VFW Ladies Auxiliary helping veterans, community

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Judy Fuller was just a baby when her father went off to war.

“He was in Germany, on the front lines in World War II,” she recalled. “He was on the front lines 10 months. When he came out of the war I was 3.”

Like many of his generation, Freddie Langdon was quiet about his contribution to the Allied cause. Fuller never knew until she was grown how much of a hero her daddy was during those years when his country needed him.

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“He never really talked about it until about 10 years ago, but I know he went through heck over there,” Fuller said, more than a tinge of pride in her voice.

It is this pride that spurred her and her mother, the late Virginia Langdon, to join the Veterans of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary. She is now auxiliary president of post 6878 in Proctorville. It is a position she is proud of.

“You can’t find a better bunch of men and women,” she said. “And we do a lot of things for the veterans.”

And making a positive impact in the lives of America’s retired soldiers — as well as the larger community — is what the ladies auxiliary is all about.


The Veterans of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary as a national organization was founded in 1914 to help veterans and their families.

It is described as “the backbone of VFW volunteer efforts,” according to the VFW national organization Web site.

Membership in the auxiliary is open to wives, widows, mothers, daughters, grandmothers, granddaughters as well as some female foster and step-family members.

Members must be at least 16 years of age and a U.S. citizen. Nationally, the VFW Ladies Auxiliary has more than a half-million members.

Something they believe in

The overarching purpose of the organization is to promote patriotism and serve veterans in the community.

Many of the auxiliarys’ programs are directed toward veterans who are either ill or confined to assisted living facilities. Members of the VFW 8850 Ladies Auxiliary in Ironton make regular visits to the VA Hospital in Huntington, W.Va.

At each monthly meeting, members donate personal items such as toothpaste and deodorant that are fixed into care packages and taken to the patients.

Last weekend, members of the VFW 6878 in Proctorville and its Ladies Auxiliary had their annual Buddy Poppy drive. The proceeds pay for that auxiliary’s annual Christmas gifts to veterans at the VA home in Barboursville, W.Va.

“We do a lot throughout the year,” Fuller said. “We send money for cable television, we support the Children’s National Home (for children of veterans), we buy books and phone cards. And we take things to the nursing homes, too.”

Like their eastern end counterparts, the ladies of the 8850 are particularly careful to remember veterans during the holidays when separation from loved ones is perhaps more keenly felt than at other times of the year.

Last year the 8850 auxiliary collected socks, blankets and other necessities and took them to the veteran’s hospital in Chillicothe.

“We also have a Christmas party for the kids and a party for the veterans,” 8850 auxiliary member Ruth Crawford said.

The attention is paid not only to the veterans of today, but those of tomorrow as well. The ladies of 6878 frequently send care packages to soldiers stationed overseas in the Middle East.

We send candy and books and personal items,” 6878 ladies auxiliary treasurer Brenda Mann said. “We heard back from one guy who said it meant a lot to him that someone would do this for him.”

Community spirit

Crawford said many of her group’s activities benefit the whole community and not just veterans. The ladies of the 8850 recently celebrated Make A Difference Day by collecting canned goods that were donated to the First United Methodist Church food pantry. The group also has a Christmas party each year for the students at the Open Door School.

This community spirit is true of the 6878 auxiliary as well. Mann said her group gives goody bags each year to students starting first grade in the Fairland districts and donates food and clothing to the New Hope United Methodist Church food pantry, among other endeavors.