First Collegiate American Legion Post in Iowa Hopes to Attract Younger Veterans

posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 in  College News

WATERLOO, Iowa (KCRG) – The first collegiate American Legion post in the state is hoping to bring in younger veterans.

The Brian Gienau College Post 738 is inside of the student center at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo. Gienau was a veteran who went to Hawkeye Community College. He died in combat.

As the older generation of combat veterans die, there is a need for younger vets to fill the void. A spokesman with the American Legion National Headquarters said last year the legion lost more than 83,000 veterans.

Joshua Meyer is a veteran at the college in Waterloo and launched the first college American legion in the state.

Meyer is using the collegiate post in Waterloo as a way to recruit people. They have their meetings on campus in the Veteran's Resource Center which is on-campus inside of the Brock Student Union

The center plans activities and outings, as well as fundraising events.

Meyer hopes college students joining the post will continue at a post in their hometown after graduating. He says the American Legion needs to continue because it plays a big role for veterans.

“The American Legion is a vital asset to student veterans because if it wasn't for the American Legion, we wouldn't have the G.I Bill,” said Meyer. “They also fight for our rights for disabilities and retirement pay."

Meyer hopes younger veterans give the American Legion a chance.

"They haven't tried it,” he said. “We have a pre-conceived notion that it's a bunch old guys sitting around a bar, drinking, and smoking, telling war stories but that's not the way it is anymore. We're trying to turn the page and try something new."

They meet once per month.

It's not just for college veterans, but they do want to give younger vets a place to build camaraderie among each other.

For more information on the post, visit their Facebook page

By Phil Reed, KCRG-TV9

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