With more and more women serving in the United States military, one of the nation’s largest support groups has announced it will be expanding its membership opportunities to allow more family members the chance to back their heroes.
Earlier this year the VFW Ladies Auxiliary officially dropped Ladies from the title, as the enrollment opportunities have been expanded to include men.
John A. Biedrzycki, Jr., national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) added his official signature to the new congressional charter of its Auxiliary organization in a historical event solidifying the VFW’s commitment to membership equality for all military families.
Anyone 16 years of age or older, whose father or mother is eligible for membership in the Veterans of Foreign Wars, is now eligible to join the auxiliary. The same goes if your husband or wife, grandmother or grandfather, son or daughter, grandchildren, or siblings are eligible for VFW membership.
The former Ladies Auxiliary VFW, founded in 1914, is the VFW’s highly regarded support organization and is considered its “Partner in Service”.
Under its former name Ladies Auxiliary VFW, membership within the organization was offered exclusively to female spouses and family members of any member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The gender-specific eligibility requirement remained for more than 100 years until July 20, 2015, when delegates to the VFW’s 116th National Convention in Pittsburgh voted to amend the dated by-law to extend the same membership opportunity to eligible males.
Appropriately, the Ladies Auxiliary VFW has changed its official name to the VFW Auxiliary.
“It’s an exciting time to be a member of the Auxiliary,” said National President Francisca Guilford. “Women comprise nearly twenty percent of our nation’s military, and this change allows all spouses, fathers, grandfathers, sons, grandsons and brothers to serve others in honor of their veteran.”
Currently, the Auxiliary has more than 465,000 members, a number that is now expected to sharply increase over the next year. Its members represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia, several foreign locations including Germany, Guam and Panama, and have made an impact in local communities around the globe.
Last year alone, its members worked to provide $4.6 million dollars in monetary aid to veterans, active duty military and their families, and volunteered nearly 800,000 hours in VA Medical Centers, hospitals, nursing and veterans’ homes. Auxiliary members also contributed greatly to cancer research, youth activities, civic patriotism and much more.
For more information about the Wallace W. Gillespie Memorial Post #4958 of the VFW Auxiliary, contact President Shirley Eggleston at 660-465- 2532.