This month, Susanne Wastlund of Coushatta passed the gavel to Estelle Horton. Wastlund’s year as President of the Louisiana State VFW Auxiliary came to an end. She told a packed room at the State VFW and Auxiliary Convention in Alexandria, “I appreciate all of you for your year of service. I thank all Auxiliary members and my whole team. This country girl stands humbly blessed.”
For the past few years, Wastlund has served local Auxiliary 7287, the Northwest Louisiana District Auxiliary and the state Auxiliary in a number of positions. She has traveled the state visiting most of the nearly 100 VFW Posts and Auxiliaries. She served with humility and much energy.
The Journal sat down with Wastlund this week to reflect on her year as President. She looked back at accomplishments including “programs that take care of veterans and their families. The focus was and continues to be supporting the VFW mission of working with veterans and their families” said Wastlund, adding “Any hospital need, anything to benefit military veterans transitioning to home from their service life, and supporting active duty personnel and their families is our mission.”
One of Wastlund’s special focus areas was mental health services. She said, “We worked with recognizing conditions faced by veterans and helping them find the resources to meet their needs.” Another area Wastlund is proud of is their hospital and nursing home visitations. She said, “I wanted to make sure they are not forgotten. After all that is the mission of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the VFW Auxiliary.”
Wastlund joined other Louisiana Auxiliary officials and officers from the Louisiana VFW in going to Washington last spring to lobby congress members. They raised issues dealing with the needs of veterans before members of the Louisiana delegation to Washington.
Veterans of Foreign Wars welcomes service men and women who have served in combat situations. The Auxiliary welcomes men and women who are spouses or relatives to combat vets.
Now that she is back at the local Auxiliary in Coushatta is Wastlund through? She said, “Heck no! We’ve got to take it to the streets, to present the people of Red River Parish with a local organization that is strong and active in the community. We have to continue our root mission of being of assistance to active duty military men and women, to veterans and retirees, and to their families.”
Two other members of Auxiliary 7287 in Coushatta were elected to statewide offices at the recent state convention. They are Angelia McCoy, elected Senior Vice President and Ramel Fields, elected Conductress. Both McCoy and Fields are active in the local Auxiliary.
Anyone with a question or in need of help with the Veterans Administration or any other benefit due those who have served our country may call the local VFW and Auxiliary at 318-932-6557.