Legionnaire of the Year honored

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 13, 2003

James G. Smith has been named Legionnaire of the Year for Selma’s American Legion Post No. 20.

Deloris Hardin, junior vice commander for the American Legion’s Department of Alabama, presented the award Thursday during the post’s regular monthly meeting.

Smith is second vice commander of Post No. 20 and has been a member of the American Legion for 16 years. He was honored in part for his role in bringing recognition to Dallas County veterans of World War II.

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Howard Burrill, vice commander for District 31, said Smith got the idea to recognize the veterans after reading statistics on the rapidly shrinking number of World War II veterans who are still alive.

Smith was instrumental in organizing the effort to present a certificate of appreciation to a different World War II veteran each month and to publicize their sacrifices for, and service to, America.

Each month Smith has interviewed the various recipients and researched the actions of the units to which they were assigned.

In accepting the award, Smith said, &uot;What an inspiration these World War II veterans are to me. They have just done so much for us and for this country. I’m only the messenger, they’re the message.&uot;

George &uot;Cap&uot; Swift, a member of Post No. 20 and a veteran of World War II, recognized Smith for his contributions to the Legion.