American Legion Auxiliary’s National Junior Member of the Year 2018

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Photos and written by: Judy Cobb

Samantha Hook, a 7th grade girl earned the title of, “National American Legion Auxiliary Junior Member of the Year” Just the idea that a girl from Nevada was chosen is remarkable. This was announced during the 98th American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) National Convention. Samantha’s a member of ALA L.D. Lockhart Unit #14. Here was her speech as ALA Junior Member of the Year.

“Good morning.  Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to be here today in front of you.  I bring greetings from the Department of Nevada!

My name is Samantha Hook, and I’m a Junior Member from American Legion Auxiliary L. D. Lockhart Unit 14 from Las Vegas.  I’m in 7th grade at Somerset Academy. I like to play volleyball, and I am involved with the Student Ambassador program and National Junior Honor Society at my school.  I am currently running for 7th grade President.

My dad retired with 20 years in the Marine Corps when I was 4 years old.  I don’t remember him being an active duty Marine, but after he retired, he went on to become the Senior Naval Science Instructor at Eldorado High School, so his service to his country continued and I learned more about military service.

I joined the American Legion Auxiliary Juniors after volunteering with several projects.  Since then, I lead the pledge of allegiance at American Legion events, distributed poppies, participated in flag retirement ceremonies, welcomed home deployed troops and honor flights, prepared care packages for deployed troops, traveled to veterans’ cemeteries to place flags on Memorial Day and wreaths at Christmas, as well as attended events at our local Veterans home. I also helped at back to school events and holiday events for the children of Nellis Air Force Base and the local National Guard and attended events for Gold Star children.

As a Junior, I also lead a project sewing seat belt covers for female breast cancer survivors and delivered them to the oncology department at our local VA hospital.  After the October 1st massacre in our community, I placed flags at the Healing Garden built in the victims’ honor. In the Springtime, I returned to plant daffodils. For my Girl Scout Bronze Award project, I made welcome gift bags for children staying with their parents in our local Fisher House at the VA hospital.  I am currently working on a new project which I call Hats for Heroes, where I am making and donating hats and blankets to the chemotherapy department at the VA Hospital.

Throughout my work with the American Legion Auxiliary Juniors, I have learned that this organization is truly amazing in the way that all of its members put service before self for veterans, God and country.  I would like to personally thank Ms. Judy Cobb, Ms. RoseAnna Cirac and Ms. Hazel Lockhart for their inspiration and support, as well as their friendship. I would also like to thank my mom and dad for making it possible for me to help the people in my community.

Helen Keller once said, ‘Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.’ Thank you everyone in the American Legion Auxiliary for continuously thinking of others and finding ways to help veterans in your community.  You inspire me so much. Thank you again for this honor.”