Carlene Ashworth was elected national president of the American Legion Auxiliary during the organization's 90th National Convention in Milwaukee on Aug 28-Sept 2, 2010.
She is a 45-year member of the American Legion Auxiliary. During these years, she held numerous leadership positions as she progressed from unit to district and up to department levels.
At the national level, she served as national vice-president. In addition, she chaired a number of committees: Membership, Community Service, National Security, Education, Legislative, Leadership, Junior Activities, Children & Youth, and Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation. She is a current board member of the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation.
In her address, she spoke of the opportunity she had to visit the VA Home and speak with our elderly veterans. She also toured a Homeless Veterans' Center which helps them get back some normalcy in their lives. She also visited a new Women's Veterans Shelter that is opening up.
She is very proud of the mission statement of the American Legion Auxiliary because she feels it accurately reflects everything the auxiliary does - in her words, it's "who we are." We are here to support our veterans and their families.
Her theme this year is the "Power of One" - one unit, one district, one department, one division. She stressed that working together can and will make a huge difference in our communities, our state, and our nation. She wants members to get back to their organizations roots and become the center of the community activities once again.
A new membership award has been offered this year - The Service, Not Self Award. The criteria for this award is that the unit exemplifies and promotes harmony in the unit, and who welcomes and encourages all members to the unit, and are accepting and open to change. The award is available to all units who are nominated. This award came about after a membership survey reflected that a major concern of members was disharmony in the units. Members were disheartened that meetings contained so much conflict that it was resulting in members skipping meetings.
The one program that seems to be very close to her is the National Veterans' Creative Arts Festival. The VA uses this program as a form of rehabilitative treatment to help veterans recover from and cope with physical and emotional disabilities. This program provides an avenue for veterans to compete in local creative arts competitions. The American Legion Auxiliary is one of the three main sponsors of this $100,000 program.
Carlene Ashworth spoke of the good times she enjoyed this week while in Arizona - especially with the warmer weather as compared to the winter weather of Texas where she currently resides. She had a lot of good laughs; in particular with Debbie, a.k.a. the U-Turn Queen. She thanked the unit for their hospitality, and congratulated Mary Ann San Souci on the great work she's doing here.
"We are a family that works together for the betterment of our veterans and their families."