SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ –American Legion Chaumont Post 243, which is currently celebrating its 100th anniversary, held its annual Installation Dinner on June 3. At this time, the Legionnaires, Auxiliary, and Sons of the American Legion swore in their officers for 2018-2019.

During the event, which took place at the Oak Tree Road post, Robert Bengivenga was sworn in as Legion Commander and Richard Tarn was sworn in as First Vice Commander. For 2018-2019, Jim Yednack and Joe Sacco will also serve as Vice Commanders, Joe Penyak, Sr. as Immediate Past Commander, and Jake Martinez will serve as Sergeant of Arms. 

“I am thankful I was given the opportunity to serve for another year and I am looking forward to continuing to move things here at the Legion in the right direction,” said Bengivenga, who first joined the Legion 15 years ago. “One year is not quite long enough for some of my goals to be completed.”

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During his upcoming year as commander, Bengivenga hopes to improve the interior and exterior appearance of the Post as well as increase membership. “There are many veterans in town who aren’t members of the Legion or the VFW,” he said. “We want our veterans to know that were are here to help them.”

MaryAnn Molino will again serve as President of the Auxiliary with Brenda Gromek also returning as Vice President. Additionally, Joe Penyak, Jr. will serve as Squadron Commander of the Sons with Gus Thofilos as Vice Squadron Commander. 

“The whole idea of the auxiliary is to enhance the life of the veterans by serving them and helping with whatever they may need,” said Molino. “I enjoy spending time with the veterans and I am honored to return as president.”

“I’m very proud and honored to have been elected as Commander of the Sons of the American Legion at a post in the town where I was born and raised,” added Penyak, Jr. “The Sons look forward to another year of honoring our Legionnaires and working with our great community.”

The nonpartisan, not-for-profit American Legion is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in the community, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to fellow service members and veterans.

“We aren't just here for the veterans; we are here to help the community,” said Bengivenga, noting that just this past week, the Legion presented close to a dozen scholarships totaling more than $10,000 to South Plainfield graduating seniors. Money is raised through annual events such as the legion’s St. Patrick’s Day Dinner and annual picnic as well as through hall rentals and other fundraising events. 

“We are here for the town. We may be running the event but everyone is welcome,” Bengivenga said. “We encourage members of the community to come down and see what we are all about.”

For more information, contact the American Legion Chaumont Post 243 at (908) 668-9414. 

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