Belleville Sons take home several prestigious awards at National Convention

Natale and Myers

If there’s any doubt about how the country feels about the Belleville chapter of the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 105, those questions were answered at the end of August a way down South.

The Sons received three awards this year at the 51st Sons of the American Legion National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, and as part of the state’s delegation to the convention, SAL 105 Adjutant Rusty Myers accepted the award on the squadron’s behalf.

The local sons brought home national recognition by receiving first and second place in two different categories of the “Snapshots of Service” award, in the categories of Veteran’s Affairs and Americanism, respectively, and they also won first place in the “Videos of Service” competition in the Membership and Recruitment category.

“Snapshots of Service” is a competition of the national SAL organization wherein “Sons of The American Legion squadrons are encouraged to enter the annual Snapshots of Service photo contest to promote the Sons’ programs … photos must represent one of the Four Pillars: Americanism, Children and Youth, National Security or Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation.”

The competition, accepting submissions from all 50 state-level detachments throughout the country, plus from the Detachments of the District of Columbia, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Mexico and France, showcase some of the best pictures taken of Sons-in-action throughout the entire organization.

The first place in Veterans Affairs award given to 105 was for a photo of members on-site at the Fisher House in the Bronx presenting “the big check,” with a $3,000 donation made earlier in 2023.

The second place in Americanism award was for a picture snapped of SAL 105 Vice Commanders Vinnie Ferriole and Ricky Vlasakakis at a flag retirement ceremony.

These photos were all shown on big monitors at the convention hall to the 1,000 attendees present, as well as a number of other submissions from Belleville.

The other award the squadron received was the inaugural “Videos of Service” award.

The website explains that ”Video submissions must contain an SAL member or members wearing SAL covers or SAL-branded clothing participating in an activity or event that falls under one of three categories — program support, community engagement or membership and recruitment.”

One of the award-winning photos.

This first place award was presented to Belleville for the FOX and Friends First segment they appeared on in late May, on the FOX News Channel. Myers, who also works for FOX News, directed a segment where members from the state-level American Legion family organizations spoke about National Poppy Day.

Over 20 members of Post 105 appeared on the five-minute segment in the background, with members of the Passaic County American Legion Ritual Team reading the poem “In Flanders Field” following an interview with numerous NJ Commanders

“You guys deserve this — you guys work so hard —  105 is top notch,” 2022-23 Commander Mark Natale, who accepted the awards with Myers, said.

This was the first time, perhaps ever, that someone from Belleville attended the National Convention as a delegate.

Before leaving the convention hall that day, Natale and Myers were honored to have the chance to take a picture with outgoing National Commander of the Sons of the American Legion Chris Carleton holding the awards.

The plaques will be presented to the squadron at their next general meeting, Sept. 11, to be hung at the Post hall.

Auxiliary – are constantly seeking new members who want to work on behalf of our hometown heroes. Please contact the Post, Squadron, or Unit on Facebook to inquire about membership.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, an organization he has served since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on social media channels such as YouTube, Facebook, and X, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to Kearny to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.