Thriving Encinitas American Legion Post 416 installs new team of officers

On Saturday, June 10, Encinitas American Legion Post 416 held its installation for the new team of officers.

Post Commander Steve Lewandowski turned over the reins of Commander to former First Vice George Barlow. In the past three years the post has seen a remarkable resurgence. The post was in danger of closing its doors because many of the WWII and Korea-era veterans were passing away at an alarming rate -- within a year’s time the post would have run out of money.

So a new team of officers came in with a “Can Do” spirit and they stopped the slide and built things back up. The post has recruited over 500 members to the American Legion family in just the last three years.

It also won the “Boots On The Ground” trophy for having the most new members out of the 29 American Legion Posts in San Diego County. The post also received the National Commanders Award of Post Excellence given to fewer than 1 percent of the American Legion Posts in the country. Post 416 was ranked number 1 in the state of California out of 462 American Legion Posts. Most importantly, members of the post have performed more than 20,000 hours of community service for veterans and their families in San Diego County within the past year.

Outgoing Commander Steve Lewandowski was awarded Legionnaire of the Year for Post 417 as well as Encinitas Elk’s Distinguished Citizenship Award. Additionally, County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar recognized Lewandowski with a proclamation from the county supervisors as “Steve Lewandowski Day” for Saturday, June 10. He was also presented with a proclamation from Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear, presented by Deputy Mayor Tony Kranz, and a proclamation from Assemblyman Rocky Chavez.

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