To The Herald-Whig:
Verne Hagstrom's recent comments regarding Quincy American Legion Post 37 in "Your Views" deserves a reply.
Post 37 did submit a letter to the editor regarding possible acquisition of one acre of vacant land at the old Army Reserve Center on North 36th. It was only after a reporter called U.S. Sen. Durbin's office that Post 37 was contacted -- after three months had passed since sending certified letters to members of Congress.
The letter referred by Hagstrom was submitted by retired Army brigadier general and former superintendent of the Illinois Veterans Home, Richard "Hap" Northern, and focused on several unanswered letters to members of Congress regarding this property.
Perhaps, in today's world, the expectation of a formal reply, positive or negative, by a member of Congress to certified letters from the electorate is not realistic, or did office staff disregard the letters and did the senators even see them?
U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood has met with us and is very supportive. At this time, we are not aware of any special legislation or amendments introduced in the House of Representatives on our behalf. Hagstrom is well aware that our current facility is pre-World War II.
Hagstrom feels that Post 37 should be more concerned about Legionella at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy. Four members of Post 37 have attended, at their own expense, the hearings of the Illinois Senate and House Veterans Affairs committees in Chicago and Springfield. American Legion Post 37 is the only veterans group in Illinois to attend and provide written and oral testimony in support of Illinois Senate President John Cullerton's audit of events at IVHQ, in support of keeping IVHQ open, and to do what is needed within IVHQ and Quincy to resolve the problem.
We greatly appreciate Durbin's change of his initial position on shutting IVHQ down, and U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth's support in trying to find federal funding for this facility.
American Legion Post 37 and Auxiliary provide volunteer hours and funds for direct support of veterans at IVHQ with clothes, personal care items, air mattresses and special chair needs.
We provide military services at veterans' funerals, organize flag placement at veterans' graves at Sunset and other cemeteries for Memorial Day, along with many other activities. We are veterans supporting veterans.
Commander, American Legion Post 37
Lieutenant commander, U.S. Navy (retired)