American Legion Auxiliary Veteran's support organization

 

November 14, 2019

Courtesy Photo

Above left: Penny Merryfield, Unit 60 President, Diane Wise, Vice President - Gini Fuller, Secretary/Treasurer: Jo Radcliffe at last years pillow presentation.

Sunday, November 10, 2019, marked the 100th anniversary of the American Legion Auxiliary. Founded in 1919, the Auxiliary's mission is to "Support the American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both home and abroad. For God and country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace, and security" According to alaforveterans.org.

During World War I there was a group of 20 officers who wanted suggestions on how to raise troop morale. A young Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., proposed an organization of veterans that became today's American Legion. There were many women's groups who wanted to be affiliated with the Legion and after much discussion, the committee decided that a new organization would be established that would consist of the women that had served so faithfully while their husbands had been away, thus the birth of the Auxiliary. These women were charged with serving the Legion in both peace and wartime and in less than one year 1,342 units of the Women's Auxiliary had been added to the American Legion in more than 45 states.


The American Legion Unit 60 Auxiliary here in Pine Bluffs takes this mission very seriously. If you have been to a function here in town, odds are you have caught a glimpse of the auxiliary ladies in action. Most recently, members Diane Wise and Jo Radcliffe were seen at the Halloween carnival running the bean bag toss. Every Saturday morning the auxiliary hosts coffee and breakfast down at the Legion. Residents are invited to come in for hot breakfast and good fellowship, and once a month during the summer you can find the ladies at the rest area on the edge of town supplying weary travelers with cookies, coffee, and lemonade.


The women of the Pine Bluffs Auxiliary also do much work behind the scenes as well. During Valentine's Day the ladies deliver goodie bags to local veterans, and during that same week they also serve lunch at the Cheyenne VA for the Salute to Veteran Patients. In May the ladies adorn veteran homes with yellow ribbons, and for Veteran's Day, in conjunction with the Legion Post and the Boy Scouts, the ladies will place flags at the cemetery. Also in May the Auxiliary will sponsor Poppy Weekend at the Texas Trail Market and the local post office. Wreaths are placed on the cemetery crosses during the Christmas holiday, pillows and homemade pillowcases are delivered to the Cheyenne homeless shelter, and toiletries, toilet paper, and laundry detergent are delivered as well.


The ladies of the Pine Bluffs American Legion go above and beyond to provide service to the towns residents, veteran and non-veteran alike. All of the services are provided free of charge, but donations are always accepted. If you are interested in volunteering your time, or would like to make a donation to help the ladies continue with their work please call the Pine Bluffs Post at (307) 245-3763, or stop in Monday through Friday between 8 and 5.

Recently the Auxiliary was given a change to the members and who could belong. " A non-profit veteran's support organization, we are the mothers, spouses, daughters, sisters, granddaughters, great-grandmothers and grandmothers of servicemen and women who are eligible for membership in The American Legion." Spouses was recently changed from wives. This would allow for spouses whether male or female to join the Auxiliary.

Victoria Smithey/Pine Bluffs Post

Above: American Legion Auxiliary Unit 60 celebrates the 100th birthday for the Auxiliary with a cake.

Susan Dansereau, Past Department President, Auxiliary, Wyoming stated, "The recent change by the American Legion, National, was to now include all spouses. Many of our Veterans are females and the change was much needed. I am thrilled that all spouses are now recognized, and this change was easier now than times gone by."

 

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