Mid-Winter Conference 2007     
JoAnn Cronin
National President
Special Guest
Department of Mississippi
American Legion Auxiliary
Battlefield Inn, Vicksburg, Miss.
January 19-21, 2007

The 2007 Mid-Winter Conference was held again at the Battlefield Inn in Vicksburg, and the
hospitality and accommodations were satisfactory as usual.  Of course, no gathering is
complete without a little extra excitement.  
Hours prior to our opening session, the
Auxiliary's meeting room caught fire!  
Vicksburg's finest rushed to the scene and
saved the day, but the Executive Committee
\meeting was moved to the Legion's
meeting room.

The opening session proceeded on
schedule, and Dept. President Shirley
Turner called the conference to order at
1:30 p.m.  After the formal opening and
introduction of officers and Past Dept.
Presidents, President Turner introduced
and welcomed our National President JoAnn Cronin of Missouri.

Ms. Cronin gave us an inspiring address,  thanking all the program chairmen for their
dedicated work.  She also introduced Mississippi's National committee appointments: Janice
Crosby, Southern Division Chairman on Junior Activities; Glenda Wheelis, Southern Division
Chairman on the Community Service Committee; and Kathy Dungan, Vice Chairman of the
Poppy Committee.

She asked us all to look for ways to keep our juniors active, especially those who turn 18 and
tend to drop out, rather than becoming active senior members.  

Her theme, "We Can Do It," certainly applies to our veterans.  As she said, "Veterans are so
important to us."  

Ms. Cronin spoke at length about the Creative Arts Festival, which ALA sponsors to the tune of
$100,000 each year.  The program, she stressed, is not about what they do (at the festival), but
how the program helps them make a comeback and serves as a recuperative program.

Three areas National President Cronin believes the Auxiliary should focus on and serve:
  • Meet the needs of our Veterans
  • Caring for our current servicemen and women
  • Cultivating our Juniors

"I have a soft spot for juniors," Cronin said.  "I think fondly of my years as a junior and the
training I received."

We has several guests, including representatives from the VA (Tinker and Betty Martin, State VA
Board of Directors for Claims), the mayor of Vicksburg, and Jim Smith, Executive Director of
Angel Flight Mid-Atlantidc and V.P. of Operations of Mercy Medical Airlift in Virginia Beach, Va.  
Mr. Smith said his group had helped more than 20,000 people last year in special medical
airlifts and saved $1.3 million for those who used the services.

Dept. Program Chairmen gave informative reports.  Here are some highlights:
  • UD & R reported the formation of a new unit at Horn Lake
  • Lorene Martin (who gave her own report this year and did a great job) encouraged all
    Units to contribute to AEF--we've certainly received more than we've given!
  • A Poppy Corsage Contest was underway to raise money for the Creative Arts Festival;
    $1 per vote
  • $1,300 had been given to the Anchor Club to date.  Several members and Units turned
    in contribution checks during Mid-Winter, totaling $650, that will certainly raise that figure!
  • The juniors, with the assistance of National President Cronin and Dept. President
    Turner, presented the Flag Folding Ceremony for the delegation
  • More than 120 membership renewals were turned in to the Membership Chairman,
    Madeline Vuncannon
  • The Juniors gave National President Cronin with a check for $50 for the Creative Arts
    Festival, presented by Sarah Jo Housely
  • More than 140 senior members attended Mid-Winter, along with nine juniors
  • Fifteen Past Dept. Presidents were in attendance
  • Overia Coleman's delicious caramel cake raffle brought in $277 for the Dept. Support
  • The Silent Auction, raffles and other Support Fund activities brought in more than $820
    ($486--Silent Auction; $270--quilt raffle and $64--miscellaneous raffles)
  • New this year, Lou Wilkerson and the Support Fund Committee held a special Poker
    Run.  With the help of the ladies of Pascagoula Unit 160, this successful fundraiser
    brought in $1,383 for the support fund
  • Dept. of Mississippi Commander Henry Trest addressed the delegation and spoke of
    unity and importance of working our membership

All in all, we enjoyed a delightful conference led by Dept. President Shirley Turner.
Shirley Turner
Department President
with Personal Page
Mary Jane Irvin
Dept. Historian Angela Kilcrease
(left) accepts 100% citation from
Pres. Cronin (right) for her home
Unit--Walthall Co. 56 in Tylertown.
Sharon Langley (left) and PDP
Billie Jean Gorden efficiently man
the registration table.
Special PDPs Frances Hale-Bond
(left) and Jean Eady (right) remain
faithful to the Auxiliary.  You'll
always see them near the front row.