For many U.S. veterans, the drumbeat of daily life is hard to overcome. After tours in combat-heavy environments, some veterans struggle to find their way after they return home. Many do not know where to turn to or who will be a true advocate for care. Deb Becker is making sure that veterans under her care are being heard loud and clear.
Becker is an activity supervisor at the Norfolk Veterans Home in Norfolk, Neb., and her fight for veterans’ rights is a passion and full-time job. When members of the facility where she works needed extra support, she turned to the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) for help.
“Our facility needed new equipment for physical therapy for members who served in wars from World War II to Vietnam, and we were unsure where to start,” said Becker, who helps nearly 140 veteran members in the Nebraska facility. “It wasn’t until I met the Auxiliary president of Nebraska and heard about the ALA Foundation that I knew they could help us achieve our goals. Through their donation, our veterans were able to get the additional equipment we needed to support their therapy.”
The ALA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that acts as a lifeline for many facilities and individuals across the U.S., providing services, equipment and support to veterans. The organization was created to support the ALA, a 501(c)(19) veterans service organization, in order to secure external funding to ensure the Auxiliary’s mission of service endures. The ALA Foundation’s purpose is to enhance charitable and educational programs for the military community through endowed gifts, grants and sponsorships. Since its founding in 2007, the ALA Foundation has supported many local organizations and activities nationwide that directly improve veterans’ lives. ALA units and departments have secured grants through the ALA Foundation that have funded everything from mental and physical therapy equipment for facilities to computers and educational materials for veterans who are returning to school or are job searching.
As the ALA Foundation celebrates its 10th anniversary, the focus, now more than ever, is on working with local ALA units to identify the right projects for the ALA Foundation to support. “In the first few years after we established the ALA Foundation to support the ALA’s mission outreach, we really worked hard to demonstrate how it could extend and expand the positive impact the ALA has on the lives of U.S. veterans and their family members,” said Linda Boone, president of the ALA Foundation Board of Directors. “Now we have the opportunity to look back at even the smallest grants we have been able to provide to ALA programs and show people how the ALA Foundation can make a difference. This is why we continue to work so hard to find new opportunities to make our ALA community and veterans aware of our mission.”
For the next decade, the ALA Foundation’s focus will be on raising a million dollars to fund the American Legion Auxiliary’s continued support of future generations of veterans. The work has just begun, and you, too, can support the ALA Foundation by donating to help veterans, military and their families. To learn more about how to get involved or give back, visit www.ALAFoundation.org.