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Legion commander wants to increase membership

July 10, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

FUNKSTOWN - As David Unger begins his year as commander of Dixon-Troxell Post 211 of the Funkstown American Legion, he strongly hopes he will be able to accomplish two goals - increasing overall membership and strengthening the Sons of the American Legion organization.

"Last year I was on a membership committee," Unger said. "We only gained a few more than we lost."

Many of the 1,245 members of the Funkstown Legion are World War II veterans and their numbers are dropping because they are aging and passing away, Unger said.

Still, some new people did join, and Unger hopes that trend will continue.

Membership is open to anyone who served in the military during wartime at any time, Unger said.

Unger, 68, served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam era. He has been a member of the American Legion for more than 20 years.

"I've been more active since 2000 when I retired after 29 years working for Mack Trucks," Unger said.

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He and his wife, Jean, have three grown children and six grandchildren.

"I've never been commander before," Unger said. "It means you are in charge of what goes on the Legion."

John Bumbaugh is immediate past commander. Gordon Cook was commander two years ago and Unger hopes both will be available to advise him during his year in office.

Sons of the American Legion is an organization within the Legion for those whose parent or grandparent was in the military.

Both the Legion as a whole and the SAL chapter are having the same problem attracting younger veterans into the organization.

"I wish we knew why this is happening but it is a problem for at least 20 years throughout the state and I suspect also the nation," Unger said.

A number of activities are planned in the upcoming months, starting with the official installation ceremony for post and auxiliary officers.

That event will be Friday, July 27, at the Legion with cocktails at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 and the ceremony beginning at 8.

Unger will be installed as commander along with Pearl Bumbaugh as president of the ladies auxiliary.

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