American Legion celebrates 100th anniversary today

Jesse Crittenden / The Transcript

American Legion members Carl Ellison and Harley McPeek Jr. pose in front of the American Flag at Post 88 on 710 E. Main St. Post 88 is celebrating its 100th anniversary today.

The American Legion's Post 88 is celebrating their 100 year anniversary today, and they have a lot to be celebrating.

Post 88 on 710 E Main St., which was chartered on Oct. 22, 1919, was opened as one of the first posts chartered by the American Legion in the aftermath of World War I. Since its opened, Post 88 has helped numerous veterans and their families receive health benefits and funds.

The building has been under renovation the past couple of years to make improvements since it was built 100 years ago. One of those renovations was replacing the roof, which was done by Keller Williams Reality Mulinix. Carl Ellison, accredited veterans service officer for The American Legion, said the improvements have really helped the local organization.

"When I first got here a few years ago, I wasn't sure the building was even open," Ellison said. "But we've made a lot of improvements to improve our services to our members and to our veterans. We want people to know that we're here and that we want to help veterans and their families."

Attendees of today's 100th anniversary birthday party will include Oklahoma Rep. Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher, who will discuss current legislation related to veterans. Sanders also authorized House Bill 1003 which gave a sales tax exemption to the American Legion in Oklahoma.

Olive Garden is catering event, which will include American Legion members and their families plus their affiliated groups, the American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion.

Harley McPeek Jr., member of Post 88, said the party is ultimately to celebrate the significance of Post 88 to members and other citizens in the community.

"This post has meant so much to me," McPeek said. "I've been a member of the American Legion for a long time, but I joined the Norman post three years ago and that's when I became really active in the organization. A lot of people have been helped because of this organization."

The organization has recently focused on informing veterans on the MISSION Act, which was passed through Congress in September. The MISSION Act gives Veterans greater access to health care in VA facilities and the community, expands benefits for caregivers and improves VA's ability to recruit and retain the best medical providers.

Post 88 is looking to help veterans and their families wherever they can, and they're confident they will continue providing services into the future.

"The American Legion Family of Norman is excited to share both the legacy and the vision of our organization," Ernest Martin, Post 88 commander, said. "We've done a lot of good and intend to keep doing it for a second century."

The Post is open on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m and has a monthly meeting on the third Thursday of the month. Keller Williams Reality Mulinix is also hosting their annual chili cook off at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24, and part of the proceeds will go to Post 88.

For more information about the organization, visit www.centennial.legion.org or call Post 88 at 686-8654.

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