Apr
14
2015

VFW Youth Scholarship Competitions

VFW Announces Kick-Off of Youth Scholarship Competitions
New themes selected for the 2015-16 contest

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (April 14, 2015) – The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW) is pleased to announce the kick-off of the 2015-16 VFW’s Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen scholarship competitions. The announcement comes just weeks after students from across the globe took home their share of the more than $3 million in scholarships and awards from last year’s competitions.

The VFW’s Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen essay competitions are dedicated to encouraging a better understanding and appreciation for our great country and fostering patriotism among our nation’s youth. Students are asked to submit an essay in response to a question or statement on a subject which prompts them to consider how American history and democratic ideals and principles apply to their lives.

This year’s Voice of Democracy theme asks students to contemplate, “My Vision for America.” The Voice of Democracy scholarship competition is an audio-essay competition open to students in grades 9-12. The national winner will receive the $30,000 T.C. Selman Memorial Scholarship Award.

The Patriot’s Pen competition is open to students in grades 6-8. This year, students are asked to reflect on the statement, “What Freedom Means to Me.” The national winner will receive a $5,000 award.

Student participants are asked to submit their entry (along with a completed entry form) to their participating local VFW Post. The deadline for student entries in both contests is November 1, 2015.

Click here to find your local VFW Post. For more information on the contests, visit www.vfw.org/Youth.  

Permanent link to this article: http://vfwva.org/national-vfw-news/vfw-youth-scholarship-competitions/

Apr
02
2015

VA Makes Strides on Reducing Claims Backlog

Washington – The federal initiative to provide timely decisions on disability payments to Veterans has crossed a major milestone in its final sprint to eliminate the backlog of Veterans’ benefits claims.

The major transformation effort to apply new technology and process solutions has paid off at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  It reduced its inventory of backlogged claims from a high of 611,000 claims in March of 2013 to fewer than 200,000 this week, while at the same time improving decision quality.

“Make no mistake, we’re not slowing down short of the finish line,” said Under Secretary for Benefits Allison Hickey. “Our goal is to eliminate the claims backlog by the end of 2015 – meaning all Veterans will receive timely and accurate decisions on their disability claims.”

Hickey credited a combination of factors for the 67-percent drop in backlog: first, the extra hours of work put in by dedicated benefits claims processors across the nation, who have worked evenings, Saturdays and Sundays to drive the backlog down; as well as procedural efficiencies backed by powerful automation tools and paperless claims processing. In addition, she cited the transformation of Veterans Benefits Administration’s training and quality assurance programs resulting in steady increases in the accuracy of decisions.

Just a few years ago, claims processors handled 5,000 tons of paper annually, an amount equivalent to 200 Empire State Buildings. In less than two years, VA converted claims processing to a 21st Century digital environment where claims for VA benefits and services can be submitted and processed, and benefits delivered, online.

Veterans increasingly are filing claims electronically from the start at https://www.ebenefits.va.gov.  Veterans can submit their applications online, upload their supporting documentation, and check the status of their claim through a multi-channel Web portal boasting nearly 60 self-service features.

(via VA Press Release)

Veterans may also visit their local VFW Post for assistance with their claims process.

Permanent link to this article: http://vfwva.org/va-news/va-makes-strides-on-reducing-claims-backlog/

Mar
21
2015

2014-2015 National Youth Scholarship Winner Videos

The winners of the 2014-2015 National Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen scholarship competitions were named earlier this month at the National Legislative Conference in Washington DC.

Adam Densmore from the Department of Colorado was named the first-place winner of the $30,000 Voice of Democracy T.C. Selman Memorial Scholarship Award.  This year’s theme was “Why Veterans are Important to our Nation’s History and Future.”  Densmore was sponsored by VFW Post 3631 and Ladies Auxiliary in Aurora, Colorado.

YouTube Preview Image

The second-place winner, Jaycie Schenone, sponsored by VFW Post 6604 and Ladies Auxiliary in Folsom, California, received the $16,000 Charles Kuralt Memorial Scholarship Award. The third-place winner, Mackenzie Leishman, sponsored by VFW Post 2350 and Ladies Auxiliary in Elko, Nevada, received the $10,000 VFW Scholarship Award.

Ethan Schroeder from the Department of Pennsylvania was named first-place winner of a $5,000 award for his submission on this year’s theme “Why I Appreciate America’s Veterans.”  Schroeder was sponsored by VFW Post 92 and Ladies Auxiliary in New Kensington, Pennsylvania.

YouTube Preview Image

The second-place winner, Jordyn Mies, sponsored by VFW Post 7824 and Ladies Auxiliary Vancouver, Washington, will receive a $4,000 award. The third-place winner, Tracy Kruse, sponsored by VFW Post 2966 and Ladies Auxiliary in Scotland, South Dakota, will receive a $3,500 award.

Permanent link to this article: http://vfwva.org/national-vfw-news/2014-2015-national-youth-scholarship-winner-videos/

Jan
23
2015

STATE COMMANDER HOMECOMING 2015

Homecoming 2015

Permanent link to this article: http://vfwva.org/uncategorized/state-commander-homecoming-2015/

Dec
11
2014

It’s Time For More Millennial Vets To Join The Ranks Of The VFW

It’s Time For More Millennial Vets To Join The Ranks Of The VFW

A millennial veteran calls on his peers to help modernize and reform the VFW.

By Adrian Cole, December 9, 2014

Recent articles have proclaimed the oasis of modern veteran service to be millennial organizations. These organizations may offer grassroots support to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans; however, as a recent Army veteran, I found many did not reply when I asked to join or volunteer my services. More importantly, they do not have nearly a century of successful legislative efforts defending veterans’ rights in this nation.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars is an organization operating under congressional charter, recognized for its service in combat against the nation’s enemies, and will always fight for current service members and veterans. Join any of the secondary veteran service organizations you like, but these should not be in place of the VFW. We are already sitting at the table in Capitol Hill. However, if the modern veteran lets the VFW guidon fall, the encroachment on benefits will continue. Yes, modernization needs to happen within the organization, that can only come from our generation of leaders, those who have walked away discouraged and disillusioned. Not all posts are the same, and the VFW is ours to change.

The VFW as a whole is also working to improve some of its outdated policies. The national charter was recently changed to remove gender bias, a move long overdue. However, further progress requires more modern-era veterans within the voting body of the VFW. We can do this, but not if everyone gives up and walks away. Every generation of veterans faced similar challenges upon return, and stepped up to revamp the organization. It is our turn.

I’m the adjutant in my VFW post at the Bath Senior Center in Maine, serving under the command of Kenneth Lambert, a 20-year Army veteran with nine combat tours. People like Ken are why I’m involved. We are the new generation leading the post, with the top three officer positions being held by veterans of our wars.

In my post, there are six vets from Afghanistan or Iraq out of the 88 members; three serve in the top officer positions. We want to do more to combat certain local charities that are fleecing grant and donation monies that should go to needy veterans, but need to build more clout locally to spar with them politically. The first step comes back to increasing the active membership of millennial veterans who can help in this endeavor.

VFW National Commander John Stroud supports change within the VFW, stating in a November letter posted to the national website:

For those members and Posts who would rather serve themselves than the countless veterans who are in need, remind them that this organization exists for the benefit of all veterans rather than those of an entitled few. I want to make it clear that I will willingly provide my complete support to any of my Department Commanders who move to shut down any Post, or remove from our leadership rolls, anyone that is not committed to the goals of the organization.

While there are more than 40,000 registered organizations helping veterans, or at least claiming to help, our community still has a long way to go. In September, I attended a roundtable discussion hosted by the Mid-Coast Veterans Council, where Maine Sen. Angus King met with a group of local organizations and charities to debate challenges facing Maine veterans. In attendance was a homeless veteran who had just been released from a PTSD treatment facility. While representatives there wanted a photo opportunity with this veteran and the senator, he has yet to receive their assistance. To date, this man has only received support from my VFW post and Goodwill, even after his story was shared with the people who claim to be helping homeless vets. Like I said, support for veterans still has a long way to go.

Come help your comrades keep what we earned.

Adrian Cole is a former Army Captain. He served two combat tours as an artillery officer in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division, and lives in Maine.

http://taskandpurpose.com/time-millennial-vets-join-ranks-vfw/

Permanent link to this article: http://vfwva.org/department-news/its-time-for-more-millennial-vets-to-join-the-ranks-of-the-vfw/

Dec
04
2014

Three Letters

Permanent link to this article: http://vfwva.org/national-vfw-news/three-letters/

Oct
22
2014

ALL STATE PROGRAM UPDATE

POST RECOGNITION AWARDS

A POST MEMBERSHIP BANNER will be awarded to each Post that meets their 2015 Membership by June 30, 2015.

100% plus Post Commander and Quartermaster pins to Posts exceeding 100% by May 8, 2015.

Post Commander and Post Quartermaster Ball Cap to Posts who are 100% in membership by May 8, 2015.

Post with the largest increase of new Legacy Life Members by the day prior to judging will receive a check in the amount of $200.00

 

2014-2015 ALL STATE TEAM

There can be a maximum of 30 Posts on The All-State Team.

The 30 All State Posts will receive an All State Post Banner.

For a Post to be eligible, it must have reached 101% of their Membership Quota by June 30, 2015

The Post Quartermaster must be bonded.

The Post must have been inspected by October 31, 2014.

The Post Commander must attend each District Meeting or have an authorized member attend.

The Post Commander or designated Post Officer must attend a Department or District School of Instruction.

All Audit Reports must be turned into State Headquarters as required by Section 218 of the National By-Laws and Manual of Procedure.

Posts with less than 50 members are not eligible for the All State Team. To be eligible the Post must increase their membership to 50 members. The Post will then be classified as 100%.

The Post must participate in the following programs.

Buddy Poppy Program purchase minimum of 5 poppies per member
Voice of Democracy Program (must submit a student to the District level for District judging)
Patriot’s Pen Program (must submit a student to the District level for District judging)

Teacher of the Year Program (must submit at least one Teacher to the District Level for District judging)

National Military Services (must make a $100.00 donation to National Military Services)

Have a Post Service Officer appointed.

The Post must have submitted the following reports at least once during the first half of the year (May 1 thru October 31) and once during the second half (November 1 thru April 30)

Hospital Report
Americanism Report
Community Activities Report
Safety Report
Youth Activities Report

Post must submit a Community Service Record Book for judging by 5pm on May 8, 2015.

Post will receive points for membership – When the Post has completed all the above programsreports, and submitted Community Service Record Book, one fifth (1/5) of one (1) point will be assigned for each additional member above 101%.

Posts reported in 3 categories of Community Activities to include 1 report in support of homeless veterans, 4 categories of Safety, 8 categories of Americanism and 4 categories of Youth Activities during the reporting period of May 1, 2014 through April 30, 2015 will receive a State Citation.

Posts submitting Hospital Reports for 1st and 2nd reporting periods will receive a State Citation.

 

 ALL STATE TEAM AWARDS

The All State Post Commanders that have met all the criteria including membership by May 8, 2015 will receive: A Citation; an All State cap; and an All State pin. A check in the amount of $300.00, to assist in payment of expenses while attending and participating at the State Convention, will be presented. Time of payment will be at the discretion of the Department Commander. The All State Commanders that met the criteria except for membership by May 8. 2015 and meets the membership criteria by June 30, 2015 will receive: A Citation; an All State cap; and an All State pin.

The All State Post Quartermasters that have met all the criteria including membership by May 8, 2015 will receive: A Citation; an All State cap; and an All State pin. A check in the amount of $300.00 to assist in payment of expenses while attending and participating at the State Convention will be presented. Time of payment will be at the discretion of the Department Commander. The All State Quartermasters that met the criteria except for membership by May 8. 2015 and meets the membership criteria by June 30, 2015 will receive: A Citation; an All State cap; and an All State pin.

 

The All State Commanders and All State Quartermasters that achieved All State status by May 8, 2015 will be individually recognized at the Awards Program during the State Convention. The Remaining All State Commanders and All State Quartermasters will be recognized at their next District Meeting.

From the All State Team, the Post with the highest points in the All State Judging on May 9th will be designated as the Outstanding Post of the Year 2014-2015. The Commander and Quartermaster of this Post will be the Captains of the All State Team.

The Awards and Citation Committee will break all ties and their decision will be final.

 

2014-2015 ALL STATE DISTRICT COMMANDERS

For a District Commander to qualify, the Commander must meet the following All State District Commanders criteria:

For a District to be eligible it must increase its membership by meeting its assigned membership quota by June 30, 2015

Membership Quota: minimum 101%

All Posts in the District must be inspected by 31 October, 2014.

Post Quartermasters, for all Posts in the District, must be properly bonded.

District Quartermaster must be properly bonded.

All Audit Reports, for the District and all Posts in the District, must be turned in to State Headquarters as required by the National By-Laws and Manual of Procedure.

All Posts in the District must report in these categories: Americanism, Community Activities, Safety, Youth Activities, and Hospital.

All Posts must have purchased Buddy Poppies.

District Commander must attend or have a designated elected district officer attend a State School of Instruction.

District must conduct a District School of Instruction prior or during its first District Meeting. State representative to the first District Meeting must report SOI on the District meeting report.

District must make a donation of at least $250 to National Military Services.

 

ALL STATE DISTRICT COMMANDERS AWARDS

Each All State District Commander will receive a Citation and an All State District Commander’s cap.

The All State District Commanders that achieved All State status by May 8, 2015 will be individually recognized at the Awards Program during the State Convention. The Remaining All State District Commanders will be recognized at their next District Meeting.

Each All State District Commander will receive a VFW Jacket if all Posts within the District are 100% or more in membership.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://vfwva.org/uncategorized/all-state-program-update/

Sep
25
2014

VA Updates Disability Claims Application

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 24, 2014

 New Process Will Reduce Processing Times and Improve Quality

 The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that it is introducing a uniformed disability claims form to better serve Veterans, families and survivors. Standardizing the process by which Veterans file claims and initiate appeals will make it easier for Veterans and their survivors to clearly state what benefits they are seeking from VA and provide information that is necessary to process their claims and appeals. The new forms eliminate applicant guesswork, which often leads to delays in decisions and ultimately delays in receiving benefits. The new regulations go into effect in late March 2015.

“We must do everything that we can to make it as fast and easy as possible for Veterans and their survivors to file for and receive an accurate decision on their claim,” said VA Secretary Robert McDonald. “Our Veterans and survivors will know, at the outset of the claims process, what is needed, which removes subjective interpretation from the process. We want to eliminate any barriers that make it difficult for our Veterans or survivors to receive benefits to which they are entitled.”

In the past, a Veteran or survivor did not have to use a certain form to seek compensation or other benefits from VA.  Claims or appeals (Notice of Disagreement) could be submitted on any piece of paper which caused delays due to missing information.

By using standard forms for all disability claims, VA can more quickly and accurately identify what the Veteran is claiming or appealing. This will allow VA to immediately move on to next steps in the evidence-gathering and decision-making process, which saves administrative processing time and speeds the delivery of earned benefits.  The existing process is also inconsistent with most, if not all, other government and non-government application processes, such as applying for social security, applying for a driver’s license, applying for a job or filing for an income tax refund.

“These days, government agencies and private businesses rely on standard forms to deliver faster and more accurate customer service,” said Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey.  “VA’s ability to deliver better customer service requires the use of standard forms as well. That is why we worked extensively with our partners in the Veterans community to streamline the way we process claims while  preserving the effective date rules concerning informal claims through the creation of a new intent to file a claim process.”

The updated process also includes standardizing the traditional informal claims process by employing a new “Intent to File a Claim” process which affords the Veteran or survivor one year to compile the necessary documentation or evidence to support the claim while preserving an effective date of claim.

More information about VA Forms 21-526EZ, 21-527EZ, 21-534EZ or VA Form 21-0958, Notice of Disagreement, may be found at www.ebenefits.va.gov or www.va.gov/vaforms/.

Permanent link to this article: http://vfwva.org/va-news/va-updates-disability-claims-application/

Sep
25
2014

New Message from Commander-in-Chief and Ladies Auxiliary President

Permanent link to this article: http://vfwva.org/national-vfw-news/new-message-from-commander-in-chief-and-ladies-auxiliary-president/

Sep
12
2014

VFW to Update Congressional Charter

VFW to Update Congressional Charter

WASHINGTON (September 12, 2014) — With the support of two key members of Congress, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States may soon be updating its congressional charter to adhere to a national resolution approved by delegates attending the 115th VFW National Convention in St. Louis.

The VFW’s congressional charter was signed in 1936 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt when the military was comprised almost entirely of men. The update consists of two wording changes — replacing men with veterans, and widows with surviving spouses — and is supported by two companion bills, S. 2782 and H.R. 5441, which were introduced by Senate VA Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and House VA Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), respectively.

“We are not changing our congressional charter because it’s politically correct,” said VFW National Commander John W. Stroud, “we’re changing it because being an eligible veteran is what’s important to our great organization, not one’s gender, and changing widows to surviving spouses is more representative of today’s military. I salute every delegate for their support of Resolution 301, and thank the Senate and House VA Committee chairmen for their sponsorships.”

Permanent link to this article: http://vfwva.org/national-vfw-news/vfw-to-update-congressional-charter/

Page 1 of 73 12345...1020304050...Last »