First woman national commander of American Legion visits

Rena Nessler of Geneva was especially pleased to meet Denise Rohan this weekend.

Nessler was the first woman commander of the New York State American Legion, while Rohan was chosen in August to be the first woman to head the national American Legion.

“I’m so proud to serve with Denise. She’s such an inspiration,” Nessler said. “She has such passion, empathy and perseverance serving veterans and their families. She brings a powerful message.”

Rohan visited the area Saturday, going to Geneva, Waterloo and Seneca Falls.

During an interview at the Ramada Inn, Rohan said the theme of her tenure is “families first.” She explained that comes from her own experiences when she enlisted in the Army right out of high school and had to go to basic training.

“I was the kid who got homesick,” Rohan said. “Even as a kid, spending a night at a friend’s house in the neighborhood got me homesick. Family was also important to me when I went away for basic training. My mother told me that the other women I was training with had to be my family.”

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