As a member of The American Legion (AL) and a reader of The American Legion Magazine, I wanted to write about a unique post, Ralph Barsanti Memorial Post 265 on Anderson Island, Wash. Our local commander is Rick MacPherson, who is an active participant regionally on Post 265’s behalf.
Our island is small and is located in the South Puget Sound. A passenger and vehicle requires a 20-minute ferry ride to get there. This is not a bad thing as those people in a hurry choose to live elsewhere. This results in a more relaxed, easygoing and laid-back group of islanders.
The island supports 1,200 full-time residents. Of those, 103 adults were members of the post at the conclusion of 2017. We enjoy a large membership per capita and have about 50 percent of our members attending the monthly business meeting.
In the summer the island population doubles with additional veterans returning during that time.
As an aside, our island also has the highest number of voters per capita in Washington state.
The reason the post is considered unique is because of its varied and many activities. An important part of Post 265’s regular events is its sponsorship of “bingo night” each Wednesday throughout the year. It is held at our island restaurant from 5-7 p.m., thus providing additional revenue to that venue. Bingo has become a mainstay of activity on the island and has grown in popularity annually. It is not uncommon to have over 100 attendees. The proceeds of the profits support 12 different charities and organizations over the course of the year, all of which are involved in some way with Anderson Island. In 2017 $27,575 went to support these groups.
The island chapter of the Quilts of Valor Organization has distributed 151 quilts to AL members, other veterans affiliated with Post 265 off-island and rehabilitating wounded warriors at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. These women demonstrate exceptional skills with a quality of work reflected by the appreciation and smiles of the recipients.
Local AL members are active participants in the many other and varied activities on the island.
Bruce Buchanan, member, Ralph Barsanti Memorial Post 265