Submitted by Susan Bennett
Sandi Onstwedder, National President of VFW Auxiliary, was honored at a dinner on Wednesday, April 6, by members of the Camas-Washougal VFW Auxiliary 4278, the Toutle VFW Auxiliary 10882,Vancouver Auxiliary 7824 and members of other Auxiliaries within the state. Her three-day visit to Southwest Washington included meetings with members as well as a tour of the Historical Museum in Vancouver. The members of the auxiliaries are united by a common theme: Honoring Our Mission to Serve Veterans. It is a concept that reflects the common goal that brings every member of the VFW Auxiliary together and supports the passion and purpose of members to serve American veterans who gave up so much not only for us, but our nation.
Following a short welcome and presentation of a City Proclamation by Molly Coston, Mayor of Washougal, at the Black Pearl dinner, Onstwedder spoke to the members of the various auxiliaries. Onstwedder stated that one of her personal goals this year is to listen to members. “They are the backbone and reason the organization is still in existence today. Members know what works and what doesn’t at the Auxiliary level. They want their voices heard and I believe that National Headquarters has made great headway in opening those lines of communication for every member. I will be the public relations ambassador and help to connect those entities even more.”
For her personal special project this year, Onstwedder’s has organized a Stars, Stripe and Support focus on combating food insecurity among veterans, service members and their families. This project was necessary due to the fact that 25 per cent of our nation’s total active duty and reserve personnel are currently seeking aid from food pantries across the nation.
To achieve this goal, Onstwedder implemented the Auxiliary’s Community Outreach Program, encouraging auxiliaries to take active roles in their local communities and to partner with other community service organizations on projects for the betterment of their community. This brings awareness to communities about the Auxiliary mission and provides much-needed services to communities while creating a stronger bond between auxiliary members and local military families. Onstwedder stated, “Respecting all veterans while Honoring Our Mission to Serve Veterans should be our number one priority.”