I’ve been a part of the American Legion Auxiliary for 48 years. We lived in a very small town in which you were an Auxiliary member and attended church. Back then, I had four children under 7 years old. My time was very limited, and I gave my time to my community through church and the Auxiliary.
In thinking about my story, one thing that hit me was how we were so proud when our youngest son, Darin, graduated from high school and decided to go to flight school at the University of North Dakota. He applied to the Naval Academy in December, which was a little late. He received an appointment to the Naval Academy, and they sent him to prep school in Newport, R.I.
We were so excited to go to the Naval Academy for parents’ weekend. When I walked onto that campus, my heart went out to all those dedicated young people who signed up for six or more years of their life, giving their all to our country. As a parent, you think your kids are young when they leave home and you go to a place like that. Yet, they are dedicating their life for you, for me, and for future generations. It really impressed me.
I thought, Someone has got to support them. I decided then and there anything I could do for the Auxiliary in honor of the dedication and heart of these young people, I said, “Bring it on.”
American Legion Past National Commander Hon. H.F. “Sparky” Gierke swearing Darin in. American Legion Past National Commander Hon. H.F. “Sparky” Gierke with Rich and Bonnie Anderson, who took Darin under their wings while he was at the Naval Academy in Annapolis.