Veterans Memorial Post 347

President - Maureen Caswell

Hi All,

I’ve got a couple of events to share with you:

First, May is the month that The Auxiliary holds its annual election.  We will be doing so at our Wednesday, May 1, 2024 General Meeting.  You will need to have your 2024 membership card with you to participate in the election.

Your slate of officer candidates for the 2024-2025 calendar year is as follows:

President                                    Maureen Caswell

Vice President                           Ruth Sovern

2nd Vice President                    *Carol Pirone-Udell

Treasurer                                    Kathy Allen

Secretary                                     Barbara Kyle

Chaplain                                       Maureen Merlette

Sargeant-At-Arms                    Patricia Morrow

Historian                                      Lois Bass

Members-At-Large*:              *Denise Hallisey *Jo Linda Spear, *Mary Seidel, *Joan Yackel, Susan Carlson                                                                          JoAnn Olah, Lynn Allen, Elaine Freach.  

*Incumbent member-at-large

I also wanted to take this opportunity to remind you that The Auxiliary Annual Poppy Drive has officially launched.  We will be distributing Poppy’s this year on Friday, May 24th.This is a change from previous years.  We are going to try a one-day Poppy Distribution this year and see how it goes.  Distribution locations are as follows:

Group:  Top – Bichara Blvd., (Spanish Springs Area)

Publix, Winn Dixie, Ace Hardware & Bob Johnson Memorial Driving Range (Rolling Acres Road)

Group:  Middle – 466

Ace Hardware (Southern Trace Plaza) & CVS (5208 E CR 466)

Group:  Bottom – 466A

Winn Dixie (Burnsed Blvd. – Pinellas); Publix – 466A; Lowes 466A & CVS (Powell Rd/466A)

We will be looking for our usual volunteers to help us distribute Poppy’s at the above locations for two-hour shifts beginning at 9am through 5pm.   We plan to be in the lobby with our sign-up sheets over the next several weeks on Tuesday evenings during the Queen of Hearts and on Wednesday and Sunday during Bar Bingo.

If you are interested in volunteering for Poppy distribution and would like to sign-up but won’t be at the Post, please contact us at:  alaunit347@comcast.net.  We will be happy to let you know what time slots are available.  Thank you in advance for your support!

For God and Country

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As we wrap up this fiscal year, I am pleased to announce that it has been another very productive year for The Auxiliary.  We set some challenging new goals for our scholarship programs and will soon be announcing those results. 

At its January 3rd General Meeting, The Auxiliary voted on a nominating committee to accept nominations for Auxiliary Officers for the 2024-2025 fiscal year.  The members are:   Bob Suelter - bobsuelter3@gmail.com; Lois Bass -  lbass23608@yahoo.com. or Diana Cronkhite - dc21news@aol.com.  This committee can provide you with information on the responsibilities of each office.  You can also go to the alafl.org website.  Look for Quicklinks on the top right red navigation bar, then Unit Guide.  All job descriptions can be found in the Unit Guide around page 70 and/or in the Auxiliary Constitution and By Laws.

Any Auxiliary member in good standing is eligible to run for an Office.  The available offices are as follows:  President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Chaplain, Historian, Sgt.- At- Arms, and 6 elected members-at-large.  Remember to bring your 2024 membership card with you.

Prospective Slate of Officers:

President -Maureen Caswell?*

1st VP  -  Ruth Sovern?*

2nd VP  - Carol Pirone-Udell

Treasurer - Kathy Allen ?*

Secretary - Barbara Kyle

Historian - Tina Burgess?*

Sgt-at-Arms  -Patricia Morrow

Chaplain - Maureen Merlette

Members at Large 6 Elected:  Denise Hallisey, Jo Linda Spear; Joan Yackel; Mary Seidel; Carol Pirone-Udell; Elaine Freach; Susan Carlson

*incumbent - has not yet confirmed a return to office

We look forward to seeing you on April 3 at our next General Meeting and thank you, as always, for your continued support. 

FOR GOD AND COUNTRY

MAY 2024

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March is the month that we start the process of building a slate of officers for our annual May Election. 

We formed a nominating committee from the floor of our February Membership Meeting.  Nominating Committee members are:  Bob Suelter, bobsuelter3@gmail.com;  Lois Bass, lbass23608@yahoo.com; and Diana Cronkhite, dc21news@aol.com.  This committee is charged to talk to our general membership and determine/list those members that are interested in running for each office.  They will also be visiting with each incumbent officer to determine interest in returning for another term.

Every position is open to anyone that is a member in good standing.  A member in good standing means that you have paid the current year’s dues and you are not involved in any disciplinary action. 

Available positions are:  President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary Historian, Sgt-At-Arms, Chaplain and 6 elected Members at Large.  We will be posting the Slate of Officers in the coming months.

We are also in need of a few Chairman.  Available positions are as follows:  Education, Auxiliary Emergency Fund, Community Service, and Poppy’s.  If you are interested in any of these chairmanships, please contact Maureen Caswell @ alaunit347@comcast.net.

MARCH 2024

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Greetings All,

Welcome to February!  The Auxiliary is busy doing all the behind the scenes work in order to implement our participation in the 2024 Girls State Program, our annual Scholarship Program and our annual Women Veterans Luncheon

We are in the process of visiting our local high schools to introduce our Girls State Program to our high school Juniors.  Girls State is basically citizenship training and is held on the campus of Florida State University over the course of a week.  The Auxiliary pays 100% of the cost.  We will be interviewing those Juniors that fill out the application with an essay attached around the middle of the month.  The 2024 session is scheduled for June.  We are planning to send two girls to Girls State this year.

We are also in the process of finalizing our 2024 Scholarship Program and will be delivering information packets to Leesburg and The Villages High Schools.  We plan on spending $20,000 this year.  We will be awarding two $5,000 scholarships under our Americanism program and two $5,000 scholarships under our Education Program.  Students are required to fill out an application and write an essay as well.  This year, for the very first time, we will be awarding several scholarships to nursing students from Lake Sumter Community College. 

Lastly, we are in the process of planning our annual luncheon for our Proud Women Veterans.  The date has been set for March 11.  Invitations will be emailed early this month.  There are over 300 local female veterans in our immediate area.  This is always a fun event and one that we really enjoy doing!

Come on out and join us at our monthly meetings.  We discuss all of our events and programs at these meetings.  Our next meeting is scheduled for February 7.  We start with a social mix that begins at 5:30pm and our meetings start promptly at 6pm.  Hope to see you there!

FEBRUARY 2024

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Happy New Year!  It’s hard to believe just how fast time passes.  Welcome almost midpoint of our 23-24 fiscal year!   We will be busy over the next several weeks planning and/or finalizing our participation in the following Auxiliary Programs:

  • Girls State
  • Scholarships - fine tuning our plans under our Americanism, Education and Past President Parley (Nursing) programs
  • Female Veteran Luncheon – host lunch/ceremony
  • May Poppy Drive
  • Memorial Day Veterans Lunch

I want to thank everyone again that donated food items/$, and/or their time to our Holiday Food Box Program.  We were able to generously supply significant food staples along with holiday meals to 100 families this season.  Our Angel Tree program generously provided gifts to more than 150 children/seniors in need.  We hosted 50 local Toys for Tots Volunteers with an appreciation dinner as a “thank you”.   Well Done and Thanks Again!

Lots to talk about, lots to do!  Come on out and join us at our next Auxiliary General Meeting on Wednesday, January 3, 2024 at Post 347 Hall.  Our social mix begins at 5:30, the meeting begins promptly at 6pm. 

Hope to see you there and wishing all of you the best in the New Year!

Upcoming Events:

1/20/24       6th District Auxiliary ABC School – Post 219, Fruitland Park, meeting start 9:30am.

3/9/24         6th District Meeting, Post 347 – time, tbd

Auxiliary President, Maureen Caswell

January 2024

 

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I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest in our Salvation Army Angel/Bell Tree Program.  All of the Angels and Bells (150 of them) have been adopted and I am pleased to tell you that 75% of the gifts have already been returned.  If you still have an angel or bell out, please return it by December 6, 2023.

We are continuing to receive non-perishable items for our Holiday Food Box Program.  To date, we have collected 1,646.00 in food donations.  These donations allowed us to pack a lot of extra items.  Thanks for helping us make this program such a success!

If you have not renewed your membership for 2024, please do so at your earliest convenience.  Your membership must be renewed by the end of the year to continue to access the Post.  We are available to renew your membership in person on Monday, Wednesday and Friday typically between the hours of 10am-3pm.  Bring your 2023 card with you.   We are just about 80% renewed.

Please come out to our General Meeting on Dec. 6 if you can.  We will have an abbreviated meeting and celebrate the holidays with a pot luck dinner.  We will be cooking ham and turkey and ask members to bring a side or dessert of their choice to share. 

I want to take this opportunity to wish you all very happy and healthy holidays and thank you, as always, for your support!

DECEMBER 2023

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Greetings All,

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our family members, and those of you living in our community, for the non-perishable food you’ve been dropping off at the Post for our Legion Holiday Food Program.   We truly appreciate your support!  We will be accepting donations up until our December 6, 2023 Auxiliary General Meeting.  If you drop any items off at the Post, please be sure to let the office attendant know the items are for the Holiday Food Program.

We will be packing boxes and grocery totes for Thanksgiving and Christmas on the following days:

  • Monday, November 13, 2023 at 10am in the Post Hall for Thanksgiving
  • Monday, December 11, 2023 at 10am in the Post Hall for Christmas

If you can’t make our General Meeting on Wednesday, 11/1 to sign up, but would like to participate, please email us at:  alaunit347@comcast.net.

Christmas Angels and Bells

This year The Auxiliary will be sponsoring 100 children (Angels) of various ages and 50 senior citizens (Bells) through the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program.  We will have the Angels and Bells ready for you to pick up at our November 1, General Meeting.  The Angels will indicate the age of the child and a few recommended gift ideas.  The Bells will indicate gift ideas that a needy senior might need.  The deadline to return these gifts is December 6, 2023.  If you would like to sponsor a child or senior, and cannot make our 11/1 General Meeting, please email us at the address above.  I will tell you from previous experience that the Angels get adopted very quickly!

Lastly, we are now taking reservations for the Early Bird Spaghetti Dinner.  You are an Early Bird if you paid your dues on or before 11/11.   The date of the dinner is Sunday, November 19.  There will be two seatings: 4:30 & 6pm.  If you are interested in attending, you will need to sign up at the Post and you will be asked for your membership card.  We are asking for a $1 donation to hold your reservation.  That $1 will be used for door prizes.  You may bring one guest.  The cost is $5.  This is typically a non-member spouse or significant other.

NOVEMBER 2023

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Hi All,

I’d like to first welcome you to Fall and welcome you back if you are just now returning to Florida!  The Fall is the busiest time of the year for The Auxiliary.  We plan multiple events, some on the same day and some just days apart. 

A short description of our Upcoming Events is provided below. 

October – Holiday Food Box Kick off – The American Legion Family sponsors 50 families to feed for Thanksgiving and then again at Christmas.  The families not only receive a complete holiday meal, but enough of the staples needed to feed the children while they are out of school.

If you would like to donate any of the following items listed below, please feel free to drop them off at any of our next three General Meetings:  Oct 4; Nov. 1; or Dec 6, 2023 at 6pm.  You may also drop items off at the Post during Auxiliary Renewal Lobby Hours on Monday, Wednesday or Friday, between 12-3pm.

Items Needed:  canned corn, peas, carrots, green beans, instant potatos, gravy, cranberry sauce, mac n cheese, cereal, cookies, spaghetti sauce, peanut butter and jelly.

Upcoming Events

November 10 – Veteran Day Goody Bags assembled/delivered to assisted living facilities

November 11 – Veterans Day - Lunch served to Veterans, Poppy Distribution

November 13 - Thanksgiving Food Box Assembly

November 19 – Early Bird Spaghetti Dinner

December 6 =- Deadline for gifts to Angel Tree Program & Toys for Tots gift collection

December 11 – Christmas Food Box Assembly

December – TBD – Thank you dinner for local Toys for Tots Volunteers

We will be looking for volunteers to help out with these events.  If you are interested in volunteering, please attend one of our General Membership Meetings. If you can’t make a meeting, you can contact us at ALAunit347@comcast.net.

OCTOBER 2023

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Hi All,

First, I’d like to thank The American Legion Family members for the food and cash donations that we received as a result of our 4th Annual Food Drive.  We had 41 volunteers for Sunday and

37 volunteers for Monday.  The estimated value of the collected food was ~ $40,000.  We also collected $1,227.00 in cash          donations. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

IT’S MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL TIME!

It’s the beginning of our fiscal year and it’s time to renew your membership.  Your Auxiliary annual dues are $45.00.   We will again be offering in-person renewals at the Post. 

Beginning on Monday, July 31, we will be renewing membership in the Post Lobby from 12-3pm on Monday, Wednesday and   Friday.  Bring your 2023 membership card with you and your $45. payment, and we will process your renewal and issue your 2024 membership card on the spot.

We’ve got lots of things planned for this year.  We hope you will come out and support us.  On September 24, 2023 we will be   holding our annual Oktoberfest.  Be sure to save the date!  Further details to follow.

AUGUST 2023

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Welcome to Summer! 

The Auxiliary has been busy making all of the arrangements to hold our 4th Annual American Legion Family Food Drive on Sunday, July 23 & 24, 2023.   We hold this event in July to ensure that the food banks are well stocked and ready for our local children’s return to school.  We have done extremely well with donations over the last several years.  Details are as follows:

The food drive will be a drop off event again this year, meaning that donations will be received at the front door of the Post on Sunday during the hours of 10am-2pm.  The items are brought into the Post by volunteers and sorted and divided up amongst the food banks that are participating.  On Monday morning, between the hours of 9am to early afternoon, the food gets delivered to their designated food bank during their donation calling hours.

Volunteers Needed:

On Sunday, we need volunteers to unload the cars, bring the items into the Post, sort the items and organize the items for delivery. On Monday, we will need several groups of cars that need to be loaded as well as delivered to each of the food banks.  The delivery times will vary!

If you are interested in volunteering, we will have sign-up sheets at the front office and on Tuesday evenings and Sunday and Wednesday Bar Bingo.  If you would like more information or would like to sign up electronically, please email Carol Pirone-Udell at nycarol2u@aol.com.

As always, we thank you for your support and appreciate how truly blessed we are to belong to this American Legion Family!

JULY 2023