CAMP VERDE - Sharon Doran isn't a veteran. She wasn't drafted, didn't enlist, wasn't in the reserves.
But patriotism, she says, was handed down by her father, who served in the cavalry. That commitment to country is why the Camp Verde resident has called American Legion Post 93 her second home since its inception in 1977. Since that time, the legion has relied on her leadership in one form or another.
Doran has served as unit president, district president and department president. Doran has also served as national historian. Though love of country is not limited to soldiers, she says all veterans should be honored every day.
"It makes me cry just thinking about [Veterans Day]," Doran says. "Too many people forget why they joined the American Legion. I joined because I wanted to be of service to my country."
One of Doran's biggest commitments to veterans, she says, is holding the U.S. congress accountable to its promise "to see that [veterans] have quality medical care and that all avenues are open to them for education, for financial assistance."
Doran has been to Washington D. C. three times, she says, "to make sure bills that would directly affect the veterans would not be pushed aside." But sometimes, Doran says, she feels as if people do not really understand what the American Legion is - or does. Or, what the American Legion Auxiliary is.
"I want people to join us because the [American Legion] Auxiliary itself is the largest women's veterans' organization in the world," Doran says. "The more members we have, the stronger our voice is. We try to stay focused on the goals of the American Legion Auxiliary."
Through its annual Adopt-a-Family program, the American Legion Auxiliary raises money to help the Northern Arizona VA Health Care System in Prescott serve veterans. The auxiliary also raises money for Fisher House in Tucson, a program that provides lodging for families visiting veterans at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System in Tucson.
And if a veteran is homeless, Doran says she tries to help find food.
"I don't want people to lose sight of who we are, how we got here, how we maintained," Doran says. "It's because of the veterans."
-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42 and on Facebook at @CampVerdeBugle