East County set to welcome two new veterans service organizations

Donna Smith, President of American Legion Auxiliary, District 22, seated at center, during early November organizational meeting for newly formed Santee American Legion Auxiliary Unit 364. Standing behind Smith to the right is Santee American Legion Post 364 Commander Robyn Nolin, who spearheaded organization of the new service organization.

One hundred years ago, the U.S. Congress chartered two enduring veterans service organizations. The first was The American Legion, composed of military veterans and active-du­ty service members. The second was the American Legion Auxil­iary, whose members were at the time female relatives of military veterans and active-duty service members. East County now has one new Auxiliary Unit based out of Santee and will early next year have another based out in El Cajon. Santee American Legion Post 364 assisted with organizing ALA Unit 364, with its officers formally installed in November. El Cajon Post 303 reported that its new ALA Unit 303 members met earlier this month and tapped Auxiliary of­ficers willing to serve.

While other ALA Units in central San Diego have recently disbanded, turned in their charters, and dispersed members to other units, these new East County service organizations are forming up to serve not only veterans and active-duty mili­tary personnel but also the local communities near their bases of operation.

Santee American Legion Post Commander Robyn Nolin, who re­fers to herself as the “Nurse Com­mander,” remarked on the wel­come development. “This had been a dream of mine,” Nolin said. “And this happened really quickly.”

Department of California American Legion Commander Ed Grimsley, who oversees all California Legionnaires, at­tended the installation for ALA Unit 364. “I am almost speech­less,” Grimsley said. “This is the youngest group of Auxiliary members, and they are ready to work for America and for vet­erans. We need to support this Unit.”

Santee American Legion Post 364 and its Auxiliary Unit 364 are located at 8516 N. Magnolia Avenue. El Cajon Post 303 and its newly forming ALA Unit 303 meet at the Cajon Valley Union School District on E. Main Street.