American Legion Auxiliary Unit 81 of Cleveland’s American Legion Post 81 is a unique group of women joined together in patriotism, volunteerism and dedicated to veterans, children, youth and the community.
“We are a committed and active group supporting a variety of activities but the results of our efforts are very rewarding,” Janet Allen, president of the organization, said.
The American Legion Auxiliary is the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization. With nearly one million members nationwide, it solidly stands behind America and American ideals. Originally established to assist the American Legion, the Auxiliary’s interest has broadened to encompass the entire community.
The unit actively supports veterans and veteran activities in the local area and beyond.
This past year the group visited four different nursing homes in Bradley County in February and June, providing more than 100 gift packages containing personal or comfort items for veteran residents in our local nursing homes.
Christmas gifts were also provided to children of active military veterans through Operation Home Front. The unit supplied a box every other month with nonperishable food items, books on tape, DVDs and other items mailed to local troops who are deployed to Afghanistan.
They also mailed a package every other month to a local active duty soldier. In addition, money was contributed to the Wounded Warrior Foundation and the Fischer House which is in Murfreesboro.
The unit also hosts the reception for veterans on Veterans Day at Post 81.
Unit 81 in recent years has renewed its efforts in supporting a broad array of community service projects. It has purchased items to support the Coats for Kids Program and has provided school supplies and box tops for elementary age children in need.
Last year, the unit sponsored a Flag Etiquette class for the fifth-grade class at Blythe-Bowers Elementary.
Another major youth program is the American Legion Auxiliary’s Volunteer Girls State. Each summer, six students from local high schools are sponsored to attend this nationally recognized leadership development program for young women.
One of the highlights of the year is the annual Christmas Party co-hosted by the unit and American Legion Post 81 for the residents of Life Bridges Development Services.
“There is no better feeling one can experience than when you can see the joy and excitement this party brings to those present,” Allen said.
All activities and projects are funded from the donations received by the Unit at the semi- annual Poppy Distribution even in May and November each year, membership dues, and from donations received from Wednesday night dinners held at Post 81 September through May. The ladies cook the first Wednesday night of each month.
Mothers, spouses, daughters, sisters, granddaughters, great-granddaughters or grandmother of American Legion member or a deceased veteran of U.S. armed Forces who served in a war are eligible for membership.
“If interested in actively supporting veterans, children, youth and community, we invite you to consider becoming a member of the American Legion Auxiliary. You will find and energetic group of ladies, enjoying their association, and involved in their community,” Allen said.
The group meeting is the second Monday of each month starting at 7 p.m. at American Legion Post 81, 227 James Asbury Drive N.W., Cleveland. For more information you can call the Post at 476-4451.