Commander’s Report – October 2012 to June 2014
PC Mimi Wang （王咪咪）
Upon the sudden loss of Commander Bob Chin in October 2012, I was honored that our post members gave me the opportunity to serve as the Post’s first female Commander from October 2012 to June 2014. During that time I was still working full time in the New York Harbor Veterans Administration (VA) Healthcare System. I was not sure in the beginning whether I could perform the job as well as all the past commanders. Fortunately I had received great support and guidance from all the past commanders, staff members and Chairman of the Board. I was able to lead our post successfully in many activities based on the American Legion Missions: Serving the veterans, supporting our national security, Americanism, and mentoring the youth.
Serving the Veterans:
The Post was able to work closely with the VA health care system in providing a homeless veteran permanent housing after he had lived over thirty years in the streets. Veterans need nursing homes, medical care, tuition assistance and career guidance, our Post was able to help them make timely connections. Each year our Post staff has routinely provided burial honors to many veterans in all boroughs. Our chaplain has continued to represent our Post in visiting our veterans, whether they are in the hospital, nursing home or at home. As a result, our Post has received many letters of appreciation from the veterans and their families. We have reviewed resumes and provided suggestions to many young returning soldiers at our Post. After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, our Post has financially assisted Queens and Staten Island Legion Posts in their efforts to rebuild their communities.
Supporting our National Security:
When a platoon from the 10th Mountain Infantry Division was deployed to Afghanistan in 2013 – 2014 in support of the Operation Endurance Freedom (OEF), our Post made the pledge to adopt a platoon of 24 soldiers. The Legion family worked together and sent care packages (candies, instant noodles, cereal, shaving cream, books, DVD, beef jerky, instant coffee, handy wipe, etc.) enclosed with greeting letters from the P. S. 2 students. We thank God for their safe return after nine months of deployment without any casualties. Keeping national security in mind, our Post continues to lead the annual 9/11 memorial service with our members and community members at the Kimlau Memorial Square.
Our Post continues its well-recognized involvement in various community activities. We participate in the monthly 5th Police Precinct community meetings, Chinatown family association officer installations and holiday celebrations, the Chinatown Business Improvement and Development meetings, and the Consolidated Chinese Benevolent Association meetings. In 2012, KimLau Post began co-sponsoring the US Marine Corps “Toy for Tots” program during the Christmas period. Since then, close to 2500 toys were given to needy children in the neighborhood by the Legion Family Volunteers (Legion, Auxiliary and Sons of American Legion), adding tremendous joy to the children during the holiday session.
In the past two years, we have provided veteran’s benefits, college application guide and health education seminars to the community and our Legion family. The routine weekly free Tai Chi classes and the yearly free flu shots continue to be well attended by the community and our members.
Renaming Bayard Street between Canal and Elizabeth Streets to Private Danny Chen Way on May 17, 2014 is another noted community event. The tragic loss of Private Chen has awakened our nation. Hazing in the military in not tolerated and must be stopped. We are happy to see that Danny’s parents have become active members of our Post.
KimLau Post has continued to take an active role in leading the Chinatown Memorial and Veterans Day parades each year with our Post color guards and marching band provided by the CCBA Chinese School Band. Many Post members also participated in the Annual 5th Avenue Veterans Day parade sponsored by the United War Veterans Council. We continue to remind everyone that freedom is not free!
Mentoring the youth:
Cadets from the United States Military Academy at West Point and midshipmen from the Naval Academy at Annapolis visited us each year. During their visit, selected senior Post members had presented mentoring sessions to the guests on “What the American Legion is All About?” We also explained our Post history and activities to them. Our Post continues to sponsor younger Legion members to attend the New York State Legion College for preparing them to become our future Post leaders each year. During my term, a total of six legionnaires had successfully graduated from this college. The Post Scholarship Committee worked diligently in selecting qualified high school seniors and college students to receive our Post scholarships. A total of twenty-seven scholarships were awarded from 2012-2014 at our annual Christmas holiday luncheons.
During my term a total of three Post members had participated as advisors in the New York State Boys State program. During the one week intensive training close to 3000 selected young men from New York State were given the opportunity to learn practical lessons on the operations of local, county and state government. Our Post financially sponsored three students from New York City to attend this program.
My 2 ½ years term had passed quickly. I was busy seven days a week and must give thanks to my husband for his unceasing support. Without his support it would not have been possible for me to devote time to the American Legion. I truly enjoyed serving our Post and participating in different community activities. The experience that I have gained from dealing with different events, the media and the community has provided me invaluable knowledge that I could not have learned from any textbook. I strongly encourage all our Legion members to take an active role in our Post organization, to experience many good challenging tasks, and to help the Kimlau Post continue as the largest and the best Chinese American Legion Post in this great nation.