Kampsville Legion hosts annual caravan
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By Carissa Sitki
Last Friday, the Kampsville American Legion Post 1083 hosted the Illinois Family of the American Legion Annual Caravan on Friday, Jan. 20, at 11:30 a.m. for a program and meal.
Attendees heard speeches from American Legion officers, many of which shared their visions and goals for the organization, including putting an end to veteran suicide and increasing Legion membership numbers.
National Vice Commander Kenneth C. Hylton was in attendance. He addressed the crowd, asking the attendees to educate themselves on different ways to help those suffering from PTSD. Hylton mentioned the “Be the One” program which aims to de-stigmatize asking for mental health support. It also provides peer-to-peer support and resources as well as educating everyone on how they can “be the one to help the American Legion end veteran suicide.”
Hylton is a life member of American Legion St. Joseph Post 464 in St. Leon, Ind. He served in the U.S. Army from 1970-73. He served with the 301st Army Security Agency Battalion, attached to the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C., and later transferred to the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colo. After military service, Hylton worked for the U.S. Postal Service from 1973 to 2006. He served as commander of the Department of Indiana in 2014, and as department vice commander in 2008. He was appointed as Indiana Commissioner of Veterans Affairs by then Gov. Mike Pence, representing The American Legion for five years.
Hylton served as county veterans service officer for Ripley County, Ind., since 2007, raising awareness of veteran services in local areas. He is nationally accredited through The American Legion and is a dual member of the Sons of The American Legion Squadron 464.
Other speakers at the meeting included Kampsville Legion Commander James Ewen; District Commander Lomac Payton; President of the Department of Illinois American Legion Auxiliary Janet Bacon; Department Membership Director Jim Talaska; Senior Vice Commander Delmar Burke; Detachment Commander Kevin O’Connell; and National Executive Committeeman Wayne Erickson emceed the event.
Another theme of the meeting was to increase membership. The Legion encourages those who have served in our nation’s forces to consider joining the organization. Talaska encouraged members to recruit, those who are eligible, into the organization. He said to ask and keep asking.
20th District Senior Vice Robert Garner received the Caravan Host Post award on behalf of the Kampsville Legion. Talaska presented the award. At the conclusion of the program, Garner thanked everyone for coming. Everyone then enjoyed a meal and dessert.