On July 12, 2022, Maj. Gen. John C. Harris, Jr., Ohio adjutant general, presented the Ohio Commendation award to Judith Legerski, chairman and CEO of the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). The Ohio National Guard Commendation Medal is awarded to those who distinguish themselves by meritorious achievement.
Legerski was awarded for her distinguished service to the nation and state as well as for her dedication to the CMP.
She was presented the medal at the Camp Perry Joint Training Center in Ohio prior to the start of the National Matches First Shot Ceremony, which officially begins the annual event each summer. It was Legerski’s last National Matches over her 26-year career, with her official retirement from the CMP set for September 2022.
“Judy Legerski is certainly a person of merit,” said Mark Johnson, CMP’s chief operating officer and director of civilian marksmanship. “I’ve watched her and have learned from her for many years. She’s always been a class act and a mentor and has always been good for our Board.”
Legerski was the last remaining original appointee to the CMP Board of Directors, serving from the time the organization was privatized by Congress in 1996. Over the years, she held many positions within the Board including vice chairman under Charlie Maddox, CMP’s first chairman. She was later voted into the chairman position in 2011 and maintained the title for the rest of her career.
With her lead, CMP saw persistent enhancements to its programs as well as to the expansion of its facilities. She was particularly fundamental to the development of the Junior Air Rifle Camp Task Force, formed in 2003, which was formed to boost the camps into the premier curriculum it is today.
“She is a fierce advocate for junior shooting programs,” said Gina Johnson, CMP general manager who worked closely with Legerski in the early days of the Task Force. “The corporation has prospered and grown during her tenure.”
“Really, what hasn’t she had her hand in during the last 26 years?” Gina went on.
Mark Johnson has also remained alongside Legerski for decades, likewise, beginning his working relationship with her as a member of the Task Force.
“She really took us under her wing,” Mark said. “Mrs. Legerski has always driven forward. She has never shied away from a challenge. She does not believe in standing still.”
Besides holding a primary role for the success of the Junior Camps, Legerski’s other contributions include signing the MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the Army that allowed CMP to sell 1911 pistols and championing for the development of the Talladega Marksmanship Park – now one of the most state-of-the-art facilities accessible in the United States today.
“Her legacy is moving the sport forward,” Mark added.
Elective offices Legerski has held outside of the CMP include member of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (1985-1989) and Secretary of the Army Civilian Aide – a position she held for 28 years. She has been active in her community, serving as a 4-H community leader for 20 years, as well as within Wyoming state efforts.
In her home life, Legerski has been married to her husband, Don, for over 55 years. The couple has three children and six grandchildren. Fitting in with the mission of the CMP, Legerski is also an avid recreational shooter in her free time.
Taking over for Legerski will be CMP’s current vice chair, Jerry O’Keefe. He has been a member of the Board since 2019 and has since been hands-on in CMP programs – preparing to continue the organization’s influential standing in the marksmanship community.
“Jerry O’Keefe is of the same mindset,” Mark Johnson said. “We’re going to do things and we’re going to do things right. We’re going to continue to move things forward in the sport, not only technologically but on the people side also.”
“And, we’re not going to forget who got us here,” he added.
— By Ashley Dugan, CMP Staff Writer
The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally chartered 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearm safety and marksmanship training and to the promotion of marksmanship competition for citizens of the United States. For more information about the CMP and its programs, log onto www.TheCMP.org.
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