Nearly 400 Legion members and guests met in Columbus last weekend for the 100th Annual Department of Ohio American Legion Convention.
Four members of Wilmington American Legion Post 49 were in attendance as delegates: Richard James, Post 49 First Vice Commander/Clinton County Commander; Jerry LeForge, Trustee/Past 4th District Commander; Greg Gray, Past Post 49 Commander; and Charles Rose, American Legion Post 49 Historian.
Main topics of the convention were the current state of the Department of Ohio, the drafting of legislative items to be presented to the Nation American Legion Convention, and election of Department Officers for the 2018-19 term. Robert E. Schmitt of American Legion Post 587, Toledo, was elected to serve as next the new American Legion Department of Ohio Commander.
Guest speakers included U.S. Rep./Brigadier General Steve Stivers, Ohio Treasurer Jon Husted, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray, and keynote speaker Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy.
Major topics addressed during the conference included National Security, Child Welfare, Veterans Affairs and Americanism Programs.
Of major concern was the decline in membership numbers, not only in the American Legion, but in all veterans’ organizations, due to the advanced age of current members and reluctance of younger veterans to get involved.
However, with only a small group of U.S. senators and congressmen that have actually served in the military, it is more important than ever that the younger veterans, returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, make their voices and concerns heard.
Organizations like the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, AMVETS and others need new members with first-hand knowledge of what is required to support our returning soldiers, now and in the future.
If you want to make a difference, you need to join and attend the meetings where your concerns and needs and be addressed and directed to the proper authorities. Waiting for someone else to act on your behalf may not get the results needed.
Join and attend. Support your veterans’ organizations. You served to earn that right — now exercise those rights and benefit from your service.