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Category Archives: National

Biketoberfest Daytona Event

The American Legion has joined forces with AbbVie Inc., a global biopharmaceutical company, to launch TAKE ON HEP C, a nationwide movement to bring free hepatitis C (hep C) testing to veterans and their communities. Taking center stage of the TAKE ON HEP C campaign is a 45-foot tour bus that is used as a mobile veteran outreach command center known as “The Legion One.” The bus offers free hep C testing, on-the-spot results and information for how to seek treatment, if needed.

This project also provides a great opportunity for local posts to staff a membership outreach tent setup with the bus. We provide the tent, you engage your community AND GROW YOUR MEMBERSHIP!

EVENT: Biketoberfest Daytona
DATE(S): Thursday, October 18 – Sunday, October 21
11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday
LOCATION: 307 N Beach St • Daytona Beach, FL 32114
(Adjacent to Indian Motorcycle Daytona Beach)
REQUEST: Please send up to four (4) volunteers who can engage those attending the event. Share information about the benefits of being an American Legion member and encourage them to participate in the free hep C testing.

Volunteers should be scheduled in four-hour shifts. Duties include support with light set-up/tear down (tents, tables, chairs).

Free parking is available onsite. However, please plan ahead and allow extra travel time as parking is limited.

Staff shirts will be provided for all volunteers to wear upon check-in at the event. One shirt per person.

This is a casual, outdoor event so jeans or shorts of an appropriate length are recommended with Legion logo items and cap.

ABOUT
BIKETOBERFEST:
This annual Daytona Beach motorcycle rally draws more than 100,000 visitors. Bikers, motorcycle enthusiasts and curious travel seekers will enjoy beautiful fall weather, live music and more.
ABOUT HEP C: Testing for hep C is especially important for veterans, specifically those who served in the Vietnam conflict between 1964 and 1975. One out of every 20 veterans enrolled with the Veterans Health Administration has hep C, more than three times the infection rate of the general U.S. population.

 

Thank you in advance for your consideration in supporting this important effort. If you’d like to volunteer or have any questions, please contact Dave Baughman at 317-517-4161 or DBaughman@legion.org.

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An urgent matter needs your help

Dear American Legion Family and Friends,

I had wanted my first email communication to you to be about Team 100 — my theme for this historic year as The American Legion transcends its first century of service into its next.

There will be plenty of opportunities in my year as national commander to discuss Team 100, pay tribute to the Legion’s century of accomplishments and celebrate our rise into the next 100 years.

But I learned of an urgent matter today that has a potentially significant impact on The American Legion and all its members. I am asking for your support.

The United States Postal Service has proposed a rule that would prevent The American Legion (and other nonprofits) from sending merchandise or goods like calendars, stickers, etc. in nonprofit marketing mail. Instead, the USPS would classify these mailings as first-class mail.

This is not a simple change in the category of how mail is sent. This change would eliminate the use of premiums in nonprofit fundraising mail — and would increase The American Legion’s mailing cost by 200 percent.

That significant increase would critically impact our programs dedicated to helping and advocating for veterans, mentoring children, assisting transitioning servicemembers, providing scholarships for students, comforting the afflicted throughout every community in our great nation.

We must quickly work together to let the USPS know this proposal is unreasonable. My team has prepared a sample templated letter. I encourage you to download the template, personalize it with your information and email it to the USPS (ProductClassification@usps.gov) with the subject line: USPS Marketing Mail Content Eligibility.

Please don’t delay. This is an urgent matter and the letters must be emailed no later than Friday, Sept. 14.

Thank you for your assistance, and for what you do every day on behalf of our nation’s veterans, servicemembers and their families.

#Team100.

Brett Reistad
National Commander
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Legislative Agenda

  • Support VA’s suicide prevention efforts

    As our nation deals with the effects of nearly two decades of war, the need for mental health services for our veterans will no doubt increase in the years to come. It is imperative to combat
    VA’s staffing shortage by increasing recruitment and retention budgets, while also expanding direct hiring authority to medical center directors to expedite the hiring process of mental health professionals. All health care possibilities should be explored and considered to find the appropriate treatments, therapies and cures for veterans suffering from visible and/or invisible wounds. The American Legion strongly advocates for complementary and alternative therapy and urges Congress to provide VA the necessary funding to increase its Integrative Health and Wellness Program.
    (Resolutions 28 and 165)

  • Fully fund a superior national defense as the global war on terror continues        

    It is critical to maintain a well-funded national security strategy to ensure a strong national defense. The United States must enhance foreign policy, improve military intelligence, and increase cyber operations and capabilities. The American Legion advocates for a good quality of life for our troops and an improved transition process from military service to civilian life. The Legion vows to fight against those who desire to reduce the benefits of veterans, servicemembers, and their families to obtain short-term budget gains.
    (Resolutions 17 and 86)

  • Create lifetime electronic health record – ACHIEVED

    The American Legion supports VA in finally implementing a quality lifetime electronic health record (EHR) system that works in concert with the Department of Defense system to ensure that veterans’ medical documents transfer seamlessly from active service to VA and community providers.
    (Resolution 83)

  • Institute gender-specific health care for women veterans

    Women veterans face remarkably different experiences than their male counterparts when transitioning in and out of combat roles, in between services or back to civilian life. VA must
    ensure an improved quality of life for women veterans with gender-specific health care to meet their needs.
    (Resolution 147)

  • Limit outsourcing, unify VA’s programs ACHIEVED

    Continued focus is needed to ensure VA can meet challenges in delivering high-quality, timely benefits and health care to veterans. In 2018, critical policy choices must be made, primarily
    the future of the Veterans Choice Program, which expires in August. A community care option is now a basic expectation for enrollees in VA’s  health-care system. Excessive outsourcing would render VHA too small to function economically or preserve quality of care and essentially dismantle it. Congress should pass legislation to unify VA’s multiple non-VA care programs with VA as the coordinator and guarantor of care.
    (Resolution 372)

  • Support those who care for wounded veterans – ACHIEVED

    There are 5.5 million caregivers who go unnoticed while they care for America’s wounded. Military caregivers suffer higher rates of depression and health problems than others. The American Legion is committed to supporting these hidden heroes.
    (Resolution 146)

  • Reclassify cannabis for medical research

    The American Legion supports increased research into cannabis as part of the larger effort to develop complementary and alternative treatments and therapies. Cannabis is classified
    as schedule I drug and drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine and methadone are classified as schedule II drugs. The American Legion urges Congress to amend legislation to remove
    Cannabis from schedule I and reclassify it in  a category that, at a minimum, will recognize cannabis as a drug with potential medical value, and further urge the Drug Enforcement
    Agency to license privately-funded medical cannabis production operations in the United States to enable safe and efficient cannabis drug development research.
    (Resolutions 11,160,165)

  • Defend veterans education benefits – ACHIEVED

    As the primary author of the original GI Bill,  The American Legion continues to focus on the sustainability of this important earned benefit, while ensuring that veterans receive the most benefit possible from it.
    (Resolution 349)

  • Repeal unfair offsets that penalize disabled veterans and widows

    Many military retirees must forfeit some of their retirement pay to receive their VA service connected disability compensation. It is equally outrageous VA survivor benefits (DIC) are offset
    from military Survivor Benefit Plan annuities. The American Legion supports legislation to repeal both of these unjust offsets.
    (Resolutions 85 and 224)

  • Provide mandatory end-of service exams for reservists

    Active-duty servicemembers have the right to physical examinations when separating. After all, servicemembers retiring from active duty are required to have such examinations. This
    same right to an end-of-service exam is only partially authorized for reserve component servicemembers. This unfair treatment must be changed.
    (Resolution 85)

  • Create an American Legion Commemorative Coin – ACHIEVED

    The American Legion will celebrate its centennial in 2018-2019. An American Legion Centennial Coin is under consideration by the U.S. Mint. Timely congressional authorization is needed and your support is requested.
    (H.R. 2519 & S. 1182)

  • Ensure those returning from active duty retain re-employment rights

    The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act protects the rights of servicemembers to be re-employed after returning from active duty, including reserve or
    National Guard members. The American Legion wants to prohibit employers from pressuring a veteran into waiving his or her veteran’s employment rights and protections.
    (Resolution 315)

  • Continue funding programs to end veterans homelessness

    To fully implement VA’s pledge to eradicate veterans homelessness, Congress must continue making responsible investments in affordable housing and programs such as Supportive
    Services for Veteran Families that move veterans and their families off the street and into stable housing.
    (Resolution 340)

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Disclaimer: The American Legion’s work is never done! These legislative priorities have been marked “achieved” because we were able to get the U.S. Congress to pass legislation that the President of the United States signed into law. It is important to note that after passage, your American Legion professional staff often participates in the federal rulemaking that translates law into VA or government policy. We are always vigilant in ensuring our veterans receive the healthcare and benefits they have earned through their service to our great nation, and we will fight every effort to reduce or curtail them. Ensuring the protections, benefits, and rights of our servicemembers, veterans, and their families, has and will always be a primary focus of the National Legislative Commission and Division.”

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Navy’s First Female Admiral, Alene Duerk, Passes Away

Story Number: NNS180725-04Release Date: 7/25/2018 12:58:00 PM
From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

An undated official portrait of Rear Adm. Alene B. Duerk. Duerk entered the Navy in January 1943 and initially served as a ward nurse at the Portsmouth and Bethesda naval hospitals. She was later assigned to the hospital ship USS Benevolence and deployed to the Pacific Theater during World War II in support of Adm. William Halsey’s Third Fleet. In May 1970, Duerk was appointed director of the Navy Nurse Corps. She became the first woman to attain flag rank in the U.S. Navy on June 1, 1972. Duerk was born in Defiance, Ohio and retired from the Navy in 1975. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

WASHINGTON (NNS) — Retired Rear Adm. Alene B. Duerk, the Navy’s first female admiral, passed away July 21, 2018. She was 98 years old.

“It took 197 years and a forward-looking Chief of Naval Operations, Elmo Zumwalt, to break with tradition before Alene Duerk became the first woman admiral in the U.S. Navy,” said Naval History and Heritage Command director Sam Cox. “But the credit goes to Duerk. From the crucible of caring for wounded Sailors, Marines and prisoners of war during World War II in the Pacific, she blazed a trail of stellar performance in tough jobs, serving as an inspiration for an ever increasing number of women officers who have followed her path.”

Born in Defiance, Ohio, on March 29, 1920, she received nursing training at the Toledo [Ohio] Hospital School of Nursing, from which she earned her diploma in 1941. From there, Duerk entered the U.S. Naval Reserve and was appointed an ensign in the Nurse Corps.

“Alene Duerk was a strong and dedicated trail blazer who embodied the very principles that continue to guide Navy Medicine today,” commented Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, Navy surgeon general, upon learning of her passing. “She will forever be remembered as a servant leader who provided the best care to those who defended our nation, honoring the uniform we wear and the privilege of leadership.”

Her first tours of duty included ward nurse at Naval Hospital Portsmouth in Virginia, Naval Hospital Bethesda in Maryland, and sea service aboard the Navy hospital ship, USS Benevolence (AH 13), in 1945. While anchored off the coast of Eniwetok, Duerk and the crew of the Benevolence would attend to the sick and wounded being brought back from the Third Fleet’s operations against Japan.

Upon cessation of hostilities on Sept. 2, 1945, Duerk and the Benevolence crew took on the task of repatriating liberated Allied prisoners of war, an endeavor that solidified her commitment to nursing and patient care.

An undated file photo of Rear Adm. Alene Duerk during a promotion ceremony with Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo “Bud” Zumwalt, left, and Secretary of the Navy John Warner. Duerk entered the Navy in January 1943 and initially served as a ward nurse at the Portsmouth and Bethesda naval hospitals. She was later assigned to the hospital ship USS Benevolence and deployed to the Pacific Theater during World War II in support of Adm. William Halsey’s Third Fleet. In May 1970, Duerk was appointed director of the Navy Nurse Corps. She became the first woman to attain flag rank in the U.S. Navy on June 1, 1972. Duerk was born in Defiance, Ohio and retired from the Navy in 1975. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Years later, when asked about her service for the Library of Congress’ Veteran’s History Project, Duerk said, “The time I was aboard the hospital ship and we took the prisoners of war, that was something I will never forget . . . that was the most exciting experience of my whole career.”

Thereafter, Duerk was assigned to Naval Hospital Great Lakes until being released from active service in 1946.

In 1951, Duerk returned to active duty serving as a nursing instructor at the Naval Hospital Corps School in Portsmouth, Va. and later as inter-service education coordinator at the Naval Hospital Philadelphia, Penn.
Her skills in ward management, surgical nursing and mentoring would be put to use over the next two decades while serving at hospitals in San Diego; and Yokosuka, Japan; at the Recruiting Station in Chicago; and in Wash., D.C.

In May 1970, following assignments as assistant for Nurse Recruitment in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) and assistant head of Medical Placement Liaison (Nurse Corps) at the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Duerk was appointed director of the Navy Nurse Corps.

Over the next five years, Duerk provided direction for the Nurse Corps, updating policies affecting Navy Medicine and expanding the sphere of nursing into ambulatory care, anesthesia, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology.

Her selection to the rank of rear admiral was approved by President Richard Nixon on April 26, 1972. The first woman to be selected for flag rank, she was advanced on June 1, 1972.

Rear Adm. Duerk retired in 1975, but remained a strong advocate for Navy nursing through the remainder of her life.

Duerk was awarded the Naval Reserve Medal, American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with bronze star; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp; and the National Defense Service Medal with bronze star.

Duerk’s biography offers greater insight into her service, it can be found online at the website of the Naval History and Heritage Command here: http://www.history.navy.mil/browse-by-topic/diversity/women-in-the-navy/first-female-flag-officer.html

See the entry on Duerk at the Library of Congress Veteran’s History Project online here: http://memory.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/bib/loc.natlib.afc2001001.28852

The Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy’s unique and enduring contributions through our nation’s history, and supports the fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. NHHC is composed of many activities including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, nine museums, USS Constitution repair facility and the historic ship Nautilus.

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American Legion’s call to Congress: Pass the VA Mission Act of 2018

Dear American Legion Family and Friends,

There is no question that The American Legion is the largest veterans service organization, and we have the influence that we do on Capitol Hill because of our active and caring members. With that said, there is an opportunity this week for The American Legion’s voice to be heard on Capitol Hill.

The VA MISSION Act of 2018 (S. 2372) will be going for a vote in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, May 16. If passed, this bill would do several things to help veterans, including:

  1. Streamlining all of the community care programs, including the Veterans Choice Program, into one common sense program.
  2. Expanding the VA’s caregivers program to all war eras of veterans, not just the post-9/11 generation, which is critical. This program should be available to all war eras and the veterans who proudly served our great nation.
  3. Providing $5.2 billion to the Department of Veterans Affairs to appropriately fund the Veterans Choice Program through the next year while the community care programs are being modified and streamlined. This means the VA will not have to continuously ask Congress for more money, which will allow veterans to receive the immediate care they need and where they need it.

Supporting these issues has long been a goal of The American Legion, and this is the time to get it done. From streamlining the multiple ways and programs a veteran can obtain care in the community into one simple program, to opening the caregiver program to all veterans of any war era, to ensuring the VA has the funding necessary to provide the best care anywhere, the VA MISSION Act of 2018 is a great step forward for veterans.

Please call your congressman or congresswoman and let them know that The American Legion supports S. 2372, the VA MISSION Act of 2018, and encourage them to pass this veteran-centric bill as soon as possible.

Throughout my year as your national commander, I have made “Family First” my theme. It’s time that Congress does the same.

There is some opposition to this legislation so your quick action can make the difference. Call now and tell your representative to support the VA Mission Act of 2018. You can find your representative’s phone number by entering your zip code at https://ziplook.house.gov/htbin/findrep_house?ZIP or by calling the congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121; (press 2 for House).

Family First!

Denise H. Rohan
National Commander
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VA secretary testifies on 2017 reform legislation implementation

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin testified Jan. 17 before the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin appeared before the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs at an oversight hearing on Jan. 17 to testify about the VA’s progress with implementing reform legislation passed in 2017. Shulkin addressed a variety of concerns ranging from appeals reform and modernization to accountability.

 In his opening remarks, Shulkin shared the VA’s top five priorities. These include providing greater health care for veterans; modernizing VA’s infrastructure, equipment and services; focusing resources based on what’s most important to veterans; improving the timeliness of how the VA delivers its services; and preventing veteran suicide. 

“A year ago, at my confirmation hearing before this committee, I testified that I’d seek major reform and transformation of VA,” he said. “Thanks in large part to your leadership which helped us pass legislation in 2017, we’re making progress on all five of those priorities.”

Appeals reform and modernization

When asked how the VA plans to dissipate the backlog of appeals in the future, Shulkin said there is a lot of work to do as nearly 470,000 appeals still need to be resolved.

Immediately after the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 was enacted on Aug. 23, 2017, the VA initiated a new appeals system called the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP). Shulkin said RAMP allows most veterans with pending compensation benefit appeals to participate, giving them the option to have their decisions reviewed in the higher-level or supplemental claim review lanes outlined in the new law.

RAMP is expected to be fully implemented by February 2019, according to Shulkin.

“We’ve actually started to make major improvements already,” Shulkin said. “This year we are on track to do 81,000 appeals – that would be 30,000 more than last year. Just at this period right now in this fiscal year, we’re at 21,000 appeals which is 10,000 more than this time last year. So, we’re getting better and faster and we’ve brought on new staff.

“Secondly, we’ve begun to offer veterans now the choice, in their legacy appeals, to opt into the new process so they don’t have to wait. This is the pilot process to the new project. Here’s the good news, they’re getting their decisions within 30 days and 75 percent of those decisions are going in favor of the veteran.”

Shulkin said he hopes more veterans will make the switch as stakeholders, including veteran service organizations (VSOs) and Congress, trust the VA to do what it promised to do and in good faith.

“I hope the VSOs and agencies will do everything they can to disseminate the fact that our veterans, who have pending appeals, are given the option to opt and go into the modernized program,” Senate VA Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson said. “Those who have done so have gotten a response in 30 days. That is a light year’s improvement in terms of appeals and I commend you on what you started.”

Veterans Choice Program and community care

“Benefits are a gateway to VA services and we need benefit determinations to be simpler,” Shulkin said. “Veterans should know what to expect and have more predictability instead of having to endure the burden of filing claim after claim. Benefits should better enable a lifetime of independence and success for veterans, economic opportunity, physical and mental well-being and financial security for the severely disabled.”

According to Schulkin’s written testimony, more than 1.1 million veterans utilized the Veterans Choice Program in fiscal year (FY) 2017. An increase of about 35,000 Veterans from FY 2016.

“My objective, when it comes to health care for our veterans, is to have a fully integrated, interoperable and operationally-efficient system that’s easy for veterans, employees and community partners to navigate,” he said. “We need a consistent, seamless experience for veterans at every VA facility across the country.”

In October and November of 2017, the VA submitted the Veteran Coordinated Access and Rewarding Experiences bill to Congress. Shulkin said the department needs Congress to pass legislation that will give veterans a working system and meets or exceeds what the private sector has to offer.

“From health care to benefits, we have to fundamentally and holistically change our service delivery paradigm,” he said. “We need a national network of modern facilities that meets their changing needs of veterans locally. And we need a simple, convenient choice for eligible veterans among a network of high quality community providers in a consolidated program.”

Shulkin’s written testimony stated that the VA is continuing to make progress toward improving the delivery of community care for veterans. The VA believes that the future of community care should include the following tenets: 

·      Improve veterans’ choice of community providers in meeting their health care needs;

·      Simplify veteran eligibility with a focus on veterans’ clinical needs;

·      Pave the way for consolidation of all community care programs;

·      Add convenient care benefits;

·      Set timely payment standards;

·      Include provider agreements with flexible payment rates that streamline how VA pays for care;

·      Permit medical records sharing in the network when needed for veteran care; and

·      Address clinical staffing shortages through expansion of graduate medical education, and by improving VA hiring and staff retention.

The American Legion believes a community care is a basic expectation for enrollees in VA’s health care system. The Legion calls on Congress, according to Resolution No. 363, to enact legislation that will limit outsourcing and give the VA the authority to consolidate its multiple community care programs.

Forever GI Bill

The VA has taken significant steps since the Colmery Act was enacted more than five months ago, according to Shulkin’s written testimony. As of Jan. 5, the VA has received and processed close to 600 applications and restored over 3,500 months of entitlement to students, granting them the opportunity to continue to pursue their academic goals. The VA will notify more than 500,000 Post-9/11 GI Bill beneficiaries by the end of this month, informing them that they no longer have an expiration date to use their benefits.

Shulkin said that the VA will stay committed to its ambitious outreach campaign to include targeted messaging and engagement to thousands of Purple Heart recipients, who starting Aug. 1, 2018, will be entitled to Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits at the 100 percent benefit level for up to 36 months, regardless of their time in service. The VA will also communicate to reservists and National Guard members on their expanded access to GI Bill benefits.

The VA remains steadfast in its effort to raise awareness of the Colmery Act’s broad impact to Veterans and beneficiaries. “It’s about greater opportunity, especially for veterans returning to communities to pursue careers and fulfill dreams,” Shulkin said.

Suicide and mental health

Shulkin said reducing veterans’ suicide is VA’s top clinical priority. The VA has announced same-day services for primary care and mental health at every VA facility across the country, which includes extending mental health services to veterans with other than honorable discharges.

“When you take a look at where our highest risk for veteran suicide is, it’s in several categories – homelessness and homeless veterans who don’t have access to care,” he said. “Our other than honorable discharge veterans (are at) a higher risk as well because they don’t have access to services. So, what we provided them with is an emergency mental health benefit.”

According to Shulkin, VA has provided mental health services for about 3,200 veterans over the past 10 months. He said the department hopes those efforts will increase as more veterans are encouraged to seek help.

“All they have to do is show up,” he said. “We’re going to give them 90 days’ worth of emergency mental health care (to make sure) we stabilize a crisis and get them in longer-term treatment if that’s what is required.”

Accountability

According to Shulkin’s written testimony, the VA took expedient action to implement his new authority to hold employees accountable as required in the Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017. Within weeks of the law’s enactment, Shulkin said he made it his duty to ensure that both the VA and employees are held to the highest standards of performance, integrity and conduct.

VA’S Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection (OAWP), which was established in 2012, is protecting whistleblowers by utilizing its authority to place a temporary hold on personnel actions in cases where whistleblower retaliation is alleged or a disclosure is unresolved.

As of Jan. 8, Shulkin said OAWP has completed 77 investigations involving nearly 150 persons of interest. Its current inventory is 139 investigations and involves 228 persons of interest.

“Accountability and whistleblower protection is essential to our unwavering commitment to honoring veterans,” he said. “It, too, is about sensible, responsive, modern systems that process and support people to make it better.”

Future of the VA

Thanks to the passage of 10 bills that have all been signed into law, Congress has accomplished several important steps in 2017 to ensure veterans receive the care and services that they deserve. Those steps included: 

·      Ensuring veterans have access to timely care in their own communities;

·      Improving accountability at the VA;

·      Authorizing funding that will strengthen VA care;

·      Improving veterans education benefits;

·      Modernizing the outdated benefits claims appeals process at the VA;

·      Reauthorizing more than 20 important veterans programs;

·      Increasing veterans disability benefits based on rising costs of living;

·      Allowing the VA to securely share opioid date with states;

·      Streamlining the process for non-federal veterans job training programs; and

·      Authorizing VA to contract with nonprofits to investigate VA medical centers.

“We have a long to-do list,” Isakson said. “Most importantly, making sure we pay back those who have given so much to our country – the veterans of the United States of America.”

Click here to watch the Senate VA committee hearing.

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National Commander Denise H. Rohan’s Visitation Schedule

Last update December 27, 2017

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

8:30am Depart Hotel
9:00am – 9:30pm Post 168, Key West
9:55am – 10:30am Post 28, Key West
11:40am – 1:00pm Post 154, Marathon (Lunch)
2:10pm – 2:45pm Post 333, Key Largo
3:25pm – 3:55pm Post 43, Homestead
4:30pm – 5:05pm Post 133, Palmetto Bay
5:35pm – 7:00pm Post 31, South Miami (Dinner)

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

8:30am Depart Hotel
9:00am – 9:30pm Post 98, Coral Gables
10:35am – 11:05am Post 92, Hollywood
11:20am – 11:50am Post 310, Hallandale
12:20pm – 1:20pm Post 67, North Miami (Lunch)
2:05pm – 2:40pm Post 36, Ft. Lauderdale
3:05pm – 3:45pm Post 222, Ft. Lauderdale
5:45pm – 7:15pm Post 142, Pompano Beach (Dinner)

Thursday, January 25, 2018

8:00am Depart Hotel
12:30pm – 2:00pm Post 273, Madeira Beach (Lunch)
5:30pm – 8:00pm Post 347, Lady Lake (Dinner)

Friday, January 26, 2018

8:00am Depart Hotel
11:15am – 12:30pm Post 62, Stuart (Lunch)
1:00pm – 1:35pm Post 271, Jupiter
2:10pm – 2:40pm Post 268, Riviera Beach
3:00pm- 3:30pm Post 141, West Palm Beach
3:45pm – 4:15pm Post 199, West Palm Beach
4:35pm – 5:10pm Post 47, Lake Worth
5:45pm – 8:00pm Post 277, Boca Raton (Dinner)

Saturday, January 27, 2018

9:00am Depart Hotel
9:15am – 9:55am Post 162, Deerfield Beach
10:45am – 11:30am Post 180, Plantation
12:05pm – 1:30pm Post 157, Margate (Lunch)
6:00pm – 8:30pm Post 321, Cooper City (Southern Area Ball)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

9:00am Depart Hotel
1:30pm – 3:00pm 4 Chaplains Service
Coast Guard Station
7000 N. Ocean Dr, Dania Beach, FL
3:30pm – 5:00pm Post 304, Dania Beach (Food)
6:00pm – 8:30pm Post 164, Boynton Beach (Snacks)

Monday, January 29, 2018

11:00am Depart Hotel to West Palm Beach Airport
1:40pm National Commander Departs

Personal Preferences for National Commander Denise H. Rohan:

  • Beverages – Diet Coke and Decaf Coffee
  • Main Course – Beef, Pork and Chicken (nothing spicy)
  • Sizes – Polo Shirt Women L
  • Legion Project – Raise Funds for Temporary Financial Assistance and Veterans Service Officers

Personal Preference for Aide to the National Commander Mike Rohan:

  • Beverage – Diet Coke
  • Sizes – Polo Shirt XL

Download Printable Version

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Bob Hope Patriotic Hall Welcomes American Legion GI Bill Exhibit

Veterans invited to share their stories during moderated panel discussion Jan. 17.

LOS ANGELES – Bob Hope Patriotic Hall welcomes “The Greatest Legislation: An American Legion Centennial Salute to the GI Bill,” a multi-media exhibit, with a public reception and moderated panel discussion Jan. 17 at the historic home of the Los Angeles County Department of Military & Veterans Affairs, 1816 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles. A reception begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by the discussion and audience participation beginning at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Veterans and families whose lives have been influenced by the GI Bill, originally passed as the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 under the leadership of California’s Warren B. Atherton during his term as national commander of The American Legion, are invited to share their stories about the GI Bill, which has been described as the most significant social legislation of the 20th century.

Dr. Jennifer Keene of Chapman University, author and distinguished scholar of World War I history, will discuss the GI Bill as one of the most significant accomplishments achieved by veterans of the First World War, who drafted the original bill and fought through its critics, Congress and a late-night Georgia rainstorm to make the measure a reality. Keene, president of the Society of Military History, is a master scholar chosen by the United States World War One Centennial Commission to provide professional training for educators about the First World War’s place in history. The program is supported by an American Legion grant.

American Legion Past National Commander David K. Rehbein of Iowa, chairman of the organization’s 100th Anniversary Observance Committee, will moderate the panel discussion at Patriotic Hall. Also speaking at the event will be Verna Jones, executive director of The American Legion, and panelists who will discuss the continuous effort to make the GI Bill a powerful benefit of military service and fuel for the U.S. economy. Scheduled panelists include U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Raymond Jackson, Los Angeles-Long Beach Maritime Safety and Security Team; UCLA student and Army veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan Sarah Horton; and John Kamin, Iraq combat veteran and assistant director of The American Legion’s Veterans Employment and Education Division in Washington.

Attendees of the Jan. 17 event are encouraged to RSVP by contacting Los Angeles County Department of Military & Veterans Affairs Executive Assistant Tatiana Rosas by email at trosas@mva.lacounty.gov.

“The Greatest Legislation: An American Legion Centennial Salute to the GI Bill” is a traveling exhibit that features illustrated panels and more than 20 videos in touch-screen kiosks. It will be at Patriotic Hall through March 2018.

The American Legion, with 2 million members serving communities through approximately 13,000 local posts worldwide, was formed March 15-17, 1919, by members of the American Expeditionary Forces stationed in France after the armistice of Nov. 11, 1918.

Jeff Stoffer, American Legion Media & Communications Division.

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Note From National Commander – Denise H. Rohan

To my fellow Legionnaires and Legion Family members in the Department of FLORIDA:

There are many ways to demonstrate compassion for veterans, but at the top of the list is caring for their families. It is why President Lincoln included widows and orphans in his famous pledge to veterans and it’s why I chose Family First as the theme for my year as national commander.

A recent White House proclamation called it “our patriotic duty” to honor veterans and military families. The American Legion wholeheartedly agrees. It is demonstrated in all 55 departments of our organization every time we award a temporary financial assistance grant, an American Legion Legacy Scholarship or answer a call from our Family Support Network. It is demonstrated every time an American Legion service officer helps a veteran access the VA health care system, which can ease the burden of expensive medical costs that so many families face today.

As the first national commander who also belongs to the American Legion Auxiliary, I am also blessed to have an immediate family that includes Sons of the American Legion members and Legionnaires. My home department of Wisconsin is also the birthplace of a company called Harley Davison, a brand that holds special significance among many of our American Legion Riders. My point is that every component of our American Legion Family is important, just as every relative in our immediate family is important.

We have had some outstanding legislative accomplishments in 2017, including the signing of the Veterans Appeals Modernization Act by President Trump on the stage of our national convention and the passage of The American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act. This would not have been possible without the hard work of American Legion Family members who contacted their senators and representatives and asked them to do the right thing.

Numbers equal influence, which is why it is so essential that we recruit, renew and revitalize all of our American Legion components to include posts, units, squadrons and Riders chapters. Reconnect with our active-duty, reserve and Guard units by supporting Family Readiness Groups and letting them know that they are all valued by our American Legion Family.

We have outstanding programs and I am asking for your support in raising money to provide training for our outstanding corps of service officers and temporary financial assistance for children in need.
I thank you for your service as military veterans, as Legionnaires and as members of the Legion Family. Best wishes for a productive and enjoyable conference.

For God and Country,
Denise H. Rohan
National Commander

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Resolution No 8, Restructure of TFA

At the Fall meetings of the National Executive Committee on October 11-12, 2017, the NEC voted to approve Resolution No. 8 Restructure of Temporary Financial Assistance Policy. The primary changes as a result of that TFA policy restructure include:

• A single onetime non-repayable Temporary Financial Assistance grant of up to $1,500 will be permitted in accordance with the conditions set forth in Exhibit A for the minor child(ren) of a qualifying veteran

• A qualifying veteran is defined as a member of the United States Armed Forces serving on federal orders current under Title 10 of the United States Code, inclusive of all components, or any veteran possessing an up-to-date membership in The American Legion

• Formal documentation is required as part of the Temporary Financial Assistance investigation process and application packet for verification that all other forms of financial assistance available have been sought and applied for, or have already been denied

• Annual cumulative expenditure of Temporary Financial Assistance grants may not exceed $700,000 without prior approval of each chairman of the Americanism and Finance Commissions and the national commander

Please see the attached resolution for the restructure of the temporary financial assistance statement of policy and the updated temporary financial assistance application.

https://archive.legion.org/bitstream/handle/123456789/6966/2017F008.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Although this new policy restructure became effective immediately upon approval of this resolution, it is recognized there may be TFA investigations/applications that were in progress prior to its passage. To help accommodate this transition, applications currently in progress will be processed in accordance with previous TFA policy, and those cases recommending that a TFA cash grant be issued from national headquarters should be received by this office no later than November 1, 2017. Those TFA investigations which begin on or after November 1, 2017 will be processed in accordance with the newly restructured policy Resolution No. 8 of the National Executive Committee, October 2017.

Meagen Sweet
msweet@legion.org

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