The Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars – 100 Years

Trained as a dental assistant, Brooke Kuecker holds South Dakota licensure. She is also pursuing a bachelor’s degree in health science. Active in community affairs since she was young, Brooke Kuecker belongs to the New Helgen Lutheran Church and holds lifetime membership in the Ladies’ Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Formed in 1914, the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars observed its centennial in 2014. More than 450,000 women nationwide belong to the Ladies Auxiliary VFW nationwide. Generally speaking, membership is open to any woman who is related by blood or marriage to an American service member whose service makes him or her eligible for membership in the VFW. Likewise, any woman whose military service makes her eligible for membership in the VFW is eligible for dual membership in the Ladies’ Auxiliary.

The VFW and Ladies Auxiliary both began as service organizations, providing support and service to American veterans and their families for a century. In the 2013-14 program year alone, the Ladies Auxiliary volunteered almost 800,000 hours in Veterans’ Administration medical facilities, raised $2.3 million to support cancer research, provided $5.4 million in financial aid to active-duty military, veterans, and their families. They also worked with more than 230,000 youth in a variety of programs. The Ladies Auxiliary is also well known for donating American flags for numerous patriotic purposes and for decorating the graves of fallen service members on national holidays.

Membership in the Ladies Auxiliary carries certain benefits, ranging from travel benefits and an affinity group credit card to prescription discount programs and insurance plans, among many others. Further information is available from the organization’s website at


How Does One Become a Dental Assistant?

Brooke Kuecker currently works as a dental assistant and is licensed as an advanced dental assistant by the state of South Dakota. Dental assistants like Brooke Kuecker perform many of the services commonly offered in dental offices, seeing patients who need general oral care that does not require the training or oversight of a dentist.

Becoming a dental assistant typically requires students to attend a community college or another institution of higher learning and undertake a dental training program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Accredited programs require students to complete classroom, laboratory, and clinical work, learning about various illnesses and injuries that can affect the gums and teeth as well as common tools used in the dental profession. These programs can take one or two years to complete, and they typically include supervised practical courses in which the student develops skills with real patients. Many states require dental assistants to take an exam or otherwise complete a licensing process to serve as dental assistants, and many also require them to receive certification in other medical treatments like cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Health Benefits of Gymnastics

A dental assistant in South Dakota, Brooke Kuecker continues her studies in health science while working full-time. During her high school years, she participated in gymnastics training, which she credits for her excellent posture and coordination. Physical fitness continues to be an important part of Brooke Kuecker’s daily routine.

Although gymnastics can provide numerous mental and emotional benefits from its training requirements, its physical benefits alone render it worthy of consideration for those seeking to improve their physical fitness. The American Heart Association recommends that adults engage in at least 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise five days a week, while children should undertake twice that. Gymnastics easily fits into the category of moderately intense exercise with its bar work, cartwheels, handstands, rolls, vaulting, and other activities.

Other advantages of participating in gymnastic activity include an increase in flexibility, as it requires a far greater range of motion than daily life activities or even than other exercise such as running or walking. This greater flexibility will help prevent injuries to the muscles and other important parts of the body structure.

Lake Area Technical Institute Dental Programs

A health enthusiast, Brooke Kuecker was an active athlete who participated in softball and basketball in grade school and gymnastics during high school. Following high school, she attended Lake Area Technical Institute to pursue a health profession. A graduate, Brooke Kuecker holds an associate’s degree in the dentistry field.

Located in Watertown, South Dakota, Lake Area Technical Institute (LATI) offers degree and certification programs that prepare students for future occupations. The dental assisting program teaches students how to administer nitrous oxide, take x-rays, sterilize instruments, and perform other duties as an extension of a general or specialty dentist. An 11-month curriculum, LATI provides hands-on experience in a school setting as well as in clinical offices. A 20-month program is also offered, which gives students the opportunity to earn their associates of applied science with an emphasis in dentistry.

Accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, LATI’s dental assisting program can be completed online. Built as a hybrid course, students take a series of computer-based courses from home and attend on-campus labs. In addition, 300 hours of clinical experience is required at an approved dental office.

Graduates of LATI’s dentistry programs pursue careers in private and general practices. Furthermore, graduates are qualified to work in hospitals, orthodontic offices, and public health fields.

VFW Ladies Auxiliary Award and Scholarship Programs

An active member of her community, Brooke Kuecker is involved in church and service activities that benefit her neighborhood’s welfare. Brooke Kuecker also maintains a life membership with the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

An advocate of patriotism and education, the Ladies Auxiliary offers award and scholarship programs for middle- to high school-aged students. All 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students are eligible to participate in the Patriot’s Pen essay contest. Essays submitted must explain in 300 to 400 words the current year’s theme, which is, “Why I Appreciate America’s Veterans.” Graded on a 100-point scale, the student’s essay is evaluated on theme knowledge, theme development, and clarity of ideas. State winners advance to a national competition, where $46,000 in prize money is awarded. The first place winner of the national essay competition is awarded with $5,000 and an all expense paid trip to Washington D.C.

Created in 1946, the Voice of Democracy Scholarship provides a platform for high school students to express their patriotism. A written and recorded essay, submission into the competition requires a three minute to five minute audio recording of the student’s entry. Voice of Democracy Scholarship entries are scored on originality, content, and delivery. State winners are awarded with an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., where they will compete for $152,000 in scholarships. The student who earns first place during nationals receives a $30,000 scholarship. The 2014-2015 Voice of Democracy Scholarship theme is, “Why Veterans are Important to Our Nation’s History and Future.”

The Role of a Dental Assistant

Advanced dental assistant Brooke Kuecker is licensed by the State of South Dakota and works on a full-time basis. In addition to her work responsibilities, Brooke Kuecker is an undergraduate student aiming to complete a bachelor’s degree in health science.

Dental assistants deliver patient care, assist dentists with oral healthcare procedures, facilitate smooth administration processes, and maintain rooms and dental instruments in dental practices. Dental assistants commonly communicate with patients before and during appointments, educate them on oral health issues, and assist dentists during treatment. The working conditions in dental offices are generally very good, and the level of personal interaction with patients can be rewarding for dental assistants. Both full- and part-time work is available in dental care facilities, hospitals, and dental schools.

On-the-job training is sometimes provided, but candidates wishing to receive training and a credential may attend an accredited program. In some states, licensure or registration as a dental assistant may be required. Useful subjects to study prior to graduating from high school include health and office practices, chemistry, and biology.

About the Uneven Bars in Women’s Gymnastics

An experienced gymnast, Brooke Kuecker trained in the sport throughout her high school years. Brooke Kuecker developed high-level coordination as a result of this training.

One of the most popular sports in women’s gymnastics, the uneven bars evolved from the men’s parallel bars. In the early days of the event, the bars were little more than a man’s shoulder width apart, and routines performed on them were simple. Women would circle the bars or balance and hold, which evolved into bounce, twist, and eventually release moves.

As the event became a standard in women’s competitions, the equipment itself evolved. Bars became smaller in circumference and set wider apart. This allowed gymnasts to perform more advanced and visually impressive moves, such as the giant swing and the clear hip release. Now, spectators of high-level competitions can expect to see several flips and twists within the same routine, as well as complex bar-to-bar transitions, pirouette-to-release combinations, and high-difficulty sequential releases.