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Milano said she has also seen how crucial the Unmet Needs program has been for several families close to financial devastation. One family could not even buy shoes for their child. The application form was simple to complete and the result extremely gratifying. In addition to assistance the Post and Auxiliary provided immediately in the way of clothing and utility bills, the family’s Unmet Needs grant caught them up on electricity, gas, rent and phone bills.


Auxiliary 10188, Tucson, Arizona, gives hands-on support to military families. Kim Sloan described the mock deployment event as a fun and educational walk through the deployment process for children of military parents. Each child goes through enlistment, getting uniforms/ T-shirts and equipment/backpacks, and then is bused to a separate sight with the military parent. There the kids see the setup of a sleeping tent, a chapel, mess tent and working areas. At each site in the process, an Auxiliary or VFW member is helping in some way, a factor that helps parents associate that event with the VFW, Sloan said.


Sending or receiving, a pie in the face is one of many fun activities Auxiliaries could incorporate into family support events.


“I tell the Wounded Warriors, ‘This is for everything you do for us every day of your life,’” Milano said. She encourages them to stop by their local VFW when they get home. “I don’t want these guys to feel like the only reason we do these things is to get members. But because of these programs, we can help.”


Being There Before, During and After “Operation Junior Heroes” is one of the most meaningful ways


24 LADIES AUXILIARY VFW MAGAZINE


Participants also go through mock deployment and homecoming parties. All of it helps to get kids talking about how they feel when their parent is deployed, Sloan said. “It’s a wonderful process because it really opens up communication and allows kids, in a fun environment, to express their concerns. It also allows a soldier to talk to his kids about how he feels.” Auxiliary 10188 also sponsors


the real-world deployment and homecoming events with assistance from MAP grants. The most recent was a “Freedom Salute” for a National Guard unit in Arizona coming back to their first drill after being off-duty for three months. At that event, several people became VFW and Auxiliary members because they had received support when they were deployed.


The Auxiliary has officially adopted four units for whom they


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