By: Pat Smith Department Adjutant – As Published in the July 2015 Internet Observer
Your American Legion is alive and well. We just concluded our annual department convention and it was a great success. Attendance was up, enthusiasm was up and controversy was all around, which is good.
For the first time in many years we actually had a race for the position of Department Commander. Our normal progression is you get elected Sr Vice Commander and if you don’t screw up you will be elected Commander. Unfortunately this year our Sr Vice Commander had to resign in the middle of the year due to serious personal issues. That left us with two Jr Vice commander candidates, Tom Florez and Larry Johnson who both announced their intentions to run for the position.
The race was close but Tom Florez, U S Army veteran from the 1st Persian Gulf conflict, became your 96th Department Commander. Tom lives in Ordway, CO, look it up on a map, it is near Pumpkin Center CO.
To serve with Tom is your Sr Vice Commander Jay Bowen, an Army Veteran from Colorado Springs. The delegates elected 6 Jr Vice Commanders: Larry Johnson, Colorado Springs; Robb Smith, Loveland; Terri Shelefontiuk, Lakewood; Lou Brackett, Grand Junction; Lee White, Cedaredge; Steven Varela, Pueblo.
Elected Historian was Jim Stanko from Steamboat Springs; Chaplain, Stan Hamamotto from Colorado Springs; Sgt-At-Arms Tom Moermond, Aurora. Frank McCurdy of Denver was re-elected as your NEC and Jim Gillis of Aurora was elected as your Alternate NEC.
The Department Executive Committee appointed Gerry Lollar as the Asst-Sgt-At-Arms and Darrell Myers as Department Photographer. The Department Finance Officer is Brandt Erickson with one year left on his term.
The Convention considered 8 resolutions. Two resolutions were submitted to national for their consideration at the national convention. Those resolutions are printed elsewhere in this Observer. The delegates to the convention also approved a $2.00 per-capita increase beginning for the 2017 membership year. In addition to the Colorado increase the national organization is proposing a $5.00 increase. That decision will be made in Baltimore at the national convention.
A resolution splitting up Denver area districts 5 and 6 was approved. That resolution was a change to the department by-laws and will be implemented immediately. A new standing committee was formed called the Strategic Membership Planning Committee and will work on a 5 year membership plan for Colorado. Four resolutions were rejected by the delegates.
The Membership Committee passed out 67 plaques to posts for attaining their 2014-15 goal and 18 plaques to posts for attaining an all time high.
Jim Gillis, Chairman of the Americanism Committee recognized the following posts for their efforts to promote Americanism in their communities.
Category 1 – Large size posts
Colorado Springs Post 209 1st Place; Ft Collins Post 4, 2nd place; Loveland Post 15, 3rd place
Category 1 – Medium size posts
Fort Morgan Post 19, 1st place; Steamboat Springs Post 44, 2nd place; Highland Ranch Post 1260, 3rd place.
Category 1 – Small size posts
Granby Post 88, 1st place; Fort Lupton Post 102, 2nd place
The Employment Committee awards were presented to: Small Employer of the Year when to Mind Springs Health, Inc, Grand Junction and Medium Employer went to Summit Technical Solutions, LLC, Colorado Springs for their efforts in hiring veterans
Tony DuMosch, Chairman of the Community Service Committee, presented awards to Colorado Springs Post 5, Loveland Post 15, Rocky Ford Post 8, Grand Junction Post 200, Ordway Post 94, Elks Lodge 1051 Loveland, Charles Bogle of Westcliffe Post 170 and Bill Miller of Monument Post 9-11 for their support and participation in local community affairs.
Darrell Myers, Chairman of the Public Relations Committee, designated Post 209 and Post 1as having the best website. Second place went to Pueblo Post 2 and third place went to Parker Post 1864.
At the testimonial banquet on Saturday Evening the Jr Auxiliary presented their family table setting. Darrell Myers was awarded the Legionnaire of the Year by Commander Richard Humphrey.
The convention concluded with a memorial service on Sunday morning by chaplains Frank Pemberton, American Legion, Julie Dominquez-Aysse, American Legion Auxiliary and Rick Baldessari, Sons of The American Legion.
For 96 years The American Legion has continued their service to our veterans, our families and our communities. With new leadership we are assured a bright future. Our new Department Commander Tom Florez, has adopted the theme, “Making a Difference.” Join with him this year and make a difference!