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Farmington VFW Auxiliary gets national visit

In the world of veterans organizations, it’s a pretty big deal when a national officer comes into a community for a visit. That’s why the members of Farmington’s Post 7662 VFW Ladies Auxiliary are so busy this week.

On Saturday, the local VFW Ladies Auxiliary will host a dinner in honor of Ann Panteleakos, the 2014-15 national president of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

The visit will be among Panteleakos’ first as national president. She was elected to the position during the VFW Ladies Auxiliary’s national convention July 23.

The visit came up quickly, Farmington VFW Post 7662 Ladies Auxiliary past president Diane Steele said. Steele was contacted earlier this summer, and was asked if the local auxiliary would like to host a dinner for Panteleakos. It was an offer Steele didn’t think members would want to turn down.

“You get an invitation like that, you don’t turn it down,” Steele said. “It’s a very big honor for us.”

The event is not open to the public — the VFW will be closed from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday — but it will draw VFW and Ladies Auxiliary members from around the state.

During dinners such as this, members of the organization gather to meet the national officer. And that works out well, VFW Post 7662 Ladies Auxiliary senior vice president Bev Ersfeld said, because Panteleakos has expressed a desire to meet as many members as she can during her term.

President Panteleakos will lead the national organization using her theme, “Patriotism Begins at Home.” According to her online bio, Panteleakos plans to work on strengthening membership and encouraging family-oriented activities during her year as national president.

This will be the first time Farmington Post 7662 VFW Ladies Auxiliary has had the opportunity to host a national president’s dinner. Members have been working hard to line up all of the details and clean and decorate the club for Panteleakos’ visit.

“We’re all excited to have her here. Everyone is looking forward to meeting her,” Steele said.

Panteleakos is a life member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary 1523 of Putnam, Conn. She was elected as national president at the organization’s 101st national convention in St. Louis, July 23. She is eligible for membership through her father, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1953 to 1957.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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