Rod Martens new state American Legion commander Rod Martens of Piedmont Valley American Legion Post 311 in Piedmont was elected as the new state commander of The American Legion in South Dakota during the closing moments of the 91st Annual Convention in Huron on Sunday, June 28. Martens, a 37-year Paid-Up-For-Life member of The American Legion, assumed leadership of the 24,000 member organization in South Dakota immediately following the convention adjournment. Commander Martens' eligibility for membership in The American Legion is based on his two years of duty with the U.S. Navy Seabees from 1970-72. Commander Martens is currently serving in key leadership positions in other organizations. He is a member of the Meade 46-1 school board, vice chairman of Midland Water & Service Company and is the chairman of the board of directors of Midland Heights Sanitation District. He is active in many community affairs and fundraisers. He has held many other key leadership positions within The American Legion, having served in many post offices to include commander, district vice commander, district commander, administrative committee and state vice commander. Martens was chosen as District 12 Legionnaire of the Year in 2009. Martens is also a life member of VFW Post 1273. Martens has one son and two grandchildren.