By Christy Porter, Managing Editor
The Licking VFW Auxiliary of VFW Post #6337 celebrates their 50th Anniversary this year, being established in the fall of 1973, by the wives and daughters of the men of the newly established post.
The forming of the Auxiliary required 25 names and signatures, which was accomplished in a short time, and the approval of the veterans at that time. Officers were installed on November 11, 1973, with Carmella Rector as the first President. By 1988 their membership was at 77; currently there are 108 members, not all being active.
In efforts to achieve their mission, and in support and cooperation with the VFW, the Auxiliary has participated in many of the veteran’s activities including the Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen program and scholarships, Dignified Flag Disposal ceremony snacks and the weekly Bingo food and snack bar. They also sponsor the Young American Creative Patriotic Art Contest and the 3-Dimensional Patriotic Art Contest at the high school level, with awards, prizes and a scholarship. At the grade school level they sponsor an Illustrating America art contest with gift card prizes.
Their benefactions have included financial contributions for operation and transplant patients, food and clothing for burnout victims, Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets for the needy, Mother’s Day gifts, making and giving lap robes, ditty bags and bibs for patients at VA hospitals and nursing homes. The auxiliary and the post have combined their efforts for BBQ dinners and the Bingo games. They also sell Buddy poppies on Poppy Day, which years ago were made by veterans.
Annual donations are given to the Licking Senior Center, GMa Pam’s Rack Pack, the Licking Rural Fire Department, and a monthly donation during the school session to the elementary school to help students with milk and other necessities. They also pay for cancer insurance for the VFW and Auxiliary members.
“There are all kinds of ways to help as a member of the Auxiliary,” shares member Adonia Rask. “We encourage and invite others to our membership.”
Their presence is seen at community events including Memorial Day, Halloween and fairs. The annual IECA picnic is a venue for membership recruitment. They raffle baskets to raise funds for various organizations including the Wounded Warriors program, the Children’s’ Home and the VA home in St. James. The members try to visit the VA home monthly when possible, and at Christmas, share cookies and visit with the veterans. The also visit area nursing homes when possible.
The Auxiliary members provide the food at the Bingo kitchen four Fridays of each month, and dinners for military funerals.
“We have to take care of our veterans; that’s our priority,” said Rask. “Because we work with all age groups, youth through veterans, scholarships are also a priority.”
Auxiliary membership requires one to be a family member of a VFW-eligible veteran, including spouses, parents, siblings, children, grandparents and grandchildren; the veteran does not have to be a member of the VFW. If you are an Auxiliary member please update your information at the MALTA portal at vfwauxiliary.org or if you wish to join contact Tina at 573-889-7528 or Joan at 417-464-3572.
The VFW Auxiliary is the nation’s oldest veterans’ service organization auxiliary.