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Auxiliary Fall Conference is a winner.

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It was a learning and fun win-win for everyone attending the 2008 DAV Auxiliary Fall Conference Oct. 2-5, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

"We had a great conference," Auxiliary National Commander Sandra J. Dobmeier said. "We had 347 attendees this year, with more first-time attendees than ever before. We also had more male members in attendance than ever before, as well as numerous guests. It was certainly gratifying to see so many at the conference attending meetings and functions."

Conference program presentations were educational and entertaining. One included a skit with World War I flying ace Snoopy being shot down by the Red Baron, and another featured a showing of the video "Reveille" during the Americanism program.

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"I believe everyone felt the conference was relaxed yet very informative and promoted program education and plenty of participation opportunities, leaving no questions unanswered," said Commander Dobmeier.

The conference got underway Thursday with Commander Dobmeier's welcome, and the excitement grew as the evening progressed. Presentations included Anita Ingram on Auxiliary Junior Activities and Senior Vice Commander Kay Egan covering the Mae Holmes Award for Outstanding Auxiliary. Then 3rd Jr. Vice Commander Donna Adams addressed Americanism, and 1st Jr. Vice Commander Susan Henry's membership presentation completed the evening.

Friday got off to a rousing start with Dorothea Campanelli's hospital initiatives presentation, complete with a humorous skit, followed by Auxiliary Past National Commander Rose Schilpp's highly informative segment on the Hospitalized Veterans Writing Project. The morning closed with lots of questions and answers during National Judge Advocate Carol Gray's presentation highlighting the bylaws and regulations.

Friday afternoon featured a legislation presentation by 2nd Jr. Vice Commander Patrice Rapisand. Then 4th Jr. Vice Commander Susan Miller was up next covering community service and fielding questions. Past National Commander Evelyn Dorsey spoke on the Past National Commander Outstanding Member Award, the highest individual Auxiliary award, calling for maximum participation. Also on hand were members of the Auxiliary National Staff to answer questions from members. The Friday business session ended with National History Chairman Judy Perry offering lots of information about the National History Program and some busy bees who snapped some candid photos.

With the business concluded for the day, Auxiliary members and guests were ready for some fun, and they got plenty of it at the reception on Friday evening. Everyone had an opportunity to get to know each other better and listen and dance to the music of a local band. The festivities received a dash of spice from a group of Past National Commanders, also known as the "Pinks," who showed up as cooks to stir some extra laughter into the reception, which may have accounted for the impromptu conga line later in the evening.

On Saturday morning, Commander Dobmeier announced the arrival of guests and DAV National Commander Raymond E. Dempsey, National Adjutant Arthur H. Wilson, National Headquarters Executive Director Richard E. Patterson and Washington Headquarters Executive Director David W. Gorman were escorted into the conference. The executive directors reported on activities directed from their headquarters, emphasizing legislative, service and administrative areas of interest to disabled veterans and their families.

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"Having Commander Dempsey and Adjutant Wilson join the conference, in addition to both Executive Directors, was not only a pleasure, it also demonstrated the bond between the DAV and its Auxiliary," Auxiliary National Adjutant Judy Hezlep said. "Hearing first-hand from the directors is the kind of learning and sharing we advocate at our Fall Conference. We know it works because we hear time and time again from members about how information is brought back to Departments and Units and used to help assist disabled veterans and their families. That's what the conference is all about."

Following National Adjutant Wilson's greeting to the conference, Commander Dempsey delivered the keynote address, praising the Auxiliary and its teamwork with the DAV and commenting on the need to continue to evolve to meet the needs of veterans and their families in contemporary times and the future.

"It is the caring and dedication displayed by [Auxiliary National Commander Sandra J. Dobmeier] and all of you that makes the DAV and the Auxiliary a great, unbeatable team," Commander Dempsey said. "No one does more to help make the lives of disabled veterans more meaningful than you, our caring family members."

"For as long as there has been a DAV, the spouses and family members of our veterans have been driving forces behind all of our successes," said Commander Dempsey. "For us to remain relevant to disabled veterans now and in the future, we must welcome the whole family into our ranks."
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Article Details
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Author:Hall, Jim
Publication:DAV Magazine
Article Type:Conference notes
Date:Jan 1, 2009
Words:766
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