WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. (Jan. 26, 2016) -- In his nearly three years in command, the Watervliet Arsenal commander has always found audiences to loudly proclaim their support for the nation's military and its Veterans.
But saying it does not necessarily translates into action of actually doing it, as evidenced by the disappearance in recent years of yellow ribbons around local community trees and by the lack of signage at local businesses that once touted their support for the troops.
That wasn't the case on January 24, however, when Col. Lee H. Schiller Jr. addressed hundreds of American Legion leadership from throughout New York State as they converged on the state's Capital District January 22-24 for their Mid-Winter Conference.
Schiller praised the Legion members for not quietly reentering their communities after military service, which is greatly evidenced by the Legion's community programs such as: Boys State that immerses high school youth in citizenship and leadership; Legacy Scholarship for children whose parents are killed while serving their country; and Operation Comfort Warrior that is dedicated to meeting the needs of wounded, injured or ill military personnel.
Schiller explained that this consciousness of community service probably grew from their military experience where they developed a sense of camaraderie for each other and for their team. But whether this sense of camaraderie was established in the foxhole, in the well deck, or on the flight line, it grew and was transplanted into the communities where these Veterans now live.
The Legion's service to the community and to the nation is such a powerful story that needs to be told, Schiller said.
"That is the power of today's event and the many other events that the American legion conducts every year," Schiller said. "Every Legion event offers an opportunity to tell your story and the story of those of your fellow servicemen and women."
Schiller charged the Legion leadership to not squander the moment and the wonderful opportunities the Legion provides to each member to tell their story, as well as the broader story of service to the nation.
For more than 28 years of military service, Schiller said that he has had the unmeasurable pleasure to serve an Army, an Army that has been greatly supported by the American Legion, and that he looks forward to being called a Veteran.
During the nearly three years in command, Schiller has participated in nearly 100 community events with the American Legion and so, the Arsenal and the American Legion have a great relationship of mutual support.
At the conference, New York American Legion Department Commander James Yermas praised Schiller and the Watervliet Arsenal for their support to the nation.
"I just visited the Watervliet Arsenal and I have to say that I was amazed at what I saw," Yermas said. "I thank Colonel Schiller and his team for the great work they are doing to support our troops."
Yermas, who leads 113,000 Legion members in New York, visited the Watervliet Arsenal on Jan. 21, 2016.