By ROBERT JUMPER
ONE FEATHER EDITOR
The Steve Youngdeer American Legion Post 143 Auxiliary hosted a “Creating Community Partnerships” luncheon at Post headquarters on Thursday, Feb. 2. Principal Chief Patrick Lambert and many other leaders in tribal government attended.
Chief Lambert spoke about his commitment to provide veterans’ services and complimented the Women’s Auxiliary for their efforts in fund raising, service provision, and overall care for all veterans. He related he wants to support the efforts of the Auxiliary, particularly in finding those that are in our area.
Patsy Ledford, president of the Auxiliary at Post 143, shared the critical need to not only find the veterans, but to build community and business partnerships to raise the level of care and support that can be afforded to veterans.
The women of the Cherokee-based Auxiliary are involved in numerous veteran support activities, including providing pillows at the VA hospital in Asheville, buying household items for veterans, making hospital visits to wounded veterans and spouses, and serving meals. The 35-member group also solicits donations and holds fund raising events, donating thousands of dollars to veteran causes.
The Auxiliary, through this meeting, says it is reaching out to tribal leadership and the community to support their efforts in a more formal relationship. A packet was given to the attendees that included a “memorandum of agreement”, outlining several services that the Auxiliary hopes tribal programs will commit to.
Ledford also spoke to the need for more aggressive effort to identify area veterans. Their list of veterans in the Cherokee area is lacking, according to Ledford, with many veterans not aware that is help is available for them through the Auxiliary. They are working on an organized outreach to alert veterans and their families of the organization and who to contact to get listed so that communication and help is possible.