As the new Charter Organization Representative (COR) for Boy Scout Troop 172, I am excited about the opportunity to the be Point of Contact and bridge between two long-standing organizations.
The partnership between the American Legion and the Boy Scouts of America can strengthen the social fabric of our communities.
This pairing is a natural alliance that will nourish and bolster the bodies of our youth and the body of our nation.
Why is this partnership so important?
It is important because the future of our country depends on shoring up the principles of our Representative Democracy and the foundations of our federal Constitutional Republic.
It is encouraging to see the four aims of the Boy Scouts line up so closely with the four Pillars of the American Legion.
The Boy Scout aims are: 1) Personal Fitness, 2) Character Development, 3) Citizenship Training and 4) Leadership Development.
The four pillars of the Legion are: 1) National Defense, 2) Youth/Children, 3) Americanism and 4) Veteran affairs and rehabilitation.
Our national defense is strengthened by the scout’s focus on personal fitness and merit badges such as athletics, climbing, hiking, swimming and rifle shooting are key to this.
This focus on personal fitness will also help future members of the military be more combat ready and able to strongly serve and protect.
The scout’s Character development focus is supported by the Legion’s focus on Youth and Children with the Eagle Scout of the Year award, speech contests and other scholarship programs.
The Boy Scout’s Citizenship training is a key component of the Americanism and is supported by the Legions’ Boys States and Boys Nation programs.
Americanism is an important, common goals and the scout’s support this through the many flag ceremonies and their duty to the country.
Lastly, the scout’s Leadership Development aim is directly aligned with the Legion’s focus on Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation.
The common goals of the Boy Scouts of American and the American Legion are to nourish and strengthen not only the bodies of our youth but the body of the United States as One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
I first met Ed Mangan in 2018 when I joined the Ahwatukee American Legion Post 64. He was the Commander of the Post and welcomed me with a hearty laugh and a warm smile. At my first Post 64 member meeting, I noticed the Captain bars on Ed’s Legion cap and the tri-color band that held a round medal signifying he was a member of the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, this guy is squared away!”. He impressed me even more when I learned that he was active in MOAA (Military Officers Association of America) and volunteered for ESGR and JROTC programs. Having served as a Captain in the Army, I know what these organizations are and hold great respect for people who participate and support them.
Ed was an inspiring leader who walked the walk and spoke strongly and passionately about the importance of remembering those who have served as well as younger members of the community. He took his roles seriously and enthusiastically participated in hundreds of parades, flag ceremonies, and honor guards.
The world needs more people like Ed Mangan and it is my honor to write and share this tribute article about him and his life.
Edmund “Ed” Louis Mangan III was born in Chicago, Illinois and was the fourth of eight children. He graduated from Joliet Catholic High School in 1961 and served in the United State Air Force as an aircraft maintenance technician, communications engineer and recruiting officer.
He was deployed during the Vietnam conflict and was stationed with units in Wisconsin, California, Mississippi, Texas, Missouri, Kansas, Arizona, Germany, Thailand, and Vietnam.
After completing correspondence courses at numerous duty stations, Ed graduated from ASU in 1973 with a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering. He took 18 credits each semester and took summer courses to complete his degree.
Following his military career, Ed worked as an energy management consultant and eventually started his own company, Energy Design and Consulting, “EDC.” He specialized in saving schools on their electric costs so their funds could be allocated elsewhere.
When not working, Ed truly enjoyed dancing and his favorite dance was the Swing. He professionally taught ballroom dance at Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Phoenix, Arizona. When he was a new instructor, Ed was introduced to a new student, Ann Schminke, when the two were paired together for a few dances. They loved to dance together and eventually taught dance lessons to other couples at the Ahwatukee Recreation Center.
Ed attended many Arizona Diamondbacks games and enjoyed going to Spring Training with his daughters Lisa and Laura. He and Ann had Sunday tickets for a few seasons directly behind home plate.
Ed passed away on October 17, 2022, five days after his 79th birthday.
He is survived by a large family including his sisters Margaret “Marge” Mangan and Joann (Scott) Jeralds both of Marion, Illinois, brothers Michael “Mick” (Barb) Mangan and Larry (Lesa) Mangan, both of Marion, Illinois, daughters Lisa M. Mangan and Laura Lynne Mangan both of Gilbert, Arizona, and numerous cousins, nephews and nieces.
Thoughts and reflections from Ed’s daughter Lisa:
“Dad had an infectious and jovial laugh and cheers with loud applause. When he was excited about something, everyone around him would know. He would cheer the same at a Diamondbacks game as he would seeing a concert of The Duttons, Forever Plaid, or The Celtic Woman; his exuberant “Attaway! Attaway!” was heard after a great baseball play or musical number. He never had an “inside cheer.”
Dad loved to travel. While stationed in Germany, he and our mom traveled to Spain, Italy, Austria, and France. With Ann, he visited Hawaii a few times and went to Laughlin frequently. He went to Ireland in 2005 with his eldest sister, Marge, and Laura & I. While on our trip, we visited the Dunbrody Famine ship and we were able to locate the names of the ships some of our ancestors took to get to the US. He made plans to go on a river cruise in Europe prior to COVID and, unfortunately, was never able to make the trip. He loved traveling back to Illinois to visit family and attended the 2015 & 2021 Mangan Family Reunions. “
I didn’t think I would cry while attending the Open House and Dedication of Ashley’s Place, but I did.
I didn’t think I would cry while researching the life and tragic death of 1LT Ashley White, but I did.
I didn’t think it would be so hard to write this article, but here I go.
Like a patchwork quilt, I will stitch together the background, experiences and efforts of over twenty individuals, three non-profit organizations, and countless volunteers and donors. The threads have been interwoven and created an amazingly rich, colorful and strong fabric.
This community fabric is strengthened by connections, common bonds, gratitude and giving.
The story begins with a visit with Jennifer Gewarges, Executive Director at U.S. Vets in Phoenix, Arizona in July 2022. I met her along with fellow veterans from American Legion Post 64 and we were given a tour of the U.S. Vets housing facility. My friends Al, Bill and Jack were impressed with the professionalism and services they provided. During our brief meeting, I asked how our American Legion post could directly help veterans in the community and Jennifer told us about Ashley’s Place and how it was planning to open later in the year. We were all excited about the opportunity to assist in raising money and awareness for female veterans in need of safe and affordable housing in the Phoenix area.
Members of the Ahwatukee American Legion Post sprung to action and helped in fundraising events in September and rallied to present a donation to U.S. Vets at the Open House for Ashley’s Place in November.
Who was Ashley White?
I feel a special connection to 1LT Ashley White because we took such similar paths during the six years of our life after high school. We both participated in ROTC in college and received our US Army officer commissions after graduation. Though our deployments to war and combat operations took place 20 years apart with mine in Saudi Arabia and Iraq in 1990-91 and Ashley’s in Afghanistan in 2011, I’m sure we shared common experiences and emotions.
The harrowing story of what happened to 1LT Ashley White on October 21, 2011 is chronicled in the book Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team or Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon. Ashley and her special unit gathered intelligence from local Afghan women who, for cultural reasons, couldn’t talk to men outside of their own families.
While traveling on a night patrol with US Army Rangers, Ashley was killed by an IED explosion in the Kandahar Region of Afghanistan. She was part of a newly formed Cultural Support team CST-2 which deployed alongside various elite units of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. Ashley was 24 years old.
Looking at photos of Ashley in her military uniform reminded me of the strong and fierce female soldiers I served with and reading about her unit’s mission inspired me to take action. Her bravery, determination and commitment to helping others made me so proud of her. I am humbled, touched and motivated to write, speak and advocate for women veterans across Arizona and our great country.
What is Ashley’s Place?
Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona, in partnership with the Milanovich Trust, U.S. Vets-Phoenix, and Arizona Sustainability Alliance came together to create Ashley’s Place, a two home complex for women veterans in need of affordable housing.
Ashley’s Place will provide transitional housing focused on addressing the unique needs of women who were exposed to trauma during their military service.
The two five-bedroom homes will provide a safe environment for up to 30 women annually with low incomes or who are coming out of homelessness, as well as daily meals. During a stay, women will receive individually designed wraparound services including individual and group counseling, case management, healthcare, transportation, career and life skills training and other vital supports, helping them transition to a permanent home of their own.
For more information on Ashley’s Place including referral forms, applications, donation and inquires, please contact them at: AshleysPlace@usvets.org .
The Open House and Dedication
It was clear, cool and sunny Saturday morning in Phoenix, Arizona and over a hundred people were gathered outside of two special homes in the Maryvale Village neighborhood. After the Presentation of the Colors by an impressive and well-trained Color Guard and a beautifully sung National Anthem, guests were asked to assemble and be seated in the large front room of one of the houses.
Jason Barlow, CEO and President of Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona, welcomed everyone and shared the story of the genesis of Ashley’s Place. He thanked all of the volunteers and donors for their great work and dedication to this special and important project. He introduced Dave Elston, House Leader, who recognized and appreciated the large team of local Habitat for Humanity volunteers.
The most emotional part of the Dedication ceremony for me was hearing the brief and powerful words of Ashley’s mom, Deborah White. I could see and feel the intense feelings of love and loss in her voice and face as Deborah reflected on her daughter’s fierce spirit, dedication and commitment to her country. She was proud of Ashley and greatly appreciative that the two new houses were named in her honor.
Veterans Helping Veterans
Also in attendance at the Open House event on Nov. 19, 2022 were over fifteen members from two local American Legion posts.
John J. Morris Post 62, Peoria, AZ
Coni Moore was joined by over ten members from the Post 62, Auxillary, Sons of the American Legion (SAL), and Legion Riders in attending the Open House/ Dedication event. Together they raised over $5,000 to help provide supplies and furnishings to the two Ashley Place homes.
Darlene Hunter and Post members Al Hunter and Jack Armstrong joined me at the Ashley’s Place Dedication event where we presented Jennifer Gewarges from U.S. Vets with a $550 donation to help veterans during this holiday season.
Post 64 looks forward to future collaboration in on-the-ground, community events were the American Legion members can assist fellow veterans in need.
U.S. Vets is the largest non-profit organization with boots on the ground to combat America’s Veteran homeless crisis head-on. Their holistic approach provides housing, counseling, career and supportive services to help Veterans rebuild and thrive. With over 32 sites across 11 regional locations in Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii, Texas and Washington D.C., U.S. Vets is uniquely positioned to help Veterans and their families across the nation successfully transition to civilian life.
Since 1985, with the help of generous donors and volunteers, Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona has built more than 1,180 homes, affect more than 3,000 repairs, and improve a place called home for more than 4,000 Arizona families. To learn more, please visit habitatcaz.org or follow them on Twitter @habitatcaz.
For more information about Ashley’s Place and video interview with Jason Barlow and Jennifer Gewarges check out:
The Arizona Sustainability Alliance is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit action and advocacy organization that creates and supports cutting edge, project-based sustainability solutions in Arizona through civic engagement, collaboration and education.
In collaboration with volunteers and partners, Arizona Sustainability Alliance is greening the two homes by planting trees and plants and installing vertical and raised gardens. Other outdoor features include ground cover, pavers, and fencing. This project creates a welcoming outdoor space for the veterans and their families.
Kayla Killoren, Programs Manager for Arizona Sustainability Alliance said, “We’re honored to partner with Habitat for Humanity and U.S. Vets on Ashley’s Place, an incredible project that will providehousing for female veterans in Phoenix.” More information is available at https://www.azsustainabilityalliance.com/
What impressed me most about Dave Von Tersch was his dedication and loyalty to fellow veterans, friends, and the members of the community. Dave’s commitment to and passion for the Ahwatukee American Legion Post 64, where he was an active member since 2013, was evident in the long list of volunteer roles and leadership positions he held.
Dave helped to organize and support so many important events including ceremonies for Flag Day, 4th of July, Memorial and Veterans Day, the spring Easter Parade, Evolution of the Flag, the annual Winterfest and Color Guard and Honor Guard for countless school, community and funeral events. He also assisted in the installation and dedication of the new flagpole and flags at the Ahwatukee Recreation Center (ARC).
Dave was a true servant leader who could be counted on to lend a helping hand and served as the Post 64 Sergeant at Arms for many years.
I first met Dave when he was the Color Guard Commander in 2018 and greatly appreciated how he enthusiastically led us with strong and confident “forward, march” “column left, march”, “right face”, “present arms” commands. He was serious and earnest when it came to proper flag protocol and etiquette and took to heart the solemn and crucial obligation to honor and respect our fallen comrades.
Another vivid memory I have of Dave Von Tersch is from Flag Day 2019 when he bravely and tirelessly endured extreme heat and large flames to ensure the proper disposal of unserviceable US flags. This was the first time I had ever witnessed such a ceremony and I was in awe of Dave’s strength, commitment, and respect for our nation’s banner.
On a personal level, Dave was born in Sioux City, Iowa and was one of eight kids. He had a twin sister and his childhood nickname was Dutch. Dave married the love of his life, Jean (Jeannie) and they spent 22 wonderful years together before she passed from Alzheimer’s. He is survived by his two daughters, Lara Clagett and Stephanie Jones, step children Shirley Archuletta, Darci Strang and Toby Ellis, his sister Jeanette (Nettie) Graham, and three brothers, Sid, Tim and James Von Tersch.
Dave loved to dance, play cards, and tell silly jokes. He could often be found dancing up a storm at the many Winterfest and Oktoberfest events at the ARC!
From May 1970 to May 1976 Dave served on Active Duty in the US Navy and achieved the rank of Petty Officer Second Class (E-5) Machinist Mate. He received the Silver Dolphins badge and served on the USS Sunfish SSN-649, a Sturgeon-Class Nuclear Attack Submarine.
After his six years in the Navy, Dave worked thirty years in technical positions such as Test Engineer supporting Agilent 3070 In-Circuit and Takaya 94xx Flying Probe test systems.
Dave was a proud military Veteran and enjoyed serving his community.
In April 2022, Dave attended his last Spring Easter Parade and proudly marched alongside the Post 64 Color Guard for a good portion of the route. Dave was a strong man who took his responsibilities and obligations seriously. He kept active for as long as he was able and he never quit. His fortitude was unfaltering.
Dave Von Tersch embodied the mission and values of the American Legion by continually advocating patriotism, honor, and duty to his fellow veterans. He was committed to selfless service to his friends, family, and community and will always be deeply respected by those who had the privilege of knowing him.
The US Navy motto is Not Self but Country (Non sibi sed patriae) and Dave certainly lived by these words.
Bill donated a gold nugget and came home with a treasure named Chester.
On Saturday, April 30, 2022, five members of Ahwatukee Post 64 volunteered at a local event called Coffee and Rigs in the parking lot of C2 Tactical in Tempe, AZ. Their mission was to increase awareness of the benefits of joining the American Legion and recruit new members.
The Coffee and Rigs event was the first of its kind and featured eight vendors/organizations including: Off Road Warehouse, Turtleback Trailers, Buff City Soap, the American Legion Post 64, Rubicon Rescue, Precision Sports Accessories, and Circle R Farm Food truck.
The Post 64 table of brochures, flyers, flags, candy and historical Legion caps also included tickets for two raffle prizes- a one year family package membership at C2 Tactical and a 2.2 gram gold nugget.
Bill Musik, a Vietnam veteran, donated the gold nugget and discovered a wonderful treasure in return and adopted an adorable dog named Chester from the Rubicon Rescue team two tables down. Chester was perfectly suited to Bill because of their compatible stages in life. Bill had wanted a more senior pet that he could care for through the rest of the dog’s life.
C2 Tactical provided Post 64 with the generous one-year membership and has been extremely supportive of Phoenix area First Responders, Veterans and animal rescue organizations. C2 Tactical is generous with donations of membership packages, classes, and range time when asked and this April event was the third time to they have had Rubicon Rescue host a table at their community functions.
Rubicon Rescue, a local non-profit organization, brought eight dogs and a litter of tiny kittens to the event. It was great news to hear that four dogs, including Chester, were adopted that day. Rubicon Rescue’s Mission it to save abandoned, abused and injured shelter animals and they certainly made a positive impact toward this goal.
This event is part of a new PR and membership campaign at the Post 64 and was spearheaded and attended by Al Hunter, Jack Armstrong, Bill Musik and Brenda Smull. Our Post Commander Pete Meier also supported our efforts at the table.
It was a positive and supportive showing at the Post’s table and the happy, spirited, and appreciative rescue dogs warmed everyone’s hearts.
Dare to venture into the wonderful world of social distortion, um, I mean media.
Ah yes, social media, the place where healthy and productive conversations go to die.
If you are tired, frustrated and/or annoyed with your Facebook newsfeed, I have some good news for you.
I welcome you to join me as we enter Steve’s Emporium of Internet Delights. My best friend and husband, Steve, has been the driving force behind what I’m about to share with you and I have been a behind-the-scenes contributor and co-administrator to these shenanigans.
To revitalize your Facebook experience, I encourage you to check out the Groups.
The well run, upbeat Facebook groups are where it’s at if you are looking for a positive, entertaining and creative place to let loose.
Steve has created six lively Facebook groups that are cheerful, happy islands for people around the world. These communities are relatively small and have active, spirited participation. Though the groups are lightly moderated with minimal rules from the admins, rude, intolerant or aggressive behavior is rarely, if ever, seen.
Below are the six zany groups that we shepherd:
Ernie’s Oasis– Started in 2016 as Ernie’s Fake News, this group is my all-time favorite and features the ongoing antics and silly stories of our adorable hedgehog Ernie (see photo above). This humorous site is truly a happy-place getaway for many people.
Dysfunctional Communicators– This newly formed group takes satire, sarcasm and word play to a new level. Here the admins leverage their Toastmaster experience to assist with communication challenges.
Lame-0’s– A cross between Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Beavis and Butthead. Serious adults need not apply.
We Are Not Aliens From Outer Space– Out of this world photos and discussions of other galaxies.
Run Away and Join the Circus– A free-wheeling group with escapist themes.
The Reasons Why We Are Leaving This Group– A never ending list of reasons why people are exiting stage right.
If you are craving light-hearted banter, productive dialogues, satire, unusual angles, great photos and fun stories with witty wordplay in a tolerant, supportive environment, these Facebook groups and others like them are the place for you.
Come have a marvelous time in the positive Facebook universe where you get some relief from the stress and strife of tedious newsfeeds.
Ernie is waiting for you with a big cookie and a smile!
There are also various animals to help you be a better communicator.
The shift in energy has been swift and dramatic. This thought has been on my mind for months prior to the great Texas blackout of February 2021. Having lived in Austin for short time, I empathize with the plight of millions of people who were at the mercy of mother nature, unreliable technology and incompetent business and government leaders.
My original idea for this article started with these three lines:
Energy is Currency
Currency is Money
Follow the Energy
I was planning to address the main patterns and trends I have observed since the US Elections in November 2020, namely the shifts in:
Social energy and influence- communication and persuasion
Distribution of energy- wealth and power
Suppression or enhancement of energy- fossil fuels and renewables
Now, as I reflect on the physics book definition of energy and power, I have chosen to take a different angle. More on the three points above will come in Part 2 of this Energy blog.
While energy is the capacity for doing work and the ability to create change, power is energy per unit of time. These technical definitions can be applied to people, communities and governments.
I have been drawn to the concept of energy for weeks. Call it the Law of Attraction but my increased attention on the idea caused a sharp increase in energy related experiences in my life. Everywhere I look, I see energy analogies and references.
The word energy is a noun with 9 meanings (like my cat) while the word power has 20 meanings as a noun and 5 has a verb.
Power and energy are hot topics in the news and I can’t help but draw some parallels between what is happening with shifts in physical energy (potential and kinetic) with the dramatic changes in human energy (social and spiritual).
As world leaders create pacts and sign accords in an effort to reduce the impact of climate change on the planet, major changes in our fuel sources are being proposed. Renewable energy is all the rage as fossil fuels and nuclear energy are vilified. Wind and solar power are being elevated and pushed to replace coal, oil and natural gas. Our fuel mix is changing as painfully displayed during the Texas/ERCOT energy crisis of this month.
Our social fuel mix has also been dramatically altered. As an extrovert, I used to derive a good amount of energy from real, live interactions with others. Now, after 11 months of relative isolation, my energy levels are low. My ability to do work is diminished. My public speaking skills are stalling out and running on fumes.
As millions of Texans huddled in their homes for days without electricity or running water, I kept thinking, why didn’t ERCOT and the government plan ahead more for these situations. What were the contingencies plans if multiple lines of energy sources fail?
Taken to the human and social energy level, what have we done to replenish our emotional fuel sources that have been so abruptly and drastically reduced?
While Zoom meetings and online happy hours are trying to fill the gaps and maintain social connections, they are about as energizing as a Texas wind turbine on a 25 degree day.
Humans are social creatures by nature and need personal interactions to maintain healthy relationships and strong immune systems.
So as I enter an empty office building each day, I long for the in-person collaboration meetings and hallway greetings and interactions. Giving a speech in front of a live audience is something I crave more than chocolate. My Toastmaster clubs’ membership levels are anemic as we wait patiently for an infusion of energy. More than ever, I appreciate the power of human interaction and communication.
Like coming out of a freeze-induced power outage, I hope that the COVID-19 isolation impacts will thaw soon and allow us to recharge with the amazing energy of smiles, hugs and personal interactions.
When my Mom entered it room, it lit up with her smile. I miss her dearly and know that many people are craving that form of warmth and love.
A positive shift in energy and focus is needed to maintain the crucial connections that keep our communities strong.
The power of human interactions is sustainable and renewable and should not be neglected during times of crisis.
In this time of Covid-19, the mission of the American Legion is more critical than ever. As the nation’s largest veterans service organization, the wide reaching programs should be increasingly mobilized to meet the members’ needs.
Two pillars of the American Legion’s mission statement stand out to me as being the most important during these challenging times:
Devotion to fellow service members and veterans
Advocating patriotism and honor
In this time of lockdowns, loneliness and isolation, we need the continued devotion to our fellow members to keep everyone’s spirits up. The health and wellbeing of millions of veterans is the focus and our selfless service to others will keep our communities strong.
In this time of disunion and polarization, we need to be advocating positive patriotism and honor. By rallying around a common objective we can strengthen America in its battle against the coronavirus.
Now is the time to unite around our shared values and binding symbols, the stars and stripes of the US flag. Now is the time to set aside political differences and take care of each other.
The headwinds we face as a nation are great but I remain confident that we will overcome and rise to the occasion. The United States has faced countless challenges in our 245-year history and the patriotic, generous and giving spirit of Americans won’t be shaken.
I’ll leave you with words from Johnny Cash’s song “Ragged Old Flag”:
“In her own good land here she’s been abused She’s been burned, dishonored, denied, and refused
And the government for which she stands Is scandalized throughout the land
And she’s getting threadbare and wearing thin But she’s in good shape for the shape she’s in
‘Cause she’s been through the fire before And I believe she can take a whole lot more
So we raise her up every morning We take her down every night We don’t let her touch the ground and we fold her up right
On second thought, I do like to brag ‘Cause I’m mighty proud of that ragged old flag.”
There’s good news for US military veterans who want to connect with their community and be part of a strong veteran’s service organization. The eligibility requirements to join The American Legion have been modified and more people are now able to join.
The recent change is thanks to the LEGION Act which was enacted in July 2019 and will open the door for approximately 6 million veterans.
The LEGION Act stands for Let Everyone Get Involved In Opportunities for National Service will enable more people to join the American Legion and gain access to its benefits and programs. Click here for more information on the LEGION Act.
Now that the legislation has been signed, The American Legion’s eligibility criteria changes from seven war eras to two: April 6, 1917 to Nov. 11, 1918, and Dec. 7, 1941 and continuing . No other restrictions to American Legion membership are changed.
The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to community service and assistance.
With over 2 million members and more than 12,000 posts in communities throughout the United States, the Legion is the largest nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization.
Ahwatukee Post 64 is a very active in the local Phoenix, Arizona community and provides many volunteer services and support throughout the year, including:
Honor and Color Guard – over 50 events and ceremonies last year