1st District Commander Year-End Report
-By Jeff Haeseker
As a crazy Legion year comes to an end, who knew? Unfortunately, the COVID-19 virus outbreak has forced the cancellation of all of our youth programs (which we were making a lot of progress on), not to mention canceling the State and National Conventions. However, the first year with the newly merged 1st District has gone fairly well. There are a lot of awesome post commanders in the district and they are making an impact.
I am always proud of our Livonia Post 32 Honor Guard. This group of members assists in many military honors for deceased veterans throughout the year and will provide a 21-gun salute. They did exactly that at the Vietnam War Wall Memorial when it came to Livonia in August. The Honor Guard was on-site 24/7 for this entire event. PDC Dick Chatman was the honored guest speaker for the Opening Ceremony, while our Finance Officer Roger Avie addressed the crowd on that Friday evening. The Honor Guard also performed a 21-gun salute at the graveside service for the funeral of former Congressman John Conyers, Jr.
Dan McCrary, our 1st District Americanism Co-chair, and Grosse Pointe Post 303 Commander is doing an amazing job with our District Junior Shooting Program. Dan is the SSP SPOC and John Burke, Post 86 Commander, is our JROTC SMSAP SPOC. These programs are running very strong on the east side of the district. Both Post 303 and Post 86 are always happy to support recognition awards for these high schools. The District 1 Oratorical Contest was also completed by Dan McCrary, with a winner and two runners up sent to the 1st Zone.
The 1st District passed our “Resolution of Support for the Restoration of the Brodhead Naval Armory”, located in downtown Detroit next to Belle Isle. Several of our posts had passed the resolution before it was put to a vote at our March 9th District Meeting. The Resolution was presented to Jim Semerad, CDR, USN (Ret), Chairman of the Board for the Brodhead Association.
Our District has many volunteers from a couple of different posts that volunteer to help staff the Freedom Center at Metro Airport on a regular basis, as well as one member on the Board of Directors. We are proud of the work that they do.
Sadly, the district recently lost our 2nd Vice Commander Guadalupe Luna to the COVID-19 virus. Guadalupe was also the Post Commander for Post 505 in Detroit. We also lost Freeman Chandelier, who was the Sergeant-at-Arms for Post 86, to his long battle with cancer. They will be missed. Commander Dan Newton has been appointed as 2nd Vice Commander until such time as we get to come together to vote. Welcome aboard Dan!
District Adjutant Gary DeMars developed and maintains our web page “District 1 Blog” (https://al.aldist1.org/ ), to provide an information portal that has access by any web browser. It contains notes, articles, and links to sites the Post Commanders and members that may be interested in reviewing. It is an excellent place to start for retrieval of information about our District, the VA, or any of the National American Legion programs.
It has been an honor to serve as our 1st District (and 17th District) Commander for the last couple of years and my hope is that I have served you well. Please, everyone, stay safe and we’ll see you on the other side.
-May you have fair winds and following seas!
District 1 Commander
American Legion -Michigan