National Commander Charles E. Schmidt leads an Awareness Walk for Veterans in Hutchinson, Kan., on Sept. 26, 2016. (Photo by Dirk Levy)

Commander's Walk in Kansas a success

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National Commander Charles E. Schmidt is continuing in the footsteps of his predecessor by leading Awareness Walks for Veterans across the country.

Schmidt’s first walk as national commander took place Sept. 26 at American Legion Lysle Rishel Post 68 in Hutchinson, Kan. About 40-45 Legion family members participated in the walk.

“My first awareness walk as national commander was a success,” Schmidt said. “We had such great support today from our American Legion family members here in Kansas. I look forward to walking proudly in support of all veterans in more communities across this great nation.”

Schmidt was elected national commander at the 98th annual American Legion National Convention earlier this month in Cincinnati. His predecessor, Dale Barnett, began the walks last year to raise awareness about veterans’ issues, highlight the Legion’s impact on communities nationwide and provide opportunities for Legion family members to share why they joined the organization.

Post 68 Commander David Griffin said he and the post members were happy to host Schmidt.

"I think everybody enjoyed it; that's a lot of people for Hutchinson," Griffin said of the turnout, which included about 50 attendees for a luncheon after the walk. "They were there for the reason of making known the needs of our veterans.

"We're always glad to have the national commander visit. He did a great job in his talk (at the luncheon),"

Jeremy Ehart, first vice commander of Post 68, told The Hutchinson News that it was “a very big honor” for Schmidt to visit the post.

“The purpose is to raise awareness for veterans,” said the 36-year-old Ehart, who was critically wounded while serving in the Marines. "We want to get everyone’s attention that we need support after we are done with our service.”