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provide various get-togethers. And they assist military families with day-to-day needs by distributing food gift cards or buying diapers in bulk to divide among families with young children. “Veterans & Family Support is


our core program,” Sloan said. “It’s the whole reason we exist.” Not participating in it is missing the boat on the most basic level and likely missing an eventual recruitment opportunity. Veterans & Family Support is not only a mainstay for veterans, it’s an anchor for the Auxiliary. “You can work every single other Auxiliary program through this one,” Sloan said.


Connecting a Network of Support


Since the beginning of the Global


War on Terrorism, the five Auxiliaries and Posts in the Department of Oregon’s District 13 have adopted the companies from the 2/162 National Guard Unit. Company A was lucky enough to be adopted by Auxiliary 293, in Eugene, Oregon, and to benefit from the expertise of member Laurel Laing.


Because of her constant attention to making connections in her community and beyond, soldiers and their families have received much-appreciated recognition and desperately needed assistance. MAP grants have helped fund events such as a holiday dinner for 500 military families last year, while connecting with a local nonprofit that funded gifts for all the children. She


26 LADIES AUXILIARY VFW MAGAZINE


National Military Services events support soldiers, help Auxiliaries gather information about their needs firsthand and further membership goals.


got the Rotary Club involved, too, and a Junior Girls unit costumed as elves handed out gifts that day. Laing has also seen some dramatic


results through Unmet Needs program assistance. One grant provided the $1,950.75 a family needed to keep their home out of foreclosure. With an area directory of


resources in one hand and her phone in the other, Laing just keeps calling on as many helpers as she can find. “I have all kinds of connections just by trying to solve people’s problems,” she said.


She once received a call from a desperate mother begging for help for her son, a young soldier who was gravely injured just before his scheduled deployment. Laing found a national organization to provide plane tickets for his family to be at his side for brain surgery and later helped him obtain disability status and an honorable discharge.


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