Montpelier Post 109, Montpelier, Ohio
I love my post for many reasons. First of which is, as a Cub Scout, I marched in my first parade during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by this post. I and my fellow scouts were given flags by a Legionnaire to carry during the parade. We had our photo taken, and it was on the front page of our small town newspaper.
After high school I joined the Army and moved away from my town for many years. I joined a post in North Carolina but was not active in it. After I retired as a police officer, I returned to my home town and transferred to Post 109. I was accepted immediately and brought into the fold. I assisted in any program we were involved in, but due to low membership participation and aging leadership, many programs were abandoned.
Rummaging through the basement one day, I discovered the original post charter and list of charter members from 1920. One of the names on the list of charter members was a great uncle who was gassed and received the Cross of Gallantry from the French government during World War I. I immediately felt a paternal bond to my post, which only heightened my desire to see it grow and flourish. I had the charter and list of charter members reframed, and I posted it in a place of prominence in our hall.
After my first year, I was approached by the post commander about me becoming the next commander. I believe the best way to come up in a post is by working from the bottom up, but no one else was interested in the position. This was an honor beyond my wildest hopes.
Now this is where things get interesting. My fellow legionnaires had no idea where I was going to lead them, but they trusted me and allowed me to run with the ball. In addition to the placement of flags in local cemeteries on veterans’ graves, we also had pancake breakfasts, a Veterans Day chili dinner, an annual Bean Day Parade and honor guard for veterans’ funerals. We began to make improvements to the post, painting and remodeling in small stages. We restarted our Americanism and Government Testing with the local school, along with the School Award, and we sent our first two boys since 2003 to Buckeye Boys State. We raised the flag at the football home games, and we recognized a local business for placing a public display in their store front welcoming home Iraq and Afghan veterans. We also started a flag retirement program as part of Flag Day, initiated a recognition program for veterans in our local nursing home, and adopted those veterans and purchased Christmas presents for them.
We provide service flags to the local library at no cost for a Memorial Day display, and we work closely with the municipal government on patriotic programs. And for two years in a row we have surpassed our post membership quota.
I have Legionnaires volunteering to take on new projects, and the community sees us doing things other than at our most somber and hallowed duty of funeral honor guards. The community sees us as a valued asset.
Kevin Motter, Post 109 commander
Dispatch wants you to tell us, and the rest of The American Legion, why you love your post. Submit your story and related photo by visiting www.legion.org/dispatch/lovemypost.