MILLSBORO — Last September, she took the microphone and led attendees in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the 9/11 remembrance ceremony at American Legion Post 28.
Proudly, she can sing “God Bless America.”
And she is on hand with other young volunteer helpers at Legion Auxiliary Unit 28 community events.
She is Makenzie Mood, the 5-year-old daughter of Ashley and Charlie Mood Jr., of Long Neck, and the 2021 Department of Delaware American Legion Auxiliary Junior Member of the Year.
On July 10, Makenzie was formally recognized as the Department’s Junior Auxiliary honoree. She received the award during the Auxiliary Convention held in Smyrna.
“We are proud of her, definitely,” said Makenzie’s mother, Ashley Mood. “We call her our little all-American girl.”
Makenzie’s patriotism is not surprising.
Her dad works full time at the Delaware Veterans Cemetery. He is actively involved in the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company, a member of Sussex Tech/Rescue Team and an active duty member of the Delaware Army National Guard as a mechanic with his unit, the 262nd based in Dagsboro.
Makenzie’s mom is co-leader of the Family Readiness Group at the field maintenance shop at the National Guard’s Dagsboro Readiness Center on Armory Road.
Makenzie’s paternal grandfather, Charles Mood Sr., is an active member of Legion Post 28’s Honor Guard and Sons of the American Legion.
Maternal grandparents Rick and Betsy Garloff are equally proud of Makenzie’s early-age participation in volunteerism and patriotism.
When asked during a break in an Auxiliary Unit 28 Rockin’ the Poppy painting work bee in preparation for Veterans Day how it felt to be honored, Makenzie offered a grin and a one-word response, “Great!”
Auxiliary Unit 28 spokeswoman Beth McGinn said Makenzie has been coming to auxiliary events since she was a baby. When she was old enough, Makenzie began participating in parades, card-making sessions, handing out poppies and taking part in other activities, many of which are geared toward those who served or are serving in the military.
“We just wanted to recognize some of the things Makenzie has done at such a young age,” Ms. McGinn said. “Her family is really involved.”
“In a stroller, even in infancy, she has been coming,” said Paula Mood, Makenzie’s paternal grandmother. “We’ve always been involved with the Legion — a lot. It is a wonderful organization.”
Makenzie also spends time at the National Guard maintenance shop where her dad drills and mom co-coordinates the Family Readiness Group in its pre- and post-deployment efforts in support of soldiers and their families.
“She doesn’t leave my side,” said Ashley Mood. “She is like a junior FRG member. She will be right there by my side saying ‘Hello’ to all the soldiers.”
This fall, Makenzie, who turns 6 on Sept. 1, will start kindergarten at Long Neck Elementary School.
At the upcoming 9/11 Remembrance spearheaded by the Unit 28 Auxiliary, Makenzie has pledged to again lead in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Could there also be her rendition of “God Bless America”?
“If she is given the opportunity, I think she definitely would,” her mom said.