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American Legion Recognizes Servicemembers’ Volunteer Efforts

American Forces Press Service

RENO, Nev., Aug. 31, 2007 – Enlisted representatives from the five armed services were honored this week by the nation’s largest wartime veterans’ organization.

The American Legion presented the Spirit of Service award to Army Sgt. Korey W. Chandler, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Gaurav R. Patel, Marine Corps Sgt. Matthew W. Stone, Air Force Airman 1st Class Robb K. Hulet, and Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class David B. Edelson on Aug. 28 during the organization’s 89th National Convention here.

The award was presented for each of the recipient’s volunteer service in their local communities, American Legion officials said. This is the eighth annual presentation of the award, which includes shaped, etched glass mounted on a marble base, as well as a one-year membership in the American Legion.

National Commander Paul A. Morin, who presented the awards to the servicemembers along with Gen. Charles C. Campbell, commander of U.S. Army Forces Command, explained the purpose of the award.

“As an organization of wartime veterans, we truly understand and cherish the concept of service to community, state and nation,” Morin said. “These outstanding representatives of our armed forces demonstrate the very heart of every Legionnaire – a relentless commitment to serving their country and their fellow Americans.”

To receive this recognition, the individual must be an outstanding military professional and be actively involved in volunteer projects in the community during off-duty hours.

“Volunteerism is at the heart of what the American Legion does, … and it is this dedication to community volunteerism that keeps the nation’s largest veterans organization growing,” Morin said.

“We know about service to others. We also know that those in uniform today – America’s newest veterans in this war against terrorism – often go out of their way to make a difference for others in the communities in which they live,” he continued. “Today, Legionnaires honor these outstanding Americans who reflect the great spirit of service to others that the founders of our organization considered essential.”

Morin said that the servicemembers being honored fit the bill and are representative of thousands of their peers who make up the finest fighting force in the world.

“Each of them has demonstrated a strong commitment to serving others, a spirit of service that deserves the highest recognition The American Legion can provide,” he said.

The servicemembers were selected by their individual services to receive the award. The American Legion provided for accommodations, meals and travel during their time in Reno. They participated in the ceremonial opening of the convention, rode in the American Legion parade, attended the National Commander’s Banquet as distinguished guests and, as the newest members of the American Legion, interacted with their fellow veterans of several generations.

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