Local post commander attends American Legion College

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Shelly Birkelo
Sunday, December 8, 2013

JANESVILLE—Bradley Little returned to Janesville with a wealth of information after attending the American Legion College last month in Indianapolis at the Legion's national headquarters.

“Whether it's increasing membership or just getting us to work together, they conducted classes on programs the American Legion does and its mission of all kinds of community involvement,” said the 38-year-old Janesville man.

Little, who was among 56 members of the six-day American Legion College Class of 2013, is commander of American Legion Post 205 in Janesville, where he has been a member for three years and previously served as vice commander. He also is commander for the American Legion Rock County Council made up of eight posts in the county.

Little, who works full time in supply for the Wisconsin Air National Guard in Madison, was one of two Wisconsin American Legion members selected by the state commander to attend the National American Legion College from more than three dozen applicants.

“I was pretty happy because of the opportunity to go there and learn,” he said.

Little applied last year but wasn't picked.

“They want people younger than the Vietnam era because these guys will be in the American Legion longer. It also depends on how active a person is, and I'm active on both the county and district levels,” he said.

Little also will encourage more than the two currents posts to get involved in the Legion's oratorical program and Americanism contest, in which 10th- through 12th- graders compete for scholarships.

“I'm going to work at getting all of our programs up and running better,” he said.

Rock County's American Legion posts already are involved with the homeless veterans shelter that is part of the Rock Valley Community Program, and it will step up its involvement, Little said.

Little is pleased with the time he spent at the college and the resources he learned about.

“They sent us home with a lot of information we can use,” he said.

Many people, including veterans, don't understand the American Legion's mission, Little said.

Some of the materials he brought back will help him educate veterans and the public.

“The American Legion is always involved in the community, and even though it's a little bit more on the veterans' side, the American Legion supports Boy Scouts and others,” he said.

The biggest challenge for Little is getting younger veterans to join the Janesville club, which has 280 members but fewer than 30 who are active.

 “We have to encourage guys to come and socialize,” he said, “then at the same time get them to work on our programs.”

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