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AMVETS Beck to head state auxiliary

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Jul 23, 2021

When Debbie Beck joined AMVETS Post 81 with her husband 11 years ago, she wanted to make a difference, not just show up for events and eat dinner there once a week.

Throughout her time at Post 81, Beck has taken on leadership roles at the local and state levels. And in June, at the state convention in Orlando, Beck was named president of the AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary Department of Florida.

And she has appointed many of her Post 81 friends to serve with her, making the North Fort Myers location something of a state hub for auxiliary activity.

Beck, who became the first president from Post 81 in its 40-year history, had a celebration held in her honor Saturday at Post 81.

Beck said it was overwhelming when she learned she would become president.

“It was surreal. It’s something I worked for, but now it’s here and this is where I am,” Beck said. “I’m so very proud of this place. They’re like a family to me.”

Beck will be in charge of all 58 AMVETS Ladies Auxiliaries in the state. She will address problems at posts, visit them, if asked, and will have an e-board to help make important decisions.

Beck is originally from Long Island, New York and came to Florida more than 40 years ago.

Beck’s father was a World War II veteran, which made her and her husband eligible to be part of AMVETS. A friend told Beck about the organization and suggested she join.

“I thought it would be a place to meet new people and I became the secretary,” Beck said. “I eventually became the president and went from there.”

A friend who was at the state level said she saw something in Beck and encouraged her to run for state office. Beck ran for a position at the department level and became the Americanism officer seven years ago.

She then gradually moved up to third vice-president, then second VP and the first vice president for two years before becoming president in June.

Beck will serve as president for one year, and can be elected for another year before terming out. She can then either become past-president or run for national office, which Beck said she is not interested in pursuing.

Beck will bring many of her Post 81 officers with her. Peggy Milnes will be the hospital chairperson, Robin Trudeau, currently Post 81 Auxiliary president, will be recording secretary, Carolyn Bain will be the public relations officer and Toni Fox will be corpsmaster.

Beck and Milnes were elected, while the other three were appointed by Beck.

Milnes said Beck worked her way up the ranks at the local and state levels and will also do fundraisers for Special Populations in Cape Coral, as Back has a daughter who participates in the program.

The Ladies Auxiliaries mainly do fundraisers and are in charge of programs such as Americanism, child welfare, hospitals, and scholarship.