Sending a taste of home to service members

By Kitty LeShay - ReminderNews
Stafford - posted Tue., Dec. 10, 2013
Kristina Lerette stacks boxes ready to ship to service members from Stafford. Photos by Kitty LeShay.
Kristina Lerette stacks boxes ready to ship to service members from Stafford. Photos by Kitty LeShay.

Boxes of homemade cookies stood on tables at the American Legion Hall on Dec. 1, receiving final touches before their journey to servicemen and women from Stafford. “We are fortunate to not have any servicemen in a war zone this year,” said Wendy Lerette, president of the Ladies Auxiliary.

The holiday cookie drive at Unit 26 has been an annual event since 2003. “One of the best parts of doing the cookie drive every year is seeing the community come together to support this,” Lerette said.

Mindy Durrell arrived with Jessica, a friend’s daughter, with gluten- and dairy-free cookies. “My mom and I do this every year,” Durrell said. Many people in and around Stafford make baking cookies for servicemen a holiday tradition.

“We see the same people along with new contributors each year. They become our friends. Even though we may see them just once a year, they share their joys and hardships with us,” Lerette said.

Veterans who come to the hall often express their thanks and gratitude for the efforts of the Ladies Auxiliary. “A Vietnam vet came in today and emphasized how important it is to vets to be remembered by the people at home. Any bit of home servicemen receive is always appreciated,” said Kim Post, secretary of Unit 26.

“We are always looking for new members and we’re grateful to have a new recruit today,” Lerette said. Unit 26 is a very active Ladies Auxiliary sponsoring many events for vets and their families. Membership in the Ladies Auxiliary is open to any woman whose family member (child, sibling, parent, grandparent, spouse) is currently an American Legion member (i.e. veteran) or a deceased veteran.

The next event sponsored by the Stafford American Legion Ladies Auxiliary 26 with other vet organizations is the upcoming Christmas party for children of active-duty parents. “Year-round we send boxes of goodies to deployed servicemen and women. We had our annual Veterans’ Day dinner a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving and served 175 meals. On Memorial Day there is a service at each cemetery in town where we place a wreath. The parade ends here and we have a service,” Lerette said.

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