Serving as your 2016 -2017 American Legion Department of Louisiana President is one of the highest honors in my life. I am a Chartered Member of Tucker A. Gregoire Unit 258 of Springfield, Louisiana. My love for the American Legion Auxiliary began in 1977 when my Italian War Bride Mother, Franca Petho, an American Citizen, reorganized Unit 258. This was the beginning of a span of almost forty years of dedicated service to the American Legion Auxiliary. I have had the privilege to serve with my Dad, Alex Petho, Sr. and former husband, Tommy Ray Sykes as Post Commanders. During this time, I served in many capacities on the District and Department levels. This was a true learning experience and an honor. I gained the insight of how the American Legion Family works. My daughter Angela Kraft and her two children, Hannah and Evan were a part of Mom and Grandma’s adventure. It’s still an adventure. Words cannot express enough appreciation that I feel for the members of this Department. Thank you.
My Theme for the 2016 -2017 year came to me as a gift from an “Angel.” “Help Me, Help You, Help Our Veterans.” You’ve got to help me, so that I can help you and then we all can help our veterans together. I am from a Gold Star Family. My Uncle Andrew Petho, served as Medic in the Korean Conflict, losing his life in a concentration camp in Siberia. My brother in law, Donald Radford Roberson lost his life on a beach in Viet Nam at the age of 18. Don’t ever forget our MIA’s and POW’s.
My Department Pin is one of simplicity. The State of Louisiana, Legion Family Emblems, a Red Heart for the Love that we need to extend to each other always. The gold cross in the top right corner with the initials HLK is in Memory of my granddaughter, Hannah Leigh Kraft, Past Honorary Junior Department President 2006 – 2007.
This year plans are being implemented to bring this Department into the future. Changes are needed. They begin with us. A great group of Department Chairman have been selected, along with our Department Officers. AKA – Membership Team. Support these ladies that volunteer their time, not only on the Department level, but District and Unit levels. Praise that Unit member who silently gets the job done.
Working with the Department Commander, Rudy Bourg and Sons of the American Legion Squadron Commander, John Lawerence and our Honorary Department Junior President, Caroline Whisonant will be one so much fun. Let the memories begin.
“We are all connected, we all belong to one race, The Human Race.”