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American Legion celebrates its birthday

Posted: March 19, 2013 - 4:19pm
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Rex Bell speaks after being named Legionnaire of the Year during the event.   NIKASHA DICKS/STAFF
NIKASHA DICKS/STAFF
Rex Bell speaks after being named Legionnaire of the Year during the event.

Friday evening was a night of celebration for members of Jesse C. Lynch American Legion Post 71.

Members were celebrating the American Legion’s 94th birthday and the post’s 81st birthday.

It was also the post second birthday celebration in its new home.

“It’s a reflection on the heritage, the traditions behind of the American Legion,” said the post’s commander Jerry Morin of the event.

The event featured a presentation of awards to the post’s members including the Legionnaire of the Year award to Rex Bell; a post everlasting tribute for post members who have passed since last year’s event; and keynote speaker, North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover, who gave an overview of Project Jackson and how the development proposal came about.

Members were also reminded of why the organization was founded and to continue to advocate.

“We are important advocates for our veterans,” Morin told those attending.

The first American Legion caucus was held March 15-17, 1919 in Paris and chartered in September of that year. The organization focuses on four areas: veterans, defense, youth and Americanism. Some of its programs include the American Legion Baseball program, the American Legion Boys State, National High School Oratorical Contest, and the Junior Shooting Sports National Air Rifle Championship.

Its advocacy efforts have also led to the creation of the U.S. Veterans Bureau, now known as Veterans Administration, and the passage of the GI Bill.

The local post was chartered in 1932 by 16 World War I veterans. The post’s first home was located in the area now occupied by the North Augusta Community Center. In 1948, the post built a new building on Spring Grove Avenue. Then, in 2011, the post demolished the building and built a larger facility for its large membership which had grown to more than 400 members. The post is active in the community through community service activities and advocating for veterans.

“We are veterans working for veterans,” Morin said.

LONGTIME MEMBERS

Post 71 members with more than 50 years of membership

W.E. “Earl” Byrd 61 years

W. Leonard Gunter 56 years

William K. “Bill” Jordan 64 years

Robert G. Lang 52 years

Dewey A. Myers 52 years

Lloyd J. Shanks 52 years

Francis J. Sitar 63 years

Joseph S. Wilkes 52 years

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