By Dianne Sudbrock
On December 5, 2016, the Thiemann-Tidd Post 5651 in New Melle became one of the first posts in the state of Missouri to institute a new non gender-specific VFW Auxiliary. In July, 2015, the National VFW amended its bylaws, allowing male spouses and family members to join the VFW Auxiliary effective August 21, 2015.
On the national level, this was not a merger of the Ladies Auxiliary VFW and Men’s Auxiliary VFW. It was a name change for the Ladies Auxiliary to simply the “VFW Auxiliary” and allows eligible males to join – something long overdue considering the roles of women in the military these days.
In New Melle, a Men’s Auxiliary was formed 10 years ago to help support the post. The Men’s Auxiliary and the Ladies Auxiliary often worked together on projects and events. However, membership in the New Melle Ladies Auxiliary gradually declined and that organization was officially disbanded a few years ago, though a core group of women continue to volunteer and support the post. Now, since the New Melle Men’s Auxiliary charter was due for renewal, it made sense to reorganize under the non gender-specific “VFW Auxiliary” and allow both men and women to work together as part of the same organization.
The installation ceremony was conducted by the Missouri VFW Auxiliary Department President, Hazel Linneberger – from Lebanon, MO. Serving as Master of Ceremonies was Jackie Davis, Missouri VFW Auxiliary Chief of Staff, from Troy, MO.
There were 39 people listed as Charter Members that evening, though anyone who meets the eligibility requirements and joins within 90 days of Dec. 5, 2016 can become a Charter Member. Of those 39 people, 29 were present to take the oath on Dec. 5th. Officers are also officially instated: Sam Morrison – President, Mark Keune – Sr. Vice President, Dave Farwig – Jr. Vice President, Jeff Schneider – Secretary, Dennis Brown – Treasurer, Ed Musket – Chaplain, Dean Dickherber – Guard, and Conductress – Megan Collins.
A beautiful quilt, made by Dorothy O’Neill, a long-time VFW Auxiliary member from the Kansas City area, donated a beautiful patriotic quilt to be used as a fundraiser for the newly formed Auxiliary.
Dennis Brown, Treasurer, said, “Going forward, the objective of the new Auxiliary will be essentially the same as the two former auxiliaries: support our post, our community, and our country. The new organization will simply formalize the collaboration we have been doing, plus allow our members to attend State, District and National Assemblies; and perhaps be a little more active on those levels.”
Anyone interested in membership is invited to contact one of the officers above or call the post at 636-828-5951 for more information. There are specific eligibility requirements such as a first line relative must have served in an active war either on a ship or in a foreign country. Auxiliary members will be happy to assist anyone interested in determining eligibility and acquiring any associated documentation.