Wise People Said: Dan and Laura Keil

Posted On: Friday, 12 April 2024

American Legion Auxiliary Department of Michigan member Laura Keil and her husband, Dan, a Legionnaire, created a YouTube series called Veterans Post Tour. Dan is a combat veteran and has a degree in film he received through the GI Bill of Rights. They visit different American Legion posts, Veterans of Foreign Wars posts, and other veterans service organizations across the country — so far, they’ve filmed over a handful of posts and have visited over 50 in the last year and a half. They film the post, highlighting what makes each one unique and what it does for the community, and they interview the officers and members. Their hope is that by filming this series, they can encourage younger members to join.
Can you share how you two got the idea to create the YouTube series Veterans Post Tour?
Laura: I actually was a professional musician for 15 years and I got invited to play at one of The American Legion posts recently. I like to have a second guitar player. Dan played, they found out he was a combat veteran, and said, “You have to join the Legion.” He joined and [afterward], we went to all the Legions in our area. During one of those nights hanging out, we talked about starting a YouTube series and going to different posts around the country, showing what they do around the community. 
Dan: I didn’t know about The American Legion before this. It was important to get the name out there of the organization for veterans like me who have been out for 15 years who might not know about [the Legion]. I think that’s important for veterans to find some commonality with other veterans.

What is your goal during each visit to a post home? 
Dan: For each post that we film, if we can get them at least one new member, I say we have accomplished our mission. I want every veteran who is eligible to join these organizations. Without them, we as veterans don’t have the voices we deserve to have in Washington. They have seats in Washington — they can fight for funds veterans need for whatever they have going on.
Laura: A lot of younger veterans don’t realize they are eligible for benefits and disability. These organizations are a channel for them to be able to get benefits and be involved in the community they are in. The American Legion does so much for the community, and we want to highlight that with each episode.

What do you hope people take away when they watch your videos?
Dan: I hope if they are a veteran and they are not a member of The American Legion or VFW, it gives them something to think about. For the veterans who are members, I hope it motivates them to participate a little bit more, to reach out to the younger ones to come in — that they see our episodes and are going to go talk to that younger veteran. Commanders and members who have more leadership positions can get ideas on how they can make their post better. There are so many ways this can benefit other people.

Is there anything else you want to add about Veterans Post Tour?
Dan: I think it’s important to say there is a stigma of the Legion, the VFW — dark, dingy watering holes. We’ve been to plenty of posts that are bright and warm and friendly and welcoming, and I can bring my kids in here to watch the game, bring board games, kids can play pinball. We need to get away from the stigma of a bunch of old veterans drinking and telling war stories. Many just want to hang out with other veterans where they are understood. 

ALA Mission

In the spirit of Service, Not Self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad. For God and Country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace and security.