of Adrian will lead the national veterans organization until September 2013
Bovee, 66, has been elected the Chef de Chemin de Fer, or national commander, of the 40 &8.
was chosen at the organization's 93rd annual convention Sept. 15 in Fort Mitchell, Ky., and will serve until the next convention in September 2013 in Phoenix.
"I'm a member of a lot of different organizations.
But, no matter which group you are in, it is still veterans helping veterans," he
"You are serving everyone.
It is an honor to do so."
Active in veterans' matters for more than 45 years, Bovee is a life member of many organizations, including serving as local commander for the Morenci Post 368 of the American Legion and Annis-Fint VFW Post 1584 of Adrian.
Bovee has been a member of the 40 & 8 for 22 years and held a variety of positions nationally and locally with the organization, including commander of the Lenawee La Societe for two years and the state organization in 2004.
"I've pretty much done everything (with 40 & 8)," he
As the national commander, Bovee will make the final decisions a commander normally would.
will also be available to travel to other states and local 40 & 8 chapters and be a keynote speaker.
It is a pastime that he
"I get to meet many great people," he
Retired after 40-plus years in the maintenance department at Adrian Public Schools
wife, Linda, have two sons and three grandsons.
He is owner and a member of the Addison Defense and Gun Club.
served with the 4th and 25th U.S. Army infantry divisions in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967.
service ran from 1965 to 1967.
"I was drafted.
We went through basic training, advanced training and then were shipped over to Vietnam," he
"When I got back, I still had 87 days left, but they just thanked me for my service and sent me home."
The 40 & 8 was founded in 1920 as a charitable honor society for World War I veterans.
Membership is by invitation only for recognition of service to the American Legion and/or its programs It includes all American wartime veterans.
The organization's programs include nurses training, child welfare, Flags for First Graders, support for the Hansen's Disease Center
in Carville, La., and Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service programs and other efforts supporting troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, especially those who are injured, Bovee
The 40 & 8 moniker derives from the experience of American troops in France in World War I. During the war, French boxcars carried American Doughboys to the front.
These boxcars could carry 40 men and eight horses and were emblazoned with a "40/8."
Today, organization chapters meet in symbolic WWI train depots.
Besides its local support of veterans, Bovee
said the local group maintains the local building on Oakwood Road.