Few choose to lead. Jim Lehmann hopes to change that and grow the Hastings American Legion Post at the same time.

This past April, Jim Lehmann was selected Post 47's new commander.

Lehmann, who was officially sworn in as commander in May, was unopposed for the position.

Elections for a new commander and board members occur every year in April and are open to any legion member - an opportunity that most members don't take advantage of, according to Lehmann.

"Not a lot of people sign up to be a board member because it's a huge time commitment. I probably spend an extra 10 hours a week minimum here doing stuff like Rivertown Days, or I come in to do maintenance and help balance the books," he said.

As commander, Lehmann acts as a mediator and delegator for the members of the Legion.

"I conduct the meetings. I am more or less a mediator between everyone. If someone gets unruly, then my job is to talk with them and remind them 'hey, you can't do that,'" Lehmann said. I also act as a mentor to the others on the board and advise them on how they can be more effective in their positions."

"For any future projects we may do, I may take the lead or I might set up a committee for them to do the leg work on that project," Lehmann added of his responsibilities as commander.

The Hastings American Legion looks to give back to the community, whether it be hands-on or with monetary donations.

Members of the Legion can often be seen doing work around the building from maintenance to lawn care. They help where help is needed, Lehmann said.

Last year, the Legion was able to donate over $6,000 to the community and local organizations. The money that is donated to local organization comes from events put on by legionnaires such as their meat raffles and bingo, as well as pull tabs.

The Legion is also there to help out families of deployed soldiers in Hastings.

"Let's say a pipe bursts at home, and the spouse that is deployed would normally be the one to fix it. It's an emergency and the family doesn't know where to go or who to call. They will usually call us," Lehmann said.

The reason for calling the Legion first? The organization holds a list of businesses that are willing to help out these families of deployed soldiers that are in need. A list, Lehmann said, that is "getting smaller and smaller."

Any businesses that may be interested in volunteering to help families of deployed soldiers should get into contact with Dakota County Veterans Service Officer Dean Markuson.

The Hastings American Legion is looking for new members. Members can join at any time and can find the application with qualification information at www.legion.org.