Shelley M. Dragoo
American Legion Auxiliary, Department of SD
147 Grand Ave
Lead, SD 57754
The position of Chaplain is an exciting and rewarding support position specially created to encourage thoughtfulness, compassion, empathy and love in the members of the American Legion Auxiliary. Although the duties are simple enough, the words that are written or spoken for each prayer, or written in a card or said to the grieving, are some of the most important pieces of the spiritual journey each Chaplain takes. The Chaplain is the spiritual ambassador of the American Legion Auxiliary and should take every step needed to create and foster emotional and spiritual support within the organization.
Our duties as Chaplain include:
Praying for the American Legion Auxiliary, its members and leaders and for success in carrying out our mission.
Guiding members through prayer experiences that are appropriate for the situation.
Provide and promote emotional and spiritual support to the American Legion Family by sending emails, prayers etc., to members throughout the administrative year.
Reconnect with the heart of God, the master of might, and promote our founding fathers’ desire to create one nation under God.
Be present and responsible for all invocations, benedictions and memorial services for deceased members at official meetings.
Recommend educational materials that promote a spirit of unity and love.
Create spiritual, fun events throughout the year that provide fellowship time and spiritual growth.
Now, this project is near and dear to my heart. This is my personal project that I would like to share with, and invite all of you to participate in. The object of this project is to spread a bit of love and kind words to someone (anyone—it does not need to be limited to veterans) who may be in need.
The pillow may be any shape, but try to keep it simple and smaller—perhaps 10 to 12 inches max. (Hearts are nice as they mirror Melanie’s theme this year, and what a beautiful symbol of what we are trying to accomplish) Yes, they can be crocheted or knitted or sewn—anything that is sturdy and beautiful and gets our message across.
They must be made of soft, washable material such as flannel or fleece. (I have made some of mine out of old flannel shirts)
The pocket must be the size of (at least) a business card and must be well sewn on.
The stuffing must also be washable—preferably a synthetic-type—no wool based stuffing.
The “prayers” should be short and uplifting. Keep it ecumenical in nature and focus on positive thoughts. You can do up to 5 cards with sayings on front and back. The font needs to be easy to read and a larger type—some of the folks receiving these have very challenging eye sight.
Make sure you give yourself some credit. One of the cards should have the Unit’s information and the Auxiliary symbol on it.
This would be a great project for unit members that struggle to get to meetings, but can sew.
Make sure to take pictures for Shelley’s report, and post them on our Facebook page so we can all see what you are doing!!
This project is meant to comfort the hurting—whether it is hospitalization, comfort in long-term-care, the loss of a loved one, or just a pick-me-up for someone special. These would be more than appropriate for giving at Christmas time too, and have been approved for use at any time at the State Home, Fort Meade VA, Hot Springs VA and approval is pending with the Sioux Falls VA.
Have fun with this and use it anytime it seems appropriate. Be bold and try new things with this project. If you have someone who quilts and needs an outlet, a very special prayer pillow made by them might do the trick!! Try new shapes or themes. I can’t wait to see what everyone does!!
Please make sure to send me pictures and stories about how you have given them out and what impact they have had, so I can get a great report done for the end of the year. Thank you for supporting this fun program!! If you have any questions, please contact me at any time.
President’s Prayer Book
The Department of South Dakota has always encouraged Unit Chaplains to turn in Prayers for the President’s Prayer Book. I have heard amazing and thought-provoking statements, thoughts and prayers at meeting after meeting. Those words should be celebrated and archived in a beautiful book that our President can turn to in her hours of need, and to remember her year by reading the beautiful prayers created by our members. Please turn in prayers for the President’s Prayer Book by May 19th, 2017. You can mail them to the address above, or you may email them as well. Let’s make sure President Melanie has a beautiful book for State Convention in June!!
Prayer Book Competition
The Department of South Dakota has, in the past encouraged Unit Chaplains to submit prayer books for competition at the end of the year. This year will be no different. I know there are some great Chaplains out there and their work should be recognized. Please bring your prayer books to State Convention in June for Judging!! If you can’t make it to State Convention, please send them to the address listed above and I will make sure it gets there and gets judged! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Shelley at any time.
I encourage Units to send reports of your activities. Mid-year would need to be sent to your District President by November 15th, 2016 and the year-end by April 15th, 2017. I would love to see what wonderful activities you are doing in your Units and be able to report back to the National Chaplain that South Dakota is the most supportive and spiritual state in the Union. Have a great Auxiliary year and God Bless!!