Joe Parsetich, DAV national commander

More than 400 DAV Auxiliary members from across the nation converged in Lexington, Kentucky, Sept. 29 through Oct. 1 for the 2022 DAV Auxiliary National Fall Conference.

At the annual event, members were educated on activities planned for the coming year, veteran advocacy alongside DAV, and programs such as Auxiliary Juniors and scholarships.

DAV National Commander Joe Parsetich said that witnessing his wife, Meg, be a leader in the Auxiliary at the unit and state levels has shown him the importance of the Auxiliary and its mission.

“Just as Meg and I have found a common goal in serving veterans, DAV and the Auxiliary have been united in a common cause and shared purpose since the Auxiliary was founded after 1922,” he said. “While veterans’ needs have changed over the last 100 years, our duty to attend to those needs and the scars of war, physical or not, has endured.”

The commander continued by praising Auxiliary members for volunteering in hospitals and as DAV Transportation Network drivers to ensure veterans get the care they earned.

“The Auxiliary shines as a community in support of DAV’s mission, supporting the unique needs of families and caregivers of veterans,” Parsetich said.

The conference was a good chance to hear directly from other Auxiliary members and connect, said Peggy Roberts of Unit 62 in Buffalo, Missouri.

Roberts spends at least three days a week as a volunteer driver.

“It’s my mission from God as far as I am concerned,” Roberts said. “I like to help others. Veterans are my passion.”

Auxiliary leaders shared details about happenings and needs in national campaigns on Americanism, community service, Auxiliary Junior activities and Department of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service.

Darlene Spence, Auxiliary national commander

“Only through the togetherness of DAV and the Auxiliary can we meet the seen and often unseen needs of veterans and their families,” said Auxiliary National Commander Darlene Spence. “We must expand our membership ranks to meet the changing needs of veterans. Our unified work is to fulfill the needs and ensure veterans and families, including full-time caregivers like myself, are not left behind.”

Randy Reese, executive director of DAV National Service and Legislative Headquarters in Washington, D.C., also spoke at the Auxiliary conference. He noted that, through the Commander’s Action Network, members of DAV and the Auxiliary sent 45,000 emails to members of Congress and made 1,300 phone calls in the weeks before the passage of the Honoring our PACT Act.

“When DAV and the Auxiliary members email, call and write their elected representatives on behalf of veterans, they speak with one voice,” Reese said. “When there are enough emails and calls, then the lawmakers want to see who is speaking.

Randy Reese, executive director of DAV National Service and Legislative Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

“You’re representing DAV and the Auxiliary,” he continued. “We’re taking care of those who served this nation—and their families. You can never forget their families.”

Auxiliary National Adjutant Bunny Clos said the event was extremely successful, thanks to the large attendance of enthusiastic members from across the nation and the entertaining and informational program presentations.

“Members left energized and ready to enhance our organization throughout the veteran communities we serve,” Clos said.

During the conference, national program chairs presented information to inform members on how to execute and expand each program within the community to further the shared mission of assisting veterans and their families.

Bunny Clos, Auxiliary national adjutant

“Being here is where you learn about how you can expand the inspiring work DAV and the Auxiliary do for veterans every day,” Clos said. “If you missed this year, you need to be here next year.”

Roberts said she encourages her fellow Auxiliary members to attend the fall conference to meet people and get to know the larger mission of DAV and the Auxiliary.

“It’s informational,” Roberts said. “I learn something new every year I come. You can take it back to your state and implement what you hear here.”