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National commander pays visit to Funkstown Legion

May 13, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

FUNKSTOWN - It was a red-letter day for Funkstown American Legion Post 211 when the national commander stopped in for a visit earlier this spring.

Marty Conatser was hosted in grand style at the post March 15 when 185 members and guests from around Maryland converged on Funkstown.

Conatser brought a message that local Legion leaders said was loud and clear.

"If we put soldiers in boots and we put those boots in harm's way, it is our responsibility as a Legion family to support them in every way," Conatser said.

He also spoke to the importance of both retaining and gaining membership, a problem many American Legion posts are experiencing.

Conatser educated those who attended on the importance of the American Legion Legacy Scholarship fund for the children of military personnel killed while on active duty so they may receive money toward a college education.

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And he spoke of the national emergency fund, which helps Legion members in the case of a major disaster.

Eligibility for both of those benefits is dependent on maintaining active membership, Conatser said.

A U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam era, Conatser went on active duty in 1976 and held all positions in Army recruiting from field recruiter to sergeant major, from which he retired in 1996.

He was elected national commander of the 2.7 million member American Legion last August for a one-year term.

Conatser lives in Champaign, Ill., with his family.

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