Magazine article VFW Magazine

Innovative Initiatives Ahead

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Innovative Initiatives Ahead

Article excerpt

In his acceptance speech, the Chief outlined his upcoming plans. They range from combating diabetes to aiding the search for MIAs.

VFW's future is tied directly to today's armed forces. Whether they are active-duty troops or mobilized National Guardsmen and Reservists sent overseas, they are destined to fill VFW ranks. So it is imperative that the organization reach out to them in tangible and symbolic ways when they return home-and also while military personnel are serving at far-flung stations around the globe.

During my recent trip to Kosovo, for instance, VFW recognized a medic who braved a minefield to administer emergency care, handed out 2,000 pre-paid phone cards and donated 10 TV/VCRs for viewing video college courses. Besides boosting morale, these gestures provided practical family and education benefits.

At home and abroad, VFW has become active in VA's newly established benefits delivery-at-discharge program. Now at five military installations, VFW soon plans to be on 20 bases, including one in Korea later this year. This gives us great visibility among the armed forces and demonstrates genuine concern.

Of course, the effort to improve the quality of life for those in uniform will continue unabated. This includes sponsoring family events, helping spouses gain employment and providing support for the families of troops on various missions. These are all areas in which Posts can play a vital role. And let's not forget better pay, housing and medical care.

Traditional "bread-and-butter" veterans issues will be dealt with, too. The backlog of 668,000 VA compensation claims (53% for service-connected disabilities) must be cleared up quickly. …

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