Oceanside, California post 146 Auxiliary President receives national recognition

Oceanside, CA

A long-time Oceanside resident, whose husband and father served in the Marine Corps, was picked as Navy Fisher House Volunteer of the Year.

Mary Thorsten received the “2016 Navy Fisher House Volunteer of the Year “ award.
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Mary Thorsten was recognized for her volunteer efforts to help military families living at Camp Pendleton’s Fisher House during the recovery of a combat injured family member.

The nonprofit Fisher House on base serves several hundred military families a year from across the country, while they are visiting Marines getting medical treatment at the Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton or other area military medical facilities.

Thorston set up a volunteer driver program that takes veterans and family members from Camp Pendleton to the VA Healthcare Hospital in La Jolla when they have no other transportation and started bringing home-baked cookies over to Fisher House each Wednesday.

It is now known as “Cookie Wednesdays.” Thorsten brings dozens of cookies baked with the help of volunteers from an Oceanside gym where she works out and American Legion Auxiliary Unit 146 in Oceanside, where she is president.

When she drops off the cookies, Thorsten picks up Fisher House residents’ recyclables and uses the recycling refund to restock their water supply.

Thornsten, who moved to Camp Pendleton in 1961when her father was serving in the Marine Corps, started volunteering at the Fisher House when it opened last year. She also volunteers at the VA Clinic in Oceanside.

“Most of what I do is small and simple but to the families at the Fisher House it is very meaningful,” Thornsten said.

The 8,000 square-foot Fisher House on base is one of 70 such homes at dozens of major military and VA medical centers around the country, including two at Naval Medical Center San Diego, where service members’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one receives medical treatment.

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