The spouses and other close female relatives of veterans in Los Banos plan to prove they are just as patriotic as their husbands.
American Legion Post 166 is in the process of establishing an auxiliary. A membership drive is under way, with the goal of having the auxiliary operating in about six months.
“As we see it, this is a very patriotic town,” said Ann McCauley, whose husband served in Vietnam.
A retired Air Force civilian contractor herself, McCauley has assisted the American Legion many times as members placed flags around town during holidays. She said the auxiliary will have a goal of assisting the American Legion in promoting love of country. She said the auxiliary would visit schools, participate in American Legion fundraisers and sponsor high school girls on trips to learn about American government.
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Rick Toscano, a member of American Legion Post 166, said the womens auxiliary idea came up while he was trying to establish Boys State, an American Legion program involving a weeklong trip designed to expose high school seniors to the rights and privileges of citizenship and teach them how government operates. Toscano said while discussing the idea with school board and City Council members, someone asked if girls could participate. Toscano said he found out there is a Girls State program but only American Legion auxiliaries are allowed to sponsor females.
“We were discussing it among ourselves, and our members discussed it with their wives and they said they would like to start an auxiliary,” Toscano said.
McCauley said 20 members are needed to establish the auxiliary. In the meantime, American Legion Post 166 is planning to send Pacheco and Los Banos High school boys and girls on the state trips. The girls are being sponsored by the Gustine American Legion Auxiliary, with the Los Banos American Legion funding the trip.
To be part of the American Legion Auxiliary, a person must be a wife, mother, daughter, stepdaughter or grandmother of a veteran.
Toscano said he’s optimistic about the auxiliary being established.
“We have 90 (American Legion ) members,” he said. “They aren’t all active and not all the wives will want to be active. If we can get 20 members and 10 of them show up, we will be OK.”
McCauley said she’s excited about the idea of being among the first members of the auxiliary.
“It’s a special recognition when you’re a charter member,” she said.
Women who are interested in chartering the American Legion Auxiliary, or want more information, can contact Ann McCauley at (209) 827-3236 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Mary Bosch at (209) 827-0343 or email@example.com; or Mary Ann Paradiso at (209) 826-5780.