National Legion Auxiliary president shares goals

Legion Auxiliary National President Peggy Thomas (left), State President Raleen Tolzmann (middle) and membership chair Tamara Opland chatted at the Milaca American Legion last week during their visit to the local unit.

Legion Auxiliary National President Peggy Thomas (left), State President Raleen Tolzmann (middle) and membership chair Tamara Opland chatted at the Milaca American Legion last week during their visit to the local unit.

National Legion Auxiliary President Peggy Thomas is racking up the frequent flyer miles as she travels the country visiting local units as she did last Wednesday in Milaca.

“I’ve been in more airports than I have my own kitchen,” Thomas said laughing in her warm, Virginian drawl.

State Auxiliary President Raleen Tolzmann traveled with her national counterpart across Minnesota — the first such tour in which this state has participated.

“It has been so exciting,” Tolzmann said. “Every place we’ve been they’ve been so nice and they’ve made everything so wonderful.”

Visiting all 50 states and Puerto Rico aren’t the only destinations on Thomas’ itinerary, however. She’s also made stops in Japan, the DMZ in South Korea, Taiwan and Guam at the various U.S. military instillations.

Thomas was a prominent figure at the last Pearl Harbor ceremony conducted on Veterans Day last year as well as a visit to Dover, Delaware where the bodies of slain U.S. soldiers arrive from the war zones.

“The price of freedom is visible there,” she said.

She’s covered a lot of ground since the start of her term last August and she has many more miles to go as Thomas promotes her projects to Auxiliary women.

“My special project is the National Presidential Scholarship for children of warriors,” Thomas said before speaking to the Milaca unit last week.

Thomas made a goal of collecting $30,000 to be dispersed to children of veterans and she’s already surpassed that mark in just five months.

“And I almost had a heart attack because I didn’t think we’d come close to raising that much. And I’m still collecting,” she said. “As long as the money lasts, we’ll do it.”

With more than 800,000 members nationwide, the Legion Auxiliary is no small club. But Thomas has plans to grow that figure in the coming years.

“I want to take the Auxiliary to a new height,” she said. “We are the voices that speak for the disabled and the victims of war. The more numbers you have, the louder the noise you can make.”

For the full story, see the Thursday, March 14 print edition of the Times.

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