Group picture: MPD Lieutenant Rafael Betancourt, Officer Kenia Abreu, Community Relations and Outreach; Auxiliary Unit 239 members including Commander Ellen Cruz; first vice president LaVeda McNeil; Vicky Hess; Angie Direnzo; Secretary Christina Williams; and Treasurer Karin Biega.  MPD Sergeant Chris Villafane along with Mascotte City Manager Annamarie Reno. 

Article and Photos by Marty Proctor

Groveland/Mascotte American Legion recently added Auxiliary Unit 239 to its Post. Ellen Cruz is the new Commander of the Auxiliary, she is also a Mascotte City Council member. The Auxiliary will support the Legionnaires and their programs.  Ellen, stated, “bringing the Auxiliary to Post 239 is going to give us additional volunteers to work and depend on”. 

A group shot

Legionnaires and members of the community mixed and mingled to celebrate the newly established auxiliary. Mayor Evelyn Wilson represented the city of Groveland and Mayor Steven Sheffield represented Mascotte. Mascotte City Manager Annamarie Reno, Sergeant Oldham, Officer Grigoriadis, Mascotte Police Department Community Relations and Outreach officer Kenia Abreu, along with many other guests celebrated the newly charter auxiliary.

Auxiliary member Karin Biega is their treasurer and dual member. She has been in the Legion since 1966.  When asked what about the future of the auxiliary, she said, “This is going to jump-start the Legion.  We have the women who are going to learn, go forward, and be great together”. 

Dianna Rousseau, from Unit 219 in Fruitland Park, part of the 6th district leadership team, and former state president for the American Legion Auxiliary, welcomed attendees and proudly stated, “The Groveland/Mascotte American Legion has had its post for a number of years and now it has a new auxiliary…..that’s a BIG Deal”. 

Chuck Rousseau, part of the welcoming party proudly stated that he served his country for 22 years, 2 months and twenty-seven days with the Air Force.  Another member, Paula Fox, the sixth district president from Saint Cloud Florida, said how excited she was to welcome a new unit to charter.

Wanda Brandt, American Legion Auxiliary Department of Florida president, handed the new charter to Ellen Cruz with an assurance to assist her when needed.  Legion Post Commander Shawn McNeil thanked everyone for their support and both the State of Florida and District Auxiliary board members for taking time to swear in and activate the Unit.

American Legion Post 239 is located at 307 American Legion Road, Mascotte. Find them on FaceBook at THIS LINK or contact them at 352-557-4668.

The Legion is open Tuesday through Sunday every week with many functions and event nights each week. 

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