Ron Wheeler Named Legionnaire of the Year
2/28/2016 ~ by Suellen Reitz
Every year each American Legion Post awards the title of Legionnaire of the Year for his or her meritorious service to the post and community. This year’s recipient was given to Post 149 Commander, Ron Wheeler.
Serving now in his third year as post commander, Wheeler has been an active member of the Jasper based American Legion Post 149 for seven years. His selection as Legionnaire of the Year came as a surprise. “I didn’t realize as commander I could even be eligible”, he spoke humbly.
According to Senior vice Commander Ray Smith, the decision from the executive board was unanimous for Wheeler’s recognition. “Ron has been outstanding in his work with the legion. He is there pitching in no matter what,” spoke Smith. “He really cares about the welfare of our veterans and his efforts show it.”
Wheeler served two years in the Army with a tour in Vietnam as an OV-1 Mohawk observer. His second year was as an instructor at Fort Wachooca teaching survival skills, escape and evasion and cockpit orientation for future Mohawk observers.
In addition to his volunteer efforts as part of Legion Post 149, Wheeler is a life time member of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and an associate member of the Marine Corps League. When asked why his membership with the Marine Corps League, his answer mirrors his philosophy of serving… “I joined to help out. We should all be working shoulder to shoulder to make a difference.” My goal is for us to be there for the men and women coming home from serving their country. It was something we didn’t get… and we want it to always be right from now on.”
This, his last year of command, Wheeler hopes to get the future Pickens Veterans Memorial Park become a reality. His day to day goal is for the legion to be there for the veterans. “When you are discharged, the military folks don’t fully understand how to use their benefits…or how to get help. That is why we are here.”