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Fall Conference sparkles with new faces.

With 396 registered participants and well over 400 including guests, the 2006 Auxiliary Fall Conference at the Holiday Inn-Eastgate, in Cincinnati, Ohio, was a rousing success, especially considering that nearly half of the participants were attending their first National Fall Conference.

"It was great to see so many new faces, including a growing number of male Auxiliary members who came to the annual Fall Conference to learn more about how the Auxiliary operates and to work more effectively in the organization," Auxiliary National Commander Donna M. Tanner said. "But it wasn't just the men and first-time attendees who learned something at the Fall Conference. Everyone, including me, learned more about the Auxiliary and how to make our organization more effective."

The National Executive Committee members arrived early to attend a 10 a.m. meeting on Thursday, Oct. 5, and the conference officially got underway at 7 p.m. that evening with a welcome from Commander Tanner. Following the Commander's welcome came presentations by Donna Adams and Sharon Linton on the Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service program; the Auxiliary Junior Activities program by Deborah Barbuto; the Mae Holmes Award for Outstanding Auxiliary Unit by National Senior Vice Commander Kathryn Wiley; 3rd Jr. Vice Commander Susan Henry's presentation on Americanism; and a downright funny presentation of the serious need for a strong membership by 1st Jr. Vice Commander Sandra J. Dobmeier. Entertaining and often comical skits accompanied presentations.

The conference quickly moved back into high gear on Friday as Lynn Helms discussed Auxiliary hospital initiatives with attendees. Auxiliary National Judge Advocate Carol Gray was up next with the legal nuts and bolts necessary for members to successfully operate and lead Auxiliary Units and Departments. She also encouraged all present to read and gain an understanding of the new Auxiliary Constitution and Bylaws for National, Departments and Units. A copy of the new bylaws was included in conference packet of each attendee.

The afternoon session on Friday got underway with 2nd Jr. Vice Commander Kaye Egan's legislative presentation. The afternoon also included a Community Service presentation by 4th Jr. Vice Commander Patrice Rapisand, and a thorough explanation of the Past National Commander's (PNC) Outstanding Member Award by PNC Margaret Hass, who encouraged Units and Departments to submit their outstanding members for the Auxiliary's highest individual award. Auxiliary History Chairman Margaret Snelling concluded the Friday session with information about the Auxiliary History program and how to participate in it.

On Friday evening members attended a reception to get to know each other better, and enjoy an evening of live music and dancing.

Saturday got underway with the introduction of DAV National Commander Bradley S. Barton who, along with his wife Donna, was on hand at the morning session. Next came two of the favorite presentations of the annual conference, presentations by National Headquarters Executive Director Richard E. Patterson, and Washington Headquarters Executive Director David W. Gorman. The executive directors addressed the current state of the DAV, including legislative issues affecting disabled veterans and their families. They also saved plenty of time for a generous question and answer session that Auxiliary members welcomed enthusiastically.

"The dynamics of Auxiliary members during the question and answer session by the executive directors is always crackling with enthusiasm during this highly informative session of the conference," National Adjutant Maria Tedrow said. "Auxiliary members are none too shy about getting to the point and asking hard questions of the directors, and the directors are just as candid with their answers on a wide variety of topics.

"To witness the interaction during the question and answer session is to view a condensed version of the variety and amount of impacting information being shared at the Fall Conference. It's not only a learning experience for every one at the conference; it's a sample of the information that goes back to Units and State Departments to be shared with members nationwide."

The morning session ended with a report on the Auxiliary Education Loan Fund by Immediate PNC Judy M. Stein-house and contributions to the fund, after which, Commander Tanner closed the conference.

For Angie McDowell, State Department of Indiana 2nd Jr. Vice Commander who was attending her first Fall Conference, it was a welcome opportunity.

"The conference is very informative and I'm amazed so many are here," McDowell said. "The Auxiliary is very open to new people, and the leadership stresses that's what it takes to keep the organization vital and growing. It's great to experience the comradeship, realize we are all in similar situations, and to share different ideas on how to address them. I would encourage everyone to attend the conference."

At the conference banquet on Saturday evening Commander Barton addressed the attendees noting that together the DAV and the Auxiliary are an unbeatable combination.

"Over the years, our combined strength has set quite a record of accomplishments on behalf of those we serve," Commander Barton said. "And I know there is even more that we will get done in the years ahead. That's why it's so vitally important that the DAV and the Auxiliary stand firm and stand together to protect and defend the benefits that we have earned for disabled veterans and our families--or today and tomorrow.

"We will be there for the men and women, who are injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, or anywhere else they serve, and that's a promise ... a promise the DAV and the Auxiliary will keep--together."
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Author:Hall, Jim
Publication:DAV Magazine
Date:Jan 1, 2007
Previous Article:2007 national service office directory.
Next Article:Testimonial dinner for National Commander Barton is April 14.

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