October 02, 2013 - A new group dedicated to supporting veterans and promoting patriotism was chartered in Oxford last week.
Members of the new North Oakland Ladies Auxiliary No.334 Veterans of Foreign Wars were sworn in during the group's chartering ceremony held last week at Oxford American Legion Post 108. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
The North Oakland Ladies Auxiliary No. 334 Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) was instituted and its officers installed during a special Sept. 26 ceremony at American Legion Post 108 on E. Drahner Rd.
"The idea is to help our veterans and their families, and better our community," said Orion Township resident Kathy Hubbard, who spearheaded the group's organization and now serves as its first president.
The new group has a total of 63 members.
Although the majority of them are from Oxford, Orion and Addison townships, Hubbard said there are also members from Utah, New York, Ohio and Florida.
In order to establish a VFW Ladies Auxiliary group in Oxford, Hubbard needed a minimum of 20 new members. They couldn't be transfers from other VFW Auxiliary groups; they had to be brand new to the organization.
"I thought, 'Twenty. Wow, that seems like a big number,'" said Hubbard, who's husband, Jim, is commander of North Oakland VFW Post 334 and a highly-decorated Vietnam veteran. "But all you have to do is ask (people). The next thing I know I had 25, then I had 30, then I had 35."
With the exception of Hubbard, who was a member of VFW 2052 Ladies Auxiliary in Romeo and is a junior vice president at the district level, and one other woman, the rest of the membership is new.
Hubbard personally recruited 53 of the members. She set that as her goal because she was born in 1953.
"I found it to be so rewarding," she said.
Marilyn Malick, state president of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, oversaw No. 334's chartering ceremony and was quite impressed with the group's size. "I have never seen an auxiliary (group) start with that many members," she said. "I don't know if it's a record."
Malick noted the average number of members at the time of chartering is typically about 30.
In order to be eligible for the Ladies Auxiliary, members must be related to deceased or honorably discharged servicepeople who were or are eligible for VFW membership. Members must also be U.S. citizens and at least 16 years old.
The mission of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary is very clear – assist veterans and better the lives of their spouses and children; promote Americanism in the community; teach children proper etiquette regarding the American flag; and help support the VFW National Home for Children in Eaton Rapids, Michigan.
Malick said one of the Ladies Auxiliary's primary goals is "making sure that our youth is well-versed in patriotism and their duties as citizens." This is accomplished through scholarships and programs like the Patriot's Pen and Voice of Democracy essay contests, which are open to students in grades 6-8 and 9-12, respectively.
The Ladies Auxiliary also assists in the fight against cancer by selling brass pins shaped like little pairs of boots for $2 each.
"We're encouraged to sell 50 pins per auxiliary (group)," Hubbard said. "We sold our 50 in four days."
All the proceeds go to cancer research and providing financial support for auxiliary members battling cancer.
After a lady has been an auxiliary member for one year, if she's ever diagnosed with cancer, she's eligible to receive up to two $550 grants (one per year) during her lifetime to help pay bills.
VFW Ladies Auxiliary No. 334 will meet at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at Oxford American Legion Post 108 (130 E. Drahner Rd.). For more information or to join, please contact Hubbard at (248) 830-6324.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.