PORTAGE | Hannah Vandermolen has always loved history.
The Portage High School senior took that love one step further this year when she was selected the president of the Indiana Society of the Children of the American Revolution.
A member of CAR since age 9, Vandermolen, said her grandmother, who was a member of the Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, piqued her interest by tracing the family's genealogy.
That family history linked Vandermolen to Nathan Hale, a Revolutionary War hero. Hale was a spy for the Continental Army, captured by the British and hanged.
He is known for the quote, "I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country."
He is Vandermolen's cousin, 16 times removed.
Vandermolen worked her way up in the state group, serving two years as a page at the convention; chairing committees for two years and spending five years on the board of directors, holding various offices until reaching president earlier this year.
"You have to be patriotic and have a love of your country. You have to respect the flag and respect the country," Vandermolen said about what her involvement in the group has given her.
"You just do the work in the name of our ancestors. They made this country what is, who we are. I feel I need to carry on his legacy," she said.
As president of the state CAR, Vandermolen has to choose a project.
In the name of her cousin, she chose to help today's veterans by raising money for a group called Circle of Change, which is based in Rockton, Ill. The group seeks to provide veterans suffering from trauma and other emotional issues through the use of dogs.
"My theme is pets helping vets," she said. "I love dogs and veterans are the most respectable people in the world."
To raise money, Vandermolen has been selling pins and selling raffle tickets. Her goal is to raise $1,000 for the group before her term as president ends next March.
Vandermolen hopes to attend Valparaiso University to earn a degree in criminology before going on to law school.
She's also going to continue her work to remember her ancestor and others who were patriots during the Revolutionary War.
"I want to be in the DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution)," she said.