Post 97 was founded in June, 2009 by Larry Moore (Vietnam-Marine Corps) and Alan Pease (Cold War Europe – Army Security Agency). Both men had previously belonged to a Legion post in nearby Queen Creek, but felt they could accomplish more for the region’s youth through a post based in the San Tan Valley.
Pease had worked hard to engage Queen Creek high schools in the Boys State program but found little support for that, which helped drive the development of the new post in San Tan Valley.
Moore was Post 97’s first commander and Pease the first adjutant. Marvin Evans became the post’s second commander. Pease later became Post 97 commander as Moore moved into a position as commander, then vice commander of the Legion’s District 4. (In the summer of 2014 Pease stepped down as commander and John Dunton, a Navy veteran of Vietnam, became the Post’s fourth commander.)
Post 97 began immediately sending candidates to Boys State and the American Legion Law Enforcement Career Academy (ALLECA). In the short lifespan of Post 97 it has also added other youth programs for fishing, Scouting, oratorical contests, American flag etiquette, and the Joe Foss Institute for patriotism presentations at schools. Programs currently in development include an honor guard and a youth shooting program.
The Post’s most successful youth program is American Legion baseball, growing from one team in 2012, to four teams in 2013 and seven teams in the 2014 season. The Post also has supported a fellow post’s activities on the Gila River Indian Reservation just south of San Tan Valley with the support of the Post 97 Auxiliary.
Post 97’s greatest source of funding has come from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office and Pinal County Attorney, with additional funds raised through events around San Tan Valley, including its first Cruise-In for Vets Car and Motorcycle Show in the spring of 2014.
The Post has a booth and banners it sets up at high-profile community events to both call attention to its youth and veteran programs as well as recruit new members. As of February, 2015 there were 47 dues-paying regular and PUFL members of Post 97. Post 97 is a member of the Greater San Tan Valley Chamber of Commerce.