Oro Valley resident Karen Borth is making a difference with Tucson veterans as a volunteer in the Casas Adobes American Legion Auxiliary, Post and Unit #73. Along with her fellow volunteers, Borth helps fundraise for the increasing number of homeless and needy veterans in Southern Arizona.
The daughter of a World War II veteran, Borth was encouraged by her father to join the American Legion in 1978.
Now, Legion Post 73 is up to more than 240 members, who make and sell crafts to raise money for veterans, with no personal gain.
As with many of the legion posts, Post 73 crafts poppies and helps veterans learn how to assemble them as well.
“This helps give the veterans a little bit of pocket money,” said Borth.
Poppies, which grew wild on the battlefields in World War I, became a symbol of the sacrifice that veterans endured while in combat.
Now the re-creation of those poppies through crafting and sales helps raise money for such things as rehabilitation, housing, and medicinal needs.
“The poppy money stays here for local veterans,” said Borth. “We help veterans in whatever way they most need. We want to find a way to offer them comfort, and to help them buy whatever they can afford. The first thing we do when we visit the veterans in the hospital is ask, ‘What can we do for you?’”
The Legion Post puts on two arts and crafts shows annually to promote the fundraising efforts.
“We put these shows on anytime we can get a space,” said Borth. “These shows are not only good for the sale of the goods, but for the contacts you make while at them.”
Borth also spends much of her time assisting at the Arizona State Veteran Home, a $33 million facility next to the Veterans Affairs Hospital, which offers high levels of veteran care by providing compassionate, professional care in a home-like environment, equipped with private rooms, flat screen televisions, and electric beds.
This year, the American Legion Family is helping reduce the nearly 400 homeless veterans in Tucson.
One of the events most recently hosted was an Easter celebration with a box truck in the parking lot with used summer clothing, shoes, caps, sun gear, and more for homeless veterans and their children.
For more information on the American Legion Auxiliary Post and Unit #73, or to volunteer for services, contact Karen Borth at 742-0468.
For more information on the veteran aid and services, visit www.azdvs.gov.