Mary Wheeler has been an American Legion Auxiliary member since 2006. She has always had a drive to serve in her community, as shown by her extensive volunteer experience. However, with a grandfather who served in World War I, she also has a strong devotion to our nation’s heroes. Thanks to these things, Mary and the American Legion Auxiliary go together like s’mores and campfires.
Mary initially joined the ALA when she was introduced to a unit by her close friend. The unit had such an amazing group of members that Mary knew she needed to join. Soon she was the unit’s membership chair. By sending get-well cards to sick members and those in unfortunate circumstances and even helping to pay the dues for those who couldn’t afford them, Mary helped to greatly increase the unit’s membership.
Along with her caring and selfless nature, Mary also brought something else (and much more delicious) to her unit — her baking skills.
Baking is one of the many ways Mary has served veterans and servicemembers. With scrumptious goods like banana bread, carrot cake, and brownies, few veterans can leave an event Mary attends without a full belly. Whether she provides these treats for her unit’s weekly movie night or bakes them as a kind gesture to a veteran, they are all made with the best ingredients possible — all so that our nation’s heroes can have the best and most delicious desserts possible.
Along with her amazing baked goods, Mary also helps veterans, military, and their families through a monthly donation to the Auxiliary Emergency Fund. She was inspired to start the monthly gift when Hurricane Irma came raging through the Florida Keys, and some of her friends’ homes were damaged, and some totally lost. Mary witnessed how the AEF had helped them get back on their feet through disaster grants. These grants gave Mary’s friends the funds they needed to repair their homes or find lodging until they could find a new home.
“They lost either their housing or something or the other, and that’s why I chose [the AEF], because I know it will help my fellow sisters,” Mary said. “With the storms we get here, we can help other people [by donating monthly], and some of them might be my friends.”
Mary truly embodies the ALA’s principle of members helping members. Thanks to her monthly gifts, her fellow Auxiliary members will have the lifeline they need when disaster strikes.
Join Mary and start a monthly gift to the Auxiliary Emergency Fund. These gifts will not only help your fellow Auxiliary members, but they might just save some of your friends in their time of greatest need.
By Zac Felty, Staff Writer