Compassion for Veterans
Her love for the DAV and veterans drive her the most
By Thom Wilborn
Outstanding Auxiliary Member of the Year Emily Hall, right, assists a veteran at the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home in Maryland.
Friends and colleagues will tell you that Emily Hall is enthusiastic, idealistic and patriotic. These are among the qualities that led to her being selected as the Outstanding Auxiliary Member of the Year. But it is her love for DAV and veterans that drives her the most.
“It’s an honor to serve the men and women who have served our nation at great sacrifice and given us the freedom we have in our nation,” Hall said. “I do what I have to do because it needs to be done. Someone has to step up to the plate.”
“Emily is totally dedicated to serving our veterans in whatever capacity she can,” said Auxiliary National Adjutant Judy Hezlep. “Her record of accomplishment is distinguished and expansive. She’s an outstanding Auxiliary member.”
“Her spirit of activism inspires us to include in our endeavors the interests of children, victims of crime and the elderly and infirm, as well as our veterans,” said Unit 3 Senior Vice Commander Barbara Johnson. “She personifies the spirit and purpose of the DAVA by her outreach to all segments of the population. She’s an amazing lady.”
Hall visits schools to tell children how to properly treat our flag, attends Veterans Day and Memorial Day services in her home state of Maryland and the veterans events in Anne Arundel County. She places flags on the graves at a veterans cemetery and supports youth programs in her community. Add to her very busy schedule the visits and care given to patients in nursing homes and hospitals, as well as the information and resources offered to family members of veterans in hospice care, and you have only a snapshot of her service to the community.
Hall’s passion for veterans stems from her father, Linwood, who served in the Army Air Corps and later the U.S. Air Force. She worked at the Department of Defense for 29 years, serving her nation as a civilian employee. “That’s where I got my deep respect for the military,” she said. “The concern and love I have for veterans is innately part of me.”
As a member of Unit 3 in Annapolis, Md., Hall found the perfect outlet to serve the veterans she loves. “The Auxiliary gives 100 percent,” Hall said. “We work with the state veterans home during holidays, and we give veterans items they need.” She fondly remembers bringing tears to the eyes of a U.S. Marine Corps veteran at the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home when she gave him a T-shirt that proudly displayed the Corps emblem. “The veterans at Charlotte Hall are very appreciative when you help them,” she said.
She also works in support of children, especially those who have lost family members. “The kids at our camp change from Friday night to Sunday afternoon,” Hall said. “The kids are really isolated when they get there. They get big buddies, adults like myself, to let them know what we’ve been through. It helps them with their loss.”
Death is no stranger to Hall. In one year, she lost seven family members. She uses that personal experience with grief when she volunteers at the Hospice of Chesapeake, serving in programs such as patient care and vigil support for families. “I sit with a patient while they’re dying at the hospice,” said Hall. “I am more dedicated to life than I am comfortable handling death.”
Hall suggests she may get the energy to do all she does from her Cherokee grandmother. “I don’t know if it comes through the genes, but I work well with people,” she said. “I love kids, and I love veterans. Those are the two things I will never give up.”
“It’s a touching and rewarding experience to know how deeply involved Emily is in caring for our veterans and young people,” said Hezlep. “The amount of work she does is remarkable, and the lasting effects are truly amazing.”
The Outstanding Auxiliary Member of the Year award is a great honor for Hall. “I don’t think I’ve ever won such a prestigious award like this before,” she said. “I’ve won a governor’s award, but this is a national award—a first for me.
“I think serving veterans shows how much you can do if you put your mind and body to it,” said Hall. “You know how much it takes for veterans to get the benefits they deserve. It takes each and every Auxiliary member to support them.”