RUMFORD — Kirk Thurston of American Legion Post 24 in Rumford was honored Saturday as the new state commander of the organization.

Kirk Thurston, left, of American Legion Post 24 in Rumford, is honored Saturday at the local American Legion hall after being sworn in as state commander June 11. Seated beside him is Edward J. Roach Jr. of Rumford, who served as state commander 40 years ago. Submitted photo

Family and friends gathered to celebrate after he was sworn in during the state convention June 11 in Brewer.

According to Post 24, Thurston was born and raised in Rumford. He served as a cryptologist in the intelligence field for the Navy from 1976 to 1996. Cryptologists analyze and interpret data and data patterns to decipher and generate encoded signals.

After retiring, Thurston returned to Maine with his wife, Patricia “Tricia” Shahan Thurston, who also served in the Navy.

Kirk Thurston joined Post 24 in 2002 and was appointed 2nd vice commander in 2006. He has served as commander three times and was named state post commander of the year, state district commander of the year and area commander for three years.

According to Jack Blanchard, vice commander of Post 24, Rumford has not had a state commander since Edward J. Roach Jr. 40 years ago.

Thurston’s wife has also served as Post 24 commander and was named Rumford’s Citizen of the Year in 2019.

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