Sep 03 2014

VFW Applauds New Military Discharge Upgrade Decision

VFW Applauds New Military Discharge Upgrade Decision

WASHINGTON (September 3, 2014) — The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is applauding a new Department of Defense decision that will enable Vietnam veterans and others to request upgrades to their less than honorable military discharges due to an extenuating factor not known at the time of their separation: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“This decision will not be a blanket approval for every upgrade request, but it does open an avenue for those veterans who may have been diagnosed with PTSD years after separation to submit new evidence and hopefully correct an injustice from the past,” said VFW National Commander John W. Stroud, a retired Air Force first sergeant from Hawthorne, Nev.

“PTSD is a normal human reaction to an abnormal traumatic event, but similar experiences can affect people differently, from virtually no impact to extremely debilitating,” he said. “You can learn to cope with PTSD by avoiding stressors, but one thing that’s very difficult to live with is a Bad Conduct Discharge, which back in the day the military was more apt to give instead of delving into why this super troop all of a sudden isn’t.

“This is a good decision, and the VFW joins with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in calling it the right thing to do for our veterans.”

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Sep 03 2014

Defense Mobile and the VFW to Connect and Improve the Lives of Veterans and U.S. Service Members

Defense Mobile and the VFW to Connect and Improve the Lives of Veterans and U.S. Service Members

 The VFW supports Defense Mobile Corporation’s launch of ARMYmobile, NAVYmobile, AIRFORCEmobile, MARINESmobile, and COASTGUARDmobile during the 115th VFW National Convention.

 KANSAS CITY, Mo. (September 3, 2014) – Defense Mobile Corporation (DMC) and the VFW announce an affinity relationship to deliver miliSOURCE, a new mobile application and service designed to provide users with profile driven information regarding their specific eligibility for benefits from the VA, state veterans’ departments and veterans’ service organizations. miliSOURCE is provided free with Defense Mobile’s nationwide 4G mobile services being offered exclusively to those actively serving, veterans and their families. The application will be pre-loaded on most Defense Mobile smartphones and will be made available as a free download in iTunes and the Google Play Store.

 “We’re on a mission to connect and improve the lives of veterans; the VFW has been on this mission since 1899 and is an exceptional partner,” stated Brendan Reilly, the CEO of Defense Mobile Corporation. “Our ability to connect and reward veterans through mobile devices is unparalleled.  We are honored and frankly humbled to serve those who have served us.”

 Defense Mobile will launch its nationwide 4G mobile services this fall through its branch specific brands; ARMYmobile, NAVYmobile, AIRFORCEmobile, MARINESmobile and COASTGUARDmobile.

 John W. Stroud, Commander-in-Chief of the VFW said he is excited about the partnership: “Joining forces with Defense Mobile is a great way to further our mission to honor and reward our veterans for their service to our country. Having military benefits and discounts accessible through their mobile devices will significantly improve the lives of our veterans.”

 Ed Walters, Chief Marketing Officer of Defense Mobile, a West Point graduate and Army veteran, said, “Veterans who sign up for our service are more than customers, they’re members of our collective military family.  We connect with our members because most of our executives have served and 100% of our member care representatives have served. We understand and that’s why we want to help, miliSOURCE is an amazing app that can truly improve the lives of many of our veteran customers.”

 About Defense Mobile Corporation

 Defense Mobile Corporation (DMC) provides mobile services, smartphones, and apps for active duty military, veterans and their families.  Defense Mobile is a new nationwide 4G mobile service, built by veterans, supported exclusively by veterans and designed to improve the lives of those who have served. Defense Mobile offers the most popular smartphones, no annual contract plans, meaningful “military and veteran only” cash back rewards, and applications that help veterans manage the benefits they have earned. Defense Mobile has secured agreements to run on the largest mobile network operators so that veterans and military families receive superior coverage.

 After an in-store validation of military service, the real value Defense Mobile provides is in the form of value added applications delivered directly to the mobile device and its Members. The pre-loaded or downloadable applications available will be: miliCASH, miliSOURCE and miliMAIL. miliCASH is a robust mobile banking application with a pre-approved prepaid MasterCard® that delivers military-and-veteran-only cash back rewards at participating merchants nationwide. miliSOURCE is a powerful application that helps veteran families discover and obtain valuable veteran benefits and services from the VA, States, and Veteran Service Organizations. Additionally, Members receive miliMAIL, which is a free email service that provides transitioning military personnel and Defense Mobile Members with a unique email that proudly confirms their affiliation to the branch of service they served.

 You can learn more about Defense Mobile Corporation at or the service brands at,,,, and


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Jul 25 2014

Air Force Veteran Elected to Lead Veterans of Foreign Wars

Stroud speechKANSAS CITY, Mo. (July 24, 2014) — The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States concluded its 115th national convention yesterday with the election of the new VFW National Commander, John W. Stroud.

Stroud served in the U.S. Air Force from 1976-1997, including a tour in Korea in 1992-1993 with the 51st Fighter Wing at Osan Air Base as a Flight Operations Superintendent. His decorations include four Meritorious Service Medals, three Air Force Commendation Medals, three Air Force Achievement Medals, the Korea Defense Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

He is a resident of Hawthorne, Nev., and a Gold Legacy Life Member of Post 2313, and has served the VFW in a number of leadership positions including Nevada Department Commander and Chairman of the National Veterans Service Committee.

During his acceptance speech, Stroud addressed the recent VA crisis stating, “the VA is a health care system worth saving that right now must identify and fix what’s broken … that needs to hold people appropriately accountable to the fullest extent of the law … and a system that must restore the faith of veterans in their VA. He added that he is confident Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson and nominee Bob McDonald—if confirmed—will not make the same mistake as the previous VA Secretary who simply trusted his employees to the point of his demise.

Stroud recounted his first experience with the VFW, stopping in Post 10047 in Las Vegas, Nev., after seeing a sign that read ‘Active Duty Military Welcome.’ Dressed in fatigues, he entered the Post and was immediately welcomed. Surrounded by his comrades, he learned of the organization’s many programs and services, and he knew he wanted in.

“Comrades, I share my story to encourage you to tell your own stories to others.  A great part of the VFW story involves the relevance between different generations, and the ability to educate others about who we are, what we do, and who we do it for,” he said.

Stroud had high praise for members’ work and VFW programs, citing several outstanding instances of disaster relief, troop support and veterans resource efforts. He commended those who worked with the U.S. European Command to operate a Visitor’s Center for hundreds of American D-Day veterans and thousands of visitors who were in Normandy for the 70th anniversary of the landing, and praised the Ladies Auxiliary for its donations to cancer research which now total $30 million.   

“One of the best things about being a National Officer is I get to brag about the VFW wherever I go … to the troops, to veterans, their families, nonveterans and politicians, too,” he said.

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Jul 12 2014

Hillsville School of Instruction


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Jun 16 2014

Veterans Survey

Thank you for completing the 2014 Veteran Survey sponsored by the Virginia Department of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.  Your response to this short survey will help us better provide the service and response our veterans deserve.  We appreciate your completing the survey at your earliest convenience and no later than June 30th.   Click this link to access the survey: .

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May 30 2014



 KANSAS CITY, Mo. (May 30, 2014) — The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States said today’s resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki is in the best interests of the nation’s veterans.

 “The VFW was the first major veterans organization to call for an independent investigation and, if warranted, for the dismissal and criminal prosecution of those employees involved with gaming the system,” said William A. Thien, the national commander of the 1.9 million-member VFW and its Auxiliaries. “Throughout the political firestorm of the past several weeks, the VFW remained steadfast in supporting an independent investigation and calling for full accountability in this matter — especially for those in Congress, who for years have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the concerns of America’s Veteran Service Organizations.

 “Change will not come easy to the VA, but change it must, and the VFW will absolutely be part of its evolution, just as we were in the years leading up to and after we helped to create it,” said Thien. “The new secretary will inherit a host of ongoing challenges, but he or she must immediately identify and fix what’s broken, to hold people accountable to the maximum extent of the law, and to do whatever is necessary to help restore the full faith and confidence of veterans in their VA,” he said. “Members of Congress have an equal responsibility to put their individual political agendas aside and do what they were elected to do. The VFW will never tolerate politics as usual when it comes to the proper care and treatment of our nation’s heroes.

 “Secretary Shinseki is an American patriot, an honorable man whose personal integrity and commitment to duty and to others is above reproach,” said the VFW national commander. “We support his decision to resign, because the outside calls for his resignation were overshadowing the crisis in healthcare issues veterans face, and that is what’s most important.”


 ABOUT THE VFW: The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is a nonprofit veterans’ service organization comprised of combat veterans and eligible military service members from the active, Guard and Reserve forces. Founded in 1899 and chartered by Congress in 1936, the VFW is the nation’s largest organization of war veterans and its oldest major veterans’ organization. With more than 1.9 million VFW and Auxiliary members located in almost 7,000 Posts worldwide, “NO ONE DOES MORE FOR VETERANS.” The VFW and its Auxiliaries are dedicated to veterans’ service, legislative advocacy, and military and community service programs worldwide. For more information or to join, visit our website at

 Contact: Jerry Newberry, Assistant Adjutant General, (o) 816-968-1168,

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May 01 2014

Salute American Pledges Support to VFW’s Unmet Needs Program

Salute American Pledges Support to VFW’s Unmet Needs Program


Premium Vodka Brand Reaffirms Commitment to Donate $1 to Veterans Charities for Every 750ml Bottle Sold

Kansas City, Mo., (May 1, 2014) – Better Brands Beverage Co., the parent company of Salute American Vodka, announced a national initiative geared to assist our nation’s veterans and military families who are in need of financial assistance.  Through a one-year licensing agreement beginning today, the American-made premium vodka will donate $1 to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Foundation for every 750ml bottle sold.

Funds donated by Salute American will be earmarked for the VFW Unmet Needs program, which supports struggling veterans and their families.  Salute American kicked off the initiative with an initial $10,000 donation and will be a presenting sponsor of the 115th VFW National Convention in St. Louis, Mo., from July 19-23, 2014.

“There are countless veterans who need some form of financial assistance,” said John Hamilton, VFW adjutant general.  “Each purchase of Salute American vodka will assist us in fulfilling our mandate of service to our nation’s veterans, service members and their families.  It’s a simple way for veterans and non-veterans to pay it forward.”

Salute American was started by CEO-founder Pete Kelly, a passionate entrepreneur who wanted to make a difference in people’s lives through the ‘pay-it-forward’ philosophy.  Pete couldn’t think of a more deserving group than U.S. veterans – a band of brothers and sisters with increasingly high unemployment and homelessness rates*.  Salute American became a practical way to help maintain and create jobs in the US for veterans, and to generate ongoing economic success and stronger communities.

“Salute American is more than a name – it’s our mission,” said Pete Kelly, CEO-founder, Better Brands Beverage Co.  “We prove our patriotism by giving back to U.S. veterans who have proudly served their country and paying it forward.”

Since the launch of Salute American, Better Brands Beverage Co. has donated more than $50,000 to veteran’s charities, including: Veteran’s Farm through Work Vessels for Veterans; Farmer Veteran Coalition; Homes for Our Troops; Wish for our Heroes; and Greater St. Louis Honor Flight.

Salute American is pure American from start to finish.  The vodka, which was approved for the USA Certified Seal, is made from corn and wheat grains straight from the heartland.  It’s then four times distilled for a smooth and sweet taste that works well mixed or neat.  The canteen-shaped bottle bearing the red, white and blue, was manufactured in Park Hills, Mo., and distilled and bottled in Rochester, NY.

Salute American is currently available in the following markets: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Texas and Wisconsin.  The brand will also launch in Nebraska and North and South Dakota later in 2014.  The suggested retail price for a 750ml bottle is $19.99, which may vary by market.  Salute American Vodka is 80-proof and 40% alcohol by volume.  The brand received a Silver Medal and an 87-point “highly recommended” rating from the prestigious Beverage Testing Institute in the category of “Best Value Vodka $20 and under.”

For more information, please visit and “like” and “follow” Salute American on facebook and twitter @SaluteAmerican –

* According to Labor Department Data, the unemployment rate among male veterans, ages 18-24, is nearly

27%.  There are currently more than 100,000 homeless vets in the US.

About Better Brands Beverage Co.

Privately owned and Midwest-based, Better Brands Beverage Co. is a for-profit company committed to investing in veterans charities that create jobs for veterans.  The Company was founded in 2012 by CEO-founder Pete Kelly who passionately believes in making a difference in people’s lives through the ‘pay-it-forward’ philosophy.

About VFW

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is a nonprofit veterans’ service organization comprised of combat veterans and eligible military service members from the active, Guard and Reserve forces.  Founded in 1899 and chartered by Congress in 1936, the VFW is the nation’s largest organization of war veterans and its oldest major veterans’ organization.  With more than 1.9 million VFW and Auxiliary members located in almost 7,000 Posts worldwide, “NO ONE DOES MORE FOR VETERANS.”  The VFW and its Auxiliaries are dedicated to veterans’ service, legislative advocacy, and military and community service programs worldwide.  For more information or to join, visit our website at

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Feb 28 2014

VFW Prepares for Annual Legislative Conference

VFW Prepares for Annual Legislative Conference

 VFW members around the country are preparing to rally in Washington, D.C., for the annual VFW Legislative Conference, March 2-6.

 The VFW takes the voices of America’s veterans directly to the nation’s elected lawmakers during the VFW Legislative Conference.

 Armed with the VFW’s Legislative Priority Goals for 2014, VFW members plan to visit with every congressional office, explaining in detail the VFW’s stance on a variety of veterans’ issues and stressing that our nation is still at war.

 The week culminates with the testimony of VFW Commander-in-Chief Bill Thien before a special joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees on March 5, where Thien will lay out the VFW’s legislative agenda for the year.

 VFW’s live stream of the conference will begin on March 3 at 6:00 p.m. (EST) with the annual Voice of Democracy Parade of Winners, followed by streaming video of VFW Commander-in-Chief Bill Thien’s testimony on March 5 at 2:00 p.m. (EST).

 Visit to access the stream directly.  If you miss the live feed, you can catch the excitement through the “on-demand” feature at your leisure.

For regular updates on the conference, visit VFW’s Capitol Hill blog or like us on Facebook.

 VFW’s Legislative Conference helps amplify the voices of the nearly 2 million members of the VFW and our Auxiliaries on Capitol Hill, leading to meaningful reforms for our nation’s veterans. To learn more about the upcoming conference, VFW’s recent legislative victories and ways to share your stories, click here.

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Feb 04 2014



New one-stop resource helps student veterans compare schools

WASHINGTON (February 4, 2014) — The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is applauding today’s roll out of a new comparison tool to help student veterans compare GI Bill-eligible institutions from one online site. The comparison tool was the VFW’s second major education reform priority over the past two years to help provide better information to college-bound veterans.

“By offering student veterans better comparison information, we help them to choose the right schools and programs that match their goals,” said VFW National Commander William A. Thien. “In the past, veterans who wanted to use their GI Bill educational benefits would have to search through three different government agencies to find all of the information they can now find in a few simple clicks on the new Department of Veterans Affairs comparison tool.”

The new online comparison tool allows veterans to logon, enter a brief description of their military service, then choose among more than 6,000 GI Bill-eligible programs. The comparison tool then shows veterans what kind of reimbursement they can receive through the Post-9/11 GI Bill; how much they will receive in books and living stipends; how many GI Bill recipients currently attend the school; whether or not the school participates in VA’s Principles of Excellence or Yellow Ribbon Program; and how the school compares to similar institutions in graduation rates and financial assistance.

The new comparison tool is the second of two major consumer resources set into motion by a 2012 presidential executive order and codified through the Improving Transparency in Education for Veterans Act of 2012. Along with its partners from Student Veterans of America and the American Legion, the VFW worked closely with the White House and legislators to craft and implement both the executive order and the Transparency Act. Last week, the VFW applauded VA’s announcement of the first consumer resource, a secure, online complaint system to report fraud, waste and abuse.

Veterans looking to compare GI Bill-eligible schools can do so by clicking here or by logging onto to

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Feb 03 2014

VFW’s Unmet Needs Program

VFW’s Unmet Needs Program Provides Lifeline to Veterans, Military Families

 KANSAS CITY, Mo. (February 3, 2014) – The Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Unmet Needs program continues to provide financial assistance to veterans, service members and their families facing unexpected financial difficulties.

 The program awards emergency grants of up to $2,500 to help cover the cost of basic necessities, such as mortgage and rent, home and auto repairs, insurance, utilities, food and clothing. Recipients do not need to repay the grant.

 “Veterans and military families often face unique situations that can suddenly leave them in a bind financially. The VFW’s Unmet Needs program gives them a hand up when they need it the most. The program has truly been a godsend to many,” said VFW National Commander William Thien.

 The program launched in 2004, and thanks to generous supporters like BURGER KING® Franchises, has awarded more than 3,500 grants totaling more than $4.8 million. All grants are paid directly to the creditor (such as the electric company), and not to the individual.

 Participating BURGER KING® Franchises have held an Unmet Needs fundraiser each November since 2007, raising more than $2.3 million to date.

 “When you’re facing financial difficulties, you feel like you’re drowning, like you’re suffocating. The Unmet Needs program allows people to catch their breath. It gives them time to get back on their feet,” explained Thien.

 To learn more about the VFW’s Unmet Needs program, including eligibility information, click here.


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