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Edna Redhead was named the Unit Member of the Year at the annual state convention for American Legion for her service to the Crook County community

PHOTO COURTESY OF EDNA REDHEAD - Edna Redhead pauses for a photo with her sash immediately after being named the Unit Member of the Year at the annual state convention on June 29. Redhead is the first local member of Unit No. 29 American Legion Auxiliary to receive this honor.

Most people volunteer because they want to contribute to bettering their community.

The rewards of giving back and making a difference are reward enough, and that is all they ask for in return.

In June of this year, a group of women from the American Legion Auxiliary Crook County Unit #29 wanted to recognize one of their own for going above and beyond for their community.

"Crook County Unit #29 was proud to submit one of our members for the "Unit Member of the Year" award," said Louise Carter, current president of the organization.

Edna Redhead was nominated without her knowledge. She had made a nomination suggestion for another member. She laughed about how well her fellow members had kept her nomination a secret.

The presentation was made at the Oregon state convention meeting for American Legion Auxiliary on June 28.

"They made the announcement at the dinner on Friday night," recalled Redhead. "I was quite surprised. They read it, and as they were reading, I thought, 'That sounds like something I would do.'"

"I was quite surprised and quite appreciative of it," she added.

According to Carter, this is the first time one of their nominees has been selected for the honor.

Carter added that Redhead has been there to help with any event the American Legion Auxilliary Family is involved in.

"From donating kitchen items, baked goodies and more important, her cheerful, helping hands," said Carter. "She brings fun and patriotism to every event."

Redhead has been a chairman for the local American Legion Auxiliary Scholarship Committee for the past 10 years.

Redhead attends fairs and events sponsored by the high school to bring awareness to the program. She also meets with counselors at the high school, and this year there were 18 applicants.

"That was really nice," commented Redhead. "We give a $1,000 scholarship every year to a CCHS graduating girl. I am always surprised by the amount of contributions that our community makes to the high school — not only is scholarships, but they really support those kids. It's really nice to see."

The American Legion Auxiliary also provides services to veterans. They have an auction every year, and half of what they make goes back to the auxiliary to go shopping for veterans and needy children for Trees of Joy.

"Last year we gave away gifts for about 100-plus kids (and veterans) in the community," elaborated Redhead.

She added that they are part of the Christmas Partnership.

Redhead and her husband have lived in Prineville since 2002. At that time, there was a lot of duplication in the process of giving gifts to needy families, and the partnership has served all those who are in need more efficiently.

Redhead has been part of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit #29 since they moved to Prineville. She has been an integral part of the organization, giving of her time to benefit the community as a whole. In addition to the scholarship committee and Christmas Partnership, she has actively supported the Children and Youth program, which helps to buy school supplies.

"She is also the first to volunteer to assist with unit needs, like temporary secretary or any chore that is needed," emphasized Carter. "This member embodies the mission and purpose of the American Legion Auxiliary. She continually represents the auxiliary in the very best of light, sharing her commitment and enthusiasm whenever the opportunity arises."

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