William E. Christoffersen of Utah is trading in his red cap for a blue one. The longtime Legionnaire and 48-year member of the organization's National Executive Committee was honored Monday during the 95th National Convention of The American Legion. He plans to retire from his NEC office.
"It's been a big part of my life," Christoffersen told his fellow NEC members in a meeting Monday morning in Houston. "There are times when you ask, 'Is it worth it?' I say yes, it is."
American Legion National Commander James E. Koutz presented Christoffersen with a plaque of appreciation and a message that just because he is leaving the NEC, Christoffersen will still be involved in national Legion leadership. "We will still be able to continue to enjoy his friendship and benefit from his knowledge because he will most likely be appointed as a member of a standing commission," Koutz told the NEC in Monday's meeting.
A World War II combat veteran, Christoffersen has been a member of the Legion for well over a half-century, including NEC appointments from 1963 to 1973 and again from 1975 to 2013.
His plaque reads:
"The American Legion expresses its highest appreciation for your longtime service as a member of the National Executive Committee... For more than a half-century, you have served this organization in an exemplary manner at the post, department and national levels in numerous leadership positions. Your life has been an outstanding example of service and patriotism, characteristics that were forged when you were an 18-year-old infantryman fighting in the Philippines during World War II.
"While your time as a member of the NEC is coming to an end, The American Legion will continue to benefit from your experience, wisdom and guidance as a treasured and respected Legionnaire."