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Citizens Corps, American Legion Unite for Preparedness

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5, 2005 – A new affiliation between the Homeland Security Citizen Corps and the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary to help raise public awareness about the importance of emergency preparedness and volunteer service was announced Jan. 4 by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.

Thomas P. Cadmus, American Legion national commander, and Sandi Dutton, national president of the American Legion Auxiliary, joined Ridge in signing the agreements.

"The American Legion and the Legion's Auxiliary devote countless hours to serving their country and their communities," said Ridge. "With the help of these two organizations, the Department of Homeland Security's Citizen Corps will expand its efforts to educate, train and prepare all Americans."

Through these partnerships, American Legion posts and American Legion Auxiliary units across the nation will assist in developing local Citizen Corps councils to involve citizens in preparedness efforts. This affiliation also will focus on engaging America's youth in hometown security, promoting Flag Day as a day of citizenship and emergency preparedness, and providing support to Veterans Affairs hospitals in emergency preparedness efforts, officials said.

At its 2004 national convention, the American Legion passed a resolution to become an affiliate of Citizen Corps. Cadmus pledged the continuing commitment of his organization.

"Supporting the department's efforts to engage citizens in hometown security is a natural fit for the American Legion," he said. "Our members have all seen active military duty defending our country, and strongly believe in the mission to be prepared on the home front too."

Dutton also expressed her support: "The women of the Auxiliary are committed to improving the welfare of the community by helping all citizens be prepared for any emergency."

Citizen Corps is the Homeland Security Department's nationwide grassroots effort that actively involves Americans in making communities safer, stronger and better prepared for all emergencies, department officials said.

American Legion officials said their organization serves as an advocate for American veterans, a friend of the U.S. military, a sponsor of community-based programs for young people, and a spokesman for patriotic values. With 2.7 million members and nearly 15,000 posts worldwide, the American Legion is the nation's largest veterans group.

The American Legion Auxiliary is the largest patriotic women's service organization in the world, with nearly 1 million members. The organization sponsors volunteer programs on the national and local levels, focusing on three major areas: veterans, young people and the community.

(Based on a press release from the Homeland Security Department.)

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Biographies:
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge

Related Sites:
Department of Homeland Security
Homeland Security Citizen Corps
The American Legion
The American Legion Auxiliary



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