National VFW leader makes stop in Marion

“I appreciate all you are doing,” she told her listeners.

More than 550,000 women belong to the VFW Auxiliary with a total of 5,000 organizations in the United States, Germany, Guam and Panama.

“Our job is to ensure that America’s veterans will not be forgotten and that those who need assistance will get it,” she said.

She spoke about how America’s men and women are fighting to preserve freedom and how the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars has supported them since 1914.

In Kansas, Jeanette Cox, president of the Kansas VFW Auxiliary who also attended the luncheon, said last year’s membership was at 16,000, but it dropped in 2009 to 15,500.

“The state’s goal is to get back to where we were last year in membership plus some,” she said. “Our membership drive started June 30 and right now we are at 63 percent of that goal.”

Tittle also touched on some of the organization’s goals and spoke about how, for 17 years in a row, the auxiliary had raised $3 million for breast cancer.

“In the last few years, though, we have spread ourselves too thin and it’s time to go back to our core programs,” she said.

Those include youth activities, Americanism, hospitals and VA medical centers, cancer aid and research, community service, legislative, veterans and family support, scholarships and Patriot’s Pen.

“In 2008-09 the auxiliary donated thousands of dollars to fight cancer,” she said.

After lunch, Tittle and other guests were treated to a bus tour of Marion led by Chamber director Margo Yates.

In addition to Rep. Bob Brookens, his wife, Anita, and the mayor, other guests included former VFW Auxiliary national president Evelyn McCune of Newton; Fourth District VFW Auxiliary president Lois Kleist of Abilene; Donna Graham, historian, and former state VFW Commander Jim Graham of McPherson.

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