My Pulse News

Mena Arkansas News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

Ed Anderson: Serving his country, serving his community

By Trey Youngdahl

The Marines are widely regarded as one of the most elite fighting forces in the world. Marines serve on U. S. Navy ships, protect naval bases, guard U. S. Embassies and provide an ever-ready quick strike force worldwide to protect U.S. interests. 

This is where we meet our hero, Ed Anderson. Anderson bravely served as a member of Echo Company 2nd Battalion 9th Marines from 1973-1979. 

“I was trained in 29 Palms, California. I attended the Herbert A. Littleton School of Communications. As you may know, Herbert A. Littleton received the Medal of Honor during the Korean War and was born in Mena. I’m now the Commandant of the Herbert A. Littleton Detachment of the Marine Corps League,” Anderson said. 

“After Radio School, I was sent to Camp Schwab, located in Okinawa, Japan and was assigned to Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. After training at Camp Schwab, we embarked on ships as part of the FMF, (Fleet Marine Force). I spent time on the USS Cleveland and the USS Dubuque. We trained at Base Mt. Fuji, Japan and did training assault on the coast of South Korea. During my time overseas, I spent time in Japan, Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Australia. I was also privileged to visit the island of Iwo Jima. I spent the remainder of my time in the corps assigned to the 2nd Light Anti-Aircraft Missile Battalion in Yuma, Arizona.”

After coming home to Huffman, Texas, Ed worked in power distribution. Upon retiring, he opted to finish out his days here in Mena. 

While in Mena, Anderson had a life-changing crisis—liver failure. He desperately needed a transplant. According to, in order to get a liver transplant, it requires being on a waiting list of an estimated 14,000 people. Miraculously, Anderson persevered and received the liver transplant, changing his life forever. In 2017, he decided to dedicate the rest of his retired life to servitude.

“That’s such a grace from God,” Anderson said. “I feel it’s my responsibility to give back to the community and Polk County.”

It’s at this point that Anderson became involved with Toys for Tots. In 1991, the U.S. Marine Corps founded Toys for Tots to collect new unwrapped toys and distribute those toys to less fortunate children at Christmas. Anderson is now the coordinator for the Polk County region. 

All the donations made to Toys for Tots stays within Polk County. They give each child three gifts, a book, and stocking stuffers. In 2020, the region collected 714 toys and around $1,400 for families in need. They served 531 kids from approximately 300 families.

“It’s a joy on distribution day. Sometimes the children come to pick up the toys. It’s great to see the look of anticipation on their faces,” Anderson said. “That’s what Toys for Tots is about—giving underprivileged children the joy and hope of Christmas.” 

To donate to the Toys for Tots campaign, you can go to several drop-off locations including Union Bank in Mena, Wickes and Cove, Freedom Pharmacy, Arvest Bank and more. For monetary donations or to get involved, you can contact Ed Anderson at or donate online at

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