National President Visits Mississippi       
Carol Van Kirk
National President
Department of Mississippi
American Legion Auxiliary
American Legion Auxiliary News Release
777 N. Meridian St., 3rd Floor, Indianapolis, IN  46204-1420
Lee Harris

Accentuate positive, minimize negative has new meaning for American
Legion Auxiliary leader

INDIANAPOLIS – Jan. 6, 2006 – American’s are accustomed to members of
the American Legion family coordinating community events, volunteering at
veterans hospitals and conducting programs benefiting children.  Yet, when
members of the American Legion family hear from the National President of the
American Legion Auxiliary in Vicksburg they might be surprised at her message.  
Carol Van Kirk of Sutton, Neb., believes posts and units need to do more to help
the troops and it won’t take a lot of time or money.

    “I’m sick and tired of negative news reports about how the war is going in
Iraq,” the successful business owner says.  “We (in the American Legion family)
need to do more than simply support the troops.  We need to be telling the story
of how Iraqi girls are going to school and how our troops are helping children
and families -- not only in Iraq, but everywhere they find themselves fighting the
war on terror,” Van Kirk says.  She believes balanced news is needed to keep
politics to a minimum and to help everyone understand that we are not simply
fighting a war in Iraq but a global war on terrorism.  

    Van Kirk will be a featured speaker during the Mississippi American Legion
family’s Mid-Winter Conference at the Battlefield Inn in Vicksburg January 20,
where nearly 500 people from around the state gather.  Besides urging
members of the nation’s largest patriotic women’s organization in Mississippi to
spread the good news she also will be sharing with them the need to replenish
her organization’s emergency fund that was a source of important family help in
the wake of the hurricanes that crushed the Gulf Coast last year.  “We certainly
are paying out much more than we are taking in.  It is critical that our members
keep the fund viable through their donations,” Van Kirk said.

    During the weekend Van Kirk will also present citations for Auxiliary units in
Mississippi that achieve 100 percent in membership by the end of 2005.  She will
also spend time talking with young members of her organization, known as
Juniors, emphasizing to them the important role they play today and will play in
the future for America and its veterans.

    There are many other challenges for American Legion Auxiliary members but
the likeable business-owner is upbeat about the future for her organization.  
“The role of women in general is changing,” she emphasizes.  “I think we need to
make the American Legion Auxiliary the organization that women want to join.”  
She stresses that getting actively involved in meeting community needs is
essential.  “We believe the American Legion Auxiliary is an excellent outlet for
that deep-rooted volunteer spirit.  Through this organization we strive to
empower women to inspire communities with just such a spirit.”