Members past and present attended the 15th anniversary celebration for the VFW Auxiliary to Post 10818 on Saturday, May 18, at Prairieview Covenant Church. Auxiliary Senior Vice President Rhonda Rimarcik filled in as emcee for President Kelly Pomroy, who could not attend.
"I appreciate the role that each of you has played in supporting this auxiliary," said Rimarcik.
Don Schwan, who was the VFW Commander in 2004, was approached by District 9 about starting up an Auxiliary. Schwab brought the idea before the local VFW membership who voted to establish an Auxiliary to the Post.
Schwan's daughter, Stacey Schwan, held the position of Auxiliary President for the first eight years.
"After much discussion, the Post agreed to allow us to form. The Post comrades signed up their wives and daughters and we held our first informational meeting to elect officers," recalled Stacey.
The Auxiliary's inaugural meeting took place June 19, 2004, and included 20 charter members. Past District 9 Auxiliary President Jeanette Stabenow was in attendance when the Auxiliary was introduced to VFW Post 10818 at their July 29, 2004 meeting.
"I met a lot of these girls at the District meeting and you are all working very, very hard and doing a good job. So keep it up! I know all the old-timers really did a good job back then. I enjoyed my two years as District President and told them I wouldn't take it again because I'm getting too old!" said Stabenow.
The initial Auxiliary quickly engaged in supporting veterans in local nursing homes, the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis, Company "B" and other veterans' family support programs. In addition to supporting veterans medical care, members supported VFW community events including parades, Buddy Poppy distribution and partnered with Relay for Life and the Salvation Army. They sponsored flag education presentations in the schools and eventually funded Patriotic Art scholarships and New Richmond High School scholarships. Auxiliary members log in over a thousand community service hours annually. They financially support many organizations and help veterans and their families with unmet needs.
Current VFW Post Commander Ron Ramos was in attendance and addressed the audience.
"15 years is something to be proud of, especially so when you consider yours is the only Auxiliary to VFW in the entirety of St. Croix County. That's a big deal when you consider that there are over 6,000 veterans that you are able to assist and provide help to. The Auxiliary has grown exponentially since I've been Post Commander to the point where you now accept male as well as female members as long as they meet the qualifications including being an immediate family member of a veteran. To put what the Auxiliary does for this community into perspective, this year alone, the VFW with the assistance of the Auxiliary together, we have put in nearly 12,000 hours of community service between May 1, 2018 and April 30, 2019. That was a record for our Post," said Ramos.
The Auxiliary's current membership stands at 68 including five teens and six male members. VFW Post 10818 New Richmond / St. Croix County will be celebrating their 30th anniversary in October. For more information about the Auxiliary, visit www.vfwpost10818.org.