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Bastrop Daily Enterprise - Bastrop, LA
  • Post 81 dedicates ‘American Legion Pathway’

  • The Gautreau-Williams, Post 81 in Gonzales has been serving the veterans and citizens of Ascension Parish continuously since 1921. On Saturday, the post rededicated its name as Gautreau-Williams and renamed its kitchen/rental hall area to remember Eddie L. Landry who gave his life for his country in Vietnam and Johnathan B. Chism who lost his life, in the line of duty in Iraq.
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  • The Gautreau-Williams, Post 81 in Gonzales has been serving the veterans and citizens of Ascension Parish continuously since 1921. On Saturday, the post rededicated its name as Gautreau-Williams and renamed its kitchen/rental hall area to remember Eddie L. Landry who gave his life for his country in Vietnam and Johnathan B. Chism who lost his life, in the line of duty in Iraq. Post 81 was rededicated to Leon J. Gautreau, private of U.S. Army during World War I. He was awarded a purple-heart medal and World War I victory medal posthumously. Post 81 was originally chartered as Leon J. Gautreau Post 81 on Feb. 2 1921. Adrian Williams was a seamen first class U.S. Navy who was killed in action on Dec. 7 1941 at Pearl Harbor. He was awarded the American Defense Medal, World War II Victory medal and the Purple Heart medal posthumously. Post 81 re-chartered its name in 1946 to add Williams’ name. On Saturday, Post 81 dedicated its East Wing to Marine Corps Lance Corporal Eddie L. Landry of Dutchtown and Army Specialist Johnathan B. Chism of Gonzales. Landry was second Batallion, fourth Marines, third Marine Div. III MAF. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star, posthumously as a result of Operation Starlite, Van Tuong Peninsula, Vietnam. Chism was assigned to the second Batallion 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, fourth Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Karbala, Iraq. Specialist Chism was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with ‘V’ device, posthumously. After dedicating its buildings, Post 81 also dedicated its new “American Legion Pathway,” which visually represents the war time periods that qualifies veterans for membership in the American Legion. Each war period is punctuated with the major battles our veterans fought in while serving their county. Post 81 commander Stephen Henry came up with the idea last fall while driving to work. Henry said the post had always wanted to add a visual piece but wanted to make sure it could present something that “encompasses all veterans.” Henry said he had recently saw the movie Mash on TV and it led to his idea for the suggestion of putting sign posts pointing towards the major battles veterans have fought in. The opposite of what is normally done in being at war and seeing signs pointing towards home. “We quickly realized a single sign-post would not be efficient, so we ended up with about a dozen,” Henry said. “Each post represents a war period in which qualified veterans of the American Legion. It’s a walk down memory lane for many of us. The battles named on these poles are there to remind us all the sacrifice they made for the freedom in which we all enjoy.” “It is our hope and desire that this edifice may be used ever in the service of our disabled comrades, of the widowed and to the benefit of our community, state and nation.” Joe Harris, a past post commander and current executive committee member, accepted the dedications on behalf of the membership of Post 81. Harris played an active role in building the pathway memorial. He cut and did the art work for each sign and he “aimed to make each uniquely different from the next.” Harris said he hopes the pathway can be a benefit to everybody. “We want this to be used for educational purposes too, more than just a monument for us,” Harris said. The telephone poles lining the pathway were donated by Entergy and have representation of World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, Lebanon and Grenada, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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