Bill Oxford

Past Post Commander Rick Kouns presents National Commander Bill Oxford a gift.

ASHLAND American Legion Post 76 experienced a night for its history books on Monday.

Bill Oxford, National Commander of American Legion, celebrated with the members of Post 76 for re-opening its doors and being the second national commander to visit. Oxford said it was his pleasure to come out and visit Post 76 and see all of the members.

“Whenever I think about a Legion post, (it’s an honor),” said Oxford. “To be invited to a post like this one that is active, dynamic, doing good things and is involved with the community (is an honor).”

Post 76 held a meet and greet in its clubhouse from 6-7 p.m. before a brief speech from Oxford and a dinner.

The re-opening follows the conclusion of a four-year-long legal battle that kept members from meeting on the grounds.

A prior report from The Daily Independent indicated the Legion was closed when the Clarence Fields American Legion Post 76 building corporation evicted the members at Post 76. A subsequent legal dispute has since ended with the Post 76 leaders, saying they’ve won the right to use the old post.

Post 76 Commander Greg Shelton said the Legion wanted to let everyone in the community to know they were open.

The American Legion also had 96-year-old Forest Wireman attend the event. Wireman was one of the first soldiers to land on the Normandy, France beach on D-Day (June 6, 1944). He then spent 248 days fighting his way through France and Germany.

“I’m the biggest cheerleader for the American Legion Post,” said Oxford. “And we want to support excitement about the post and the programs.”

Oxford is from North Carolina and has been traveling in his service department meeting the American Legion posts. He has been in 16 posts since taking his role in August.

Oxford said he loves seeing posts like Post 76 spreading the message of the American Legion and being so excited about raising awareness in the community.

“This is such an honor to be to be invited here and to have the opportunity to mingle with (members of Post 76),” Oxford said.

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