The Bronx County American Legion has a new county commander.
Anthony Salimbene, a member of Theodore Korony American Legion Post #253, took on the role of the Bronx County American Legion commander for a two-year term at an installation ceremony on Friday, June 3.
The swearing-in for the veterans’ organization occurred at its’ county convention at Samuel Young American Legion Post #620.
Salimbene, who is also a Community Board 10 member, said that his number one priority would be to maintain and expand membership roles at legions in his district.
“If we don’t have membership and people joining for the right reasons, then we are sunk,” said Salimbene. “Membership is always a top priority, followed real close by continuing service in the functions we run.”
Salimbene said he believes in Americanism 100 percent, fostering a sense of service and in outreach to children and youth. He says it is his goal to grow the number of members in the borough, currently 1,500 strong.
He has spent 28 years in the American Legion, and said he wants to foster a sense of service in its members on the grassroots level.
He believes that veterans need to have pride in what they did, and continue their service to those in need in local communities, state and nation.
The most pressing need currently is obtaining services for returning veterans, especially women who served. Other needs of our time include jobs and medical care for newly returning service members, he said.
The new commander is a third generation Throggs Neck resident, and spent more than two decades in the Coast Guard as an investigator and a special agent in charge of investigations.
He credits growing up in a waterfront community for steering him into the U.S. Coast Guard, which he said he joined shortly after the Vietnam War era.
“I encourage all young people to give military service a shot,” said Salimbene, who added that he knows of many young people who are doing quite well for themselves in the military, and believes that you don’t have to have a very long career to be of service.
Salimbene is a graduate of St. Raymond High School for Boys, and earned top honors at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He works with the developmentally disabled.
Being selected by your peers is among the highest honors you can receive, said Salimbene, adding that it means much more to him than other forms of recognition.
He said that he is going to focus on pride, integrity and service, adding that he credits past commanders for helping him see service as integral to the endeavor of any American Legion.
One of the past Bronx American Legion county commanders that Salimbene sees as a role model is Pat Devine, who said that there are about 15 or so active past county commanders who will be available to offer him support.
“He is highly recommended and we are there to support him,” said Devine.
Salimbene replaces outgoing Bronx county commander Robert Feliciano of Co-op City American Legion Post #1871.