Cassadaga man receives honors from Legion commander

New York State American Legion Commander Kenneth Governor brought a message of “Service First” to the Legion family in Chautauqua County on Feb. 14 and honored a Cassadaga area Legionnaire.

During dinner at Dunkirk Memorial Post 62, Governor presented the Department Commander’s Award of Excellence to James Hayward of Cassadaga Memorial Post 1280. He cited his “dedication to our men and women in uniform, our veterans, their families and your community.” He praised his service as commander of both his post and Chautauqua County American Legion, plus numerous other roles in the post and county. He also hailed Hayward’s “passionate involvement in Scouting, Veterans Affairs, homeless veterans and Americanism.”

“Service First” is about reinvigorating the core mission to serve men and women in uniform, veterans and families, community and nation, Governor told members of the Legion, Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion.

A sign that the Department of New York is on the right track in putting “service first,” Governor noted, is the Americanism trophy that New York walked away with at the Legion’s national convention last summer. “We were honored for having the best Children and Youth, and Family Assistance Programs in the entire American Legion.”

The commander’s visit was a joint visitation with New York Auxiliary President Barbara Corker and New York Sons of the American Legion (SAL) Detachment Commander John Chang. The trio visited Fredonia to have lunch at Fredonia Memorial Post 59 and toured the area before speaking at the dinner in their honor in Dunkirk.

Chang noted that, like the department commander, his personal project this year is to collect donations for the National Emergency Fund, especially since the fund helped so many New York families in the devastating wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Corker said her project is to support the American Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors and for two reasons. First, unlike other charities, 100 percent of donations go directly to helping wounded warriors. Second, it’s important to “show our warriors our love.”