Legion AOE

Pictured at the Derby food bank after a recent drop off – one of its several community endeavors – are American Legion Family Post 408 members (left to right) Jonn McCullogh, Terry Gowen, Kathy Saindon, Mike Saindon, Steve Blake, Pat Kitterman, Rhonda Hundley and Morris Short.

Considering the commitment to service represented among its membership, it’s not surprising that the Derby-Haysville American Legion Family Post 408 remains dedicated to supporting its local communities.

That commitment was recently formally recognized, with Derby Mayor Randy White naming Post 408 the recipient of the 2022 Mayor’s Award of Excellence – something he admitted he looks forward to each year. The award was established in 2002 as a way to honor an individual, family, organization, or business that has contributed significantly to the Derby community.

“We are grateful to have a strong American Legion presence in Derby,” White said. “Our close relationship with the American Legion is invaluable, as is their volunteerism and support of the Derby community. We appreciate all they do.”

Legion members will officially be presented with the award at 6:30 p..m Jan. 25 in city hall (611 Mulberry Road) as part of the Derby City Council meeting.

The American Legion Family Post 408 has had a presence in Derby since 1990, when it was chartered with approximately 267 members. Since that time, those members have taken on a number of community service projects including food drives, pancake feeds for the Derby food bank and Operation Holiday (as well as competitors in Derby’s Smoke on the Plains BBQ & Music Fest), participating in local Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies, placing flags at Hillcrest and El Paso cemeteries, providing free swim nights for USD 260 students and their families at Rock River Rapids, supporting Operation Holiday’s annual poker run and assisting with the city’s Drive-thru Christmas event.

Post 408 also helped to get a portion of Rock Road in Derby dedicated as Veterans Memorial Road, always participates in the Independence Day and Christmas parades, and gives out the Firefighter of the Year and Police Officer of the Year awards in Derby annually.

In 2021, American Legion Family Post 408 moved into its new home at 120 E. Washington – with membership putting in 4,500 hours of volunteer labor into those efforts and making it available for community use.

“Here in Derby we have several organizations that do so much for our community. The American Legion Family is one of them,” White said. "They are passionate about not only supporting veterans, but also veterans families. In my opinion we have one of the best American Legion Family posts in the state of Kansas right here in Derby and Haysville. I’m excited to see the completion of their new facility and how they will use it to better serve our communities.”

“We hope our efforts to lend a hand will lighten the burden for those who may be struggling and to help them see a brighter future,” said Post 408 Communications Officer Mike Saindon.

The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to fellow service members and veterans.

Post 408 is also made up of the American Legion Auxiliary (chartered in 1990 with 82 members), Sons of the American Legion (chartered in 2007 with 84 members) and American Legion Riders (chartered in 2007 with 52 members).