American Legion Post 725 in Hesperia is asking for the public's assistance in giving care packages to soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. To help, Post 725 is looking for locations to put collection boxes. (One box is located at the Hesperia Star at 17045 Main St., Hesperia.)


"We're looking for a collection of items that the soldiers need and can't readily get," said Dennis DeHay of Post 725. "We try to give them a variety."


By receiving assistance from the public, his organization will be able to expand their giving.


"It will let us send bigger boxes. That way we're helping more soldiers. We can send a lot more stuff that way. Getting the community involved means we'll be sending more boxes."


As a result, the American Legion has been in contact with local military recruiting offices for additional names of soldiers.


Post 725, which currently has about 80 members, helps both active soldiers and veterans. Recently they assisted an elderly veteran.


"The man had no money."


They fed him, got him a bus ticket so he could be reunited with family in Nevada and took him to the bus depot.


"The Legion picked up the cost for this. Whatever it takes to help a veteran. We do whatever we can do."


Hesperia Legion members also are expanding how they serve their fellow veterans. The post sponsors a color guard that attends funerals of veterans. And DeHay, a former Riverside resident with 33 years of Legion membership, represents the Legion at Hesperia Chamber of Commerce functions. And the Post is boosting its Sons of the American Legion organization, which is made up of boys and men of all ages whose parents or grandparents served in the U.S. military. Additionally, the American Legion Auxiliary is a group of women which boasts a national membership of about 1 million.


"We're trying to get involved in every aspect of the community. We're picking up members all the time," DeHay said. "We always look for new members."


Membership to American Legion Post 725 is $35 a year. The Post meetings 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month. It is located at 10184 Hesperia Road, Hesperia.