TAL Commander Randy Johnson and SAL Detachment Commander Jim Lastovka presenting Robert Hines with his award.

It is with great pleasure that Robert E. Hines was nominated for the Detachment of Iowa Sons of The American Legion Member of the Year Award for 2022.

When I floated the idea of starting a Sons Squadron to the members of Wapsie Post 473, it was Robert’s father (Legionnaire Bill Hines) who told me of his son. He related that Robert was afflicted with Cerebral Palsy/quadriplegia, that he had been wheelchair-bound his entire life and requires assistance with many of his daily needs. I did not know Robert at the time, but when I contacted him and explained what the Sons were all about and that I wanted to start a Squadron, he readily volunteered to do whatever he could to help out. Little did I know just how much he would contribute. In his motorized wheelchair, he immediately began helping with soliciting membership by placing recruiting posters throughout the community and answering questions from prospective members. During our first meeting, when discussing the makeup of the Squadron and the need for officers, he asked to become the Squadron Adjutant because, with his physical limitations, he believed that he could fulfill the responsibilities of that particular job versus any of the other positions. He was subsequently nominated for the Adjutant position and elected with a unanimous vote. Due to the fact that he was not currently employed and was able to conduct business during the daytime hours, he was nominated for the Finance Officer position as well. He has performed admirably and beyond expectations in both of these positions.

Simply put, I don’t believe that we would have ever gotten the Squadron up and running, chartered, and functioning without his incredible foresight and persistent efforts. Aside from leading the charge with recruiting, he was instrumental in getting the charter application submitted and processing the membership applications through the Post Adjutant. While awaiting approval of the charter application, he established a checking account for the Squadron, so that the membership cards for our 34 applicants could be processed expeditiously. Once the National and Detachment portions of the cards were filled out and mailed to Department Headquarters, he then mailed each member their card along with a personalized note of thanks.

Always positive and upbeat, Robert is an astute individual who has a knack for detail in working on day-to-day issues, as well as focusing on the big picture. I am simply in awe of what he does on a consistent basis.

In my 30-year military career and subsequent 18 years of work in the Federal Civil Service, he stands out as one of the most reliable individuals that I have ever encountered. He has attended every meeting since the beginning of our organizational efforts; he has attended every Post meeting as well, to learn more about what The American Legion is all about and how the Sons Squadron could better assist in making them more successful. Not fixated on only the Sons Squadron, he is focused on making improvements for the entire American Legion Family of our community. Seeing that the Post was struggling financially, he proposed to the Sons that they donate $150.00 to the Post so that they could purchase a Two-Year Social & Charitable Gambling License from the State to enhance their fundraising capabilities. Also noticing a need for improved communication within the Post, he built a website for the entire Oxford Junction American Legion Family (OJLegion.com), which includes separate tabs for our Post, our Auxiliary Unit, and our Sons Squadron. Serving as the webmaster, Robert continues to add to and provide updates to improve the site. We received so many favorable comments about this website that we recently entered it in the Department Media Contest.

Robert is the epitome of hard work and determination. The Oxford Junction American Legion Family would not be where it is today without the efforts put forth by this multi-talented individual. I truly believe that there is not another member in the entire Detachment who has put their heart and soul into making the Sons a success than Robert Hines, and I therefore strongly encourage you to consider him for this coveted award.

Please contact me if you have any questions or need additional information. You may reach me at (319) 821-1197, or by sending email to wggoodman@yahoo.com.

Respectfully submitted,

William G. Goodman
Oxford Junction, Iowa