Melvin Cowart Post 274








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. 


OFFICERS   2023/2024   

President – Judy Pitts

Vice President – 

Secretary – Kathleen Downs

Treasurer – Sally Poholik

Chaplain –  Doris Flamini

Sergeant-at-Arms –Judi Cogswell

Historian- Rosalie Campbell

E-Board- Pam Wynne, Helene Len, Jackie Azzarello


MEMBERSHIP – How to Join the American Legion Auxiliary


This is the largest 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 $40.00. You have two ways to join the ALA – online or in person!


For further information or pay dues online go to 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 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 – Pam Wynne, Vice President



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. 







Come join us every Friday evening for the Queen of Hearts and 50/50 drawings.

Tickets are $5 each, starting at 5 PM, with the drawing at 7 PM






June, 2019- Our Auxiliary was hard at work packaging food for our Troups in Afghanistan. $295 for the food,

$167 for postage. Pictured below, Judy Pitts, Doris Flamini, Joann Hartman, Rosemary Mosher!



12/4/2018 Auxillary presenting a check to Jim Jamieson, founder of Sprit of Christmas for children, for $2000.00.

Left to right: Joanne Hartman, Jackie Azzarello, Judy Pitts, Jim Jameison, Doris Flamini. Thank you to Taylor Stokes

for donating his time for oour entertainment for the evening!




POST 274 Auxiliary NEWS

Community Service for 2019-2020

Donations to:

Fort Myers Beach Coast Guard Huricane Irma Donation

80-$50 Walmart Gift cards= $4000

Gold Star Mothers SW Florida Chapter-$1000

ALAuxiliary Final Salute-Women's Veterans Program-$5000

Golisano Childrens Hospital-Books For Library & Stuffed Animals for Easter-$500

Post 274 Wish List-Cabinet Counters in Patriot Room-$700

Community Co-Operative For Homeless Vets-$500

Overseas Troop Packages-$500

Nursing Scholarships (2) FCGU-$12,000 (descendants of veterans)


  6/4/2018 The Post 274 Auxiliary paid a visit to Hearts & Homes for Veterans and donated $2000 to

the Organization. The Auxiliary was very impressed on what the Organization does for our Verteans.

Pictured below: Don Payton(President of Hearts & Homes for Veterans), Gina Kassela, Judy Pitts,

Helene Len, Rosemary Mosher, Joann Hartman. 




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.










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