On my birthday, 13 April 2021, I was elected commander of my local post – Carthage American Legion Bassett-Baxter Post 789. Not only was this one of the coolest birthday presents for me, but it had significant local historical relevance as well. Once installed on 8 May 2021, I became the first female and African-American officer in the post’s 101-year history.
I love this post for so many reasons, but I will highlight my top three:
Reason 1 – Since I joined the post in 2018, I have never felt like anyone other than a veteran. I have always been welcomed and there has never been anything related to my race or sex. I was subsequently elected as the post historian and incorporated into the team and now I have been elevated to commander.
Reason 2 – I was encouraged by a large number of members to run for commander. Not only did they push and encourage me to run, but they have bent over backward to support me as the commander. I continue to receive salient advice and mentorship, and I feel they truly want me to succeed.
Reason 3 – This is the first organization where I really feel like I am part of a family: I receive phone calls from people just checking on me, I am comfortable calling people when I just need to talk, when we have disagreements we can sit down together and work through our differences, and we really have fun together. Being a member of Post 789 has made me realize that most other organizations where I belong are transactional – in other words, they are interested in your well-being only if you are doing something for them or the organization or you are part of their clique.
Carthage American Legion Bassett-Baxter Post 789 is my family. I feel safe, and feel a sense of love that is rare. I am so happy that I found this post and look forward to being a part of this family for a long time.