Salamanca Legion Auxiliary stays busy with service projects

Members of the Salamanca American Legion Auxiliary stand next to a table of 30 care packages made for the Women’s Wellness Center at the Veterans’ Hospital in Buffalo. It is just one of three recent service projects the Legion Auxiliary has taken part it.

SALAMANCA — Sue Williams, who serves as secretary-treasurer for the American Legion Auxiliary at Post 535 in Salamanca, recently outlined the group’s many on-going projects.

“We have adopted a new platoon currently deployed in Afghanistan,” Williams said.

This is the third time the Auxiliary has participated in this program, which originated in Ft. Drum and the 10th Mountain Division. It was initiated after it became clear that there was a need among deployed servicemen and women for certain essential personal items, toiletries and snack items.

Soldiers who are stationed in US military bases might have access to purchase needed items, but those deployed to places such as Afganistan do not.

The new platoon is comprised of 52 soldiers and is called the Eco Co. Executioners. There are 45 men and nine women and all have expressed a desire for some simple items, such as beef jerky, shampoo, soap, tinned meat and toilet paper.

There are many things the would be much appreciated, such as toiletries, paper, pens, nonperishable snacks, playing cards, women's personal care items and tissues,

This group of soldiers has also expressed a desire for pen-pal letters and cards, which their chaplain says is a good way to boost morale.

Anyone may contribute to this project by dropping off items or cash donations at the American Legion 535 on Wildwood Ave. If you would like to send a card or letter, bring this to the Legion also, to the attention of Sue Williams.

The Adopt a Platoon program has a special place close to Sue's heart since she is the widow of First Sgt. Robert Willams who served in Vietnam in the 101st Airborn as a combat medic.

The Auxiliary also provided 30 care packages to the Women's Wellness Center at Veteran's Hospital in Buffalo. These shoebox-sized plastic bins were filled with an assortment of personal care items, toiletries, socks gloves, and other useful things. Some were distributed at Christmas and others will be distributed as needed. The boxes were much appreciated by those who received them.

The third project is the “Home Town Hero” banner program. The Salamanca Common Council recently approved the installation of specially printed banners honoring servicemen or women, alive or deceased.

Interested persons may apply at the city clerk's office in the Salamanca Municipal Building. The cost is $100. Bring DD214 exit papers and a digital picture in uniform. The deadline is in March.

The banners will be randomly installed on 83 existing poles throughout the city.

Williams said that now that the holidays are over, more auxiliary members will be able to attend meetings.

“We've got so much going on and could really use your help,” she said.