Vermillion Legion Auxiliary celebrates â�?�?birthâ�?�? Organization received charter in 1920, is still active By Dave Lias
Plain Talk The members of Vermillionâ�?�?s Wallace Post #1 American Legion Auxiliary will likely admit to you that they wouldnâ�?�?t mind an infusion of younger women from the community to help them fulfill their roles relating to caring for veterans in the region. But those who have remained active have chosen to beat the odds of demographics that seem to be working against them. Yes, the membership of the Auxiliary is dwindling, and those who are still active are closely linked to Americaâ�?�?s greatest generation â�?�? some old enough to have had to watch as their husbands joined the military to fight in World War II. These women demonstrated just how devoted they are to their organization May 13 by gathering in the Senior Citizen Center here to celebrate its 88th anniversary. This tight-knit group of Vermillion women is determined to carry out the duties of the organization, despite declining womanpower. As of April 1, the Auxiliary has 16 members.�? One is in a nursing home out of town and three are in the Sanford Vermillion Care Center. Only 11 of those 16 members could be expected to be physically able to attend Auxiliary meetings, Edis noted.�? â�?�?For our unit to retain its Charter, we must have 10 members on our roll.�? Nine of the 16 remaining members of Wallace Post #1 American Legion Auxiliary are older than 83 years of age,â�? she said. â�?�?Only seven are younger than 83 years of age.â�?�? It is the goal of the Auxiliary Revitalization Committee that by May 4, 2009, the Auxiliary will have at least 40 members on its roll inclusive of â�?�?tiny totsâ�? aged birth to age five; juniors age 5 to 18; current members and at least10 adult members over the age of 18 who have become members of Wallace Post #1 American Legion Auxiliary between March 10, 2008 and May 4 of 2009. â�?�?Of that group, perhaps the most potentially important new members will be those girls who join the Auxiliary as Junior Auxiliary members age 5 to 18,â�? Edis said. â�?�?Her activities will develop respect for our flag and sensitize her to consider why â�?�?America is the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.â�?�? â�?�? During its May 13 meeting, the Auxiliary also took time to honor the memory of Helen Manley. â�?�?Helen Manleyâ�?�?s birth in the year 1920 is for our Auxiliary a historic observance. In Vermillion of that same year,�? 1920, Adalaide Wallace at times still found tears flowing without warning,â�? Edis Anderson said. In 1918, her husband, Col. E. J. Wallace had become the First World War I casualty from the whole state of South Dakota.�? In 1919, the very first American Legion in the state of South Dakota had been chartered by Vermillion and named in his honor: Wallace Post #1 American Legion. Edis said Adelaide realized that she was not alone in her loneliness. Other women and girls with a relationship to a veteran who had served during a time of conflict were also feeling alone, and the Legion was showing care for the veterans who returned from the War. But, there was no organization in Vermillion to provide comfort to the mothers, daughters, wives and the grandmothers of deceased veterans or to the members of the Vermillion American Legion, Edis said. â�?�?It was a unique group of girls and women who were already so uniquely bonded by their veterans,â�? she said. â�?�?The continuing need of many veterans and their families in Vermillion was obvious.â�? Adelaide went to work, Edis said, and helped launch the Vermillion Legion Auxiliary that is still active today. The purpose of this Christian organization: â�?�?To give aid to the Veteran; their family and the Vermillion Community and to consecrate and sanctify this association by devotion to mutual helpfulness.â�? The Auxiliary also took time to honor the life of Helen Manley. Accordig to Evelyn Hermanson, membership chairman of the Auxiliary, Helen became a member of our Vermillion American Legion Auxiliary on Jan. 20, 1972. â�?�?That means that Helen became a member of the Auxiliary more than 35 years ago,â�? she said. â�?�?Helen was made eligible for membership in the American Legion Auxiliary by her husband, Captain Clifford M. Manley.â�? It was in August of 1942 that Clifford Manley was drafted as a private into the Army Signal Corps in August 1942. â�?�?Helen was 22. In June, just three months before that, she and Cliff had been married in Tyndall,â�? Evelyn said.�? For the next four years, like many other young women, Helen became a â�?�?war bride.â�?�? â�?�?Manleyâ�?�?s son, Doug, and son-in-law, Allan Jones have provided interesting comments about their parentsâ�?�? joint years of service to their country.�? I cannot state just how much time Helen was able to be near Cliff during those four years,â�? Evelyn said. â�?�?However, we do know that two years after he was drafted, which would be the year of 1944, Cliff was stationed in California.â�?�? While in the service, Cliff was sent half-way around the world, to the South Pacific and India. For four years, from 1942 to 1946, Helen marched shoulder to shoulder with Cliff, Evelyn said, noting that sometimes Cliffâ�?�?s shoulder was half way around the world. Norm and Mildred Herren became familiar with the Manley family shortly after they moved to Vermillion.â�?When we first knew the Manleys, Helen was a stay-at-home mom.�? She was always willing to help her neighbors when help was needed.�? At one point, help was needed for an aide to supervise the lunch room at Jolley School,â�? Mildred said. â�?�?Helen had been an elementary teacher.�? With her experience and caring concern for children, she became a great addition to the staff at Jolley School.â�?�? �? �? �? �? �? Not long after that, help was needed in the Special Education room.�? She then became an aide in that classroom and soon became the full-time teacher and stayed in that position until her retirement in 1985. â�?�?I not only knew her as a neighbor and teacher, but also as a friend. We often shared information about our families. We often ate together while our husbands were at Lion Club meetings,â�? Mildred said. â�?�?Helen and Cliff had a number of Christmas parties.�? We always enjoyed being in their home. After 59 years of marriage, Cliff passed away on Sept.�? 3, 2001. Helen was truly a friend and is missed by all who knew her.â�? The Auxiliary members honored Helenâ�?�?s memory by draping the charter of their organization.