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6/27/2013 New Colorado Commander:

Local Legionnaire heading up state organization

Carol Kennedy of Westcliffe American Legion Post 170 was installed last weekend as Colorado Department Commander for the American Legion.

Kennedy is only the second female Department Commander in the 95 year history of Colorado American Legion.

The installation ceremonies took place this past Saturday, June 22, in Fort Collins during the annual convention of The American Legion Department of Colorado.

Kennedy’s assignment will run from July 2013 through June 2014. As Department Commander, she’ll lead the 22,000 members of American Legion in Colorado.

Since retiring to Westcliffe in 2005 and joining the American Legion Post 170 that same year, Kennedy has held most of the key positions in the post, including Chaplain, Junior and Senior Vice Commander, and Post Commander. On a state level, she has been involved in Boys State, Girls State, and other youth activities.

A native of Wardensville, W.V., Kennedy had a distinguished military career. She served as a nurse in the U.S. Air Force and the Air Force Reserves, and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel following 29 years of service. Among her achievements as a Registered Nurse, Kennedy was one of six Air Force nurses in the NASA Zero Gravity Flight Equipment Testing program – lovingly nicknamed “the vomit comet;” she was the chief nurse on a United Nations and USAF health care mission to Chiclayo, Peru; and she provided medical care to numerous prisoners of war upon their return from Vietnam.

In addition, she has 40 years of civilian nursing experience, having worked in emergency nursing, Emergency Medical Service nursing, administration and other fields.

Kennedy’s motto for her upcoming year as commander is “Ignite Patriotism.” She has chosen to support the Colorado Veterans Kids Fund, which provides emergency financial assistance for Colorado veterans and active duty families who have minor children at home.

Kennedy’s husband of 26 years, Robert “Bob” Dreher, USAF, MSC, LTC (Ret) also is an active member of American Legion Post 170. Kennedy has three stepsons, Kevin, Brian and Paul, and four grandchildren.