American Legion receives national honor

American Legion Oro Valley Post 132 and its Auxiliary Unit have received a prestigious Family Program Award from the U. S. National Guard for its strong support of Guard members and families as well as veterans in general.  The Post and Auxiliary Unit were selected from submittals throughout the United States.  It is the first time an Arizona Community Partner has received this award.

The 2013 National Guard Family Program Volunteer Award was presented by Arizona Department of National Guard Chief of Staff, COL Len Dyer, to Post Commander, Ed Davis and Auxiliary Unit President Onita Davis Dec. 8.  

The presentation took place at a Freedom Salute ceremony at Pinal Air Park near Marana for members of the first of the 285th Battalion’s two Apache Helicopter companies who had returned after serving in Afghanistan.  

The nomination was made by the 1st of the 285 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion headquartered at the Army training facility at Pinal Air Park.  It related the outstanding support provided by the Post to Guard soldiers and families while the two companies were deployed to Afghanistan as well as the Post’s overall support of the military in general and its extensive veteran support programs. 

The national award by the Guard follows an award from the state of Arizona National Guard last year as the “Outstanding Community Partner of the Year.”  That also was given to both the Oro Valley Post 132 and its Auxiliary Unit with Commander Ed Davis and President Onita Davis (a husband and wife team) accepting the award.

For the most recent award, entitled “The Family Program Community Purple Award,” the Post and Auxiliary were credited with contributing more than $13,000 and over 1,500 volunteer hours in support of the Guard men and women and their families.  The close link between the Post and Auxiliary and the Battalion during a wide variety of hands-on activities led the Guard to regard them as members of their extended family.

The Post hosts a golf tournament each summer to raise money for its support activities and had many of the citizen soldiers play.  They staffed family member picnics, attended planning meetings at the base, participated in Battle Update Briefs for families, furnished Santa Claus, face painters and magicians for the December Battalion family day and recognized new babies with gift baskets among many supporting activities. 

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