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American Legion Commander enjoys 'positive' meeting with President Obama

President Barack Obama met with American Legion National Commander Clarence Hill at the White House on March 3 to discuss veterans issues, a most fitting end to The American Legion's 50th Washington Conference.

A very "positive" White House meeting between Hill and Obama touched on several key issues over the course of 30 minutes.

Hill thanked Obama for the 2011 Department of Veterans Affairs budget recommendation; in turn, Obama expressed thanks to The American Legion through Hill.

"The Commander-in-Chief sends greetings and thanks for all you do to be part of the solution. Very positive meeting with the President," Hill posted on his Facebook page Wednesday afternoon.

Among the other areas covered during the Oval Office meeting were the need for a collaborative approach to improving the VA disability claims process and the need to finally pass a law to allow full concurrent receipt for retired military who are also receiving disability compensation; the Legion's programs to help wounded and transitioning service members and their families, such as Operation Comfort Warriors, Heroes To Hometowns, and Temporary Financial Assistance; and the value of social networking in outreach efforts. Hill also briefed Obama on the many programs Legion posts are conducting in their own communities.

Peter Gaytan, executive director of the Legion's Washington office, also attended the meeting, as did two Obama staffers: Matt Flavin, director of the White House's Veterans and Wounded Warrior Policy; and Darienne Page who serves as the lead for the White House on Veterans, Wounded Warrior and Military Family Engagement.

Please see your local county veterans service officer if you have any questions. You can contact your local VSO at (218) 631-7617 or by e-mail at As always, have a great week.