March 2022 eNews
A Community of Volunteers Serving Veterans, Military, and their Families
ALA member survey update: THANK YOU!!!
Doctor appointments, childcare, unit activities, work, and life in general — we know it was a lot to ask you all to carve time out of your busy schedules to complete the member survey. And we are so grateful you did! The survey closed earlier this week, and we received nearly 10,000 responses. This extremely valuable feedback will help us determine your ALA needs and wishes, what kinds of programs and activities you want to see, and most importantly: how we can most effectively serve our mission with the resources we all currently have.
Be on the lookout for data to be shared in the near future. Some of the results may be familiar, and some may be surprising. We hope you’ll appreciate the feedback as much as we do.
And now, without further ado, the top five departments with the highest number of respondents:
1.     Florida
2.     California
3.     New York
4.     Michigan
5.     Pennsylvania
Way to go! You all deserve a massive pat on the back for helping to make sure every ALA voice was heard. Be sure to mention this accomplishment in your upcoming department meetings, newsletters, and activities.
Use caution on social media
As an organization created to care for our military and veterans, we feel it’s our duty to ask that you don’t violate OPSEC (operations security) in your social media posts while the unrest in Europe continues to unfold. Social posts that refer to troop movement — like details on a military unit’s location, personnel names, ranks, or other IDs, and especially dates, times of flight arrivals, and departures — have the potential to critically and negatively affect our deploying military. We’re right there with you in supporting servicemembers heading overseas, but please make sure you’re not posting content that could harm them. 

Unfortunately, we can’t control what external media sources post … but we can make the right decision to not share.
Grant supports Children & Youth project 
The American Legion Auxiliary has received an American Legion Child Welfare Foundation grant for a project conceived by the national ALA Children & Youth Committee.

The funds will enable the Auxiliary to purchase branded sling backpacks and starter supplies (ALA coloring books and crayons) to be distributed to each department. Departments will then acquire additional items, host an event to stuff the donated supplies, and then distribute to identified outlets where children will benefit.

The goal of this project:

  • To put The American Legion Family in front of youth throughout the country
  • To further instill in them The American Legion Family values represented in the coloring books
  • Teach them about the importance of the poppy and safety tips for Halloween
All ALA departments will receive a minimum of 20 backpacks to distribute during their Children & Youth events, with any additional packs available to distribute at national events.
Just two ALA Mission Trainings left! 
You still have time to register for Baltimore and Omaha.

These training events will help members overcome common hurdles in mission delivery. The underlying belief in this training is that improving the member engagement experience will also drive membership. 

A snapshot of what you’ll learn:

  • Identify and engage volunteers — members and non-members
  • Determine the needs in your community
  • Solve roadblocks
  • Construct specific volunteer menu opportunities in your community


Active members looking to welcome and engage other ALA members and supporters in our mission. Attendees should have a basic concept of mission delivery.

  • Baltimore, MD - Mar. 26
  • Omaha, NE - Apr. 2

A great opportunity for ALA Juniors! 
ALA Juniors can increase their leadership skills and learn more about the ALA’s mission, all while having fun with other Juniors!

National Junior meetings are held at the same times and in the same cities as Mission Trainings. Junior members ages 8 and over may attend the national Junior meetings. They will enjoy fun and interactive activities during the one-day event while learning about the ALA’s mission.

All Juniors who attend will receive a free ALA branded hooded T-shirt! 

  • Baltimore, MD - Mar. 26
  • Omaha, NE - Apr. 2

Motions passed at NEC’s mid-year meeting 
The National Executive Committee, the ALA’s governing board, convened March 5 for its mid-year meeting. NEC members voted on the following:
  1. To accept the external auditor’s report as presented. 
  2. To consent to be listed as co-sponsor with the national Finance Committee on the dues increase proposal which will be presented at the 2022 National Convention (debate will be held at convention in Milwaukee this summer).
  3. To approve changes to the national Contract and Signature Authority Policy: allows the national secretary and the executive director to enter into multi-year agreements if it results in a cost-savings, is within the approved budget, the amount is no greater than $150,000, and there is a no-penalty termination clause.
  4. To approve changes to the national Prepaid Expenses Policy: changed the specific example “ALA Girls Nation pin/charms” to the more general “program expenses”; and expenses shall be expensed when paid or when the program, service, or event occurs.
  5. To approve the title change of the Solicitation and Acceptance of Donations, Gifts, or Grants Policy to Solicitation and Acceptance of Funds Policy; to include sponsorship as a solicited and acceptable defined fund, and add specifications of acceptable sponsorships.
  6. To approve the reviewed Reserve Policy without changes.
Last call! Apply for a spot on the ALA Foundation Board of Directors
The ALA Foundation Board of Directors is looking for talented, forward-thinking candidates to join them to make a better future for our veterans. This board works hard to support and grow the mission by connecting with supporters and volunteers, all while raising funds to support the programs and services of the American Legion Auxiliary. Find out more and apply by April 1.
It’s time to prepare for National Poppy Day (May 27 this year)
Do you have an event planned for this special day? Make sure people know about it by advertising! Be sure to promote it on your social media, reach out to your local media outlets, include it in your post home newsletter, and more! 

We have resources are available to help you promote your American Legion Family National Poppy Day events and activities.

If you don’t have an event planned, there is still time. Here are a few ideas:

  • Contact a local business to see if you can set up a table to distribute poppies 
  • Ask businesses to display poppy donation cans and jars (download a branded label at
  • Distribute poppies at Memorial Day weekend events in your area 
  • Hand out poppies at your post home and invite the public
  • Set-up a display at the local library

If you have questions on how poppy funds can be used, we encourage you to watch a recording of the ALA Academy webinar Using Poppy Funds to Serve Our Mission
While the American Legion Auxiliary's membership today includes men, our roots are female. Take a look at how our community of volunteers serving veterans, military, and their families has evolved since our founding in 1919.
ALA learning from the comfort of home and on your schedule
Check out the recorded ALA Academy Live courses, and remind your fellow members about these educational offerings. Do you have other members in your unit who would benefit from taking a course?

Our live webinars are always recorded and can be viewed in the MyAuxiliary member portal. ALA Academy Live webinars currently available:

  • Using Social Media to Your Unit's Advantage 
  • Using Poppy Funds
  • Unit Fundraising Panel
  • ALA Junior Leadership Training (includes four webinars)
  • Mission Delivery Series (includes four webinars)

The ALA Academy also includes self-paced courses:

  • ALA 101
  • ALA Branding and Why it Matters to Me
  • ALA Communication Methods
  • Establishing an ALA Culture of Goodwill
  • ALA Fundraising
  • How to Deal with Conflict
  • ALA Leadership: Living Our Motto of Service Not Self
  • ALA Juniors eLearning Course

Get started today! Log in with your member ID here
Good to know
Save the date! R.Riveter is hosting a second handbag auction on Instagram on March 22! 100% of the proceeds will go the American Legion Auxiliary. Follow @ALAforVeterans and @RRiveterBags on social media for more details.

Have you renewed your American Legion Auxiliary membership? You can renew for 2022 by phone, online, or mail. Go to, call (317) 569-4570, or mail in your renewal notice. 

The ALA Unit Member of the Year award is now under the Leadership Committee. It was previously part of the Past Presidents Parley, but that committee was dissolved at the national level. The award qualifications remain the same. The only change is where departments submit their Unit Member of the Year winners. Learn more.

USAA now has a new military spouses page full of resources. The page helps provide support and education for military spouses as they navigate USAA and the different facets of military life. Check it out!

Do you shop Amazon Prime? If you do, be sure to use AmazonSmile! Through Amazon’s charitable program, AmazonSmile, you can support the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation. Simply sign in through this special link and select the American Legion Auxiliary. Amazon will donate 0.5% of every purchase you make to the ALA Foundation. It may seem small, but a little can add up to a lot.

The ALA in numbers. We served 84,441 military families in 2020-2021. 
Find ALA program committee groups on Facebook
Discover what your fellow ALA members are saying in the committee Facebook groups! These easy-to-access forums provide an arena for organic discussion about your local programs or services and present the opportunity to cultivate brand awareness. Find the list of groups here.
On the ALA Blog
March is a month I would call a winter transition month from winter to spring and warmer temperatures. However, March can bring a variety of extreme weather, including hot temperatures, late-season blizzards, and severe weather, which includes tornadoes. This is why March carries the phrase, “comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” As I am writing this, the movie, The Wizard of Oz, popped into my head with the pictures of Dorothy being swept away and the good witch coming to her rescue. The good witch is kind of like the Auxiliary Emergency Fund (AEF).  

The AEF National Committee has been with you through the 2021-22 administrative year through many natural disasters and emergencies. Just because the year changed to 2022, we are still here to help.
Getting your American Legion Auxiliary unit the resources it needs to support veterans and make a real impact in your community can be easier than you think. But you don’t have to take it from us — take it from Margaret Eklund and Margie Hominy — two unit members just like you, who have grown their programs through a variety of innovative fundraisers. 

Lean into the talents of your volunteers

Margaret Eklund, a member of ALA South Carolina Unit 48, worked with the talents in her unit to raise funds for veterans with a variety show. 

Eklund said the show came together pretty naturally. She had a friend who was a Dolly Parton impersonator, and many of her fellow unit members had a knack for comedy. 
Honoring the sacrifice of those who serve our country is one of the American Legion Auxiliary’s core values. American Legion Family members at Christopher Cobb Memorial Post 312 in Bradenton, Fla., took it upon themselves to bury two unclaimed veterans side-by-side with the military honors they deserved. 
“The saying we have — ‘Leave no one behind’ — this is exactly what that means. Even in death, we do not leave our veterans behind … or this case, on a shelf and unclaimed,” said Sandy Gessler, unit president and dual member of Christopher Cobb Memorial Post 312. 
For the last few years, Gessler, a retired U.S. Army Veteran and 100% disabled, has been using her spare time to help identify gravestones of veterans in her surrounding community. The inspiration began after she visited a family member’s grave to pay her respects and noticed four veterans didn’t have their proper military headstones. 
About eight years ago, ALA member Patricia Gustin and others noticed that Gustin’s mother, Catherine, was having trouble getting around. 
“It was very strange to us because she was one of those fearlessly independent women,” Gustin recalls of her mother, who was 88 years old at the time. “She had trouble getting out of her chair and getting around in general. She went from a cane to a walker to eventually she couldn’t walk and became bedridden.” 
At about 91 years old, Catherine started to develop the onset of dementia. At this time, Gustin began to take over financials for mother. The dementia continued to progress, and that’s when the family needed extra help and brought in a full-time caregiver. Gustin still helped with grocery shopping and medications.
At first, some family members were in denial about the dementia. And not all lived in-state to truly see the disease’s progression on Catherine. 
Don't miss out on ALA member benefits!
American Legion Auxiliary partners to offer dental and vision insurance
The American Legion Auxiliary has partnered to provide dental insurance via This benefit includes a variety of dental plans, features, and services that cover all dental needs — from simple checkups to root canals and braces. Learn more here.
Vision insurance is offered by VSP and includes access to Standard and Premium plans featuring the lowest out-of-pocket costs, the most comprehensive eye exam, and the nation’s largest network of doctors. Learn more here
Save the date!
March – Women’s History Month
March 13 – K-9 Veterans Day
March 13 – Daylight saving time begins
March 13-19 – National Creative Arts Therapy Week
March 15 – American Legion 103rd birthday
March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day
March 17-20 – ALA National Chairmen’s Meeting
March 21 – Rosie the Riveter Day
March 25 – Medal of Honor Day
March 29 – National Vietnam War Veterans Day
April – Month of the Military Child
April 15 – Purple UP! Day for military children
What do you love most about your ALA membership?
My membership gives me a great opportunity to work the programs together with my veteran husband who makes me eligible through his service. We serve our veterans together as a family within The American Legion.” 

-Dayna Beyer, Ohio
Legion Family News
Happy Birthday to The American Legion!

Happy birthday to The American Legion! The nation's largest veterans service organization will celebrate 103 years on March 15!

Washington Conference & National Commander’s Testimony

The 2022 Washington Conference was held virtually on Saturday. National Commander Paul E. Dillard presented The American Legion’s priorities to a joint session of the House and Senate Committees on Veterans’ Affairs March 8. You can watch it here.

The American Legion Legislative Agenda for 2022:
  • VA health care modernization
  • Suicide prevention and peer support
  • Address toxic exposure and burn pits
  • Improve health care for women veterans
  • Concurrent Receipt
  • Guard and reserve GI Bill parity
  • GI Bill for honorable service
  • Citizenship for honorable service
  • Address the forever wars and restore congressional war powers
  • Pay the Coast Guard
  • Protect the American Flag

Read more about the legislative priorities. 

Join ALA National President Kathy Daudistel in 100 Miles for Hope challenge

American Legion Auxiliary President Kathy Daudistel is supporting The American Legion 100 Miles for Hope challenge, now in its third year. 

The challenge promotes fitness and wellness among American Legion Family members while supporting the Veterans & Children Foundation (V&CF). The foundation raises money to provide education and training resources for accredited American Legion service officers who help veterans and their family members receive the benefits they are due for their service. Additionally, the V&CF pays for grants that go to military families facing financial complications through no fault of their own.

Participants are encouraged to walk, run, ride, swim, or cover 100 miles any way they choose between now and Sept. 5. The $30 registration fee and donations go to support the V&CF. 

Learn more at, or sign up today at

“It’s an honor to support this wonderful program that supports our veterans, their spouses, and families,” Daudistel said. “It doesn’t matter how you support the program. You can walk. You can ride a bike, a canoe, or a motorcycle. Or you can make a financial contribution in support of a participant. What matters most is that we are united in support of our Legion Family.”

During the first two years of 100 Miles for Hope, more than $525,000 was raised for the foundation. American Legion National Commander Paul E. Dillard set this year’s goal at $450,000.

To reach that goal, this year’s challenge offers monthly and an overall incentive for the top fundraisers.

“I am so proud of this year’s improvements to what was already an outstanding program,” Dillard said. “I know American Legion Family members will support this any way they can, whether they are an active participant, kind donor, or both.”
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The American Legion Legislative Alerts
The ALA supports the legislative agenda of The American Legion.
In the spirit of Service Not Self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad. For God and country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace, and security.