Skidmore awarded outstanding president of the year

Lois Skidmore takes a moment to smile while wearing the medal she was awarded for all her work for VFW District 9. NRP photo – Jon Wysochanski

North Ridgeville

Surprised and honored are the words Lois Skidmore used to describe her reaction after being named the 2011 Veterans of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary Outstanding President of the Year.

Skidmore, who has deep ties to North Ridgeville VFW Post 9871, received the award at a June 22 ceremony in Independence. She won for representing Ohio VFW District 9, which consists of 26 posts in Erie, Huron, Lorain, Ottawa, Sandusky and Seneca counties.

The award means a lot to Skidmore, but she is quick to point out she couldn’t have done it without the help of the other Ladies Auxiliary members.

“I don’t feel like I did anything outstanding or exceptional,” she said. “But, of course, they chose me and that is an honor within itself, but I think all the ladies have done their work.”

Ladies Auxiliary members attend a winter conference in January where they turn in paperwork detailing the community service projects with which they have been involved, Skidmore said. They then attend a summer conference where awards for service are distributed.

She stressed the VFW is a service organization – not just a social club where old men gather to drink and tell war stories.

“We do a lot of good things for the community,” Skidmore said. “We had this bad image for years that we’re just a bunch of old alcoholics sitting around a bar drinking, and we aren’t. We do so many things … like helping Community Care, for example.”

An additional project the Ladies Auxiliary has been working on is care packages for the troops.

“That’s another thing I think is just awesome,” Skidmore said. “We send packages to the troops every month. We box them and send them to the troops in Afghanistan.”

One of Skidmore’s favorite activities has always been her involvement with the Voice of Democracy contests. She had strong words of praise for this year’s winner, Amanda Chow of Lake Ridge Academy.

She even exhibited a humble grace, suggesting she may have received the Outstanding President Award because of Chow’s hard work.

“I feel like they look for certain things,” Skidmore said of winning the award for District 9. “I think that maybe because Amanda Chow did such a wonderful job, maybe that was impressive to them.”

Skidmore has been a member of the Ladies Auxiliary for 10 years. She served as president for the past four years, recently stepping down in June, and was replaced by Joan Exum.

“She really deserved it,” Exum said of Skidmore’s award. “Talk about shock. She didn’t expect it, and we didn’t know it either. When they called her name, she just froze. That was the best way for her to be an outgoing president, receiving such an honor.”

Although a decade of commitment to something like the Ladies Auxiliary is no small feat, Skidmore’s ties to Post 9871 and North Ridgeville span much further. She was born in a small house that is now located on the Dettore Farm, and her family eventually purchased several parcels of land near the eastern corners of Lear Nagle and Chestnut Ridge roads. Although her father was not a member of the service, he sold to a friend for $1 in 1966 some of the land on which Post 9871 is located.

When her brother, Glen Winterfield, was sent to war in the 1960s, their father got him a membership at Post 9871.

“When Vietnam broke out, and my brother went, my Dad made him a member,” Skidmore explained. “I don’t think my brother really had an interest in the VFW until he came back because he didn’t know what was going on.”

Winterfield served in the Navy, and Skidmore ultimately became a member of the Ladies Auxiliary under his name. She gets choked up just mentioning him.

“I’m sorry, I have to cry,” she said, while getting up to grab a tissue. “He’s passed on. I think he died of that Agent Orange, and now his wife is dying of cancer.”

Her brother, and others like him, is one reason Skidmore is a Ladies Auxiliary member. Skidmore’s husband Glen, who served in the Navy, said he’s proud of his wife’s service with the Ladies Auxiliary.

“She deserved it,” he said. “She’s worked very hard.”

Sidebar 1:

The Ladies Auxiliary is …

… involved in a wide array of service activities, including assistance through fundraising and support to those battling cancer; food programs; promoting patriotism through the Voice of Democracy contest; hospital visits; selling buddy poppies made by hospitalized veterans; and legislative activities on behalf of veterans’ rights and benefits.

Sidebar 2:

New officers for VFW Post 9871 North Ridgeville Men’s Auxiliary and Ladies Auxiliary are as follows:

MEN’S AUXILIARY POST 9871 *INSTITUTED 2003

EIGHT YEARS OF CONTINUOUS SERVICE

Retiring President: Steve Mace

Installing Officer: Jack Uber

President: Steve Mace

Sr. Vice President: Phil Meador

Jr. Vice President: Jerry Snyder

Treasurer: Terry Richards

Secretary: Cliff Kirsch

Guard: Bill Rankin

Chaplain: Dave Smith

Trustees: Brad Conley, John Bales, Wendell Babson

LADIES AUXILIARY VFW POST 9871 *INSTITUTED OCTOBER 29, 1966

FORTY-FIVE YEARS OF CONTINUOUS SERVICE

Retiring President: Lois Skidmore

Installing Officer: Alyce Coon

President: Joan Exum

Sr. Vice President: Lois Skidmore

Jr. Vice President: Charlotteann Maser

Treasurer: Pat Uber

Secretary: Sharron Richards

Chaplain: Norma Urbanski

Conductress: Jeanette Smith

Guard: Margaret Emerick

Three Year Trustee: Nubby Greer

Historian: Janice Pettit

Color Bearer #1: Gloria Schultz

Color Bearer #2: Marian Halagan

Color Bearer #3: Nuby Greer

Color Bearer #4: Alyce Coon

NORTH RIDGEVILLE VFW POST 9871 *INSTITUTED APRIL 17, 1966

FORTY FIVE YEARS OF CONTINUOUS SERVICE”

Retiring Commander:  Ernie Cantley

Installing Officer: Jack Uber

Sr. Vice Commander: Jim Hordinski

Jr. Vice Commander: Howard Emerick

Quartermaster – Adjutant: Roger Hoy

Judge Advocate: Don Barnes

Chaplain: Jack Uber

Surgeon: Paul McElhaney

Officer of the Day: Don Brooks

Guard: Tony Cioffoletti

3 Year Trustee: Sarah Markle

3 Year House Committee: Don Mellinger

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.