National secretary, treasurer share more about roles
Since the national American Legion Auxiliary was created over 100 years ago, we’ve had a national secretary and national treasurer. Our first national secretary was Pauline Cranston Curnick, and our first national treasurer was Mary Izetta McCoy.
These national officer positions continue to be important throughout the ALA’s decades of history. Although people and roles have changed since the offices were first established, the mission remains at the heart of what these volunteers do for the ALA.
They each serve one-year terms, are appointed annually by the national president, confirmed at the post-convention National Executive Committee meeting, and serve until adjournment of the following National Convention.
Following is a closer look at these national officer positions and the ALA members currently serving in them.
Dr. Coral May Grout, National Secretary
Department of Massachusetts: Lifelong member of Eugene M. Connor Unit 193
Eligibility: Through the service of her father, Charles E. Grout (World War II), and grandfather, Stanislas Laplante (World War I).
Q: Tell us about the background you have related to the office of national secretary.
A: I’ve been the secretary to a number of foundations in the past. The most recent one was secretary of the board for the Monadnock area volunteer fire department. I’m also a professional grant writer. I’ve been the secretary of the Beals Memorial Library Foundation and have been a secretary multiple times for my unit. I’ve also worked with secretaries as a school superintendent.
Q: Can you describe the job duties of the ALA national secretary?
A: Whenever we have an NEC meeting and we go into an executive session, the national secretary is responsible for taking the minutes for that executive session. I ensure that minutes for any meeting are approved by the appropriate group of people. Another area I’m involved in is if a complainant comes to the national secretary from a department or a unit, I’m responsible for working with staff at National Headquarters to determine what validity there is to the complaint and to pass it on to the appropriate channels to get it taken care of. The national secretary is also in charge of the ALA brand — anyone using the brand or wishing to use our brand needs to go through the national secretary first. If a company is not using the brand correctly, we use the legal route. I work closely with the executive director and the national president, I attend all meetings I’m expected to attend, and I’m working on putting together a specific job description for the position of national secretary, among other duties.
Q: What do you find challenging as national secretary?
A: I thought being in Massachusetts or Florida might be difficult to be as attentive to the responsibilities as I could be in Indianapolis, but that’s not true. That was one concern that didn’t come to fruition. I want to say that the reason this position works is because of the talent we have in Indianapolis. We have a staff at National Headquarters that is absolutely amazing and driven to support the American Legion Auxiliary programs.
Q: What is the importance of having a national secretary for the ALA?
A: I think the importance of having a national secretary is to show the commitment of the collaboration between the volunteer side of the ALA, which is extremely important to our livelihood, and the general operations of the Auxiliary. This position continues to enhance the organization.
Marybeth Revoir, National Treasurer
Department of Illinois: Ervin A Borlick Unit 1109
Eligibility: Through father, Raymond L. Spano, a U.S. Army Korean War Era veteran. Membership began as a Junior member 66 years ago when mother, Marilyn Spano Lee, served as charter president of the unit.
Q: Tell us about the background you have related to the office of national treasurer.
A: I’ve been Department of Illinois treasurer for 30 years. It’s an elected position — every year, I come before convention, and I’m re-elected. I chose years ago instead of succeeding to be department president, I was of more use or more beneficial as treasurer, as a constant in the volunteer side. From that, I have a lot of knowledge.
Q: Can you describe the job duties of ALA national treasurer?
A: Monitor all the expenditures made by the national organization, work closely with the national Finance Committee to prepare data so they can make the budget annually, receipts matching, and making sure expenditures are in line with what was anticipated, to name a few. Also involved with different committees and I work hand in hand with many people of the national staff.
Q: What is the importance of having a national treasurer for the ALA?
A: I understand how national benefits the departments and how units/departments need national and its relevance. It’s important that we explain things to our members, to our departments, and to our units so they understand. At a national level, we are a corporation. We are running as a big business. The decisions we make and the information we disseminate have to be in a format that’s understandable to units and departments. Also, how the things we say they must do — like compliance with the IRS, filing 1090s — how important it is for the entire structure of the Auxiliary.
Q: What do you find challenging as national treasurer?
A: The thing I find a little challenging is that the national treasurer was previously in the office. Being off site, we needed to have discussions how I could keep abreast on what is going on and be included on day-to-day things without causing disruption to the flow of activities. Because of the wonderful staff I’ve had the opportunity to work with, they’ve made it easy.
Q: What is rewarding for you in this role?
A: I’ve found it rewarding that we are on a path. The American Legion Auxiliary is and needs to constantly change — the world is changing. We are on a path and realize we have to change. The calls for our assistance and the types of assistance we offer our veterans have changed. We need to continue to keep changing and keep the ALA relevant for another 20, 40, 50 years. We need to get to that point.
By Sara Fowler, Staff Writer