For two years, Elizabeth Sawyer waited.
She waited for the opportunity to honor those who fought for our country.
Elizabeth, now 13, started attending the Veterans of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary Junior Girls’ activities when she was 3 but had to wait two years to join. The organization requires that young ladies, ages 5-16, be relatives of service members who served overseas in a U.S. military conflict.
The Junior Girls elects officers and holds monthly meetings the second Saturday of each month at VFW Post 8577, 1506 Veterans Ave. Following the monthly meetings, the girls make crafts, cards and other creations for the veterans at the VA Hospital in Temple.
“We teach them how to be good citizens and respect the freedoms that they enjoy daily,” said Bonnie Henderson, the Junior Girls advisor for VFW Post 8577. “The girls prepare care packages for service members overseas, volunteer in hospitals and nursing homes, march in parades and learn about patriotism and the history of our country.”
Henderson recently accepted the advisory position and hopes to grow membership from 12 girls to 20 over the next few months. Although there are VFW posts in Kempner and Lampasas, Copperas Cove has the only Junior Girls program in the district. Similar to Girl Scouts, Junior Girls earn digital badges for their community service work. But for one mother, there is a definite difference between Junior Girls and Scouts.
“The Junior Girls organization is based on a Christian concept, and I really like that for my daughter,” said Betty Sawyer, Elizabeth’s mother.
One of the Junior Girls’ projects was ensuring that every classroom in Cove had an American flag. The Junior Girls worked with younger children to teach them how to say the Pledge of Allegiance.
Elizabeth said she is a member of Junior Girls because of her family.
“A lot of groups for kids do things for kids. But in Junior Girls, we help families and veterans. My dad is a veteran. So, I am doing this for my family. It is cool visiting with the veterans and hearing their experiences with war.”