COLFAX — Congratulations to the VFW Auxiliary, Post 2003 of Colfax for being the first Auxiliary in the State of California ever to be awarded VFW Foundation Post/VFW Auxiliary Community Support Grant funds of $1,000.
The grant was sought by former auxiliary president, Kathryn Holt.
“The purpose of this grant is to provide financial support to VFW Posts and Auxiliaries conducting a local outreach program, supporting a local nonprofit or enhancing their Post buildings that directly improve their ability to perform a community service,” said Jason Couch, grant coordinator of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation. “VFW Auxiliaries can conduct grant activities on their own or leverage grant funds in partnership with other non-VFW charities that have existing programs or services, such as in areas of Mental Health Awareness and suicide prevention. VFW Foundation grant funds must be expended within nine months, which coincides with the time frame expected for project completion.”
Under the leadership of Holt, the Colfax VFW Auxiliary looked at new methods of strengthening, diversifying, and broadening the membership base to appeal to younger service members and their families.
Membership numbers soared, as one of the youngest elected presidents saw opportunities and seized the moment. Holt recruited many enthusiastic, devoted members, who had full lives, working, raising families but responded favorably to joining due to the criteria she presented. Many could not attend the monthly week night meetings. However, each “new” member agreed to answering the “call of duty two to three times per year when asked to participate on a specific assignment or project.”
And every single member was more than willing to help on or volunteer for weekend events, make/donate raffle items, or whatever the need was at the time.
“These service members and their families have been a part of the nation’s conflicts in Colombia, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, and other ‘hotspots,’” Holt said. “They need to know they are supported by their local VFW and VFW Auxiliary Posts with outreach programs that can help them transition back into civilian life or get them any help they need once they return home.”
Michelle Balaguay, former auxiliary treasurer, said Holt’s leadership had a strong impact.
“I can remember her first year on Memorial Day, only seven people showed up to place over 400 American Flags on graves, it us took almost eight hours,” Balaguay said. “The following Veterans Day, Holt recruited over 145 people and the flags were placed on the graves in record time — less than 45 minutes; allowing her the opportunity to do an exceptional impromptu program. In past years, we had been told the occasional, annual POW/MIA Program netted an audience, including the actual VFW participants themselves, of 34 people. However, the year Holt got involved ‘The Guest Book,’ reflected over 290 signatures. Time and time again, I was witness to her motivating, inspiring, and unifying people to come together and show their sincere appreciation to Veterans and their families.
“She is energetic, dynamic and vivacious. We fed off her positive energy and there was nothing we couldn’t do with her enthusiasm, ideas, and leadership.”
Holt has successfully applied and secured grants for several organizations within Northern California over the past few years because of her team approach to grant writing. For the Auxiliary grant, she enlisted several members of Post 2003 to plan a worthwhile community service project designed help younger service members through a series of community endeavors outlined below as it appeared in the grant application.
The V.F.W. Auxiliary, Post 2003 of Colfax is applying in support of receiving $1,000 grant money.
The Auxiliary has brought comprehensive patriotic programs to area schools and the community highlighting different topics such as the American Flag, the Statue of Liberty, “Sacrifice,” a rally for high schools and supporting the Honor Game, a series of high school football games dedicated to recognizing all veterans with their families.
Additionally, this auxiliary has been the anchor sponsor for the past four years for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Walk and the Kids vs Cops Shoot-A-Thon benefiting the Placer 10-35 Foundation.