Tom Florez Commander Department of Colorado

Tom Florez Commander Department of Colorado

By: Tom Florez, Department Commander – As Published in the July and August 2015 Internet Observer

We are veterans and what joins us together is our membership in The American Legion!

Colorado Legion Members from our 167 Posts and 14 Districts and from every region of Colorado gathered in the hundreds for our 96th Annual State Convention, held in Colorado Springs!

Those in attendance were there to represent the approximately 21,000 Colorado American Legion members and our American Legion family of Auxiliary, SAL, Legion Riders and ALA Juniors.

I would like to express thanks to “ALL” members, Posts, Districts, Departments and staff. Without participation, work, and dedication from our members a great convention would not have been possible.

It was a great day to be associated with so many that has rendered service to our Nation. During my attendance at the National American Legion College in 2012, I remember what Past National Commander James E. Koutz of Indiana would say “Every day is Veteran’s Day” and, he was absolutely right.

It was our Commander Richard Humphrey’s last moments of leading our Department; a humbling thought, as only our Past Department Commanders may know. When the Commander called for a hand salute all rendered that salute in unison to honor “Old Glory.”  In my mind, only an American can render a proper salute with true distinction. A Salute goes out to our Colorado Legion members and family.

Diane Erickson is our new President of the American Legion Auxiliary.  We look forward to working with her and her officers as well as working to have a great year.   Appreciations go out to Susie Bozella, immediate past president of the Auxiliary, who led this past year’s efforts of our many fine Auxiliary members.

James “JR” Kent has made Colorado Legion history.  JR is a past State Department Commander and is now our Sons of the American Legion Detachment Commander.  With his and the SAL’s help, we will jump out of the chute and have a great year.  Recognition goes out to Scott Garrett, Detachment Commander & SAL members, whom always bring life to the party along with buckets of donations to our programs.  Also, great job to the SAL Detachment who reached 100 percent in membership.

A great surprise this Convention was the success of the Colorado American Legion Riders Legacy Run. Legion Riders from diverse areas of Colorado came together and garnered well over $3,000 for the National Program.  Outstanding!  Watch for the Legion Riders, as they ride and have a great year!

Thanks to Centennial Post 209 for being our convention host. My friend Marvin from Post 209 said, “Members came out of the woodwork to help out.  Legion members always rise to the occasion.”

I look forward to a great year and working with everyone. This time next year, our state convention will be held in Greeley, with Victor Candlin Post #18 hosting. When I look back at the year as your state Commander, I will by the grace of God, have done my best and worked to show that our Colorado Legion Members made a solid decision. I give all of you my humble and sincere thanks for your confidence in me.

For God and Country!