By MaryHelen Swanson, editor
A year ago the ladies in Rush City celebrated the 90th birthday of the Women’s Club. It would seem that when women get together to work for good causes, they stick together forever. Well, that is as long as there are ladies to stick together.
The word auxiliary is often misspelled and mispronounced, at the very least it is difficult to type (at least for me) but it is one that carries a certain solidarity with it.
Defined, auxiliary is a person or thing that gives aid of any kind; a helper, an organization allied with, but subsidiary to, a main body of restricted membership, especially one composed of members’ relatives, specifically associated with foreign troops in the service of a nation at war.
The concept of an auxiliary ceasing to be sounds strange, but that is exactly what happened just about a month ago in Rush City.
According to Judy Hammerstrom, the Rush City VFW Auxiliary to Post 6692 is closed.
The reason? Lack of active member participation.
It was by unanimous vote back in April that six members of the Auxiliary decided the organization should come to an end. This was the culmination of a discussion about the group’s demise that went back to September 2011, which was followed by a letter to the members asking for input.
“The Rush City auxiliary has been a tower of strength for a long time and it is no small thing to be actually closing, but we must deal with reality,” Hammerstrom, serving as Auxiliary president, said in a letter to the handful of members of the organization.
They struggled for months over the idea of closing due to lack of membership, but when it came to having only four people attending meetings and working at events they said enough.
Additionally each of the same four was holding dual officer positions.
We are very disheartened to close as we know how much the RC Auxiliary means to the community, plus the purpose of helping and showing respect to veterans, Hammerstrom said. It was with a heavy heart she made this remark.
“We hope, individually, that some of us can continue in that vein.”
The Rush City VFW Auxiliary was founded in 1946 and two of the charter members are still living: Lela Jedda and Bettie Smuder.
While we talk about, and some of us do something about, assisting returning veterans today, it is sad to see this auxiliary be dissolved. The women worked hard over the past 66 years and they really cared about tending to the needs of veterans who had returned and today’s soldiers still in active service.
I’ve heard that many of the traditional veterans’ service organizations are having some of the same issues, both men’s and women’s, especially the lack of new membership to carry on the efforts of the fine people who have cared for so many, many years.
Well, thank you ladies of the RC VFW Auxiliary to Post 6692. I’m sure I share this appreciation with the hundreds of veterans you served over the past six decades. It may not be the end of the world, but it is a passing worth making note of this week.
From our website, Anna Cole-Kost posted this comment to the story about Pam Hendricks being named Teacher of the Year in North Branch that was printed in last week’s paper:
“Pam Hendricks (who is fondly remembered as Miss Tell to me) was my third grade teacher in her first year of teaching. She made a profound impact on me since I started school in North Branch in 3rd grade that same year.
It was a difficult transition for me, made easier by the kind, vibrant teacher she was. She worked hard with me on reading which was difficult for me-she lit the fire for me and showed me how books could take me anywhere.
By graduation I was excelling in reading as a young adult and now use that skill every day as a leader in my field. Later she was the kindergarten teacher for my son and became as much a beloved teacher to him as she had been to me.
Because of her he will graduate in two years with that same love of books. I can’t imagine how many hundreds of lives have been touched by her. I am glad she got this award but sad it took so long for her to get it. She really is a treasure and this is a well deserved thank you!”