For nearly two and a half decades, National Treasurer Marta Hedding has left her mark at the American Legion Auxiliary National Headquarters.
“After 24 years — a couple years longer than I’d originally planned — it’s time for someone else to have all the fun,” Hedding said.
Hedding joined ALA National Headquarters in July 1994. Previously, she helped launch a nonprofit charged with long-range economic development planning for the State of Indiana, where she served as vice president of Business & Public Affairs, corporate secretary, and assistant treasurer.
During her time at NHQ, Hedding wore several hats.
In addition to national treasurer, Hedding also managed Finance, Sales, Human Resources, and Membership.
“Chief operating officer more accurately reflects my role in recent years and is certainly more professional than ‘jack of all trades,’” Hedding said.
Hedding had to overcome some challenges during her time at National Headquarters.
“For most of my first 13 years at NHQ, there were only five of us to handle all accounting, human resources, and membership tasks,” she said. “With so few people to handle so much, a couple of us often worked 60 to 80 hours per week.”
Lacking technology also made tasks more difficult.
“When I first walked into National Headquarters, only a few staff had desktop computers,” Hedding said. “There was a Disk Operating System for membership, I had to manually prepare payroll on green bar paper, and, because the accounting software had only been in place a few months, accounting staff were still using giant ledger books.”
Under Hedding’s leadership early on, things got better with more professional staff at National Headquarters and improved technology, making operations much more efficient.
Amidst challenges, Hedding would remember the reason she was so dedicated to the organization. In particular, she recalled how staff and volunteers reacted to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“Staff were stunned, frightened, and wanted desperately to do something helpful and meaningful,” Hedding said. While the national president and national secretary were stuck in Washington, D.C., Hedding called staff together to discuss how to move forward. “We organized poppy distributions and fielded calls from members and the public about how to help.”
Though she’ll enjoy a more relaxed life, there will be things she will miss, like her “co-workers and not seeing my favorite volunteers, although I hope to see many at National Convention in Indianapolis in 2019.”
ALA Controller Tim Bresnahan, CPA, commends Hedding’s devotion to the ALA.
“Her dedication is something I will always remember about working with her,” Bresnahan said. “I will miss Marta’s heart for the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary and those we serve.”
ALA National Secretary/Executive Director Mary “Dubbie” Buckler praised Hedding.
“For 10 years, we’ve tackled big projects together. She’s a dear friend, a superior businesswoman, and I’m deeply grateful to her. She made a huge impact!”
Through it all, Hedding said it was rewarding to work for an organization that puts God and country first and having the opportunity to work with so many great people.
And she’ll still be around.
“I plan to continue my membership and support the Auxiliary’s mission.”
Meet Sara Riegel: ALA’s new national treasurer
As Hedding departs, the transition will be smooth, as Assistant Director of Finance Sara Riegel becomes the American Legion Auxiliary’s national treasurer. Riegel, a member of the ALA Indianapolis Women’s Inc. eUnit 438 in Indiana, is eligible for ALA membership through the service of her grandfather.
She came to National Headquarters in 2011, serving a variety of roles, to support the Accounting Division. Riegel brings a diverse business background in the private and nonprofit sectors, including prior ownership of a small business. She has served on school commissions and neighborhood development organizations, and is thankful for the guidance of her parents in setting the example of giving of one’s time and talent in service to their church and community. Riegel has implemented the same character-building values in raising her four children. She enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, and socializing.
Like you, ALA National Headquarters staff is dedicated to the Auxiliary’s longstanding mission of serving veterans, military, and their families. Learn more about your corporate headquarters team at www.ALAforVeterans.org/staff.
This article was originally published in the August Auxiliary magazine.