Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Backus Legion Wins Honor

It may be a small American Legion Auxiliary, but the unit has won a big award.

The Backus American Legion Auxiliary Unit 368 has won a Best in the Nation award for its active duty troop support program.

The award was presented to a joint meeting of the auxiliary and the post Monday by Minnesota state department Chaplain Shirley Frederick of Hackensack. Accepting the honor from the national organization on behalf of unit members were Linda and Doug Barchus, coordinators of the unit’s troop support activities, Auxiliary President Mel Taylor and post Commander Bill Taylor.

Working closely with Family Services at Camp Ripley, the unit has provided troops from all over Minnesota deployed from there with two "cool ties" and "excess ties" to troops deployed from other locations. The cloth ties made by the unit and worn around the neck contain soil moist that when dampened cools the body temperatures of soldiers by up to five degrees. The unit, with the help of the United Methodist Church of Pine River, has made 42,000 of the ties. Auxiliary unit members have given freely of their time to the troop support program, including sewing and stuffing the cool ties, baking goods and working in fundraising programs.

The unit also gave $1,100 in 2009 to the Veterans Service Center at Central Lakes College in Brainerd to help feed returning men and women attending college on a limited budget.

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