Kris Nelson of Baxter was elected national president of the American Legion Auxiliary during the organization’s 91st National Convention in Minneapolis Aug. 26 - Sept. 1.
For her project as national president, she has initiated a campaignto increase membership and volunteer capacity among a younger generation.
“Through mission delivery, the American Legion Auxiliary will become so appealing to people who care about veterans that our membership will increase,” Nelson told Auxiliary members and delegates during her installation of the organization’s highest office at national convention. “We need to refocus how we do things and create opportunities for the younger generation that are meaningful and that they are able to work into their schedules. We must encourage and support new ideas of mission delivery projects and opportunities that women of all ages can participate in.”
Nelson also encouraged convention delegates and attendees to spread the Auxiliary’s word.
“We can only increase our membership and volunteer capacity if community members know who we are and what we do,” she said. “Asking community members to join you in Auxiliary service projects will give them hands-on experience, will let them see and feel how our service projects make life a little easier for our veterans, military and their families.”
Nelson, 59, is eligible for Auxiliary membership through her husband Terry (Vietnam Era, Army Reserves), stepfather Arthur Tarnowski (World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Navy) and brother Rick Tarnowski (Air Force, retired 2008).
She has held a number of leadership roles in the Auxiliary at the unit, district and department levels. Her unit awarded her a life membership in 1995. At the national level, she served as national vice president, NationalExecutive Committeewoman, Northwest Division Girls State Committee, Northwestern Division Membership Committee and chairman of the following committees: ALA Girls State, Education, Americanism, Children & Youth and Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation. She is a current board member of the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation and a member of the Long Range, Strategic Planning Committee.
Retired as director of human resources after 37 years with Consolidated Telephone Co. in 2008, Nelson has two children, Troy (Angie) and Sarah (Kent), and grandchildren Sydney, Myah, Ty and Kruze. She is a member of St. Andrew’s Catholic Church and is past board chairman of the Minnesota Telecom Alliance Education and Human Resource Committee. She also is a past board president of the Crow Wing County United Way and currently serves on their Women’s Health Initiative. She serves as editor of the SOLT Haiti Mission newsletter and as a member of the Brainerd Memorial Committee. She is a partner of the Eight & Forty Salon 85.