American Legion Auxiliary Honored for 19 Years of Service to Veterans

Friday, August 7, 2009
Members of American Legion Auxiliary 63, Cape Girardeau. Left to right, seated: Barbara Yallaly and Frieda Howard. Standing: Fern Schlimme, Gladys Lawrence, Vergie Templeton, Linda Kern, John "Doc" Yallaly, Myrna Powers, Marie Hinkebein, and Dorothy Klein.

The Missouri Veterans Home in Cape Girardeau recently recognized the American Legion Auxiliary for their long tradition of support to their resident Veterans. Under the leadership of Barbara Yallaly, the ALA Home Representative, this group has been assisting the residents at the Veterans Home since it opened its doors in 1990. Much of this support comes directly from ALA 63 in Cape Girardeau, ALA 158 in Jackson, along with 15 additional units of the Fourteenth District, reaching from Jackson to the Arkansas state line and as far west as the Missouri towns of Doniphan and Naylor. Each of these units sends money to Barbara to use for the Veterans.

"I also get help from units outside of District 14," says Yallaly. "Perryville Unit 133 comes twice a year for bingo and bring cheer basket items for our program. Ste. Genevieve Unit 150 also comes for one bingo and brings donuts one morning a year. I appreciate everyone's help; I couldn't do without them."

Over the years they have purchased home furnishings such as pictures, artificial trees and flowers, the first bingo machine, feeding tables, a library cart, yard glider, Christmas lights for the outside of the home, large Christmas tree for the entrance way, a water fountain, seasonal table decorations, televisions, a P.A. system, and two pianos.

They work closely with the activity department, often sponsoring special events for the residents, such as their monthly coffee and donuts. They also sponsor a monthly birthday party, providing the cake, and hire a band for entertain. They sponsor a Super Bowl Party each February, with pizza and soda and money for prizes, a bingo on the 4th of July. Every month they also sponsor a bingo. Every other month they sponsor the Cheer Baskets, where they set out hygiene and personal care items for the Veterans who come and pick anything they need for free.

The past two years they have sponsored Show-Down Poker three times a month with a purse of $20 each time, and have a slot machine party for C wing residents with a $40 purse. One time a month they play Jack Pot for C wing with $20 in prizes and once a month $20 is given for the A wing residents. This year they also donated $853 for a Wii machine cart and games. At Christmas the residents shop for a gift for a loved one at the gift shop and each resident was given a gift for themselves. The total of this event is around $4,000.

"We frequently recognize individual volunteer efforts and groups who present a check for a one-time donation," said Debbie Monroe, Supervisor of Volunteer Services. "However, there are some individuals and groups who are in our facility so often, doing so much on a regular basis; it no longer seems unique or unusual. They have become a part of our everyday lives. But when you look at the whole picture and realize all they have done-- that kind of effort obviously deserves special recognition."

Since the home opened in 1990, it is estimated that the total donations from the American Legion Auxiliary equals $228,000! Of course, there is no way to put a dollar value on the joy that these ladies bring to our Veterans.

The Missouri Veterans Home is a 150-bed long-term care facility operated by the Missouri Veterans Commission. The goal is to "honor and serve the Veterans whose dedication and sacrifice have preserved our nation and its freedoms."

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