Legion chief visits IL post

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By Emily Pollok

While many veterans’ organizations around the country are facing declining membership and dwindling participation, American Legion Indian Land Post 250 is swelling its ranks.
On March 4, the post was honored by a visit from National Commander Brett Reistad, in his mission to discover how successful posts increase and retain their membership.
The event was held at Belair United Methodist Church in Indian Land, where Post 250 was presented with a number of awards for its membership and service, including the 100 percent Veteran’s Day Target Award, the No.One 100 percent plaque, the Membership Excellence “Team 100” incentive pin and the Certificate of Meritorious Service. Post Adjutant Willima Chick received the Commander’s Commendation pin.
“I want to commend you for what you do for your community. I want to commend you on your growth,” Reistad told the crowd of more than 70 people.
“The amount of work that you all have done and the way you have grown the last three years is just simply amazing,” said Department Adjutant Nick Diener. 
In the three years since the Indian Land post was first formed by John Marker, Jerry Marcus, Sam Barber, William Chick, Elizabeth Leagan, Marvin Galloway and others, it has seen continual growth, now maintaining 152 members.
Post Commander Richard Steininger said the group’s success relies on getting out in the community and encouraging people to get involved.
“I put everything I can into it,” he said.
Last year, the post ranked third in the state for growth. In 2017, it ranked first in growth.
“It’s a real honor,” said Steininger, regarding the post’s recognition.
Reistad contrasted Post 250 with others across the country, which are struggling due to the loss of the World War II generation, and now Vietnam and Korean War veterans.
Since the 1990s, the American Legion has lost a third of its membership, he said.
“They’ve been growing exponentially and doing good things in the community,” Reistad said of the Indian Land post. “They support Boy Scouts. They support Junior ROTC in the schools.”
The national commander also commended Post 250 in its efforts to restore the Old Six Mile Cemetery last year.  
“We have done some great things over the last 100 years,” he said of the organization, which is in its 100th year.
Rep. Ralph Norman also attended the event.
“It’s special,” he said of the Indian Land post. “Brick and mortar don’t make an organization. It’s people. And these people go to work. Not only do they serve the country, they serve the community.”