Kiger leads Legion as it nears its 100th anniversary

Posted November 7, 2019 at 11:10 pm

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By Julie Ann Madden

Editor’s Note: The Albert E. Hoschler American Legion Post No. 186 began membership recruitment in the Fall of 1919 but both the Legion and its Auxiliary didn’t receive their post’s charter until 1920.

The national 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 our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans.

“The values and actions of Akron’s Albert E. Hoschler American Legion Post No. 186 closely align with the over-arching American Legion mission,” said newly-elected Post Commander Lynette Kiger. “I’m proud to be a part of this organization that has taken such an active role in our community.”

“The local Legion has done a lot of great work in the community here in terms of donations we’ve made,” she said, noting the fundraising we do for Akron-Westfield scholarships, hosting the children’s Flag Essay Contest and sponsoring Boys State candidates. A lot of our emphasis locally is developing a sense of national patriotism and appreciation for the military in our youth.”

My goal is to make sure that we continue the efforts that have been started by our past commanders, she said, noting recent commanders Warren Thompson and Stan Rolfes have a great legacy for the things they’ve started. “As commander, our duties are to lead the organization, to set strategic direction of what we do in the community, what activities we have and what donations we make to local community organizations and veterans’ organizations.”

“I just want to make sure we continue on the path they set us upon,” said Kiger. “I think it’s an excellent example for aligning ourselves with the American Legion’s mission areas.”

Kiger’s parents Clifford and Shirley Waag of Akron, have had long associations with the American Legion and Legion Auxiliary. Clifford was active for several years while Shirley is still the Legion Auxiliary’s historian.

However, Kiger just joined the American Legion in 2015. Her whole career has been either in the military or working for the military. She served six years active duty in the U.S. Air Force, then three years actively in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. Finishing her career, Kiger was employed for 24 years with the U.S. Army as a federal civil service employee.

“I’ve always had an association with the military so I didn’t need to look too far (to receive the camaraderie and benefits the American Legion provides veterans), I was surrounded by them,” explained Kiger as why her Legion membership is just nearing the five-year mark. “The military has been part of my everyday life until my retirement in 2014.”

“The Legion can have confidence in me as its first female leader,” she said. “I’ve had leadership roles with my jobs – managing divisions in our organizations. Also I’ve been through quite a bit of training in my jobs with the military to prepare for leadership in any organization so I’d bring those things to bear on what I do here.”

“Central to my life’s theme has been if I can be a good example for someone else, I will,” said Kiger. “I’m potentially setting an example for those who come behind me.”

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