Story and Photos by Tim Sproles
The American Legion Department of Indiana held its Fall Conference from Friday, October 5 through Sunday, October 7 at the Marriott East Hotel in Indianapolis.
The Fall Conference is held annually for Legionnaires from across the state to discuss and vote on Legion business, recognize Legionnaires and local heroes for their service and deliver valuable information to the membership.
The Conference hosted multiple committee meetings with one General Session for Legionnaires to conduct Legion business.
This year, the Department was honored to have our newly elected National Commander of The American Legion, Brett P. Reistad in attendance during the weekend. He also addressed the Hoosier Legion as an honored speaker at the general session, saying, “I’m honored to represent you as your centennial National Commander. These are historic times for The American Legion. Coming off our 100th National Convention in Minneapolis, and preparing for our 100th Birthday in March. It’s a time to celebrate our legacy.”
One of the ways Cmdr. Reistad plans to help celebrate our legacy is with the formation of “Team 100.”
Reistad said, “Team 100 is a group of like-minded Legion Family members dedicated to increasing membership and practicing our four pillars. We plan to remind the public why The American Legion has been such an important force in our communities for over 100 years.”
Distinguished visitors also included the Auxiliary Department of Indiana’s President, Betty Slagle and the Sons of The American Legion Detachment of Indiana Commander, Doug Heiser, whom both brought greetings to the session.
The Department also had awards to present, including a National level award given to a Hoosier first responder.
First up, the Department recognized cadets from the first annual Indiana Youth Cadet Law Enforcement program. Dominick Kimbrough and Nathan May were the recipients of the Spirit Award, given to both a male and female cadet for having an outstanding attitude and motivation that seems to be contagious to the cadets around them. Henry Massing took home the Integrity Award, given to a cadet who displays strong moral principles throughout the week. Veronica Matthews earned the Mental Attitude Award, presented to a cadet who held a great attitude throughout the week. Logan Stirn earned the Most Improved Cadet, and Leah Rusk was named the Most Athletic Cadet.
The final IYCLEA award was the Top Cadet of 2018 award, presented to Dawson Patrick.
Department Children and Youth Commission Chairman, who is also Chairman of the Indiana Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Program, Mark Gullion, said, “A lot goes into the selection of the recipient of this award. Physical fitness and mental toughness play a part, but we also look for leaders in the group. This cadet not only pushed himself to perform at the highest level but also pushed others to do the same. He exemplifies everything we hope to see in our future cadets.”
Next, the Department honored a Hoosier Legionnaire with The American Legion Square Knot Award. Michael Macku, sponsored by Post 59 in the 9th District. Macku was honored for his continuous service of over 20 years as an adult leader for the Boys Scouts organization.
National Commander Reistad also presented Corporal Clifford Hibbs of LaGrange, Indiana with the Central Region Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award.
The session ended with monetary donations from Legionnaires and posts around the state. Altogether, over $27,000 was donated to assist funding various National and Department programs.
The Department will meet again for the annual Mid-Winter Conference from January 11 – 13, 2019. A variety of training will be offered to include blocks of instruction on how to use Mylegion.org and the National organization’s new E-Check Transmittal process, as well as updates from Gaming and Excise.
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