Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary members met Aug. 26 at the Washington Center to decide the fate of their Auxiliary unit.
The fifth district of Wisconsin has just three auxiliary units left and New London’s unit is dwindling. New, active members are desperately needed to save the unit.
DAV Auxiliary State Commander Rose Williams attended the local meeting and facilitated voting for new officers. The pool of members under 60 included two, with an additional junior member who cannot hold an office. There were five elected positions to fill.
Williams spoke about each position, stating that she was a support for anyone coming in and was available anytime. She also said the positions need not be time or labor intensive.
“We are not here to serve lunch to the men, although we can if we want. But that’s old school and our mission here is to be of service to families and disabled veterans,” explained Williams.
The mission of the DAV is to help disabled veterans and their families. The biggest fund raiser for the year just took place, the Forget-Me-Not Drive. All money goes to help disabled veterans.
This year at the national convention, a motion was ratified that DAV can now extend membership to their family and partners. President Obama attended this convention. Anyone, male or female, who is a relative of a living or deceased disabled (wounded) Veteran, can be a member of the DAV Auxiliary.
Also decided was to have a minimum of four meetings a year, verses 12 in the past.
For years the auxiliary was run by women like Hazel Otis. Otis remarked, “I’m 89 years old and have been doing adjutant for 15 years. It’s time to have someone else take the job.” Later in the meeting she agreed to be a senior vice position, not wanting the unit to go under. All positions are filled for the time being, but new members are imperitive to the unit’s survival.
Formed decades ago in Hortonville by Walter Voight, the unit moved its meetings to Manawa for several years, and has been in New London the past 17 years. Del and Hazel Otis are both 89 years old this year, married for 68 years. For years they have devoted themselves to doing the books and keeping the unit going. Betty Weyenberg and Ardi Isham are active members, but they are getting up in years too.
“We just need some younger blood here,” said Otis. “We won’t leave anyone out in the cold; we just can’t do the work any longer and need to pass the knowledge on.”
There are disabled veterans and their families from the Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan that could benefit from belonging to such a unit.
The New London DAV unit and auxiliary consist of disabled men and women and their families and relatives who live in Clintonville, New London and Manawa areas. If you are on the fringe of the area, call the DAV Auxiliary State Department of Wisconsin at 414-232-6670 and they will tell you which unit you belong to.