Damascus American Legion Family Installs Officers
Pictured are the Damascus American Legion Family Leadership Team for 2018-2019 includes, left to right, Todd Stockslager, Commander, Sons of the American Legion Squadron 171; Marianne DiSomma, President, Auxiliary Unit 171; and David Clemmer, Commander, Post 171. (Photo by Legionnaire Meg Clemmer)
Newly elected officers of Damascus Post 171, Auxiliary Unit 171, and Sons of the
American Legion Squadron 171 were installed at the annual Installation Banquet
on June 23 rd at the Post Home. Post Commander Will Cole served as the Master-
of-Ceremonies and Past Post Commander Jack Talamo led the remembrance
ceremony for those veterans that are prisoners-of-war and missing-in-action.
Montgomery County Commander Kevin Mook, a Past Commander of the Post,
installed the Post officers. The new Post Commander is David Clemmer, an Army
Vietnam Veteran. Other Post officers include Fred Mitchell, First Vice
Commander; Larry Matthews, Second Vice Commander; Kevin Mook, Adjutant;
Tony DeShiro, Finance Officer, and Past Post Commander; Jim Serritella, Service
Officer; Dean Elliott, Judge Advocate; ShaWn Gill, Chaplain; Sam Lehane,
Historian; and Bill Green, Sergeant-at-Arms. Executive Committee members
include Bob Bellison, Paula Gill, Keith Martin and Past Post Commander Bill
Past National President of the Legion Auxiliary Sandi Dutton served as the
installation official for the Unit Officers, most of whom served in the same
capacity during the last Legion year. Marianne DiSomma returns as President.
Other Unit officers include Kelli Cole, Vice President; Amanda Baughman,
Secretary; Patricia Busche, Treasurer; Patricia Rice, Chaplain; Diane Capel,
Historian; and Virginia Myers, Sergeant-at-Arms. The Executive Committee
members are Casey Koontz, Donna Sefcik, and Barbara Raab, a Past Unit
The Sons of the American Legion Squadron officers were installed by Paula Gill,
the Post’s Liaison to the Squadron. The new Commander is Todd Stockslager.
The other officers include Tom Kaufman, First Vice Commander; Past
Commander John Duvall, Second Vice Commander; Adam Young, Adjutant and
Finance Officer; Donald Mook, Chaplain, and Historian; and Tyler Baughman,
Damascus American Legion Memorializes Fallen Veterans
Pictured are the memorials to our fallen veterans at American Legion Post 171 in Damascus, presented at the Post’s annual Memorial Day service on Sunday afternoon, May 27th.
On the left, small American flags were carried and placed by members of the Damascus Legion Auxiliary Unit 171 in memory of each of the thirteen Post members who transferred to Post Everlasting since Memorial Day 2017.
In the middle is the POW/MIA empty chair and table honoring the thousands of American veterans who are prisoners-of-war and missing-in-action around the globe.
On the right are the flower arrangements presented by local civic and service organizations in the greater Damascus community. The Browningsville Cornet Band provided a prelude of patriotic music to open the service. First Vice Commander Tony DeShiro served as the master of ceremonies. The keynote speaker was Montgomery County business owner and chief election judge Kathleen “Kat” O’Connor, who spoke about American values defended by our fallen veterans.
Other highlights of the service included the playing of “Amazing Grace” by the Montgomery County Police Pipers, the audience singing “God Bless America,” the rendering of a Gun Salute by the Rockville Legion Post 86 Honor Guard Firing Squad, and the playing of Taps by Carl Rosey, a trumpeter in the Browningsville Band.
Following the service, the Auxiliary Unit served lunch to the more than 100 attendees.
Damascus Legion Family Honors Five Members
The Damascus American Legion Family’s annual Membership Dinner took place on January 27th. At the event, five members received very special recognition for their devoted service. Pictured left-to-right are Keith Midberry, the newest Post 171 Distinguished Member; Bill Raab, 2017 Legionnaire of the Year; Montgomery County Commander and Post Adjutant Kevin Mook, Honorary Life Member; Auxiliary Unit Secretary Amanda Baughman, 2017 Unit Member of the Year; and Sons of the American Legion Squadron First Vice Commander Todd Stockslager, 2017 Squadron Member of the Year. Receiving the Honorary Life Member award is the highest honor bestowed on a Legionnaire. Being selected as a Distinguished Member is the crowning achievement of years of outstanding service to Post 171.
Veterans Day Service in Damascus
At precisely the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, Damascus American Legion Post Commander Will Cole opened the Post’s annual Veterans Day service. The service was preceded by a concert of patriotic music by the Browningsville Cornet Band. More than eighty members of the Legion Family and many local citizens attended the public service at the Post Home.
Beginning with a moment of silence for fallen comrades-in-arms, the attendees recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the National Anthem. Then, Past Post Commander George Bolling led the Legion’s ceremony honoring the nation’s prisoners-of-war and those missing in action. Following the invocation by Post Chaplain Shawn Gill, the Browningsville Cornet Band played the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard songs and the veterans of each service stood and sang loudly and proudly when their service song was played.
Post member MegClemmer, principal assistant to the President of American University, introduced guest speaker Dr. Billy Walker, a retired Air Force Brigadier General, who now serves as the Director of Athletics and Physical Education at the University. Dr. Walker spoke about the origin of Veterans Day ninety-nine years ago at the end of World War One, the challenges today’s service members face, and the unique conditions they endure in remote areas of the world. Dr. Walker challenged the audience to thank every veteran they encounter each day.
The service concluded with the singing of God Bless America and the benediction by Marianne DiSomma, President of the Post’s Auxiliary Unit. The Unit served a delicious luncheon following the service.
Damascus American Legion Retires Flags
In 1937, The American Legion originated the Flag retirement ceremony which was employed by the Damascus Post on a most meaningful day in history—September 11, 2017—at dusk.
Unserviceable American Flags from local citizens, the Washington Nationals baseball team, and area businesses were neatly bundled and prepared for retirement via burning at the Damascus Post.
The photograph by Legionnaire Dave Clemmer shows the burning remains of about two dozen Flags with Post Commander Will Cole, left, the presiding officer and Post Adjutant Kevin Mook, who also serves as Montgomery County Commander.
The unserviceable Flags were presented by Honor Guard Captain Bill Green and Member Ridgely “Brownie” Chichester, and Service Officer Jim Seritella served as the Post Chaplain during the ceremony. Members of Boy Scout Troop 1397 assisted with preparation of the ceremony, and the Damascus Community Fire Department provided safety support.
The attendees included members of the Damascus Legion Family and several parents and students from the local community who enjoyed light refreshments served by the Post’s Auxiliary Unit following the ceremony.
Damascus Legion Family Wins Awards
At the American Legion annual convention last month in Ocean City, both the Post and the Auxiliary Unit received noteworthy awards. The Post was awarded the Special Membership Award for achieving 100% in the 20016-17 Legion Year, an achievement led by First Vice Commander Will Cole. The Post was also recognized with awards for the best Memorial program, the best scrapbook, and the best attendance and renewals, all among posts state-wide with membership between 301 and 500. The Unit was awarded the Past Presidents Parley Award for training and encouragement of future Auxiliary leaders and providing scholarships to student nurses in the interest of improving the quality of health care. The other Unit award was the Gold Star Award for the support of Gold Star mothers, sisters, and step-mothers who have lost sons and daughters during their military service.
Damascus American Legion Post 171 delegates include, left to right, Damascus Auxiliary Unit 171 delegates are, left to right, Secretary and
Past Post Commander Tony DeShiro, Bill Dunn, Maryland Third Vice Commander Membership Chairwoman Amanda Baughman, President Marianne
Will Trotter, Past Post Commander Bernie Moxley, Sr., and Past Post Commander DiSomma, Past Unit President Sandy Seipp, and Treasurer
and Montgomery County Commander Kevin Mook. Patricia “Trish” Busche.