Meet HOPE’s Volunteer of the Month, Lorna Pounds

“Our Purpose Here is to Serve Others”

A handmade gift goes a long way, especially for service members that are hundreds or even thousands of miles away from home. HOPE’s March volunteer of the month, Lorna Pounds, doesn’t know who is receiving her homemade cards, but she knows their devotion for their country.

“I’ll [sometimes] say, thank you for your service; the American people and your country appreciate your patriotism. May God continue to bless you and keep you in his hands.”Lorna spends about two hours per card that she sends to Angie Parker, the Volunteer Manager at HOPE. So far, she’s crafted between two and three hundred of them: all unique, with embellishments, beads, text that comes from the heart, and a “handmaid by” stamp on the back. 

“The reason that I do it is that when they open it, they’ll get the sense that somebody from home is thinking about me.” 

Compassion didn’t show up out of thin air for Lorna, who learned the importance of giving back early on. As a young child growing up in the 1960s on a small island in the Philippines, she had to be carried everywhere because she suffered from a horrible infection in her leg. That infection also meant she couldn’t go to the new school set up by the Peace Corps, which led to Marla Keesee, the school’s organizer, to find a way to get Lorna into the classroom. Marla and her husband, Bill, were one of the first Peace Corps groups to deploy to the Philippines. The Californian family decided to step in and chaperone Lorna to and from the local hospital for several surgeries, but when the conversation turned to leg amputation, Bill put his foot down. As a mechanical engineer for the Department of Defense, he knew there had to be a better way. Lorna’s birth parents asked Bill and Marla to take their daughter back to the U.S. for care, so they did, eventually adopting her as their own.

Lorna underwent countless surgeries from age three to 23 to resolve her infection. She would never have had that chance if it weren’t for her adoptive parents. Those selfless acts shaped Lorna’s life, leading her down the path of public service.

“Because of my parents’ role-modeling of giving and serving others, that’s why I am the way I am.”

Lorna had a connection to the military because she would go to work with her dad on the Naval Base. “He was surrounded by [the] military, he was protected by the military, and he was protecting the military.”

This “amazing, amazing man” was a mechanical engineer for 40 years, designing missiles like the Tomahawk and the Phoenix that are still used today. Her father passed away in 2014, but at 80-years old, her mother is still giving back by volunteering at the Los Angeles Mission every Thanksgiving. “She and my dad modeled acceptance and tolerance all my life,” Lorna said.

Her parents set the bar, and she followed suit, working for the state of California for nearly three decades helping disabled residents obtain life-saving medical treatment. Most recently, Lorna landed a new job helping disabled employees return to work. “I was used to serving the public. I was used to being a giver, not a taker. Just because I didn’t have a job didn’t mean I couldn’t still contribute.” Like her adoptive parents, Lorna wants to serve as a role model for her two children, passing on her compassion to the next generation. “They have seen my entire family and me as public servants for all of their lives, but I want to continue to model the importance of volunteering as an expression of gratitude,” Lorna says. 

She works a lot of hours but still makes time to make those special cards for HOPE. “I think we should be giving without compensation,” she says. “Our purpose here is to serve others.”


Get Connected 

Volunteers are the heartbeat of our organization as they show our military community that the country is behind them. If you are interested in hearing how you can bring your talents, skills, and desire to serve our nation’s heroes to HOPE, please email us at or click here for more information!