By Rick Winterson
To say that Susan McDonough, who was born and brought up in South Boston, is devoted to veterans’ causes is an understatement. On both professional and personal levels, she is an effective and hard-working champion of veterans and their interests.
Please consider that Susan was asked to run for the Office of Commander, Martin F. McDonough American Legion Post #368. (EDITOR’S NOTE: She is not related to him.) She is the second woman to occupy that position; she firmly believes that leading the Post is her most important ongoing job.
In addition to that, Susan has been appointed the Chief Marshal of this year’s 2020 St. Patrick’s/Evacuation Day Parade, becoming only the third woman ever selected. During South Boston Online’s interview with Susan last Sunday at the McDonough Post, we asked her how she felt about that. She humbly replied, “I am beyond honored to have been chosen.” And it must be remembered that the Parade is an event that honors veterans as its chief mission. Not only is Susan helping to plan the 2020 Parade as a member of the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council (the SBAWVC), she herself is a four-year Army veteran.
Next week, on Tuesday, January 21 – the day after Martin Luther King’s Holiday – Susan will take on the job of Women Veterans’ Network Coordinator, a Commonwealth of Massachusetts position in the state’s Department of Veterans Services. Her efforts will recognize that women are the fastest-growing group in military and veteran communities – 15% of those on active duty; 10% of veterans. One of Susan’s first tasks will be organizing a conference in June to support female veterans’ empowerment. Watch for it. In November of this year, she’ll select a deserving female veteran to receive the Deborah Sampson Award. Sampson was a woman originally from Plympton, who disguised herself as a man and enlisted in the Revolutionary War. She was discovered after being wounded in New York, and then honorably discharged in 1783. Paul Revere helped her obtain a much-deserved military pension when she returned to her farm in Sharon.
Military service in the McDonough family dates back to the Civil War. Susan’s great-great-great-great uncle, William Newland, was a Medal of Honor recipient after serving in the Mobile Bay engagement under Admiral Farragut. She is the first female in her family to enlist. From 1994 to 1998, she served as a Quartermaster with a rank of E-4 Specialist in Signal and Medical Battalions, at Fort Lewis in Seattle/Tacoma, Washington, and in Taegu, South Korea. Describing her military experience, Susan says, “I got more out of my four years in the Army than the Army ever got back from me.”
As our interview closed, Susan mentioned her enthusiasm for leading the McDonough Post. She has known about the Post ever since being brought there for family events when she was a child. She says, “They asked me if I would become the Commander; I was motivated by gratitude and love for the veterans in this Post.” Susan’s future plans include opening up the Post for more community activities and seeking out younger veterans as new members. The McDonough Post is located in an attractive, convenient alcove at 329A West Broadway. Check it out for yourself when you have a moment.
And be sure to wave at dedicated Army veteran Susan McDonough, the 117th Chief Marshal of the St. Patrick’s/Evacuation Day Parade, when she passes you on Sunday afternoon, March 15, 2020