In the Community

‘I’m Happy Making One Life at a Time Better’

JoAnn Maynard served in the Navy for 10 years before retiring near Winslow, Maine.

“Joining the Navy was the best decision I ever made,” Maynard said. “It helped me get out of my small town and find something bigger to do with my life.”

Maynard grew up splitting her time between West Virginia and Ohio. “Now that I’m retired, I’m a mountain woman. I live in central Maine and belong to VFW Post 8835 in Winslow, Maine,” she said.

“There’s lots of ways I’m #StillServing around town. Mainly, I’m a VFW Accredited Service Officer for the VFW Department of Maine,” Maynard said. “The story that always sticks out to me was my very first claim working as a service officer. I only knew enough to be dangerous at that time. A vet my age came in for help, he wasn’t technically homeless, but he was kind of adrift in life. It was my journey with him and the significant change we made in his life that cemented this is what I’m supposed to be doing. I still consider him a friend.”

In addition to helping her fellow veterans with their VA claims, Maynard is an avid quilter. She donates most of her creations to the Quilt of Valor Foundation, helping to cover her veteran brothers and sisters with a tangible symbol of gratitude for their service.

“I also work with Women Veterans Glamping up here in Maine. It’s a way to provide a retreat for my sister veterans from around the nation,” she said. “I’m not doing this for any sort of recognition. I remember my own lonely confusing journey when I first got out. If I can help it, I never want another vet to feel that way.”

With quilting blankets for veterans, helping with VA service claims, and setting up retreats in the woods for women vets, Maynard says she’s just doing what she can to help.

“I’m not sure impacting a whole community is what I’m supposed to be doing. That seems like a whole lot for one woman,” she said. “I think I’m happy just making one life at a time better.”

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