"Our organization needs people
who are going to go out and recruit
and sell our organization to the community.
And I enjoy doing it."
Al Ford first went to an American Legion post while on a double date. He liked it and joined. Then he found something he liked just as much: asking others to join.
Over the years, Ford has either started or revitalized approximately 150 Legion posts in Michigan.
"There is a need for what I do," he says. "Our organization needs people who are going to go out and recruit and sell our organization to the community. And I enjoy doing it. I have a wife – we will soon be married 60 years – who travels with me and allows me to continue to do this."
There's no magic to why Ford has stayed a Legionnaire for 50 years. "I think the bug bit me or something," he says. "I think The American Legion stands for more than having a good time. We have work to do in the community. Teach patriotism to our children. We've got a lot of veterans in our communities who need help. We need to be out there talking to (veterans), welcoming them back home. That's our mission."
Branch of Service: U.S. Air Force (1951-1955, 1960-1964)
MOS: Military police/flight safety instructor
Rank at discharge: Technical sergeant
American Legion post: Post 282, Ypsilanti, Mich.
Years in the legion: 50