Sunday, November 10, 2013
Awards Highlight Early November Visitation Swing
New York State American Legion leaders honored several people in their visitation swing along the Southern Tier and the New York City area in early November, including long-time Legionnaires and a 12-year-old Long Island boy who rescued a child from drowning.
In Chemung County Nov. 3, Department Commander Kenneth Governor, Department Auxiliary President Barbara Corker and Sons of the American Legion (SAL) Detachment Commander John Chang laid a wreath at Woodlawn National Cemetery in Elmira. Later in the day, during a testimonial dinner at Skinner-Ernest American Legion Post 1612 in Big Flats, Governor honored Ray Tanner of Elmira Heights American Legion Post 154 with the Department Commander’s Award of Excellence. “Ray Tanner is ‘Mr. American Legion’,” Governor said, noting Tanner has been an active member of the Elmira Heights Post for more than 50 years.
In Broome County Nov. 6, the New York Legion leaders first paid respects to veterans in the “Walk of Heroes” at the Veterans Memorial Park in Endicott. After that, Department Commander Governor honored a woman Legionnaire in front of local TV cameras for her leadership and commitment to community and veterans.
Later, at a testimonial dinner at John Handte American Legion Post 89 in Vestal , Governor formally presented the Department Commander’s Award of Excellence to the woman veteran — Barbara Beebe of John F. Johnson American Legion Post 1700 in Endicott. He cited Beebe’s extensive involvement in services to community and veterans. She has held many offices in her post and the 6th District, including being commander of both. For the district, Beebe chaired the Family Support Network and the Heroes to Hometowns program as well as serving as Goodwill and International Relations chair. Active in both the National and New York American Legion Press Associations, Beebe recently testified before the New York State Assembly on the “suicide epidemic” among veterans.
In a Nov. 9th ceremony at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, Nassau County, Department Auxiliary President Corker presented the American Legion Auxiliary Youth Hero Award to David Zachary Collins for pulling an unconscious boy from the bottom of a swimming pool and saving his life.
The youth, son of Sue and Gary Collins of North Bellmore, recounted how it was starting to get dark, making it hard to see, but he had his goggles on and spotted something below. He went to investigate and found the other boy. CPR revived the unconscious youth.
Corker was there as part of a joint visitation with Department Commander Governor and New York SAL Detachment Commander Chang. They toured the aviation museum, and were guests at a Nassau County American Legion dinner.
The evening before, they were at the annual American Legion Military Ball in the Bronx, where Governor spoke of “Service First.”
It’s about reinvigorating the core mission to serve men and women in uniform, veterans and families, community and nation, he said.
A sign that the Department of New York is on the right track in putting “service first,” Governor noted, is the Americanism trophy that New York walked away with at the Legion’s national convention this past summer. “We were honored for having the best Children and Youth, and Family Assistance Programs in the entire American Legion.”
Chang noted that, like the department commander, his personal project this year is to collect donations for the National Emergency Fund, especially since the fund helped so many New York families in the devastating wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Corker said her project is to support the American Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors, and for two reasons. First, unlike other charities, 100 percent of donations go directly to helping wounded warriors. Second, it’s important to “show our warriors our love.”