Delegates from more than 240 American Legion Posts from all across our great state gathered in Watertown, June 16-19, to participate in the 103rd Annual Convention of The American Legion Department of South Dakota.
Over those four days, delegates received reports on the status of the many South Dakota American Legion programs, and they were addressed by various elected and appointed government officials, with topics of concern to most veterans.
The 2021-2022 Department (state) Commander, Gary Wolkow of De Smet, was the presiding officer over the 103rd Convention. Thursday started with a review of the annual budget by the Department Finance Commission, and later that day, the Department Executive Committee met to review items that had come up since their last meeting.
Friday started with convening 10 different convention committees to review and give recommendations on the more than 13 different resolutions. Saturday morning Department Commander Wolkow called the convention to order with opening ceremonies. Throughout Saturday and Sunday, reports were given, and resolutions were acted on. New officers were elected, and various awards were presented to many American Legion Posts and individuals.
On Sunday, Gary Wolkow gave his last speech as Department Commander, ending with a heartfelt thank you to all of his fellow Legionnaires who helped to make his year as commander so memorable, fulfilling and successful.
Moments later, Wolkow swore in the new 2022-2023 Department Commander, Doug Feltman from Post 3 of Chamberlain. Results of other elections included Department Vice Commander Courtney Steffen from Post 136 Chester and former De Smet resident Jim Pekron sworn in as District 6 Commander. Rollie Quam of Arlington was sworn in as District 6 Vice Commander, and another former De Smet resident, Dennis Brendan, was elected to serve as the National Executive Committeeman and to represent South Dakota at the national organization. Fred Nelson from Post 164 of Spearfish was elected to serve as Alternate National Executive Committeeman. Casey Hanson of Squadron 42 of Arlington was re-elected as the Detachment (state) Commander for the coming year.
The Gabrielson Leadership Award was presented to Krisma DeWitt from Post 250 of Castlewood, and the Department Legionnaire of the Year award was presented to Dave Gutzmer from Post 63 of Lake Preston.
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