Angelina County American Legion post commander works hard to help veterans in need
LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Michele Conner has never been a selfish person. The daughter of a Vietnam veteran who died when she was young, Conner was raised by her step-father who taught her the value of helping people and being there for others. That includes during the holidays, where the commander of Angelina County American Legion Post 113 takes no days off from her work with veterans.
“Especially in the holidays. It’s already a stressful time of year,” Conner said. “A prideful veteran that is suffering from PTSD or depression can fall down, and their whole world can fall apart because of one little thing.”
Conner will do just about anything to help a veteran in need, whether she is at the VA, the Senior Center, or just out and about. Conner has gone out and changed tires, taken care of kids, and made specialty sandwich boxes to hand out at the clinic.
“She goes out of her way every day in some way to help veterans,” said Susan Cook, a friend of Conner’s and a fellow volunteer. “Even if it is just making sure that the people that say they are going to be here are here and making sure that the sandwiches get delivered.”
Conner’s passion comes in part from being in a similar situation. She says that her experience as a disabled Air Force veteran post-service was one of the most challenging periods of her life. After service, she was a single mom on the brink of being homeless. She worked a low-wage job and didn’t see a way to make things work until she realized that it was OK to ask for help. Now, she tries to guide fellow veterans in the same way as the veterans’ organizations she once reached out to.
“They are like, ‘That’s what we are here for. That’s why we are here,’” Conner said. “‘Let us help you,’ and I’m a prime example of having nothing, dnot knowing wht to do, and rising up and being told, ‘Hey, go her. Go here; do this, and I did.”
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