From the American Legion Department of New York:
FIRST IRAQ WAR VETERAN SWORN IN AS 100TH COMMANDER OF AMERICAN LEGION DEPARTMENT OF NEW YORK
Gary Schacher Named Head of State’s Largest Veteran Organization at Its 100th Annual Convention in Rochester, Kicking Off the Organization’s Centennial Celebration
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Gary Schacher, of Cobleskill, N.Y., was sworn in this weekend as the 100th Commander of the American Legion Department of New York. A 26-year U.S. Navy veteran, Schacher served in Fallujah from 2004 to 2005 and has dedicated his post-military career to supporting veterans across New York State.
Commander Schacher succeeds Commander Rena Nessler, a U.S. Navy veteran who was also the first woman Commander of the American Legion Department of New York.
“It is an incredible honor to have the opportunity to lead this incredible organization as we pursue another 100 years of making a meaningful impact in the lives of veterans and their families,” Commander Schacher said. “I joined the American Legion more than 25 years ago because of its commitment to servicemembers of all ages and backgrounds and I am proud to say our commitment to all veterans is unwavering and stronger than ever before.”
Commander Schacher joined the American Legion in 1991 and has held a number of leadership roles within the organization. He has previously served as New York Vice Commander from 2014 to 2015 and, most recently, as Membership Chairman from 2015 to 2018. He is a member of the American Legion Riders and an instructor at the American Legion Family College of New York.
During his military career, Commander Schacher received numerous personal awards, including four Navy Commendation Medals, three Navy Achievement Medals, the Navy Expert Pistol Medal, the Navy Expert Rifle Medal and several campaign, service and unit awards. He is a recipient of the New York Conspicuous Service Star and the New York Medal for Merit. In 2017, he was inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame.
Commander Schacher’s commitment to veterans in his community led him to help establish the Patriot Highlander Challenge, an annual obstacle course race that raises money for wounded veterans in New York state. He also was a founding member of the Leatherstocking Honor Flight, which transports veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit the area’s war memorials.
As the Department’s former Membership Chairman, Commander Schacher is committed to helping the American Legion Department of New York grow and diversify during his tenure. Among his goals, he is hopeful that the Department can attract more female and minority veterans, as well as servicemembers from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, over the next year.
“New York veterans can rest assured that they have a strong leader and tireless advocate at the helm of this organization,” said outgoing Department Commander Rena Nessler. “We are so proud of the great work Commander Schacher has already done with the Legion and look forward to all he will do for us moving forward.”
Veterans are encouraged to visit www.nylegion.net to learn more about the organization and all the services it provides members, including veterans’ affairs advocacy, help accessing VA benefits, member discounts and more.
About the American Legion Department of New York – The American Legion Department of New York is the state’s largest veterans’ organization. The Legion is a powerful voice in veterans’ affairs at the local, state and federal levels, and helps members of all military branches, ages and backgrounds access VA benefits, educational opportunities and exclusive member discounts. To learn more about the American Legion Department of New York, visit www.nylegion.net.