|Dept. Commander Ken Governor|
He said his year in office will focus on the Legion's four pillars, plus what has become his personal theme: "Service first, to our men and women in uniform, our veterans, their families, and our communities." Pointing to the National Emergency Fund's support of Legionnaires in New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Governor announced that the emergency fund would be his personal project for the coming year. A retired Army major who served in both enlisted and officer ranks, Governor is a member of North Greenbush Post 1489 and is chair of the Legion's National Legislative Commission. He and his wife, Sandra, have three sons, two daughters and two granddaughters.
His election was preceded by a round of nominations and endorsements, and a rousing demonstration of support by Fort Crailo Post 471's Yankee Doodle Band and a throng of placard-carrying Legion Family members.
The day began with Past Department Commander Robert Morrill, acting as chairman in the absense of Adjutant Richard Pedro who has been ill, announced to the assembly that Joseph Clement was elected director of the NY Department American Legion Riders. Clement, a member of Post 574 Legion Riders in Hudson Falls, was among the Legion Riders leading the parade through downtown Niagara Falls Friday evening.
Then, John Chang was introduced as the new detachment commander of the Sons of the American Legion (SAL), along with his team -- but not before outgoing Detachment Commander John Knapp presented two checks totaling $11,600 to Outgiong Department Commander Tim Van Patten.
At the concurrent Auxiliary convention, Barbara Corker of the Bronx was elected president.
Junior ROTC Advisor John Kasmer Jr. got up to announce the Cadet of the Year, but first presented Heroism Awards to two cadets from Western New York Maritime Charter School -- Andrew Stillwell and Brandon Cruz -- for coming to the aid of a woman runner who collapsed during the Buffalo Marathon. Stillwell accepted for both as Cruz was on a training cruise.
Cadet Lt. Commander Shelby L. Pickerell of Southold High School's Naval JROTC program on Long Island is the NY Department Cadet of the Year. This is the 8th consecutive year that a Southold cadet has won the pretigious honor.
With Adjutant Pedro's declining health and pending retirement, accolates poured forth for his long-standing service to the Department and its posts. Outgoing SAL Detachment Commander Knapp presented a plaque expressing appreciation for Pedro's service to the Sons; both outgoing and incoming department commanders expressed heart-felt admiration; and Acting Chair Robert Morrill led the assembly in rendering a salute "to Dick Pedro for 29 years of service as our adjutant."