Following the death of her husband, a U.S. Air Force veteran, about 14 years ago — and her retirement in 1997, Jean Rew wondered what would be next for her. She found her answer when she joined the American Legion Auxiliary.
“ALA has fulfilled my life. Helping our veterans, troops, and their families is a very worthwhile way to spend my time,” said Rew, a member of ALA Unit 55 in Hortonville, Wis.
Rew’s introduction to the American Legion Auxiliary came after she accepted an offer from her sister-in-law (who was a unit president then) to attend a unit meeting.
“These [ALA] women were just wonderful, and they all had one common goal: to take care of our veterans, our active-duty military, and their families,” Rew said.
One of Rew’s favorite ALA mission-based activities is helping with Unit 55’s care package program dubbed “The Troop Group.” With a focus on U.S. servicemembers deployed in parts of the Middle East, The Troop Group sends boxes filled with pre-packaged, easily portable food, goodies, and toiletries.
Rew is one of a handful of women at the heart of this program. She handles the inventory records of the items that go into the care packages.
“I’m behind the scenes. You may not see me, but I’m there doing my part,” Rew said. “It’s like the saying: ‘The roots of a tree are never seen. But without the roots, the tree will fall — not survive or stand tall.’ I feel like I’m one of the many roots of the ALA, doing things for veterans, troops, and military families … and I’m very proud to be part of that.”