By David Peck
Rich Fink has so many award certificates and plaques he doesn’t know where to put them.
Fink, commander of Robert Boyd Stewart Post No. 11, received the awards at the American Legion state convention June 22 in Laramie on behalf of the members of Post 11.
Most of the award certificates are for exceeding state membership goals by the rapidly growing post, which has grown from 16 members a few years ago to a current membership of around 40, Fink said.
“The state department sets membership goals, and you have to reach a certain percentage by a certain date,” Fink said. “We made all of the percentages for the whole year and surpassed their goals over and over.”
Post 11 finished the 2018-19 year June 30 with a goal percentage of 133.33 and was awarded a plaque for Centennial Membership Excellence, which reads, “This membership award is presented to posts that have exceeded the membership goal set forth and have the distinction of being a 100 percent membership post during the centennial year of the American Legion.”
The membership award at 133.33 percent was the highest in the state, and Post 11 received a traveling gavel in honor of the achievement.
The post also received a certificate of appreciation from National Commander Brett P. Reistad for reaching the 100 percent membership goal, as well as a variety of certificates of appreciation and certificates of merit, along with two meritorious service certificates for reaching a new membership high for five consecutive years.
But it’s not all about membership, Fink emphasized.
“I believe we’re doing more and having more programs,” Fink said, noting Memorial Day and Veterans Day programs, honor guards for funerals, a veterans breakfast on Veterans Day, Boys State sponsorship, the state oratory contest and the recent flag retirement ceremony.
Post 11 is currently running a fundraising raffle to support the various programs. The top prize is a 6.5 Creedmore flag edition rifled, and other prizes are an engraved Glock 17 9mm pistol and a custom-made knife designed and constructed by Wayne Spragg.
The raffle will end on November 11.
Fink said Post 11 is also taking over the Boy Scout program in Lovell, planning to form a new Troop 11.
“We felt like we wanted to keep the Boy Scouts program going,” he said, noting that other sponsors have dropped the program since the Boy Scouts made a decision to admit girls into troops.
“If girls join, we’re prepared for that,” Fink said. We’ll try to sponsor it and see what happens. Jim Thomas will be the head scoutmaster.”