with a deputy with a set amount to spend on Christmas presents ( $100.00 limit ).
    • If you would like to make a personal donation, please see any ALR member.
  • Post 347 American Legion Riders will be escorting “Wreaths Across America” on December 16th “to Lady Lake Cemetery.
  • ALR #347 is donating funds for the District #6 American Legion Riders inaugural Brest Cancer Awareness Ride; titled, ”TUTUS For TATAS” that is scheduled for Saturday October 29th.Several ALR members will be going  on this ride.  This is a female led ride where ALL riders, female and male, will be wearing pink tutus!
  • Chilli’s restaurant give back program scheduled for Monday evening January 8th, 2024 where 15% of the dinner sales will be donated back to ALR post #347.  Additionally, Chilli’s management is allowing us to use a portion of their parking lot to host a bike night event. Brochure’s forthcoming, stay tuned.

“Together we ARE making a difference”.

NOVEMBER 2023

 

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  • Miles: 32,303
  • Hours: 4,603
  • Membership: 121 + 3 new = 124 members
  • We Recently hosted a 9/11 Benefit Dance where donations were used to purchase and donate an English Labordor Retriever, named “Lady Rider”, to the K-9 for Warriors Foundation (Determined to end Veteran Suicide). Thank you goes out to our dance committee led by Linda Haynes, Sherri Ward and Art Brown for a job well done; and to all the ALR volunteers who helped make this year’s event a success.
  • Six chapter #347 American Legion Riders joined the more than 250 riders traveling from Post #347 to Kokomo Indiana. Then, onto Charlotte, NC (8/20 – 8/24) for the 2023 National Convention and return to Post #347. Ride to benefit “Veterans Childrens Foundation” where more than $1.5 million was donated.
  • Five members of ALR Post #347 attended the Seven Bridges POW/MIA Remembrance Day Ride & Ceremony on 9/15 & 9/16/2023 in Jacksonville, Fl. The ride culminated in our attending the NATIONAL POW/MIA DAY OFFICAL CEREMONY on September 16th at NAS Cecil Field in the CHAPEL OF THE HIGH-SPEED PASS. There were several dignitaries and special speakers in attendance including; Megan Wagner, daughter of CAPT, Michael (Scott) Speicher (KIA/BNR MIA/C Desert Storm) and CAPT. Dale Raebel, Executive Officer USN, Ret. Former POW from the Vietnam War – 225 days.  A very emotional and educational experience to be remembered. Also, introduced and thanked for being in attendance; Florida State Department, American Legion Riders, American Legion Post 250, Dreamland Squadron (Flyover), First Coast Highlanders, Navy ROTC, Jacksonville College.
  •  Our annual Holiday/Christmas Raffle is scheduled for December 17th. With the GRAND PRISE being a deluxe E-Bike. Also. many additional item/baskets will be refaffled off, to include baskets with hundreds of dollars of “cheer” , power tools, restaurant and store gift certificates.
    • Ticket sales will start on the 2nd Saturday in October at post 347 breakfast. Raffle ticket will be $5.00 each. If you have an item you’d like to donate, please see Chairperson – Ruthann Hilland; or any ALR member.
  • Post 347 American Legion Riders will be escorting “Wreaths Across America on December 16th “to Lady Lake Cemetery and to the National Cemetery in Bushnell, FL.

OCTOBER 2023

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The Chapter 347 Riders have been very busy planning, organizing and supporting    several fund  raising events, whether at our post or partnering with other Florida Posts to support Veteran related  organizations

  • Nine riders made the trip to Post 325 in Ellenton, Fl to Retrieved our ALR Chapter 347 plaque. We were  welcomed by Chapter 325 Director Ted Wheeler.
  • FYI – September 11th dance scheduled for Saturday September 9th.  The performers will be Forever Young, Barbra Petrizzo, and Doug Skinner. Tickets are $15.00/person. Note: this dance sells out quickly so purchase your ticket early to ensure your place at the dance.Ticket donations go to  support   K9 for Warriors. “Determined to end Veteran Suicide”, Service Dogs for Veterans saving lives for Veterans with PTSD. Note: We may have a very special guest in attendance, stay tuned. Dance Committee – Linda Haynes, Sherri Ward & Art Brown.
  • Legacy Ride ( 8 riders to date ).  Benefits “Childrens Foundation”  Our goal is to raise $1million plus.  Route:  Traveling from Post 347 on 8/17 to Kokomo, Indiana. Then, on to Charlotte, NC (August 20-24)  for the National Convention.  
  • Several members of ALR Chapter 347 plan to attend the Seven Bridges POW/MIA Remembrance Day Ride & Ceremony on September 15 & 16 in Jacksonville, FL.    Sponsored by American    Legion Post 283.
  • Our annual “Major Raffle” of the year is scheduled for Sunday, December 27. Grand Prize is an e-bike, power tools, hundreds of dollars’ worth of "Cheer”, restaurant gift certificates, and other great items. There will be multiple tiered prizes of baskets containing gift certificates for restaurants and other local    businesses, tools, food, and more. Proceeds will be used for veteran’s programs, including but not limited to holiday food baskets for the needy, restoration of cemeteries, and scholarships. Ticket sales start on October 14 at the Post 347 breakfast. Raffle tickets are $5.00/each or three tickets for $10.00 (Committee Chairperson Ruthann Hilland)
  • Continuing 50/50 raffle donations will benefit the Children of Veterans Scholarship Fund.
  • Miles:  17,313
  • Hours: 2,243

AUGUST 2023

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The Riders are looking forward to a great year under new leadership.  Allan Mussego has stepped up as the Director, bringing with him a plethora of knowledge and new ideas.  The Assistant Director, Art Brown, has held many offices in the past at other posts and has a vast knowledge of the policies and procedures.  Then we have Richard Lees, Adjutant, who has held offices at other posts and will be a great addition to the team.  We have a new Chaplain, Robert Stanziola.  He is one of our newer members.  Returning this year, we have Finance Officer, Louis Labbe, Sgt-at-Arms, Tony Lombardo and our Road Captain, Larry Pekoe.  The Chapter thanks you all in advance for stepping up and we know this will be a great year for us in raising funds for our Veterans and their Families.

Congratulations to the newly elected officers of the Legion, Auxiliary, S.A.L and the Riders.  We wish you all well in your endeavors.

By: Sheri Ward-Past Director

July 2023