Column: I was humbled, to say the leastOn Sunday, I took a little drive down to Montgomery. My destination was the Montgomery American Legion Post 79, where I was going to have lunch with a bunch of past presidents of the American Legion Auxiliary.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
On Sunday, I took a little drive down to Montgomery. My destination was the Montgomery American Legion Post 79, where I was going to have lunch with a bunch of past presidents of the American Legion Auxiliary.
I stepped down as president of the Farmington American Legion Auxiliary Unit 189 earlier this year, after holding that position for three years, because I no longer live in Farmington, and because I’m now an officer in the Third District. Farmington is part of the Third District of the Department of Minnesota American Legion Auxiliary.
Over the past going-on-four years, I’ve developed several new friendships with wonderful women who, like me, share a desire to serve veterans, our military and their families. These gals are from other communities, other American Legion Auxiliaries, in the Third District – places like Shakopee, Chaska, Nicollet, Cannon Falls and New Prague.
When I go to Third District events, I’m always so amazed at the enthusiasm and passion of the women within the district. Some units around the Third District, and even the state of Minnesota, are able to do things thanks to women who want to be involved in programs that benefit veterans.
Well, there I was Sunday, at a Past President social for unit presidents. I was probably the newest of the past presidents, having officially stepped down only three weeks ago.
I was surrounded by a room full of women who had dedicated years and years to the American Legion Auxiliary. I was humbled, to say the least.
After our dinner the hostess of the event asked each of us to stand up, say who we were, where we were from, and when we served as presidents of our respective units. I listened as, table by table, these gals stood up to talk about their terms as president of their units. More than a few of them accepted the president post several years ago, and have just continued because dwindling membership and participation has left their units without someone to take over. Many of them took the position two and three different times over their years with the American Legion Auxiliary.
And then, there were the women who have been members for 50 and 60 years. One gal couldn’t remember exactly when she had been president – it was somewhere around 1957. A couple more were president of their units in 1967 – the year I was born.
I know that around Farmington, some of our members have been in the organization for decades. They were World War II and Korean War brides. But there, surrounded by 50-some women, it really sunk in to me just how dedicated the women in the American Legion Auxiliary are to the organization. I have some pretty big shoes to fill, to be sure.
The Farmington American Legion family has had a pretty rough year. The bankruptcy a year ago followed by the sale of the Post home has presented a fair number of challenges to our organization.
While I don’t know a whole lot about what’s happening with the American Legion members or the Sons of the American Legion, I do know that Farmington’s American Legion Auxiliary is taking things step by step this year. We plan to take things slowly, ease in a new president, and just do what we can, when we can, for our veterans and our community.
And after Sunday, I’ve come to understand there are many, many ladies out there who are ready to give advice, assistance and guidance whenever we need it. It’s nice to have a support network like that.