A longtime member of the American Legion Auxiliary, Rachel Grout’s roots ran deep within the organization.

After joining the ALA at 17 years old, Rachel was an active member at Unit 193 in Winchendon, Mass., until she passed away last year at 100 years old. To show her appreciation and lifelong love for the ALA, Rachel left a charitable bequest to the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation for $5,000.

“She would want the ALA to be something that leaves a legacy for those 100 years from now, to still be able to belong and actively participate in,” said Rachel’s daughter and ALA Foundation Board of Directors Member Coral May Grout.

Along with being a devoted volunteer and serving as her unit’s treasurer for 54 years, Rachel also was an avid traveler, visiting not only all 50 states, but 57 countries as well. Coral said her mother’s true sense of Americanism shined every time they returned home from a foreign trip.

“When she would come into the international terminal at Boston Logan International Airport, there is a huge U.S. flag as you’re going through customs, and she would cry every time,” said Coral. “She was so glad to be an American.”

Rachel and her husband Charlie, a World War II veteran, were both active in promoting patriotism throughout their community.

“She always made sure the flag was flying on our front porch,” said Coral. “She and my father would make sure that if somebody needed a flag, like one of our neighbors had a torn and tattered flag, they’d deliver a new one. They gave flags to the schools so that every year there would be a flag in every classroom.”

Coral said her mother loved to be doing something for others.

“She would give the shirt off her back to help a homeless veteran,” said Coral.

The gift Rachel left to the ALA Foundation also inspired others to give. Her $5,000 charitable bequest was a matching gift during last year’s #GivingTuesday campaign. The gift challenged others to make donations matching or exceeding her gift, helping make even more of an impact on veterans, military, and their families. By the end of the campaign, Rachel’s bequest was well exceeded by our generous donors.

Click here to learn how you can make a planned gifts to the ALA Foundation and American Legion Auxiliary.