Special to the Ledger
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Joanne Blum of Colchester was elected and installed as president of Jewish War Veterans of the USA National Ladies Auxiliary at the
organization’s recent convention held in Richmond, Va.
Blum’s father was a World War II veteran of the U.S. Army, serving in the Philippines. Her 96-year-old mother still lives in Palmer, Mass., where Blum grew up. She met her husband of 45 years, Jerry Blum, while she was a student nurse doing her psychiatric clinical rotation. He had just completed serving four years in the U.S. Navy, and was working as a psychiatric aide at the Institute of Living in Hartford. A veteran of the Vietnam War, Jerry is a past Connecticut Department Commander of the Jewish War Veterans (JWV), and serves on many national committees.
As a nurse, Blum spent much of her professional career caring for veterans in a state veterans hospital. While working, she received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in nursing. She currently works part-time as a clinical instructor, teaching nursing students at the University of Connecticut. She is a past president and current delegate to Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society for Nursing.
Blum is active in Hartford-Laurel Auxiliary #45, the only JWV Women’s Auxiliary in the state of Connecticut. There, she served as president for four years; during her second two-year term, she served along with her husband, who was then post commander. In her Auxiliary, Blum coordinates bingo and purchases holiday gifts for the Veterans Home in Rocky Hill. In addition, she helps chair fundraising luncheons, among many other projects. In addition to helping veterans, the Auxiliary also collects items such as pillows, pajamas, and diapers to present to the Village of Family Services.
On a national level, Blum has chaired many committees, including Child Welfare, Hospital, Grant-A-Wish, fundraising, Double Chai Luncheon, and others. She also serves on the Board of the National Museum of American Jewish Military History and is a life member of the National Ladies Auxiliary.
The Blums are active members of Temple Beth Tefilah in East Hartford, where they serve on the Board of Directors. They also volunteer a lot of time on committees for Relay For Life, which raises funds for cancer research. Joanne Blum is also a past president and life member of a local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Auxiliary, a life member associate of the Vietnam Veterans of America and the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary.
An avid “smiler,” her theme for the Auxiliary this year is “Smile Across the Miles of JWVA.”
The parents of two daughters, the Blums lost their oldest daughter, Michelle, to cancer four years ago. Their younger daughter, Jennifer, works for the State of Connecticut. The Blums also have three grandchildren: Melissa, Debbie and Jordan.