Monday, December 15, 2014

Scholarships: Award Presentations

Christine Begin
Scholarships Ambassador

Scholarship Award Presentations

Christmas is almost here and that means we're busy shopping and planning our holidays, but we also need to plan on recognizing the wonderful students who entered the Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen competitions.

They should be thanked at every level. Whether it's giving them a certificate, check or gift card, or even a simple thank you card. When doing the presentation, make sure to take a picture and submit it to your local newspaper along with a write-up listing everyone's name, the names of the contests, and the scholarship award amounts to your local newspaper. This is free publicity and lets the community know about our contests and these talented students!

Many Departments host their Awards Dinner in January. This is the perfect opportunity to recognize the parents of the students. Make sure they are introduced and thanked. In addition, tell the students we need a favor from them. Request that when they return to school we want them to tell their classmates and teachers of the great experience they had entering the contests: meeting veterans, other students, and receiving awards. They are our best advertisement! Word of mouth is a powerful resource for spreading our word! Best of luck to all the students. It will be exciting to see who the Department winners are for each contest!

My best wishes to you and your families for a very happy and healthy holiday season!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Membership: The Latest Membership Challenge Awards!!!

Tami Elliott
Membership Ambassador

ATTENTION! Announcing the latest Membership Challenge Awards!


Round 4:
Prize to the Department Membership Chairman in each Membership Group for the highest percentage of new annual members inputted (based on June 30, 2014 total annual members) as of November 31, 2014.
Prize is Large Red Tote

Round 5:
Prize to the Department President in each Membership Group for the highest percentage of new annual members inputted (based on June 30, 2014 total annual members) as of December 31, 2014.
Prize is $100 bill to be presented at the Mid-Year Ambassadors’ presentation!!!!

Round 6:
Prize to the Department Treasurer in each Membership Group for the highest number of Knock Out Recruiter Pin awardees in her Department, submitted between January 1 and January 31, 2015.
Prize is Large Red Tote

Congratulations to the very first National Membership Achievement Award Winner:
Carol Fetter, Mississippi


Have you ever wanted to motivate someone to action, but just couldn’t get them to move? We experience this in everyday life and we experience this in our mission to further the cause of our organization. What can we do to become more effective?
  1. Realize that everyone thinks differently and everyone has a different way of looking at life. 
  2. Motivation comes from inside the person. You, me, the President…….we cannot motivate someone to do something. We CAN inspire them to tap into their own motivation (because everyone’s personal motivation is different).
  3. People love to buy, but they hate to be ‘sold’.
Once you get the above ideals you can craft your message to fit that person. A new, younger member has different wants and needs than an older member. There isn’t anything wrong with that. We need to be inclusive of all our members.
How do we put this into practice?
Here’s a personal example: I’m trying to get this guy to join the VFW. He’s a veteran who served in Iraq, who was an officer, and an Academy guy to boot, the whole Duty, Honor, Country thing. It’s a no-brainer for me because my dad served in WWII and instilled in me to honor our veterans. But I get pushback from this guy; he doesn’t have the same upbringing as me and I just don’t understand how he can be so blind to his responsibilities for all the veterans. He says he doesn’t see how the VFW helps him.
So, I change gears. I realize he has a different perspective. I change my message and ask him, “what was the most important thing about serving?”, knowing there isn’t anything more important than being a brother in arms. I ask him how he took care of his men and how they took care of him. Then I told him about visiting the veterans’ hospitals, how we bring a little sunshine to disabled veterans, how I’ve made life-long connections with veterans competing in National Veterans’ Wheelchair Games, with no legs, who have lost their sight, who have had traumatic head injuries. Then I ask, “Do you want to help them too?"
I have been tapping into this guy’s motivation by relating something inspiring and give him a chance to buy instead of being "sold."
We have all these incredible stories inside us about why we are in this organization. Let’s start sharing more of them as we encourage others to join us. Let’s be proud of what we do and toot our own horn a little more. Let’s inspire others!
With new approaches and creative techniques, combined with some Department incentives, let’s all find our inner motivation and help our organization prosper. Ultimately this task falls on each and every one of your sisters in the Auxiliary, together we can not only achieve our goal rather we can exceed it!
May you all have a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cancer Aid & Research: Your Guide to Cancer Grants

Patricia Kemp
Cancer Aid & Research Ambassador

During the Holiday Season remember that you bless others by letting them give to you – just like you feel blessed when you give to them!

By giving $2.00 (per-member), you bless thousands of your fellow Auxiliary members each year. In less than six months since the 2014-2015 Program Year started, 1,145 Cancer Grants have been given to our members. Each was blessed to be a member of the Ladies Auxiliary VFW and know that their fellow members care.

Auxiliaries - DO NOT hold up sending your Department the Cancer Aid & Research money you have collected or raised.  

Fund raising ideas:
  • Auction beautifully wrapped gift boxes filled with goodies and/or wanted surprises.
  • Host a fashion show. Get your Post members involved and have some fun.
  • Host a tricycle race and invite the public to participate. 
  • Host a salad tasting lunch or dinner. Charge a flat fee that includes 3-5 scoops of different salads, bread and drink. Also, have a cost to purchase more scoops. If members donate the supplies, then all made is profit. 
  • Host an old fashioned Cake or Pop Walk.
Check out National's Pinterest page for more ideas.

Now is the time to educate ALL members on what the Cancer Grant is and how it works. ALL members should know about this wonderful gift, where it comes from and how to get it (if needed). Read the Member Guide to Cancer Grants on the National website to learn about Cancer Grants. Be sure to share the information with fellow members!

Thanksgiving – I hope your Thanksgiving was as special as mine! I received reports from all the Department Chairman. Each one is working hard to getting the word out about our Cancer Aid & Research Program. I wish each one of you a blessed Christmas.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Legislative: Save the Date! 2015 Legislative Conference

Kathy Schreiber
Legislative Ambassador

It is not too early to mark your calendar for the 2015 Legislative Conference. The VFW’s annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. provides an opportunity for VFW leaders from each state to personally lobby their respective lawmakers and watch as the current Commander-in-Chief John Stroud testifies on Capitol Hill before the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees on behalf of veterans.

The dates for the 2015 Legislative Conference are March 1-5. Housing for the conference will be at the Hyatt Regency, Crystal Center, VA; details are available on the VFW website.

The winners of the Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen scholarship contests will be announced at this time as well. Each national winner will read their winning essay before conference delegates and guests, and will be presented with their winnings. What a wonderful event to experience! I hope many of you have the opportunity to attend the 2015 Legislative Conference.

I would like to take this point of privilege to wish you all very Merry and Blessed Christmas with a great New Year of Legislative successes to follow.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hospital Program: Veterans' Voices Writing Program

Grace Matz
Hospital Ambassador

'Tis the season of giving and what could be better to give than a little of our time? As we prepare to gather with family and friends, imagine what it’d be like to spend the holiday alone. I urge you to take an hour or two and visit those spending this festive time in a hospital. Letting someone know they are not alone will be as satisfying to you as it is to them.

The following is an update I just received on changes with the Hospitalized Veterans Writing Program:

HVWP/Veterans' Voices Enlarges Its Vision for Helping Veterans

HVWP/Veterans' Voices has enlarged its vision of the writing program to include all military veterans and submissions for possible publication in Veterans' Voices. It is not necessary for submissions to come through the VA system. Manuscript submission guidelines are being revised and will also include online submissions. HVWP/Veterans' Voices wants to reach out to all military veterans and give them the opportunity to share their stories. Those working with veterans groups are encouraged to seek out those veterans who are willing to share not just stories from their military experiences, but stories that give these veterans a way of creative expression that can inspire and entertain others. Look for more information in the Spring 2015 issue of Veterans' Voices or visit

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a safe and successful New Year!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Americanism: What Do Gold Star, Blue Star and Silver Star Banners Mean?

Joyce Bilyeu
Americanism Ambassador

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, which is observed annually on December 7, is to remember and honor all those who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. On August 23, 1994, the United States Congress, designated December 7 of each year as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is also referred to as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day or Pearl Harbor Day. It is a tradition to fly the Flag of the United States at half-staff until sunset in honor of dead patriots.
What Do Gold Star, Blue Star and Silver Star Banners Mean?

There have been questions regarding the meaning of the Service Flags/Banners. Therefore, please share this information with others. In addition, consider things that your Auxiliary can do to honor these families.

*Note: All flags are displayed facing out in a front window.

Gold Star Banner

The gold star represents a family member killed during active duty and stands for sacrifice made for honor and freedom. Banners, also called service flags, containing two gold stars indicates two service members from that particular family were killed in combat. For families who've made the ultimate sacrifice, displaying the banners year-round is a solemn way to honor and pay tribute to their loved one(s). 

Blue Star Banner

During World War I, Army Captain Robert L. Queisser sought a way to honor his sons’ military service. Other families soon adopted his blue-star flag to indicate active duty service in the war. Sadly, many also displayed gold stars on those flags, symbolizing the death of the service member. The Department of Defense eventually authorized the display of the flags during times when the country is engaged in hostilities or war.

Flying blue-star flags is limited to specific family members (the spouse; parents, including adoptive or stepparents; siblings; and children, whether natural-born, adopted, foster children or stepchildren, are entitled to display the window flags). The white field, edged with red, can hold up to five blue stars. The blue of those stars symbolizes hope and pride for the service of a family member. 

Silver Star Banner

The silver star indicates a family member wounded or injured in a war zone.

As 2014 comes to a close and before we usher in 2015, I want to express my deepest appreciation for all of your hard work, dedication and accomplishments you have done teaching Patriotism throughout the United States. The holiday time even becomes more special when you have been as dedicated and productive as you’ve been this past year, previous years, and hopefully for years to come. 

It’s certainly a time of celebration, so let’s all just jump on this festive season and celebrate with all of our families and friends. However, remember our work is not done! While we are safe in our homes surrounded by family and friends, there are many who are not because they are serving and protecting this great nation.

More than courage is needed to risk your life for your country. It takes commitment, caring, and deep personal strength. It takes the heart of a hero. While we are all celebrating with family and friends this holiday season please remember our military men and women. They are counting on us (the VFW & Ladies Auxiliary VFW) to continue working on our programs and recruiting new members as we celebrate this Holiday Season.

I wish you and your family a happy and prosperous New Year and May God Bless all of you with happiness, prosperity and good health.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Chief of Staff - Ways to Grow

Vivian Bernotas
Chief of Staff

There are numerous ways to grow your Auxiliary and the Organization as a whole. Below are just some ideas

Do you know if your neighboring Bachelor Posts have been contacted regarding a Ladies Auxiliary? 
Don’t assume that someone else has contacted them, make that initial call, or visit with your Department Chief of Staff regarding this contact. Often times, a “neighbor” will have better luck in approaching a nearby VFW Post. 

Have you asked for the list of members from your VFW Post? 
There are many VFW members that have relatives that are eligible to join the VFW Ladies Auxiliary. Remind the comrades that a Ladies Auxiliary membership is a great gift for that special someone!

Are You Healthy?
We all know that it is VERY important to keep a check on our own health...what about the health of our VFW Ladies Auxiliary, our District and our Department? What are you doing to maintain the health of your Ladies Auxiliary? Talk about it at your next meeting.

Have you taken the time to check on what is available to you for FREE? 
Check it out -

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and I wish each of you and your families a very Merry Christmas!