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Madam president

Niemi installed in the Dakota State Eagles Auxiliary post

June 19, 2009
Matt Mullally

Holly Niemi has been an active member of the Rugby's Eagles Auxiliary for 14 years, but interestingly enough, she has never held the office of president.

The 43-year-old is taking on a much larger role for the auxiliary over the next 12 months. Niemi recently was installed Madam President of the Dakota State Eagles Auxiliary, representing 18 organizations in North and South Dakota and more than 2,000 members.

She becomes the first person from Rugby's auxiliary to hold the office, and also becomes the youngest president of the multi-state entity.

Niemi has worked her way up to the office, spending the past six years holding various state chairs - trustee, outside guard, inside guard, conductor, chaplain, vice president and president.

Her installation was held in Vermillion, S.D. earlier this month, and that is also the site where she was first nominated and elected trustee.

"I remember a past president coming up to me and asking if she could nominate me as a trustee,'' Niemi said. "She said there would be nominations from the floor as well, so I didn't think I was going to be elected. There turned out to be no other nominations."

Fact Box

About the Eagles Aerie-Auxiliary

The fraternal organization has over one million members throughout the United States and Canada.

Its motto: "People Helping People."

Founded: 1898, Seattle Washington

Accomplishments: Recognized for organizing a campaign to promote the establishment of an annual day to honor mothers - Mother's Day...Assisted in the establishment of the Social Security Act of 1935...Assisted in the development of Medicare.

Serving the organization on a multi-state level has been in the back of Holly's mind, but she didn't expect to be in the position she's now in quite so soon.

"I've got young kids, and I thought this would be something I would like to commit to in the future.' she said.

Nevertheless, she's excited about the opportunity to represent the auxiliary and the organization in general.

"The Eagles' motto is 'People Helping People,' and I want to highlight and promote the auxiliary and the good things we do, raising money for charities and serving our communities."

While she has never been president of Rugby's auxiliary, she has been secretary for 12 years, and that distinction enabled her to be eligible for the district presidency.

On the road

The next 12 months will be busy, making visits to all 18 Eagles Auxiliaries in the district - 14 in North Dakota and four in South Dakota. She will preside over a handful of district meetings as well.

In addition, Holly will be in Reno, Nevada, next month attending the national Eagles convention. She will also be attending a regional conference in Minnesota with representatives of North and South Dakota and Minnesota.

This past March she attended leadership training in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

Rugby to host 2010 convention

Her year will culminate with the 2010 Dakota State Convention, which will be held next June in Rugby - during a year when the local organization turns 30.

The conference is for Eagles and Eagles Auxiliary members and it will mark the the first time it's been held in Rugby. Greg Anderson of New Rockford is currently the men's president and selected Rugby as host.

"It will be nice to have that here and showcase the community,'' Holly said.

Of course, that's a year away, and there is much planning to do and other work ahead.

"It's going to be a busy year, but also an experience I will remember,'' she said.



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