Hello. My name is Russell Steed, American Legion Department of Arkansas Post 19/District 15 commander.
I was first elected post commander in 2018 - to say Post 19 was dying would be putting it nicely. At the time I was elected, there were 52 total members with an average meeting attendance of five. I knew I had to do something and do it quickly or we would be closed in a few years. One of the first things I did was get us out into the community and this was no easy task with very few active members, but we trudged on. We set up at city festivals, the farmers market and anywhere else we would be visible to the public; we were everywhere. We now had an active group and for the first time in countless years, Post 19 has met and exceeded its membership goal of 112.52% in 2019 and has done so every year after this growth continued. I am now in my fifth year as commander, and we are at 133 total members, bringing us into the medium-post realm. This growth made it necessary to find a bigger post home. We moved into our much larger post home and best of all, it’s paid for and we are debt-free. I am very grateful to my post family and our community. We are thriving and the citizens of Benton know that there is an American Legion post. Post 19's members are now living the Four Pillars every day. They are no longer post members, they are Legionnaires, and the future is looking bright.