Royal Villas resident Kathy Norris, who was a charter member of the Tigard American Legion Post 158 Auxiliary 52 years ago, showed up at the April 11 monthly meeting with several lap robes she had crocheted for veterans, noting that she has now contributed an astonishing 178.
"I've taken some myself up to the veterans' hospital," said Norris, who said later that each one takes her 74 hours to make. "The veterans were so appreciative. One even kissed me on the lips."
That was probably the most exciting news to be announced at the meeting as members reported on their various activities, including Brenda Sherlock discussing her efforts to get candidates for this summer's Girls State program.
Following the meeting, members described some of the charitable work they do, which includes taking gift items to the Portland Veterans Administration Hospital & Medical Center so hospitalized veterans can "shop" for Christmas gifts for their loved ones. One project involved 40 cake pans that included cake and frosting mixes along with measuring spoons and potholders.
The auxiliary also holds fundraiser dinners, with the most recent one netting $393.80, according to Phyllis Parent, unit treasurer.
"We mostly give to veterans' programs," she said. "And we give scholarships to a Tigard and Tualatin high school graduate, and the auxiliary has an emergency fund to provide a grant up to $2,400 that does not have to be paid back."
The auxiliary sends up to eight girls to Girls State each June, which is a week-long, intensive, hands-on experience in government.
The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic, war-time veterans' organization devoted to mutual helpfulness, according to its website. It is a community-service organization that now numbers nearly 3 million members in nearly 15,000 American Legion posts worldwide. The posts are organized into 55 departments, one each for the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico, and the Philippines.
The American Legion Auxiliary is a U.S.-headquartered patriotic service organization for women interested in voluntary service who have a relative who served in the military. The non-profit organization has 1 million members in 10,100 communities across the world.
The American Legion Auxiliary is responsible for programs that include Girls State, Girls Nation, Freedoms Foundation and educational scholarships.
Another Legion-affiliated group is the Sons of the American Legion, which was created in 1932 and is made up of boys and men of all ages whose parents or grandparents served in the U.S. military and became eligible for membership in the American Legion.
Also, American Legion Riders chapters are well known for their charitable work, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local children's hospitals, schools, veterans' homes, severely wounded service members and scholarships.