Working for a company for 25 years shows loyalty—volunteering for an organization for 25 years is much more than just loyalty. It is dedication, selflessness, and passion for what one does. Wanda Allen-Yearout is one of only a few individuals with this huge accomplishment, but she is very modest about it.
“I just hope to raise the awareness of military families to the legislative process in Washington D.C. and help them advocate for themselves.” Wanda is the only Volunteer/Representative who has spent 25 years working relentlessly for the National Military Family Association. Besides being a NMFA Representative for Davis-Monthan AFB near Tucson, Arizona, she works on whatever projects she can help with: reviewing scholarship applications, visiting Operation Purple® camps, and writing grants. She was also an integral part of the Professional Development Program, where much of the Volunteer Corps Training Manual is derived and maintained.
“I always challenge myself to get out there and volunteer for something,” she said. “I learned a long time ago that I didn't know everything, but if I kept an open mind and listened, I could find something new in every educational opportunity. It's that whole ‘bloom where you are planted’ mindset.” Not only does she have a positive attitude, she is also very proficient at the things she does. Throughout the years, she has won several NMFA awards including the Novella Gibson Whitehead Award and the Sydney Tally Hickey Award. The Sydney Tally Hickey Award has a special meaning to Wanda because she met Sydney Hickey, who was a driving force behind the Association's many legislative successes in the 1990s. Meeting Sydney motivated Wanda to write to several Congressmen about adding language to legislation so the Coast Guard stationed in Alaska and the Pacific would be properly covered for travel reimbursement when called home on emergency status. The bill was eventually passed and signed into law. Wanda’s dedication to the military families is exemplary and will certainly inspire many to follow in her footsteps.
To learn more about the National Military Family Association, visit here. To get engaged with veterans in your community, search on Serve.gov: "veterans" or "military families" or "service members" or "soldiers". Or contact your local VA to learn about work in the local veterans community.