The Theodore Korony American Legion Post 253 honored two of its longtime members for years of service.
Past commander Pat Devine and ladies auxiliary leader Judy Lanci were honored with lifetime achievement awards at the veteran’s organizations first annual gala cocktail party and reception at Pelham Split Rock Golf Course on Friday, July 29.
Past commander Tom Hansen remembers when both Devine and Lanci joined the post, more than 35 years ago. Both are leaders not just in the Korony Post, but in the American Legion on the state and national levels, Hansen said.
Both Lanci and Devine have grown with the legion post after being part of the first group of Vietnam-era veterans and spouses to evolve into leadership roles, Hansen said.
Devine and Hansen both worked together to gain a foothold in the Korony Post in the early 1970s, when the leadership was dominated by World War II and Korean War veterans, Devine said.
“I am being honored for 40 years of service to the Theodore Korony Post,” Devine said. “When we first started, we were the youngest American Legion Post in the state, and we had to wrest control from the older World War II veterans. Gradually we learned to work together and realized that they had experience that could help us achieve our goals. ”
In the mid-1970s, Devine helped spearhead an effort to turn a dumping groud next to Weir Creek, into a lush green space which is Bicentennial Veterans Memorial Park.
“The veterans of our area have no stronger advocate than Patrick Devine,” said Senator Jeff Klein. “Though his days in the Marines Corps. are behind him, Pat continues each and every day to lead a life of distinguished service to our Bronx community.”
Lanci is still founding new programs like that serve veterans in the James J. Peters Veterans Administration Hospital and elsewhere throughout the borough. She has previously worked to revitalize and grow the ladies auxiliary.
“Just because I am being honored with a lifetime achievement award doesn’t mean I am going to slow down,” said Lanci, who was also a senior vice-president at Citibank. “I have retired from work, but I am as busy as ever.”