East Liberty County American Legion Post 321 installed new officers Saturday afternoon in a ceremony at the Midway Police Department. The American Legion Department of Georgia Junior Vice Commander George Walker swore in the new leaders.
New officers include Chaplain Murray Romine, Sergeant at Arms Herbert Reed, finance officer Jeff Bowen, Adjutant John C. Ryon Jr., service officer Darryl Woodard, Senior Vice Commander A.J. Schmitt and Commander Dennis Fitzgerald.
Immediately following the swearing in, Fitzgerald honored Schmitt as Post 321’s member of the year. He then recognized several individuals and organizations for their support of Post 321, including Midway Mayor Dr. Clemontine Washington and the Midway police and fire departments. He also thanked the Riceboro, Walthourville and Lake George fire departments, Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, Hinesville Walmart, Coastal Electric Membership Cooperative, WTOC and the Coastal Courier.
In addition, Fitzgerald presented to Boy Scout Troop 461 the Category One Chief Willis M. Boyd Scouting Award from the American Legion Department of Georgia. He said the post’s sponsorship of the local Scout troop enabled it to earn the award, which rightfully belongs to the Scouts.
“(Post 321) was incorporated in October 2006,” Fitzgerald said, noting their service to veterans and the community has grown each year. “We started out giving away 15 turkeys (for needy families during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays). We gave away more than 100 turkeys last year.”
After the presentations, everyone enjoyed burgers and hot dogs with all the trimmings, including fresh watermelon. Before adjourning the day’s meeting, post members conducted an official flag-retirement ceremony in which more than 60 worn and tattered American flags were honored and then respectfully destroyed. Romine, Bowen, Ryon and Fitzgerald took part in the ceremony while First District Junior Vice Commander John Parker from Savannah looked on. Parker is a retired fire chief from California. Walker had to leave right after the installation ceremony for an event at his post on Tybee Island.
“Please pass out the word that we’re here to help veterans,” Fitzgerald said, reminding everyone to bring their old flags in for proper disposal.