New York Hispanic American unit strives to improve lives in its community

Posted On: Wednesday, 08 May 2024

After working with veterans and volunteering in the community, spouses and family members of the Gabriel A. Rodríguez Legion Post 1928 in western New York decided to create an Auxiliary unit to further enhance the lives of veterans, military, and their families. Auxiliary Unit 1928 in Buffalo was established Sept. 7, 2023, and the unit has already accomplished so much since then. 
“Posts are usually more successful when there is a unit behind them to support them, so we decided to become a unit,” said Unit 1928 President Wilda Ramos-Morales. “I can see what a good impact the Legion is making for veterans I know, and I wanted to be part of it.”
The Gabriel A. Rodríguez Legion Post 1928 and unit is uniquely made up of mainly Hispanic Americans. The Post 1928 Family fully embraces different heritages and cultures and encourages people from all backgrounds to be a part of their Legion Family. Numerous members of Unit 1928 do not speak English fluently, so the unit meetings are done bilingually by integrating both Spanish and English. 
“Our unit has a diverse population — the majority of our unit is Hispanic Americans, and a majority of those people happen to be Puerto Ricans, but we do have members who are African American, and we have some Caucasian members,” said Ramos-Morales. “We would like for our unit to be a representation of different cultures.”  
Unit 1928 enjoys working with other units on projects and fundraisers to help advance the ALA’s mission of serving veterans, military, and their families. Since Unit 1928 is a fairly new unit, they greatly appreciate the advice and knowledge other units have shown them so far. 
“We want to work with different units and be integrated because the more we know about each other, the more acceptance we have for one another — culturally accepting other people from other backgrounds is so important to us,” said Ramos-Morales. 
In addition to the many veteran-focused projects and community outreach initiatives, the Gabriel A. Rodríguez Post 1928 Legion Family helps maintain the Western New York Hispanic American Veterans Monument in Naval Park. The historic war memorial honors all Hispanic American veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces, and it is one of the few memorials in the United States solely dedicated to Hispanic American veterans. Also, the Hispanic American Veterans Monument is one of the only war monuments in the country that includes a female servicemember. 
“The minority veterans have felt invisible, and we need to change that,” said Ramos-Morales. “The memorial means sacrifice, it means pride, it means recognition, and it means we matter.” 
Legionnaires and Auxiliary members help clean the monument as a Family twice a year — before ceremonies on Veterans Day and Memorial Day. During the rest of the year, members of the Monument Committee and the Gabriel A. Rodríguez post/unit check in on the memorial to always make sure it’s clean and tidy. 
“Helping the community is a fulfilling feeling — it’s a feeling of accomplishing something that is bigger than us,” said Ramos-Morales. “It’s important for people/members to feel they belong to something bigger than themselves.”

ALA Mission

In the spirit of Service, Not Self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad. For God and Country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace and security.