|Ken Governor poses with Color Guard. Photo by Ed Lupian.|
He presented Mattydale Post 1832 Color Guard with the Department Commander's Award of Excellence. He cited the color guard's support of Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Final Salute, and other Legion and community-related ceremonies. Formed in 1964 with a rifle team added in 2002, the Mattydale Color Guard, he said, performs 70 to 80 funerals a year, along with 20 to 30 other ceremonies, logging between 2,000 and 3,000 volunteer hours.
The change he referred to is about "Service First," Governor said during an afternoon banquet at Valley American Legion Post 1468 in Syracuse. The American Legion's Department of New York is reinvigorating the core mission to serve men and women in uniform, veterans and families, community and nation, he said.
"Just as our country has evolved since 1776, we, too, must continue to evolve if we expect to be relevant for today's returning veterans whose focus" is on "getting their jobs back, keeping their mainly two-earner families together, and furthering the education of themselves, their spouses and their children."
On both the national and state levels, Governor pointed out as an example, The American Legion is pushing for recognition and credentialing of a host of skills learned in the military that are transferable to the private sector; thus, making it easier for returning veterans to get jobs. The Legion is the organization that brought the issue of the VA backlog to the front burner, he said, and "we'll continue to monitor the situation" to help ensure that veterans get the care and benefits they deserve for "protecting our nation's freedom."
The commander's visit was a joint visitation with New York Auxiliary President Barbara Corker and New York Sons of the American Legion (SAL) Detachment Commander John Chang. Accompanying them were Department Vice Commander Joseph Barilla and 5th District Commander James Ellis. Earlier in the day, Governor visited Mattydale Post 1832 and toured the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Center, where he was briefed on its operations.