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Volunteer gives VFW 26 years

In the early 1990s, Janet Davis was so busy with volunteer work, she spent more days a week on the road than at home.

At the time, she was state president of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Her three children were grown, but her life in Seminole was as busy as ever. She juggled her auxiliary work while teaching fifth grade at Cross Bayou Elementary School.

"As the (state) auxiliary president, I had to visit every chapter in the state. It got so bad that Lenard, my son who lives with me, asked me to mark the days on the calendar when I'd be home, rather than those away," Davis said.

"I barely had time to do my laundry."

No longer state president, she is Florida's representative on the auxiliary's National Council, representing 70,000 members statewide. That means attending at least four out-of-town meetings a year.

"As far as I know, I'm the only person from Pinellas County to represent Florida on the national council in the past 16 years," Davis said.

In all, Davis, 66, has devoted 26 years to the VFW Auxiliary. She has done a little of everything in the organization, from fixing lunches for bingo games to serving as president of local chapters in Baltimore and Indian Rocks Beach.

She joined the Indian Rocks Auxiliary rather than the Seminole chapter because she followed her husband's lead.

"When we moved to Florida in 1976, my husband, Torry,, joined the Indian Rocks VFW Post 10094. I didn't learn about the Seminole group until later."

Davis was eligible to join the VFW Auxiliary because her husband was stationed in China with the Navy during World War II. Torry Davis, who also served in the Air Force for a time, died in 1989.

The organization is open to wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of veterans who served on foreign soil.

A native of Hamburg, N.Y., Davis was a fifth-grade teacher in Baltimore, where her husband worked for Westinghouse International. The couple also spent two years overseas, in Italy and Turkey.

For 12 years, Davis taught fifth grade at Cross Bayou Elementary. After retiring in 1991, she taught as a substitute until this year. Besides her national auxiliary job, she has been the Indian Rocks Beach auxiliary secretary for 5{ years.

Davis gets upset with those who think the VFW Ladies Auxiliary is only about card parties and luncheons.

"We support scholarships, youth programs and cancer research, plus volunteer at VA hospitals and many other joint projects with the VFW," she said.

"And in 1920, our auxiliary helped get the 19th Amendment passed, giving women the right to vote."

In addition to her auxiliary work, Davis takes weekly ballroom and country-western dance lessons, sews and spends time in her garden.

Her three children: Dennis, 45, Lenard, 42, and Karen Davis Martello, 39, live in Florida. She has three grandchildren.

Do you know a person who deserves recognition? To suggest someone to be a Seminole profile, call Julianne Wu at 445-4221; send a fax: 445-4119 or contact her by e-mail: wusptimes.com

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