September 29, 2012 The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 149 will be hosting the annual “Pay It Forward” dinner. The meal starts at 6:00 pm and the cost of the meal is donations to the ABC Food Bank. Bring canned goods or cash donations for an excellent meal. The traditional fare is ham, scalloped potatoes, corn, salads, and desserts.
As a member of the Auxiliary one year we were searching for ways to bring more donations into the ABC Food Bank located in Athol. I suggested doing a “Pay It Forward” dinner. We collected donations from local merchants for the ham dinner that has become the traditional meal. Each Fall the Auxiliary comes together to provide this function. I moved and volunteer my time where I live. The ladies have carried this tradition forward.
Back in 1979 I was a lonely military wife who shared laundry day with the neighbor who lived downstairs. Ellie was German and probably the most un-friendly person I had ever met, or so I thought. Finally after about six months of no conversation while sharing the laundry facilities I had had enough. I introduced myself to Ellie. It turned out the custom in Germany requires the younger person to introduce themselves first. Talk about being young and dumb. Through the years I relished the friendship that was fostered with those first words.
Ellie and her family, she had five children, had to leave the day after Christmas for the United States. They had stayed in their quarters, using the minimal of household goods. She had a fully decorated Christmas tree for her children to enjoy. Ellie gave me her key as the family was leaving and requested that I turn the key over to the cleaning crew. She wanted me to have everything they were leaving behind. I told her I could never pay her back and that was when I learned about “Pay It Forward”. Ellie taught me to carry on her tradition with other young soldiers wives.
I later found out that Ellie had suffered a massive hemorrhage and passed away. Her gift to me lives on my heart. Years later in 2000, a movie was produced with the name of “Pay It Forward”. What a fitting tribute to a lady who gave me so much!
Please join the Auxiliary Saturday September 29, 2012 at the American Legion Post 147, 5525 E Highway 54 in Athol at 6:00pm and pay a favor forward by donating canned goods for the ABC Food Bank.
Norma Jean and Dean