Now that Department of Georgia Legionnaire Edgar J. Johnson got a taste of being a VIP at an American Legion national convention, he wants to do it again.
Johnson, a member of Samuel G. Cooke American Legion Post 267 in Columbus, won this year's National Recruiter of the Year Award after bringing in 724 new members into the organization.
"It really feels nice to be among heroes here," Johnson said after receiving the award. "(Winning the award) was not an easy task."
Fourteen Legion departments exceeded their membership goals for the year – the most since the 2001-2002 year. Those departments were Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Utah, North Carolina, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, the Philippines, Delaware, Rhode Island and Arizona.
Also on the convention floor, hundreds of thousands of dollars were donated over the first two days of the convention, resulting in some impressive totals. In addition to the more than $764,000 raised  on and following the Legacy Run, more than $400,000 was donated during the convention to Operation Comfort Warriors, National Commander James E. Koutz's pet project this year. That brought the total raised this year to more than $1.1 million.
"I asked you to raise $500,000, and you did that," Koutz told convention attendees. "Then I asked you to raise $750,000, and you did that. I didn't ask you to raise $1 million – but you did that."
The Department of Pennsylvania presented Koutz with $47,000 on the convention floor on Aug. 27.
More than $158,000 was donated to the National Emergency Fund, including $54,474 from the Department of Pennsylvania and $37,248 from New York. And more than $26,000 was donated to the Child Welfare Foundation, including $15,000 from the Department of Ohio Charities Inc.