"This is a very prestigious honor," said Michael Clement, the newsletter's editor and primary writer. "You're being judged by your peers. These are guys in the news media, so they know what to look for."
Clement will officially receive the award at the Legion's national convention in Salt Lake City Aug. 25-28. Keynote speaker will be President George Bush.
Clement, an Army veteran who joined the organization three years ago, created the newsletter as a senior project at St. Mary's College. He said the project required going to an organization and creating what he called a "change project."
"It had to be some kind of project that would inspire positive change for the organization," Clement explained.
"I approached the (American Legion) officers with the idea and they liked it," Clement said. "They thought it would be good public relations with the community."
Clement said he received valuable guidance from classmates at St. Mary's.
"Members of the class helped me enormously," Clement said. "I always got great input from them on how to improve the newsletter. They followed me through everything. I would make a presentation and they would critique it. I owe them a lot."
The newsletter provides feature articles about members and sometimes their children or grandchildren. The latest issue, for example, includes an article about Kent Portue Jr., grandson of Post Commander Mel Portue. Kent, a 2001 graduate of Liberty High School, graduated from Colorado State University in May and is headed to pilot training in Pensacola, Fla.
The newsletter award is the second honor Clement received recently. He was also named Co-Legionnaire of the Year along with Kent Portue Sr. He received the recognition for his "behind-the-scenes contributions" in obtaining media exposure for the post.
Clement describes producing the quarterly publication as a labor of love.
"I don't get paid for this," he said. "But the rewards are huge. I love it. I'm passionate about writing. This is good for the American Legion, too."
In addition to producing an award-winning newsletter, Clement said he is proud of the fact that Post 202 membership has increased significantly since the publication first appeared in April of 2005.
"We now have a mailing list of 350," he said. "I think the newsletter gives us exposure and creates an interest among veterans in joining and getting involved in their community. I think every veteran should join some sort of veterans' organization.
"Publishing a full-color newsletter isn't cheap, but it's well worth it to the organization. When you have a presence and a voice in the community, you can accomplish so much more."