John E. Jacobs American Legion Post 68 Leland, NC


American Legion Post 68

Brunswick Beacon 2/23/17

Interview with Post Commander Jim Zelenski

American legion Post 68 in leland was founded in 1973 but reorganized in 2014 and has since attracted 108 members. Post 68 recently displayed its new colors during a monthly meeting, which is held the third Thursday of each month at Charlie Macgrooders. Pictured from left are Cmdr. Jim Zelenski, Post Life member Bill Carshaw, First Vice Cmdr. Alan Simmons and public relations chairman lane Adrian.

  Leland's American Legion Post 68 is one of the fastest-growing American Legions in North Carolina, which is pretty good for a post that reorganized in 2014.

  Originally founded in 1973, the revived Post 68 has benefitted from a large number of new Brunswick County residents who were already American Legion members before retiring to North Carolina.  And club members are enthusiastic recruiters.

  "We actively recruit in the community. When we run into (new) people, we'll ask if they are veterans and tell them to come sit in at a meeting," said First Vice Cmdr. Alan Simmons, who was the first commander when the American Legion post reorganized.

  "We also get veterans' in- formation and send person- alized letters asking if they are interested in transferring in," Cmdr. Jim Zelenski added.

  American Legion Post 68 has.l08 members, with the majority being Vietnam veterans who have retired to the area, a couple of Korean War veterans and a World War II veteran .

  The Post also includes four women veterans, including membership committee chairwoman Kathy McDonough.

  "We also have some Desert StormlGulfWar veterans and try to find other Gulf vets to join, but a lot have not retired yet," Zelenski said.

Members encourage veterans with an interest in learning about Post 68 to attend a meeting, which is held at 6:30 p.m. the third Thursday of each month at Charlie Macgrooders, 117 Village Road NE in Leland.
 "Come as a guest. There's no pressure, no commitment. We invite veterans to meet others, have a cup of coffee and experience a meeting," Zelenski said.
"(Meetings) are open to all veterans and spouses," Simmons said. "We try to provide information for vet- erans' needs."
"With new people, we want to let them know 'here's what's happening in Brunswick County.'" Zelenski said, adding that while it doesn't have an auxiliary, spouses and partners are also active with the Post.

  Post meetings include presentations on informa- tion veterans can use from Brunswick County Veterans Services director Anita Hartsell and speakers from the Wilmington Veterans Administration clinic.
 "We try to get information that will help with day-to-day life and present what's available to veterans through the VA or other agencies," Simmons said.

  Since reorganizing, the Post has become active in the community by participating at Leland's Founder's Day, Trunk or Treat and the North Carolina Christmas Parade. It also supports the Dixie Youth little league and .North Brunswick High School IROTC shooting team and provides a scholarship for a IROTC student and an Americanism Award at Leland Middle School as well as providing gift cards to veterans and their families in need at Christmas.

The Post plans to assist American Legion Post 10 in Wilmington with the Veteran Benefits Action Center, providing veterans and their families with on-site assistance processing Veter- ans Administration claims March 30 through April 1.

It will also host a U.S. flag collection day April 22 to collect and properly de- stroy worn and unserviceable flags.

A poppy drive on Armed Forces Day, May 20, will be followed by cemetery flag placement in Leland area cemeteries May 27 in tribute to those who served in the armed forces.

And the Post will also provide goods to homeless veterans as part of Stand Down Day, Oct. 7.

Post members also participate with St. James American Legion Post 543 in the Vet2Vet program, meeting with young veterans who have returned to school at Brunswick Community College.

In the works is creation of an American Legion Post 68 color guard to par- ticipate in parades, ceremonies and other community events.

Events, activities; sign- up information and sections on community and special events are available on Post 68's website:, and on the American Legion Post 68, Leland NC Facebook page.

Brian Slattery is a staff writer for the Beacon.
Reach him at 754-6890 or bslattery@ brunswickbeacon. com.
Meeting times:  American Legion Post 68 meets at 6:30 p.m.
on the third Thursday of each month at Charlie, Macgrooders, 117 Vil- lage Road NE in Leland.
Contact Email membership committee chairwoman Kathy McDonough at Katconnaughton@hot-