We proudly render a snappy hand salute today to the officers and members of Morehead’s Corbie Ellington Post 126 of the American Legion.
Our Legionnaires have received their first ever Post Excellence Award from the American Legion National Headquarters.
To qualify for the Post Excellence Award, a post is required to achieve excellence in four areas: membership, youth activities, community service, and support to currently serving troops or veterans.
In our opinion, Post Commander Harry Clark and his 219 fellow veterans – men and women – in Post 126 have good reason to be proud of this achievement.
It shows they are just as diligent today in serving each other and their community as they were while serving our country on active duty during a wartime era.
And they continue to honor the memory of the brave man for whom the post was named, an American “doughboy” soldier from Rowan County who gave his life in France in World War I.
Pvt. Ellington was killed in action less than a month before the war ended in November 1918.
To get the award, Post 126 exceeded its membership goal and maintained an active Sons of the American Legion squadron and an active American Legion Auxiliary.
Its youth activities included sending two fifth graders to Washington, D.C., sponsoring Veterans Day essay contests in county elementary schools, hosting an Easter egg hunt, sponsoring a baseball team and participating in the backpack program to provide weekend food for needy students.
Community service projects included providing honor guard support of 44 funerals during the year, supplying food for the Gateway Homeless Shelter, purchasing new flags and teaching flag etiquette at county schools, and assisting in the Memorial Day Parade.
Post 126 also participated in Flag Day ceremonies, worked with the Rowan County Veterans Foundation to maintain Freedom Park and the Veterans Memorial Wall, raised money for the Peoples Clinic, and posted the colors at public events.
Perhaps the most visible and meaningful service project each year is the placing of miniature American flags on the graves of each veteran for Memorial Day.
Service to active duty troops and veterans included Christmas baskets for vets in nursing homes and a vets emergency fund for food, utilities and transportation.
Post 126 also supplies a veterans service officer to assist with VA benefits, personal gift packages for those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, one-year free memberships to new vets, and a Labor Day cookout.
And each Wednesday morning throughout the year, a free breakfast is served to all veterans who show up at the post facility at 110 Bishop Ave.
The preamble to the congressional charter which created the American Legion includes these words: “For God and country, we associate ourselves together…”
For that, this community should be forever grateful.