AMVETS in Action

Category: Frontpage

VAntage Point: Joe Chenelly – Marine Veteran, AMVETS National Executive Director


This week in VA blog news, out National Executive Director, Joe Chenelly, was featured in the Veteran Affairs Podcast. For those that didn’t know, Joe enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in March 1998, serving with the 1st Marine Division, and was honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant in April 2006. He is a combat veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, having served in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Kuwait, East Timor and the Horn of Africa.

On this episode, Joe speaks with Tim Lawson on his experiences as a Marine, the 9/11 terrorism that occurred while being a service member, suicide, and being a leading veteran advocate voice in D.C. through AMVETS.

Message from the Commander

Ladies and Gentlemen:

We here at American Veterans National Headquarters in Lanham, Md., are shocked, outraged, and ultimately disappointed to be targeted by vandals, who’ve caused thousands of dollars in property damage to our employees in an apparent retaliation against our participation in the president’s inaugural parade.

Ever since AMVETS participated in the parade to raise awareness for veterans issues, members of our staff have been targeted with hateful and menacing e-mails, telephone calls and social media comments all expressing anger over the misperception that AMVETS’s presence in the parade was a partisan act. This off-putting vitriol toward our organization and its people were capped off this week by the repeated and deliberate distribution of hundreds of screws and nails in our parking lot, vandalism that has done damage to 10 employee vehicles and an AMVETS truck used to support veterans job centers nationwide.

Although these acts of vandalism against veterans were clearly motivated by a misguided sense of political dissatisfaction, AMVETS certainly understands that crimes targeted at veterans do not typify the values or beliefs of any political party in particular. I’d like everyone to note that AMVETS requested to participate in the parade a month before the election even took place. As a completely non-partisan organization, you can expect AMVETS to continue representing and advocating for the interests of veterans and their families to the best of our abilities, regardless of who is elected president or how many screws or nails we find in our tires.


Harold Chapman
AMVETS National Commander

Bush Hog donates $10,000 to AMVETS Foundation

By Alaina Denean Deshazo | Selma Times Journal

Pictured from left: Gerald Worthington, Ricky Pendley, Kent Clark, Jeff Plummer, Bobby Gujral, Tyrone Trawick, Vicky Scarbrough and Tony Marchese

Lawn mowing manufacturer Bush Hog recently raised $10,000 for the AMVETS National Service Foundation to give back to veterans.

Gerald Worthington, Bush Hog president, said giving back to the veterans is important and he was happy to have his company participate.

“Every year, we have a fundraising event and this year we decided to partner with AMVETS,” Worthington said. “We took one of our zero turn mowers, we painted it in a camouflage scheme, we took it around to our major farm shows starting in the spring all the way through October. We asked people if they would be willing to donate money towards the AMVETS for a chance to win that zero-turn mower at the end of the year.”

Worthington said they have a number of veterans that work there now, and have worked there in the past, so he wants to do everything he and the company can to help them.

“I think this is an important time in our country when it’s more important to recognize the people that have fought for our freedom and fought to protect you and now it’s their turn and they need us,” Worthington said. “It’s time for us to step up and help them.”

Kent Clark, executive director of AMVETS National Service Foundation said he was excited to find out about the donation.

“Today is a great day for veterans,” Clark said. “We get to come down and spend time here with Bush Hog, but also, most of our veterans come from rural America and Bush Hog is part of that. So that’s why it’s so important for us to have a partnership giving back to America.”

Clark said when he found out how much money was raised for the organization, he was excited and thankful.

“When Bush Hog told us that it was $10,000, we were very appreciative,” Clark said. “We were proud to be partners with them this year.”

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Original Source: Bush Hog donates $10,000 to AMVETS Foundation

AMVETS is pleasantly surprised with President-elect Trump’s nominee to lead VA

Contact: John Hoellwarth
National Communications Director
AMVETS (American Veterans)
(703) 628-9621

American Veterans (AMVETS) is pleasantly surprised with President-elect Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“In the absence of clarity about who was to lead the VA, we grew more than a little concerned that political considerations might undermine veterans’ best interests,” said AMVETS Executive Director Joe Chenelly. “But this wise decision by President-elect Trump validates what we’ve long known and said – that the Veterans Health Administration is on the right track despite a prolonged, concerted smear campaign aimed at dismantling and privatizing veterans care. We applaud the transition team’s diligence.”

Since the election, AMVETS has been calling for continuity in leadership to protect and sustain the crucial improvement already underway within the VA. Dr. Shulkin is a strong leader who’s been a driving force behind these modernizations and improvements.

“While our membership has been clear in its preference to have a veteran leading the VA, I am heartened by the fact that Dr. Shulkin seems to legitimately ‘get it.’ Even as the undersecretary for VHA, Dr. Shulkin has continued to personally see patients in an admirable effort to stay in touch with veterans and caregivers,” said Chenelly.

AMVETS is looking forward to the confirmation process and will be paying close attention.


AMVETS is ‘Deeply Concerned’ About VA Secretary Position

For Immediate Release
Contact: John Hoellwarth
National Communications Director
AMVETS (American Veterans)
(703) 628-9621

AMVETS is ‘Deeply Concerned’ About VA Secretary Position

AMVETS National Headquarters, Jan. 9th, 2017 – American Veterans (AMVETS) is deeply concerned that the incoming administration, less than two weeks before President-elect Donald J. Trump’s inauguration, has yet to provide any clarity on who will lead the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) once he takes office.

“We cannot afford any lapse in leadership at the VA, especially at the Secretary level,” said AMVETS National Executive Director Joe Chenelly. “Millions of American Veterans receive necessary, earned care and benefits from the VA every day. The transition between administrations naturally brings uncertainty, but that must be minimized with a timely decision by the incoming president regarding the VA Secretary.”

“We, the veterans’ community, have been patient because we want this decision to be made wisely, with all of the facts taken into account. We realize a lot of misinformation has been spread over the past year-plus, and that takes time to cut through. We do not want to rush this, but timeliness is crucial,” Chenelly said. “A lot of important work on behalf of veterans may go to waste if the wrong decision is made or if it takes too long to decide.”

Last August, Mr. Trump addressed AMVETS’ national convention by video.

“We listened as President-elect Trump said veterans would receive the care and benefits they earned and need if he were elected. We met with his staff before the election, and we’ve twice met with his transition team after the election. We want and need President-elect Trump to make the right decisions on leadership and direction. We’ve offered our full assistance, including a standing offer to travel to New York City to meet with him. We are marching in his inauguration parade. We want him to be successful in fulfilling his promise to veterans. But we will hold him accountable if he does not,” Chenelly said.

AMVETS is among a group of the nation’s most experienced veterans’ organizations, collectively representing more than 5 million veterans. Weeks ago, they collectively requested a meeting with President-elect Trump, offering their counsel as he decides who should lead the VA moving forward. That request has gone unanswered.

Today AMVETS asks all who want what’s best for our nation’s heroes to call on President-elect Trump to meet directly with the veterans’ service organizations as soon as possible.

AMVETS is the nation’s largest and oldest Congressionally-chartered veterans service organization that is open to and fights for all veterans who served honorably, including reservists & guardsmen. AMVETS has been a nonpartisan advocate for veterans and their families for more than 70 years.

95 Year Old Navy Seabee Crochets Over 120 Blankets to Donate to Veterans


The West Palm Beach VA Medical Center honored World War II veteran, Don M’Sadoques
November 9th of this year. Over the past months, he has crocheted 120 blankets for fellow veterans living at the medical center.

At a young age, Don has had a talent for weaving, crocheting,
and caring for others. At age 21, he enlisted into the U.S. Navy Seabees and served until 1945.

The following are those who personally know Don and felt is necessary to speak about his undying generosity and service to others.

“Don is a gentle soul and a friend to all. A natural leader who encourages everyone to attend game nights and always willing to teach those who didn’t know how to play the games. You can’t help but feel love for Don.” – Bonnie Covaleskie

“Don is the best friend anyone could have. His organizational skills and good deeds he does for all his friends and neighbors cannot be surpassed. He is a loving friend to all.” – Bernie Diamond

“Just think, a member of the Greatest Generation, of whom there are far too few today. Don grew up poor, left home young, joined the Navy Seabees and was one of the many brave ones who helped allow the generations after him to enjoy the freedom they have today. An honest, dependable man whose word was his bond and a humble and kind soul whom we are proud to say is our friend.” – Larry and Peggy Killeen

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AMVETS Post 100 Marks Its 70th Anniversary

AMVETS Post 100 Commander Jim Duncan (center) hands Ed Wright of Jacksonville, a former AMVETS state commander, a certificate in appreciation of his dedication and service to Post 100 and the community.
AMVETS Post 100 Commander Jim Duncan (center) hands Ed Wright of Jacksonville, a former AMVETS state commander, a certificate in appreciation of his dedication and service to Post 100 and the community.
Jacksonville Illinois’ AMVETS Post 100 was established in 1946, just a year after the national AMVETS organization was formed. On Saturday, Post 100 marked its 70th anniversary with a celebration at the post home on East Court Street.

“About five years ago, the post had fallen on some hard financial times, but through some luck and by implementing better business practices, we were able to turn things around,” Post 100 Commander Jim Duncan said. “The reason we decided to hold the celebration was because 70 years is a long time and it’s a milestone we wanted to recognize.”

Doors opened at 10 o’clock, kicking off an exciting day of presentations, food and entertainment. Commander Duncan presented certificates of service to past commanders of the post, as well as to former leaders of the Sons of AMVETS and AMVETS’ Ladies Auxiliary.

“As a past AMVETS state commander and a longtime AMVETS member, I’m proud to be part of this 70th anniversary celebration of Post 100,” Ed Wright of Jacksonville said.

“The celebration is another way to get the AMVETS name out into the public, letting them know we are an open club,” Vice Commander Alice Towers added. “We hope to draw younger members to the organization. I would also like to reach out to more female veterans and encourage them to participate in the AMVETS.”

With over 260 members, Post 100 is one of the largest AMVETS posts in Illinois.

“The reason I enjoy belonging to the AMVETS is for the camaraderie and the shared experiences of serving in the military,” Lewis Camerer of Jacksonville said. “It doesn’t matter what branch you served in, we are all part of one big family.”

“We also act as a clearinghouse for veterans looking for assistance or information on benefits,” Commander Duncan said. “We are also active with the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy. We host an annual Good Friday party for the residents and some of our members serve on the Veterans Home’s advisory council. Our vibrant Ladies Auxiliary also donates resources to the five Illinois veterans homes.”

To find out more information about AMVETS Post 100, call them at 217-243-9990 or visit their Facebook page.

Original Source: AMVETS post marks a milestone

Murphy AMVETS Post 2180 Host Annual Charter Night

Cub Scout Pack 97 with members of AMVETS Post 2180 at Veteran Memorial Hall in Necedah
Cub Scout Pack 97 with members of AMVETS Post 2180 at Veteran Memorial Hall in Necedah
November 8th marked the 14th annual Charter Night Dinner for AMVETS Post 2180 in Murphy, Wisconsin. Their members, along with VFW, American Legion and Veterans Assistance Foundation in Tomah gathered at Veteran Memorial Hall in Necedah. They had a lot to celebrate.

Murphy AMVETS Post 2180 has been awarded Post of the Year from the AMVETS Department of Wisconsin for seven of the last eight years. Post 2180 members have been active in the community, making a total of 1,641 visits to schools and memorial services this year, totaling over 5,500 hours of service. Also, Post member Kenneth Hornburg received the Edward L. Janczak award for his work with Veterans in their community.

Hornburg, who also serves on the American Legion and VFW, said “Most all of it has to do with the support of the American veteran.” He goes on to say “the person that gives some time to the service of his country needs to be thanked. Because he has given his life over and above what everybody else does.”

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Original Source: AMVETS host annual charter night

Leaders of AMVETS Visit Taiwan

By L. J. Lamb | The China Post

AMVETS National Commander Harold Chapman, AMVETS National Ladies Auxiliary President Evelyn R. McElvin, and their party are hosted by Minister of the R.O.C. Veterans Affairs Council General Lee Hsiang-jow and Mrs. Lee at the Welcoming Dinner Party in honor of AMVETS guests.
AMVETS National Commander Harold Chapman, AMVETS National Ladies Auxiliary President Evelyn R. McElvin, and their party are hosted by Minister of the R.O.C. Veterans Affairs Council General Lee Hsiang-jow and Mrs. Lee at the Welcoming Dinner Party in honor of AMVETS guests.
Leaders of AMVETS (American Veterans), a congressionally chartered veterans’ service organization in the U.S., just completed their extended annual visit to Taiwan.

AMVETS National Commander Harold Chapman and AMVETS National Ladies Auxiliary President Evelyn R. McElvin were visiting at the invitation of the Minister of the R.O.C. Veterans Affairs Council (VAC) General Lee Hsiang-jow.

While in Taiwan, they paid a courtesy call on President Tsai Ing-wen at the Presidential Office.

President Tsai noted that AMVETS had been a strong supporter of Taiwan for over three decades, and that each year, leaders from the VAC and AMVETS exchanged information on veterans’ affairs, national defense and foreign relations.

President Tsai thanked the visitors for the latest AMVETS National Resolution on Taiwan, in which AMVETS recognized that the R.O.C. on Taiwan was a long-time friend, ally and strategic partner of the U.S.

At a welcome dinner party, Minister Tung expressed his gratitude to AMVETS’ continued support of Taiwan through its Resolutions at the AMVETS National Convention each year.

In return, Commander Chapman and President McElvin conveyed appreciation for their hospitality and noted that they were impressed with the dedication of the VAC in caring for the country’s veterans.

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Original Source: Leaders of US veterans’ service organization visit Taiwan