American Legion National Commander Jimmie L. Foster and department of Nebraska officials, visited Nebraska Legionnaires last week as they toured Nebraska. One of their stops was in Callaway, where the group paid a visit to the school.
Commander Foster, of Anchorage, Alaska, had some fun with the high school students at Callaway Nov. 4, during a short program in which he tested the students’ knowledge of history. He asked a series of questions about American history, specifically about the various wars, branches of military and origin of what we now know as Veteran’s Day.
When a student would correctly answer one of the questions, they would be presented with a pin. Foster’s sense of humor and engagement of the students into the program seemed well received by the kids, as everyone was getting into the act of trying to get a right answer.
Several local American Legion members also attended the program, and Foster was escorted to the school by a number of American Legion Freedom Riders motorcycles. Following the presentation at the school the group met downtown for lunch.
Foster was elected national commander of the 2.5 million-member American Legion Sept. 2, 2010, in Milwaukee, Wisc. He was born and raised in Oklahoma, and graduated with a degree in agriculture education from Northeastern A&M College in Miami, Okla.
After working in the textiles and grocery business, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served at the U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego from 1973 to 1976. Following a short break in military service, he reenlisted in the U.S. Army, ultimately retiring with 20 years of military service on Aug. 1, 1994, as the chief legal noncommissioned officer at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
Foster’s 29 years of American Legion experience include offices and appointments at all levels. Nationally, he served on the organization’s board of directors as National Executive Committeeman from 2002 to 2006 for the Department of Alaska, as well as the National and Homeland Security Council, economics, internal affairs and legislative commissions.
The American Legion is the nation’s largest wartime veterans’ service organization. All veterans of honorable service during a wartime period, and those currently serving on active duty, are eligible to belong the The American Legion. Congress chartered The American Legion in 1919.
Although The American Legion has an international presence, it is more than simply a veterans organization - it is very much a community-based service organization. Among the programs conducted regularly are community Veterans Day and Memorial Day observations, Blue Star Salutes honoring local military families and supportive businesses, American Legion Baseball, Junior Shooting Sports, a high school oratorical contest and American Legion Boys State and Nation.
The American Legion is one of the nation’s largest supporters of Scouting and the largest single donor organization of blood to the American Red Cross. Members of the local American Legion posts provide volunteer funeral details to render military honors for fallen comrades.
The American Legion’s Child Welfare Foundation donates more than a quarter of a million dollars each year to worthy children and youth programs. The American Legion’s National Emergency fund provides immediate financial assistance to fellow Legionnaires and their families displaced by natural disasters.
The American Legion, through its “Heroes to Hometowns” program, coordinates the transition of severely wounded soldiers back into civilian life in communities across the country. The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund enables the children of military members killed in action after Sept. 11, 2001, to receive a college education while its Family Support Network helps families of deployed service members.
The American Legion truly is a large organization of men and women who have stood to defend our nation in times of war and who continue to stand for a strong national defense in a changing world. These members steadfastly work to preserve the fabric of the United States of America.