American Legion Auxiliary Empire Girls State
The Empire Girls State is a hands-on week-long educational workshop held at SUNY Brockport, focusing on Americanism and the political process. Through interviews in February, the Oxford Auxiliary sponsors either one or two girls, Oxford Academy High School juniors, to participate in the ALA Girl State. Students must be in the top third of their class. Consideration is given to scholastic achievements, leadership, character, honesty and physical fitness.
Those attending Girls State sessions will learn how the legislative system works through hands-on experience. They will create “cities” establishing laws, run for office, write and debate legislative bills and participate in simulated “trials.”
The experience the girls will take away from this will be life changing. At the conclusion of the week some may choose to pursue a career in the legislative system, some in the legal system and others a life of service. Lifelong friendships may be made as well.
Lorrin Parks had a great time that June week at SUNY Brockport. Parks said, “Not only did I improve my speaking skills, but I also learned more about my country and patriotism. I believe that people of my generation are not as patriotic as they should be, and quite frankly before Girls State, I was not either. Because ofthis experience I have learned how to properly show respect to my country. Another great part of Girls State was the people. I met so many great people and I, easily, doubled my amount of friends just in the course of a week.” She added, “Although the week was tiring, I would go back next week if I was given the opportunity. I have to thank the Oxford Auxiliary, without all of you, this week would not have been possible for me.”
(L to R) Our Empire Girls State delegates Lorrin Parks - 2013, Alyssa McCann - 2014, Samantha Mack - 2015, Lacey Hathaway - 2016, and Vanessa Hadlock - 2017.
Congratulations Empire Girls State delegates!
Oxford Memorial Day Parade and Riverview Cemetery Ceremony
Last Monday in May
|ALA President, Sylvia Witchella placing a wreath at St. Joseph's Cemetery on Memorial Day.
Day has become the most important day of
recognition of our armed forces. In Oxford, NY, on each Memorial Day
(the last Monday in May), many homes and
businesses along the parade route are decorated with American flags and
red, white and blue flowers to honor
veterans and active service personnel
who have served or have given their
lives. Several activities
-including five memorial services and a
parade- will take place in Oxford
beginning at 8 a.m.
The first memorial service is held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery on West State Street. There's a wreath laying ceremony, a rifle salute, and Taps is played.
They return to the Fort Hill Post home where the parade lines up.
To read the actual itinerary and see several great photos, visit here.
There is a salute honoring those who died at sea at the Main Street Bridge (that crosses over the Chenango River), followed by a rifle salute.
At the Riverview Cemetery there's a ceremony and speeches and another rifle salute.
Following the Riverview ceremony, Legion members visit the NYS Veterans’ Home for a memorial service for the veterans, held in the recreation room. A rifle salute is done outside.
Lastly, the color guard goes to the Warn Ten Broeck Cemetery to place a wreath and to salute the deceased.
For the Community
In November, the ALA
helps cook turkeys for the Community Thanksgiving dinner held at St. Joseph's Church, on Thanksgiving day. The Auxiliary works with many community hands that help make this dinner possible. It is
organized by the Church and the Church Women United (CWU) of Oxford and is served from 12-noon to 1 p.m.
Community Christmas Gift Baskets - The American Legion is one of four rotating Oxford groups in charge of gift baskets. The other three groups are the Fire Dept. Auxiliary, Oxford Lions Club, and Rotary of Oxford. These generous gift "baskets" were established to help genuinely needy families who have young children in the Oxford schools at holiday time. They are to provide the children with a set of clothes and one gift as well as food (mostly collected in a food drive by the entire school), for at least the day, if not more depending on donations. Approximately 30-50 baskets are prepared each year, from nominated family names, collected from October 1st thru December 1st, who are then approved.
NYS Veterans’ Home Volunteers' Christmas Luncheon
Since 1983, the 6th District American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) has been holding an annual Christmas Gift Give-Away & Party at the NYS Veterans' Home at Oxford, for the residents. It was handled by Carol Johnson, however, she has retired. It is now bring organized by Tami Zebrowski-Darrow (aka Mrs. Santa) from ALA Unit 1645 in Binghamton. It is a way of saying "thanks" for all they did for us - so we can have the freedoms we have today. For six months in advance, the 6th District ALA Field Service Rep. coordinates, collects donations, shops, and prepares for this one day, and it is always held on the 2nd Sat. in December, from 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Click here to see more info on the "Christmas Gift Giveaway Party" from Tami Zebrowski-Darrow and the 6th District about making donations. Financial contributions are also used for things needed at the Home, and for resident's entertainment (i.e. Bingo, Casino Day, Flower Days, Horse Races, etc.). Volunteers are always needed. More than 100 volunteers come to the Veterans' Home to help with the Christmas Gift Give-Away and give 450+
hours of volunteering.
Here is the (PDF) list from the NYS Veterans' Home on permitted and non-permitted items.
On this same December day, the Oxford American Legion Auxiliary prepares and serves a free luncheon for those many volunteers. It is held
in the Oxford Legion Post #376 dining room. This luncheon was started by Sally Finch years ago as the Unit 376's donation toward the program. The Unit will not accept any money or tips. Please make luncheon (PDF) reservations. Two seating times: noon and one p.m.
In 2012, Unit 376 served 93 people! (2014 was only 70.) Thanks to Unit 376 Auxiliary members who donated their home baked Christmas cookies. Everyone loved them!
Bingo the NYS Veterans’ Home at Oxford
The Chenango County Auxiliary organizes this event, although, others from the Legion, Auxiliary, Sons of the Legion and Legion Riders members just show up to help out as it's personally rewarding. It is held annually on the first Saturday of January at the NYS Veterans' Home at Oxford.
Volunteering starts at 1 p.m. by bringing the residents down from their rooms to the game room and helping them get set-up at the tables with their Bingo cards. The Bingo game starts at 1:30 p.m. and you help the residents play (the cards are hard to see or handle for some). Play continues (about two hours) until everybody has won at least one-time. The players receive prizes provided by the County Auxiliary, usually their choice of money or a really nice hand knit blanket.