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American Legion Post 217
    Warsaw, Missouri
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Legion Riders FAQ

Submit general questions to legionriders@legion.org. For more specific questions about the formation and conduct of the  Legion Riders in your state, or the proper wear of the Riders' emblem,  or about your chapter's constitution and bylaws, contact your department headquarters for guidance.

Q. Does The American Legion officially recognize The American Legion Riders program?

A. Yes. The National Executive Committee officially adopted The American  Legion Riders (ALR) as a national program with Resolution 35 in October  2007. View the resolution.

Q. Is there a national constitution and bylaws for ALR?

A. No. However, a suggested constitution and bylaws template can be filled out by anyone interested in developing a local chapter or state  program. This template is based on and fully complies with Resolution  35. View the bylaws template.

Q. How do I start a chapter at my post?

A. The process is easy. No charter paperwork is necessary, but a chapter  must be supported by a post or department, in accordance with Resolution 35. There is no national chapter. The following steps are suggested:

  • Get the approval of the sponsoring post or department.
  • Contact your department headquarters or department ALR liaison to  see if another state chapter is nearby. If so, inform that chapter of  your intention to start your own and get information on how that chapter is set up. That group will likely want to assist. Click here to see ALR contacts in your state.
  • Set up a meeting to discuss how your program will run, and develop a constitution and bylaws for approval by post leadership.
  • At later meetings, elect chapter officers per your approved constitution and report your chapter to department headquarters.

Q. Can we have members who do not own motorcycles or are not spouses of owners?

A. No. Resolution 35 states members must own a motorcycle. (Since many states  define marital property as jointly owned, spouses are assumed to have  part ownership.)

Q. Can girlfriends, friends, cousins, mothers, fathers, etc., join as regular members even if they are ineligible under the bylaws?

A. No. Membership eligibility requirements are clearly stated in  Resolution 35: “All members of The American Legion Riders shall be  current members of The American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary or  Sons of The American Legion”. Membership criteria is established not to  exclude family and friends, but to comply with the constitutional  requirements of the supporting post or department, which must adhere  strictly to American Legion directives as well as local, state and  federal laws regarding veteran, civic and fraternal organizations.

Q. Where do we get American Legion Riders patches?

A. Patches are available through National Emblem Sales. You can order by  phone at (888)-453-4466, or shop online at emblem.legion.org.

Q. How about T-shirts, hats, etc.?

A. National  Emblem Sales has a line of high quality T-shirts, motorcycle gear,  flags, hats, pins and many other items for Legion Riders. They can be  viewed and purchased at emblem.legion.org, by mail (catalog), or by  phone at (888)-453-4466.

Q. Is ALR recognized as a nonprofit organization?

A. In accordance with Resolution 35, each chapter is supported as a  subordinate program by a post or department and generally enjoys the  same nonprofit status as any other post or department program. However,  some activities might not be considered nonprofit, so you should always  refer to your post or department for guidance.

Q. Can our local chapter change the suggested constitution and bylaws to fit our post?

A. Yes. The suggested constitution and bylaws template is a starting  point. Chapters are extended the same courtesy given to every Legion  post since 1919: an autonomy and trust that members will make the right  decisions based on local conditions. Chapters must adhere strictly to  Resolution 35 and to the existing constitutions of the post and  department. There is, however, a wide latitude of leniency, provided the sponsoring post or department approves.

Q. When and where was ALR started?

A. ALR started at Post 396 in Garden City, Mich., in the fall of 1993. Chuck “Tramp” Dare and post commander Bill“Polka Bill” Kaledas had an idea to start an  association of motorcycle enthusiasts within the Legion. The two  Legionnaires “ both longtime riders “ wanted to create an environment  where members of the Legion family could come together to share a common love for motorcycles. The Department of Michigan agreed with the  concept and provided the two riders and 19 other founding members  instructions on how to manage the program at the post level. The members of Post 396 soon adopted a resolution for a new program called the  “American Legion Riders..”

The national organization recognized Garden City Post 396 with a commemorative plaque in 2007.

Q. How many members do I need to start a chapter?

A. The minimum number is determined by the supporting post or department.  Many chapters have formed with one or two members. Most chapters grow  quickly and bring new members into the Legion.

Q. Motorcycle clubs have rules about what can be worn on a vest with the emblem; what are our rules?

A. Resolution 35 states, “All ALR members shall strive to maintain the  image of The American Legion, at all times upholding The American Legion name and emblem, which symbolizes the integrity and principles of this  great organization.. Remember that ALR is not a motorcycle club, so  there is no obligation to wear identifying clothing or patches. However, patches and vests are popular with members as a way to show pride and  community. Contact your department headquarters or neighboring chapters  for guidance regarding the wear of the main ALR patch and other  decorations on the vest and apparel. Many state or local ALR programs  have developed standard wear and appearance policies, including  restrictions on profane or inappropriate language.

Q. Is there some sort of ALR national committee?

A. No. Riders have not authorized the formation of a national program,  national officers or national dues. There has been concern that a  national structure might hamper growth in local programs. But, given the expansion of ALR since its founding in 1993, the national commander has appointed two prominent Riders, Bill Kaledas of Michigan and Terry  Woodburn of Illinois, to represent the interests of American Legion  Riders to the Internal Affairs Commission.

Bill and Terry will also answer questions not covered here and ask all Riders to feel free to e-mail them any time. Bill Kaledas, bkaledas@hotmail.com, Terry Woodburn, twoodburn@illegion.org

Q. Should our program become a program of our department?

A. That is entirely a decision for the members of your department. In some departments, members have chosen not to form a statewide program,  preferring to wait, perhaps, until more chapters form. In any case,  Riders should consult with department leadership before taking any  initiative.

Q. Does our chapter need special insurance since we ride motorcycles?

A. Resolution 35 requires the sponsoring post or department to review and  ensure that liability insurance coverage is available to cover the  organization. Remember that insurance laws vary greatly from state to  state, so your chapter or post must decide what is best beyond that. All members are covered by personal insurance, and many existing insurance  policies may already cover the ALR as another program of the post. Check with your post or department about coverage. Chapters frequently  purchase special-event coverage very inexpensively to cover events or  even multi-day runs. Your best source of information is the agent or  agency that provides insurance coverage for your post. Shop around for  the best rates.

Q. Do members of our ALR chapter have to be members of our post?

A. Many posts allow their ALR program to accept eligible Riders from other posts, units and squadrons. You should check with your sponsoring post  or department. Sometimes, the post or department constitution may  prohibit outside members from being a member of, or to hold office  within, a supported program.

Q. Can we charge our annual dues?

A. Dues are  altered at the discretion of each chapter, after approval from the  supporting post or department. There are no national dues. Membership is already covered in regular dues to the Legion, the Auxiliary or SAL.

Freedom Is Not Free. All Gave Some, Some Gave All.
American Legion Post 217, Post Office Box 361, Warsaw, Missouri (660) 438-6925, Lounge (660) 438-6928
 
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