American Legion Auxiliary - May 2013
It’s All Good
GOOD NEWS. GOOD WORKS. GOODWILL. “We can all be angels to one another. We can choose to obey the still small stirring voice within, the little whisper that says, ‘Go. Ask. Reach out. Be an answer to someone’s plea.’” –Joan Wester Anderson, author of Where Angels Walk GOOD TO GIVE BEQUEST A LITTLE… TO MAKE A BIG IMPACT Planned giving is the process of thoughtfully including a charitable gift in your estate plans. It is a method of establishing your legacy of support for the organization you love while providing for your current financial needs. You can help ensure that the American Legion Auxiliary has a lasting impact for the generations that follow by providing for the continuation of our many programs and services that enhance the lives of those we serve. Philanthropy and individual gifts have been essential in shaping the American Legion Auxiliary’s history, and these contributions will have an important role in its promising future. To learn how including a bequest in your will or revocable trust can benefit the American Legion Auxiliary and the military families we serve for years to come, download the Planned Giving Guide at www.ALAforVeterans.org/Planned-Giving. Because the administrative costs of our programs are paid from members’ dues and other sources, all money contributed to the American Legion Auxiliary is used to benefit the intended Auxiliary program, service, department, or the Auxiliary Foundation. You don’t need a large estate to give and make a lasting impact. GIVING BLOOD IS PATRIOTIC The Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP) is the official U.S. military blood program and an invaluable source for collecting and disseminating donated blood to troops who need it. One hundred percent of the blood donated goes to our troops free of charge, so by giving a little of yourself, your donation gives sick or injured troops and their families a second chance at life. Two years ago, The American Legion made a resolution to encourage all posts and departments to organize and sponsor onsite ASBP blood drives when and where possible with the approval of local military commanders. Support the Legion in this important initiative. SWEET DREAMS Sleep is vital to good health and emotional wellbeing. Sleep deprivation can negatively affect memory, learning, and logical reasoning. Take care of yourself by getting seven to 10 hours of sleep each night so you’re in good shape to take care of others. PATRIOTIC PAUSE In December 2000, Congress passed a law requiring Americans to pause at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day to remember and honor the fallen. American Legion Auxiliary members are encouraged to do remembrance ceremonies and activities all weekend long. Promote the Auxiliary’s Poppy Program The official flower of the ALA is the poppy, and the official website of the American Legion Auxiliary makes sure we don’t forget its meaning. Visit www.alaforveterans.org/Programs/Poppy to learn about the significance of the poppy’s red hue, read the inspiring poem by Canadian Army Col. John McCrae, “In Flanders Fields,” and find new ways to promote the Poppy Program during the month of May and all year long. MASTER SGT. MAKES MILITARY MOM PROUD Like mother, like daughter... both inspire and make our country proud. Airman 1st Class Erin McBane hugs her mother, Master Sgt. Julie McBane, after her basic training graduation ceremony, at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. It’s a tradition for Airmen to remain in formation until their family and friends greet them. This mom may have been even more proud than the rest, knowing firsthand the rigors her daughter endured and determination she displayed during basic training. Air Force basic training graduates completed an 81/2-week course challenging both physical and mental endurance through obstacle courses, classroom sessions, and drill. GOOD THOUGHTS FROM ALA MEMBERS We asked American Legion Auxiliary members, “What’s a Memorial Day tribute that all units can implement?” GET THE GIRLS TOGETHER “Get your Auxiliary unit together and plan a Memorial Day service.” Tammi Hardy, Unit 127, Illinois PROMOTE POPPY PROGRAMS “Promote Poppy Program awareness and distribution.” Margo Scott-Forrester, Unit 459, Michigan PEER-TO-PEER SUPPORT “A memorial service followed by a peerto- peer support session for spouses.” Cathy Pridgen Cross, Unit 287, Missouri GET THE KIDS INVOLVED “Something to get kids involved. Younger children just think it is the start of summer.” Traci Anne Podbielski-Stuart, Unit 142, New Jersey VISIT A VETERANS HOME “Visit veterans at the veterans home and celebrate defending freedom.” Maria Moss, Unit 14, Nevada DO IT ALL! “Distribute poppies, join in local Memorial Day services, and serve all veterans lunch following the service.” Candy Huseman, Unit 21, Vermont GOOD WORKS BY ALA MEMBERS Unit 335 Hudson, Fla., held its 30th annual Lady Veterans Luncheon on Valentine’s Day. More than 30 veterans attended along with distinguished guests from the Department of Florida. Pictured are (front row, from left) Jane Hardacre, Gerrie Bailey, Lois McFall, and Peggy Hearlson. Back row: Diane Rousseau, Kelli Becraft, and Unit 335 President Michele DeGennaro. As the Rhode Island winner of a national competition, Unit 18 member Myranda Fuentes attended the January grand opening of the National World War II Museum’s U.S. Freedom Pavilion in New Orleans. All 51 students attending the opening were given the privilege to escort some of our nation’s finest servicemen and women through the procession while carrying their respective state flags. This miniature POW-MIA Remembrance Room, on display at Mattydale Post 1832 (New York), was created by Beverly Martin, member of Unit 1832. The set won first prize at the 2012 New York State Fair. The room includes the essential items required for an actual POW-MIA ceremony including the empty chair, red rose and white candle. Find out more about the POW-MIA ceremony on page 54 of this issue. Auxiliary Unit 507 in Newhall, Calif., offered a stained glass stepping stone class where members and their guests learned how to create elegant and personalized mosaics for their garden or patio. It was the perfect means for participants to meet their creative side while raising funds at the same time. The January event, which raised $100 for the unit’s mission-related funds, was organized and taught by Unit President Christie Marks, a computer consultant. Below: Marks (right) instructs Barbara Arasim on glass techniques during the class. Do you have extra poppies ? You’ve done great work promoting the Auxiliary’s Poppy Program and the message behind the storied red flower. Is your unit or department ready to help fellow Auxiliary members share the Poppy story? A shortage currently exists among Auxiliary units, departments, and American Legion Flag & Emblem Sales, which also distributes official veteran-made Auxiliary poppies. The shortage means finished, veteranmade poppies are on backorder for many Auxiliary members. If your department has poppies from the 2013 year that can be wholesaled to fellow Auxiliary departments, please contact National Headquarters at poppy@ALAforVeterans.org, or, to work out a deal with Emblem Sales, please call Jacquelyn Stone at (317) 860-3007. Thank you for caring! GOOD WORKS BY GRASSROOTS MEMBERS MLK Day of Service activities Delaware Unit 28 assembled more than 50 “Family Packs” to be distributed to children of deployed military. Items including stamps, stationery, gift cards, greeting cards, etc., that could be used to keep in touch with deployed family members (as well as items to help those at home (games, stuffed animals, cards, puzzles, etc.) were included. The packs will be distributed as part of the Operation: Military Kids program. Donations of new and nearly new bedding were sent to a nearby veterans homeless shelter. Those helping included volunteers from the community, Auxiliary Units 6 and 17, Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, and the Sussex County Young Marines. Unit 28 donated refreshments. Washington, D.C. Office staff, Call 2 Service Corps members, and members of Auxiliary Unit 1 in Washington, D.C. attended National Day of Service festivities in the city. The Unite America in Service event was in honor of MLK Day and the presidential inauguration festivities. It was hosted by Points of Light (a C2SC recipient) and Target, partnering with several organizations and asked volunteers to stuff 100,000 care kits for current service members, wounded warriors, veterans and first responders. More than 8,000 people joined together to pack the care kits. Pictured below (from left) are Tyler Anger, VISTA VA&R team leader, Bob Reeg, director of government relations and C2SC project director, and Sharon Riegsecker, D.C. operations and AmeriCorps grant specialist. Port Orange, Fla., third grade teacher Suzanne Garver created a “wall of heroes” at her school. The wall, containing pictures of veterans who are parents, grandparents, and friends of students and staff at the school, has grown over the last two years with almost 50 pictures displayed. On Feb. 15, the school held its first “Adopt A Veteran Day” where all veterans on the wall were invited as a way for students to celebrate their service. Two veterans were in their 90s, and others ranged from WWII to the war in Iraq. Pictured: Veterans’ lunches were served by parents and school staff members, and students sat at each table, making sure the veterans had everything they needed. As the veterans ate, kindergartners through fifth-graders distributed cards and pictures they had drawn. GOOD TO KNOW ALA unit pays dues of new Legion post for imprisoned veterans Inmates at a New Hampshire state prison have opted to serve their country while serving their time. American Legion Post 123 received a temporary charter in February from the American Legion Department of New Hampshire and will officially operate inside the prison in Berlin, N.H. The temporary charter was signed by National Vice Commander John Neylon and will be replaced with a permanent charter on May 21 during the annual Memorial Day observance. The charter allows qualified inmate veterans to participate in regular meetings and functions that will be held behind the prison’s walls, and American Legion Auxiliary Unit 82, has offered to pay the dues of the new members. “Even though these veterans are incarcerated, they continue to volunteer their time for worthwhile causes, and we welcome the addition of an official new American Legion chapter to our Berlin facility,” Corrections Commissioner William L. Wrenn said. “These veterans have earned their eligibility for membership in The American Legion with their honorable service to our nation,” Neylon said on The American Legion website. “Although incarcerated, they continue to serve our active-duty members and veterans.” Inmates at the Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility in Berlin volunteer to make more than 3,000 poppies for the New Hampshire American Legion Auxiliary and routinely donate to the “Toys for Tots” program. They also make handwritten Christmas cards and handmade crafts that The American Legion distributed to troops serving around the world. Each year, they hold Veterans Day and Memorial Day observances. KENYA HEAR ME NOW? 2012-2013 Cavalcade of Memories National Chairman Kenya Ostermeier can now be heard providing audio commentary on the ALA’s new Cavalcade of Memories Virtual Tour. Visitors to the Auxiliary’s virtual Cavalcade can hear Kenya’s remarks on outfits worn by VA hospital volunteers in the 1960s, the Golden Mike Award, Auxiliary memorabilia, and more. This exciting virtual tour directly connects you to the American Legion Auxiliary’s rich history, images, and artifacts helping to bring the Cavalcade to life. Visit www.ALAforVeterans.org/Members now to read or hear more about the Auxiliary’s fascinating history. MAKING WAY FOR WOMEN IN THE WAR ZONE In January, former Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey announced that the U.S. military plans to expand combat roles for women in the military. “Women have shown great courage and sacrifice on and off the battlefield, contributed in unprecedented ways to the military’s mission and proven their ability to serve in an expanding number of roles,” Panetta said. Today, women make up approximately 15 percent, or nearly 202,400, of the U.S. military’s 1.4 million active personnel. Over the course of the past decade, more than 280,000 women have deployed in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. These are important figures for Auxiliary members to keep in mind as they prepare care packages and collection drives for our troops. In addition, the need for women’s services at VA Medical Centers will be greater than ever, as will the Auxiliary’s need to serve them through service as VAVS volunteers. ARMY LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO ENHANCE UNIT READINESS AND SOLDIER RESILIENCE In March, Secretary of the Army John McHugh launched the Army’s Ready and Resilient Campaign. This comprehensive and far-reaching campaign is designed to guide the Army’s efforts to build physical, emotional, and psychological resilience in soldiers, families, and civilians, and directly enhance personal and unit readiness. The campaign will review programs, processes, and policies to ensure effectiveness and reduce redundancies, improve methods for commanders to understand high-risk behaviors and intervene early, and continue improvements to the Integrated Disability Evaluation System. Finally, the campaign will work to reduce barriers and stigmas associated with seeking help and will promote healthy lifestyles based on the performance triad of physical fitness, nutrition, and sleep.
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