Nicole Clapp of Gladbrook, Iowa, was elected national president of the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) during the organization’s 99th National Convention held Aug. 23-29 in Indianapolis. Clapp will serve the patriotic service organization as national president for a one-year term.
Clapp joined the ALA as a Junior member at age 4. She has held numerous leadership positions in the organization at the unit, district, department, and national levels. At the national level, she served as 1987-1988 ALA honorary national Junior president and chaired many committees and served special appointments, including national Finance Committee chair, national Children & Youth Committee chair, national Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Committee chair, Future Focus Committee member, and ALA Centennial Strategic Plan Committee member. She also served as the national vice president in the 2018-2019 administrative year.
“I feel very humbled and honored to represent us in our 100th anniversary year, and to be the first honorary national Junior president to have life come full circle by becoming the national president,” Clapp said.
Clapp’s journey in the ALA started because she wanted to hand out poppies in exchange for donations. The little red flower is what attracted Clapp to the ALA, but its mission is why she stayed. “As a Junior member, I enjoyed how I felt each time I went to visit veterans and saw the smiles on their faces. I still have that same feeling while serving our mission,” Clapp said. “For the veterans, the visits offer a sense of appreciation in a basic gesture. To see a young person paying attention to them gives them a sense of hope. They see the future. They see that all of their efforts and sacrifices were not for naught. And they see that the individuals, be it Junior ALA members or others, have an understanding of their sacrifices.”
Clapp graduated with honors and distinction from The University of Iowa, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in nursing followed by a master’s degree in nursing administration. She then relocated to Wisconsin for a 22-year career at Grant Regional Health Center. She is board-certified in healthcare management and an American College of Healthcare Executives Fellow. Clapp was named the Wisconsin chapter’s Young Healthcare Executive of the Year in 2004. She was also recognized as a one of Becker’s Hospital Review’s 50 Rural Hospital CEOs to Know in the United States.
A 44-year Paid Up For Life member of American Legion Auxiliary Gladbrook, Iowa Unit 127, Clapp is eligible for membership through the service of her grandfather, Roger Schroeder, who served in the Navy during World War II.