WINSLOW — American Legion Auxiliary, Department of Maine hosted National President Sharon Conatser April 8-9 during a stopover in her year-long nationwide tour to call on community members.

Conatser had the opportunity to learn about veteran support efforts in Maine, including a Troop Support Program, which collects, packs and ships boxes to deployed troops, according to a news release from the Maine American Legion Auxiliary.

This year’s Troop Support boxes are being sent to members of the Army’s 101st Airborne in memory of Corey Edwin Garver, an Afghanistan veteran who was killed in the line of duty from Topsham. Conatser worked with Maine Auxiliary members to pack 33 boxes during the visit.

Under the direction of the organization’s Children and Youth Chairwoman Virginia Chaput, of Bath, Conatser also helped members pack 64 backpacks with school supplies and toiletries to be delivered to Maine DHHS foster kids program.

An open house was held at the Maine American Legion Auxiliary’s new state headquarters in Winslow, where Conatser participated in an official ribbon cutting. The auxiliary’s new headquarters is located on the same property as the American Legion and Sons of the American Legion’s State Headquarters. This is the first time in the organizations 96-year history that all three branches of the organization have been on the same property.

Also on April 9, Conatser was the guest of honor at a banquet hosted by the members of Grover-Hinckley American Legion Post and Auxiliary Unit 14 in Fairfield. Conatser addressed more than 80 members of the American Legion Auxiliary, the American Legion, Sons of the American Legion and American Legion Riders with the latest information from the national organization.

According to the release, Conatser, of Champaign, Illinois, was elected national president of the American Legion Auxiliary during the organization’s 95th National Convention in August 2015. Conatser, a lifetime member, joined the American Legion Auxiliary through her father Clay Lofton, an Army veteran who served in World War II and the Korean War. She also is eligible through her son, Rick Malloch, a Desert Storm veteran, and her husband, Marty Conatser, a Vietnam-Era veteran and past national commander of The American Legion. Conatser is the first national president who is also a former First Lady of The American Legion.

American Legion Auxiliary members have dedicated themselves for nearly a century to meeting the needs of our nation’s veterans, military and their families both here and abroad. They volunteer millions of hours yearly, with a value of more than $3.1 billion. As part of the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization, auxiliary volunteers across the country also step up to honor veterans and military through annual scholarships and with ALA Girls State programs, teaching high school juniors to be leaders grounded in patriotism and Americanism.

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