America's Largest
Veterans Service Organization

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***October 14th, 2019***
The 2019 dues will increase by $5.00 to $30 per year 

Founded in 1919, The American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) has nearly one million members from all walks-of-life. The Auxiliary administers hundreds of volunteer programs, gives tens of thousands of hours to its communities and to veterans, and raises millions of dollars to support its own programs, as well as other worthwhile charities familiar to Americans. It is all accomplished with volunteers.

While originally organized to assist The American Legion, the Auxiliary has achieved its own unique identity while working side-by-side with the veterans who belong to The American Legion. Like the Legion, the Auxiliary’s interests have broadened to encompass the entire community.


The Melvin Cowart American Legion Auxiliary Unit 274 – Fort Myers Beach is doing great things in our community, state, and nation!!! Over the past few years we have participated in and sponsored many events.  The members of Unit 274 enjoy what we do for our Veterans, Active Duty Military, their families, and our community. 


OFFICERS   2019/2020   

President – Judy Pitts

Vice President – Pam Wynne

Secretary – Janet Wallace

Treasurer – Sally Poholik

Chaplain – Harriette Vanco

Sergeant-at-Arms – Doris Flamini

Historian- Gina Kasella


EBoard- Jackie Azzarello, Dottie Craig, Joann Hartman


MEMBERSHIP – How to Join the American Legion Auxiliary


This is the largest women’s patriotic service organization in the world. Your membership is critical to ensure the ALA is here to continue serving future generations of veterans, military, and their families. Our annual dues are only $30.00. You have two ways to join the ALA – online or in person!


For further information or pay dues online go to www.alaforveterans.org and log-in to the “Members Section”. You will need to create your free log-in if you haven’t already done so, and it only takes a few seconds. Continue on the “Members Section” and click the “Pay Dues” button. You will then be prompted on how to pay your renewal dues online. It’s easy, secure, and only takes a couple of minutes. You can also pay at Post 274, or email the membership chair, Pam Wynne at jpwynne1@sbcglobal.net if you need additional assistance.


Our country needs the AL Auxiliary and only because of YOU can we continue our mission outreach to our military, veterans and their families. Thank you for your continued membership!





ALA Unit 274 meets the second Monday of every month (unless a change is determined) at the Melvin Cowart Post 274 in the Patriot Room at 6:30 pm.

Melvin Cowart Post 274 address is:

899 Buttonwood Drive

Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931

For more information please email jpwynne1@sbcglobal.net – Pam Wynne, Vice President



ALA Unit 274 have many activities planned for this year and are always looking for volunteers to give some time, energy, and talents to others, expecting nothing in return. Volunteers must have an open mind, be willing to embrace wisdom learned from others and this will let the experience of volunteering lead to personal inner growth. If this is something that you can help us out with please email the Unit President. 


The Auxiliary “OPERATION HOME COOKING” is a one-of-a-kind cookbook and available for only $10.00. Our members have compiled over 300 of their tastiest, tried-and-true recipes into a single book that will be treasured for generations to come. Each recipe includes the contributor’s name, so it’s easy to find the recipes of friends and loved ones. For further information on how you can purchase one of these for your enjoyment contact Pam Wynne email: jpwynne1@sbcglobal.net or cell: 219-776-9197. These are also available every Saturday evening at the Queen of Hearts & 50/50 table.



Come join us every Friday evening for the Queen of Hearts and 50/50 drawings.


Tickets are $5.00 each starting at 5pm with the drawing at 7pm. You must have

a current 2019 American Legion Family Membership Card to purchase a ticket!




June, 2019- Our Auxilery is hard at work packaging food for our Troups in Afghanistan. $295 for the food,

$167 for postage. Pictured below, Judy Pitts, Doris Flamini, Joann Hartman, Rosemary Mosher!


11/30/18 Post Auxillary members with Taylor Stokes on a packed house for the Queen of Hearts Drawing, Talor 

draws the crowd, great performer! Left to right: Diane Malec, Pam Wynne, Maureen MacCurtain, Taylor Stokes,

Judy Pitts, Maryann Bruner, Doris Flamini




12/4/2018 Auxillary presenting a check to Jim Jamieson, founder of Sprit of Christmas for children, for $2000.00.

Left to right: Joanne Hartman, Jackie Azzarello, Judy Pitts, Jim Jameison, Doris Flamini. Thank you to Taylor Stokes

for donating his time for oour entertainment for the evening!




Community Service


The Post 274 Auxiliary, as always, steps up to the plate. To celebrate Thanksgiving Day they are preparing $800 worth of food baskets to be given to the community. And the list goes on.

Donations to:

Ronald McDonald House - $ 1000

Spirit of Christmas - $ 2000

Tyndall Air Force base Holiday for Heroes - $ 1000

Hearts and Homes for Veterans Christmas program - $ 3000.

All of our membership appreciates your continuing Holiday Spirit.


  6/4/2018 The Post 274 Auxiliary paid a visit to Hearts & Homes for Veterans and donated $2000 to

the Organization. The Auxiliary was very impressed on what the Organization does for our Verteans.

Pictured below: Don Payton(President of Hearts & Homes for Veterans), Gina Kassela, Judy Pitts,

Helene Len, Rosemary Mosher, Joann Hartman. 






The Melvin Cowart American Legion Auxiliary Unit 274 Fort Myers Beach members presented Kim Gaide, Military Support of Lee Health with a check for $2,000.00 to use towards postage costs for care boxes sent to our locally deployed troops.   Patriotism and veterans advocacy are so important to the American Legion Auxiliary that for nearly a century, we’ve been serving, educating, and giving to America’s finest – our servicemen and women.    This particular Auxiliary Unit 274 was chartered on January 2, 1952.

Thank you, Kim

Kim Gaide, BSM, Practice Manager, LPG Medical Records

Military Support Coordinator of Lee Health

Proud Mother of a Florida National Guardsman and an Army Iraqi War Veteran


Facebook page:   LMHS Military Support Program

239-343-2045   office              

- Support Our Military Troops-


Vietnam Wall Dedication Ceremony

We joined the American Legion Florida Family on November 5, 2016 for the Dedication Ceremony of the Vietnam Wall of Southwest

  Florida in Punta Gorda. The ceremony started with a “Walk of Honor” from Lashley Marina to

  the Wall site which we were each given a veterans name that appeared on the wall. When we arrived at the wall we recited the name of the veteran and where they were from. It was

 certainly a solemn moment for all of us who attended. The program proceeded with the Rolling

 Thunder motorcycle brigade, massing of the colors and the Warbirds flyover. The welcome was

 given by General Carr with invocation, presenting the colors, pledge of                                                       

allegiance and national anthem to follow. There were remarks made by Representative Ken Roberson,

Vice Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners Christopher Constance and Mayor of Punta Gorda

Rachel Keesling. General Carr gave a brief history and purpose of the Vietnam Wall of Southwest Florida

and appreciation to the Donors and Volunteers. A moment of silence was held and then Guns N’Hoses

played God Bless America followed by the 21 Gun Salute by Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office and Taps.

There also was the UH-1 Helicopter Flyover again by the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office. The program ended once again with Guns N’Hoses playing Amazing Grace.


Veterans Day Parade – November 12, 2016

Downtown Fort Myers

A few members of our ALA Unit 274 participated in the Veterans Day Parade in Downtown Fort Myersrepresenting the District 13th Auxiliary. We began at the American Legion Post 38 and traveled to the PinchersMarina. There was a small ceremony afterwards where the Commander of Post 38 said a few words and the Dunbar High School ROTC played the National Anthem. We passed out small flags and family AL applications along the parade route.  Pictured is Tina Hanson, District 13 President, Pam Wynne & Judy Pitts


Surfers for Autism – November 5, 2016

Fort Myers Beach

A few members of our ALA Unit 274 assisted Chester Rogers, a Fort Myers Beach artist, during the Surfers for Autism Event held on the beach. He provided caricatures at no charge to all the children. This event is dedicated to the introduction of the sport of surfing to children with special needs. The surfers and their families are treated like “rock stars” and enjoy a day filled with a range of activities including stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, live music, face-painting, games and much more. This is a very special day where children with developmental delays interact with typical peers and wow families with their capabilities. If you would like to donate go to www.surfersfor autism.org the “Covered Wagon”.  Pictured:  Judy Pitts, Mary Ellen Lapierre and Doris Flamini


Fall Conference – November 18-19, 2016

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista

A few members of our ALA Unit 274 attended this state conference and learned many things. It began on Friday afternoon with a few breakout sessions. The following day began with the General Session where the Department was introduced and some special guests. Awards also were announced that were given at the National Conference in August. Two of the presenters that really stood out the most were Captain Makeda “Ty” Young who is an active-duty Army so spokesperson for “Final Salute, Inc.” program. This program is to give support to Female Homeless Veterans. If you want to have further information on this program go to www.finalsalute.org. This is also our Department President, Kelli Becraft’s special project for this year. Then we met a young man, Benjamin Mack-Jackson, whose passion is preserving the memories of the greatest generation called “WWII Veterans History Project”. He holds veteran interviews and collects and preserves WWII memorabilia. Check him out at www.ww2veteranshistoryproject.com. They also held the membership parade of all the different modes of transportation to “Navigate for Our Veterans”.  We are part of District 13 and our mode of transportation is the “Covered Wagon”.  Conference attendees were Judy Pitts, Pam Wynne & Helene Len.


ABC School of Instruction – January 7, 2017

American Legion Post 274 – Fort Myers Beach


On Saturday, January 7, 2017, the American Legion Auxiliary held the ABC School of Instruction for District 13 at Unit 274 on Fort Myers Beach. The presenter was Diane Russo and was attended by about thirty members. The format of the class was a question and answer period and was very informative. It was very much a learning experience especially for myself being a first-year Unit President.  Pictured l to r: Diane Russo, Pam Wynne, Tina Hanson


Honoring Women of the Armed Forces – Past and Present      

More than 240 years ago during the American Revolution (1775-1783) Women served as spies and saboteurs. On the battlefield they served as gunners, nurses, water bearers, cooks, and laundresses.

During the 1800’s notable conflicts included: War of 1812, Mexican War (1846-1848), Civil War (1861-1865), and the Spanish-American War (1898):

The 1800”s saw women provide mostly casualty care and nursing for the troops at field hospitals and on ships.  . During the Civil War many enlisted with male names and served in the infantry and front lines. Sometimes they were discovered and discharged. Others served as nurses, laundresses, cooks, and spies. In 1865, Dr. Mary Walker a surgeon in the Civil War receives the Medal of Honor. She remains the only woman to receive the nation's highest military honor. In the Spanish-American War (1898): Thousands of US soldiers sick with typhoid, malaria and yellow fever, overwhelm the capabilities of the Army Medical Department. Dr. Anita Newcomb McGee suggests to the Army Surgeon General that the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) be appointed to select professionally qualified nurses to serve. The Army appoints Dr. McGee Acting Assistant Surgeon General, making her the first woman ever to hold the position. The Army is impressed by the performance of the nurses and as a result the Army and Navy Nurse Corps were established.

The 20th century saw many major conflicts Including: The Two World Wars, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf Wars 

The first women who enlisted in the United States military joined the Navy and Marine Corps in World War I. Army and Navy nurses serve in military hospitals. Over 230 bilingual women telephone operators served overseas and others worked as skilled stenographers. Many women enlist to serve stateside in shore billets, and fill positions such as clerks and telephone operators.

In the Army Reorganization Act of (1920):  nurses were granted officer status.

World War II (1941-1945): Roles for women expanded in World War II. Approximately 400,000 women served. Women served in every theater of the war and in many nontraditional roles - communications, intelligence, mechanics, drivers, photographers, and logistics.  

The Women's Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 granted women permanent status in all branches of the services.

An example of a woman who contributed to the war effort was Mary Feik a leader in aviation, an aviation engineer, master mechanic, pilot, instructor and aircraft restorer. She began working on aircraft engines and military aircraft at the age of 18. However, when she tried to enroll in engineering in college, the registrar told her, "We don't take women." She later took a job at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio working on airplanes and teaching aircraft maintenance. During World War II, Feik became an expert on many military aircraft, and taught aircraft maintenance for the United States Army Air Corps.  Feik logged more than 6,000 hours as an engineer, engineering observer, and pilot.

The pilot training manuals and technical engineering reports she authored were distributed throughout the Armed Forces.

A recipient of many aerospace honors, Mary Feik’s proudest professional honor was bestowed in 2003. She stated "My ultimate honor 'is' the Civil Air Patrol cadet achievement created in my name.

During the Korean Conflict the majority of women worked in the MASH units and more women were promoted to higher ranks.

Vietnam War (1965-1975):/Cold War

During the Cold War Era equal rights and opportunities increased for women.

The Reserve Officers Training Corps opens to women.

An Air Force woman completes Aircraft Maintenance Officer's School and becomes the first woman aircraft maintenance officer.

The first woman is assigned as a flight surgeon in the Air Force

The first female earns the Navy flight wings.

The Navy accepts its first woman chaplain.

A woman becomes the first army helicopter pilot.

The Air Force places the first woman on crew flight status.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a Public law removing legal ceilings on women's promotions that had kept them out of the general and flag ranks. This law also dropped the two percent ceiling on officer and enlisted strengths for women in the armed forces.

In the fall of 1976, women enrolled in the military service academies.

War in the Persian Gulf (1990-1991):  The largest single deployment of military women in US history took place during the Persian Gulf Wars. They served in all areas of the operation except direct combat.

During this time the Army names a woman "Drill Sergeant of the Year". The first women were assigned to command Missile and air refueling squadrons. Women participated in the space program in ground support, as shuttle mission specialists and space shuttle commanders.

In this century women have been added to the ranks of embassy guards, Presidential Military Aide, drug interdiction officers, and the military sniper program.

Col Nicole Malachowski a graduate of the Air Force Academy and a former Civil Air Patrol Cadet was the first woman to join the Airforce Demonstration Squadron “Thunderbirds.”

In 2008: For the first time in US military history, a woman is promoted to the 
rank of four-star general. Currently there are 57 active-duty women serving as generals or admirals

Just two years ago the ban on women serving in combat roles was lifted.

This past year 3 women graduated Army Ranger School.

The future – the future will have many opportunities and challenges. Most of us will set and reset goals and will add a dash of persistence.










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