Sue Cunniff Coughlin is a 23-year PULF member of the Billy Caldwell Unit #806. Her eligibility is through her late father, Robert Cunniff, who served in the Navy during WWII and the Korean Conflict, and through her husband Al Coughlin who is a Vietnam Army veteran.
In her Unit, Sue is very active. She served as President for many years and then as Treasurer for many years. She has served in all offices and has held many chairmanships. At the District level, she held many chairmanships and served as Chaplain, Historian and Vice President. She served as President in 2006 and 2007. At the Division level, she served as Junior Activities, Bowling and many other chairmanships. Sue served as First Vice President and Second Vice President, and was President in 2015. On the Department level, she has served as V A & R Chairman, AEF Chairman, Gold Star Chairman, Historian, Second Vice President/Membership Liaison, and First Vice President/Legislative Chairman. Sue has also volunteered at Special Olympics and American Legion Auxiliary Illini Girls State. Facilitating Bingo parties at Jesse Brown VAMC is a source of enjoyment; those veterans love Bingo!
Sue is an Information Technology Application Manager at Walgreens and prior to that worked at Ernst & Young as a Principal in the Management Consultant Group. Sue lives just outside of Chicago with her husband Al, a Past First Division Commander. They share their home with their two cats, Tom and Jerry. Al and Sue love spending time with their cats. They also enjoy their time with their Legion Family and their family and friends. Sue uses most of her vacation time to attend American Legion Family functions but finds time for her annual winter/spring vacations. Those include an annual cruise to a warmer climate and a trip to the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships which is located in a different city every year. She has participated in the tournament for 17 years.
Sue is looking forward to a year of service and fun as we celebrate our 100th year.
The holiday season is here and winter seems to have arrived early this year bringing a couple of inches of snow across many of our areas over the past month. Many of our Veterans Day celebrations were moved inside or some even were cancelled. Many ALA birthday celebrations were held throughout the month and I hope there will be many more to come.
We did make our Department membership goal of 40% by October 31st. Thank you to all Units that worked to meet that goal. Our National goal is 75% by Pearl Harbor Day, December 7th 2019. We still have some time to make it. If we can make that goal, it is worth a $250 award to our Department. I know if we all work at it, we can make it! Check out the details about the new Lincoln Pilgrimage Award. That deadline will be here before we know it.
The Department Membership Caravan will be traveling around the state in January. Please be sure to attend a stop near you. Everyone is welcome; this is not just for Legionaries. Make this a family event. It is a great opportunity to see old
friends and make new friends. We are excited this year to have National Vice Commander Richard A. Heigert from Missouri as our guest speaker this year. I had the opportunity to meet him at the Haven and I am sure that he will be a very interesting speaker. Remember to make some calls and reach out to your members who are not current with their dues and bring membership to the Caravan with you. Remember as of January 1st, those members that have not paid for 2019 – 2020 are no longer in good standing. We will be awarding one per capita scholarship at each stop to the Unit bringing in the most membership.
As you go about your holiday celebrations, I hope everyone will set aside some time to serve veterans. If you didn’t get a chance to help out at the Gift Shops or Gifts to Yanks, try to host an activity at your Unit or give holiday cards to the
Veterans at your local facilities. If you can, visit some of the facilities. The holidays can be a very difficult time of the year for many of our Veterans. The smallest gesture can mean so much. When looking for gifts to give for the holiday, think about giving your eligible family members or friends a gift of membership in the Legion, Auxiliary or SAL. Share with them the wonderful benefits we get from our membership.
Here is a quote from Agnes M. Pharo that is appropriate for our theme this year. “What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.”
My heartfelt wishes to all for a wonderful and blessed holiday season and a happy and healthy new year!
~ President Sue Cunniff Coughlin
Our special project thie year will focus on our Veterans. Our donations will support the VA facilities and VA homes. We know that they all need more support. We will look for opportunities to fulfill some wish list items and present them at our 100th anniversary celebration at our Department Convention. Throughout the year, we may have some additional Veterans projects that we will also support. Look for those in the ALA Today.