The Centennial Celebration of the American Legion, a patriotic veterans organization chartered by Congress in 1919, which focuses on service to veterans, service members and communities, took place on Saturday, Mar.16, with members of Coral Gables Post 98 and their invited guests.
The decorated hall was filled with more than 60 people.
Special guests from the City of Coral Gables were Mayor Raul Valdes-Fauli, Police Major Jesse Medina of the Criminal Investigations Division, Deputy Fire Chief Gilbert Hernando, and uniformed members of the Police and Fire Departments.
Also attending were Commander Mark Barros of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 67, Vice Commander Hector Bayron of the Disabled American Veterans Coral Gables Chapter 12, Adjutant Art Angelica of the Marine Corps League Detachment 52, Former State Sen. Richard Rennick, project coordinator Denice Frieden of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Boy Scouts of America district executive Sergio Delgado.
After the presentation of colors by members of the Coral Gables High School JROTC, coordinated by Master Sergeant Gibson, Post 98 Chaplain Ed English gave the invocation. Post Commander Michael Pelton welcomed everyone, introduced the guests and gave some of the history of the American Legion, which he said was begun by a handful of World War I veterans.
Mayor Raul Valdes-Fauli spoke briefly about how the American Legion serves the nation, the world and the community, then presented Commander Pelton with a proclamation commemorating the day. He pledged his ongoing support for the Post.
Special awards given were for Policeman of the Year, which went to Sgt. Velier Zaccheo, and for Firefighter of the Year, which went to Dean N. James. Besides engraved plaques the men received $100 restaurant gift certificates.
After the ceremonies, the closing remarks and benediction, a lunch of prime rib, lamb, pork, vegetables, bread and salad was served by Finance Officer Cliff Van Allen and the Post’s kitchen staff. A decorated cake was provided by members of the Post’s Auxiliary.
American Legion Post 98 is located at 303 Alhambra Circle in Coral Gables. Its website is www.alpost98fla.org/.