LEGION RIDERS 352 HISTORY
The chapter officially formed on Feb 2nd, 2009. The founding members are Bill Butler, Joe Hutcherson, and Paul L Giunta. The group was formed after all of us were members of Rolling Thunder Chapter 4NJ (RT), and we thought we needed a change. After taking direction from the Post Commander Bill Butler, founding members looked into the American Legion Riders (ALR) program of the National American Legion organization. Resolution 35 called for Legion Riders be attached to an American Legion Post. Looking into the Legion Riders program we realized that we would be part of a Veterans Service Organization as opposed to a veterans support organization. As I stated before RT is a 501c3 and a veterans support always committed to raising money while supporting Veterans. On December 28, 2008, at a special meeting of interested RT members, the Founding members laid out the plans to form the Legion Riders Post 352. We spoke about the difference between the two organizations and asked the prospective members what they expected out of the new organization.
Out of that meeting came what guides us today.
Support local Veterans, the troops, and motorcyclist in need. They also wanted no mandatory rides, events or meetings. Members would help out when they could, support Veterans issues because it was in their heart, not because they were forced. Since fundraising was always a big issue, members of the asked that it be left to a minimum (members stated they were also involved with other Veterans Groups fundraising).
At that meeting, the Founding members stated that they forming Legion Riders Post 352 and would be leaving RT NJ4. We did not expect the response that we got from members present. When it was all said and done 28 RT members decided to make the switch and become Charter Members of Post 352.
The National Organization was contacted and the necessary forms were submitted and approved. The chapter has grown to 54 members in its charter year, with the 28 original members as charter members.
Some of the events the Legion Riders participated in during the 1st year were, our 1st Fundraiser was a successful chicken BBQ to benefit our Veterans issue programs that will be attended during the year. Thanks to the American Legion Post, they donated $500 to our operating expense fund. The accounting firm Atlantic Accounting Associates donated $900 to the Veterans assist fund.
We supported parades in Somers Point, Northfield and State Convention in Wildwood, New Jersey. We also did many "Welcome Homes" to returning troops.
We also were asked to participate in Funeral Escorts to many Veterans who passed away. The chapter has been well accepted by the Community and is constantly being invited to Veteran's ceremonies throughout Atlantic County.
LEGION RIDERS PRESIDENTS
1st President Paul L Giunta Year of 2009
2nd President Joe Hutcherson Year of 2010
3rd President Joe Hutcherson Year of 2011
4th President Dave Eastlack Year of 2012
5th President Dave Eastlack Year of 2013
6th President Dave Eastlack Year of 2014
7th President Dave Eastlack Year of 2015
8th President Dave Eastlack Year of 2016
9th President Dave Eatlack Year of 2017
10th President Mike Merlino Year of 2018
11th President Mike Merlino Year of 2019