Voice of Democracy, Patriots Pen and Teacher of the Year
2017 September VFW fact sheet
WASHINGTON - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is calling on both the Senate and House Committees on Veterans' Affairs to hold oversight hearings on the recent delayed payments of Department of Veterans Affairs educational benefits.
VFW is also urging the Senate to pass the SIT-REP Act of 2018, which would ensure that student veterans cannot be disenrolled from their educational programs due to processing errors by VA.
In a letter sent to the House and Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs chairmen and ranking members, Carlos Fuentes, VFW's director of National Legislative Service, said that in the months preceding the deadline to enact the Forever GI Bill by Aug. 1, "VA officials repeatedly vowed that students and schools would receive payments on time and, while the amounts may not be correct, veterans would not be harmed."
Fuentes also noted that the SIT-REP Act of 2018 was passed unanimously in the House in May, "but lack of Senate action has prevented this ...
While unemployed and in the middle of finding new living arrangements, Army veteran Wanda Griffin turned to VFW's Unmet Needs program.
She came across the program while researching options for assistance and applied for the grant in March. Since receiving the $1,303.65 grant, Griffin has become more financially secure. She also now has the means to secure housing for herself and her son.
"[The Unmet Needs grant] meant the world to me," Griffin said. "It came at a time in which I was having to move from one place to another while I was unemployed and in need of assistance."
Unmet Needs, according to Griffin, is significant to the veteran community because it's "designed to help all who have served in their time of need."
"A lot of times, we don't know what's available to us," Griffin said, "and to have an organization that's real and available saying, ‘Thank you for your service,' ‘What can we do to help you because you served?' is a wonderful and outstanding compliment that goes a long way in our com...
Amber Putnam, 59, of Parrish, Fla., has lived her life in service of others. Helping others was instilled in her at a young age.
In her role as a VFW Assistant Department Service Officer, Putnam works tirelessly to help veterans receive the benefits they deserve.
"I feel like I'm making a difference in veterans' lives by helping them obtain the benefits they earned through their service to our country."
As a veteran, Putnam knows first-hand the struggles and challenges veterans face. Inspired by her grandfather's advice to give back to her country through military service, she joined the United States Air Force.
For 32 years, Putnam served her country with pride. She was deployed to Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. She retired as a senior master sergeant.
Putnam's husband, William, and children, Elaine and Justin, supported her in the transition from military to civilian life. She searched for an opportunity to continue to serve veterans when she retired.
WASHINGTON - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is proud to announce that Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has renewed a service officer grant in the amount of $443,145 that will continue to help more transitioning military to receive their earned Department of Veterans Affairs benefits. The grant will be used to support the VFW's Pre-Discharge Claims Program, which has a proven history of providing free and expert VA claims filing assistance on two dozen of America's largest military installations.
To date, WWP has provided grants totaling more than $1.8 million to support VFW's Pre-Discharge Claims Program, an effort that last year enabled the VFW to file nearly 15,000 claims and recover more than $155 million in disability compensation for newly-transitioned veterans. Collectively, VFW's nationwide cadre of 2,100 VA-accredited service officers helped well over 500,000 veterans to secure $8.3 billion in earned benefits in fiscal year 2018. Membership in the VFW is not required to receive its fr...
Repetitive keyboard clicks and sudden, synchronized shouts of awe echo through a Michigan VFW Post as video gamers wage war against one another while others, some dressed as characters from gamer culture, gather around a large display monitor to watch the action unfold - all in an effort to raise money for veterans.
More than 250 people converged this summer at VFW Post 4113 in St. Johns, Mich., roughly 25 miles north of Lansing, for its second Combo Con - a two-day fundraiser featuring video game competitions, cosplay (dressing up as characters from popular culture) and special guests from the fighter-game community.It raised more than $2,500 for the Post.
Hunter DeSander, the 25-year-old commander of VFW Post 4113, is the brainchild behind Combo Con. A fan of gaming since his youth, DeSander's passion continued during his military service, and he saw that gaming was "still a predominant thing" that brought people together.
While there are similar, nationally recognized events in the state, DeSander said he wa...
GEORGETOWN, Texas - Sport Clips Haircuts' annual "Help A Hero" scholarship campaign starts today, and you can be a part of the mission to help service members and veterans take the next step toward civilian careers through education. Today through Veterans Day, November 11, you can "Help A Hero" when you get a haircut at one of the almost 1,800 Sport Clips locations across the U.S. The goal this year is to raise $1.5 million toward scholarships through the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW)-administered program.
VFW's newest commander-in-chief is a man who wants to get things done, sooner rather than later. His experiences as an artilleryman in Korea and an undercover police officer in New Mexico, as well as his rapid rise through VFW's ranks, underscore his leadership philosophy.
"I believe in more action and less talk," Lawrence said. "And this all comes back to membership recruiting. We know what the plan is, now we have to execute it. That's why I chose ‘Make it Happen' as my slogan."
To attract veterans of the post-9/11 generation, Lawrence said VFW members must do a better job of spreading the message about the organization's reasons for existing.
"We've come a long way on reaching those vets," he said. "What we need to do better is simply tell our story about the wonderful things we do for veterans and our communities. Young vets are interested in participating in projects where they believe they are making a difference."
Lawrence said being a veteran who came of age in the 1980s puts him in a unique posi...
Controlling the "ABCs of diabetes" -- A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol levels -- is difficult enough, but when you add that second C - costly medications - it's easy to see how one's levels can spiral out of control quickly.
According to the American Diabetes Association, for the 30 million people living with diabetes in the U.S., health care costs are more than double (2.3 times) the costs of those without diabetes. This is due to the ever-increasing costs of medications to treat diabetes and the chronic conditions that often accompany the disease, namely high blood pressure and high cholesterol. In fact, between 2002 and 2013, the cost of insulin has tripled, and newer cholesterol- and blood pressure-lowering medication costs are also on the rise.
Now consider that in the U.S., more than 2 million children and adults living with diabetes do not have access to health insurance, and millions more are in high-deductible plans that can require high out-of-pocket costs.
Lack of access to diabetes medications c...
Bob Martin recalls vivid details of the day he found Roberta Sunday 48 years ago this month. It was a typical, hot and humid August day in Vietnam's Quang Tri province. A sergeant with C Troop, 3rd Sqdn., 17th Air Cav, Martin was leading a platoon to search an enemy bunker complex that had just been pummeled with U.S. bombs.
"It was our job to provide a damage assessment after the strikes," said Martin, now commander of VFW Post 889 in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho. "There were a lot of dead bodies. In one bunker, I found two dead NVA men and one woman dressed all in black. I imagine she had been supporting them."
As Martin turned to leave the bunker, he heard a faint sound, almost like a cough. He thought perhaps it was the sound of a rat because it wasn't coming from the people who were "obviously" dead. After hearing it again, he searched the bunker and discovered a naked baby girl under the woman's body.
"I thought, ‘Oh my God, now what? I can't just leave her here,'" Martin recalled. "I wrapped her in one of the e...
As Americans work hard to meet all the obligations that come with work, family and everyday life, many are challenged to find time to manage all the financial elements affecting their health care.
The details associated with health care insurance can be confusing. At the same time, you want to make smart decisions about the quality health care you and your family need.
Out-of-pocket health care spending rose by more than 50 percent between 2010 and 2017, The Atlantic recently reported, partly because half of all health insurance policyholders in the U.S. are dealing with annual deductibles of at least $1,000.
Whether you're uninsured or simply facing a high insurance deductible, you can take several steps to better manage your health care budget. Consider how the following money-saving tips can help control the rising costs of health care.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For more than 70 years, encouraging patriotism within our nation's classrooms has been a principle of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., but time is running out for this year's annual student scholarship award competitions and teacher recognition programs.
Students, teachers and VFW Posts only have until Oct. 31 to submit their entries and nominations for the popular Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen youth scholarships, and the Teacher of the Year award.
As one of the top student patriotic essay competitions in the nation, nearly 40,000 high school students compete for their chance to win a $30,000 college scholarship. This year's participants are faced with the challenging theme, "Why My Vote Matters."
With the chance to win a slice of more than $54,000 in Patriot's Pen national awards, this year's sixth through eighth-grade students must...
WASHINGTON - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is urging tens of thousands of student veterans to immediately contact the Department of Veterans Affairs at 888-GIBILL-1 (or 888-442-4551) if they are facing a financial hardship due to delayed VA housing payments.
The VA said that as many as 180,000 student veterans housing payments were delayed this month in part due to computer updates to reflect benefit changes through the Forever GI Bill. Until the problem is fixed, VA is requiring benefits processors to work overtime and weekends, while many student veterans may be forced to raid their individual savings accounts or borrow money from their families to hopefully avoid late fees, ruined credit ratings or eviction.
"The VA reports that education claims will be processed immediately, as will disbursements, but if student veterans do not achieve resolution within three business days, I urge them to contact the VFW through our VFW Grant Provides Food for Veteran Without Groceries
Veteran Tonya Palmer of Mechanicsville, Va., was getting used to not having enough food to eat. On the day she applied for the VFW's Unmet Needs grant, she was down to a few slices of cheese.
Palmer joined the Army at 33 years old, just after the September 11, 2001 attacks. After completing basic training in Ft. Jackson, S.C., she moved on to Georgia to learn satellite maintenance and control. Soon after, Palmer was injured during training. She suffered physically and emotionally after breaking both her legs, damaging her lower back and developing Post Traumatic Stress (PTS).
"I have suppressed much of that time. But now, 15 years later, I still suffer every day. It affects every aspect of my life. I joined to protect my family and country, and when I left the military I was a private first class," Palmer said.
Even with her 100% rating for service-connected disability, the loss of pay after being laid off in 2016 made it impossible for her and her fiancé to keep up their finances.
Palmer couldn't buy g...
Two moments stand out for former Army Spc. Justin Lane when he recalls his deployment to Afghanistan - one he'll never forget and one he'll never remember.
Always happy-go-lucky with an air of optimism, Lane's attitude became jaded and vengeful when on March 26, 2011, his brother in arms, and friend from his hometown, Army Cpl. Justin Ross, was killed in Afghanistan. Less than four months later, on July 2, 2011, Spc. Lane was in a vehicle that hit an improvised explosive device (IED). It nearly ended his life.
Lane vowed to return one day and leave Afghanistan on his terms. In April, he got that opportunity. Another wounded combat veteran introduced Lane to an organization called Feherty's Troops First Foundation. The Laurel, Md.-based nonprofit supports "wellness, quality-of-life and event-based initiatives" for troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to its website.
Through its program, Operation Proper Exit, Troops First gives wounded veterans the opportunity to return to Afghanistan or Iraq and ...
During a cool March evening at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., service members and veterans were able to take a break. They were laughing, relaxing and, even for a couple of hours, not thinking about the treatment they were receiving at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in nearby Bethesda, Md.
Since 2003, wounded warriors from Walter Reed have gathered for the Aleethia Foundation's Friday Night Dinners. Foundation founder and executive director Hal Koster, a life member of VFW Post 2562 in Silver Spring, Md., said these dinners are an important part of the healing process.
"In the beginning, we saw mostly combat injured service members at the dinner," said Koster, a Vietnam War Army veteran who served as a helicopter door gunner with the 174th Assault Helicopter Company. "We have now transitioned into providing a night away from the hospital to patients who have cancer, [traumatic brain injuries] and other illnesses."
GETTING AWAY TO ‘FEEL HUMAN AGAIN'
"I want to thank everyone at the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Sport Clips for giving me the opportunity for a second chance at an education," said VFW's "Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship" recipient Nikolay Maltsev.
The first time Maltsev attended college, he quickly realized he wasn't prepared for this life change without real-world experience.
"I went to the Army recruiter and decided to get some hands-on training as a wheeled vehicle mechanic to get another view of the world. I spent time in South Korea, Fort Riley and Kuwait."
While serving active duty in Kuwait, Maltsev began planning ahead for future educational opportunities and searching for financial aid. He stumbled upon the VFW's "Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship" and filled out an application.
Maltsev is thankful for the second opportunity to pursue a degree in economics at the State University of New York at Albany.
"My passion has been ignited to study economics … in my opinion it is the best way to learn how the world works t...
If you received a Purple Heart for being wounded in Vietnam, you could be one of nine lucky veterans to win the VFW's "Return to Vietnam" trip.
This in-country tour from April 25 - May 8, 2019, will include the sites of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), the DMZ, Khe Sanh, Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, Marble Mountain, Cu Chi and Tay Ninh. Airfare, accommodations and meals are included.
Don't miss this chance to revisit battle sites and share your experiences with fellow Vietnam veterans!
Entries must be received prior to the drawing on November 30, 2018. Click here for complete information....
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - HonorBound Foundation has awarded the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. a $55,263 grant to help offset a larger initiative that will begin equipping VFW Service Officers with new laptops and tablets so that they can more efficiently and effectively help more veterans to file disability claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The VFW has nearly 2,000 VA-accredited service officers across America and abroad. In 2017, more than a half-million veterans represented by the VFW received $7.7 billion in benefits from the VA, to include $1.2 billion in new benefit awards. VFW Service Officers are stationed at every VA Regional Office and on two dozen military installations to help transitioning service members to complete and file their claims, but despite being seemingly everywhere, there are still veterans residing elsewhere who are need of the professional - and free - services the VFW ...
Pet parents know that there's nothing like the love of furry family members. Keeping your pets healthy is a priority because you want them to live as long as possible. However, health care costs for pets are expensive, and if you are dealing with additional expenses such as prescriptions for chronic conditions, it can become a burden to your budget.
Fortunately, there are several things pet owners can do to proactively keep pets healthy and save money on health care costs.
Invest in preventative care
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is just as applicable to pets as it is to their human caregivers. One of the most important things a pet parent can do to ensure the ongoing health of any animal is to bring them in for annual checkups whether they are experiencing health issues or not.
During wellness checkups, veterinarians can screen for a variety of health conditions. They provide insight on diseases, age-related concerns, dental health, nutritional considerations and so m...
The VFW's Publications staff quizzed VFW members attending the organization's 119th National Convention in July in Kansas City, Mo.
Members offered their thoughts on specific topics, such as when the VFW might see its first female national commander or what they would like to see changed about the annual convention.
Here's a look at what some of them had to say....
WASHINGTON - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Disabled American Veterans, The American Legion and Paralyzed Veterans of America today released the following letter to the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs urging the Senate to pass H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2018, before the 115th Congress convenes:
September 19, 2018
The Honorable Johnny Isakson, Chairman
Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs
United States Senate
412 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Jon Tester, Ranking Member
Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs
United States Senate
825A Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Isakson and Ranking Member Tester:
On behalf of the millions of veterans we represent, we urge you to take every action necessary to ensure that a vote is held by the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and then the full Sena...
On the first Friday of the new school year last year, students lined the halls of Caroline Middle School in Milford, Va. They cheered as a group of local Vietnam veterans walked down the hall to their classroom, shook the vets' hands and thanked them for their service. After the veterans took their seats, the students filed in and stood next to the students' desks, which were labeled with the names of Virginians killed, or listed as still missing, in Vietnam.
Coffee and pastries in hand, the veterans shared their stories with the class. Army veteran Armando "Recon" Flores spoke of summers he spent stationed on Okinawa. Paul Pitts, an Air Force veteran, spoke about his time on the ground in Vietnam and of comrades lost during the war. Linda Boone shared photos from her time in the field hospitals of Vietnam as an Army nurse.
With all of the students on the edge of their seats, it was clear that hearing these Vietnam veterans speak had moved them. It was just as clear that having the opportunity to speak to the students...
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is proud to announce it is teaming up with UNA, the nation's fastest-growing group purchasing organization, to expand its offering of benefits to VFW members to include discounts on hotels, office supplies and entertainment tickets.
With this new offering, VFW members gain access to an exclusive hotel booking platform that connects them to deeply discounted hotel rates - saving an average of 26 percent below publicly available rates at more than 150,000 hotels across the globe, and with a free mobile app available, members can book on the go!
In addition to exclusive hotel discounts, more benefits will be rolled out over the next few months which will allow members to save up to 80 percent off list price on office essentials and everyday low copy and print pricing, up to 40 percent off tickets for top theme parks, movie tickets and shows nationwide, as w...
Laurence "Buckshot" Blumer is named after a World War II hero and fighter pilot, his father. Major Laurence "Scrappy" Blumer was known as the "Fastest Ace in the West" when he shot down five FW-190s in 15 minutes of aerial combat. "I loved my father very much and always wanted to follow in his footsteps," said Blumer, who joined the United States Navy after high school to become a Navy SEAL.
Blumer was able to graduate from Naval Gunnery School with his dream of attending Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training proudly under his belt.
But during training, he received a call that his father was given only six months to live by his doctors. Blumer left the Navy and rushed home to care for him during his final days. "My father was the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back. That was just the type of man he was," he recalled.
After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Blumer reenlisted in the Nevada National Guard. He was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq where his unit was subjected to daily at...
WASHINGTON - More than 500 members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. are arriving in the nation's capital this weekend to urge their members of Congress to continue transforming the Department of Veterans Affairs so that it can more efficiently and effectively serve America's veterans.
"The VFW is fully committed to working with Congress and the VA to change the way the department delivers health care, to include finding the best way to leverage what the VA provides with what public or private practitioners out in the community can offer, with the end goal being the delivery of the highest quality integrated care so that no veterans are ever stranded in line again," said VFW National Commander Brian Duffy.
The VFW national commander is scheduled to present his organization's legislative positions at 2 p.m., Wednesday, in testimony before a joint hearing of the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committees in room G-50 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Along with f...
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - With its 2017 Legislative Conference only weeks away, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. has designed a new mobile event app to give attendees the tools needed to make the most of their visit to the nation's capital. As the official guide to the 2017 VFW Legislative Conference, the VFW DC 2017 mobile app is available for download now at both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.VFW to Take Veterans’ Voice to Capitol Hill
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Next weekend, more than 500 members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., the nation's largest and oldest war veterans' organization begin rallying in Washington, D.C., to voice the concerns of veterans directly with the nation's lawmakers during the 2017 VFW Legislative Conference, Feb. 26 - March 2.
The annual conference strengthens the VFW's advocacy efforts on behalf of America's veterans, service members and their families, as VFW members meet with elected representatives in the House and Senate to discuss the VFW's stance on a number of high priority veterans' issues.
The 2017 VFW Legislative Conference culminates on March 1, as VFW National Commander Brian Duffy testifies before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans Aff...
WASHINGTON - This afternoon, before a joint hearing of the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees, Brian Duffy, national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. delivered testimony focused on fixing the VA and ending sequestration.
"Let me be perfectly clear: Congress must end sequestration!" he told the committee members in attendance." He explained that despite ongoing conflicts and the rise in new threats since the 112th Congress created sequestration in 2011, America's service members continue to operate under a budget ax which has adverse effects on how successfully they're able to defend our nation, as well as quality of life programs. VFW Announces Top Youth Scholarship Winners
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliary proudly announced the national winners of its annual Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen youth scholarship competitions, live during last night's 2017 VFW Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.
|VFW and SVA Announce 2017 Student Veteran Fellowship Class
WASHINGTON - Ten Student Veterans of America (SVA) leaders have been selected to join more than 500 members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. when they converge on Capitol Hill, Feb. 26 to March 2, to advocate on behalf of all veterans, service members and their families. The fellowship selections were announced this afternoon at SVA's 9th National Conference in Anaheim, Calif.
"Through our fellowship program, the VFW and SVA seek to work with exemplary student veterans to hone their unique skills as advocates on campus, in the community, and on the national stage," said VFW National Commander Brian Duffy. "The VFW sees this fellowship as yet another way of supporting our shared mission with SVA to transform today's scholars into tomorrow's leaders."
The VFW-SVA Legislative Fellowship is a semester-long academic experience that involves research, action, reporting and advocating on behalf of one of four veterans...
WASHINGTON - Ten Student Veterans of America (SVA) leaders have been selected to join more than 500 members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW) when they converge on Capitol Hill, March 4 to 7, to advocate on behalf of all veterans, service members and their families. The fellowship selections were announced during SVA's 10th National Conference in San Antonio.
WASHINGTON - More than 500 members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliary are arriving in the nation's capital this weekend to urge their respective members of Congress to end sequestration and to continue improving the programs and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"The VFW is appreciative of the two-year budget agreement because it will bring temporary funding stability to the Defense Department," said VFW National Keith Harman, "but a two-year agreement doesn't end the continued threat of sequestration on a military that is still at war with an all-volunteer force that is fighting with less training and overused equipment," he said. "Sequestration has been the law of the land for seven years, so service members, veterans, their families and the VFW are counting on the newly-established super committee on budget and appropr...
WASHINGTON - More than 500 members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. will take to the nation's capital the first week of March to advocate on behalf of America's nearly 25 million veterans and military service members, as well as their families and survivors.
VFW members meet regularly with their elected officials in their home offices and on Capitol Hill to enlist their support in bringing the VFW's legislative Priority Goals to fruition. Highlighting this year's conference will be VFW National Commander Keith Harman's testimony before a special joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees, the presentation of the VFW Congressional Award to Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), and the Voice of Democ...
WASHINGTON - This morning, before a joint hearing of the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. delivered testimony focused on ending sequestration and improving the care, services and programs provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"The VFW is pleased Congress recently passed a bipartisan budget agreement to alleviate the sequester's impact on our military and veterans, but you only delayed its return by two years," VFW National Commander Keith Harman told members of the committees. "Our service members, veterans and their families are counting on you to repeal sequestration once and for all!"
Harman commended the committee members in attendance for making some VFW-proposed changes to the Choice Program that have improved access to care, but reminded them the Choice Program is merely a stopgap, and must be replaced with a permanent and improved program that would:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is proud to team up with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Thursday, Sept. 13, and Tuesday, Sept. 18, to bring our Facebook followers an opportunity to get their questions answered on two important topics: mental health and telehealth.
Join representatives from VA and the VFW for a Facebook Live event on Sept. 13 at 1 p.m. EDT as we discuss the mental health challenges veterans face, how to recognize the need for care, and where to go when you or someone you know needs help. VA offers a wide range of mental health care services to empower veterans to live full and meaningful lives. During this Facebook Live, attendees will discover types of support available to veterans and their families, as well as have your questions answered in the comments section following the video.
This event is part of the "#ExploreVA: From Service to Success" online series highlighting how veterans and their families use VA benefit...
The following students are the latest VFW-Student Veterans of America (SVA) fellows to take on that task: Jennifer Hosley, Bradley Ward, Gabriel Snashall, Edward Tjaden, Brian Walker, Ryan Rehberg, Joseph Sacco, Hannah Joyce and Francheska Salazar.
Ward, who served from January - September 2014 with the 302nd MP Co. from Grand Prairie and the 18th Airborne Corps in the Army Reserve, said the week in D.C. was a "transformational
"The opportunity to connect and openly discuss policy and veteran-related issues with Congressional leaders and department directors was an incredible experience that is certain to prepare me for future work in the field," Ward said.
For Walker, it was "eye-opening" to witness the work it takes to advocate on behalf of veterans.
"This has given me a much deeper appreciation for the work that is involved, knowing there are many who are fighting for veterans like myself," said Walker, who served in the Navy aboard the USS
Statement of the Independent Budget Veterans Service Organizations (DAV, PVA, VFW) on the Appropriations Conference Report on H.R. 5895
The House-Senate Appropriations Committee conference agreement on H.R. 5895, which contains funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), would provide much needed increases for veterans health care and other critical programs, including new funding to begin implementing key provisions of the VA MISSION Act.
Although the conference agreement does not meet all of The Independent Budget's recommendations for FY 2019 funding, it does include significant increases for VA's medical care, community care, construction, research and IT programs, as well as for benefit claims and appeals modernization.
This weekend, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States pays honor to America's Greatest Generation of veterans as we mark the 73rd anniversary of V-J Day, Victory over Japan Day, when Japan formally surrendered and officially ended World War II.
On Sept. 2, 1945, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, along with the Japanese foreign minister, Mamoru Shigemitsu, and the chief of staff of the Japanese Army, Yoshijiro Umezu, signed the official Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri.
In remembrance of the more than 400,000 Americans and 60 million people killed worldwide during the deadliest military conflict in human history, the VFW thanks the more than 16.1 million American service members who answered the call to protect freedom and democracy. Our nation will always be forever grateful for their honor and sacrifice.
The Greatest Generation has showed all Americans, and the world, what true commitment to the principles of liberty and justice for all means and for that the VFW salutes all World War II veterans a...
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Vincent "B.J." Lawrence, of Alamogordo, N.M., was elected today as the new national commander of the 1.2 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, a congressionally-chartered veterans service organization comprised of eligible veterans and military service members from all five branches of the armed forces.
VFW membership eligibility requires honorable service in a war or expedition on foreign soil or in hostile waters. Lawrence served in the U.S. Army from 1983 to 1986 and earned his eligibility by serving in South Korea, where an armistice, or cease-fire agreement, has existed since July 27, 1953, and where war could erupt at a moment's notice. He joined VFW Post 7686 in Alamogordo, N.M., in 2000, and immediately began moving the organization forward into the new millennium. He has proven to be a highly effective and dynamic leader, serving in a myriad of critical leadership positions, to include being elected commander at every level of the ...
LOUISVILLE, Ky. and KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), one of the nation's leading health and well-being companies, through the Humana MarketPoint organization, has enhanced its exclusive agreement with the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW), the nation's largest organization of war veterans and the oldest major veterans' organization in the U.S. As part of this expanded relationship, Humana is the national Medicare Advantage (MA), Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) and Medicare Supplement plans carrier for the VFW with exclusive marketing and promotional rights to the VFW.
The 750,000+ members of the VFW, and their spouses, who are eligible, or approaching eligibility, for Medicare, will get seamless education, guidance and access to these plans.
The Home Depot has started accepting applications for their 2018 Community Impact Grant. VFW members can receive up to $5,000 to fund repairs or construction projects at their Post building.
While there are no guarantees to being funded, several VFW Posts have been awarded this grant in the past.
Applications are only accepted through Home Depot's online form. Telephone calls, emails or written submissions sent to Home Depot will NOT be accepted, nor will you be able to turn this application in at your local Home Depot store.
Applicants should expect a decision by email within six weeks of submission. Grants are awar...
Hunting, much like war, forms a bond between people of different backgrounds. This holds true for the disabled veterans who participated in this year's 35th annual VFW magazine - and Doonan Gulch Outfitters - sponsored antelope hunt. Four Vietnam War veterans participated in hunting antelope, sightseeing and conversations.
Located 25 miles west of Broadus, Mont., Doonan Gulch Outfitters is owned and operated by Russ and Carol Greenwood. Russ Greenwood said Carol and he started hosting the annual hunt in 1982 because they didn't like the way Vietnam War veterans were treated when they came home.
Russ Greenwood also has a personal connection to Vietnam War veterans. His twin brother - Roger, a member of VFW Post 987 in Black River Falls, Wisc. - flew helicopters during the war. The Greenwoods started hosting disabled veterans 20 years ago. Since then, Doonan Gulch Outfitters has hosted veterans of every generation since the Vietnam War.
Torrey Wingate of Rochester, N.Y., joined the United States armed forces after she met an Army recruiter who inspired her to become more. Wingate was first stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash., and went on to serve at Fort Myer, Va. During her time at Fort Myer, Wingate injured her back and knees.
She thrived in the structured routine of her military life, and missed this steadiness and stability when it came time to transition to civilian life. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder made the transition even more challenging. The fear and anxiety she felt took a great toll on her mental health.
Securing a job and leaning on her support system of husband, Todd, and their five children (ranging from 5 to 28 years old) helped smooth her transition.
Her progress came to a sudden halt when her family moved from upstate New York to North Carolina. With the increased cost-of-living and Wingate unable to find a job, they went from a "two-income household to a fraction of one."
She was devastated to see her dreams crumble as ...
WASHINGTON - The nation's top three veterans service organizations have released their latest edition of The Independent Budget to coincide with the Administration's fiscal year 2019 budget recommendation for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
For more than 30 years, the three Independent Budget co-authors - DAV (Disabled American Veterans), Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans), and the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States) - have presented budget and policy recommendations to Congress and the Administration. These recommendations - which are supported by 27 other health, family, military, and veteran service organizations - are meant to inform lawmakers of the needs of all veterans, and to offer substantive solutions to address the many health care and benefits challenges they face. This independently-developed budget serves as the veterans groups' benchmark for properly fu...
WASHINGTON - Early this morning Congress voted to keep the government open for six more weeks as it works out a two-year budget deal that increases sequestration-levied spending caps for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The good news is the two-year budget deal should provide the Department of Defense the predictable funding it needs to improve readiness, and build a larger, more capable and lethal force. But the deal does not eliminate sequestration.
"Reducing the impact of sequestration by raising spending caps is a step in the right direction," said Keith Harman, national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, "but the deal doesn't eliminate the sequester, which will still be the law after the two-year deal expires."
This morning's action raises spending caps by nearly $300 billion for both defense and non-defense spending for FYs 2018 and 2019. The VFW believes that the funding increase will protect military quality of life programs, the promised 2.4 percent pay raise, and oth...
Marine veteran Jordan Soderman wears many hats. Everyday he is a full-time firefighter for the city of Minneapolis, Minn., father to 7-year-old Hunter and 5-year-old Caleb, husband to wife Jessica, Staff Sergeant in the Air Force Reserves and master's student in Emergency Management. It's a lot of responsibility and he takes great pride and care in each role.
Soderman was extremely grateful to be a recipient of the VFW's "Sport Clips Help a Hero Scholarship," especially because his family depends on his salary for a living.
Soderman grew up in the rural Midwest on his family's farm. He joined the Marines in 2006, right out of high school. He felt called to enlist because his parents taught him how much respect service members deserve, even though they were civilians themselves.
"The military was on a pedestal to me, and I wanted to give back to my country and travel outside my small town."
Soderman was deployed three times between 2007-2010. During the first two deployments, he was assigned to a Fleet An...
At PatientsLikeMe, a member of the VFW's Mental Wellness Campaign, we've been shining a spotlight on voices in the veteran community. We've heard from a military caregiver battling caregiver fatigue, a lung cancer survivor celebrating a year cancer free, and a veterans advocate who shared how he stays calm with embroidery.
WASHINGTON - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is saluting the House Veterans Affairs Committee for passing H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017. The VFW-supported bill, which must still be approved by the full House and Senate before going to the president, would restore benefits to thousands of Vietnam veterans, expand inclusive dates to those who served along the Korean DMZ, and benefit children born with spina bifida due to a parent's exposure to Agent Orange-related herbicides in Thailand.
"The VFW salutes the bipartisan leadership of House VA Committee Chairman Phil Roe and Ranking Member Tim Walz for getting this bill through committee," said VFW National Commander Keith Harman, who served in Vietnam as an Army helicopter crew chief and door gunner with the 101st Airborne Division
Once passed into law, H.R. 299 will restore VA benefits to some 100,000 Blue Water Navy veterans who had their disability eligibility taken away in 2002 after regulatory changes....
Parents who have had to leave their children for an extended period of time can attest to the difficulties the absence can cause. Those serving in the military know this all too well. And those with no spouse with whom their children can stay during deployments find themselves in an even worse situation.
This Mother's Day, the VFW pays tribute to moms who have sacrificed by leaving their children behind for overseas deployments.
Here's a look at some of those mothers, and in their own words, how deploying overseas affected them and their children.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - In the true spirit of Memorial Day, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW) is collaborating with Ace Hardware to honor veterans by pledging to give out 1 million American-made flags nationwide. On Saturday, May 26, consumers are encouraged to visit participating Ace stores to receive a free 8" x 12" American flag*, while a second flag is donated to a local VFW Post to be used for marking and honoring veteran graves this Memorial Day.
"We are thrilled to continue our long-standing history of honoring veterans by supporting VFW Posts and local communities this Memorial Day," said John Surane, Executive Vice President for Ace Hardware. "The sacrifices that these men and women have made for their country is something that should be recognized every day, and we at Ace want to make this Memorial Day even more meaningful. We applaud the VFW for the incredible support the...
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