Local family helps DAV keep rolling

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 14, 2004

PERRY TOWNSHIP - Alan Unrue's family means the world to him. And his family means the world to the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 51, too!

No matter what is needed, Alan and his family step up to the plate and help the chapter out, said Stephen Saunders, DAV commander. They basically build the floats for the Memorial Day Parade, pick up and deliver items for the Christmas party, wrap gifts for children and pretty much anything else you can imagine.

"Everyone is always there to help and have become our unofficial auxiliary," Saunders said, adding that they have given hours of selfless sacrifice

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and dedication. "They do a lot of work that we can't do because most of us are severely disabled."

This past year, the Unrues built the POW/MIA exhibit that the DAV towed in the Memorial Day Parade. Alan's daughters sewed the simulated American Flags and his sons and nephew built the wooden part of the exhibit.

"They get very little formal recognition for their efforts, which they do for Alan who is our adjutant/treasurer, but in reality they do it for us as well," Saunders said. "They enable the chapter to do what would normally be impossible."

For 54-year-old Alan, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam in 1970-71, volunteering is just an outlet that allows him to serve.

"It is just a love of country and the Lord, that is all," the Deering resident said, matter-of-factly. "I think volunteering is very important. It gives you a good feeling and makes you feel like you have helped accomplish something."

Unrue, who is physically disabled from his time in the service and has been active with the DAV for more than 20 years, is quick to point out that he could not do his volunteer efforts without his family there to bail him out. The extended Unrue family includes his wife Bernice; his two sons and their wives, Adam and Becky Unrue, and Matthew and Mary Unrue; his daughters and their husbands, April and Jeremy Justice, and Elizabeth Blair; nephews Mark Lemaster and Stephen Branham; and brother-in-law Buddy Holbrook.

"All my family helps out, when it comes to that," Alan said. "Whatever project I'm on they jump in and help me. I have got a good family. If it wasn't for them, my part wouldn't get done at all."