Ethel Bussey-Mear says she's never met a problem she couldn't solve.
Ethel Bussey-Mear, of Evans, won the 2005 Past National Commanders Award as the outstanding member of the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"I never said, 'That's not my job,'" she said.
The Evans resident's can-do attitude won her the 2005 National Outstanding Auxiliary Member award from the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary on Aug. 14.
As Commander for the Department of Georgia, Bussey-Mear oversees statewide programs for disabled veterans who might feel forgotten. The group holds lively bingo parties and cookouts and prepares gifts of holiday stockings, but she stressed that a simple visit goes a long way to cheer lonely soldiers.
"The patients are so happy to see you that they cry," she said.
Beulah Poulson, of Augusta, nominated her friend and fellow auxiliary member.
"She does do a lot of things for the community, and she does a lot of things for the veterans," she said.
Bussey-Mear nurtures veterans as they navigate the system that heals them, according to Gertrude Tidwell, immediate past national commander: "She is a very good volunteer and she devotes a lot of time to caring for our veterans. She's a wonderful lady and she deserves the credit."
Even on vacation, this wife of a disabled veteran looks out for others. At an Atlantic City, N.J., resort, she overheard the concierge fretting about her elderly father-in-law, a disabled vet who spent his nights battling imaginary foes. Bussey-Mear guided the worker to a veterans services officer for help.
"If he served his country, he deserves something - and, you know, the family needs a break," Bussey-Mear said.
The ability to help in these situations is important, she said, because many vets are uninformed. One who lost his hearing in an explosion as an Airborne soldier never sought aid because his records were lost in a fire. At a chance meeting on a plane, she told him many of the records were recovered on microfiche.
"Don't you sit back and do nothing," she said.
Volunteerism runs in the family. Two of her grandchildren, Rebekah and Peyton Clark, have been recognized at the state level for their work as junior auxiliary members, and Rebekah has been recognized at the national level.
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