Tuesday, March 18, 2014
The Jesse C. Lynch Memorial Post 71 celebrated yet another milestone in its history on Friday night.
The American Legion Post turned 82 years old after opening its doors for the first time in 1932.
The program featured U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., as the featured speaker, as well as awards, prizes and other recognition.
Bluegrass artists Darlene Champagne and Johnny Fenlayson also performed a handful of songs.
“In 1931, a group of North Augustans came together to form a new Legion post,” Capt. David Myers, post commander, said. “In 1932, Post 71 of the American Legion and Unit 71 of the American Legion Auxiliary were chartered within the department of South Carolina. One of the founding members was a North Augustan veteran of World War I, a businessman and a civic leader named Jesse Lynch. On his death, members named the post in his honor and memory. ... In the 82 years since their founding, Legion 71 and Unit 71 have grown to become vital parts of the North Augusta community.”
Myers added, “They remain so today, and the Legion family of North Augusta now includes Squadron 71 Sons of the American Legion and Chapter 71 of the American Legion riders.”
Carl Schutte and Jim Whalen were both honored with the title of Ceremonial Corps Emeritus for their longtime dedication to the group.
Bud Hoag was also selected by his peers as Ceremonial Corpsman of the Year for his “dedication, reliability and performance.”
John Zentz was named Legionnaire of the Year.
Zentz is a dedicated and reliable member of the Ceremonial Corps, who was almost single-handedly responsible for the planning and execution of the Post’s monthly game night, has served with distinction as the Post’s Adjutant for nearly four years and has been the “go-to guy” for three post commanders, Myers said.
Rep. Joe Wilson, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, said he and other representatives know the importance of a strong military.
By extension, he also told the veterans they were “the troops on the front line” in explaining to family and friends.
“To have peace in the world you must have strength – peace through strength,” Wilson said. “I’m going to make a commitment, and you have to watch out for politicians making commitments. I was so impressed by your museum, and I noticed that with all of the planes you’re missing one, a B-40. That’s what my dad flew, so I’m going to come back with a model B-40. I then asked David if you had a chip of the Berlin Wall, and he said that you didn’t, so you will have a chip of the Berlin Wall. I also asked if you had sand from Iwo Jima. ... You will have sand from Iwo Jima.”
Wilson concluded by thanking the group members for all they have done and continue to do. He was also given a certificate of appreciation on behalf of The American Legion.
“I’m so grateful to represent you in Congress, and I want to extend an invitation to come visit – it’s your Congressional office,” he said. “... Please come up and visit; I want to see some friendly faces.”
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at The North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @NAStarRodgers.
American Legion Service in its 82nd year
• VA Hospital bingo sponsor
• Ceremonial Corps Military Honors at veterans’ funerals
• Ceremonial Corps at Missing in American Project veterans’ funerals
• Support North Augusta High School NJROTC
• Conducted city Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies
• Conducted flag retirement ceremony
• Attended troop deployment ceremonies at Fort Gordon
• Sponsored five high school students at Palmetto Boys State
• Sponsored students at Nathan Wolfe Law Enforcement Cadet Academy
• Sponsorship of Belvedere girls softball league
• Color guard for Belvedere girls softball league ceremonies
• Maintenance of Wade Hampton Veterans Park
• Participated in Veterans Day ceremonies at four elementary schools
• Nursing home visitations to veterans
• Distributed Constitution copies to six elementary schools
• City Christmas parade
• Sponsored 10 high school students to Girls State
• Collected items for care packages for deployed National Guard units
• Hosted monthly and quarterly events at the Charlie Norwood VAMC
• Sponsored Americanism essay contest in North Augusta’s elementary and middle schools
• Distributed Christmas poinsettias to veterans in area nursing homes and assisted living
• Sponsored 25 active duty soldiers and disabled veterans at Augusta GreenJackets
• Assisted with Santa Shop activities at Richard Campbell State Nursing Home
• Represented on Charlie Norwood VAMC Volunteer Services executive board
Sons of the American Legion:
American Legion Riders:
• Hammond House, monthly birthday cake
• Missing in American Project, motorcycle escort for three funerals
• Motorcycle escort for veterans’ funerals
• Legacy Run fundraiser for surviving children of veterans (more than $2,400)
• Helping Hands fundraiser rides for abused and neglected children
• Hammond House Christmas party