Yesterday we lost a true cornerstone of the AAWV family and I lost a dear friend. It is with great sorrow to tell you that Rosa Anne Cromie passed away on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 6, 2013, at the age of 95.
It was 10 years to the date of our very first Aid and Attendance Seminar in a senior community when this lovely lady took a chance on me and became AAWV’s very first veteran approval. This one woman unknowingly became the catalyst for hundreds of thousands of American veterans just like her being educated and assisted by AAWV.
To this day, I don’t believe that Rosa knew how big of a “rock star” she was to all of us in the field. Over the last ten years and at thousands of A&A seminars across the country, Professional Members proudly told the story of AAWV’s very first veteran approval. That story told about Rosa Anne Cromie, a World War II Marine Corps Lieutenant serving at Camp LeJeune taking the place of three men so that they could be shipped overseas for duty. Rosa was inducted into the Marine Corps seventy years ago on March 4, 1943, to fight in her own way for the future of our country. At that same time, her husband, Bill, was serving overseas as an enlisted man. The story has laughingly been told that, when he returned home from the war, Bill didn’t know if he should salute Rosa or kiss her!
Sadly, Bill and Rosa lost their son Michael to the Vietnam War. Happily, her grandson returned from Iraq.
Several years ago, AAWV instituted the Rosa Anne Cromie Award. That special award is presented each year to someone in our organization who embodies the spirit of what Rosa Anne Cromie began with me so long ago. Cromie Award recipients have provided unselfishly to veterans and their families through their hard work and educational efforts. They are dedicated to our wartime veterans and surviving spouses, always putting them first and foremost.
In fact, Rosa actually presented the award (with her son, Bill, in attendance), at the 2009 holiday party where the first recipient was announced.
Our organization may have lost our pioneering friend, but Rosa will live on for all time so long as our Professional Members continue to tell her remarkable story. Through God’s grace (with a little help from Rosa), may you, and I and all of AAWV continue with even more vigor in the next ten years.
– Mary L. Schneider, Founder of AAWV
Pictured above: Rosa Cromie with Steven Wise 2009