Jim Davidson of Grandview was elected to serve as the Washington Department Commander of The American Legion at the 95th annual convention held earlier this month in Yakima. Davidson, a 33-year member of Grandview's Fred E. Hayes Post 57 of The American Legion, is a U.S. Navy veteran who served as a hospital corpsman with Naval Aviation in the Pacific and aboard the U.S. Naval Hospital Ship USS Sanctuary in Danang, Vietnam. He is a retired physician assistant. Davidson served many years as the commander of the Grandview post and currently serves as the post adjutant and one of the post service officers. His other leadership positions have included 6th district (Kittitas, Yakima and a portion of Klickitat Counties) vice commander for two terms, 6th district commander for two terms, department vice commander for Area Four (Southeast Washington) and department chaplain for three years. He recently completed 10 years on the finance commission, serving as chairman for the last five years. He is also the Boy Scout chairman for the state. His national legion service included one year on the Americanism Commission and he has been a member of the economics commission for the last three years. Davidson said the coming year will bring many challenges. "First, I will be on the road a lot," he said. "I may be gone four or more days a week. My schedule up to November is filling up rapidly." Davidson noted he will eventually be in every corner of the state, but will spend a great deal of time on the west side of the state. "Our department headquarters is in Lacey and I will be there and the adjoining areas on a regular basis, especially to boost our service to current military members," he said. He explained there are more than 180 posts in the state serving more than 27,000 members and that each area has distinct needs. Davidson added that his wife Nancy will serve as co-pilot on some of the longer and demanding road trips. Davidson will be traveling to national headquarters in Indianapolis in early August to submit the department's membership plan. Later in August, he will travel to the national convention in Houston. Davidson said he will be promoting legion programs, in addition to providing adequate care for veterans, military and their families. "Of course, membership is the 'fuel' that provides support for our programs and the service division," he added, "So I, along with my membership team, will be recruiting members to help us meet those needs." He noted there are over 800,000 eligible veterans in the state. "Anyone who served at least 24 hours during a period of war time is eligible to join The American Legion. It doesn't matter where you served, only that you served," he said. Davidson added that he is pleased that Troy Monholland of Sunnyside Post 73 has agreed to serve as his membership chairman. "We'll be pounding the road together many times. Troy and I have agreed to pursue all under-served veterans, but will be looking hard to have college student veterans and women veterans join us in 'still serving America'." As one of his duties at the annual convention held in Yakima recently, Davidson helped with the presentation of The American Legion's first Spirit of Service Award. He said in order to receive the Spirit of Service award, an individual must be an outstanding military professional and be actively involved in volunteer projects within their community during off-duty hours. It is awarded to enlisted personnel below the rank of E-6 who not only excel in their daily duty performance, but also devote time to serve their communities. The recipients of the awards presented in Yakima are U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Cassandra M. Muschamp, U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Nicholas G. Weidner, U.S. Navy Counselor First Class Brenda V. Chavez, U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant Christopher A. Javier and U.S. Coast Guard Boatswain's Mate Chief Benjamin Snider.