Brentwood’s chapter of the Sons of the American Legion (SAL) has been active for one year and is working hard to grow its membership and service record.
In just one year, the group has grown to 42 members. They are dedicated to preserving the well-being of local veterans and helping the community in any way they can.
Matt Rabalais is one of the group’s founding members and its commander.
“We are here to support veterans and their families,” Rabalais said. “Our mission in Brentwood is patriotism, community and veteran relations. Right now, most of our charitable work is in the community, letting people know who we are and that we are here.”
Services offered by the SAL are support at funerals, participation at veteran and military events such as Memorial Day, and pitching in where needed. This year, that meant helping out the City of Brentwood and the Brentwood Rotary Club with their food drive.
“We’ve been helping with their food bank,” said Rabalais. “We are handing the boxes of food out, making sure traffic flows and people get their stuff, carrying stuff to the elderly’s homes – there are a lot that walk in, but some are homebound.”
Olivia Alvarez is the City of Brentwood’s recreation supervisor. She collaborated with Rabalais and the other SAL volunteers to distribute food collected by city and rotary volunteers. Alvarez explained the food bank was begun because so many people were impacted early in the pandemic and needed help.
“The Sons of the American Legion are a great group to work with,” Alvarez said. “They care about their community. They just want to give back, and it shows. They are all very professional and friendly and easy to work with and you can tell they care . . . we could not have done what we did without their manpower.”
In total, hundreds of seniors and residents were able to receive over 1,500 boxes of food.
The SAL is a patriotic service organization formed in 1932. Its members are male descendants of those who served in the armed forces. Rabalais said Brentwood originally had a chartered group in 1934, but lost its charter when membership dropped. When a friend asked for help gathering the members for a new charter, Rabalais said he was all in.
“I wasn’t in the military long enough to get my veterans status, so when I heard someone was starting the Sons, I was like yes,” Rabalais said. “I wanted to continue to serve my county and community in a way that was necessary for me and my beliefs.”
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