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Challis American Legion Commander Dawn Maydole adjusts the flag at the Legion Hall. She accepted the commander position earlier this year, but it is just one in a long line of service roles the Navy veteran has taken since she left the military in 1996.

Dawn Maydole spent just four years in the Navy, but she said she’s always believed serving others is the best calling in life.

“A lot of it was my dad,” Maydole said. “He was in the National Guard most of my life. He was always helping people and that had a big impact as a kid.”

To this day, Maydole continues to serve her community as the Challis American Legion commander. Taking over last February, Maydole said it’s the most recent position she’s accepted in service of others.

Serving as an engineman from 1992-96, Maydole said many of the important lessons she learned about service happened on a ship. She worked on and repaired battleships aboard the submarine-tender USS Frank Cable and then the destroyer-tender USS Samuel Gompers.

“Our motto was ‘we fix ‘em to fight,’” Maydole said of her ships’ roles in supporting combat operations.

Living on a ship in tight quarters with the same people day in, day out taught Maydole it’s important to get along with people you serve with. The military did an excellent job teaching her the necessity of teamwork, which Maydole said bleeds into everyday life.

Maydole said realizing the group is stronger than the individual really helped once she started volunteering after her military service. As a search and rescue worker, EMT and Custer County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher, Maydole said her time in the military benefited her in all those roles.

In her latest service position, Maydole said it been wonderful working with other Custer County veterans and Legion members. There’s a respect for veterans here, she said, most likely due to the significant number of veterans who call the area home.

Seeing veterans continue working for others inspires Maydole, she said, and makes her want to continue her own work. One of the best things about being a veteran is seeing others recognized for their service, she said. When she sees a former military member receive a random thank you from someone, it makes her appreciate all the veterans who came before. They laid the groundwork for people’s good opinion of veterans today, she said.

Planning to be a life-long volunteer, Maydole said her hope is the desire to serve will carry over into her children, Samantha and Tristan. They don’t have to join the military as she did, but she wants them to leave some kind of positive impact on their community.