"It's the diversity (of The American Legion). It doesn't matter if you're a Democrat, you're a Republican, you're independent, what your skin color is, what your religion is. They still work together for what they think is right for the organization."
The military kept Terry Woodburn from a future he's not completely sure would have worked out. And for 42 years, The American Legion has given him opportunities to continue to serve his nation and fellow veterans alike.
A member of Post 32 in Springfield, Ill., Woodburn says that joining the Army in 1966 changed his life. "It was good for me to go in when I did," he says. "I'm not sure, actually, what path I'd have been on had I not gone in the Army when I did."
Woodburn served in the Army until 1972 and spent more than 13 years in the Army Reserve – many of those as an instructor. Joining the Legion allowed him to continue his service through advocating for veterans, he says.
What matters most to him? "Working with VA and being able to have a chance to remind Congress (or VA) whenever possible – or whenever we need to – that they make certain promises, and they need to keep those."
A longtime motorcycle enthusiast, he has enjoyed watching The American Legion Riders grow. "I've been riding since 1967," he says. "When this came along, it was just wonderful. I've been on several (rides). It's afforded me one other way to reach out to the younger veteran, as well as the older veteran."
Branch of Service: U.S. Army
Years: 1966-1972, and more than 13 years in Army Reserve
MOS: Instructor, USAR
Rank at discharge: Lieutenant colonel
American Legion Post: Post 32, Springfield, Ill.
Number of Years in the Legion: 42
- Adjutant, Department of Illinois
- Chairman, American Legion Riders Advisory Committee