JosephJ.Frank(USA), Past Natl Cmdr American Legion, St. Louis, MO
Joseph J. Frank a native of Sunset Hills, Missouri was born and raised in Lemay, Missouri the oldest of seven children of Joseph L. Frank and Delores T Frank. He was drafted in the United States Army in 1966, shortly after graduating from Hancock High School.
While proudly serving his Country in Tam Ky, Vietnam with the 39th Engineer Battalion January 14th 1968, – Frank was directing a truck at a bridge site location and the front left tire set off a land mine explosion which caused permanent injuries resulting in paraplegia at the T-4 level. He received a medical retirement on April 1st 1968, receiving many decorations for his actions and service as well as the Purple Heart.
Since his rehabilitation at Hines VA Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois he has dedicated his life to public service and advocating on behalf of people with disabilities and Veterans.
Mr. Frank joined his hometown American Legion Post 162 in 1968 and in 1979 founded the Crestwood Memorial American Legion Post 777 which was later renamed in honor of his father – the late Joseph L. Frank. Dedication and compassion allowed him to serve on all levels of the organization, and was elected September 5th 1996, in Salt Lake City Utah, the 78th National Commander of the American Legion – The largest war-time veteran’s organization in the nation with a membership of 2.6 million members.
Mr. Frank was employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs as Employment Coordinator – interviewing and screening for employment counseling/placement services to the severely physically disabled veteran at Jefferson Barracks VA Medical Center Spinal Cord Injury Unit located in South St Louis County, Missouri. As a National Service Officer with the National Paralyzed Veterans of America - he developed and submitted claims for VA benefits made by all veterans.
He was appointed to the Missouri Veterans Commission by Governors Bob Holden and Matt Blunt as a Commissioner, serving two consecutive years as Chairman and currently serving as Commissioner under
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.
Frank has been extremely honored to visit and discuss veteran’s issues with three United States Presidents at the White House and he received presidential recognition for service to the Nation and selective service system. A Recipient of Missouri American Legion’s highest award – the “Distinguished Service award” for having rendered dedicated and exceptional service to the State of Missouri and the Nation. He also was awarded a Presidential citation for Community Achievement. Mr. Frank has been honored with numerous other awards throughout the years.
Mr. Frank currently serves as Advisor to the National Commander of the Legion and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation. He is an active member of several civic and veteran’s organizations currently serving on the Jefferson Barracks Heritage Foundation, and a co-founder of the St Louis Homeless Burial Program which continues to grow throughout the nation. He and his wife Barbara have one daughter and two granddaughters.