“What a true honor this is,” said American Legion Auxiliary 2022-2023 National President Vickie Koutz during her installation speech at the 2022 National Convention in Milwaukee.
We are on to another year of the ALA with a continued focus on serving our veterans, military, and their families with Koutz in the ALA’s highest volunteer leadership position.
Koutz is the third ALA member to serve as national president from the Department of Indiana; the previous national president, Alice Galka, served during the 1988-1989 administrative year.
Humble, kind, and considerate, Koutz puts others ahead of herself, truly living the ALA motto of Service Not Self.
Koutz grew up in Boonville in southwestern Indiana, a town with a population of about 6,500, and has lived there her whole life. Koutz has been married to Jim for 50 years, and they have a son, Michael. He spoke on stage at convention about his mother during the installation of officers ceremony.
“The day is finally here, and we are so proud of her,” he said. “I know my mom will accomplish a lot this next year. I encourage you to break out of your comfort zone.”
For Koutz, the getting-out-of-her-comfort-zone list includes trying new foods, public speaking, and traveling alone, all which Michael is confident she will do successfully during her term as national president.
For the 2022-2023 ALA year, Koutz’s focus is to honor our veterans every day. Additionally, the national president’s project will be on National Veterans Creative Arts Festival companions.
“Sometimes, companions can’t afford to pay for a meal plan,” she said. “This broke my heart. The one person who is a constant in their life couldn’t stay with them during meals.”
Her project on companions is triple tiered — money for a meal plan, travel, and/or a separate hotel room if needed for non-family member companions.
Koutz is also working to raise awareness on our country’s Prisoners of War and Missing in Action. Her husband, Jim, returned to Vietnam years later after serving overseas to help dig for remains, and since then, wears a POW bracelet all the time.
“Listening to him talking about his experiences made me realize how important it still is today,” she said.
Read more about Koutz in the November 2022 Auxiliary magazine, in mailboxes and online.
Be sure to follow her on Facebook at @alanationalpresident as she travels to units and departments across the country this year.
Fun facts about 2022-2023 National President Vickie Koutz
1) I enjoy riding our side by side (closed-in four-wheeler) with my husband and looking for deer.
2) I don’t like heights and I’m claustrophobic, especially in parking garages.
3) I love potato chips — Lay’s Classic.
4) I like to read pretty much anything.
5) I enjoy traveling — I went overseas with Jim to Asia when he was American Legion national commander. I like Hawaii, Pigeon Forge, and we go to Florida during the winter months.
By Sara Fowler, Staff Writer