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Area resident advocates for veterans at Washington, D.C. conference

Posted: March 3, 2016 6:05 p.m.
Updated: March 4, 2016 1:00 a.m.

Local residents attend American Legion Auxiliary’s and American Legion’s Washington Conference. From left, they are Commander of the Department of South Carolina, Joe Lysaght; President of the Department of South Carolina,Teresia Hayes; Dennis Belue and Billy Bell, Legionnaires of James Leroy Belk Post 17.

Teresia Hayes of Camden, state president of the American Legion’s Department of South Carolina was one of more than 300 delegates and distinguished guests from across the nation who attended the American Legion Auxiliary’s (ALA) annual Washington, D.C., conference held Feb. 22-25. The winter event provides an opportunity for the organization’s leadership to hear from Washington-based experts on issues relevant to the ALA’s mission and to meet with Congressional representatives on key legislative priorities.

Hayes joined American Legion family members to learn how to better support our veterans and their families. Presentations included topics such as Supporting Our Current Conflict Veterans and Veteran Families, Reaching and Serving Our Military Bases, Contemporary Ways to Engage Children and Youth in Service, Commemorating Our History -- preparing for the American Legion Family’s centennial anniversary -- and others. 

Other events Hayes participated in included a ceremonial wreath-laying at the Korean War Veterans Memorial and Arlington Ceremony, and a presentation of the ALA’s Public Spirit Award to Josh Bleill, community spokesperson for the NFL and Indianapolis Colts and an Iraq War veteran who uses his “one bad day” in Iraq and lengthy recovery at Walter Reed Military Medical Center to serve as inspiration to others. 

Hayes also attended a joint session with The American Legion and met with senators and representatives on Capitol Hill to discuss The American Legion’s legislative priorities. Hot-button legislative issues were discussed with senators Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham. 

ALA members have dedicated themselves for nearly a century to meeting the needs of our nation’s veterans, military and their families both here and abroad. They volunteer millions of hours yearly, with a value of more than $3.1 billion. As part of the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization, Auxiliary volunteers across the country also step up to honor veterans and military through annual scholarships and with ALA Girls State programs, teaching high school juniors to be leaders grounded in patriotism and Americanism. To learn more about the Auxiliary’s mission or to volunteer, donate or join, visit


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