Whitesboro grad elected national commander of American Legion

staff reports
Paul Dillard was recently elected national commander of the American Legion.

A 1965 Whiteboro High School graduate recently elected to the highest position in the American Legion. Paul E. Dillard was elected national commander of the nearly two-million member American Legion last week in Phoenix, Arizona during the organization’s 102nd national convention.

Dillard first joined the nation’s largest veterans organization in 1969.

"A native Texan, Dillard graduated from Whitesboro High School in 1965 before joining the U.S. Navy and serving in Vietnam through four campaigns including the Tet offensive," a release from American Legion. 

After that, Dillard was honorably discharge as a radarman second class petty officer from the Navy Reserve before attending Grayson County Junior College, now Grayson College, and East Texas State University.

"Dillard worked several years in the manufacturing business as an Engineer, Plant Manager and Director of Manufacturing in Tennessee," the release said. "Upon returning to Texas, he accepted a sales representative position with Sherman Foundry and became its airplane pilot. A career change was made when he and his wife, Donna, began their family and he entered into the insurance business specializing in Employee Benefits and later forming Dillard & Gann Insurance."

Dillard has held several positions with the American Legion.

"As a paid-up-for-life member of Post 265, Lake Kiowa, Texas, Dillard served as post commander, vice commander, adjutant and judge advocate," the release said. "He coached American Legion Baseball for more than 10 years and served as his post’s Boys State chairman."

The release also said Dillard's theme as national commander is "No veteran left behind."

"He served the 4th District as commander and vice commander and served the department as sergeant-at-arms, Membership & Organization chairman, National Security chairman, Uniformed Organization chairman, Board of Trustees chairman, and he served on the Finance Committee and the Long-Range Planning Committee," the release said. "He was elected as Department of Texas (state) commander in 2007."

Nationally, Dillard has also held many titles.

"On the national level, Paul has served as Alternate National Executive Committeeman, consultant to the Insurance Committee, Distinguished Guest Committee, Children and Youth Committee, Media and Communications Council. He has served as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, chairman of the Veterans Employment & Education Commission and chairman of the Legislative Commission," the release said. "He was elected as national vice commander in 2013."

Dillard also has several family members who are also members of the American Legion.

"He married Donna in 1983," the release said. "They have two sons, William and his wife Allison, and Jonathon and his wife Karri and two grandsons Jarrett and Lukas. All are members of the American Legion Family. Donna has been an active and dedicated member of the American Legion Auxiliary for several years and has served in numerous positions of leadership at all levels of the organization, including department president in 2017 – 2018."