BRYAN, Texas — American Legion Earl Graham Post 159 served and connected veterans for over 100 years. Now, they’ve got the plaque to prove it. The Texas Historical Commission has officially recognized Post 159 as a historical landmark with a large plaque having just arrived to the post last week.
"The literature that we put together was actually quite extensive, and it was probably somewhere in the area of about 30 to 40 pages of material," explained Tom Marty, Post 159 member and former post commander. "We had to prove everything we had in there to talk about the post.”
Marty noted that the designation was actually confirmed in 2020, but due to material shortages caused by the pandemic, the landmark plaque could not be forged at that time. This designation provides the site certain protections by the state. For those members who love it most, it’s the state’s way of affirming what they already know – that this place is special.
Dale Hutchcraft is the second female commander in Earl Graham Post 159 history. For her, the American Legion has been a place of welcome.
"Even if you've only served a short amount of time, you don’t realize that there’s that connection of having served until you’re with other veterans," she said. "... Some of my friends are from World War II, the Vietnam [war], and some of them are currently serving. We're all veterans and we all have that connection,” said Hutchcraft.
Marty and Hutchcraft said that the local chapter was recognized this year as the post with the most volunteer hours in all of Texas, individual members serving at nonprofits and churches across the Brazos Valley. Local members have been assigned leadership positions at the state level, they said.
Marty said the American Legion has a history of inclusivity for various types of people, integrating their population at the organization's inception prior to World War II. Whether it's supporting children's education programs, advocating for veterans' rights at the capitol, or just enjoying the weekly Thursday morning donut and cup of coffee, this group of over 700 local veterans continues the legacy of fraternity and service that's persisted for a century.
Earl Graham Post 159 will schedule a dedication ceremony open to the public in the near future.