Jeanealities January 7, 2009


(Note: Seeking information about Martha Lee McKenzie Thatcher's positions as 1st vice president of the American Legion Auxiliary's state organization, I discovered there was much more to the story. Martha Lee sent the following information of her family's involvement, and it tells the story so well, it appears here in her own words.

Richard and Martha Lee Thatcher are siblings of four Barnesville residents: Mike McKenzie, Bob Thatcher, Garnet Huntsman and Rose Lou Johnson.)

I did not grow up in a military family and only became eligible to join the American Legion Auxiliary because of the service of my husband (C. Richard Thatcher) in the Korean War. I didn't know much about the American Legion until fairly recently. During our early years, Richard worked in sub-station construction for the Ohio Power Company. He left town on Monday morning and came home on Friday night. He had joined the American Legion shortly after his discharge, but chose to keep his membership with Post 888 (Department Headquarters instead of with a local post. He felt it was unfair of him to join a local post until he would support that post with his presence. It wasn't until he retired (in 1995) that he transferred his membership to Massillon Post #221. But when he did join, he jumped in with both feet.

The American Legion and the Auxiliary offer a number of excellent programs; one is Boys State and Girls State - this is an opportunity for juniors in high school to learn how government functions on the city, county and state level by participating in hands-on, week-long experience held (free of cost) at Bowling Green or Ashland University; we offered a multitude of scholarships - nurses' training, continuing education, non-traditional and the Legacy Fund - established to ensure a college education for the children of military personnel killed while on active duty since 9-11. Heroes to Hometown - a transition assistance program for severely injured service personnel. The list goes on and on. The American Legion is a wonderful organization and we don't blow our horn often or loudly enough.

I am proud to say that Richard and I have "bought into the program". Not only does he hold the previously mentioned local offices, he also serves as Commander of Stark County Council and on the National level as Vice Chairman of the Foreign Relations Commission. In 2007 I was elected to serve as 2nd vice president for the Department of Ohio and Chairman of the Department's Public Relations program. This year I am 1st vice president and Chairman of Membership for Ohio's 462 Units and 50,000 members. In June 2009, I will be installed as President for the Department of Ohio, American Legion Auxiliary.

It's a road Richard and I have taken together; and we're enjoying the journey.