Tina Washington’s pride for her son, a U.S. Army veteran and middle school math teacher, can be heard in her voice.
“He served for five years, and then he became a teacher and a basketball coach,” Tina said. “He is sort of like a father figure to his students, and I think that is because of his time in the military.”
Tina’s admiration for veterans grew even stronger during her time working for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. There, she would speak with young soldiers arriving home from Iraq who were discouraged and broken, and she knew then she was being called to help.
“It just really tugged at my heart,” Tina said, “and I said, ‘When I am retired, I am going to find some way that I can go out and help these young people.’”
Tina made good on her promise and joined the American Legion Auxiliary in 2004 and has since fallen deeper in love with the organization’s mission of serving veterans, military, and their families, which allows her outgoing personality and love of community service to work together for good.
“I guess you could say I am in my groove,” Tina said. “My family is hours away from me on either side, and this is kind of my community and my home, so I am just invested here.”
Her investment goes further than the time she spends packing purses with toiletries and other necessities for homeless veterans or comforting widowed veterans at their annual Thanksgiving dinner. Tina also knows giving monetary donations to the ALA Foundation on #GivingTuesday makes the Auxiliary’s mission come to life.
“I believe the premise is that if someone helps us, then we should help others … so I can and so I do,” Tina said.
The impact of her gifts became even more tangible when she applied for and received a $10,000 Veteran Projects Fund grant from the ALA Foundation. The grant supported the purchase of a minivan for the Delaware Home of the Brave, which is used by volunteers and staff to transport veteran residents across the area.
“Now that residents are getting back to normal life and going back for their appointments and work, that van has really come in handy,” Tina said.
It all would not have been possible without dedicated donors, like Tina, who gives regularly to the ALA Foundation in honor of veterans like her son.
“He just has a sense of commitment and drive,” Tina said, “so every time I look at the picture of him on my mantle, I am just reminded to stay out there and try as much as I can to help veterans.”
There is no doubt that Tina, her son, and the veterans at the Delaware Home of the Brave are all Faces Behind the Funds — heroes who support or are supported by the gifts made to the ALA Foundation for #GivingTuesday. You can show your dedication with a gift today at donate.legion-aux.org/GivingTuesday.