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  • Friday, January 23, 2015

    Legionnaires Spot Cookies As Mid-Winter Conference Opens

    ALBANY — Many of the legionnaires participating in the opening day of the Mid-Winter Conference were drawn to the cookie table set up by community health educator Julianna Tobak. She selected cookies to attract attention, she said, because, with “people going in and out of meetings, I wanted something to refuel the soul.”

    Legionnaires at cookie table

    From left are Staten Island Legionnaires Joe Commarata, Tony Porgola and Dennis McLoone, who all have served as Richmond County commander. At right is health educator Julianna Tobak.

    She was sharing resource information on Hepatitis C.

    The Conference is taking place Jan. 23-25 at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center in Albany. Concurrent conferences for the American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion (SAL) are being held at nearby hotels.

    Friday’s sessions featured: American Legion College, Membership Task Force, Centennial Task Force, Membership, Baseball, SAL Advisors, American Legion Riders, Bowling, Rehabilitation, Legislative issues, and Historians.

    The day was capped off with a welcome reception.

    James and Shirley Yermas

    James and Shirley Yermas

    Earlier in the day, James V. Yermas, the leading candidate for Department commander for 2015-2016, and wife Shirley were busy with their volunteers setting up a hospitality suite for the weekend to formally introduce Vermas to Legion members. The Amsterdam native and Town of Florida resident is a Vietnam War Army veteran. He served as an aircraft repairman with the 101st Aviation Unit in Hue Phu Bai, where he earned the nickname, Jungle Jim. After returning from his tour in Vietnam, he was an instructor at Fort Eustis, VA. Yermas is a retired General Electric machinist and former shop steward and assistant board member with UE-CWA Local 301.

    A 46-year member of the Legion, Yermas has served in many key  positions, including serving as commander of John J. Wyszomirski Post 701, Montgomery County Legion and 4th District Legion. He also has served as department vice commander and vice chairman of the National Security Council. He currently serves on the National Security Foreign Relations Subcommittee. He is a member of both the national and New York American Legion Press Associations.