Sgt.Keith A. Coe with Grandmother Ruth E. Coe at his graduation from boot camp in Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Keith tried for a long time to get into the Army. He wanted a better life for his family.
He felt that joining the Army was the best way to accomplish that goal.
Keith was a jokester, loved to kid around and had a great sense of humor.
Being older than most of the soldiers he commanded they called him Coe-daddy.
As a sergeant in charge he was the first out of the truck upon arriving in Khalis, Iraq, he
was killed by an explosive device 4/27/2010.
We would like to recognize, honor and remember our Gold Star Mother Lois Mowry who has passed.
She was a Life Member who joined our auxilliary on October 9, 1973.
Lois lost her son Pvt. William King Shoup, Age 23. He was killed in the Hong Kong harbor in a plane crash in 1965, during the Vietnam War.
Welcome to the VFW Post 369 Auxiliary. We currently have 193 members. Our meetings are held on the first Tuesday of every month at 7:00 pm at the Post located at 5930 Scenic Ave., Mexico, NY.
President: Connie Gonseth
Sr. Vice President: Angela Nelson Jr.
Vice President: Jim Bach
Treasurer: Stephanie Schumacher
Secretary: Mary Reeser
Chaplain: Kim Rasbeck
Conductress: Dorisanne Mullen
Guard: Patty Fox
Patriotic Instructor: Janet Phipps Frank
3 Year Trustee: Valerie Crouse
2 Year Trustee: Karen Meeks
1 Year Trustee: Yolanda Dimon
Mary Reeser and Dorothy Smith purchased 40 Sweat Suits from a donation of $600 by our veterans of Mexico Post 369 that were delivered today to the Syracuse VA Hospital. Mexico VFW Veterans, you are the best!
Project: Auxiliary Night AVVT TRAVELING VIETNAM WALL Ceremony
The Ladies and Men’s Auxiliary was in charge of putting together a program for Friday Night Auxiliary night. The program was put together by Guest Speaker, Mary Reeser.
President Lonnie Dimon did an amazing job of Master of Ceremonies along with an Opening Statement by Commander Russell Marsden and Men’s Auxiliary President, Frank McKee. Men’s Auxiliary Chaplain, Bruce Holliday administered the Opening Prayer. The New Haven Girl Scout Troop # 10702 did the Pledge of Allegiance followed by Sister Noelle Eastman who sang The National Anthem.
Our Gold Star Mother Ruth Coe was presented with a Corsage of Gold and Purple by President Lonnie. After Lonnie recited a beautiful very emotional poem written by a Vietnam Veteran called “Soldiers of The Wall”
Sister Mary Reeser gave a speech reflecting on what was happening on the home front and life in the here in the states while the Vietnam War was going on.
We then had a presentation by our Adopt A Troop Chairman, Jennifer Haynes of an American Flag that flew over our Adopt A Troop’s Barracks in Afghanistan presented to her by Jessica Otiz and Terri Denny, Sister and Mother to one of the Ladies serving in that troop. While they were on leave their barracks were hit by an explosive device and all of their belongings were destroyed. When Jennifer heard of this she set out and got donations and within two days a comfort shipment was in the mail to them. Kudos to Jennifer and Jessica. You’re the best!
All of the Ladies of the Auxiliary sang their “Theme Song Soldier Boy” followed by the Closing Prayer by Men’s Auxiliary Chaplain, Bruce Holliday.
Twenty Sisters of the Ladies Auxiliary took part in the Auxiliary Ceremony on Friday Night for a total of 20 hours volunteered.
Escort of the AVVT Traveling Vietnam Wall
On July 25 th Sisters Connie Gonseth, Mary Reeser, Valerie Crouse, Janice Gregory and Bonnie Bartosek rode in the back of our Army Truck with Veterans Jennifer Lane and Paul Gorman while our Commander Russell Marsden Drove and, his wife and our sister Char Marsden and James Forkhamer co-piloted to the Phoenix VFW Post for the staging of The AVVT Traveling Vietnam Wall and to Escort it back to our Post. We have no way of knowing how many Motorcycles showed up to ride in the Escort but know that it was over two miles long solid bikes. Somewhere between 300 to 500 at best guess.
The Phoenix Post put out an amazing spread of Baked Ziti, Meat Trays, Rolls and various Salads for free. Thank You to the Phoenix Post for an excellent job of hosting this staging.
We left the Phoenix Post at 3pm and as we drove through Phoenix the Phoenix Fire department had the Hook and Ladder Trucks out with the American Flag for us to drive under and the Firemen in full dress saluting. AMAZING!!!!! Tears, Tears and more Tears.
We traveled Route 57 through Phoenix with several persons waving the American Flag and watching as we went by. A large group had gathered at the American Legion to show their respect as we passed. We were also greeted in the City of Fulton with the Firemen, Ladder Truck and American Flag Saluting. As we proceeded down 481 towards the City of Oswego we were greeted once again by two Fire Companies, Minetto and Volney in Full Uniform with their Latter Trucks and American Flags at full Attention. Holy TEARS!!!!!!
I don’t know what happened with the Oswego City BUT Veteran Dick Meeks and his wife and Auxiliary Sister greeted us as we passed by the Oswego VFW 2320.
Along 104 we were greeted by the Scriba Fire Department and the New Haven Fire Department with their Uniforms and Trucks and the American Flag. God Bless our Firemen!!!
When we arrived in Mexico the Mexico Firemen’s Pumper Truck joined us at the Mexico Middle School Bus Garage and led us through the Village along 104 to 41 to Hamilton Street and to our Post on State Route 3 (Scenic Avenue). It was a beautiful day filled with sunshine that God graced us with to pay Love Honor and Respect to the 58,261 names on The Wall!
Once back to our Post we had Open House to all and served free Hot Dogs, Draft Beer, Soda and Water to all those who were in the Escort.
We had about 50 members who helped in one way or the other in everything going on. 25 of them Sisters of the Auxiliary. 125 hours volunteered.
Ladies Auxiliary "Red Hats" 2012 Firemen's Field Day Parade Float.
They took 1st prize (again)
On Thursday July 8 th our VFW Redneck Redhatter’s entered a Float in the annual Mexico Fireman’s Field Day. This year our Theme was “Rocking with the Oldies” or the 1950’s Poodle Skirt, Bobby Sock Era. Our Theme Song was “Rock Around The Clock Tonight”. Eighteen Sisters with hair in real or fake pony tails dressed up in Poodle Skirts, Rolled Up Blue-Jeans, Bobby Socks and some with Saddle Shoes set out to “ROCK” the little town of Mexico.
Our Commander Russell Marsden led the Parade in our Army Truck advertising the AVTT Traveling Vietnam Wall coming to our post the following week. Sr. Vice Commander, Paul Gorman, drove the Float in our Bar Stewart Dick Niles big , beautiful red Ford truck adorned with our large Red Hat. The Float was adorned with great signs that with the help of Veteran Al Kessler doing the lettering turned out to be spectacular.
Sister Dorothy Smith made a very realistic looking Juke Box from out of the 50’s and Sister Janice Gregory made Fins for the back of the Float that were like on a 57 Chevy Bel-Air. A whole bunch of 45RPM Records and Musical Signs were hung all over the Float to make it look like it was “Rockin” and of course we were the “Oldies”.
We also in cooperated the use of Buddy Poppy’s on our Float by adorning the front sign with 90 Buddy Poppy’s. I am always looking for a Report to send in!!!Our Float took 1 st Place again this year for the 7 th year in a row. WOW, we must be doing something right and YES we have earned bragging rights!!! We are having a meeting tonight to discuss the plans and theme for next year’s float.
The parade gets bigger and better every year and is a great way to start out the annual fund raiser for the Mexico Firemen. The eighteen sisters who were in the parade were: From L to R first row Valerie Crouse, Lori Gorman, Mary Reeser, Bonnie Bartosek, Char Sikes, Kelly Greenleaf, Kathy Parmelee, Patty Solatto Back Row: Sandy Coe, Janice Gregory, Tina Steele, Dorisanne Mullen, Connie Gonseth, Linda Chamberlain, Lori Orman, Janet Phipps/Frank, Dorothy Smith and Judy Greenway.
In our group and also in the enclosed pictures, I just wanted to point out that in the VFW we are all sisters BUT we have two sets of three sisters each. Picture 3802 is real sisters Judy Greenway, Janice Gregory and Valerie Crouse and in Picture 3807 real sisters Kelly Greenleaf, Kathy Parmelee and Janet Phipps/Frank (Daughters of our late Commander Alex Longhway who is forever in our memory and sadly missed by all).
Sisters Judy Greenway, Janice Gregory and Valerie Crouse
Lori Gorman, Mary Reeser and Niece Lori Orman
Sisters Kelly Greenleaf, Kathy Parmelee, Janet Phipps / Frank
July 2012 Update:
On my birthday, Friday July 27 th, a dream of mine became a reality when seven of the Syracuse VA Hospitalized patients came to our post for a luncheon and to view The AVTT Traveling Vietnam Wall that was on display at our beautiful post grounds for four days. Some of these veterans were actually Vietnam veteran’s making their visit here even more special.
Because of the extreme heat a decision was made to serve the luncheon in our air conditioned Banquet Hall that was decorated in Patriotic Colors. The tables were adorned with blue tablecloths, flag plates and napkins, silverware wrapped in Buddy Poppy’s and Buddy Poppy Centerpieces.
Sister Mary Reeser made Buddy Poppy Pins for the veterans and the workers who came with them. At each place setting was a goody bag filled with puzzles books, markers, pens, breath mints, drink koozies with our VFW Post 369 on them, peanut butter crackers and goodies for them to take back as a memento for them of being here . The Veterans of Post 369 donated The Wall T-Shirts for them to take back with them also.
The Men’s Auxiliary provided their choice of Hamburgers, Hot Dogs or Fish Sandwiches and the Ladies Auxiliary Sisters made Baked Beans, Potato Salad, Macaroni Salad, Deviled Eggs and Cupcakes. Our local Fruit Stand “Price’s” donated a large variety of fruits and watermelon that we served and sent back with them also.
After lunch two of our sisters and a friend of theirs entertained them with a really cute song that they used to do when they were cheerleaders for the Mexico Academy Central School 50 years ago. Then eleven sisters sang the song “Soldier Boy” to them. This especially touched my heart when I noticed that one of the veterans was singing along with us.
For the four day event we had people who had donated their Golf Carts which proved to come in very handy with the transporting of the veterans down to view the beautiful Vietnam Wall. We had several members who helped with this and made the day a great success.
VA Hospital Representatives for the State of New York, Jim Czyz and Linda Flanagan were also at this Event.
One of the highlights to my day was when I talked with one of the veterans who was staring at our Huey Helicopter that we have on display at our Memorial Site and he told me of how he was a Combat Army Medic who spent most of his time in Vietnam jumping out of Huey’s and tending to our wounded soldiers. I am so grateful that we finally got these true American Heroes to our Post and I pray that it is the first of several more visits to come.
I would like to extend a special thank you to everyone who made this day so special for our veterans and to me, what a wonderful way to spend my Birthday.
by Mary Reeser
The Bunco Bunch
During the winter to fight against boredom, Sister Jenn Haynes for the past two years has run a Bunco League on Sunday evenings at the Post Canteen. Every week one of the members hosts the game, makes snacks, food and picks the theme of her choice for the sisters to dress up as.
Me, being the Veteran and Family Support Chairman for our Post picked the oh so appropriate theme of Armed Forces. As you can see by the photos, great fun is had by all and the ladies have a great time in selecting their outfits and acting the part.
Pictured with her “Troop” is Sister Jennifer Haynes who is also the Chairman for our Adopt A Troop Program. We have adopted four troops so far and our current one is an Army Unit serving in Afghanistan. Sister Jessica Ortiz’s sister is a member of this unit, Jennifer Parnell. Anyone out there wishing to donate items to this great cause can drop them off in a collection box located in our Post Canteen.
Lonnie Skilinski Peterson won the best dressed prize for Armed Forces Theme. She borrowed her nephew, Marc Skilinski’s uniform as he was home on leave at the time. Marc is a Life Member of our post, who just finished a tour in Afghanistan and is now in Germany. Marc will be returning to the states soon and stationed near Washington DC.
The week of May 5 th Sisters Janet Phipps Frank and Noelle Eastman were the hosts of Bunco and their theme was Nerd’s. What a great theme that turned out to be with everyone really getting into and acting the part. Sherry Greer took went home with the best costume prize but am not sure if it was the outfit or the acting out the part that put her over the top!!! It was another great night of fun shared with fellow sisters. We have formed a “Sisterhood of Crazy but Beautiful Bunco Bitches”. In the photo from left to right Nerds: Janet Phipps Frank, Noelle Eastman, Mary Reeser and Sherry Greer.
KUDO’s to Sister Jennifer Haynes for bringing this game and so much fun into our post and especially for all of the hard work that she has to do to keep track of all the point. Great job Jenn.
Ronnie Peterson, Aunt to Life Member Marc Skilinski borrowed his uniform and won Best Dressed Prize
Jenn, Adopt A Troop Chairman brought her entire troop to Bunco!
2012 Spring Conference Update
On March 16 th six sisters / Officers, President Lonnie Dimon, Sr. Vice President Connie Gonseth, Jr. Vice President Judy Greenway, Treasurer Valerie Crouse, Secretary Janice Gregory and Chaplain Mary Reeser traveled to the beautiful city of Corning to attend the NY State VFW Spring Conference. This year an added treat was on Friday afternoon as we did a tour of the Corning Glass Works and actually watched the making of a beautiful vase being blown. We did a guided tour of the facility and saw many breathtaking, fascinating pieces of art from various glass artists.
On Friday Evening a “Hearts for Heroes Buddy Poppy Fashionista” followed the Council of Administration Meeting. Auxiliary sisters from all the Auxiliaries across NY State who are the Veteran and Family Support Chairman were asked to create a unique fashion item or items to be modeled with our lovely buddy poppy. Prizes were awarded for three categories: Most Creative, Most Fanciful and Most Stylish.
Chaplain and Chairman, Mary Reeser , designed a Southern Belle Outfit that consisted of a Sun Dress, Shawl, Wide Brim Hat, Purse, Shoes, Fan, Bracelet, Necklace and Earrings. 1200 Buddy Poppy’s were used for this project and the outfit won Most Stylish.
On Saturday Cancer Chairman and our President , Lonnie Dimon took part in a Rodeo Round Up for Cancer. She was so adorable all dressed up as a cowgirl and had an obstacle course that she had to maneuver. Was great fun watching the sisters compete in the Rodeo for Cancer. Lonnie worked hard to get several sponsors and raised $300 for the Cancer Program. The overall NY State Goal this year was set for $100,000. This money is used for research as well as cancer grants for any of our NY State Sisters who are stricken with cancer.
Ladies Aux 2011 Spring Conference Video (YouTube)
MEXICO VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT FIELD DAYS PARADE
On July 14th through the 16th the Mexico Volunteer Fire department held their annual fund raiser, Fields Days. Thursday night they kicked off the event with the parade for the enjoyment of the community. This year the parade had over 150 entries.
Our Mexico VFW Redneck Red-hatters group entered the parade with 16 Ladies Auxiliary Members and 2 ladies who are going to join our auxiliary. The Ladies Auxiliary members who took part are: Janice Gregory, Judy Greenway, Valerie Crouse, Mary Reeser, Debbie Brogan, Lori Orman, Lori Gorman, Connie Gonseth, Janet Phipps-Frank, Bonnie Bartosek, Char Sikes, Dorisanne Mullen, Sandy Coe, Linda Chamberlain, Tina Steele and Queen Mother, Dorothy Smith. The two ladies who will be joining our auxiliary and marched are Kelly Greenleaf and Kathie Parmelee, sisters of Janet Phipps-Frank and daughters of the late Alex Longhway, who was a WWII Veteran and a Life Member of our Post.
Our theme for this years parade was Mexican Senorita’s and our float “Rose’s Cantina” was beautifully decorated by newly elected President Lonnie Dimon with some of the decorations coming from the country of Mexico. The float was drawn by Dick Niles (Bar Stewart) beautiful new bright and shiny RED truck adorned with our huge red hat. Commander, Russ Marsden drove the truck with side kick Paul Gorman giving direction.
Behind our float the veterans also entered our newly refurbished Army Truck driven by son Ron Marsden, Men’s Auxiliary Member and Auxiliary Sister and Ron’s Beautiful wife Lonnie giving him direction! The truck was full of members children in the back who will without a doubt be future members of our post. They will cherish the memories of being in the parade as they grow older, I am sure.
Next was our Golf Cart, driven by AM Vet’s Don Spicer and his side kick AM Vet Rick Buske, was adorned with the POW / MIA Flags. Bringing up the rear of our little parade within the big parade was a beautiful white Ford truck pulling a trailer full of AM Vets doing a membership drive.
Every year the participation from our members gets bigger and better. I am so very proud to be a part of such a great post and organization. AND did I mention that for the 6th year in a row our float took 1st place. We truly ROCK!!!!!!! Way to go sisters!!!!
Hope you enjoy the pictures of this fun event.
2011 State Convention Awards
Mexico VFW Ladies Auxiliary Shines at State Convention
By Kelly M. Freihofer, Writer of local paper the Mexico Independent Mirror
When the members of the Mexico VFW Post #369 Ladies Auxiliary attended the 86th New York State VFW and Auxiliary Annual Convention at the end of June, at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool, they did not realize how many awards were in store for them. Auxiliary President for the past two years, Mary Reeser, was given the highest award in the state; New York State President of the Year. Auxiliary Secretary Janice Gregory was given the National Award for Community Service. And there were many more.
The Mexico VFW Ladies Auxiliary boasts a membership of 178. Mary Reeser has been the president of the organization for the past two years, with her term ending June 30. At the last meeting before her term was complete, she watched seven new members join. She also attended the annual state convention to watch her auxiliary win award after award.
All of the awards presented at the convention are based on the auxiliary’s accomplishments throughout the year. The accomplishments are the result of the projects done by the local auxiliaries (there are over a dozen in Oswego County), to fulfill the program initiatives formulated at the national level. The NYS President of the Year Award that was presented to Reeser was also based on attendance at officer’s training sessions at SUNY Binghamton, four county meetings, four district meetings, two annual conferences, and the annual convention. Reeser clearly did an outstanding job leading the Mexico auxiliary members in projects and attending the related meetings – a job worthy of the highest recognition in the state.
Reeser also received the Fifth District President of the Year Award. There are eight districts in the state of New York and Mexico falls in the fifth. Again Reeser’s leadership stood out. “I could not have gotten these awards without all of our members behind me and especially the program chairmen. The worked really hard,” explains Reeser.
In addition, Reeser received a special award; the New York State Award for Veteran and Family Support – a Presidential Certificate that only one person receives in the state. This award was presented by the National Veteran and Family Support Director Bernadette Botbyl. “That was thrilling,” says Mary. She also received First Place Veteran and Family Support for the district at the state level.
Mexico’s Ladies Auxiliary Secretary Janice Gregory received the National Community Service Award for her leadership as chairman of the Community Program. Under the auxiliary guidelines this program covers, “Anything pertaining to our community in ways of donations to the needy, schools, food pantries, churches, the Lion’s Club, Operation Reindeer etc.”
Gregory also received the First Place Community Service Award, on the state level, for the Fifth District. These awards are testimony to the level of involvement that the Mexico Ladies Auxiliary has in the local community.
The awards did not stop with Reeser and Gregory. The program state awards that the auxiliary received were as follows: Third Place Legislative Program, Chairman Judy Greenway; Second Place Americanism Program, Chairmen Linda Chamberlain and Suzie Becker; First Place Cancer Aid and Research, Chairmen Yolonda Dimon and Jessica Ortiz; and First Place Hospital and VAVS, Chairman Tiffany Reeser.
The National Recognition Awards that the auxiliary received, beyond the aforementioned, included: VFW National Military Services for Operation Uplink, Unmet Needs & Map, Donations to National Military Services, Health and Happiness Award (for exceeding the quota for the VFW National Home for Children), and the 100 Percent Membership Award.
Working within the 11 designated program areas, the members of the Mexico VFW Ladies Auxiliary have taken the organization to new heights – heights that were recognized at both the state and national levels. The ladies work diligently to meet the needs of the men and women who are currently serving, the veterans, their families, the community and the area youth. They work hard and it shows.
“It all goes to prove that when everyone works together for a great cause, anything can and will happen,” writes Reeser in her year-end letter to the members of the auxiliary. Reeser is currently serving as the auxiliary chaplain for the 2011-2012 year.
Awards on Display
State President Sharlene Allen and National Veteran and Family Support Director Bernadette Botbyl, presenting Mary Reeser with the State President of the Year Award.
in the Ladies Auxiliary VFW shall be limited to wives,
widows, mothers, foster and stepmothers (who have performed
the duties of parent), grandmothers, daughters, granddaughters,
foster and stepdaughters (who attained that status prior
to age sixteen (16) and for whom the duties of parent were
performed), sisters, half sisters, foster and stepsisters
(who attained that status prior to age sixteen (16) of
persons who were, or are eligible for membership in the
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Members
must be citizens of the United States and not less than
sixteen (16) years old. Women eligible for membership in
the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States shall
be eligible for dual membership in the Auxiliary.