American Legion Auxiliary member Kathy Daudistel of the Department of Kentucky became the national president of the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) during the organization’s 100th National Convention held Aug. 27-Sept. 2 in Phoenix, Ariz.
Daudistel is eligible for ALA membership through her father, William Kaelin Jr., a United States Army veteran who served during the Korean War era.
An ALA member for 25 years, Daudistel has held numerous leadership positions at the unit, district, department, and national levels, including national vice president; national committee chair: Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation, Children & Youth, Poppy, National Security, Americanism, Membership, and Leadership; national committee vice chair: Junior Activities; National Executive Committee and alternate NEC.
“I think it’s the opportunities,” Daudistel said of the ALA. “There are opportunities for everybody — you don’t have to be an officer; you don’t have to be a leader. But there is always something. The Auxiliary offers something for everybody.”
Daudistel retired from a Fortune 500 company after more than 30 years where she worked in the information technology department. She earned her bachelor of science degree in information technology from Northern Kentucky University. Daudistel has two daughters, four grandchildren, and two sons-in-law.
Many people don’t identify as a caregiver because they are family members taking care of family. According to a recent Rand Corp. military caregiver research study, there are approximately 5.5 million military and veteran caregivers in the United States. Of the 5.5 million, approximately 1.1 million are caring for veterans and servicemembers who served after 9/11.
In fact, many of these caregivers are members of the American Legion Auxiliary.
Our mission includes honoring the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families. One way we can honor that sacrifice is to recognize these unsung heroes and help to make sure they have the resources and support they need to take care of their veteran.
Many of our Auxiliary members are already doing this important work, and most without even thinking about it. What better way to carry out our mission than caring for those who care for others?
This year, through the ALA’s Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation program, we plan to recognize a deserving military or veteran non-paid caregiver in every department, and hopefully when I visit your department, I can personally acknowledge them.
You can also personally show your gratitude for caregivers in your department with this Certificate of Appreciation.
To further prioritize caregivers, be on the lookout for announcements for webinars this administrative year. One such webinar is already available online in the ALA Academy: Mission Delivery through Caregiver Support. When you have a moment, I highly recommend you watch it. You won’t be disappointed.
For a handy reference of caregiver statistics and resources, please download and distribute our caregiver one-page info sheet.
Our Juniors and Sons of The American Legion members can also get involved with the caregiver focus. As part of the ALA Patch Program, a new caregiver patch is available. Check out the Junior Activities page for more information on requirements.
I am looking forward to serving with all of you this administrative year as we continue to focus on our veterans, military, and their families, with an extra significance placed on caregivers. Thank you for all you do to support the ALA mission!