The American Legion Department of Florida
Commander Eunice M. Butts
Eunice M. Butts, a Legionnaire from Carmichael-Lagree Post 167 in Tampa, Florida, was elected Department Commander on June 18, 2022, in Orlando, FL, during the 103rd Department Convention. Commander Butts is a thirty-seven-year continuous member, earning her eligibility through service to her country in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War Era. She also served in the U.S. Air Force Reserves and the Alabama National Guard. She is the first African American woman to move through leadership ranks to become the elected Commander for The American Legion, Department of Florida.
Commander Butts was born on July 28, 1944, in St. Petersburg, Florida, to the late Tommie and Martha Butts. Eunice graduated from Middleton High School in Tampa, Florida, in 1962, where she was the first to sing opera there. She furthered her education and attended Gibbs Jr. College in St. Petersburg on a music scholarship.
Commander Butts is active in the local community. She is the Director VIP for Twenty and Four “The Honor Society of Women Legionnaires” Florida Echelon 5 of as well as a member of the First Union Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida. She has received many accolades, certificates, and awards for unselfish giving to her community, state, and nation. On May 4, 2013, she received the “Doctor William Leckie Award” from the Buffalo Soldiers in recognition of her outstanding contributions, dedications, and accomplishments that enriched the lives of many in her community.
Commander Butts has served a variety of elected and appointed positions throughout the last thirty-seven years of The American Legion, Department of Florida at the post, district, area, department, and national levels. At the post level, she served as Post 167 Commander for eight years (2002-2003 & 2005-2011), during which her post won several awards in Children & Youth, Americanism, and JROTC during her administration. In addition, Commander Butts’s leadership helped Post 167 win the prestigious Wilson Timmons Memorial Award for the best all-around post in Florida. At the district level, she served as 15th District Vice Commander (2010-2012) and 15th District Commander (2012-2014). As District Commander, she achieved 100% of her district membership goal and won 2nd place nationally in membership. At the area level, she served as Central Area Commander (2014-2015). At the department level, she served as Department Post Revitalization Chair (2016-2018), Department 3rd Vice Commander (2018-2019), Department 2nd Vice Commander (2019-2021), and Department 1st Vice Commander (2021-2022). She also served on the National Veterans Affairs and Rehab Council (2013-2019), National Legislative Council (2015-present), and Americanism Commission (2019-present).
Commander Butts is the proud mother of 2 sons, Robert and Edward, one daughter, Franjernera, and three grandchildren.
Commander Butts has dedicated her life in service to her community, state, and nation, with mentoring children being her number one passion. Her passion for mentoring children was featured in the February 2016 Legion Magazine, “I Am The American Legion”. The late Mrs. Willie Mae Williams, known as the “Veterans Lady”, was passionate about keeping the role of women’s service in the military at the forefront. Mrs. Williams passed that legacy to Commander Butts, who graciously accepted the challenge. Commander Butts finds it very rewarding traveling the state of Florida and speaking with veterans. Her primary goal is to enlighten soon-to-be discharged service members and our veterans about the many advantages and opportunities in their communities. In addition, she will carry the message of helpfulness and love with all that The American Legion has to offer our veterans, youth, and communities.
Her theme as Department Commander is “God, Family and Courage”, and her fundraising project will be PROJECT: VetRelief and Jackson In Action 83 Foundation. PROJECT: VetRelief is a program of The American Legion, Department of Florida. Its mission is to provide a Legion of support for our service men and women when they find themselves in financial distress. Jackson In Action 83 Foundation supports military families, focusing on the children’s educational, emotional, and physical health.
The American Legion, Department of Florida boasts over 106,000 veterans still serving their country and the State of Florida. With 1.5 million members at the National level, The American Legion is the Nation’s Largest Veterans Service Organization. The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a Strong National Security, Veterans Affairs, Americanism, and Youth Programs. For more information on how you can be involved with the American Legion or for an interview with Commander Butts, please contact The American Legion, Department of Florida at 407-295-2631, ext. 239 or through email at Commander@floridalegion.org.