News: Neillsville - Am. Legion - New Commander (Ladd - 2019)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Ladd, Riddle

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 8/07/2019

American Legion Has Named New Commander (Ladd - 2019)

Ladd named New Legion Commander

Janice Ladd

The Neillsville American Legion Post 73 has a new commander, and with that comes a first for the post. Janice Ladd was sworn in at the Legion meeting in July, the first ever female to hold that position for Neillsville.

Ladd hopes her leading the post will show other women that they can be part of the Legion, too.

“It’s kind of neat because I can let other women know that they can come in. It gives them that information,” she said.

“For so many years it’s been male-dominated because that’s pretty much who was in the military,” she added.

Ladd is a veteran. She served in the Navy from March 1990 to April 1995. She was stationed out of Long Beach, CA, and aboard the USS Holland in Guam. She worked as a hall maintenance technician. She designed, built, repaired and welded a variety of metal objects like sheet metal, steel and piping. Additionally, she was trained in firefighting and performed non-destructive testing.

“We did ultrasonic testing and non-destructive testing like magnetic. We would check particles to see what flaws were in the metal because doing the inspections, so we did a lot of work on subs, so you need to make sure those items are not going to fail,” she said. “You’re check all the items that go into whatever parts that they’re fixing or repairing and then you are also doing the repairing.”

Ladd has been part of the Neillsville Legion about seven years. Prior to that, Ladd was part of the Greenwood Legion for about seven years as well.

Ladd is taking over as commander for Bill Riddle, who was commander for the past two years.

She said that in this position, she hopes to promote the fact that the Legion is there to serve veterans, including providing information on veterans’ benefits and programs.

“The Legion is there not just to feed you, but we have information. Either we have it or know where to get it. Or if you need some type of help, know that there’s somebody there for you. We’re there to help,” she said. “That’s the biggest thing we want veterans to know.”

She said the Legion was there to offer support for veterans, as well as a listening ear, if requested.

“It’s just the camaraderie and the people there. There’s a lot of veterans who don’t want to discuss what happened to them and you don’t need to do that when you’re at the Legion. It’s just that there’s somebody there that would understand if you needed to talk to somebody,” she said.

As commander, Ladd will focus on promoting the Legion and getting more people involved. She said that a lot of Legion members are getting older and not able to be as active as they were in the past, which can make it a challenge to supply enough members to serve at events, especially with not many new members joining. She said that having enough members is not just important for maintaining the local post; it also affects representation for veterans on a state and national level.

“One of the big things is the more Legion members there are in all the Legion posts, the more people we have to support the veteran in the government, which is a big deal, because otherwise there’s a lot of things where veterans are passed over for things, or not seen or not taken care of, or the information just isn’t out there,” she said.

As commander, Ladd will preside over meetings and will be responsible for coordinating the Legion’s involvement in many events. Legion members participate in Flag Day, Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies. They serve at several Highground events, like the annual bicycle and motorcycle tours. The Legion honor guard is present at military funerals to pay tribute to veterans who have passed. The Legion also honors two to three veterans each month with a potluck dinner and ceremony. Several fundraisers take place for the Legion throughout the year, including food stands at the fair.

Ladd will also attend conventions to get information that she can pass along to the members of the Neillsville post. She will be in contact with the county commander and continue to build relationships with community organizations.

Although it’s a lot of responsibility, Ladd is looking forward to serving in her position.

“I like helping people,” she said.

Ladd and her husband, Dale, have three children: Travis, 19; Matthew, 17; and Shannon, 14. They live at Christie, where they have been for over 15 years.



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