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 and youth, education and the community.
“We are a committed and active group supporting a variety of activities, but the results of our efforts are very rewarding,” says Janet Allen, president of the organization.
The American Legion Auxiliary is the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization. With nearly 1 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 local unit actively supports veterans and veteran activities in the local area and beyond. This past year, members visited five different nursing homes here in Bradley County in March and September, providing 140 gift packages containing personal and comfort items for veteran residents in our local nursing homes. Christmas gifts and coats 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, miscellaneous items and thank you cards mailed to local troops deployed to Poland. They also mailed a package every other month to local active duty soldiers who are stateside. The unit also hosts the reception for veterans on Veterans Day at Post 81.
For the past several years, they bought 10 pounds of coffee twice a year from Books-A -Million that was shipped to deployed troops and to veteran nursing homes.
Unit 81, through the year, supports a broad array of community services and children and youth projects. They provided school supplies and box tops for elementary-age children in need. Last year the unit sponsored a flag etiquette class to the fifth grade class at Blythe Bowers elementary.
Another major youth program they supported is the American Legion Auxiliary’s Volunteer Girls State. Each May, 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 at 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 activity and projects are funded from the donations received by the unit at the semi-annual Poppy Distribution event in May and November, membership dues, and from donations work projects. This past June they hosted a pancake breakfast at Aubrey's Restaurant.
If you are a mother, spouse, daughter, sister, granddaughter, great-granddaughter or grandmother of an American Legion member, or a deceased veteran of U.S. armed Forces who served in a war, you are eligible for membership.
“Anyone 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 an energetic group of ladies, enjoying their association, and involved in their community,” said Allen.
The unit meets on the second Monday of each month, starting at 6:30 p.m., at American Legion Post 81, 227 James Asbury Drive N.W., Cleveland. For more information you can call 476-4451.