From left, Mary Walters, Sandy Mansfield, Virginia Cromer and Jeannie Wixson hold up the flag for the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265. The group is in its 65th year in Craig and will be hosting a free lunch for seniors on Aug. 12 at the covered picnic area of the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

Photo by Michelle Balleck

From left, Mary Walters, Sandy Mansfield, Virginia Cromer and Jeannie Wixson hold up the flag for the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265. The group is in its 65th year in Craig and will be hosting a free lunch for seniors on Aug. 12 at the covered picnic area of the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

Ladies Auxiliary in Craig celebrating 65th birthdday

If you go …

What: Senior picnic

When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Aug. 12

Where: Covered picnic area of the Moffat County Fairgrounds

— The event is a free lunch for all interested seniors and their family members hosted by Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265. The auxiliary, celebrating its 65th year in Craig, is looking for new members. For more information on the organization, call president Sandy Mansfield at 629-1581 or Jeannie Wixson at 276-3145.

Cooking meals, raising money for students, arranging medical equipment donations.

Women like Virginia Cromer, Jeannie Wixson, Mary Walters, Sandy Mansfield and more do it all in service of their community.

Though they have no complaints about the amount of work they do on behalf of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265, another pair of helping hands is always welcome.

As part of their ongoing community service work, the auxiliary will host a free meal for senior citizens during the Moffat County Fair. The picnic lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 12 at the fairgrounds’ covered picnic area.

Cromer, the auxiliary’s treasurer, said the group has been hosting the get-together for about 15 years.

“We usually see 150 people come in and out, people bring their grandkids and it’s a lot of fun,” she said.

This year’s event is part of the auxiliary’s 65th anniversary in Craig, a commemoration that took place earlier in the year.

The auxiliary began Feb. 21, 1946.

The signing of the charter was only months after the founding of the VFW itself, which became a Craig foundation on July 10, 1945.

The number of people who were around to see the organizations begin has decreased year by year, but many members have personal connections to the earliest days of the VFW as well as the auxiliary.

“My grandfather helped form the VFW post,” Mansfield said. “It’s always been very family-oriented.”

Mansfield has been involved with Craig’s branch of the auxiliary since 1985. She currently serves as the group’s president, overseeing community efforts like senior bingo, college scholarships for local high school students, funerals for veterans and coordinating the use of medical equipment for ailing Craig residents with financial hardships.

The list of charitable endeavors goes on.

“A lot of things we do, people don’t even know we do them,” Mansfield said. “They think that things just kind of appear.”

Mansfield said the group does not seek out accolades for their work within the community. Needing gratification would defeat the purpose of such work, which they consider a labor of love.

However, she and her colleagues would like to see a greater awareness of the group to boost membership.

Out of 73 members, only about eight or nine women are active in the group and regularly assist with projects.

“A lot of them are just too old or have moved away,” Cromer said.

Members range from 30 to 86 years old.

Wixson, the group’s chaplain, said numerous women have shown an interest in joining, but few are able to make the time commitment.

“They have jobs and families, and they can’t always follow through,” she said.

To be eligible for auxiliary membership, applicants must be age 18 or older and related to a veteran who has served overseas, whether they’re a spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, child or grandchild.

Applicants also need a DD Form 214 to verify the veteran connection.

Walters, the group’s senior vice president, joined about eight years ago through her husband. She said she has been hoping to see membership pick up in recent years.

“You never know, there could be a turnaround,” she said.

Wixson said an increase in membership could only be beneficial to the community.

“The more members we have, the more we can do,” she said.

The Ladies Auxiliary meets at 7 p.m. the third Monday of every month at the VFW, 419 E. Victory Way. For more information about joining, call Mansfield at 629-1581 or Wixson at 276-3145.

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