The American Legion has speeded up its process to assist Legionnaires and Sons of the American Legion members who have been victimized by Hurricanes Ike or Gustav. Financial grants are available through the organization’s National Emergency Fund.

“Many of these people need immediate help,” said American Legion National Commander David K. Rehbein. “The American Legion stands ready to assist. I have directed that our NEF process grants of up to $500 as quickly as possible to those eligible. This money is intended to address their immediate lodging needs. They can also apply for an additional $1,000 of assistance in case they need more. If you have not been affected, The American Legion needs your monetary donations to the NEF so we can assist these veterans and their families who have already lost so much.”

To be eligible for special immediate assistance, Legionnaires or SAL members must have been current on their membership when the storm hit and they must reside in a county or parish that was mandatorily evacuated, even if they remained in place.

Those in need of immediate assistance can call toll free at (800) 588-3365 between 8 am and 4:15 p.m. Eastern time. Those who are not in dire need can apply through the regular procedure by downloading an application at . American Legion posts that have been damaged by the storms are eligible for up to $5,000 of assistance.

Tax-deductible contributions can be sent to: The American Legion, National Emergency Fund, PO Box 6141, Indianapolis, IN 46206. They can also be made online at