"The American Legion is not a dichotomy.
We aren't two ideas. We're one. That conjunction between
God and country has to exist or we're not the Legion."
Dan McClure saw people he knew die in Vietnam and realized he wasn't invincible. "I searched for a couple of years and finally found that the God I believed in was a lot more personal than I thought, and that there was an opportunity to actually know him," he says.
He studied for the ministry and served 20 years as an Army chaplain, including a tour at Fort Riley, Kan., counseling soldiers returning from Iraq.
McClure wants Legion chaplains to see their office not as a stepping stone to another position but as the best job they'll ever have: "liaison between God and man," he says. "The chaplain is the one who goes to the VA hospitals and spends time with vets who really don't have anybody. You don't spend a lot of time with the issues. You take care of folks."
Helping veterans and their families is McClure's "heartbeat," he says. "It's hard to sniff at 2½ million individuals all heading the same way. I want to be a part of that.
"It gives me an opportunity to have a voice I never had when I was in uniform."
Branch of service: Air Force (1962-1976), Army Reserve (1976-1995), Iowa National Guard (1995-2005)
MOS: Infantryman, chaplain
Rank at discharge: Colonel
American Legion post: Leon Beatty Post 29, Washington, Iowa
Years in the Legion: 12