Joe Knight elected American Legion Post 55 Commander

By Mike Weland

American Legion Post 55 Commander Joseph Knight
Joseph Knight

Members of Bonners Ferry American Legion Post 55 held their annual election April 11 and elected Joe Knight, an Army veteran born in the Oakland Naval Hospital, Oakland, California, in 1976, as its new commander, succeeding outgoing Post Commander Dave Schuman.

A U.S. Army veteran, Knight grew up in the rarest of the rare categories of military kids; when he was born, his father, a sailor, was finishing a tour in the Navy and the family soon returned home to Illinois. After a couple years in college, his dad again raised his right hand and swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, this time as a soldier in the U.S. Army, which took the family to duty stations in Texas, Missouri, Germany and Alaska before, at the end of the cold war, his dad was transferred again, not only to a new duty station, but to a third new U.S. military uniform, U.S. Air Force blues at Castle Air Force Base, Atwater, California, when Joe was in the eighth grade.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1997, going through basic training in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, and then to Fort Gordon, Georgia, for advanced individual training as a multichannel transmission systems operator, based at Ft. Lewis, Washington, and then Darmstadt, Germany, f rom where he deployed to Albania with Task Force Hawk in 1999 during the onset of the Kosovo conflict. His team supported the 82nd Airborne Division with communications as the airfield in Tirana was secured and developed, then shifted to Camp Able Sentry, Macedonia, where they provided communications to ground forces pushing north into Kosovo.

He moved to Bonners Ferry in June, 2018, following his dad who had moved here a few years earlier. He met his wife, Amanda, while working as a student life counselor/floor manager at Boulder Creek Academy. After the school closed in 2022, he stayed on with the new owners, working on-site with Boulder Creek Retreat.

He is active in American Legion Post 55, VFW, where was voted in as a trustee April 9, Paradise Valley Grange and Bonners Ferry Rotary, and he said he was surprised to have been nominated and surprised and humbled to have won the vote.

“I have a lot of challenges ahead of me, but my officers are already proving to be a knowledgeable and helpful bunch that are just as excited about moving forward with new leadership as we all are about getting more active and involved in the community,” he said. “I would like to invite the many veterans in our community who have not taken part in the American Legion or VFW to come check us out. We could benefit from new membership and fresh perspectives on how to benefit the community moving forward. I am certain there are those living in a quasi-self-imposed isolation, which many might enjoy … but several of you should probably break out of that mindset and quasi-redeploy. I was one of those up until about this time last year. The unique feeling of comradery and teamwork we experienced in the service can only be felt again among veterans. We aren’t just a bunch of old guys sipping coffee, but we could certainly use some younger blood. Get off your computers and devices and out into the community; meet other keyboard warriors and put faces to the names you recognize from the local groups and pages online!”

Also elected to office in American Legion Post 55 were Stew Jenkins, adjutant, Kristi Turner. vice commander, Robert Rains, second vice commander, Chris Thomas, sergeant-at-arms, and Jeffrey Phillips, chaplain.

VFW Post 3622 meets at the VFW building at 6635 Lincoln Street on the second Tuesday of the month, and American Legion Post 55 meets at the Boundary County Fairgrounds Memorial Hall on the second Thursday of the month.