Spindrift September 7, 2023


President Shirley began the meeting with her own invocation, and pledge led by Leo Fracalosy. Corey Vigil was our speaker today, accompanied by wife Michelle. Other guests included Lorrie Dufour, Lauren Shortt, Honored Guest Alan Kamura, Lois Jacobs with Dave Schapiro. Joe Brown introduced our newest members, Lauretta Stansfield and Barbara Kirkham.


Shirley- thanked everyone who came to the Installation Dinner last Tuesday and welcomed feedback on the event. Ed Romeo made copies of Oasis News available, and emphasized an upcoming concert, as well as a rummage sale 9-2pm /Friday/Saturday October 6/7. Bob Wood noted that there are still unsold District football books, at a great discount. First game is September 11, so the next meeting will be the last chance to get one or more books at the discount price. There are about 30 books left for purchase.


Corey Vigil, Service Officer from American Legion Post 291, Newport Beach. They have the best prices for everything, and they are taking veteran members. They regularly promote our Field of Honor.

Corey served in 1996-2000 on the USS Coral Vincent, a nuclear sub. Then, he enlisted in 2000 and was a corpsman in the Navy, winding up in 1st Marine, 3rd Battallion. He was sent to Qutar for combat and invasion, then to Fallutia. He received two honorable discharges from the Navy. His daughter got leukemia, and nearly didn’t make it. Now, she’s in her 2nd year of medical school. (Applause) He’s excited about mental health, “Lives for this every day.”

We are the second “richest” AL in the country, with Post 293 of L.A. being the richest. We deal with 500 vets each year, and the $10,000 we give handles requests for help from ten to fifteen vets, who never seek the services. One of them has a double Purple Heart. We dealt with a famine in Rancho Cucamonga.

American Legion Post 291 started the Veteran Emergency Assistance Fund (VEAF) in the Fall of 2019 in response to cries for help from the local veteran service provider community. Local veterans looking for support told of multiple calls to many local agencies with rejection after rejection. Requests for $40 to pay a fee to get into an apartment or $500 to fix a car or $1500 to cremate one’s mother could not be handled. The social workers trying to help the veterans were frustrated right along with their agencies which did not have the necessary resources. AL Post 291 decided to raise the money to provide immediate assistance for a veteran or veteran family in trouble.

Veterans will always help another veteran. It is in our genes to never leave a veteran behind. As the largest AL Post in Southern California and the largest veteran organization with over 4000 veteran members, many agencies would suggest that the veteran contact AL291 if nothing was available. AL291 decided to raise the necessary funds among its Legionnaires and now, after three campaigns, over 500 veterans have contributed to the VEAF to solve this problem. More than 200 veterans and veteran families have been served by the AL291 Service Officer – today Corey Vigil holds that position. Over $10,000 is awarded to 10 to 15 individuals or families each month often with a check cut to a vendor, motel or landlord within hours of receiving an application.

The VEAF has given homeless veterans a motel room, helped families find a safe place to live until the VA can process their housing claims, fixed cars, replaced cars, provided transportation to appointments, flown veterans to funerals back East, provided moving expenses, paid accident claims, medical deductibles, dentist bills and many other unexpected costs that a veteran or veteran family might encounter.

Veterans from anywhere in Orange County are eligible. AL291 considers helping a veteran an investment – not a gift. When asked for help, we become a coach We will share costs with another agency if necessary to make sure that the veteran is helped and not turned away.

Donations to the VEAF are maintained in a separate restricted account and are only used to provide financial assistance to qualified veterans or military families. Your support is greatly appreciated by the veterans whom we serve.

Post 291 also supports Strong Families, Strong Children, which provides free support for all of Orange County’s veteran and military-connected families with children, regardless of length of service, type of discharge, rate of disability, financial need or marital status. This program is highly related to the kind of support our club gives to the Priority Center.


Corey drew his own number, and gave it back to the Club’s Social account, followed by his wife Michelle, who also gave it back! Lorrie DuFour, the third winner, kept the money temporarily.

Let’s shake ‘em up more! — Editor Bob

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Robert Wood

Robert Wood