General Leonard E. Wood American Legion Post 162

2024 Activities
Flag Raising

Members of the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 162 of Hillsdale held a flag raising ceremony at the Hillsdale home of paralyzed United States Marine Corps veteran Visnu Gonzalez, a member of Post 162. Visnu served in combat with the USMC in Iraq, where he was severely injured by a sniper. Squadron members George DeRosa and Dennis Cesa coordinated replacement of the flags on the flagpole in front of the Gonzalez family home, which was donated to them in 2009 by Homes for the Troops. The home has one of the highest ratings for energy efficiency and is barrier free.  Squadron Vice Commander Cesa stated  “We were delighted to have the opportunity to help this family and honor this warrior. Our members responded immediately to honor the memory of our relatives who served or who are serving our flag and county.  God Bless America.”

Members of the Squadron and the Post raised a new Marine Corps flag in addition to the United States Flag. Visnu’s wife, Mrs. Sahily Machado Gonzalez, shown with her daughter expressed her thanks to the Post for their continuing support. Sons of the American Legion membership is open to those whose father or grandfather served Honorably in the United States Armed Forces. Anyone interested in joining should contact Post 162.


Photo courtesy of Gianna Cesa-Umphlett



On January 6th, American Legion Post 162 honored Hillsdale's retiring Chief Bob Francaviglia and new Chief Sean Smith at their first monthly meeting for 2024. Commander Doug Frank spoke about working with the Chief when he was a councilman and then Mayor.  He highlighted the professionalism that Chief Francaviglia brought to the Police Force and the many changes that he made to benefit the residents as well as the force.  The Chief's 30 years of service were reviewed by Post 162 Adjutant and past Hillsdale Police Chief Frank Mikulski.  Francavigilia was credited with keeping Hillsdale exceptionally safe during his time on the force.
New Chief Sean Smith was recognized for his 27 years service, which started on January 6th, 1997. Adjutant Mikulski told the story of how he hired Sean as a patrolman all those years ago, and how Sean exceeded everyone's already high expectations.  Commander Frank thanked Sean for his service in the United States Marine Corps. and his membership in Post 162.  He also thanked Sean for authoring two books on the history of Hillsdale. Chief Smith is a strong advocate for community policing.  All in attendance congratulated them and wished both men the best of luck.
Pictured L to R.  Adjutant Frank Mikulski, Chief Sean Smith, Retired Chief Bob Francaviglia, Commander Doug Frank