Do many American Legion members get to 60 years of service?
"Not a lot. Not a lot. … It's very significant," said John Sharp, commander of American Legion Davis-Pence Post No. 69.
Davis-Pence Post. No. 69 members awarded a certificate May 30 recognizing 60 years of continuous service as an American Legion member for the late Robert McCann, of Osceola.
Robert's widow Joan accepted the certificate on his behalf.
"It means they have had 60 years of dedication to fellow veterans and legion members and service to the community," Sharp said.
Robert lived in Clarke County his entire life. He entered the armed services December 1950 and served in the Korean War. He was discharged in November 1952.
Robert joined the Davis-Pence Post No. 69 soon afterward. He also belonged to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
"He was very patriotic-minded, and he just thought it was the thing to do. Good for the community," Joan said.
Even though Robert was never a commander or secretary, Joan said, "He just belonged and wanted to belong."
Joan said her husband was a member of the legion for 60 years because he was "patriotic and believed in fighting for his country."
Robert died Dec. 25, 2012, at age 83. Robert and Joan had been married 61 years. They would've celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary in February.
Sharp said the Davis-Pence Post No. 69 has approximately 100 members.
"We get a lot of certificates for 25 and 30 years, but we don't get very many for 60," he said.
Robert was in good company for membership longevity. Fellow Davis-Pence member Stan Stickler, a WWII veteran, has been an American Legion member for 67 years. Stickler's father was a WWI veteran.
Sharp said the example McCann set of joining the legion right after the Korean War and staying a member for so many years is important, especially for younger veterans who are currently leaving the armed services.
Joan said the 60-year certificate would have meant "a great lot" to Robert, and he would have "appreciated it very much."
"It means a lot to me and I'm proud to get it — happy to get it," she said.