American Legion recognizes service during 3rd annual awards night


TAYLOR COUNTY—American Legion Post 12 recently gathered for their third annual awards night, highlighting outstanding service in the areas of veterans, defense, Americanism and children and youth.

Those four subjects encompass the pillars that the American Legion was founded upon, and the local post shared that through them, they are here to serve the community, state and nation.

“Awards are conferred under these four general categories at the annual statewide convention,” explained Post 12 Commander Robbie Robinson. “This awards night at Post 12 is held to honor Legionnaires, community leaders, educators and civil servants.”

During the special evening set aside to honor the outstanding efforts of those receiving honors, 35 individuals gathered.

Robinson revealed that the local post, American Legion post 12, had been recognized on the state level, receiving three Department of West Virginia American Legion Awards.

“Post 12 was the proud recipient of the Children and Youth Award, the Scholarship and Education Award and the Veterans Education and Rehabilitation Award,” he voiced.

And it wasn’t just the post that was bestowed honors, but some of the local Legionnaires were acknowledged for their works within the organization.

The first award presented to members of the post is one of prestige and is presented to those with years of service in the Legion.

“Such an honor can only be bestowed onto those in the Legion with a lifetime of dedication, leading by example and servitude,” Robinson disclosed.

For his devotion and dedication to the organization, taking part in various activities and for his time so generously given in promoting the programs of The American Legion, Robert “Bob” Holt Mollohan was honored with the American Legion Department of West Virginia 2022 Blue Cap Legionnaire of the Year award.

The second award presented to a local Legionnaire was an honor that focuses on community involvement. This year’s beneficiary of the American Legion Department of West Virginia Ben I. Golden Award was Tim Gerkin.

“Tim was more than deserving of this award, as he has worked to ensure that the Isle of Flags is maintained throughout the year,” said Robinson.

Rick R. Reese was the final Legionnaire to be honored during the celebration, as he was presented the American Legion Department of West Virginia Distinguished Service Medal Award.

“We are proud to present Rick with this honor,” Robinson voiced.

The focus then shifted to locals who had made an impact on the community in a positive way.

Ms. Renee Mahon was presented with the American Legion Post 12 American Legion’s Citation of Meritorious Service Award for Teacher of the Year, for her work in helping to shape the minds of the future.

In their unwavering fight to ensure that the residents of the county remained safe, Taylor County Chief Deputy Maranda Kyer earned the post’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award, and the Grafton City Fire Department received Fire Department of the Year.

Excepting the honor for the Grafton Fire Department were Lieutenant Jarrett Cunningham and Driver Devin Mayle.

According to Robinson, the post also presented four other awards for local achievements. One of those was given to Andrea Chambers for her work with the area’s youth and the Veterans Day Parade.

Taylor County students were also recognized during the awards night for their outstanding efforts.

Amber Smith was the 2022 American Legion Taylor County Post 12 Scholarship recipient; Jordan Niggemyer was acknowledged for her achievements at American Legion Rhododendron Girls State and selection as a Senator for Girls Nation in Washington. D.C.; and William Berhens, who lives in Taylor County but attends Notre Dame High School, was recognized for his achievement as the 2022 American Legion Mountaineer Boys State Governor.  

“Grafton High School Band, under the direction of Chris Rucker and the Grafton High School Entertainers Edition 52, under the direction of Duretha Mayle also received awards for their support to American Legion Programs,” Robinson reported.

A special award was bestowed posthumously for the 75 continuous years of service to the American Legion to Howard Lipscomb. Mr. Lipscomb passed away in June of 2022.

Accepting the honor was Lipscomb’s granddaughter, Brittany Mathany.

The American Legion has had a presence in Grafton, West Virginia since 1919, and is the 12th chartered post in the state.

From the staff of the Mountain Statesman, congratulations to each of this year’s awards recipients.

© 2022-Mountain Statesman

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