George Blume has spent most of his adult life teaching youth and volunteering his time with The American Legion. A retired professor of theology and religion at Virginia Tech, he’s a World War II Army veteran and longtime American Legion Boys State volunteer.
“My dad was a great Legionnaire, and he was a Boys State counselor,” Blume says. “I grew up not chewing on a pacifier – I grew up chewing on membership cards. The whole house was basically a membership place. I was in Sons of The American Legion, and I think this would be my 81st year as a Son, starting at 12 years old. I was also in the drum and bugle corps, where I played the cymbals.”
When Blume left the service, he used the GI Bill to get an education, eventually earning his doctorate.
“Coming back from the war you basically had to begin to live your life, and if it hadn’t been for the Legion and the GI Bill, I would have had a lot of trouble getting into school,” Blume says. “I was able to get all my books, tuition, a few cigars and one dance with a girl. That carried me through the four years.”
That’s when his dedication to the Legion, and one of its premier programs, began.
“I attended Boys State right before the war, in 1941, so I knew about it,” Blume says. “As soon as I could adjust myself to the workload at Virginia Tech, I said, ‘I’m going to become a counselor at Boys State.’ I was director for 13 years, and now I do a lot of work getting Boys State kids ready for Boys Nation. I enjoy every minute of it.”
For Blume, the greatest satisfaction of volunteering is seeing how much young men change during their time at Virginia Boys State.
“For a long time, I thought, ‘Good gracious, how can one week make a difference in one’s life?’ But I’ve seen it on many occasions. One week will change their lives.”
Branch of service Army (1943-1946)
Military job Artillery & forward observation
Rank Tech sergeant
American Legion post Post 182, Blacksburg, Va.
Years in The Legion 73
- Post adjutant (2005-present)
- Alternate National Executive Committeeman (2000-2001)
- National Credentials & Internal Affairs Committee member (2000)
- National Distinguished Guests Committee co-chairman (1998-2001)
- National Legislative Council member (1995-current)
- Department commander (1993-1994)
- Post historian (1977-1997)
- Post commander (1967-1968)
- Virginia Boys State director emeritus