The Bertus Jurgens American Legion Auxiliary Unit 283 of Chancellor is proud to announce that Unit President, Joann Muller, was chosen to be the District 8 Legionette of the Year for 2023.
The District 8 President, Karen Richelieu awarded Joann with a pin honoring her with this title.
Joann has been a member of Unit 283 for 33 years. She has been the Unit’s President for many years, and previously served as First Vice, Secretary, and Sergeant of Arms.
Joann’s husband, Verlyn, is a Viet Nam Air Force veteran and has been a member of the American Legion for 57 years and was the first Viet Nam veteran to be commander of the American Legion Post 283.
Joann recognizes the Gold Star Sisters, helps organize the Flanders Field ceremony, and helps serve rolls and coffee at the local Memorial Day Service in Chancellor every year.
She has made many trips to the local high school to promote and enroll girls for Girls State and bring them their pins and certificates afterwards, and also sets up the POW/MIA Table there.
Joann has officiated at many memorial services for deceased Auxiliary members, where she always recognizes their contributions to the Auxiliary and does a wonderful tribute to each of them.
She has donated clothing to the Union Gospel Mission, the VA, the Veterans Outreach Center in Sioux Falls, and the Human Services Center in Yankton, as well as gloves and hats to two area schools.
Joann has also donated greeting cards and Christmas cards to the VA. She also collected and donated backpacks for veterans.
Joann donates aluminum cans to help the funding of the Veterans Memorial in Tea and has donated for the VA Bingo and for Christmas gifts, helped veterans pick out gifts, and also wrapped their gifts for them.
Joann has also donated to the VA Volunteer Services and also to the Ellsworth AB where spouses were put out of work because of Covid. She decorated pillow cases to be given to soldiers when they are deployed.
Joann has put flags on the veterans’ graves at the Chancellor Cemetery, and she has put grave markers on the graves of the local Auxiliary members.
For many years, Joann has helped make baskets for the Center of Hope fundraiser. She takes groceries to those in need, and drives elderly people to doctor appointments, etc. She has visited veterans on Veterans Day and brought them treats. She has also helped clean our Legion building.
Joann and Verlyn are members of the Second Reformed Church in Lennox. They donate to many nonprofit organizations at their church. She belongs to Sunday morning Bible Study.
She has taught Sunday School and Bible School, helped organize many Christmas programs and directed the Children’s Choir, provided special music in the choir and also in duets with her sister, and has been a member and secretary of the Guild.
Joann has done many eulogies for funerals of loved ones. She has written many stories about “growing up” and “farm life.”
Family is very important to Joann — family comes first. She says, “A wonderful husband, four terrific married children, eleven grandchildren, and two great-grandsons add so much joy to my life.”
She loves family time and will drop anything she’s doing to help them in any way she can. She loves their home and country life. She takes pride in caring for farm animals and spends many hours in her vegetable and flower gardens. She also enjoys her collection of “pig” cookie jars and knick-knacks.
A cosmetologist by trade, Joann has held jobs at Sioux Valley/Sanford Hospital, the State of South Dakota, and the Lennox School District. She has also been treasurer of the Lincoln County Porkettes, and she has tallied at state and local elections.
Joann’s motto is “others first,” and she is always ready to lend a helping hand. She devotes much time and energy helping others and enjoys doing so. She’s a friend to all and loves to visit.
As Joann’s husband has gotten older, his health has taken many turns. She is now his caretaker and spends many hours caring for him---at home and trips to the VA in Sioux Falls many times a month. She and Verlyn do exercises together to improve his mobility. They have been married for fifty-five years.
Joann knows that every gift comes from God and doesn’t take anything for granted. She feels so blessed to be living in this great country and respects and honors those who fought to defend our freedom. She is forever grateful that God planted her in the great state of South Dakota. It will always be home to her. Her favorite scripture passage is Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, “A time for everything..….and it is all in God’s time.”
The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 283 is very proud of Joann for all the wonderful things she does for our veterans, the area communities, and for people in need. She has a warm, wonderful heart and is a gift to all of us.