Shari Pierce wrote the following for her Legacies column in April of 1999:
“Although Memorial Day is still a month away, I wanted to recognize those men and women from Archuleta County who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces over the years. In particular, I would like to take a brief look at the history of the American Legion here in Pagosa Springs and salute the wonderful, caring people of the local Post 108.
“Lester Mullins was the first casualty of World War I from Archuleta County. He was killed in June 1918 at the Battle of Belleau Wood. Mullins is buried in Chateau Thierry, France, some 5 miles from the battle site.
“On February 18, 1920, over 30 ex-servicemen met at the courthouse in Pagosa Springs to form a local chapter of the American Legion. It was decided to name the post the “Lester W. Mullins Post 108.”
“At this first meeting, Reef Egger was elected commander, Riley Hill vice commander, Leroy Marsh adjutant, Phillip Johnson finance officer, Harry Defoe historian and Rev. J. D. Leach chaplain.
“These men began a tradition of service to their community which continues today. They led the post in Memorial and Armistice Day celebrations, fund raising activities, putting on Fourth of July activities and the search for a home for the post. They made many attempts to rent or buy buildings for their use. A lot of effort and money went into these unsuccessful attempts. It would be over 25 years before the post would find a permanent home.
“In November 1921, a women’s auxiliary was formed to aid the legion in its efforts.
“In the mid 1920s, the post became inactive. It was reorganized in 1938 and was joined in June of that same year by another auxiliary unit formed by the wives of the legionnaires.
“In 1946, a group of legionnaires started once again to make plans for a home for their post. This group of 101 men was finally able to make progress without substantial setbacks. That year they were able to purchase land and began a fund-raising campaign to raise money for a building.
“They found a building that they could move to their property and in 1949, the post finally had a permanent home. The building was originally the one-room O’Neal Park school building. Initially there were no utilities in the building, these were added in later years.”
From the 1920s through today, local organizations have provided much-needed services and support for our veterans.
The following veterans’ groups meet regularly in Pagosa Springs:
• American Legion Post 108: second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.
• American Legion Post 108 Ladies Auxiliary: second Tuesday of the month at 4 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.
• Veterans for Veterans: every Tuesday at 10 a.m., Quality Resort.
• Women’s Group of Spouses of Veterans: every other Monday at 6 p.m., St. Patrick’s Episcopal Parish Hall, 225 S. Pagosa Blvd. Contact Charlotte: 731-1025.
• Point Man Ministries’ Breakfast for Veterans: 8:30 a.m. each Tuesday at Buffalo Inn, 164 N. Pagosa Blvd. Contact Vincent: 731-2769, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s honor and support those who serve and have served our country and those who gave of themselves and their lives so that we can enjoy the freedom we enjoy today.
Terri Lynn Oldham House