HARRISON — The last fundraiser for the Ronald G. St. John VFW Ladies Auxiliary will help pay to send 44 Maine veterans to Washington D.C. to experience their National Memorial through the Honor Flight Maine program.
It is a bittersweet moment for the organization that will dissolve in December after 50 years of service.
“The ladies auxiliary will be dissolved at the end of this year. We just don’t have the membership to keep going and it is too much for the few that can still do things. It is very sad but it is the way of things,” said Melissa St. John, a member of the auxiliary.
The VFW Post 9328 was founded on Feb. 27, 1968, and on May 3 of the same year, its auxiliary was founded.
The post is named after a young Harrison man who was killed in Vietnam and it was the first post in Maine to be named after a Vietnam veteran.
Earlier this year, founding members of the auxiliary were presented their 50 year pins.
They have continued to be active, but this summer’s pie sale was their last fund raiser.
On October 26, the third group of Honor Flight Maine veterans will leave the Portland International Jetport to fly to Washington D.C. to view the national memorials. Members of the Ronald G. St. John Auxiliary and their pie sale are part of the reason the veterans can experience the trip for free.
Auxiliary Treasurer Cindy Moxcey said she recently delivered a $1,000 check from the Auxiliary’s pie sale this summer to Laurie Sidelinger, board chairwoman of Honor Flight Maine, to help defray costs to send the veterans.
“The Auxiliary wants to thank those who baked pies or bought pies this summer for their last fundraiser,” Moxcey said in a statement this week.
She also said that Sidelinger is inviting all well wishers to to Portland airport on October 28 to welcome back the veterans. Anyone who would like to participate should gather at the procession area by 11:15 a.m. and plan to stay until about 2 p.m. Free parking at 151 Jetport Road with a shuttle is available.
Maine’s program, which launched in 2014, has undertaken more than two dozen trips so far, taking more than 400 veterans to Washington, D.C. to view their national memorial. World War II veterans amd veterans with terminal illnesses are given priority to be on the trips.
Traditionally Honor Flight Maine has bagpipers lead the returning veterans down a red carpet at the Portland International Jetport, as well wishers, which often include school groups of children, welcome them home.