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WACOM to hold annual welcome luncheon

Women’s Auxiliary of the Commissioned Officer’s Mess (WACOM) will be having their annual Welcome Lunch ‘N Tea on Tuesday, September 13, beginning at 11:00 am at the California Welcome Center, 880 N China Lake Blvd, Ridgecrest. 

WACOM was originally formed in 1945 for the base Officer’s wives and the base civilian Cal Tech Faculty wives to come together as a means of entertaining those two groups who found themselves living in a desert rural environment without many amenities. According to a beloved former member, Eleanor Lotee, “In the early days of WACOM, entertainment was important because people had to make their own good time.”

Over the years, events other than the monthly dances began to evolve into many fund-raising endeavors that would pay for programs, such as the annual flower show, and a few nice things for the club that the Navy could not procure. At that time, The Country Store, a huge bazaar, was established and later became a Holiday Bazaar, finally transformed into Santa’s Art Shoppe, held at the Fair Grounds.

Then in 1952, Esther Stroop and Elsie Watson came up with the idea of a Thrift Shop to help Navy Relief. Thus, The WACOM Thrift Shop was born and opened its doors in May of 1953. Because WACOM had always been a combined Navy and civilian effort, it was decided that the proceeds would be split in half. 

To this day, WACOM continues with Esther and Elsie’s vision. Records show that over the past 20 years The Thrift Shop has brought in over $1 million; of which 51% of all proceeds go to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, 39% to local community non-profit organizations, with only 10% remaining for WACOM operating expenses. WACOM now also accepts and encourages not only members from base military residents and employees, but anyone from our community that has a heart and desire to volunteer their time, assisting at the Thrift Shop. And, in doing so, benefiting our entire community. 

If you would like to know more about WACOM, how they support the Navy and our community through Thrift Shop donations and sales, and/or join WACOM, please plan on attending their annual Welcome Lunch ‘N Tea on September 13th. 

You can also find the Thrift Shop on Facebook @WACOMThriftShop and watch for weekly sales, specials, and bag sales.