AMVETS in Action

Category: Communications

Free AMVETS Membership for Student Veterans

We (the veterans in AMVETS) offer you free membership in appreciation for your military service. Only one in ten Americans has the fortitude to volunteer for military service. AMVETS knows the sacrifices of service and we offer you free membership in AMVETS while you are students.

AMVETS began as a group of loosely tied college veterans clubs. We know your struggles, we have been on the path you are travelling and are prepared to help.

AMVETS (American Veterans) was chartered by congress in 1947 (public law 216).We are mandated to helping veterans reintegrate into the American workforce. Our charter allows honorably discharged and actively serving military personnel to become members. Membership is available to all the services: Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines Corps, and members of the National Guard, Reserve and Coast Guard. The GI Bill and the VA home loan program are key initiatives we supported until they became law. Two programs you may be interested in are:

The Call of Duty Endowment works through AMVETS to find veterans jobs.

AMVETS National Service Officers will shepherd your VA claim.

AMVETS is prepared to help you succeed. Go to the link below.

Free Student Membership: https://www.amvetsmembers.org/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=AMVETS&WebKey=c16108b2-8ce2-44e0-b1ff-a5be37a379cb&Action=Add

Please pass this on to other student veterans.

Visit AMVETS at www.amvets.org

If you have any question contact: hneal@amvets.org

Farmington Amvets Post 332 golf tourney will aid local veterans, Chamber of Commerce

Farmington Amvets Post 332 golf tourney will aid local veterans, Chamber of Commerce

By Melody Burri
melody@messengerpostmedia.com

Posted Jul. 13, 2016 at 10:18 AM

FARMINGTON — Golfers will swing with purpose this Saturday at the first annual Farmington Amvets Golf Tournament, held to benefit local veterans and the Farmington Chamber of Commerce.

The inaugural event, co-hosted by the one-year-old Farmington American Veterans (Amvets) Post 332 and Farmington Chamber of Commerce, will be held July 16 at Winged Pheasant Golf Club in Shortsville.

Amvets Post 332 was chartered in July 2015 by an interested group of veterans, spearheaded by Farmington resident Richard McDermott, and has already launched a number of efforts to benefit area veterans.

Golf tournament registration is at 9 a.m., with a shotgun start at 10 a.m., McDermott said. About 50 are slated to play so far, with room for more. The 18-hole, scramble format game should take four or five hours, with “lunch at the turn” and pizza after, said McDermott. The cost is $75 per person.

Half of the proceeds will go to Amvets Post 332 to fund a number of programs already underway. The rest will go to the Farmington Chamber of Commerce.

“The first thing we did was start a scholarship program at FLCC (Finger Lakes Community College) for a veteran to go to school,” said McDermott. “We also make a monthly donation to Victor-Farmington Food Cupboard. It’s my understanding that there are about 60 veterans’ families that use the food cupboard.”

Amvets Post 332 also has a program to help subsidize winter clothing for veterans through the local chapter of Blue Star Mothers, he said. In addition, the group supplies equipment for the Canandaigua VA Medical Center’s carpenter shop, and has donated gift cards and gas cards to the Ontario County Veterans Service Agency to be distributed as needed.

Other aid has been given to the Blue Star Mothers, “a great organization,” McDermott said. Amvets Post 332 has also assisted Zion House in Avon, which offers transitional housing for female veterans in crisis.

“A couple of us from the Amvets went up and toured the place,” said McDermott. “It’s pretty impressive.”

In the future, Amvets Post 332 is expected to help support the construction of a proposed Veterans Memorial in Farmington Town Hall Park, at 1000 County Road 8, he said.

“The memorial will be a place where veterans, their families and future generations can go, sit quietly and know that their sacrifice has been acknowledged with respect by the townspeople,” said Farmington Vietnam War Commemorative Committee Chair Donna Herendeen.

To help raise funds, the Commemorative Committee is selling engraved bricks for $50 each, she said. The bricks engraved with veterans’ names will line the walkway leading to the memorial.

http://www.mpnnow.com/news/20160713/farmington-amvets-post-332-golf-tourney-will-aid-local-veterans-chamber-of-commerce

From ‘Go Home’ to ‘Welcome Home’ for Sheboygan man

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Every Thursday morning Joe Glover Jr. volunteers at the Sheboygan Police Department, alphabetizing the judge’s records, mailing documents or feeding officers with food from his wife.

His work in the municipal court is quiet, and often done alone. Yet he is known around the police department for his outgoing, cheery disposition —he is always trying to make other people smile.

SPD Volunteer Coordinator Penny Weber said despite being one of the department’s newest volunteers, he already has built a positive reputation.

“If you met Joe, you know he is probably one of the most positive people you will ever meet. He always has a smile on his face. He is just one happy person,” Weber said.

The woman who volunteered before him would bring in cookies for the officers, affectionately becoming known as “The Cookie Lady.” When she retired, Joe took over her working duties, and eventually, he found out about her baking reputation and took up the mantle himself.

Joe was a volunteer at the Blood Center before he went to Coffee with a Cop at McDonalds and learned of the police department’s volunteering programs.

Joe’s decision to help the police department is remarkable given that he happily works for the same department that racially profiled him on several occasions more than 40 years ago.

His path to becoming a retired volunteer in Sheboygan is a long one that didn’t even start here.

Joe grew up in Milwaukee’s 53206 zip code, an infamously rough neighborhood now being featured in a documentary for having the highest incarceration rate in the country.

He grew up in private schools, graduating in a class that only had six minority students. He also had a machinery apprenticeship in Milwaukee and became a skilled laborer.

Those skills brought him to Sheboygan Jan. 5, 1970 to work for Hayssen Manufacturing, running the lathe machine. According to Joe, he was harassed by the white workers whom saw him as a threat to their job.

“Guys would be balling up clay, spitting it through straws, hitting you all over,” Joe said. “You’d turn around and they’d be standing there like, ‘Well who do you pick did it?’”

One day, a fellow black coworker was beat up in the bathroom before Joe saw him running across the machine floor. He went to physically defend the man—a decision that resulted in him and the man being fired, according to Joe.

That was two weeks after his first day.

The job didn’t even outlast the temporary living at the YMCA Hayssen provided. He had two more weeks to live there for free. Joe met a woman there, who was white, who would become his wife—Mary. Those last two weeks were the beginning of a courtship that lasted several months before Joe was drafted for service.

He noted that he was stopped by police both before and after he was fired. But according to Joe, they’d leave him alone when they found out he was employed.

“I’d get stopped here, stopped there,” Joe said. “I never knew about (Sundown towns) at the time. I didn’t see it immediately, I just was wondering, ‘Why are they doing this? Why do I have to be out of here at dark?”

Was Sheboygan a sundown town?

Census data dating back to 1860 shows that the black population of Sheboygan did not reach double-digits until 1970, peaking with nine in 1910. Through the 1920’s and 30’s, there were no black residents in Sheboygan, with one in the 1940 census and eight in the 1950 census.

According to research by Professor James W. Loewen, who taught race relations for 20 years at the University of Vermont, there is evidence to suggest Sheboygan may have been a “Sundown Town” – a place where people of color were forced to leave the city after sunset.

Loewen compiled an online map allowing people to find out more about the racial history of their towns, identifying thousands of likely and confirmed sundown towns across the U.S.

Sheboygan is labeled as having possible sundown status. It is unknown whether there was an ordinance or sign specifically prohibiting black people from staying, but the testimonials he lists indicate a certain amount of racial animus.

Loewen received a report of a black social worker from Madison’s state office had to stay at a smaller hotel outside of Sheboygan in 1976 because she couldn’t stay in Sheboygan’s main hotel.

Other testimonies to Loewen showed similar patterns.

“’I recall being told when I moved to Sheboygan in August 1970 that in previous years blacks had not been allowed to stay in the city overnight. There was no generalized policy in that regard by 1970, but I suppose reminisce[sic] of the one-time prohibition might have been carried on informally.

“’We lived on the city’s south side initially and later on the southwest, mostly in the working class section. And I saw no evidence of blacks being prohibited per se, that the black population was quite low.

“’We had a black mailman between 1970 and 1975, but at the junior high school I taught at in those years, also on the south (side), I don’t recall any black students,” Loewen said he was told by Donovan Walling, a former Sheboygan resident, in 2002.

Loewen’s testimonies are remembered, secondary accounts. The Sheboygan Press archives also tell a story of discriminatory local discourse and policy.

The very rumor of a sundown ordinance prompted then-Mayor John Bolgert in 1959 to outright deny that Sheboygan had any sundown laws. He cited as proof that black people we able to live in the city when they were playing baseball for the local minor league team. The same story reported a local pastor as saying there was no prejudice toward black people because there were none here.

Four years later in September of 1963, Professor Spencer Hildahl, then chair of the sociology department at Lakeland College spoke to the Sheboygan Evening Optimist Club about welcoming “negroes” into the city.

“Negroes are coming to Sheboygan just as surely as Christmas is coming next December,” Hildahl said. “We have to assume, whether people accept the fact or not, that Sheboygan is going to have a population that includes Negroes and other minority groups in the not too distant future.”

One of the unnamed Optimists present asserted that an ordinance existed that prohibited black people from living in Sheboygan.

“The same Optimist asserted that present city officials deny that Sheboygan has an ordinance preventing Negroes from living in Sheboygan. But, he claimed, Sheboygan adopted such an ordinance in 1887 —‘that no Negroes will be housed in Sheboygan — and it is still on the books,’” the Press reported.

Confirming ordinances or signs that explicitly gave a town sundown status is difficult because ordinances are revised and recodified.

The city clerk’s office has only two old ordinance books, both of which were from 1976. One of those has been updated. The city attorney’s office has a 1975 book that was updated in 1998 and a 1965 copy that was updated in 1975. The Sheboygan County Historical Research Center also has a 1928 copy of the ordinances, but it is abridged. No such ordinance is mentioned in any of those copies.

Even if the ordinance never officially was on the books, it is still possible that sundown policy was institutionalized here, according to Loewen.

“It’s typically difficult or impossible to actually find copies of the ordinances. Matter of a fact, most towns, you might ask the clerk to show you the double-parking ordinance,” he said. “I bet they can’t find that, but if you double-park you’re going to get a ticket. So the issue typically is many sundown towns never even claimed to have passed an ordinance.”

Legalized discrimination: The 1968 “Fair Housing Ordinance”

Even if there was no specific sundown ordinance, discrimination was occasionally on the books. On Monday Oct. 7, 1968—four years after the federal Civil Rights Act was passed—the Sheboygan Common Council passed an ordinance in a 15-0 vote that banned housing discrimination with two exemptions.

Religious organizations could discriminate based on religious reasons and owners of owner-occupied two-family homes could discriminate in rentals on the bases of “race, color, religion or national origin.”

The first exemption was narrowly added back into the ordinance after a motion to do so narrowly passed in an 8 to 7 vote. It had been deleted two weeks before the final vote by the Committee of the Whole. Alderpersons also rejected 11-4 a last-ditch effort to delete the second exemption from the ordinance.

The State of Wisconsin had already passed a fair housing statute in 1966, but it had several exemptions as well, which left it to cover only about 25 percent of housing in the state, according to an April 1966 Press article.  In that article, local leaders were urging the Common Council to pass a fair housing, open occupancy ordinance to ensure minorities who came to Sheboygan were not confined to a “big city ghetto.”

In the months following the ordinance’s passage, several local organizations including the Sheboygan County Council of Churches and the Sheboygan City of Elm Amvets Post 18 called for the exemptions to be deleted.

The fight was mainly over the religious exemption, not the one that allowed for racial discrimination in shared dwellings. And in February of 1969, a motion to remove just the religious exemption was defeated. The ordinance exemptions were legal until state laws, federal laws and court decisions made the exemptions illegal, according to a January 1976 Press article.

 “There’s no negroes here after dark”

Those instances of discrimination were epitomized when Joe and Mary were relaxing one night outside of the same YMCA. That was when one police officer made the situation clear to him.

“I was parked with Mary, we were having popcorn and root beer. Because of the humidity the back windows fogged up, you know, And all of a sudden this cop knocks on the back window and I’m like, ‘What’s he doing?’

“I said, ‘I bet he thinks we’re making out or something.’ She was driving because I didn’t have my license. And she’s just laughing. I rolled down the window and said, ‘Can I help you?’

“He’s looking in the back of the car—‘What’re you guys doing here?’ the officer said. I said, ‘We’re just having a beer.’ (He responded) ‘You’re not supposed to be drinking in the car!’ I said, ‘Root beer,’ trying to be funny.”

The officer was not amused and continued by asking Joe and Mary where they lived. Mary told the officer her address and Joe said he lived at the YMCA. The officer asked him where he worked and Joe explained he had recently been laid off.

“He said, ‘No then you got to get out of town.’ I said, ‘Pardon me? Why do I have to leave?’” Joe said. “He said, ‘We don’t have negroes here after dark.’ And that’s when I went, ‘Woah!’”

The officer went on to tell him it was city law that no “negroes” could be in town, unless they had a job. That was when Joe moved back to Milwaukee.

“180 degree difference”

In 2008, years after Joe first met Mary at the YMCA, they moved back to Sheboygan.

Joe spent 34 years in Milwaukee as a plumber, with Mary working at various locations over the years. Joe’s parents and his only remaining brother all died within 90 days of each other, all of whom lived in Milwaukee.

They moved here to take care of Mary’s mother. That was when Joe retired and started volunteering. He said it was also when he noticed the police are more approachable.

“180 degrees (difference). You can talk with them. You can joke with them. You can say something smart with them, you know I am sassy,” he said. “It’s like when you were a little kid and a cop gave you bubble gum and a baseball card. That’s what it feels like… You just feel happy when you see them and you’re grateful for what they do.”

Joe said he appreciates how different the policies and the police are today.

“To go from being kicked out of town to working for the police,” Joe said. “I think that’s pretty awesome.”

Joe said he never held anger or animosity toward the police department. In the ‘70s, he thought the law was the law and the officers were just doing their jobs, enforcing it.

“It was just a shock when I came here,” he said. “And you forgot about. It was ‘70 when that happened and then you go in the service and you forget about everything.”

Time has changed Joe’s perception of the police and it has also allowed for change within the department. Those explicit laws and policies are gone, and the department performs training with officers to reduce racial biases.

Sheboygan is growing too. The black population more than doubled from the 2000 to the 2010 census, although it is still only 1.8 percent of the total population. But even as Sheboygan becomes more diverse, there are still implicit disparities. Black people made up 18.9 percent of all arrests in 2015, according to documents obtained by the Sheboygan Press.

And while at 21 percent of the city of Sheboygan is either black, Asian, Hispanic and/or Latino, only 5 percent of the police department’s officers are, according to a 2015 USA-TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin article.

Nonetheless, Joe still sees the police department as better, and moving in the right direction.

“Even though it seems like I’m by myself in here, I got a whole community now,” he said. “The officers pat you on the back. Everybody sees you, (they say), ‘Hey thanks for volunteering.’ It’s a nice feeling to have the other way. Instead of ‘go home’, it’s ‘welcome home.’”

 

(, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin6:57 p.m. CDT July 10, 2016)

Photo: Miller/Jozwiak, USA Today)

Local Veterans Show Support for Law Enforcement

By Ashley Davis | KWQC

MUSCATINE, Iowa (KWQC) – After a tough week for law enforcement some local officers were reminded how much they are appreciated, as local veterans held a lunch for are law enforcement Sunday afternoon.

Organizers say they’ve been planning for months, but with the recent shootings in Dallas, they say this event couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Just to let you guys know how much we appreciate what you guys do and us veterans do support you guys and we want you to know that,” Ron Miller, a veteran and co-organizer of the event, said.

Those who served our country came together Sunday to show their support for those who serve their communities.

“It’s nice to know that they have our back, and they’re supporting us, it means a lot,” Cpl. Joe Bryant with the Muscatine Police Department said.

Veterans did that by serving a meal and by saying thanks to local law enforcement officials.

“We should be grateful for their service and for what they do for us every day, they put their lives on the line every day for us, so we need to show our gratitude for that,” Lee Miller, a veteran and co-organizer of the event, said.

“That one little thank you means a whole lot and that carries us on doing what we want to do,” Bryant said.

Those in attendance also took a moment to honor the lives lost in Dallas, with a moment of silence.

“We’re very much like the military, the military is a band of brothers, and law enforcement is a band of brothers, so when something happens in Dallas those are our brothers down there in Dallas and it has an impact all across the United States on every law enforcement officer,” Muscatine County Sheriff C.J. Ryan said.

“It makes it tough going to work, you know, everybody’s got families, everybody’s got other things that they want to go home to but we’ve all sworn to protect the communities we work for and through the tragedy we gotta push through and keep honoring those that are lost and that manner,” Bryant said.

Officials received support from others through food and kind words, and those on the force showed their support for fellow officers, as well.

“There’s a lot of good people working in this county and Louisa county too so keep your heads up and we’ll keep pushing forward,” Muscatine Police Chief Brett Talkington said.

The Muscatine American Legion, VFW, and Local AMVETS Post put on the appreciation day meal and organizers say they plan to continue holding events like these to show support for officers.

Original Source: Local veterans show support for law enforcement

“The Big 6” United Behind Veterans First Act

“The Big 6” United Behind Veterans First Act

(Washington, D.C.)–The Veterans Service Organizations who are most often called before Congress for testimony on the state of Veterans Affairs, known in D.C. as “The Big 6,” are joining together to call on the Senate to vote on the Veterans First Act. While each has been engaged separately in traditional methods of calling for votes–such as letter-writing and email campaigns– they’re maximizing the power of social media to expand their outreach and get more veterans engaged.

“The AMVETS family is in full support of the Veterans First Act. Eliminating arbitrary eligibility requirements is crucial to ensuring family caregivers of veterans from all eras receive the support they deserve and need. We support the mandate on VA to research the association between toxic exposures and health effects among exposed veterans’ offspring.”–Joe Chenelly, Executive Director, AMVETS

“We’ve recognized that Congress is starting to respond to pressure from social media, so we are doing the best we can to optimize the impact each of our members has by enlisting them to assist in less traditional ways. While Twitter may not be used by most Vietnam veterans on a regular basis, our kids and our grandkids use it. Our families will be helped most by the Toxic Exposure Research provisions within the Veterans First Act, and we are glad to bring them into the fold so they can help us let the Senate know that we all deserve a vote.”–John Rowan, National President, Vietnam Veterans of America

“The VFW strongly supports passage of the Veterans First Act because it rightfully eliminates arbitrary eligibility requirements to ensure family caregivers of veterans from all eras receive the recognition and support they deserve. It requires the VA to research the association between toxic exposures and adverse health effects among the descendants of exposed veterans, and it makes urgently needed improvements to the choice program, which would ensure veterans who receive care from private sector doctors are not erroneously billed for that care.”–Robert E. Wallace, VFW Executive Director.

“The provision within the Veterans First Act that allows for the expansion of the Family Caregiver Program is a top priority for Paralyzed Veterans of America members. Caregivers are life-sustaining for veterans with a spinal cord or disease. They are the most critical component of our rehabilitation and eventual recovery, and their well-being directly impacts the quality of care provided to veterans. Caregivers for veterans of all wartimes should be provided with adequate benefits and resources, yet caregivers of pre-9/11 are made to bear the responsibility—and the toll it takes on their own personal and professional lives—alone. We urge the prompt passage of this legislation so that this inequity will finally be addressed.”– Sherman Gillums, Jr, Paralyzed Veterans of America Executive Director

“The American Legion stands with our sister Veteran Service Organizations to support the Veterans First Act. This bipartisan legislation has one third of the senate as cosponsors and will ensure that veterans have access to a Department of Veterans Affairs that maintains accountability, organized leadership, and parity of services for all generations of caregivers.”–Verna Davis, Executive Director, The American Legion

“DAV strongly supports Senate passage of the Veterans First Act, which would extend comprehensive caregiver support to veterans of all eras. The legislation would also increase veterans’ options for long-term care through medical foster homes; enhance VA’s efforts to recruit and retain the best and brightest medical professionals; reform claims and appeals processing by creating a fully developed appeals pilot program; and make dozens of other positive changes to improve the lives of the men and women who served. DAV looks forward to working together with leaders in both chambers of Congress, the VA, and other key stakeholders to enact comprehensive legislation to help keep the promise to all eras of America’s veterans.”–Garry J. Augustine, Executive Director, Disabled American Veterans

The Big 6 Veteran Service Organizations are asking their members, families, and supporters to join them during this campaign by using the hashtag #Vote4Vets1st in our Twitter Storm. The Veterans First Act is a bipartisan effort to improve accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs, provide critical benefits to veterans in need, and improve existing programs. The veterans’ community deserves a vote on the Senate floor before Congress is dismissed for summer recess. In order for the Department of Veterans Affairs to fulfill Lincoln’s promise “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan,” they must prioritize veterans over politics and pass the Veterans First Act.

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“Salute To Veterans”, featuring Rocky Bleier, Greg Gadson and Chad Hennings

Airing Tonight: The Premiere of “Salute To Veterans”, featuring Rocky Bleier, Greg Gadson and Chad Hennings, and PBS’ Judy Woodruff

By: Kristina Miller

AMVETS was fortunate enough to sit down with all three athletes as they prepared to go on air to discuss military service, their success in the NFL and that continued commitment to success throughout transition in this new social-interactive televised format #SaluteToVeterans, which will be airing tonight and tomorrow for the 4th of July Holiday.

The ‘Salute to Veterans’ program features these 3 notable athletes with military service–Rocky Bleier, Greg Gadson and Chad Hennings–who are creating solutions in their communities for their fellow Veterans who may not be as fortunate as they have been since serving.

“Playing Football and Military Service have a natural link, ” shares Chad Hennings, US Air Force Force Graduate and 3-Time Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl Champion, “We can all reflect on commitment to achieving success. You are forever part of something bigger than yourself; it takes sacrifice to be successful.”

Rocky Bleir, a US Army Vietnam Veteran and 4-time Super Bowl Champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers, is all too familiar with being in a life of constant transition.
“Transition is always a struggle” says Rocky. “Once you are comfortable in a position or in your role, its time to transition (laughing). “

“The challenge is (in transition) the support mechanism can be taken away. How one adjusts and how you get through (inevitable) transition, determines your success.”

Greg Gadson, Retired US Army Colonel, Garrison Commander, and most recently known for his featured role in the movie Battleship (in addition to his two NY Giants Super Bowl rings), also reminds us about the importance of teamwork, and how this Salute to Veterans series is an inspirational program that engages in meaningful dialogue about the most pressing societal issues our nations 25 million veterans, 3.3 million active duty service members and their families face including: employment, unemployment and underemployment; overcoming injuries; continuing education; accessing affordable housing; and filling the need for community leaders.

“Salute to Veterans” is not only a title of the program series, but it is a call to action around the country for much deserved gratitude to be consistently given to our past and present troops, in light of their sacrifices made for freedom, liberty and safety.

#MySaluteToVeterans and the broadcast series aims to transform national military observances days, as not just holidays, but honor-days, when these important issues should be top of mind.

About Salute to Veterans
Salute to Veterans is a national television series and platform raising awareness for and engaging in meaningful discussion about the most pressing societal issues that our 25 million veterans face in communities across America, including: employment, unemployment and underemployment; overcoming injuries; continuing education; accessing affordable housing; and other important issues, while inspiring leadership in their communities.

Please visit: These three veterans are also inspiring others to thank Veterans for their sacrifice everyday through social media at #MySaluteToVeterans and SaluteToVeteranson Facebook. Also, visit http://www.salutetoveterans.org/showfinder.html for your local listings and air times.

Daryl Williams contributed to this story

Hundreds Volunteer to Revitalize Detroit in First-Ever Local “Mass Deployment”

"Operation Motown Muster" The Mission Continues

Hundreds of Military & Veterans Volunteer to Rebuild & Revitalize Detroit in Nation’s First-Ever Local “Mass Deployment”

By Kristina Miller

Detroit, MI – On its third day of the service marathon, dubbed “Operation Motown Muster,” national veterans nonprofit The Mission Continues has brought together hundreds to participate in a weeklong service engagement that will jump-start a long-lasting transformation in a city or community identified with a particularly high level of need.

Home to nearly 700,000 residents — many of whom are already hard at work shaping the future of their city — Detroit was a prime location for The Mission Continues’ inaugural Mass Deployment. During Operation Motown Muster, The Mission Continues veterans and local volunteers will provide a much-needed surge in Detroit’s revitalization efforts, a gap in the city’s current capacity.

US Navy Veteran and Mass Deployment Director for The Mission Continues, Joshua Arntson, who is responsible for leading the first ever effort of its kind here in the US, spoke with AMVETS prior to deploying his veteran alumni in Operation Motown Muster. After 2 deployments and 4 years with the military, Arntson, like many of our veterans, offer high-quality operations management & tactical experience necessary to kick-start the city’s accelerated transformation goals.

“Veterans (and military) have skills and we can build long term sustainability in cities here at home,” said Arntson. “Veterans are rooted to serve, and Mission Continues offers us (veterans) an ability to impact the community, tap into our current networks and advance these neighborhoods through continuum of service.”

Over this past weekend, Arntson and his Mass Deployment team went to Central High School, which once groomed history makers and leaders. Eli Broad, William Davidson, Senators Carl and Sander Levin and Nobel Prize winner Melvin Calvin are a few of this iconic institution’s alumn. The school now has fewer than 350 students enrolled, and a graduation rate of less than 50 percent.

Each day, the team will deploy and execute a variety of high-impact missions, including construction, landscaping, painting and public arts projects. Specific projects include:

  • Refurbishing indoor and outdoor facilities at Central High School and Priest Elementary School to make the schools a safe and inviting place for students to learn,
  • Beautifying three public parks and future green spaces in the Osborn Neighborhood to create a safe, lively space for families to play, and
  • Cleaning up 40 acres of vacant land and converting portions of the Chene Ferry Market into clean, vibrant spaces for community events and an urban farm.

Following this week-long service marathon, The Mission Continues will maintain a veteran volunteer presence in the city to continually support local Detroit nonprofits over the next several years. And, in 2017, they’ll select a new Mass Deployment city with a goal of jump-starting long-term transformational change in another community.

For more information on Operation Motown Muster or how you can get involved in future Mass Deployment projects, please visit: https://www.missioncontinues.org/deployments/

AMVETS National 2016 Scholarship Program Winners Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Media Inquiries: Kristina Miller
KMiller@amvets.org
301-683-4038

AMVETS announced the 2016 recipients of its National Scholarship Program today

“The influx in applications this year was extremely impressive.” said National Programs Director, Karla Lathroum at today’s announcement. “It is an honor for AMVETS to help veterans and members of the military continue their families’ legacies by providing additional support through the AMVETS Scholarship Program.”

Graduating high school seniors selected to receive four-year undergraduate scholarships of $4,000 are:
Holloway Testerman of Chichester, New Hampshire
Mariah Cummings of Lock Haven, Pennsylvania
Felice Watson of Villa Rica, Georgia
Jacob Higginson of Springfield, Illinois
Micaela Mersch of Troy, Texas
Adriana Tapia of Mesa, Arizona

Graduating high school senior Jordan Fox of Lewisville, Texas was selected as the $1,000.00 scholarship recipient of the JROTC scholarship.

Veterans selected to receive four-year scholarships of $4,000.00 are:
Anita Ingram of Darby, Pennsylvania
Benjamin Kimball of Wichita, Kansas
Brad Swanson of Durham, North Carolina

Veterans Ashley Gorbulja of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and Jared Wymer of Seattle, Washington were selected to receive the Dr. Aurelio M. Caccomo Family Foundation Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $3,000.00.

Veteran Andrew Bates of Fenton, Michigan was selected to receive The Henry G. Huestis Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $1,000.00

The winners were selected on the basis of academic excellence and financial need. Since its inception in the 1950s, the AMVETS National Scholarship Program has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships to veterans and graduating high school students who are sons and daughters or grandchildren of American veterans.

About AMVETS
As one of America’s leading veterans service organizations with over 250,000 members, AMVETS (or American Veterans) has a proud history of assisting veterans and sponsoring numerous programs that serve our country and its citizens. Membership in AMVETS is open to anyone who is currently serving, or who has honorably served, in the U.S. Armed Forces from World War II to the present, to include the National Guard and Reserves. Visit www.amvets.org for more information on who we are and how to join.

Extending VA’s Reach to Prevent and End Homelessness Among Veterans

The company that hires a once-homeless Veteran; the landlord who accepts her housing voucher; the faith-based group that helps furnish his new apartment; the foundation that shores up her finances; and the civic group that pays a visit to welcome him home.

These are just a few ways that organizations provide a fresh start to Veterans who are exiting homelessness. These collaborators are essential to VA’s success in preventing and ending homelessness among Veterans.

Communities across the United States count on the support of organizations of all types—businesses, nonprofit service providers, foundations and so many others—to help Veterans who are homeless, or one tough break away from it, secure well-paying employment, affordable housing, move-in essentials and more.

Collecting home basics for Veterans exiting homelessness

We know, for instance, that when some formerly homeless Veterans move to permanent housing, they do not yet have the resources to purchase basic essential items—mattresses, sheets and pots and pans—that make their house a home.

Collaborators like Military Outreach USA work with VA and local community partners fill the gaps. With more than 250 organizations and houses of worship in its direct network, and extended reach to 25,000 organizations, this national faith-based nonprofit is making sure Veterans leaving homelessness behind can start a new life in their new home.

Through its Veterans Exiting Homelessness program, Military Outreach USA works with organizations in its network to collect and distribute move-in essentials. During a Chicago-area pilot phase of this soon-to-be-national effort, Military Outreach USA collected over 6,000 items, valued at $12,000 to $15,000, to distribute to Veterans moving into homes. Additionally, through its Beds for Vets initiative, the organization solicits donations of $150 to provide Veterans with full-size beds, box springs and frames, sheets and pillows.

VA cannot end homelessness among Veterans on our own. But when entities like Military Outreach USA join us, Veterans win.

That’s why VA is also working with these groups:

  • AMVETS, which is providing Veterans with move-in essentials
  • YMCA, which is connecting Veterans to VA services and benefits in the areas of employment, homelessness, healthy lifestyle programming and community reintegration
  • The Elks, which committed $4 million over a four-year period to help end Veteran homelessness in Washington, D.C., Chicago and New York City
  • PenFed Foundation, which is helping prevent homelessness by providing emergency financial assistance for Veterans facing financial setbacks and are at risk of becoming homeless
  • The Chrysler Trust, which recently provided $750,000 toward Veteran homeless expenses in Los Angeles, Detroi, and Philadelphia

Providing move-in money

Veterans also can depend on groups like Veterans Matter, which, with the help of 20-plus celebrities raising money and awareness, has helped nearly 1,000 Veterans exit homelessness—all based on founder Ken Leslie’s single conversation with a VA homeless outreach coordinator back in 2012.

“She told me about the Department of Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing program, known as HUD-VASH,” says Leslie. “My VA contact said our 35 local Veterans qualified for HUD-VASH vouchers, but many didn’t have the first month’s rent, security deposit, and other fees required by most private landlords to move in to a rental unit. That very night I created Veterans Matter, to raise the funds those Veterans needed to get housed.”

Actions like these, multiplied by willing allies across the country, are the reason that cities like Houston, New York, Philadelphia and so many others have announced that they’ve ended homelessness among Veterans. Nearly 900 city officials have in fact taken up the national “Mayors Challenge” to identify and house every Veteran who does not have a place to call home.

The insurance company, Progressive, even handed a Veteran at risk of homelessness the keys to a car, and six months of free insurance. As a result, she was able to get to work, earn her salary and stabilize her family’s housing situation.

Filling housing and employment needs

Collaborators like Progressive help VA plug service gaps that we know help end homelessness: transportation, affordable housing, employment and even legal services.

There are organizations like the Housing Partnership Network, whose members are building affordable housing for Veterans from Portland, Oregon, to Pittsburgh; and Goodwill Industries, which is offering hands-on job training to Veterans.

There are firms like Aerotek, Flagger Force Traffic Control, CORT, Progressive, Torani, MetLife, Publix, Task Management, HiEmployment, Staffmark, and many others that have met with VA’s community employment coordinators to collaborate on hiring job-ready Veterans exiting homelessness. And so has FASTPORT’s Trucking Track, which uses technology to help Veterans land the jobs that move America.

Others use their networks to help VA raise awareness about homelessness among Veterans. Real estate powerhouse Zillow recently drew attention to the need for more landlords to rent homes to Veterans who are exiting homelessness—even those with less-than-stellar credit histories. Zillow has also created the Community Pillar program to identify landlords willing to relax strict rules and house more Americans.

Author and entrepreneur Chris Gardner shared his story of being a homeless Veteran, lent many hours volunteering at a VA Stand Down, and still works in multiple ways to draw attention to this issue. He even secured a $5,000 donation from Origami Owl to pay for critical resources to help end homelessness among the growing population of female Veterans.

Finding new allies

These alliances make all the difference in keeping Veterans permanently housed and gainfully employed. But their contributions do even more: Their grass-roots perspectives give us new ideas about ways to better serve Veterans who are homeless.

We salute all our current collaborators, who have joined us to provide vital services to make sure all Veterans have access to the best care and services available. We’re always on the lookout for new allies to enlist in this cause. Please join us by learning about VA’s homeless programs and by getting involved. You can also email our VA’s homeless Veterans’ outreach team and let us know how you want to help. For partnership opportunities beyond homelessness, please feel free to contact Rashi Venkataraman at rashi.venkataraman@va.gov.

If you know a Veteran who is homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless, please refer him or her to a local VA Medical Center, where homeless coordinators are ready to help. Veterans and their families can also call 1-877-4AID-VET to be connected to VA services.

Thank you to all of our wonderful partners for the terrific job they do – day in and day out. We certainly can’t do it alone.

 


Originally from Michigan, Matthew S. Collier, serves as the senior advisor to the Secretary for Strategic Partnerships. Prior to joining VA, he served as an Infantry Officer in the U.S. Army, held major elective public office, and has worked in the private sector for over 20 years. Collier holds degrees from the United States Military Academy at West Point, as well as from Harvard University. Following his graduation from West Point, and subsequent to his six years of service in the military, Collier served as the chief of staff for a U.S. Congressman, and was then elected as the youngest big city “strong” Mayor in the United States, serving as mayor of Flint, Michigan, from 1987 to 1991. Since that time, Collier has served in executive roles with a variety of high technology companies. These assignments have included over 13 years of president and CEO experience, company ownership, and executive stints in both private and public companies. Appointed by President Obama, Matt is currently serving as Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Strategic Partnerships.

AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary & St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary

The AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary is a subordinate national organization of AMVETS whose members (female veterans or relatives of AMVETS) provide a range of services and support to veterans, communities and other nonprofit organizations. Service programs are the basis of this organization and members extend a helping hand in a variety of ways, nationwide.
Ladies Auxiliary St Jude
AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary members participate in many philanthropic events throughout the country, and they have been volunteering and fundraising for the children of St. Jude since 1998. Along with participating in a variety of fundraising events, auxiliaries, departments and individual members donate to the auxiliary’s St. Jude fund. A check is presented annually for all the donations received at the National Headquarters during the year. 

To learn more about AMVETS Auxiliary, visit www.amvetsaux.org.

 

https://www.stjude.org/get-involved/other-ways/partner-with-st-jude/corporate-partners/organizations/amvets.html