Springfield to host national Marine Corps League meeting

Springfield detachment H. Eugene “Doak” Walker #963 will host Marine Corps League members from six states here for the 2022 Central Division Vice Conference, March 17-19. Contributed photo

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Springfield detachment H. Eugene “Doak” Walker #963 will host Marine Corps League members from six states here for the 2022 Central Division Vice Conference, March 17-19. Contributed photo

Springfield detachment H. Eugene “Doak” Walker #963 is making a name for itself nationally in the Marine Corps League (MCL).

Just under a year after having the state convention here, the Springfield detachment will host the 2022 Central Division Vice Conference Thursday through Saturday with more than 60 people representing detachments from six states traveling here to participate in workshops, training sessions and classes and to socialize.

The Marine Corps League is a service organization that preserves traditions and promotes the interests of the U.S. Marine Corps, as well as supporting current and veteran Marines who may need a helping hand by visiting them at their homes, in retirement communities or nursing facilities, and conducting Honor Guard duties for events including for funerals for veterans of any military branch, providing 21-gun salutes and playing “Taps” with a live bugler.

Attendees will work on ways to build the organization by recruiting new members and finding new ways to raise money to support their mission. Like many organizations, its membership has taken a hit, particularly because of the pandemic; #963 is an exception, actually adding members in the past year.

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Following the successful state convention in June 2021, state MCL leadership was impressed enough to ask the Springfield detachment if they’d be interested in hosting the Central meeting, and they were glad to comply.

“This is a great honor,” said Stanley Williams, Judge Advocate of Springfield #963. “Our detachment has been growing and gotten national recognition.”

One of the special guests will be National MCL Commandant Bob Borka. States represented will include Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.

Besides building membership, the meetings will discuss how to maintain programs such as the Toys for Tots program, a longstanding tradition which has been affected, as well as helping out Marines who need the help and to support the funerals. Williams said the local Honor Guard averages two to three veterans’ funerals a week locally.

The meetings will be at Courtyard by Marriott. While it is for registered MCL members only, the public is invited to a memorial service for fallen Marines between 8:30-9 a.m. Saturday, March 19 outside the Courtyard near the mural on back of the former Regent Theater building.

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The event will include a reading of names of recently deceased Marines, the playing of “Taps” and a 21-gun salute.

Williams is also proud to be able to help bring dollars into the local economy through lodging, with 35 rooms being occupied, meals at local restaurants and other expenditures.

“This is a feather in our detachment’s cap and in Springfield’s cap,” he said. “This won’t be back here for another 10-12 years.”

The MCL is always looking for new members and is open to honorably discharged Marines as regular members, but those who did not serve can join as associate members.

Springfield #963 meets at 7:30 p.m. the third Thursday of each month at the VFW 1031, 1237 E. Main St. For more information, contact Williams at devildog924@gmail.com.

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