Coon Rapids Legion Auxiliary wins awards

Members of the Coon Rapids American Legion Auxiliary won awards at the Department of Minnesota American Legion Auxiliary fall conference at Breezy Point Oct. 25-27.

Past National President Kris Nelson, Baxter, and Past Department President Linda Thompson, Coon Rapids American Legion Auxiliary, presented the national field service volunteer award in the northwest division to Coon Rapids American Legion Auxiliary member Arlene Wilson.

The award recognized Wilson for the most field service hours by a senior volunteer in the division.

This is a veterans affairs and rehabilitation program, which Wilson chairs for the Coon Rapids auxiliary unit and through which she gives countless numbers of hours to veterans in several facilities every year, making sure they are not forgotten on special occasions, such as Veterans Day, Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s Day, for example.

In addition, Coon Rapids American Legion Auxiliary member Jean Forbord, who is also Department of Minnesota legislative chairperson, received the national legislative program award for her excellent job as the chairperson for the 2011-2012 auxiliary year.

Forbord was not at the conference to receive the award so Coon Rapids American Legion Auxiliary President Helen Steffen accepted it in her place and later presented it to Forbord.

As well, Thompson received a special silver award (a ship in a bottle) for her outstanding year as department president.

Joining Steffen, Thompson and Wilson at the fall conference from the Coon Rapids American Legion Auxiliary were First Vice President Nancy Berndt, Second Vice President Diane Bohlman, Secretary Flora Ellefson, Past District President Laura Blue and District Poppy Chairperson Joyce Semmel.

The Pequot Lakes VFW Post hosted the conference with Raleen Tolzmann, Cleveland, presiding as department president.

Tolzmann collected items for buddy baskets to give to homeless veterans who are transitioning into housing and baby bundle baskets for new babies of female veterans coming home from serving overseas and are homeless or need assistance.

Coon Rapids auxiliary unit members collected buddy basket and buddy bundle items at the Legion’s early bird membership dinner and gave them to Tolzmann at the conference, according to Bohlman, who also serves as public relations chairperson for the Coon Rapids auxiliary unit.

In addition, Tolzmann collected personal care bags to give to female veterans.

One of Tolzmann’s projects is to refurbish the waiting rooms in the women’s veteran center at the Minneapolis Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital for female veterans who are waiting for health care.

Coon Rapids auxiliary members also donated items for the silent auction with the proceeds going to the auxiliary emergency fund for auxiliary members in need, according to Bohlman.