By Colonel Jim Stone
Post 279 in Woodbury, Tennessee, scored big time at the 2013 Tennessee Department American Legion Annual Convention in Nashville. Receiving top honors was Bobby E. Ferrell, Adjutant for 5th District and Past Commander of Post 279. Legionnaire Ferrell was selected as the, "Legionnaire of the Year 2013", for the State of Tennessee. Also, receiving top honors was Amy Gail Ferrell who was selected as the Auxiliary Member of the Year 2013, by the Tennessee Department Auxiliary.
These two top honors also set two new records for the American Legion Tennessee Department, State of Tennessee. The first record set is that Bobby E. Ferrell is the first Legionnaire in the State of Tennessee, ever, to receive the Legionnaire of the Year Award, back to back, two years in a row. The second record set is that this is the first time in the State of Tennessee Department of the American Legion, that a husband and wife team have won both the top honors in the same year.
There are 193 American Legion Posts in Tennessee, with 30,000 Legionnaires, and thousands of Auxiliary Members and Sons of the American Legion. Post 279 is the first newly chartered American Legion Post in the State of Tennessee in over twenty years. Since then, three new Posts have been chartered; Post 280 - Caryville; Post 281 - Mt. Juliet; and Post 282 - Brownsville.
Post 279 is just a little over three years old. We have grown from the original 20 chartered members to 81 Legionnaires,(currently 73 paid up members), 30 Auxiliary Unit 279 members, and 28 Chartered Sons of the American Legion Squadron 279.
In these short three plus years, we have made significant accomplishments. Post 279 has formed an American Legion Baseball Team, coming in 4th out of 16 teams, in this, (our first year), year's tournament in Tullahoma.
They have formed Squadron 279 Sons of the American Legion. This is the first year of starting a Scholarship Program with Cannon County High School. They sponsor, not one boy and one girl to Boys/Girls State, but three boys and three girls.
The Post is host to a Honors Ceremony for the boys and girls attending the Boys/Girls State Program, each year. They have an annual all day Veterans Day Program at Cannon County High School, inviting all of the veterans in Cannon County; and an Annual Veterans Day Parade to honor our Veterans. Commander, Squadron 279, Sons of the American Legion is forming an American Legion Junior Shooting Program. Post 279 has a full time Veterans Service Officer, in her office three days a week, fully trained by the State of Tennessee Office of Veterans Affairs, Post 279 partners with and sponsors the Annual TWRA Children's Fishing Rodeo. Post 279 is in the third year of establishing a major annual fund raising event, "Piggin' Around", Kansas City Bar-B-Que Cookoff Competition (KBCS), fully sanctioned by the KCBS.
The Post supports the Community by sponsoring a Show Class in the Woodbury Lions Club Annual Tennessee Walking Horse Show: The Post also sponsors Classes in the, "Friends of After School Program" Horse Show; They support Special Olympics in Cannon County.
The Chaplain, Post 279, has a Special Program for our Veterans in the Woodbury Nursing Home, where they meet monthly and have a prayer, say the Pledge, talk about their military experiences, serve refreshments, and play games. Our Chaplain has a display board with 8 X 10 photos, of each of the 12 Veterans in the Nursing Home, it also has when and where they served, and a listing of battle campaigns and their medals. This board will be on permanent display at the Nursing Home.
Post 279 sponsors an Oratorical speaking competition contest with then Cannon County High School; They support Good Ole Days, Red Apple Days, Backpacks for Kids Program; the Annual VA Carnival at the Alvin C. York Medical Facility; and sponsors an Honors Ceremony for the Outstanding Employees of the Year for the County and City. They participate in Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, and the Annual Christmas Parade.
Post 279 has truly set the example for other Posts to follow. Post 279 is unique. It is a family oriented Post, our dinners and meetings are held in an atmosphere appropriate for all family members. Post 279 supports the Four Pillars of Service of the American Legion; Defense, Veterans, Youth, and Patriotism.
Each member of the Hilton Stone American Legion Post 279 works hard and pulls together as a team to make sure we provide the best possible service to our Veterans, our youth, and our community. All of the members of American Legion Post 279 have fun working together as they continue to serve this great country.
Remember our veterans and thank them for keeping this country free. "All gave some, some gave all". Remember the 61 men from Cannon County who gave their lives for this great country. May God continue to bless our nation. God bless our veterans, and God bless you.