By Kathleen Tomlin

Our Auxiliary special project this year has been to promote patriotism after seeing the disrespect for the National Anthem growing across our great nation.  We decided that we would do all that we could to set a good example in our community. 

We have promoted people flying flags with the “Fly Your Flag” award.  We received a grant from the Fox Family Foundation to purchase flags to fly on flag holidays around town.  We asked the Bent County/Las Animas Cemetery to develop an “Avenue of Flags” which they will proudly display this coming Memorial Day.  We toured the Center for American Values in Pueblo with the home schoolers and extended an invitation to them to visit Las Animas and teach our kids how to preserve our most cherished values.  We joined the Las Animas Elementary School for the “Amazing Family Challenge – Together, let’s celebrate our country’s unified spirit and learn how to be tobacco free and healthy.”   As part of this Challenge, Matthew Albright, Program Director from the Center in Pueblo, came down and presented a program in the afternoon to 162 kids and 20 teachers from the Las Animas High/Middle School.  He then presented the program to 280 elementary kids and 20 teachers at the Las Animas Elementary School.  The kids were spellbound and fascinated at the stories of our American military heroes and how they can make a difference by thanking first responders that work so hard in our communities.

During the Challenge that evening, the Auxiliary had stations at the Museum for families to see our military exhibit, and to learn how to properly fold an American flag.  They then visited the VFW Post #2411 to learn about the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem Protocol.  They were given brochures and flags as rewards for visiting.  We were delighted that 58 families visited these stations and that included 206 parents and kids.  This is amazing!  We encourage all families to visit the Center for American Values in Pueblo (its free) when you get a chance along the Riverwalk and hear our hero’s stories. 

We thank all those in the community who participated in this event and the volunteers who make it possible.  A special thanks to Antonio Vida for her hard work in arranging the Amazing Family Challenge and to Matthew Albright, Program Director, at the Center for American Values, for taking the time to teach our children.