130th Force Support Airman receives 2020 American Legion Spirit of Service Award

By Maj. Holli Nelson | West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs | July 29, 2020

CHARLESTON, W.Va. —

The National Guard recently selected Senior Airman Donald Lambert to receive the 2020 American Legion Spirit of Service Award. This award honors an enlisted member from each branch of the armed forces for exceptional record of leadership and volunteer service.

Lambert, a Services Journeyman with the Force Support Squadron at the 130th Airlift Wing, was chosen for this award for his extraordinary community service efforts with the American Legion outside of his duty hours.  

“Receiving this awards is one of the crowning achievements of my life,” he said. “It means even more to me to have revived an award form an organization that I’m so proud of and work hard to fight for. I was actually shocked when I was told I had been selected, but it is a true honor.”

Lambert’s journey to involvement with the American Legion began as early as 10 years old, but it wasn’t until his junior year of high school when members from the American Legion Post decided to send him to the American Legion Mountaineer Boys State that he was really exposed to the atmosphere of the Legion.

“I learned Americanism and good government through participation,” he said. “I really liked boys state and had decided at that point that I wanted to join the American Legion.”

Following in the footsteps of his family, Lambert joined the West Virginia Air National Guard in 2014 following his graduation from high school. Once he completed his basic military training and technical school, he submitted his application to join his local American Legion.

Upon returning from training, he began school at Glenville State College and was serving as a member of the legion while attending school as a full-time student.

After he graduated with his bachelor’s degree, he realized that he wanted to be more active within his post. Since that time, he has served in various positions including as the Post Commander at the district level, the district nine Commander, and the department level membership Vice Chairman for districts two, nine, and ten.

At only 24, he guides over 4,000 members of the American Legion covering more than 9,000 square miles of West Virginia in membership and recruiting. He also provides assistance locally and has accumulated over 550 hours of volunteer service in 2019.  

Lambert would like to see more individuals in his generation join the legion and eventually step into leadership roles.

“I have the heart for the organization because it’s always been a part of my life and I don’t want to see it go to the wayside because no one has time for it anymore. I’m trying to get people in my generation, and my friends who are in the military, to at least become members and see how it is,” he said. “I’m just trying to show them that if the American legion goes, at least at the local level, there is going to be a loss of patriotism.”

While Lambert plays an active role outside of the military with the American Legion, his dedication to service extends to his work in the WVANG as well. Lambert serves on the Honor Guard team for the 130th Airlift Wing and for the last four months has been working full-time to support the State of West Virginia’s COVID-19 response.

Lambert plans to stay in the West Virginia National Guard and continue with the American Legion for as long as he can and enjoy his time with these organizations. He wants to climb the ladder and assume larger leadership roles in both organizations.

“The legion has definitely been pushing me with the Air National Guard to want to do more and be more,” Lambert said.

The American Legion National Convention for 2020 has been cancelled/postponed due to COVID-19, so Airman Lambert will receive his award at a later date.