Post 555 honors first responders, legion members
Published 10:23 am Wednesday, May 11, 2016
By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer
PELHAM— At its biggest meeting of the year May 5, the American Legion Matthew Blount Post 555 recognized a police officer and firefighter of the year, swore in new Post 555 officers and awarded two of its members for their service.
“It’s probably the biggest meeting of the year we have,” said new First Vice Commander Tom McDaniel. “It’s the meeting where all our elected officers are sworn in. We had our election of officers last month.”
The meeting began with guest speaker Johnny Curry from the American Village, who spoke on the history of American Village and expressed the importance of keeping the American spirit alive.
McDaniel said Curry’s presentation was interesting and well received by the members.
The post photographer, Chic Cecchini, was given special recognition and a plaque for his outstanding and professional work as photographer. McDaniel said Cecchini has always been available for events, covering more than 50 this year.
Former First Vice Commander Kenneth Paschal was awarded the Matthew Blount American Legion Post 555 Legionnaire of the Year. McDaniel said Paschal was active in promoting and directing the majority of activities with the events committee.
Paschal was also responsible for membership, which McDaniel said has grown to 105 members.
Each year, McDaniel said the American Legion reaches out to the area police and fire chiefs to select the police officer and firefighter of the year. The selections were based off accomplishments and character.
“It’s important to us because we want to reach out to the community and let the community know, through the American Legion, that there are police officers and fire fighters out working for them,” McDaniel said. “It’s just like what we do, when we reach out and let them know there are veterans and people out fighting for them everyday.”
Pelham Police Chief Larry Palmer selected Detective Brad Jordan, and Pelham Fire Chief Danny Ray selected Capt. Chris Carpenter. Each chief listed several reasons for Jordan and Ray being selected for recognition.
“We want people to know that there are individuals here doing this on the home front, who are doing the same thing for them,” McDaniel said. “Fighting and protecting them on the home front.”
Division 2 Commander Rick Waler swore in the newly elected and appointed 2016-2017 Post 555 officers. The new officers are as follows:
- Commander Barry Blount
- First Vice Commander Tom McDaniel
- Second Vice Commander Richard Kaster
- Adjutant Ron Koonce
- Financial Officer BA Averett
- Sgt.-At-Army Anita Bennett
- Historian Joyce Franklin
- Chaplain David Coram, Jr.
- Post Service Officer Terry Stephens
- Public Relations Officer Gene Rowley
- Legion Riders Jeff Monday
- Trustees Quincey Whitehead, Frank Lakotich and Ray Adams
For more information, visit Alpost555.com.