By David Stenklyft, Wausau Pilot and Review

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of stories detailing the history of the American Legion in Wausau, including highlights about the men and women of Post 10, in advance of the organization’s 100-year anniversary.

Darla Porter is a lifelong Wausau resident and Wausau West graduate who served as commander of Post 10 from 2013 to 2014. In her role there she gained a true appreciation for the group’s commitment to serving the community.

Porter enlisted in the Air Force soon after high school and after active service joined Post 10. She was not the first woman to become commander of the Post — that honor belongs to Tamara Suchy, who served in the role from 2008 to 2009. But she is still proud of leading the group. She also served as membership chair for the American Legion Department of Wisconsin.

She certainly saw the world in her time of enlistment, first going to Hawaii and then to Turkey. Porter’s service then took her to Illinois, Alaska  and Guam. During her time in the Air Force, she rose to the rank of Master Sergeant, specializing in air transportation. Her job involved loading planes with cargo and personnel.

“I loved the challenges and the camaraderie of the service,” Porter said. “I loved the travel and meeting new people and seeing new places. I got the chance to do things I never would have been able to do otherwise.”

Now, Porter appreciates the camaraderie of the Post. Through her many years as an American Legion member she learned to appreciate the importance of this organization.

“The American Legion is the best veteran’s service organization,” Porter said. “We have over 60 programs to assist veterans and their families.”

On the local level, Porter said, the Legion sponsors events such as Badger Boys and Girls State, which exposes high school students to government functions and teaches them how laws are created. The Women’s Auxiliary administers the Girls State functions.

“They are a very valuable arm of the Post,” she said. “We also sponsor Boy Scout Troop 100, and we are committed to youth organizations in the area.”

The Post is on a membership drive through the summer to boost membership numbers and help veterans and their families. There are 63 programs that assist with veteran issues.

The American Legion Post welcomes all military personnel serving the U.S. Their mission is to implement the goals, aspirations, dreams, peace and blessings for our country, friends and families. Membership is based on honorable service with any branch of the U.S. Armed forces during World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Lebanon/Grenada conflict from Aug. 24, 1082 to July 31, 1984, Operation Just Cause from Dec. 20, 1989 to Jan. 31, 1990, and Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, from Aug. 2, 1990 through today.

To learn more or to join Post 10, visit the organization’s membership page.