Founded in 1919, The American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) has nearly one million members from all walks-of-life. The Auxiliary administers hundreds of volunteer programs, gives tens of thousands of hours to its communities and to veterans, and raises millions of dollars to support its own programs, as well as other worthwhile charities familiar to Americans. It is all accomplished with volunteers.
While originally organized to assist The American Legion, the Auxiliary has achieved its own unique identity while working side-by-side with the veterans who belong to The American Legion. Like the Legion, the Auxiliary’s interests have broadened to encompass the entire community.
The Melvin Cowart American Legion Auxiliary Unit 274 – Fort Myers Beach is doing great things in our community, state, and nation!!! Over the past few years we have participated in and sponsored many events. The members of Unit 274 enjoy what we do for our Veterans, Active Duty Military, their families, and our community.
COME CHECK US OUT!!!
President – Judy Pitts
Vice President – Pam Wynne
Secretary – Janet Wallace
Treasurer – Sally Poholik
Chaplain – Harriette Vanco
Sergeant-at-Arms – Pat Corbidge
Historian- Gina Kasella
Executive Committee: Doris Flamini, Louise Golicic, Joann Hartman
MEMBERSHIP – How to Join the American Legion Auxiliary
This is the largest women’s patriotic service organization in the world. Your membership is critical to ensure the ALA is here to continue serving future generations of veterans, military, and their families. Our annual dues are only $25.00. You have two ways to join the ALA – online or in person!
For further information or pay dues online go to www.alaforveterans.org and log-in to the “Members Section”. You will need to create your free log-in if you haven’t already done so, and it only takes a few seconds. Continue on the “Members Section” and click the “Pay Dues” button. You will then be prompted on how to pay your renewal dues online. It’s easy, secure, and only takes a couple of minutes. You can also pay at Post 274, or email the membership chair, Pam Wynne at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need additional assistance.
Our country needs the AL Auxiliary and only because of YOU can we continue our mission outreach to our military, veterans and their families. Thank you for your continued membership!
ALA Unit 274 meets the second Monday of every month (unless a change is determined) at the Melvin Cowart Post 274 in the Patriot Room at 6:30 pm.
Melvin Cowart Post 274 address is:
899 Buttonwood Drive
Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931
For more information please email email@example.com – Pam Wynne, Unit Historian
ALA Unit 274 have many activities planned for this year and are always looking for volunteers to give some time, energy, and talents to others, expecting nothing in return. Volunteers must have an open mind, be willing to embrace wisdom learned from others and this will let the experience of volunteering lead to personal inner growth. If this is something that you can help us out with please email the Unit President.
The Auxiliary “OPERATION HOME COOKING” is a one-of-a-kind cookbook and available for only $10.00. Our members have compiled over 300 of their tastiest, tried-and-true recipes into a single book that will be treasured for generations to come. Each recipe includes the contributor’s name, so it’s easy to find the recipes of friends and loved ones. For further information on how you can purchase one of these for your enjoyment contact Pam Wynne email: firstname.lastname@example.org or cell: 219-776-9197. These are also available every Saturday evening at the Queen of Hearts & 50/50 table.
Come join us every Saturday evening for the Queen of Hearts and 50/50 drawings.
Tickets are $5.00 each starting at 5pm with the drawing at 7pm. You must have
a current 2017 American Legion Family Membership Card to purchase a ticket!
The Melvin Cowart American Legion Auxiliary Unit 274 Fort Myers Beach members presented Kim Gaide, Military Support of Lee Health with a check for $2,000.00 to use towards postage costs for care boxes sent to our locally deployed troops. Patriotism and veterans advocacy are so important to the American Legion Auxiliary that for nearly a century, we’ve been serving, educating, and giving to America’s finest – our servicemen and women. This particular Auxiliary Unit 274 was chartered on January 2, 1952.
Thank you, Kim
Kim Gaide, BSM, Practice Manager, LPG Medical Records
Military Support Coordinator of Lee Health
Proud Mother of a Florida National Guardsman and an Army Iraqi War Veteran
Facebook page: LMHS Military Support Program
- Support Our Military Troops-
Vietnam Wall Dedication Ceremony
We joined the American Legion Florida Family on November 5, 2016 for the Dedication Ceremony of the Vietnam Wall of Southwest
Florida in Punta Gorda. The ceremony started with a “Walk of Honor” from Lashley Marina to
the Wall site which we were each given a veterans name that appeared on the wall. When we arrived at the wall we recited the name of the veteran and where they were from. It was
certainly a solemn moment for all of us who attended. The program proceeded with the Rolling
Thunder motorcycle brigade, massing of the colors and the Warbirds flyover. The welcome was
given by General Carr with invocation, presenting the colors, pledge of
allegiance and national anthem to follow. There were remarks made by Representative Ken Roberson,
Vice Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners Christopher Constance and Mayor of Punta Gorda
Rachel Keesling. General Carr gave a brief history and purpose of the Vietnam Wall of Southwest Florida
and appreciation to the Donors and Volunteers. A moment of silence was held and then Guns N’Hoses
played God Bless America followed by the 21 Gun Salute by Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office and Taps.
There also was the UH-1 Helicopter Flyover again by the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office. The program ended once again with Guns N’Hoses playing Amazing Grace.
Veterans Day Parade – November 12, 2016
Downtown Fort Myers
A few members of our ALA Unit 274 participated in the Veterans Day Parade in Downtown Fort Myersrepresenting the District 13th Auxiliary. We began at the American Legion Post 38 and traveled to the PinchersMarina. There was a small ceremony afterwards where the Commander of Post 38 said a few words and the Dunbar High School ROTC played the National Anthem. We passed out small flags and family AL applications along the parade route. Pictured is Tina Hanson, District 13 President, Pam Wynne & Judy Pitts
Surfers for Autism – November 5, 2016
Fort Myers Beach
A few members of our ALA Unit 274 assisted Chester Rogers, a Fort Myers Beach artist, during the Surfers for Autism Event held on the beach. He provided caricatures at no charge to all the children. This event is dedicated to the introduction of the sport of surfing to children with special needs. The surfers and their families are treated like “rock stars” and enjoy a day filled with a range of activities including stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, live music, face-painting, games and much more. This is a very special day where children with developmental delays interact with typical peers and wow families with their capabilities. If you would like to donate go to www.surfersfor autism.org the “Covered Wagon”. Pictured: Judy Pitts, Mary Ellen Lapierre and Doris Flamini
Fall Conference – November 18-19, 2016
Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
A few members of our ALA Unit 274 attended this state conference and learned many things. It began on Friday afternoon with a few breakout sessions. The following day began with the General Session where the Department was introduced and some special guests. Awards also were announced that were given at the National Conference in August. Two of the presenters that really stood out the most were Captain Makeda “Ty” Young who is an active-duty Army so spokesperson for “Final Salute, Inc.” program. This program is to give support to Female Homeless Veterans. If you want to have further information on this program go to www.finalsalute.org. This is also our Department President, Kelli Becraft’s special project for this year. Then we met a young man, Benjamin Mack-Jackson, whose passion is preserving the memories of the greatest generation called “WWII Veterans History Project”. He holds veteran interviews and collects and preserves WWII memorabilia. Check him out at www.ww2veteranshistoryproject.com. They also held the membership parade of all the different modes of transportation to “Navigate for Our Veterans”. We are part of District 13 and our mode of transportation is the “Covered Wagon”. Conference attendees were Judy Pitts, Pam Wynne & Helene Len.
ABC School of Instruction – January 7, 2017
American Legion Post 274 – Fort Myers Beach
On Saturday, January 7, 2017, the American Legion Auxiliary held the ABC School of Instruction for District 13 at Unit 274 on Fort Myers Beach. The presenter was Diane Russo and was attended by about thirty members. The format of the class was a question and answer period and was very informative. It was very much a learning experience especially for myself being a first-year Unit President. Pictured l to r: Diane Russo, Pam Wynne, Tina Hanson
Honoring Women of the Armed Forces – Past and Present
More than 240 years ago during the American Revolution (1775-1783) Women served as spies and saboteurs. On the battlefield they served as gunners, nurses, water bearers, cooks, and laundresses.
During the 1800’s notable conflicts included: War of 1812, Mexican War (1846-1848), Civil War (1861-1865), and the Spanish-American War (1898):
The 1800”s saw women provide mostly casualty care and nursing for the troops at field hospitals and on ships. . During the Civil War many enlisted with male names and served in the infantry and front lines. Sometimes they were discovered and discharged. Others served as nurses, laundresses, cooks, and spies. In 1865, Dr. Mary Walker a surgeon in the Civil War receives the Medal of Honor. She remains the only woman to receive the nation's highest military honor. In the Spanish-American War (1898): Thousands of US soldiers sick with typhoid, malaria and yellow fever, overwhelm the capabilities of the Army Medical Department. Dr. Anita Newcomb McGee suggests to the Army Surgeon General that the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) be appointed to select professionally qualified nurses to serve. The Army appoints Dr. McGee Acting Assistant Surgeon General, making her the first woman ever to hold the position. The Army is impressed by the performance of the nurses and as a result the Army and Navy Nurse Corps were established.
The 20th century saw many major conflicts Including: The Two World Wars, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf Wars
The first women who enlisted in the United States military joined the Navy and Marine Corps in World War I. Army and Navy nurses serve in military hospitals. Over 230 bilingual women telephone operators served overseas and others worked as skilled stenographers. Many women enlist to serve stateside in shore billets, and fill positions such as clerks and telephone operators.
In the Army Reorganization Act of (1920): nurses were granted officer status.
World War II (1941-1945): Roles for women expanded in World War II. Approximately 400,000 women served. Women served in every theater of the war and in many nontraditional roles - communications, intelligence, mechanics, drivers, photographers, and logistics.
The Women's Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 granted women permanent status in all branches of the services.
An example of a woman who contributed to the war effort was Mary Feik a leader in aviation, an aviation engineer, master mechanic, pilot, instructor and aircraft restorer. She began working on aircraft engines and military aircraft at the age of 18. However, when she tried to enroll in engineering in college, the registrar told her, "We don't take women." She later took a job at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio working on airplanes and teaching aircraft maintenance. During World War II, Feik became an expert on many military aircraft, and taught aircraft maintenance for the United States Army Air Corps. Feik logged more than 6,000 hours as an engineer, engineering observer, and pilot.
The pilot training manuals and technical engineering reports she authored were distributed throughout the Armed Forces.
A recipient of many aerospace honors, Mary Feik’s proudest professional honor was bestowed in 2003. She stated "My ultimate honor 'is' the Civil Air Patrol cadet achievement created in my name.
During the Korean Conflict the majority of women worked in the MASH units and more women were promoted to higher ranks.
Vietnam War (1965-1975):/Cold War
During the Cold War Era equal rights and opportunities increased for women.
The Reserve Officers Training Corps opens to women.
An Air Force woman completes Aircraft Maintenance Officer's School and becomes the first woman aircraft maintenance officer.
The first woman is assigned as a flight surgeon in the Air Force
The first female earns the Navy flight wings.
The Navy accepts its first woman chaplain.
A woman becomes the first army helicopter pilot.
The Air Force places the first woman on crew flight status.
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a Public law removing legal ceilings on women's promotions that had kept them out of the general and flag ranks. This law also dropped the two percent ceiling on officer and enlisted strengths for women in the armed forces.
In the fall of 1976, women enrolled in the military service academies.
War in the Persian Gulf (1990-1991): The largest single deployment of military women in US history took place during the Persian Gulf Wars. They served in all areas of the operation except direct combat.
During this time the Army names a woman "Drill Sergeant of the Year". The first women were assigned to command Missile and air refueling squadrons. Women participated in the space program in ground support, as shuttle mission specialists and space shuttle commanders.
In this century women have been added to the ranks of embassy guards, Presidential Military Aide, drug interdiction officers, and the military sniper program.
Col Nicole Malachowski a graduate of the Air Force Academy and a former Civil Air Patrol Cadet was the first woman to join the Airforce Demonstration Squadron “Thunderbirds.”
In 2008: For the first time in US military history, a woman is promoted to the
rank of four-star general. Currently there are 57 active-duty women serving as generals or admirals
Just two years ago the ban on women serving in combat roles was lifted.
This past year 3 women graduated Army Ranger School.
The future – the future will have many opportunities and challenges. Most of us will set and reset goals and will add a dash of persistence.