By: Pat Smith, Department Adjutant
We just concluded a very successful 97th department convention for the American Legion in Colorado.
The delegates to the convention elected a new slate of officers to take us through the new Legion year. They passed 9 resolutions and sent them on to national for consideration at the national convention later in August. Two of those resolutions involve Colorado Legionnaires. The delegates endorsed Ralph Bozella from Longmont post 32 as a possible candidate for the high office of National Commander. We know he has the leadership ability to lead this great organization into the future should he be tapped on the shoulder to become the candidate. We wish Ralph the best as he travels this difficult road to national commander. We know Colorado will be firmly behind him in this journey.
The delegates also endorsed Pastor Stan Hamamoto from Colorado Springs Post 209 for the office of National Chaplain. Stan was just re-elected as our Department Chaplain. The position of national chaplain is an appointed position by the new national commander so it is a different road to that position. Stan’s credentials will be furnished to the National Commanders office for consideration. There is no guarantee that he will be selected by the new national commander, or any future national commander, but we believe he would make an excellent national chaplain. The department leadership will be working on his behalf to be sure everyone knows of his passion of bringing God into our lives. The last three words of every prayer he gives is “Go to church.” We are with you Pastor Stan.
Seven other resolutions were passed and they are included elsewhere in this publication.
The delegates chose John “Jay” Bowen from Colorado Springs post 209 as your new Department Commander. Jay is originally from Tennessee and was transplanted to Colorado with his job a number of years ago. Jay is a U. S. Army veteran serving over 22 years, mostly in missile systems. He Retired as a CW3 Warrant Officer. After discharge he went to work for a defense contractor and still serves in that position part time. Jay has climbed the ladder in offices serving as a department Jr Vice, Department Sr. Vice and now Department Commander. He was previously a department officer in Tennessee so he brings with him a wealth of experience in management of this volunteer organization.
Jay has chosen as his theme, BPOTS, Be Part of the Solution. He believes that we all need to work together to find solutions to the many situations that face us as an organization. He has a quick wit, great personality, a fun side and the ability to communicate clearly as to the direction he wants us to go. All this in spite of a pronounced Tennessee twang. This will be a great year with Jay as your commander.
Elected with Jay was Terri Shelefontiuk as your Sr. Vice Commander. Terri served as your Jr Vice Commander for the Department last year. She was instrumental in reactivating the all woman’s post #206 in Aurora several years ago. She is a veteran of the U. S. Army. She currently works in the health care industry as a Sr. consultant. She has excellent communication skills and will serve the department well in her new position.
The delegates elected three Jr Vice Commanders for the new year. Robb Smith from Loveland was re-elected to this position. Lou Brackett from Grand Junction was re-elected and Dean Noechel from Colorado Springs was elected to his first term. They serve at the pleasure of the Department Commander and will have plenty of duties under Commander Jay.
Brandt Erickson of Denver was re-elected as your department finance officer. Jim Stanko of Steamboat Springs was re-elected as your department historian. Stan Hamamoto was re-elected as your department chaplain. Tom Moermond of Arvada was re-elected as your Sgt-at-Arms.
The Department Commander appointed Jerry Lollar as assistant Sgt-at-Arms, Darrell Myers as department photographer and Larry Carroll as judge advocate. Carol Kennedy and Doug Wooddell were selected by the past department commanders club to be their representatives to the Department Executive Committee.
That is your leadership team for the coming membership year. It is now our job to support them in every way possible to assure that Colorado has a banner year in all we do for our veterans, our families, our communities and our nation.