Melanie Findley walked into American Legion Auxiliary Unit 500 in Speedway, Ind. as part of a local knitting circle allowed to gather there after the circle outgrew its meeting place. She didn’t expect to find a veterans service organization whose mission was so in line with her values. But she did.
Once she discovered how the ALA honors and aids veterans, servicemembers, and military families — and all of the Auxiliary’s youth- and patriotism-based activities — Findley was hooked. After learning that she was eligible for membership, Findley joined ALA Indiana Unit 500. She was among nine or 10 members of the knitting circle who joined that unit.
“I love what ALA stands for. I love what we do for veterans and all of ALA’s outreach programs. There’s so much respect for veterans and our nation’s flag,” Findley said.
Findley hit the ground running as a new unit member, coming up with great ideas and working with fellow unit members to put those ideas into motion.
One of those ideas was a successful fundraiser, a tribute wall called Celebrating Our Veterans. For a donation of any amount, a person can have the name of a veteran put on a card that contains an image of poppy flowers and the words “In Honor of.” Each filled-out card was fastened to a portable wall during the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and related events in Speedway. The fundraiser continues as a “virtual tribute wall” on Unit 500’s website. Between May and July of this year, nearly $2,000 was raised from this tribute wall.
The unit also hopes to establish other temporary physical tribute walls for other activities or events, during which an honor card could be filled out in exchange for a donation of any amount.
Learn more about Celebrating Our Veterans at Unit 500’s website at www.ALA500.com.