Members of the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) represent women of every generation and are family members of veterans who have served in every conflict since World War I. Each month, we’ll highlight one of our unit’s members in hopes of putting a face to the nearly 800,000 members of the American Legion Auxiliary worldwide.
Debbie Chen joined the American Legion Auxiliary in 2013 though her brother’s service in the Army and she is a charter member of ALA Unit 1 in DC. She grew up in a military family, and she has always had a deep appreciation for veterans. She said, “without veterans, I would not have the many opportunities I have today…I am so grateful for their spending their early 20s — a time most folks are partying in schools — serving our country abroad and making a difference in countries that need help.”
When Debbie’s career brought her into DC, she was looking for new opportunities to give back. That’s when she found the Auxiliary and a unit that was just getting started. Debbie has found that the ALA offers many ways to contribute, through volunteering your time with projects or monetary contributes, and that it’s very easy to get involved so you can pick and choose how and when you can contribute. She really enjoys the many family-friendly events, so she can volunteer and spend time with her family.
ALA members are women of service, and Debbie’s favorite service project with the Auxiliary to date is greeting Honor Flights. She loves seeing all the different folks from all walks of life come together to thank the WWII and Korean War veterans. Debbie said, “It really demonstrates that patriotism can come in many forms, from the tough Rolling Thunder members to the young moms bringing their children to say hi to these heroes. The Honor Flights greeting offers such a positive experience for greeters and veterans. I really enjoy the Saturdays I can start with so much positive energy which will last all weekend long.”
Outside of the ALA, Debbie is the proposal development director for an international engineering firm. When not in front of her computer, she is either working on pen and ink drawings or coaching roller derby.
Honor Flight is dedicated to transporting as many United States military veterans as possible to see the memorials of the respective war they fought in Washington, D.C. at no cost to the veterans.