Anchorage American Legion post celebrates 100 years of service

Anchorage American Legion post celebrates 100 years of service
Published: Jul. 3, 2023 at 6:42 PM AKDT|Updated: Jul. 3, 2023 at 6:45 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The American Legion is the nation’s largest veterans organization and one of its Anchorage posts is the first and oldest post in the state.

On Fireweed Lane sits a building that holds decades of history. Jack Henry Post 1 is named after veteran John “Jack” Henry, one of the first residents from Anchorage to die after coming home from World War I.

“There were three that started that year, and a flip of a coin made us the oldest,” auxiliary president Jeanne Ostnes said.

“Right now, we are one of five nationally-chartered auxiliaries that have run continuously since 1923,” she added.

As an auxiliary, volunteers raise funds to not only keep the organization going, but to also give back to veterans, active military, their families and the community. Ostnes’ military ties go all the way back to her great-grandfather. She proudly shows off scrapbooks filled with pictures, memories and newspaper articles —decades of documents going as far back as the 1920s. The post also served as a shelter for some 1,400 people displaced after the 1964 earthquake.

“We served 5,200 sandwiches, 320 gallons of coffee, 6,000 hot meals. We had two babies born here,” Ostnes said.

Every inch of the post has a story, and Jack Henry 1 continues to serve those who have served their country.

“It hit me one day when a fellow walked up to me and he said, ‘I really want to thank you for this Thanksgiving dinner, I really have no place to go and for you to have this event here, it really helps. And by the way, I’ll be here at Christmas, too,’” Ostnes said.

In celebration of turning 100 years old, the public is invited to its Community Day event on Saturday, July 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Jack Henry Post 1 located at 840 West Fireweed Lane.