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2013 Forty Under 40: Melissa (Mel) T. McMahon

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“Most of my work in giving back to the community does stem from losing Ella in 2008. I’d really like to make more time to be more active, especially with the organizations that deal with infant loss.”

Age: 29

Corporate Relations Coordinator , The Salvation Army


As the corporate fundraiser for the Salvation Army Indiana Division, Mel McMahon is responsible for seeing that their red kettles stay full to “do the most good.”

Her work benefits the Salvation Army’s programs and the corporations that donate.

The donors “have a chance to really promote their corporate values and at the same time create a positive image in front of new and existing customers,” said McMahon, who grew up in Irvington. In 2011, her first year with the Salvation Army, corporate donations increased 421 percent.

She attended Indiana University, completing a double major in communications and culture, and criminal justice, and a minor in telecommunications. She also has a master’s in public administration, not-for-profit management, from DeVry University, and a certificate in fundraising management from IUPUI.

She began working in local radio and became familiar with the Salvation Army through the former WIBC-AM 1070’s annual radiothon, then as a spokeswoman for the Salvation Army’s Homelessness Bites campaign.

In 2008, McMahon lost her 10-week-old daughter, Ella, to sudden infant death syndrome. Listeners to the Wank and O’Brien show that McMahon worked on had followed her pregnancy and Ella’s birth and reacted to her death.

“The outpouring of letters and support that I received following that announcement was huge. There were almost 500 people at her funeral,” said McMahon.

When infant mortality organizations reached out to her, she realized she could help other people through her misfortune. She has supported organizations that help families experiencing similar losses, such as Healthy Start, the March of Dimes, Indiana Perinatal Network, The National Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Program and First Candle.

Active in social media, McMahon has posted videos of her wedding to Lance Stone and a tribute to Ella, on YouTube.

She is also the managing editor of NaptownBuzz.com, a website dedicated to arts and living subjects.•

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  • Very well deserved, Mel
    I have known Mel for about 3 months now and have been very impressed with her sense of compassion and willingness to help and support others. I am sure she will do a lot of good to the community in coming days.

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  1. Those of you yelling to deport them all should at least understand that the law allows minors (if not from a bordering country) to argue for asylum. If you don't like the law, you can petition Congress to change it. But you can't blindly scream that they all need to be deported now, unless you want your government to just decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.

  2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

  3. Illegal aliens. Not undocumented workers (too young anyway). I note that this article never uses the word illegal and calls them immigrants. Being married to a naturalized citizen, these people are criminals and need to be deported as soon as humanly possible. The border needs to be closed NOW.

  4. Send them back NOW.

  5. deport now

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