RICHFIELD SPRINGS — New York State American Legion Commander Kenneth Governor brought a message of “service first” to the Legion family in Otsego County on Nov. 23 and honored Charles West, commander of Hugick Purcell Shepard American Legion Post No. 616 in Richfield Springs.
Governor presented the Department Commander’s Award of Excellence to West, citing his commitment to helping veterans. West has held a number of positions in the Post. He promoted the Freedom Flight for Otsego County World War II veterans, helping to send 25 of them to Washington, D.C., to visit the World War II Memorial. He also helped raise money to send supplies to troops overseas. A firefighter for more than 40 years, West is active with the Richfield Springs Fire Department.
Service first is about reinvigorating the core mission to serve men and women in uniform, veterans and families, community and nation, Governor said during dinner at Post No. 616.
A sig the Department of New York is on the right track in putting service first, Governor said, is the Americanism trophy New York walked away with at the Legion’s national convention this past summer.
“We were honored for having the best children, youth and family assistance programs in the entire American Legion,” he said.
The commander’s visit was a joint visitation with New York Auxiliary President Barbara Corker and New York Sons of the American Legion Detachment Commander John Chang.
The trio visited Cooperstown to have lunch at American Legion Post No. 579 and tour the Baseball Hall of Fame before speaking at the dinner in their honor in Richfield Springs.
Chang noted 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 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.”