Missy Wagoner
Missy Wagoner
DELPHOS — Missy Wagoner has a passion for our military and its veterans.

She is using that drive to serve as the local Walterick-Hemme Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3035 Auxiliary president while also filling the role of president of District 2.

Wagoner became Auxiliary president in Delphos in 2016 and this year stepped into the District presidency. She is eligible for membership in the auxiliary as the daughter of Navy veteran serving in Vietnam; the granddaughter of a World War II Navy veteran; and the wife of a U.S. Marine serving under the Korean Defense Medal.

“I served with my husband while he was in the military living the military life,” she said. “Seeing what it does to families, seeing heartbreaks, seeing the reward of being a veteran— that’s what makes me want to do my part.

“You don’t realize until you live it. I lived four years in North Carolina and then my husband was gone and I was there alone. I moved there and didn’t know where the grocery store was. I’d like to be that person to help someone when they say, ‘My husband’s gone and I don’t know what to do.’ I earned what I had to do as I went and I can make that easier for someone else.”

District 2 includes 18 auxiliaries, including Delphos, Ottoville, Bellefontaine, Coldwater, Van Wert, Fort Recovery, Minster, Forest, Dunkirk, Spencerville, Celina, Mt. Victory, Chickasaw, Columbus Grove, St. Marys, Ada, Wapakoneta, Sydney, Leipsic, Ottawa and Lima.

Wagoner is about to see her calendar become very full. Part of her duties as District president is to inspect the auxiliary at each post in the district, making sure they keep accurate records and are holding proper meetings. September and October are inspection months.

Programs through the auxiliary include veterans and family support, hospital programs, legislation, scholarship, youth activities and Americanism.

“For the legislative, we lobby at the state and national level for bills that help our veterans with healthcare and other things they deal with outside the military when they are discharged,” she said. “We write letters to senators and congressmen. We bring veterans to the front. The main focus of auxiliary is to serve our veterans and our military and their families in any way possible to give back to them.”

Programs at the local level also include a hospital program with volunteers to take veterans to appointments. The local auxiliary also donates to Dayton VA Hospital, and visit the Sandusky Home for Veterans and a hospital in Chillicothe.

“We play bingo and take personal items like deodorant soap, dental care and lap robes made by local members. A lot of them are wheelchair-bound,” Wagoner said. “We also take socks, T-shirts - anything that is donated.”

The auxiliary holds numerous fundraisers, including an Easter Bake Sale with a lot of homemade items like homemade noodles, pickled eggs and colored eggs; in the Fall is the turkey supper that is open to the public; as well as smaller ones like a patio furniture raffle, an annual wine bus tour and quarter auctions to give back to local organizations in the community.

“We donate to the Kiwanis and the thrift store and many other local groups,” Wagoner said.

Local auxiliaries are required to hold 10 meetings a year to discuss programs and other business and prepare reports for department head president Tracy Fife, who sets goals for the local auxiliaries to follow that are incorporated at the national levels, report volunteer hours, miles, money spent and more.

The Delphos auxiliary meets the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the post.

To be eligible to become an auxiliary members, the person must have a veteran that served in a foreign war danger pay or been boots on the ground for at least 30 days, including a grandmother or grandfather, mom or dad, brother or sister or stepparent or spouse. The Auxiliary is no longer just for women. The Men’s Auxiliary was incorporated by national in 2015.

“Now we are just the VFW Auxiliary. We have 476 members with close to 200 from the former men’s auxiliary,” Wagoner said. “We have 115 lifetime members which is really the way to go.”

Wagoner enjoys meeting new friends at the district, state and even national level. She also has her sights on moving up the Auxiliary leadership ladder.

“I will spend three years as officer in district then move to department level,” she said. “I could jump right in. It’s a six year process to become a state department head. It would be a little hard to do with my full-time job right now. I will go up to the department level and I will move to national someday when I feel I can balance family life with auxiliary life. I do want to go to national level.”

Wagoner has worked for the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles License Services for 20 years, first in Delphos and when the office moved to Van Wert.