John B. Sampson, a U.S. Navy veteran, is the 2016-2017 commander of the American Legion Department of New York.The Vietnam-era vet was elected to the position at the 98th Annual Department Convention, held July 14 to 16 in Binghamton.
He leads New York State American Legion, which consists of more than 113,000 members and some 900 posts spread throughout 62 counties. With the affiliated organizations of the Legion Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion, the total jumps to nearly 200,000.
Sampson is the first state commander from Cattaraugus County in the Legion’s nearly 100-year history. Sampson is focusing on the issues of communications and the Legion’s image, especially in the eyes of younger and newer veterans.
When looking to recruit newer and younger vets, Sampson notes, getting information on the legion out to as many people as possible means “we have to communicate on their level” – especially with the popularity of online news and social media for the younger generation.