American Legion Auxiliary commemorates 90 years

American Legion Auxiliary members and guests met June 7 at the Post Home to commemorate 90 years of honoring and working for veterans. The organization was chartered on Jan. 5, 1924, but weather conditions moved the party to June.

Tom Mullaney served as emcee for the event. After a welcome from President Michelle LaBonte, the Pledge of Allegiance and the dinner blessing, dinner was served and enjoyed by all.

Introductions of national and state representatives followed. They included Rep. Dan Benishek, State Rep. Peter Pettalia and State Rep. Jim Stamas. Representing State Sen. John Moolenaar was Beverly Bodem.

Bodem presented a proclamation signed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and a letter received from Pettalia, Moolenaar and Sen. Carl Levin. The letter congratulated the auxiliary on all its efforts over the years for veterans.

Jan Baumgart presented a short history of the works of the auxiliary, including fundraising efforts, the Drum and Bugle Corps, sponsoring local high school juniors to the Girls State seminars, and donations of used clothing during hard times. It was also noted that the auxiliary sponsors a nursing scholarship for those studying in the health care field.

Awards were presented to the following bingo workers, Dave and Esther Kelly, Carol and Tom Belanger, Francis Keen, Fred Daleski, Dixie Chambers and Jan Baumgart, as well as to Larry and Pat LaHaie for their many years serving as finance and secretarial officers.

Past Presidents Pat LaHaie, Carol Belanger, Jeanette Baumgart and Mable Cole were introduced. A special cake and rendition of “Happy Birthday” were given to Cole, who celebrated her 94th birthday on the day of the gathering.

Lori Vought of Alpena High School and Diane Speer of The Alpena News were recognized as well.

Door prizes were won by Brenda Craft, Mark Wolshon and Kathy Goeke.