Ernest Martin, Post Commander

Starting his 13th year as Post Commander.

Story by Marise Boehs, Staff Writer

Retired US Army veteran Ernest M. Martin is starting his 13th year as Post Commander for American Legion Post 88 in Norman.

American Legion Post 88, Norman, OK had a very successful year and is on a positive path to replicate this same pattern in 2024.
Part of the mission in 2023 was to assist all veterans and their surviving spouses with the initiation of their individual claims and follow-up processing. During this same time, Post 88 received two grants that supported their community outreach program and helped rehabilitate the vintage one-hundred year old building. Also during this time, a strong online presence for the veteran community was established on multiple social media platforms.
Starting his 13th year as Post Commander, retired US Army veteran Ernest Martin said, “It is an honor to serve our veteran community with the strength of six Veteran Service Officers and two Post Service Officers (in training) who volunteer their time at our post have assisted over 600 veterans in getting their VA claim process started.”
Of those claims, 250 have been awarded a financial payment which generated $6,067,329 in 2023. This is an increase from 2022 when VSOs reported $2,890,129 in awarded claims. Additionally, there have been 37 surviving spouses who have received appropriate counseling and benefits information from our post.
Not every claim is the same, and it is very important to identify the possibilities when speaking to a veteran who has had very little success with other veteran service officer locations.
“Our Service Officers, since March 1st 2020, have brought into Cleveland County and the surrounding areas just shy of $12.5 million dollars in benefits,” said Post Commander Ernest Martin. “That is a huge amount of income into our community. It helps to keep Veterans in their home and not on the street.”
Post 88 staff stand by the importance of identifying the successful results that can be achieved if given an opportunity to help serve each veteran in our community, surrounding area and abroad.
“We pride ourselves on our outstanding volunteer force of Veteran Service Officers who dedicate their service to Post 88,” Martin said.
These Veteran Service Officers are all volunteers and lead by VA-accredited Mr. Carl Ellison a resident of Purcell, OK who has been serving Post 88 for eight (8) years. Mr. Ellison’s responsibility is to ensure that all veterans and their family members receive appropriate representation with their VA benefit claim. Mr. Ellison has said, “There is never a fee to file a claim or help guide and consult in filing an initial application for VA benefits and if someone is charging you a fee — it’s illegal.”
Post 88 was first chartered in 1919. The current building was built by WPA workers in 1935-36. It has survived many serious situations, both natural and synthetic.
In November 2022, Post 88 was awarded $330,000 from the Covid 19 Relief grant program which facilitated much needed building repairs which began in 2023.
The inside of the facility received a “facelift” to include a new generator, flooring, lighting, cubicle offices with computer monitors and security doors.
Post 88 is open EVERY MONDAY from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. On the third Monday of the month, they are open for appointments only, please call Carl Ellison at (405) 823-0910. If these hours do not fit your schedule, please call us at the number above to make other arrangements.
Monthly membership meetings are held on the third Monday of each month and all new members and guests are welcome.. Meetings begin at 7pm, but guests are encouraged to arrive early to socialize and meet the Post Officers.
If you or a friend would like to help with their mission to support local Veterans, please reach out to (405) 366-7575
Post 88 Commander Ernest Martin is preparing a sponsorship campaign calling on the local business community and surrounding area to help ensure this American Legion Post continues to be a resource in times of need.
“It is my responsibility to prepare this Post to thrive for the next one hundred years,” he explained. “I hope that you will consider helping us to be here and prepare to meet all veteran needs as well as any future Natural Disasters/Pandemic that comes this way. I what this Post be a beacon in the community, a haven when in time of need, a place where hope is found and procured.”