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Love of Country

Love of Country
Eva Yackey honors homeless veterans through her work with the Avon American Legion
Photo by Rick Myers

By Stephanie Dolan

For more than forty years, Eva Yackey of Avon ran her own barber shop in downtown Indianapolis.

A native of then-Communist Hungary, she emigrated to the United States at the age of 18.
“It took me five years to become a citizen,” she said.
A skilled barber, Yackey is so much more. And her love of country and those men and women who fought to make it free has defined her in ways that cutting hair could never.
Her work as president of the Avon American Legion Post 145’s Auxiliary is at the forefront of her purpose.
“I want people to know that it’s so much more than just a bar,” she said. “We do so much for families.
Yackey’s true passion, though, is for homeless veterans, and with the help of the Auxiliary, she regularly collects food and other items to distribute to the homeless in downtown Indianapolis through the HVAF of Indiana (Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation, Inc.).
“Because of Eva’s participation, we have basically at Post 145 adopted the HVAF program as one of our premier charities,” post commander Mike Welsh said. “And we are proud that we can raise the money and work together to provide our homeless veterans many of the things that’s needed for them to survive.”
“Without the people behind me it wouldn’t be done,” she said. “My husband takes a truck full of stuff five to seven times a month to the homeless in Indianapolis. People bring in clothing and food items, and we take it.”
Yackey has been married to her husband, Allan, for 37 years.
“I had a barber shop in downtown Indianapolis, and he was a client,” she said. “I swore I was not going to date any clients. But he had the most beautiful smile on his face when I finished cutting his hair.”
The pair have no children together, but – between them – they have a son, a daughter and five grandchildren.
“I have a new grand baby,” Yackey said. “He is six weeks old, and that’s from the daughter. That’s our life. I had a barber shop for 40 years. I sold it and then semi-retired. I do a lot of work for the Legion and volunteer and that’s about the size of it.”
“She is the president of the Auxiliary, and her passion is for the legion and the homeless vets, and that’s what she’s reaching out for now,” Allan said.
“Last year and this year the legion gave us $2,000, and the auxiliary gave us $2,000,” Yackey said. “I’m asking the Sons (Sons of the American Legion) for $2,000. We already purchased $2,000 worth of coats and gloves for the homeless. That was delivered yesterday (Oct. 24). We go to different places to pick up coats for the winter. I have been cold and hungry before, so I know exactly how they feel. Unfortunately, situations make them homeless and hungry. I’m very passionate about this. It’s my purpose.”
Yackey said she came from somewhere where there was no freedom, and that these homeless veterans fought for the freedom that we enjoy today.
“There should never be a homeless veteran in this world, ever,” she said. “If I had the money, I’d take care of every single one of them just like I’d take care of every single dog and cat. If I see something wrong, I do something about it. I lived in a communist country. My father was a freedom fighter. I got his blood.”
Yackey is also a former Avon Town Council president, and was – in fact – the first female town council president for the town of Avon.
“The police station would not be there if she hadn’t been the president of the town council,” Allan said. “It was built because of her.”
“One day I was in the police station just after there was a big cocaine bust,” Yackey said. “There were four or five guys that they brought into the police station.”
Yackey said that the windows were “house windows,” not enforced or protected in any way and easily breakable.
“There were no rooms in which you would lock these people up,” she continued. “They were dangerous. They were just handcuffed to chairs. I said ‘that’s it. We are building a new police station.’”
Yackey said that there are opposite sides to everything, and the issue with building the new station was no different.
“But we finally built it,” she said. “We have a safe place now.”
Yackey’s work ethic is the same with regard to homeless veterans.
“I saw these homeless people who fought for us, and I thought okay,” she said. “If I see something, I do something. I want people to remember what a wonderful country we have here, and that’s because we have men and women who fought for it.”
Avon American Legion Post 145 accepts donations of non-perishable foods and other items at their site for homeless veterans. To make a donation, simply stop by during their open hours at 4812 E. Main St.  For questions, visit avonlegion.org or call (317) 386-8911.

Getting to know Eva Yackey

Who or what inspires you?
1. America  2 My grandmother’s advice “Go to America where you will be free.”
What has been the secret to your success?
Hard work, and respect for other people.
What is your favorite book?
Humpback of Notre Dame 
What is your favorite movie?
Schindler’s List
Do you have any pets?
Calico Cat named  “Lincoln”
What is your favorite TV show?
What do you do to relax?
Glass of wine and a mindless TV show.
Parting comment:
Being informed and voting in every election is essential to maintaining America. I am certain of this because I saw what resulted from not having it where I was born.

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