Richard H. Stewart, Jr.


St. James, NC

DATE: 21 APR 2014


 As a service organization, our post receives many requests for financial and other in kinds of assistance from post members and other veterans living in the Southport-St. James- Arbor Creek area served by American Legion Post 543.  At times it may be necessary to respond on relatively short notice. The purpose of these documents is to streamline and standardize the process by which we comply with the many legal and ethical questions that come into play.

It shall be the policy of Post 543 that the veteran requesting assistance must be a member of Post 543 or have the request brought to the Post by a member of the Post.  To start the process the post member seeking assistance or the post member sponsoring the veteran seeking assistance must verbally notify the Post Service Officer and make arrangements to receive the attached “List of Procedures” and “Official Application”.
This policy applies to the process of providing assistance to individual local Veterans.  Projects involving active military or donations to other organizations supporting veterans will be handled on a case by case basis using the enclosed guidelines, application forms, and disposition reports as needed.

Your Executive Board is very sensitive to the fact that the needs of many Brunswick County veterans require a swift and positive response.  However, it is the board’s strong feeling that we are NOT an emergency financial relief organization. We can and will provide help as found to be appropriate, but only after full vetting and careful consideration.

Assistance can be in terms of counseling, home repairs, bill payment, transportation, etc. and/or a referral to the many emergency relief organizations in Brunswick County.  However, we will follow the guidelines established by other Brunswick County posts and not provide direct payment of cash to the applicant.

The first and foremost requirement is that every activity in responding to the request is documented. As a non-profit, non-government organization we have certain obligations to demonstrate that we are responding in accordance with our by-laws, our constitution, insurance considerations, as well as federal and state law. If ever questioned, we must be able to go to the files and provide a complete history of every step taken.

(Page One)

Assistance will only be provided to Veterans in the following categories:

  • Post 543 members
  • Veterans who live in the Post 543 service area. (The 543 service area is defined generally as the route 211 corridor. More specifically this is the area bounded by the south side of the Intracoastal Waterway from Southport to Shallotte; Route 17 from Shallotte to the intersection with route 87; Route 87 through Boiling Springs and Southport to the south side of the Intracoastal Waterway.)

  • Veterans who have served on active duty.
  • Veterans who are willing to explore other sources of assistance.

Exceptions may be granted but only after a complete vetting and explanation.

Requests for assistance will be vetted by the Post Service Officer based on information gathered by the Post Member Sponsor and other appropriate sources.

Federal and state laws often require complete privacy regarding the handling of personal information.  This is particularly true regarding financial and Personal Health Information (commonly known as PSI).  This is one of the more difficult obstacles to overcome.  As a non-government agency, we have no access to records that could verify that the applicant’s statements regarding his or her needs.

Likewise, contacting family, friends or neighbors without the applicant’s written permission is not appropriate.  You must have the applicant’s written consent to contact any individual or agency.  Such consent must be very specific. The “Applicants Authorization to Release Information” form to be used is attached.

One of the best ways to verify the need is a personal visit. However, we should only visit the inside of any property with the applicant’s permission.  A drive-by may be a good way to get an initial assessment and a knock on the door may be in order, but do not go inside without being invited. Any initial visit to the applicant should always be done by two people. The application and consent forms should be completed during this initial visit.   The primary visitor would be the post member identified as the applicant’s sponsor or sponsors.  The second person should be the Post Service Officer or another member of the Executive Committee.

 After the applicant has been properly vetted, the Post Service Officer will write a report to the Post Commander with a recommendation for endorsement or denial.  If the recommendation of the Post Service Officer is to proceed, and if the Post Commander agrees, the Commander will add the request to the agenda of the next monthly Executive Board meeting.  The Commanders report should not include the applicant’s name, but should include a general outline of the type of assistance and an estimate of the maximum expense.  The actual cost of the assistance may not exceed the estimate without further Executive Board approval.

Approval by the Executive Board and the Post Commander will be considered permission to allow the Post Treasurer to issue checks as requested by the Sponsor, the Service Officer and/or Post Commander.

Filling out forms and taking the time to get permission from the Post Commander and the Executive Committee can be frustrating. Please be assured your Commander and Committee stand ready to make this necessary process as fast and painless as possible.

                                                               (Page 2)

                                AMERICAN LEGION POST 543

                         VETERANS ASSISTANCE PROCEDURE

This procedure is provided as a guide to the process for a Post Member (or a Post Member sponsoring a veterans request for assistance) to obtain Executive Board approval to provide such assistance.

This procedure statement is for internal use and not to be shared with the applicant 
As part of the initial visit, the sponsoring post member or the Post Service Officer or member of the Executive Committee should verify the applicant’s identity.

As part of the initial visit with the applicant, the sponsoring post member and/or the Post Service Officer should assist the applicant in completing “Official Application”.

As part of the initial visit with the applicant, the sponsoring post member and/or the Post Service Officer must have the applicant complete the attached “Permission to Visit Premises” form on the reverse side of the application.

Also as part of the initial visit, the sponsoring post member and/or the Post Service Officer must have the applicant complete the “Consent to Contact Form” also found on the reverse side of the application. It is important that no one outside of this list be contacted. Each entry should be initialed by the applicant.

As part of the vetting process, the sponsoring post member or the Post Service Officer should verify the veteran served one day of active duty and has been honorably discharged.

As part of the vetting process, the sponsoring Post Member or the Post Service Officer should be satisfied the applicant is aware of other available Brunswick County, State and Federal resources. (For example but not limited to the VA, Social Security, the food bank, the New Hope Clinic, Brunswick County, various churches, etc.) Helping the applicant to identify and locate these agencies may be a way to provide initial help.

The sponsoring post member or the Post Service Officer should maintain the “Log of Visits”. They should also maintain records to enable completion of the “Final Disposition Report” (See forms on reverse side this page).This log and report must be part of the Service Officers final report to the Post Commander and then sent to the Post Adjutant to be filed as part of the Post Archive.

The attached application is considered private personal information and should only be shared with the applicant’s sponsor, the Post Service Officer, members of the Executive Committee assigned to this case and the Post Commander who may then decide how to share all or part with the Executive Committee.

                                                               (Page 3)
This Log is to be maintained by the Post Member sponsoring the applicants request for assistance and returned to the Post Service Officer at the completion of the assistance project.

 Log of Visits and Contacts :

Date            Visitors Name    Person or Agency Contacted         Purpose of Visit or Contact

_________    ___________    ____________________________  _______________________

_________    ___________     ___________________________    _______________________

_________     ___________     ___________________________   _______________________

 _________     ___________     ___________________________     _____________________

 _________     ___________     ___________________________ _______________________



Date request was received:________________ Date Competed:_____________







Name of Person Completing the Report:_______________________________

                                      (ATTACH ADDITIONAL PAGES AS NEEDED)
                                                              ( Page 4)


                                                                                         CASE # ____________

                                      Richard H. Stewart, Jr. Post 543   

                                  APPLICATION FOR ASSISTANCE  

Name of applicant’s sponsor____________________________________

Phone number of applicant’s sponsor_____________________________

By completing this application, I agree and understand that the information I have provided is as true and accurate as possible.

Name: ___________________________________________

Street Address:____________________________________

Additional Address: ________________________________

City: ________________________________, North Carolina

Zip Code:______________ Telephone Number: (         )________-__________

Branch of Service: _______________________________________

Dates Served on Active Duty:______________________________

Type of Discharge:_______________________________________

 (Applicants Signature)

(Sponsoring Post Veteran’s or Service Officer Signature)

(page 5)



I understand that all personal information provided to representatives of The Richard H. Stewart, Jr., American Legion Post 543, St. James, North Carolina will be held in strict confidence and will be shared only with those for whom I have given permission as listed below, in order to facilitate  the response to my request for assistance:

1. The member of American Legion Post 543 who has been identified to me as my “sponsor”: (name)_______________________________________

2. The member of American Legion Post 543 Executive Committee who has been assigned to assist: (name)__________________________________

 3. The Commander of Post 543: (name)______________________________

 4. Members of the Post 543 Executive Committee, as identified by the Post Commander, who have a need to know specific information to complete my assistance request.

 5. Other individuals and agencies as listed below:







 I have read and understood all items on this page and by my signature authorize representatives of Richard H. Stewart, Jr., Post 543 to proceed with the processing of my application for assistance.

Applicant Signature:__________________________________________

Witness Signature:____________________________________________
(Sponsoring Post Veteran’s or Service Officer’s Signature)

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