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Conference highlights learning and fun.

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Lots of learning and plenty of fun highlighted the agenda of the 2007 Auxiliary Fall Conference at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Ky.

"In addition to our 361 registered participants, there were numerous guests on hand at the conference to learn more about the Auxiliary," Commander Kathryn A. Wiley said. "I was happy to see a large number of first-time participants, including male Auxiliary members who are becoming involved with the leadership of our organization."

"New blood is great for the health of the Auxiliary, and I am confident a younger and more diversified leadership tempered with our more experienced leaders is a wonderful recipe for success," said Commander Wiley.

Business got underway early for the National Executive Committee at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11. They returned for opening of the conference and Commander Wiley's welcome at 7 p.m. The conference excitement continued into the evening as Frances Costa and Ellen Drogo presented the Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service program, followed by Robi Riley highlighting the Auxiliary Junior Activities program. Next came an overview of the Mae Holmes Award for Outstanding Auxiliary Unit by National Senior Vice Commander Sandra J. Dobmeier, and Americanism by 3rd Jr. Vice Commander Patrice Rapisand, followed by 1st Jr. Vice Commander Kaye Egan's presentation on membership, one of the Auxiliary's most important challenges.

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From the fall of the gavel at 9 a.m. on Friday, Auxiliary members were rapidly moving through a highly informative and busy agenda as Vicki O'Neal steered them through Auxiliary hospital initiatives, and National Judge Advocate Carol Gray discussed and fielded questions regarding areas of the bylaws and regulations. Later in the afternoon, 2nd Jr. Vice Commander Susan M. Henry entertained and educated everyone with a humorous and informative legislation program, followed by an equally motivating community service presentation by newly elected 4th Jr. Vice Commander Donna M. Adams.

Other presentations on Friday included a discussion of the Past National Commander's Outstanding Member Award, the highest individual Auxiliary award, by Past National Commander Evelynne Dunn. Etter Bowers presented the organization's Unit history program, and Immediate Past National Commander Donna M. Tanner discussed the Education Loan Fund, during which numerous donations were received.

The fun continued at a reception on Friday evening as participants welcomed the opportunity to get to know each other better, enjoy live music of a local band and do some dancing.

Shortly after the conference got underway on Saturday, Oct. 13, DAV National Commander Robert T. Reynolds, National Headquarters Executive Director Richard E. Patterson and Washington Headquarters Executive Director David W. Gorman were escorted to the dais. The executive directors reported on the state of the organization and noted legislative matters of interest to disabled veterans and their families before opening the session to one of the favorite segments of the conference, the abundant question-and-answer period that members always look forward to with enthusiasm.

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"This is the opportunity for Auxiliary members to get the answers to their questions straight from the director's mouths, and they like it," Auxiliary National Adjutant Maria Tedrow said.

"You can almost feel the excitement build as the questions and answers fire back and forth, and both sides wring as much information as possible," Adjutant Tedrow said. "It's the kind of vitality that motivates Auxiliary members to take everything they learn at the conference back to their Departments and Units to motivate others to build better lives for America's disabled veterans and their families."

In his inspiring address during the conference banquet Saturday evening, National Commander Reynolds lauded the Auxiliary and praised the love and teamwork shared between the DAV and Auxiliary.

"Over the years, our combined strength has set quite a record of accomplishments on behalf of those we serve," he said. "We all owe so much credit for what we've accomplished in our lives to our families--and the Auxiliary is our family."

"Many times you have been applauded for your participation in our service programs, our volunteer programs and our membership recruitment programs. You have made our organizations stronger," Commander Reynolds said. "The foundation that we have built together must remain strong and committed--for today and tomorrow."

"It was extremely satisfying to see so many new faces at the conference this year," Commander Wiley said. "This is a conference for everyone. From seasoned leaders to the newest member, we want everyone to attend and learn from this experience, because we know this experience goes home with everyone and helps build an even better Auxiliary for the future."
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Title Annotation:2007 AUXILIARY FALL CONFERENCE
Author:Hall, Jim
Publication:DAV Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2008
Words:754
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