Legion auxiliary member adds spice to military lives overseas

Although major military veterans organizations operate under their official names, many have sister organizations with different names that accomplish much volunteer work and raise large amounts of charitable donations for the main group. A few examples of subordinate associations include the National Order of Trench Rats, which falls under the Disabled American Veterans, and the Military Order of the Cooties, under the auspices of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. But over and above that, virtually all of the congressionally chartered veterans groups also have women’s auxiliaries.

Among those is the American Legion Auxiliary, which began in 1919. Originally named the Legion’s Women’s Auxiliary, the “women” designation was officially removed the following year, although its membership is completely female. According to the auxiliary headquarters in Indianapolis, nationwide the group’s volunteer hours and service to veterans and their families thus far had an impact of more than $1 billion.

Las Vegas Auxiliary member Judy Cobb said that nationally, “We have the largest female patriotic organization in the world with over 800,000 members. We are a part of the American Legion. We are their counterparts. We are a member of their family along with the Legion Riders (motorcyclists) and the Sons of the Legion.”

The auxiliary is an all-girl band, so husbands and sons need not apply. “It’s made up of wives, daughters, sisters and granddaughters,” who are generally not veterans themselves, Cobb said. However female veterans have special privileges, so to speak. They can join the Legion itself, they can join the auxiliary or they can double down and join both groups.

Cobb’s Auxiliary Unit 14 volunteers with stand-downs twice a year, and in December the group paired with members of the Disabled American Veterans and the Blinded Veterans Association to visit with patients at the North Las Vegas VA Medical Center.

“We visited with patients on every floor, and we’ve done that for a few years now.”

Before she married Marine Corps veteran James Cobb (“Once a Marine, always a Marine,” she offered), she felt she wanted to do something to help veterans and active duty military.

“I wanted to send care packages,” she explained. “But I could never get any addresses. I didn’t know how to donate or give money, or whatever. But when Jim and I got married and I joined the auxiliary, it opened up so many doors for me, to be able to give to our men and women overseas, and to our veterans.”

Cobb has formed a Legion youth group and each month they pack and send boxes filled with canned goods, health and hygiene items and spices to deployed military organizations. She said she’s been told that overseas military food is not always tasty and the recipients enjoy adding various spices to their meals.

“We’re sort of spicing up their life for Valentine’s Day,” she said.

The auxiliary also offers temporary assistance to children of veterans who are suffering hardships, donates blood to the American Red Cross and lobbies local elected officials. Cobb is the legislative chairperson for her group, which offers support for Assembly and Senate bills that the Legion proposes. She and several auxiliary members of her youth group are planning to be present March 20 in Carson City when the Legislature will celebrate Veterans and Military Day.

There are auxiliary units throughout the state. Inquiries can be made to the American Legion in Boulder City. Annual dues can vary from unit to unit, but Cobb said generally the cost is $30 per year.

For more information or to donate funds or items to be sent overseas, call 702-871-4414 or email Cobb at yelloww@cox.net. “Yelloww” is spelled with two W’s. That’s a good omen.

If anyone is planning to donate canned goods or charitable cash, they should consider two of everything, including various denominations of greenbacks. And when it comes to female veterans, they should take advantage of dual membership join both the Legion and the auxiliary.

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