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VFW Auxiliary promotes helping role

A local service organization is hoping to improve its visibility in the community.

The Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10818 of New Richmond officially organized two years ago. Membership numbers have hovered around 20 ever since.

President Stacy Schwan admits getting the word out about the group has been a challenge.

"We're trying to boost our numbers," she said. "But a lot of people don't know we even exist."

The Auxiliary got its start in April 2004 after then VFW Post Commander Don Schwan was encouraged by district officials to think about organizing such a group.

"A lot of VFW posts have auxiliaries to help them organize events and support veterans," Stacy Schwan said.

Veterans' wives, mothers, stepmothers, daughters, sisters, granddaughters and stepchildren are eligible to join the Auxiliary.

"We're a helping hand to the post itself," said Bernie Mortensen, charter Auxiliary member. "Side by side ... that's what it's supposed to be."

The group meets at 7 p.m. every third Tuesday of the month at the New Richmond Armory, the same time the VFW Post members meet.

The group spends much of its time raising funds for the VFW National Home for Children, cancer aid and research, and the King's Home veterans home.

The group also visits veterans in the hospital and nursing homes, as well as helps with the Buddy Poppy sales and Red Cross blood drives.

"And we have helped a few families who have come back with Company B," Mortensen said. "We do a lot of hard work to raise funds for all these things. We're active and we're not just sitting still."

The group is planning a new fund-raiser for 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 13, at the New Richmond Armory. A Tupperware representative, Edith Saastad, will be on hand to demonstrate products and take orders.

Juice, coffee and muffins will be served to those in attendance.

Money raised from the sale will help the Post Auxiliary purchase an American flag, auxiliary flag and flag accessories for the organization.

"When we go to state meeting, we don't have our own flags like other auxiliaries," Mortensen noted. "It's nice to be able to be recognized that way."

For more information about joining the VFW Auxiliary, contact Stacy Schwan at 248-4628. To order Tupperware products ahead of the May 13 event, contact Saastad at 247-5594 or Mortensen at 246-5731.