March 18. 2013 9:01PM
Updated: Imprisoned veterans to have own American Legion post in Berlin
BERLIN — An American Legion Post will officially operate inside the state prison in Berlin, state Department of Corrections officials announced Monday.
American Legion Post No. 123 received its temporary charter in February from the American Legion Department of New Hampshire, which was signed by National Vice Commander John Neylon.
The charter allows qualified inmate veterans to participate in regular meetings and functions that will be held behind the prison’s walls.
“Even though these veterans are incarcerated, they continue to volunteer their time for worthwhile causes, and we welcome the addition of an official new American Legion chapter to our Berlin facility,” Corrections Commissioner William L. Wrenn said in a prepared statement.
American Legion Auxiliary, Unit #82, has offered to pay the dues of the new members.
“These veterans have earned their eligibility for membership in the American Legion, with their honorable service to our nation,” Neylon wrote on the American Legion website.
“Although incarcerated, they continue to serve our active duty members and veterans.”
For many years, inmates at the Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility in Berlin volunteered to make more than 3,000 poppies for the New Hampshire American Legion Auxiliary and routinely donated to the “Toys for Tots” program.
They also made handwritten Christmas cards and handmade crafts that the American Legion distributed to troops serving around the world.
Each year, they also hold Veterans Day and Memorial Day observances.
The temporary charter will be replaced with a permanent charter on May 21 during the annual Memorial Day observance.