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Seabee Island X-23 auxiliary keeps busy

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Rochelle Kaiser

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For the Chronicle

Nancy Staples is the auxiliary vice president and currently the national auxiliary president. She writes a newsletter for the NVSA.org called the President’s Perspective. Elections of new officers takes place soon and is only done every two years for president and vice president. The national convention will be in Tampa this year on Sept. 3 and her term as national auxiliary president will come to an end.

Q. How long has the Island X-23 Seabee Auxiliary been active?

A. The national auxiliary was instituted in 1948, six years after the Seabees actually started the National Seabee Veterans Association (NSVA). Our organization here has been in existence for four years. The national president at the time was coming to our Island and we decided we should start an auxiliary because she was coming. I was president for two years and now Karen has been president for two years.

Q. Who is the membership open to?

A. Since there is no military background, the auxiliary membership is open to spouses, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, grandchildren and stepchildren over the age of 18. Anyone can be an associate member. Although we do have at least one member who has been in the military.

Q. What is your greatest challenge?

A. Recruiting new members, as it is with many of the other organizations.

Q. What are the benefits of being a member?

A. The camaraderie amongst ourselves and with the guys. When we go to conventions and other functions we get to meet others with similar interests.

Q. What are the nuts and bolts of the Auxiliary?

A. Karen Lowe is our Island president; I’m (Nancy Staples) the vice president; Lois Ketzer is our treasurer, Lynn Spanski is our secretary and Edythe Levins is our chaplain.

Q. What is the most rewarding part of being part of the auxiliary?

A. Seeing the camaraderie that the guys share. They kibitz while our meeting is going on, sharing many stories.

Q. What are some of the charitable works of the auxiliary?

A. CUB (Citrus United Basket) is our main charity. We collect items for them. At Christmas time, we collect toys for them. We also donate money and take food to them. We help the Citrus Mission. At Christmas, we also bring in cakes, cookies and cupcakes and take them to them. If we have clothes or toiletries we take it to them. We’ve also taken women’s items to CASA (Citrus Abuse Shelter Association) and we collect cans and collect the aluminum tabs to take to the Shriners in Tampa. We may not do a lot for each organization but we do something for quite a few different organizations. Last year, we donated 10 wreaths for Wreaths across America in Bushnell and this year we donated five.

Our money that we bring in is from a raffle we have at each meeting. That money goes into our treasury. We have no dues, just national dues. And over the last couple of years we have purchased cakes for the guys when they needed them.

Q. What are your hopes for the auxiliary in the years to come?

A. To grow membership and do more for the organizations we support.

Q. When are your meetings and how do you become a member?

A. Navy Seabee Veterans of America Island X-23 Auxiliary meet at 9:30 a.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at the Riviera Mexican Grill & Cantina, 1935 SE U.S. 19 in Crystal River. We also meet for a luncheon on the second Tuesday of each month. We try to support the local mom and pop restaurants as opposed to chains. To become a member go to NSVA.org. There is an auxiliary section there to click on. Under the President’s Perspective are phone numbers and names of people to contact.