On Maine’s state flag, underneath the North Star, is the word dirigo, Latin for “I lead.” Not only is it the state’s motto, but it fits Matt Jabaut, a post-9/11 veteran who’s taking on leadership roles at the post and department levels.
Jabaut credits his mentors, who helped him successfully transition from the Army to college, then the civilian workforce. “I got hooked on giving back, feeling the camaraderie, serving a higher purpose, and helping other people who weren’t as successful in their transition,” he says.
While commander of Post 202 in Topsham for three years, Jabaut connected members with their interests or talents – Boys State for one, legislative for another. He understands that his peers have family and work obligations, but sometimes it’s about helping a person find his or her niche. “You find what they’re passionate about, and they’re willing to give up their time to do a program.”
Jabaut also runs Maine’s unique three-part Legion College. “The goal is to develop the next generation of leaders at the post, district and department levels. The more people see that, the more they want to be involved and learn the history we are so proud of.”
That century of service inspires Jabaut.
“Our nation continues to make veterans, and we need to be there for them. The legacy, history, infrastructure and influence of the Legion has taken 100 years to build. No one else has that.”
Branch of Service Army (1997-1999, 2001-2005)
Military job Combat medic
American Legion post Corey Edwin Garver Post 202, Topsham, Maine
Years in The Legion 5
- National 21st Century Ad Hoc Committee member (2017-present)
- National Legion College graduate (2015)
- Department first vice commander (2018-present)
- Department Legion College dean (2017-present)
- Department judge advocate (2016-2017)
- Department chaplain (2015-2016)
- Post commander (2016-2018)