This is why Tina Haggerty keeps her ALA membership.
Department of Pennsylvania Unit 357
45 years old
“Membership in the Auxiliary has helped in my personal life by giving me something to volunteer for. The community is always looking for volunteers, but it is pretty awesome to say you volunteer for an organization such as the American Legion Auxiliary because seeing what the veterans gave up for us, by giving back, makes you feel so proud.”
Haggerty joined the ALA in 2015, eligible through her father and husband. The couple own a plumbing business and did some work on the local post. The American Legion commander at the time encouraged Haggerty to join the ALA — she did, and her husband transferred his membership from the state post to the local post.
“My theory is if the veteran can give up their life for us, what can we do for them?” she said about what made her want to become a member.
After joining the Auxiliary, Haggerty started attending meetings and then became unit secretary, unit president, and then district president.
“I didn’t realize how big the ALA is and to be part of that is an honor,” she said. “I get to help veterans in the biggest organization.”
Prior to joining the Auxiliary, she was having trouble finding something to volunteer for that she truly cared about.
“I didn’t know where my niche was,” she recalled. “I kind of got thrown into it and I love it. I don’t mind giving up my time, money. We actually have a wonderful Legion Family.”
The volunteer opportunities available have kept Haggerty renewing her membership year after year.
“It’s a great feeling of accomplishment to say ‘We did this,’” she said. “We do a lot as a unit and organization together, and it’s an honor to say we did this for our veterans who fought for us, who signed their name knowing they might not come home.”
One activity Haggerty enjoys volunteering for with her unit is working with Juniors.
“I love showing the Juniors what we do and what we can do,” she said.
The biggest event Haggerty volunteers for with her unit is designer bag bingo, which raises $8,000 to $10,000 annually.
Haggerty offers advice for other members who may want to volunteer more.
“If they aren’t doing something, ask,” she said. “If they aren’t doing something they are interested in, come up with it. Bring your interests to the meeting. Sometimes when you have an idea, you might not know how to do that, but the more you work together as a group, the stronger you are.”
Haggerty said she is happy she found her niche with something she loves to do.
“This is not a job; this is from the bottom of my heart,” she said. “I have a lot of fun with [the Auxiliary]. I love working with veterans. If not for them, who knows where we would be today?”
Tell us why you renew your American Legion Auxiliary member dues every year. Email ALAMagazine@ALAforVeterans.org.