Celebrating its 20th anniversary, American Legion Post 90 in Cape Coral offers a full canteen and food service at its location on S.E. 47th Street.
Post 90 has 850 regular active members and 250 inactive members. There are four pillars of the organization: veterans affairs; children and youth; Americanism (ceremonial); and national security.
It sponsors blood drives, city sports activities, V.A. volunteers, and national emergency funds programs to assist veterans in need, JROTC programs and shooting sports, fundraising for local charities such as the Cape Coral Caring Center, and actively participates in parades, festivals, dedications, military funerals, veteran memorial services and city-wide celebrations such as the Red, White, and Blue July 4 celebration.
“With ratings ranging from 1-5, we’ve been rated a five by the National American Legion,” said Ted Clark, public relations officer. “We have a high level of activity and are involved in a variety of programs.”
The history of the American Legion goes back to 1919.
Congress chartered the American Legion as a patriotic veteran’s organization. Focusing on service to veterans, service members, and communities, the Legion evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States. Membership swiftly grew to more than 1 million, and local posts sprang up across the country.
Today, membership stands at nearly 2 million in more than 13,000 posts worldwide. The posts are organized into 55 departments: one each for the 50 states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico, and the Philippines. In addition, the American Legion has three additional units, the Legion Riders, the Sons of Legionnaires (S.A.L.), and the Women’s Auxiliary.
Here are five things to know about the American Legion Post 90:
Veterans Affairs: Clark calls this “The most important, essentially the crux of our mission.”
Veterans can obtain advice on benefits. The American Legion also has resources to provide emergency funds for those in need, drive them to their appointments, buy groceries.
“Buddy checks also are done on a local basis,” Clark said. “This has been one of the most important programs, especially during the COVID pandemic. E Board Post members called more than 50 percent of the Legion members to check on them.”
Children and youth: The local chapter sponsors boys scouts and girls scouts as well as Junior ROTC.
Junior ROTC members help make their schools better and learn about gun safety as well as interpreting the constitution. Scholarships are awarded.
Ceremonial: Clark said this area has a high number of Vietnam veterans and Purple Heart recipients.
When a local veteran dies, the American Legion provides a military ceremony with color guard or honor guard, a 21-rifle salute and taps are played.
“Even during COVID, we performed 28 ceremonial activities,” Clark said.
National security: With groups like the Women’s Auxilary, the Post’s goal is to improve quality of life not only for veterans and service people but their families, Clark said.
While a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner is provided, selected children receive gifts from Santa Claus.
There also are ceremonies for Prisoners of War (POW) and those Missing In Action (MIA).
“We feel there’s a need to keep the general public focused on POWs and MIAs so they are never forgotten,” Clark said.
Charitable work: By its numerous members working in a concession at Boston Red Sox Spring Training games, between $20,000 and $25,000 is raised and goes to local charities.
The Cape Coral Caring Center and Cape Coral for the Children are big beneficiaries of Post 90, along with other local charities.
The organization also conducts blood drives four times a year, which raise money and offer community support.
Clark, who has a background in marketing, has been with the American Legion for two years as PR officer after retiring from teaching at the State University of New York in New Paltz, N.Y.
“I’m delighted to take my knowledge as a marketing professor and apply the skills I developed for nonprofit organizations,” Clark said.
If you go
What: American Legion Post 90
Where: 1401 SE 47th St.
Lounge hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Sunday
Kitchen hours: Noon-8 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday