Unit 199, District 4
As the winter season arrived, so did the new year of 2024 and I suddenly realized my year as President is half over. The first few months were a whirlwind of visiting several Districts and representing the ALA Department of Missouri at events across the state. In September I attended the Cotton Carnival in Sikeston and was honored to crown Miss Cotton Carnival – with the assistance of Danika Jelinek, Missouri Honorary Junior Auxiliary President. In October I participated in Eisenhower Days in Abilene, KS by laying the wreath for the Department of Missouri ALA. The weather was windy and cold so we were all glad when it was time to gather inside for lunch. In October I met the National Commander’s caravan in Chillicothe for lunch and a visit to General Pershing’s hometown and the museum. The museum is still under development but promises to be an amazing facility when it is finished. I encourage everyone who is looking for a day trip to make arrangements to visit the museum and other buildings on the site including the flower garden with poppies brought to Laclede from France. I started off November attending Commander Mark Clark’s Homecoming in Independence. Fall Conference was next on the agenda. I was delighted to see the amazing creativity used by members to make their membership gimmicks and costumes. I hope you enjoyed the crazy “Minute to Win It” games. I think we all enjoyed meeting and spending the weekend with Central Division Vice President, Carol T. Robinson.
I want to thank all the VA Representatives at our VA Homes and Medical Centers and the many American Legion Family volunteers for their time and efforts in making the Gift Shops a great experience for our Veterans. All of you are amazing. If you have never been involved with a gift shop, please try to make it to a facility next year. I guarantee you will come away with memories you will cherish and grasp a deeper meaning of serving our veterans.
I am looking forward to continuing my visits to Districts. The remaining weeks of winter and this Spring have many events to keep me busy. One special event is National President Lisa Williamson’s visit to Missouri. She is scheduled to visit March 24-27, 2004. Plans are being made to ‘show her’ how Missouri provides services for our veterans and their families.
Other important dates to remember are the deadline dates for Scholarships. Please adhere to these deadlines so applicants do not lose an opportunity for financial assistance. Another upcoming deadline is reporting deadlines. More information will be coming about the Impact Numbers and the Narrative Dates. During my visits to Districts I have heard reports outlining all the work the units are doing so please, please report these activities, hours, money so Missouri can have an outstanding year of reporting.
I want to share some information about membership that was sent out by National recently. Kelly Harrier, our Membership Division Director reported that our 2023 total membership exceeded the 2022 year-end membership which means the ALA has experienced a growth in membership for the first time since 2002. Think about it this hasn’t happened in over 20 years. Kelly reported efforts in communications and public relations continue to effectively spread the word about who we are, what we do, and why we matter. We should reflect and make note of ways we have communicated with new and renewing members about who we are, what we do, and why we matter. Let’s continue this wave into next year to build our membership base which will strengthen our organization at all levels.
With all that is happening around the world I wanted to include some information about Americanism. I was searching through my files of articles I have submitted to the Legionette over the years and found an Americanism article I wrote in 1991. I find it appropriate to share some of that article again.
American We Remember – Yes, we remember and must not let others forget the
sacrifices our military men and women have made and continue to make while
defending our country. At a time when our national security is threatened our
Military forces and leaders need our support.
February is designated as “Americanism” month so let’s put special emphasis on promoting Americanism and Patriotism. We need to show our service men and
women we care for, please support them with letters and prayers. During this time, take
a moment to think about what Americanism means to you.
I want to thank all the Units, Districts, and American Legion Family Members who have supported the President’s Project – The Veterans Community Project (VCP)- “The Tiny Homes.” Your support has been outstanding and I am looking forward to making the presentations to the two projects.
The following is some information about this project for those of you who need or want to know more about the Veterans Community Project.
The Mission of the American Legion Auxiliary states- “In spirit of service, not self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve…” - I wanted to stay focused on this mission so I chose to honor and support our veterans by making my President’s Project the Veterans Community Project (VCP) – “The Tiny Homes” located in Kansas City and St. Louis. “Veterans Community Project is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization serving homeless and at-risk Veterans with tiny homes, wrap-around support services and emergency assistance." Missouri is blessed to be the only state at this time where veterans have access to two Veterans Community Projects to assist in eliminating Veteran homelessness. This is an amazing project whose long-term goal is eliminating Veteran homelessness nationwide. If you would like to know more or wish to make a contribution to this project, please contact the American Legion Auxiliary Department Office at 573-636-9133 for more information.