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Learning and fun highlight auxiliary fall conference.

Four hundred and six registered participants attended the 2005 Auxiliary Fall Conference at the Radisson Cincinnati Riverfront Hotel in Covington, Ky., Sept. 29 through Oct. 1. It was one of the largest and best Fall Conferences in recent years and the first to welcome newly eligible male Auxiliary members.

"It was fantastic to see so many new members attending our Auxiliary Fall Conference for the first time," Auxiliary National Commander Judy M. Steinhouse said. "It was the most we have ever had at a conference. Those I spoke to said they liked it and look forward to coming back."

Prior to the official start of the conference on Thursday, many of the attendees enjoyed a tour of DAV National Headquarters. which included a stroll through the newly refurbished atrium, a tour of the Fred R. Bristol Visitor Center, and the bustling activity of the DAV Mail Center.

Later that evening, Commander Steinhouse launched the three days of learning, information, and fun with a welcome address.

The evening progressed with Auxiliary members learning more about the VA ' Voluntary Service (VAVS) program presented by Deborah Mazza and Judith Uetterling. Their presentation was followed by reports on the Auxiliary Junior Activities Program by Tana Penland, information on the Mae Holmes Award for Outstanding Auxiliary Unit by National Senior Vice Commander Donna M, Tanner. Americanism by National 3rd Jr. Vice Commander Donna M. Stinnett, and membership by 1st Jr. Vice Commander Kathryn A. Wiley, Presentations were highlighted with entertaining skits.

Friday the conference kicked off with a round of "Happy Birthday" for Commander Steinhouse, who, as she put it, was celebrating her birthday with "4010 very good friends." Next came Barbara Reding's informative session on Auxiliary hospital initiatives, followed by information and a handout on how to write and submit a resolution by newly elected Auxiliary National Judge Advocate Carol A, Gray. The Judge Advocate also encouraged members to learn more about the Auxiliary and gain art understanding of rules and regulations governing the organization. She recommended that members include the "Auxiliary Constitution, Bylaws, and Regulations" as a mint read on their best seller list.

Auxiliary 2nd Jr. Vice Commander Kaye Egan covered legislation and pork barrel politics, assisted by a member carrying a large, red hardboard pig around the conference room to help make her point. She was followed by National 4th Jr. Vice Commander Sandra Dobmier's community service program presentation.

Auxiliary National Adjutant Maria Tedrow spoke in-depth to the procedures and guidelines necessary to submitting a candidate for the Past National Commander's Outstanding Member Award. She stressed the need to make timely and accurate submissions, and called for more Units and Departments to consider submitting their outstanding members for the prestigious award. Auxiliary History Chairman Judy Perry concluded the presentations for Friday with plenty of information about the Auxiliary History program and enthusiastically encouraged everyone to participate.

Later, members gathered at a reception for an opportunity to discuss topics of the day, get to know each other better, and enjoy some live music and dancing.

The Saturday business session moved from the opening straight to Commander Steinhouse introducing special guests, National Commander Paul W. Jackson, seated with his wife. Jean, in the audience, and National Headquarters Executive Director Richard E, Patterson, and Washington Headquarters Executive Director David W. Gorman. As part of his presentation, Patterson reported the overwhelming response of the DAV to disabled veterans and their families who are victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

"DAV National Service Officers in 30 National Service Offices and through our Mobile Service Offices have already distributed S1.4 million in DAV disaster relief funds to disabled veterans and their families, and vouchers are still being written as I speak," Patterson informed the conference.

Following their reports, Gorman and Patterson fielded a variety of questions from Auxiliary members,

"The willing, enthusiastic and informative reports by the Executive Directors are always a welcome part of our Fall Conference," National Adjutant Tedrow said. "And we all learn something from the dynamic question-and--answer session following their comments. Learning and sharing is a major part of every Auxiliary Fall Conference, and this was a tremendous conference for both and more."

Immediate Past Auxiliary National Commander Gertrude Tidwell concluded the morning session with a report on the Auxiliary Education Loan Fund. Members, Units, and Departments made contributions to the fund, and numerous other Auxiliary and DAV endeavors following the presentation, after which, the conference was closed by Commander Steinhouse.

"This was a great Fall Conference," Commander Steinhouse said. "We had wonderful programs very well received by members. I was doubly impressed to see members continuing to talk about the content of programs during breaks and after hours at other times throughout the conference.

"I believe the growth of attendance at the conference reflects a genuine desire by members to learn more about our organization and put what they are learning into action to assist disabled veterans and their families."

The remainder of the afternoon, participants had an opportunity to relax, tour the riverfront, stroll through nearby Main Strasse German Village in Covington, enjoy local restaurants and shopping, and a few even tried their luck (rumored to be very good) at an area casino in Indiana, before attending the conference banquet later in the evening.

National Commander Jackson was the featured speaker for the banquet. During his presentation he praised the work of the Auxiliary and noted his own membership in the organization.

"I certainly have a tremendous respect for the Auxiliary--just ask my wife, Jean, she'll tell you--I can't think of a better, more effective partnership than the DAV and the Auxiliary working together to fulfill our mission of service to disabled veterans and their families," Commander Jackson said.

"This is a time when the spirit of the DAV and the Auxiliary is stronger and brighter than ever before.

"Together we will be ready to meet the future head-on thanks to the dedication of our Departments, Chapters, Units, and individual members.

"You are truly inspiring examples of Service and Advocacy in Action, and I know 1 can count on you to put Service and Advocacy in Action for today and for tomorrow, because today's and tomorrow's veterans are counting on us," he said.

Following his remarks and a rousing round of applause, Commander Jackson was asked to return to the lectern for a special presentation.

The first presentation was a contribution of $500 to the DAV Disaster Relief Fund made by PNC Lucille McCarthy on behalf of the Auxiliary Past National Commander's Association. Before he could return to his seat National Adjutant Tedrow halted hurt for an additional presentation.

"Commander Jackson," Adjutant Tedrow said, "this is a contribution for the Disaster Relief Fund made by members through the mail and through the Internet. It is a check for $18,000."

The room exploded in applause, as participants and guests came to their feet, some, like Executive Director Patterson, with a cheer on their lips, and it marked the end to a great Auxiliary Fall Conference.
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Publication:DAV Magazine
Date:Nov 1, 2005
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