Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2013, 9:25 pm

National VFW Auxiliary president to visit Q-C

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By Elena Peña

Photo: Submitted
Leanne Lemley is the national president of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
The national president of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veteran of Foreign Wars will visit the Quad-Cities from Tuesday through Thursday.

Leanne Lemley, of West Point, Iowa, will visit with members of Illinois area auxiliaries at a banquet in her honor at the Ybarra Gomez VFW Post 8890 in East Moline. She will then tour the Rock Island Arsenal and other Quad-Cities attractions.

Cheryl Michel, Illinois state president of the Ladies Auxiliary VFW, said this is the first time a national president from the Ladies Auxiliary has visited the Quad-Cities.

"We have a lot to showcase here in this area, and we thought this would be better to bring everyone together from the auxiliaries as opposed to taking everyone to Springfield." Ms. Michel said.

Ms. Lemley's visit will allow her to interact with members and see how the area organizations function. She also will visit the Hero Street Memorial in Silvis and make a presentation to area veterans.

Ms. Lemley has been involved with the Ladies Auxiliary VFW 2561 in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, since 1964. Her father served in World War II; her brother was in the Vietnam War; and her son and stepson served in Iraq. Her theme is "Serving from the Heart for Our Veterans," and her national platform is to bring awareness to female veterans, youth scholarships and VFW national military service.

Nationwide, there are more than 500,000 members and 4,500 auxiliaries. To be eligible for membership in a Ladies Auxiliary VFW, a woman must have a family member who has served in a foreign war. The organization is dedicated to supporting veterans through donations for programs and working with youths on leadership skills and awareness of the armed forces.

Ms. Michel said locally, the auxiliary conducts a speechwriting contest for students in grades nine through 12 to promote democracy. This year, the name of the contest winner will be announced Feb. 9, and the theme is "Is Our Constitution Still Relevant?"

Each auxiliary has a monetary prize for the students, and they could win up to $30,000 nationally if they advance. There is also a writing contest for seventh- and eighth-grade students.

The local Ladies Auxiliary VFW also raises money for cancer awareness and research. The organization sells pins for $4, and the money raised goes to area health providers or initiatives. Members also raise funds for scholarships for area youths, make hospital visits, donate items to local shelters and provide support to veteran families.

For additional information on Ms. Lemley's visit or to inquire about the local VFW Ladies Auxiliaries, contact Ms. Michel at (309) 787-6733.