ShareThis Page

Byers-Tosh auxiliary shows support for area veterans

| Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, 10:30 a.m.
Eric Schmadel | Trib Total Media
Members of the Byers-Tosh American Legion Post 267 Auxiliary gather together before they distribute poppies and Veterans Day gifts to a dozen veterans at the Bethlen Home Saturday. From left are Joanne Filson, CaMae Talarico, Susan Crouse, Edith Hollick, Dalona Leonard, Connie McCoy and Martha Datz. November 2, 2013 in Ligonier.
Eric Schmadel | Trib Total Media
Poppies are distributed to the veterans at Bethlen Home for Veterans Day by members of the local American Legion Auxiliary members. The poppy program represents the sacrifice of service made by veterans since its inception by the auxiliary in 1921. The poppies are handmade by veterans as part of their therapeutic rehabilitation.

Members of the Byers-Tosh Post 267 American Legion Auxiliary got an early start honoring local military service members Saturday when they visited veterans at the Bethlen Home and the Ligonier Gardens Personal Care and Retirement Center.

Both are part of Bethlen Communities, a nonprofit, faith-based retirement community.

“We like to visit those veterans who are not able to attend the Veterans Day service on the Diamond,” said Sue Crouse, president of the auxiliary. “We walk around to the veterans' rooms, give them a small gift with a American flag attached and a poppy. We want to make them feel special.”

Sherry Humbertson of Derry is the activity director at Bethlen Homes. She said the veterans are very appreciative of the gifts and programs provided.

“They always salute the flag and it is very touching to see them try to stand up to pay respect to their country during one of these programs. It is something that is instilled in them and it is still part of their life,” said Humbertson.

Crouse of Laurel Mountain Borough, who was elected as president of the auxiliary in August, is hoping to grow the group's involvement in community activities. Like the local Legion, the auxiliary lists more than 200 members in the group but less than a dozen contribute to the many project possibilities open to the membership.

In addition to college scholarships and essay contests for students, the group is involved in numerous community outreach opportunities.

Crouse said the group supports active military families by collecting coupons and sending them to bases overseas. They also send personal care packages to deployed service men and women.

“Last year we focused on Valentine's Day and a second package in May. This year we plan to put together packages for Christmas,” said Crouse.

The organization is gathering the names and addresses of those deployed and are accepting cash donations to purchase the items most frequently requested.

The auxiliary partners with Y-Care children at the Ligonier Valley YMCA to create appreciation cards to go in the packages.

“The troops love the cards,” said Crouse. “We put several cards together on a string so they can hang them up in the barracks.”

Volunteers provide items for area homeless shelters by donating socks, T-shirts, blankets and donated clothing to the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store. Crouse said 20 percent of the area's homeless are former members of the military.

This year, the auxiliary plans to focus on the veterans affairs and rehabilitation committee. Joanne Filson of Waterford will chair this committee for the Ligonier auxiliary.

“We will be available to help them sort out VA benefits and inform them about the various veterans programs available to them,” said Filson. “We will talk to the vets about day-to-day life and help them get their life on track.”

Since this is the first year, Filson said she needs volunteers to help on the committee.

“We want to get to know the local veterans, even if they do not belong to veterans' associations,” said Crouse. “There is a great deal of isolation amongst veterans. We will visit them and provide hospitality to let them know we are here to help.”

They hope to involve local youth and Scout groups by offering leaf and snow removal services for veterans who are not able to do yard work, Crouse said.

The auxiliary meets on the third Tuesday of each month. The next meeting is 7 p.m. Nov. 19.

“We are excited to provide to the community these new outreach programs to veterans and their families,” said Crouse. “If people can just serve one day a month, it will help grow our organization. It can be as simple as cutting out coupons from the Sunday paper. Just give us one day.”

For more information about the auxiliary or to submit a deployed service man or woman's name, call 724 238-6844 or email .

Deborah A. Brehun is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-238-2111 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.