Salamanca Legion recognizes Boys State participants

The Salamanca American Legion recently recognized this year’s Boys State participants with a ceremony last week. Pictured: Dennis Burger (from left), local chairman; Kohl Ambuske’s mom, Sherry, Kohl Ambuske; Dylan Wheeler; Liam Long; Liam’s dad, Lloyd Long Jr.; and Commander Tom Percy.

SALAMANCA — Kohl Ambuske, Liam Long and Dylan Wheeler, who recently completed six days at Boys State, held at the State University of New York in Morrisville, reported to the Hughes-Skiba Post 535 of the American Legion for a small recognition ceremony.

The boys reported to several Legion officials, including Dennis Burger, local chairman, and Commander Tom Percy, who sponsored their experience. Post 535 held many fundraisers to pay for the experience.

Boys State was founded in by two Illinois Legionnaires, Hayes Kennedy and Harold Card, who organized the first Boys State at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.

Ambuske, Long and Wheeler attended the week-long civics lesson along with 950 others from across the state.

The boys were nominated during their junior year at Salamanca High School.

“At Boys State, we learned how the government works and the importance of our military,” said Kohl Ambuske.

“We were told never to go anywhere without a water bottle and a Bible,” added Wheeler.

“I think we all left with a deeper sense of patriotism,” said Liam Long, who was especially inspired by his Marine councilor.

The boys described the day's activities at Boys State, where they had personal experience running for offices such as Chief of Police, Commissioner of Public Works and Director of Education.

Every day started at 5:30 a.m. and included sports, marching, assemblies, messages from wounded warriors and interactive lessons on the operation of local, county and state governments by learning the rights, privileges and responsibilities of American citizens.

Operated by students elected to various offices, civic activities included legislative sessions, court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, choruses and recreational programs, by becoming part of these operations.

Many students who attended Boys State thanks to Poat 535 prospered from their experience. For example, Daniel Milliman, of Pine Valley, is now attending the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Ambuske, Long and Wheeler said they were very thankful for their experience at Boys State and they were sure it will help them to make good future decisions now that they have a better understanding of government and the important part played by the military. They also made many new friends from around the state.