Cumberland Elementary School Teacher Janey Feher is the daughter of World War II Veteran Al Feher, who served as Commander for the Kentucky VFW in the late 1960s.
As a result of her upbringing, she is well aware of the personal sacrifices that many have endured to keep our country free.
Feher, in her 21st year of teaching, says it is the result of the actions “of our fathers, grandfathers, husbands and brothers” that allows her to be a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and to “personally be able to fight for their rights as a veteran.”
“The Ladies Auxiliary member’s job is to serve and assist the veterans of this country and our communities in honor of the sacrifices and commitment of every man and woman who has served in uniform,” added Feher. “We have ‘unwavering support for uncommon heroes.’”
Because of her personal commitment and devoted work for the Ladies Auxiliary over the years, Feher is a member of the Mountain Trail Chapter 5171 and is now serving as president of the Kentucky organization.
She is the first daughter of a past state commander to serve in this position.
In her leadership role, Feher is overseeing 64 auxiliaries and approximately 5,800 members in the state. “I am there as a team leader to help the auxiliaries with problems and help them promote our organization,” she said. “I try hard to be a cheerleader, a mentor and an encourager.”
Feher’s theme for her presidency, which is documented on an impressive lapel pin, is “Hand in Hand-Together We Can.” The pin depicts the WWII monument in honor of her dad as two girls – Feher and her sister – hold hands and look at the monument. “I hope that my theme will help us work together to achieve our goals,” she said. “As president, it is important for me to make sure we have numbers to help the VFW fight for legislation on Capitol Hill to keep the entitlements they are now receiving.”
The road to her presidency did not come without much labor and love for the organization.
“To become president, I spent five years in different positions being prepared for the job,” she said. Feher is responsible for appointing department chairs to promote the organization’s many programs and activities.
* Americanism — teaching patriotism to students, and making people aware of the suicide rate among Veterans);
* Youth Activities — helping youth groups that support military families and working with Junior girls to become Auxiliary members in the future;
* Hospital — recruiting volunteers and helping hospitalized Veterans by remembering them through visits, cards, and recording their memories for posterity;
* Legislative — helping Veterans fight for their rights in Washington;
* Veterans and Family Support —providing free calling cards, distributing Buddy Poppies made by disabled veterans, and assisting families who spouses are oversees;
* Scholarships —getting the word out about essay and art contests that provide students with scholarships for college;
* Cancer Aid and Research — raising money for research.
Feher is also devoted to her position as a teacher for the Harlan County School District, which encourages community involvement from students and staff.
“The best thing about teaching is the students,” she said. “You build a relationship with them. As the years go, you find yourself keeping up with them as they get older. As I draw closer to retirement each year, I realize that it’s not the teaching itself I will miss, but the students themselves. “
As a teacher she sees many changes in the education system each year, noting that it seems more paperwork is required and less time for interacting with students on a one-to-one basis, something that she values as critical for effective teaching.
“We spend a large majority of time with the students each week,” she said. “We see their needs and wants and I, as others, get frustrated not being able to help them. I was raised with the ‘old school’ way of teaching. I don’t think any of us turned out too bad. Most of us are doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses and hold high professional positions in communities across the United States.”
Feher says that while she is concentrating heavily on teaching and her presidential duties for the auxiliary this year, she finds little time for her hobbies.
“I love to travel, listen to music and read,” she said. “Right now I listen to music as I travel and read on an airplane as that is about all I can squeeze in. I have been fortunate to travel to many wonderful places representing our organization, and hope that I can still do this even when my year as president is up next June.”
After her presidency, she will continue her work for veterans, noting that “Who knows, I might even be national president some day.”