American Legion Auxiliary member Hazel Panoushek of Unit 49 in Fair Haven, Vt., finds meaning in her ALA membership in knowing she is paying it forward with each mission-based action she takes, especially those that aid and show appreciation for U.S. military veterans.
She remembers the veterans who helped her father, Army veteran Raymond Cole who served in the South Pacific, in various ways.
“That’s one of the main reasons I joined ALA: to give back. I give back by paying it forward and helping other veterans,” Panoushek explained.
Panoushek particularly enjoys helping veterans learn what benefits they may be eligible for. “A lot of veterans don’t feel they deserve any benefits or don’t think they have anything coming to them. It’s important that we help them become more aware of what they have coming to them and let them know that they are deserving of those benefits,” she said.
Panoushek’s two brothers are also veterans. Her uncle Winten Hire, who served in the Army during World War II, was killed in action in France.
Her husband is Walter Panoushek, commander of Post 49 in Fair Haven. Hazel Panoushek has been an ALA member for almost seven years.