FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --You may notice hundreds of veterans in Downtown Fresno over the next couple of days as the 98th Annual American Legion Conference is underway
It's patriotism at its finest as close to 1,000 veterans filled the Double Tree Hotel and Convention Center Thursday.
"Move forward with our veterans issues and stuff with the state and with the national organization and make sure we take care of our younger veterans with our older ones," said Floyd Martin, American Legion Post State Commander
Veterans from all over the state convened in Downtown Fresno.
This year's main goal is to set the stage for future generations and that doesn't stop at officer elections.
"A lot of vets getting out of the service right now and we want to make sure they're getting the benefits they're entitled
to," Martin said.
People like US Marine Corps veteran Jose Paez, who, after enlisting in 2001, Paez did 4 tours in Iraq.
"It was a life-changing experience," he said. "A lot of stuff, lost a lot of friends. If I can't take care of Marines, I want to take care of the veteran community."
Paez is working to encourage the younger generations of veterans to join the American Legion community.
"The American Legion has paved the road for the past and future veterans and as far as our benefits we want to keep pushing for that," he said.
California's American Legion serves more than 89,000 veterans and active duty service members statewide.
The 14th District serves nearly 2,500 of them with 23 American Legion posts in Fresno, Kings and Madera Counties.
It was at this convention last year that they decided to move state headquarters to Sanger.
"What we wanted to do for or all of our members was try to get more central in the state of California," Martin said.
They brought this year's convention to the Central Valley.
The headquarters were located in San Francisco for about 80 years and is the world's largest veterans' organization.