ALA’s selfless mission unites people of various backgrounds


Denise Holmes and Unit Prez Robinson
STANDING TOGETHER: Denise Holmes (left), member of ALA Unit 199 in West Palm Beach, Fla. with Unit 199 President Elizabeth P. Robinson.

The ALA Stories blog series showcases positive American Legion Auxiliary experiences, thoughts, and ideas of ALA members. We hope these blog posts will inspire and encourage all who read them.

Differences don’t have to divide people, especially when individuals unite under a shared selfless mission of helping others. Just ask American Legion Auxiliary member Denise Holmes, and her fellow Auxiliary members, of ALA Unit 199 in West Palm Beach, Fla. Holmes is the only white person who belongs to Unit 199. Her fellow ALA members there are black.

Denise Holmes mug cropped toned 7.2020
Denise Holmes, member of ALA Unit 199 in West Palm Beach, Fla.

“I never worry about being racially different from everyone else in our unit. Each of us is there for the same reasons. We all want to honor and help our veterans and their families, and do positive things in our community. Unit 199 is a group of good people. I never have pressure to do something to impress everybody or try to fit in; I already fit in. And I have always felt welcomed in our group,” said Holmes, who has been a member of Unit 199 since 2004.

Unit 199 President Elizabeth P. Robinson said she appreciates Holmes for her many positive attributes as a person, and as an ALA member.

“Denise is an awesome person. She is among the first in our unit to say, ‘Here’s what I can do to help.’ Denise is here to serve, to follow the same mission and vision as the rest of us. We’re united because we want to make the lives of veterans and military families better, and we want to work with our Legionnaires,” Robinson added.

Holmes learned about the ALA from several ladies at the AME (African Methodist Episcopal) church she has been attending for years. They invited her to a meeting at Unit 199 so she could learn more about the American Legion Auxiliary. She liked what she saw and heard, and she became a member.

“When I joined, I felt that things just flowed. It still does. I love it. It’s touching to see people doing something to honor veterans. They sacrificed a lot. And it’s not just the person in the military. It’s their spouse, their children, their parents, their siblings. Helping and honoring all of them is a worthy cause. I wanted to be part of that,” she said.

“Unless they dissolve Unit 199, I don’t see myself at another unit. I like this unit. I’m comfortable here. And when you go where you’re comfortable, you get things done together,” she added.

Holmes joined the ALA under the military service of her father, U.S. Army veteran George M. Thompson, who served during the mid-1940s. She has other relatives who served in our nation’s military, including an uncle; a grandfather; and her husband, U.S. Air Force veteran Eddie H. Holmes, Jr., who served in the Korean War. Three of her husband’s sons also served in the military.

Editor’s Note

The American Legion Auxiliary is a community of volunteers serving veterans, military, and their families. Our mission statement:

In the spirit of Service Not Self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and 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.

Interested in becoming an American Legion Auxiliary member or volunteer? To learn more, visit or contact an American Legion Auxiliary unit near you.


  1. I am a proud member of the American Legion U,S,S, Tampa Florida unit 5, I have been a member for almost 14 years now. Coming from a strong military family that is the main reason I joined, Every male member served in all branches or the military and several war time conflicts all overseas from World War I/ World War II, Korean War, Vietnam and Desert Storm. Supporting our Veterans and the military. plus so much more is what we all do and love as volunteers. As a very young girl I would be with my grandmother giving out poppies. Sending out of troop boxes when my cousins and brother were overseas in Vietnam. I currently hold two chairs one of National Security and the other for Public Relations for our unit 5 and the 15th District of Florida.


  2. Awesome inspiration! Coming together is not hard when we’re on the same page. Ms Holmes At-Large Member ALA Unit 199 works for the mission of the ALA. Thanks for sharing her story.


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