Dorothy Goodin is the daughter, daughter-in-law, wife, mother, stepmother, aunt, great-aunt and niece of veterans.
Possessing such a background, it is of little surprise she has been involved with the American Legion Auxiliary throughout the years, and continues to work diligently in support of programs that benefit veterans and the local community.
Raised in Mary’s Home during the 1950s, Goodin’s parents moved to Jefferson City when she was 11 years old. After graduating from Jefferson City Senior High in 1969, she enrolled in the Jefferson City Public School of Practical Nursing, the forerunner to Nichols Career Center.
“I had begun working in the health care field in 1967 while I was still a student in high school,” she said. “At that time, I was a nurse’s aid at the former Memorial Hospital.”
Shortly after completing her initial training as a licensed practical nurse in 1970, she married and became a staff nurse at what has since become Capital Region Medical Center. She later transferred to the position of pharmacy technician and eventually retired from the hospital as purchasing supervisor for the pharmacy.
Years later, she and her first husband divorced. She then met Ben Goodin, whom she married in 1986. Ben, she said, had served four years in the U.S. Navy in the early 1960s and later completed a 20-year career with the Missouri Army National Guard.
Dorothy recalled she had been a member of the American Legion Auxiliary since 1982, because her first husband was a veteran. Although she previously was not active with the group, she began attending meetings and was voted to serve in positions of increasing responsibility.
“I went through the chairs, I guess you would say,” Goodin said. “I was chaplain of Unit 5 at American Legion Post 5 in Jefferson City, and then became involved with the Girls State program, serving as chairman for the unit for seven years.”
The Girls State program provides young women with opportunities to learn about the structure and processes of the U.S. government at many levels.
She continued, “Then, I became vice president of the auxiliary unit at our post and served as president from 1994-1995. Ben was working for the Missouri Highway Patrol and volunteered as the director of the Missouri Cadet Patrol Academy, in addition to serving as chairman of the program at the post and district level.”
The Missouri Cadet Patrol Academy is sponsored by the American Legion in partnership with the Missouri Highway Patrol. It is open to young men and women between 16 and 18 years of age with the “underlying purpose … to provide firsthand experience of the role of our law enforcement officers in promoting and safeguarding American freedoms and rights,” the patrol’s website states.
In her volunteer endeavors with the auxiliary, Goodin was appointed the unit’s representative to the Council of Clubs (C of C) in Jefferson City. The C of C has since disbanded; but for more than a century, it served as a group of different organizations that united in support of projects benefiting the community.
“During the period I was involved with the Council of Clubs, I gained an appreciation of the extensive history of the auxiliary and the club” she said. “Both organizations were intertwined since many founding members of the C of C also helped found the American Legion auxiliary here at Post 5 back in 1919.”
She added, “I also learned that C of C supported many projects in years past that were patriotic in nature. For instance, during World War II, they baked cookies to distribute to the troops on the trains coming through the railroad station in Jefferson City and also helped sell war bonds downtown.”
Like many active members of the American Legion auxiliary, Goodin has been involved in several programs that support veterans, but there is one she tends to find the most enjoyable to work with.
“I have always been involved with the poppy program, it seems,” Goodin said. “We distribute poppies around Veterans Day and ask for donations. The money we raise is then used to support veterans, such as a recent initiative to help build a handicap accessible ramp for a longtime post member and buying gifts for veterans in local nursing homes.”
The poppy became the official flower of the American Legion family Sept. 27, 1920, memorializing the service members who fought and died during World War 1. The American Legion began the tradition of distributing poppies in 1924 as part of a national program.
Throughout the years, Goodin and her husband became proud parents of five children and 10 grandchildren. In 2013, Ben unexpectedly died. Since that time, she has continued to honor the memory of her late husband by continuing her voluntary work with the auxiliary.
Goodin is currently serving as president of the auxiliary for Unit 5 and proudly notes her son is also a veteran, an Air Force retiree who achieved his education through the GI Bill.
“I’ve always been a worker bee and have been willing to do anything that needs to be done,” she said. “At the post, I’m known as the person who helps decorate for events — it helps make it a hospitable place where everyone feels welcome.”
She added, “And if that’s what I’m known for, that’s fine. It’s just something that I enjoy doing, but it is all done to help promote the American Legion and help build membership so that we can continue to support veterans and the community.”
Jeremy P. Ämick writes on behalf of the Silver Star Families of America.
Originally Appeared Here