John Hurchala Jr., commander of American Legion District #4, presents the Post #13 Legionnaire of the Year Award to Ronald P. Coderre in recognition for his service to American Legion, the community and the country.  Coderre was also sworn in as Post Commander during the Induction ceremony. Geoffrey Bolte photos.
American Legion Post #13 Commander Ronald P. Coderre presents a certificate of recognition to Putnam Middle School student Reagan Boledovic for her participation in the People to People Leadership Program that was held in Washington, D.C.
Legion Post #13
inducts officers
Special to the Putnam Town Crier
The Mayotte-Viens American Legion Post #13 of Putnam, which was founded in 1919, inducted Air Force veteran Ronald P. Coderre as its commander for the 2015-2016 year.  During the program Coderre was also honored by being named the Legionnaire of the Year in recognition of outstanding Leadership and Service as a member of The American Legion benefitting our Community, State and Nation. Coderre succeeds Richard E. Carnahan, who served as commander for the previous year.
A large contingent of fellow Legionnaires, family and friends were on hand as Coderre unveiled his plans for the Post for the upcoming year.  Among the goals is increasing membership from its current level of 104 members, continuing the organization’s outreach to the community and veterans, restructuring and renewing interest in the Sons of American Legion squadron and working toward establishing a permanent home for the Post.
“I joined the Post in 1963 following my honorable discharge after four years in the Air Force.  It wasn’t until the last decade or so that I realized the important role the American Legion plays in our country and our community.  I’m honored to accept the position and pledge to devote my energies to our success,” said Coderre in accepting the commander’s position.
The motto of the Post for the upcoming years is “American Legion Post #13 – Believe, Achieve, Succeed – Together.”   Post #13 has noted increased participation in recent years with the institution of its Honor Guard, initiation of a scholarship for a local high school student, celebration and recognition of veterans on occasions such as Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Wreaths Across America and support of Boys State, State Police Youth Week and the TriTown American Legion Baseball team.
Inducted along with Coderre were Senior Vice Commander Alan Joslin, Junior Vice Commander Albert Cormier, Finance Officer Eric Quinn, Chaplain Donald Steinbrick, Adjutant and Service Officer Roger Franklin, Historian Marc Coderre, Sergeant-at-Arms Ronald Desrochers and Judge Advocate Sean Hendricks.  
The new officers were inducted by former State Commander Mac McLean of Thompson.  Also on hand were former State Commander Bill Root and District #4 Commander John Hurchala, Jr.  of Stafford Springs.  Also on hand was former Post #13 Commander John W. Sherman, Sr., who traveled from his home in Port Aransas, Texas for the ceremony. 
Coderre also singled out three WWII veterans, Victor Lippiello, Peter Trama and Richard Turcotte, who were in attendance.  Lippiello and Trama along with another WWII veteran Gerry Salvas recently spoke to more than 200 Putnam High School students about their experiences during the War.  He presented Lippiello and Trama with letters written by the students thanking them for their service during WWII.  Coderre also presented the American Legion State of Connecticut First Place Award to Post Historian Marc Coderre for his work in assembling the top annual history book in the entire State. 
Senator Mae Flexer of the Connecticut 29th Senatorial District was a special guest of the organization because of her interest and advocacy on behalf of veterans.  In addressing the group she noted the recent legislation that provides a reduction in income taxes to veterans.
“I’m honored to be here to celebrate this occasion with all the veterans in attendance.  I understand the plight of veterans and pledge myself in doing whatever I can to assist on their behalf,” Flexer told the audience.    
Roscoe K. Gibson Jr. was recognized for 50 years as a member of Post #13.  He was presented a special “50 Year Nation Continuous Membership Award.”  Along with Gibson, 13 members received longevity awards ranging from 5-years to 35 years of continuous service to Post #13.  
The evening was organized by Post #13 members Marc Coderre and David Smutnick.  The National Anthem was sung by Post #13 member and Air Force veteran Maurice “Moe” Coderre.  Past Commander Norman “Barney” Seney served as the Master of Ceremonies for the program, which was held at the Putnam Lodge of Elks.
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