Legion and Auxiliary
The MELVIN COWART POST 274 AMERICAN LEGION seems to have been like "Topsy" at first--, but as the years have passed, it's continued to grow. It was active and doing a great deal of good locally prior to its official organization on April 16,1951. The Post took the name of a local man who fell in defense of his country, Melvin Cowart, the son of Mrs. Ollie Cowart and a brother of Travis.
Melvin Cowart Post 274 has taken a leading role in many phases of community life; it concerns itself with veteran affairs, advises and helps. Yearly it sponsors Boys' State,the American Legion School Awards, Little League, Memorial Day services, presentation of flags and the promotion of all phases of patriotism. The Post has always taken a prominent part in Civil Defense and consistently cooperates with other civic groups for community good. By its very nature, it also has performed certain less known but important community functions such as entertainment of the Blue Angels, acquiring erosion funds, formulating hurricane plans etc. These activities are greatly facilitated by the Post owning its own home where all veterans are welcome.
AMERICAN LEGION AUXILIARY: Sometime after the American Legion Post organized, construction was begun on their Home on Crescent Street. The previous site of the converted barracks building was approximately where Don Adt's Insurance Company stands. The Saturday and Sunday work parties became the meeting place of family and friends. If the wives wanted to see their husbands during the week-end, they joined the group, bringing food and drink, and boosting the morale of the hard working crew. Many long hours of work and fellowship went into that Home.The Post is presently located at 899 Buttonwood Dr. on San Carlos Island.
And as day follows night it was only logical that the Legion members interested their wives in forming an Auxiliary to help further its aims and purposes. The charter , applied for in 1951, was granted in 1952 and was presented to the first president, Mrs. William (Pat) Mellor by Commander Rufus Yent at "a gala Sr. Patricks Day party." Other officers were Secretary Isabella S. Jennings; Treasurer Mildred Yent; Historian Sue Davison; Chaplain Priscilla Wood.
In the first year of operation the Auxiliary sponsored a first aid class through the Red Cross, bought snake-bite kits for the community and sponsored a bed in the St. Petersburg Crippled Children's Hospital. During the ensuing years other projects and responsibilities of national and community nature have been carried on: child welfare, civil defense, promoting Americanism in our school, sponsoring Girls' State to name a few. The most important of these has been the Walking Blood Bank, established in 1961. A roster of available doners has been maintained and over 100 pints of blood had been given for Beach residents and visitors.
The Legion Home is a friendly place. "The American Legion Auxiliary is the largest organization of women in the world and, if you are eligible for membership, there is room for you."
As of 2021 the membership rolls are at ( Totals Up Dated Soon )
600+ Ladies Auxillary
400+ Sons of The American Legion
9+/- Legion Riders