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U. S. ATTORNEY SPEAKS TO AMERICAN LEGION VERMILION POST 29 VETERANS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 23, 2013

Lafayette, La.: United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley was the guest speaker at a special event on April 17, 2013, hosted by the American Legion Vermilion Post 29. The American Legion Vermilion Post 29 held the event to honor women veterans.

During the night’s event, Comrade Jeffery Cessac was presented with the Blue Cap Award by Post 29 Commander Willie Hymel. The Legionnaire Blue Cap Award is a prestigious achievement presented to members with years of service in the Legion. The honor recognizes those who exemplify a lifetime of dedication, leadership, and servitude. Comrade Cessac served in the United States Navy from 1963-1967 during the Vietnam War. He is also a member of the Lions Club, Woodmen of the World and Knights of Columbus.

U.S. Attorney Finley thanked the veterans for their service and shared how much her career as both the United States Attorney and as an officer in the United States Air Force had been shaped by the military. Finley reminded those in attendance that they must continue to share their stories of service because they are examples and mentors for future generations. She applauded Post 29 for the work that they are doing to include more women and younger veterans. Among the veterans present were two female veterans who served in Vietnam and during Iraqi Freedom.

“As an officer in the United States Air Force, I am very aware of how lucky we are to have the veterans in our communities and am passionate about recognizing their service,” Finley said. “We owe a debt of gratitude to all of the men and women who serve and have served our nation and safeguarded our freedoms.”

This event is the first of its kind for Post 29, but Commander Willie Hymel and Thomas Thompson, the Judge Advocate for Vermilion Post 29 and a former Assistant United States Attorney, hopes it will not be the last. Commander Willie Hymel served in the United States Marine Corps from 1961-1966 and the U.S. Army Reserves from 1973-2003. Judge Advocate Thomas Thompson served in the United States Marine Corps from 1969-1975.

The American Legion is the nation's largest wartime veterans' service organization with a membership of 2.4 million men and women. All veterans of honorable service during a wartime period, and those currently serving on active duty, are eligible to join the American Legion. Congress chartered the American Legion in 1919 as a veterans service organization. The Legion’s primary goal is to protect veteran’s benefits. The American Legion continues to fight for a variety of veteran causes, to include a strong veterans health care system and a strong quality of life for U.S. military members and their families, and although it has an international presence, the Legion is very much a community-based service organization. Among the programs conducted regularly are community Veterans Day and Memorial Day observations, Blue Star Salutes honoring local military families and supportive businesses, American Legion Baseball, Junior Shooting Sports, a High School Oratorical Contest and American Legion Boys State and Nation. The American Legion is one of the nation's largest supporters of Scouting and the largest single donor organization of blood to the American Red Cross. Members of local American Legion posts provide volunteer funeral details to render military honors for fallen comrades. It’s Child Welfare Foundation donates over a quarter of a million dollars each year to worthy children and youth programs and the Legion's National Emergency Fund provides immediate financial assistance to fellow Legionnaires and their families displaced by natural disasters. Legionnaires record over a million volunteer-hours annually in VA medical facilities throughout the nation and they reinvest millions of dollars back into local communities through cash donations.

If you are interested in joining a local American Legion Post or are interested in other veterans issues, you can find information on the American Legion website at www.legion.org to locate a Post nearest to you. The American Legion Vermilion Post 29 is located in Abbeville, La., and can be reached at (337) 893-5366 or through their website at www.vermilionpost29.com.

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