AMVETS in Action

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Mansfield Veterans Post Collecting Christmas Cards for Troops

By Emily Dech |

MANSFIELD — When filling out Christmas cards this year, consider sending season’s greetings to the troops.

AMVETS Post 26 Ladies Auxiliary is collecting Christmas cards, hoping to exceed last year’s amount (7,000 cards) and send at least 10,000 cards to troops all over the world.

“AMVETS Post 26 and other organizations throughout the nation are very strong supporters of our veterans and troops who are deployed, whether stateside or overseas, and we just want to send them greetings during the holidays and show that they do have support at home,” said Julie Wilcox, AMVETS Post 26 Ladies Auxiliary president.

Cards must be signed, unsealed and have a return address in the upper left corner (senders may use the AMVETS Post 26 address if they prefer). Homemade cards are acceptable but must be placed in an envelope. Do not address the cards to any one person or unit. No glitter, 3D or loose items are allowed in the envelopes.

Wilcox, who has a son in the military, believes the cards are well received, noting that senders sometimes get thank-you notes in return.

Schools within Richland County, local churches and organizations all chip in to show their support. Wilcox said Clear Fork School District submitted just under 2,000 cards last year.

“I’ve gotten cards from people as far as North Carolina,” she said.

Cards may be mailed or dropped off at AMVETS Post 26 c/o Julie Wilcox at 1100 W. 4th St., Mansfield, 44906. AMVETS Post 26 will send the cards to a volunteer organization in Missouri, which will distribute them to troops across the globe.

The deadline to submit a Christmas card is Nov. 1. For large quantities of cards, pick-up can be arranged if in a near distance of Mansfield.

People may also drop off blank cards that AMVETS Post 26 will arrange to be signed before being mailed.

AMVETS Post 26 is accepting monetary donations to help cover the cost of shipping. Wilcox said it costs about 12 cents per card.

For more information contact Julie Wilcox at 419-631-5150.

Original Source: Mansfield veterans post collecting Christmas cards for troops

Vets, Community Remember Fallen Soldier

Original story appeared on Connections Sun Journal

LISBON FALLS — Saturday, September 17, 2016 the Durham AMVETS and Lisbon American Legion Riders mustered a force of 100 motorcycles for a ride in remembrance of Staff Sgt. Thomas “Tommy” Field of Lisbon.

Field was killed in 1993 in Mogadishu, Somalia, an event brought to life in the movie “Black Hawk Down.”

Field, a graduate of Lisbon High School, was the third of three sons born to Kimiko and Frederick “Popeye” Field, who was a respected member American Legion Post 158.

Field joined the U.S. Army upon graduating. It didn’t take the Army long to recognize his natural abilities, and he was assigned as a helicopter crew chief to the Night Stalkers, attached to a special forces unit that would eventually deploy to Somalia. When he died in Mogadishu, Field was defending his wounded crew members.

The motorcycle riders arrived at St. Anne’s Cemetery and dismounted to pay their respects.

Chaplain Lewis Craft commenced the ceremony with a prayer.

“If Tom was standing here today, he’d be extending his hand to shake yours,” said older brother Fred Field. “Thank all you AMVETS, vets and friends for being here and remembering Tom’s sacrifice.”

The last speaker was American Legion Commander Glenn Simard, who spoke about Tom Field’s love of country and ultimate sacrifice and responsibility to country today.

Original Source: Vets, community remember fallen soldier

Riverside/Delran Veterans Donate School Supplies

By Rebecca Carlbon |

Members of Riverside/Delran Post 251 American Veterans (AMVETS), a veterans’ service organization, recently distributed school supplies to needy children of past and present service members, as well as many community members.

The supplies were donated to AMVETS by Dollar Tree via their Operation Homefront program, which supports military families through their Back-To-School Brigade.

The project was pioneered by Post 251 commander Ramon Villanueva and programs director Suzanne Milecki.

The group is also donating to local schools so that teachers will not have to purchase school supplies out of their own pockets.

AMVETS Department of New Jersey’s new home office is now at 611 Beverly-Rancocas Road, Willingboro. AMVETS provides a wide variety of veterans informational services, veterans helping veterans in the community. For more information, call 609-526-4356.

As one of America’s leading veterans service organizations with over 250,000 members, AMVETS has a history of assisting veterans and sponsoring numerous programs that serve the 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.

Original Source: Riverside/Delran veterans donate school supplies to families and schools

AMVETS Gear Up for Crazy Water Festival Car & Truck Show

By David Mays |

The 37th Annual Crazy Water Festival Car & Truck Show will again be an area of much activity and buzz, showcasing newer and older model classic and vintage vehicles, from Model T’s to muscle cars.

AMVETS Post 133 once again is organizing this year’s car and truck show, benefitting Tommy’s Angel Tree. Please bring a new, unwrapped toy that will be delivered to the Angel Tree project and December. It will be wrapped and delivered to a participating child the week before Christmas.

The show will take place on N.W. 6th Street the day of the Oct. 8 festival and is open to all rods, customs, muscle and classic cars, trucks and specialty vehicles.

Registration is 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., with judging from 11:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. Awards will be handed out at 2 p.m.

Awards will go to first and second place in each class. There will be Best of Show–People’s Choice, Best Paint and Best Engine contests as well.

Entry fee is $20,or $25 the day of the festival. For more information, contact Clay Roundtree at 940-284-1833.

Sponsors for this year’s car and truck show are Double H Tire, Lee B. Downs–Veteran’s Service Officer, Auto Pr –Jeff Smith, Titan Bank, Elliott & Waldron Abstract Co., Circle R Cleaners and Farmers Insurance–John Shelley.

Get your motors running and head out with your custom rod, classic car or vintage truck to this year’s festival.

For more information about this year’s festival go to, or download the PDF here.

Original Source: AmVets gear up for Crazy Water Festival Car & Truck Show

Golfers Tee Up for AMVETS ‘Veterans Helping Veterans’ Event

Original story appeared on WCTV Eyewitness News

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — Golfers hit the greens on Monday to raise some green for a local veterans group.

60 people played in the 5th annual AMVETS ‘Veterans Helping Veterans’ event at the Golden Eagle Country Club. Congresswoman Gwen Graham was also there and spoke at the luncheon.

The event serves as the annual fundraiser for Post 1776. In years past, the proceeds have gone to support services like Honor Flight, the Florida Vets Foundation and ROTC programs at area schools. This year, most of the $13,000 raised by the golfers and 30 event sponsors will help provide an electronic bell tower at the Tallahassee National Cemetery.

Nationally, AMVETS has a program funding two bell towers at cemeteries annually. However, Post 1776 2nd Vice Commander John Folsom tells WCTV that instead of waiting for help, they want to get the ball rolling on raising the money in case it takes a few years for them to be selected.

“The consensus among the AMVETS themselves is that the bell towers provide music to the survivors spouses, the kids, the visitors to the cemetery. It makes it a much more solemn place to visit, and we’re going full speed ahead,” Folsom says.

Folsom says the total cost of the electronic bell tower is around $80,000 and they hope funding on the state level will help provide some of the money too.

If you’d like to make a donation to the AMVETS, you can do so by mailing it to:

AMVETS Post 1776
PO Box 12631
Tallahassee, FL 32317

Original Source: Golfers tee up for AMVETS ‘Veterans Helping Veterans’ event

We Will Never Forget Them

Ceremony honors P.O.W./M.I.A.s

By Dave Gossett | The Weirton Daily Times

POW MIA You are not forgottenSTEUBENVILLE — Several military veterans and their families gathered under a sunny sky Friday afternoon at the Historic Fort Steuben in Ohio to remember the approximately 80,000 American servicemen and women who remain on a list of prisoners of war and missing in action from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Seven men and women shared the duty of reading the 90 names of servicemen whose remains had been found and returned to the United States for burial in the past year.

“Marine 1st Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Jr., 33, of Knoxville, Tenn., Marine, missing in action from World War II,” Bill Demjan, a Jefferson County Veterans Service Commission member and a member of AMVETS Post 275 read.

Demjan would read 11 names, concluding with Army PFC Frank Worley, 21, Wilington, N.C., soldier, missing in action from the Korean War.

The 30-minute ceremony at the Historic Fort Steuben flagpole began with a prayer by Bill Smythe, American Legion Post 573 commander.

“Help us find the remains of those who died and if they are sill imprisoned, please bring them home,” Smythe prayed.

And the reading of the names continued with Jefferson County Veterans Service Commission Executive Director Schelley Brooks.

“Army Cpl. Martin A. King, 18, Harrisburg, Pa., soldier missing from the Korean War,” she said.

“Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Vernon T. Luke, 43, Green Bay, Wisc., USS Oklahoma, sailor from World War II,” intoned Jim Morelli of the Veterans Service Commission.

“Army Air Forces 1st. Lt. Leonard R. Farron, 23, Tacoma, Wash., airman, missing in action from World War II,” continued Darla Hoagland.

Matz Malone of the AMVETS Post 275 read 10 names during the ceremony and finished with, “Marine PFC. James B. Johnson, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Marine from World War II.”

Historic Fort Steuben Executive Director Judy Bratten sat on a nearby bleacher, her head bowed in prayer, as the names were slowly read.

“U.S. Army Cpl. Charles A. White, 20, New Lexington, Ohio, soldier, missing in action from the Korean War,” said Frank Hoagland.

AMVETS Post 275 Commander Dan Wilson thanked the crowd, “for honoring these young people who gave their lives for our country.”

“We will never forget them. God rest their souls,” stated Wilson.

“The National Day of Recognition for P.O.W.s and M.I.A.s commemorates those who gave their lives for our country and the fact our government sends out missions every year to find these remains. Those missions scour the countryside and interview people who may have seen an aircraft go down. There are remains and equipment scattered all over Europe and the South Pacific,” explained Wilson.

“These people are everywhere and when the remains are found, the government identifies them and brings the remains home to their family for closure. The least we can do is read the names every year in these services,” declared Wilson.

“Army Air Force 1st Lt. Robert L. McIntosh, 21, Houston, Texas, airman, missing from World War II,” recited American Legion Post 557 Commander Holly Lewis of Wintersville.

“What really strikes me when I look at this list are the ages of these soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen. They were all so young and gave the best years of their lives to serve their country,” remarked Wilson.

Original Source: We will never forget them

AMVETS, 40&8 Pay Tribute to 9/11 Victims

Original story appeared on The Cleveland Daily Banner

Clockwise from top left: U.S. Marine veteran Marilyn Nagel of AMVETS Post 13; U.S. Navy veteran Daniel Koob of AMVETS Post 13 with his grandchildren Lila and Ronnie Womac, U.S. Air Force veteran Mack Crawley, and Deddrick Crisp of the 40&8;
Clockwise from top left: U.S. Marine veteran Marilyn Nagel of AMVETS Post 13; U.S. Navy veteran Daniel Koob of AMVETS Post 13 with his grandchildren Lila and Ronnie Womac, U.S. Air Force veteran Mack Crawley, and Deddrick Crisp of the 40&8;
A 9/11 ceremony was held on Sept. 11 at Garden Plaza of Cleveland.

The state commanders of AMVETS and the 40&8 organizations paid tribute to the 2001 attacks of the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and in a rural field in Shanksville, Pa. All of the veteran organizations were represented at the event as was the Cleveland Elks Lodge.

Daniel Koob, Commander of AMVETS Post 13, was the speaker of the program.

He spoke of not only the Americans who died but also of the citizens of 90 different countries, who were also killed in the attacks.

He spoke about Timothy Maude, the Three-Star general who died that day in the attack on the Pentagon. Maude was the highest ranked military person, who died that day.

He talked of the heroism of the passengers who tried to stop the hijackers on the United Airlines Flight 93 and spared the country from even further destruction.

There was a flag presentation ceremony in which flags from colonial times to present were honored.

Mike Dickey, 40&8 member, presented on what each of the folds for the American flag means.

The group then reflected on what has happened in the military since the 2001 attacks. More than 10,000 military and residents have been killed and over 56,000 injured.

Honor was also given to the five military members killed on July 16, 2015, in Chattanooga. Taps was played to honor all of the military who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to the United States of America.

Original Source: AMVETS, 40&8 pay tribute to 9/11 victims

Suicide Prevention Month: #BeThere


Department of Veterans Affairs
Office of Public Affairs/Media Relations
Washington, DC 20420
Phone: (202) 461-7600

VA Highlights Initiatives to Prevent Veteran and Servicemember Suicide

WASHINGTON – Today marks the start of Suicide Prevention Month and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is asking for the entire nation’s help in reducing Veteran suicide. VA is calling on community leaders, supervisors, colleagues, friends, and family members to BeThere for Veterans and Service members starting with a simple act, which can play a pivotal role in preventing suicide.

“You don’t have to be a trained professional to support someone who may be going through a difficult time,” said Dr. Caitlin Thompson, Director of the VA Office of Suicide Prevention. “We want to let people know that things they do every day, like calling an old friend or checking in with a neighbor, are strong preventive factors for suicide because they help people feel less alone. That’s what this campaign is about – encouraging people to be there for each other.”

The campaign also highlights VA resources that are available to support Veterans and Servicemembers who are coping with mental health challenges or are at risk for suicide, and it encourages everyone to share these resources with someone in their life.

“We hope our Suicide Prevention Month efforts help educate people about the VA and community resources available nationwide,” said VA Under Secretary for Health David J. Shulkin, M.D. “We’re committed to working with experts and organizations across the country to identify ways we can help Veterans and Servicemembers get the care they deserve and to expand the network of mental health support.”

Veteran suicide data released by the VA Office of Suicide Prevention in early August 2016 serves as a foundation for informing and evaluating suicide prevention efforts inside the VA health care system and for developing lifesaving collaborations with community-based health care partners.

VA plans to host a series of roundtable discussions with key stakeholder groups in the coming months as part of its plan to develop a public health strategy for preventing Veteran suicide. In August, VA hosted its first roundtable discussion, “Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business,” with corporate sector partners. In September, VA will host the Veterans Affairs Suicide Prevention Innovations event, which will bring together a community of experts from business, industry, academia, and government agencies to collaboratively identify solutions for reducing suicide rates among Veterans and Servicemembers. In addition, new programs such as REACH VET are being launched nationwide in September to identify Veterans in VHA care who may be vulnerable, in order to provide the care they need before a crisis occurs.

For more information about VA’s suicide prevention efforts:

House Passes Bill to Make it Easier to Fire VA Employees

By Leo Shane III | Military Times

House Republicans on Wednesday passed a controversial Veterans Affairs reform bill that would make it easier to fire department workers despite concerns of prominent Democrats that the changes would do little to provide better services.

The measure also includes an overhaul of the department’s benefits appeals process, a provision that veterans groups have fervently lobbied for and White House officials have praised. But that’s likely not enough to get bipartisan support to move the measure in the Senate.

A similar accountability measure has been stalled for months there, and Democrats in that chamber have also expressed concerns about the constitutionality of the proposal. White House officials this week asked for the appeals reform aspects to be moved as a separate, stand alone bill, apart from the problematic firing rules.

But supporters said the action (which passed by a 310-116 vote, with all opposition from Democrats) is needed to reform the culture within the department.

“The average today to dismiss somebody from the VA is more than a year,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. “That is unacceptable. We need to protect the VA for those who go to it, the veterans who need the service.”

Unlike past VA accountability legislation, many of the provisions would apply to any department employee, not just senior leaders. The bill would shorten the firing and demotion process to no more than 77 days, give the VA secretary the authority to recoup bonuses and suspend pensions of disciplined employees, and limit workers’ appeals of those actions.

“Everyone in government knows that the civil service laws that were once meant to promote the efficiency of government are now obsolete and make it almost impossible to remove a poor-performing employee,” said bill sponsor Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

“I want a civil service system at VA that serves and protects veterans, not bad employees.”

Union officials and Democrats argued the measure will do much more than that. Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., ranking member of the House veterans committee, said it will remove critical federal employee protections and hurt the VA workforce.

“The majority (party) continues to treat the constitutional rights of VA employees as inconvenient obstacles to evade instead of fundamental civil service objections to uphold,” he said. “We can pass (this law), but we will be right back here a year from now when the law is deemed unconstitutional.”

That was the problem earlier this year, when VA leaders announced they would no longer enforce accountability laws passed by Congress two years ago because of Department of Justice concerns over their constitutional viability.

Meanwhile, the intraparty and intrachamber accountability fight has stalled the appeals reform plans, which VA officials have said is their top priority for this year.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers joined leading veterans organizations at a Capitol Hill rally Wednesday before the House vote to urge party leaders to find a solution to get appeals done in the waning months of session.

Currently, benefits cases that go to appeal take multiple years to complete. VA leaders have outlined a plan to cut that wait down to less than a year, but need congressional approval to move ahead with the changes.

Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., whose legislation outlining those changes was included in Miller’s accountability measure, said she is upset that lawmakers haven’t already acted on the issue.

“I’m mad, because this bill could go to the president right now,” she said. “Why get it tangled up in the politics of the accountability bill?”

Original Source: House passes bill to make it easier to fire VA employees

Veterans’ Cycling Team Raises Suicide Prevention Awareness

By Shannon Collins | DoD News, Defense Media Activity

Norberto Roman, a former Army sergeant, front, rides along the Face of America bike route in Gettysburg, Pa., April 24, 2016. More than 150 disabled veteran cyclists and 600 able-bodied cyclists rode 110 miles from Arlington, Va. to Gettysburg over two days in honor of veterans and military members.
Norberto Roman, a former Army sergeant, front, rides along the Face of America bike route in Gettysburg, Pa., April 24, 2016. More than 150 disabled veteran cyclists and 600 able-bodied cyclists rode 110 miles from Arlington, Va. to Gettysburg over two days in honor of veterans and military members.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2016 — “Who are we? Rescue 22!” the Puerto Rican veteran shouts to his team of cyclists as they gather around the recumbent and hand cyclists who are wheelchair-bound for group photos before beginning the Face of America charity ride.

For retired Army Sgt. Norberto Roman, founding the Rescue 22 cycling team for the Face of America two-day, 110-mile bike ride from Arlington, Virginia, to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was about the fellowship and sense of family he receives from the group while they spread the importance of suicide prevention.

The Mission

The Face of America team consists of active-duty and veteran service members from all eras and is sponsored by the non-profit group, Rescue 22. The mission of Rescue 22 is to encourage veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder to seek help through physical health and wellness programs, to mentor and provide encouragement in a veteran’s journey of rehabilitation.

“Our mission is to stop the suicides,” Roman said. “Our mission is to reach every veteran, to let them know that we are here, that they are not alone. We need to fix this. We want to raise awareness, and we want to stop this, whatever it takes. We want to stop the suicides.”

Roman, who served 12 years as a senior cargo specialist was medically retired due to PTSD and chronic bronchitis acquired during deployments to Iraq from 2003-2005. He said he takes this mission personally.

“I tried to commit suicide myself in Iraq, and I went through eight years of hell, through PTSD treatment, and I’m blessed to be here today,” he said. “I want to use not only my story but I want to use what I do. I’m a triathlete. I cycle, I swim, and I run. In my experience, it’s the best rehabilitation ever out there.”

Roman said he feels Suicide Prevention Month is crucial and he tries to promote the awareness throughout the year.

“Every month, every week, every day, suicide prevention is a huge deal,” he said. “This is a responsibility of everybody. This is the responsibility for military and for civilians. There are people out there suffering and taking their lives because of depression or anxiety. We all need to be involved in this, contacting our buddies, calling them over the phone, using social media, staying in touch.”

Teammates from All Eras

One way Roman keeps in touch with his battle buddies is events like Face of America, which also allows him to meet veterans from all eras. He said they’ve had veterans from the Vietnam era, Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

“It doesn’t matter what era you are from, you can do this,” he said. “We have people with disability issues bigger than others as well but we start together and we finish together. We don’t leave anybody behind. It’s not about competing. It’s about finishing together as a family.”

Original Source: Veterans’ Cycling Team Raises Suicide Prevention Awareness