Frank Cooley, Alternate NEC & PDC 2017-2018- Speaker-West Virginia National Cemetery Program
Frank Cooley was born in Newhall, West Virginia and grew up in Marytown, West Virginia where he attended schools in the area, before graduating in 1965 from Welch High School. He served his Country in the United States Army and was Honorable Discharged in 1971.
He is married to the former Angela Diana Davidson and they have two sons Leonard and James and one granddaughter Samantha. He is employed at the HC Lewis Oil Company for more than 54 years and still works when not spending time with family and the American Legion.
He and his wife Ann reside in Welch, West Virginia and they are members of the Anderson Memorial Presbyterian Church on Stewart Street in Welch. He is one of the Elders and Ann is in the Choir. He has been active with American Legion Post 8 for more than 25 years and he is a paid up for life member. He is a former member of the Color Guard, Past Vice Commander, Past Post Commander, serves as Sgt. of Arms and Chairman of the Board of Governors.
On the District Level, he served as Sgt. of Arms, Adjutant and two six-year terms as District Commander. On the Department Level, he served as Asst. Sgt. of Arms, Department Vice Commander, 2000-2001 and 2014-2015. Assistant Membership Chairman 2015-2016; Department Membership Chairman 2016-2017. He served as Department Commander 2017-2018.
On the National Level, he is currently the 2019-2021 (NEC) Alternate National Executive Committeeman. In Legion year 2017-2018, he received the high honor of National Department Commander of the Year. Also, under his leadership as Department Commander the Department of West Virginia was number one in the nation on membership. He works in local high schools with boys, who are planning on attending the American Legion Mountaineer Boys State Program at Jackson Mills, where he serves as a Senior Counselor in (Randolph Cottage). He serves on State and National Committees and attended the Membership Workshop at National. He is Active with Voiture #1171 40&8 in Welch where he is a Past Chef de Gare and still serves as Correspondence.
He coached midget league football in Welch for 20 years, while working with the Welch High School Football Program. He is active with the Masonic Order, member of Beni Kedem Shriners, Past President of McDowell County Shrine, Charter Member of McDowell County Shrine Clown Alley, Past President having served three terms of the Mighty Welch Lions Club, served as Sight Chairman.
Also, he served on Welch City Council for 30 years and as a Volunteer Fireman for the City of Welch 26 years.
AMERICAN LEGION DEPARTMENT COMMANDER:
I was born in Wheeling WV in October 1953. I grew up in McMichen WV. I graduated in 1972 from John Marshall High School and after spending the summer at home working as a clerk for a local grocery store, I enlisted in the US Army to become a Military Policeman. I attended Boot Camp at Fort Dix, NJ. After Boot Camp, I went to Fort Gordon Georgia for advanced individual training for the military Police. I wanted to enlist in the army as my dad was a combat wounded veteran of the Korea Conflict. He never said much about Korea other than, “I dug fox holes.” After my dad was honorably discharged, he went home to Martins Ferry Ohio. He met my mom who grew up in Wheeling. They married and I was the first child with four sisters and one brother. My brother enlisted in the Navy and one of my sisters enlisted in the US Airforce. After I was discharged from the Army, I got a job working as an underground Coal Miner for Ireland Mine. I met my wife in 1976, we were married in 1977. In October 1977 my first daughter was born and in September of 1978 my youngest daughter was born. I had four years underground work, but was laid off in November 1979. In September 1980, I was hired at “Mobay Corporation”. I spent the next twenty years working for Mobay making rust or pigment that was used for coloring concrete. In 2001, Mobay/bayer was starting to down size. They offered an early retirement package and I took it. About six months later I went back to mining underground for McElroy Mine. I had already had four years credit towards a miner’s pension and I needed ten years total to receive the pension. I ended up working in the Mines a total of 21 years. During that time, the United Mine workers of America started a “Veteran’s Committeeman Program for the Support of Our Veterans”. I was nominated for one of the positions and voted into being a Veteran’s Committeeman that was when I started doing work for the Vet’s. The best thing we did yearly was clean the Vietnam Wall. About the same time, I received in the US Mail a flyer from The American Legion and I really didn’t know that much about it. I did however, fill out the application mailed it in. I received my membership card national suggested that I transfer from post 200 to a local post. So, I chose to visit Post 3 in Moundsville. The first time in Post 3, I met men that I had worked with at least 20 years and longer. They had never even mentioned being American Legon Members. Anyhow, I was welcomed to the post, they immediately completed the transfer paperwork from Post 200 to Post 3 and they “Hooked” me. Just like they were supposed to! They asked me to attend the meetings, which I did, and they got me to participate in pretty much everything thing they were doing. My point in talking about how I got into doing Legion work is, I never once in all the years of working with the men who were legion member, they didn’t say anything about the legion. Had they told me about it at work, I probably would have had a lot more years in the Legion. We all need to spread the word about what we do and who we are, not just at the Legion, but also where we work send wherever we are. If we see a person who looks like they are military don’t be afraid to ask. Invite them to join, to attend the meetings and to participate in what we represent. I also am a volunteer and supporter of Helping Heros. It is a program to help homeless veterans and their families. It is a very good program for supporting the vets and their families. I also am a member of the northern panhandle Veteran’s Council. We have met with politicians discussing what kind of support we need to have for our veterans. It too is a very good organization to provide vets with different avenues to help with whatever needs a vet may have. I enjoy helping our vets with whatever they may need.