Kayleigh Underwood, a four-year member Fulton’s American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Unit 51, recently became their first young woman to “age up” from the junior program membership into the adult program.
A nursing student at Itawamba Community College (ICC), Underwood served as president of the Junior Auxiliary during her last year. Her hope is that other young girls will join in the group’s efforts to support veterans and volunteer for their causes.
“We are always looking for more members,” Underwood said. “Joining really opens your eyes to what the organization does for the community and for the veterans.”
Junior Auxiliary membership is open to girls from infancy through age 17. Learning about patriotism, showing respect for the American flag and raising awareness concerning veterans is among their top activities.
The group visits veterans in nursing homes, serves during Auxiliary events and gives handmade cards and gift bags to veterans during holidays.
“Our junior unit has received lots of awards,” Underwood said. “We’ve had several other units come in and observe what we do, so they can improve theirs.”
Scholarships and leadership opportunities through ALA Girls State are available to Junior Auxiliary members. Girls State helps young women become knowledgeable about the democratic process and how U.S. government operates at the state and national level.
Underwood has attended Girls State, where she served as a junior counselor this past summer.
“We hope other girls will come out and see it for themselves and hopefully join us,” she said. “We need the younger generation. We are the Legion of tomorrow.”
ALA’s Junior Auxiliary meets the second Tuesday of each month at 5:30 pm. Criteria for joining the ALA can be found on their website www.alaforveterans.org or by following The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 51 Fulton, MS on Facebook.
The American Legion Auxiliary has more than 600,000 members and is one of the nation’s most prominent supporters of veterans, military, and their families. Created in 1919, it’s the world’s largest patriotic service organization.
Fulton Mayor Barry Childers recently declared Nov. 10, 2019, to be “American Legion Auxiliary Centennial Day” in Fulton in celebration of their 100th anniversary.
This past year, American Legion Auxiliary members’ volunteer service of more than 40 million hours plus $37 million raised and spent on mission outreach has a collective value of $1.7 billion in service to veterans, military children and communities.