COLONIAL HEIGHTS — In an early push during his tenure as National Commander of the American Legion, James W. (Bill) Oxford has been blazing new trails getting out to the military veteran community — throughout the region and specifically Virginia.

In a recent visit to the commonwealth, Oxford completed a whirlwind tour visiting six cities throughout Virginia — along with an an excursion to Rocky Mount, North Carolina for Hurricane Dorian relief efforts. Throughout his visit though, his message and intent remained consistent: connect with today's veterans in order to build a foundation for the future.

Escorted by A.B. Brown, commander, Department of Virginia, and a team of American Legion Riders from Post 284, Oxford traveled from Richmond to Bedford, Virginia for a visit to the National D-Day Memorial. Hosted by Post 54, Oxford toured the memorial, and visited Green’s Drug Store, home of the “Bedford Boys” memorial.

Following a visit with veterans in Lynchburg, Oxford toured Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond. After meeting hospital administrators, Oxford stopped by a session with recovering veterans learning how to properly handle service dogs they’ve been given by the VA.

Late afternoon brought Oxford and the department’s leadership to Post 284 for a dinner with Colonial Heights Legionnaires. In anticipation of his arrival, the post organized a collection of non-perishables to be delivered to families affected by Hurricane Dorian. Once again escorted by the Legion Riders of Post 284, Commander Oxford delivered countless clothing items, children’s toys, books and nonperishable food to North Carolinians affected by the hurricane — proving his leadership not just in words, but also his deeds.

Oxford was elected National Commander of The American Legion on Aug. 29, 2019, during the organization’s 101st national convention. A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Oxford served in Vietnam during his initial enlistment. Following the war he transferred to the U.S. Army Reserve, where he ultimately retired as a colonel after more than 34 years of service. A former mayor and city council member of Cajah's Mountain, North Carolina, Oxford is an active volunteer with several organizations. His theme as National Commander of The American Legion is, "A Foundation for the Future," as the organization enters its second century of service.