AMVETS in Action

Category: News

The Nimitz Group Joins AMVETS to Fight for All Veterans


Contact: John Hoellwarth, AMVETS
(301) 683-4035
Kaz Sasahara, The Nimitz Group
(571) 271-9737

The Nimitz Group Joins AMVETS to Fight for All Veterans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – AMVETS (American Veterans) is pleased to announce The Nimitz Group has joined AMVETS to advance our public policy and congressional interests in the nation’s capital. The Nimitz Group is a bipartisan advocacy group tackling the most difficult veterans and healthcare issues.

Nimitz Group CEO Justin Brown has more than 10 years of experience related to veteran advocacy on Capitol Hill. As a senior congressional staff member, he led numerous Veterans Affairs subcommittees and launched the nationally recognized non-profit HillVets, empowering veterans to create greater global impact. During his tenure on Capitol Hill, Brown was the primary staffer who worked toward comprehensive reform of the claims appeals backlog. He also was the first congressional committee staffer on the ground during the Phoenix VA Medical Center scandal. As a VA employee, he worked with senior staff and political appointees at the height of the claims backlog. As a lobbyist, Brown played a pivotal role in passage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

“The Nimitz Group brings an incredible amount of experience and know-how to our important legislative efforts,” said AMVETS National Executive Director Joe Chenelly. “We are excited about this addition during these turbulent legislative times. Justin Brown, a Navy veteran, is known not only for his legislative resolve and excellent relationships, he is known for his ability to execute and get things done.”

“AMVETS has an extraordinarily important role in veteran advocacy as the only large, Congressionally-chartered veterans service organization open to and fighting for all veterans, regardless of when or where they served,” Chenelly said. About 5 million veterans – nearly a third of all U.S. military veterans – are peacetime veterans, ineligible for regular membership in the other large organizations.

“Representing one of our nation’s largest and most storied veteran’s organizations is truly a great honor, and one we will take seriously,” Brown said. “We will fight every day to ensure our nation’s veterans and AMVETS’ members retain the benefits and healthcare that they have earned and deserve.”

Initial meetings consisted of reviewing AMVETS legislative resolutions and considering legislative strategies to get them enacted. AMVETS legislative team and The Nimitz Group staff will immediately begin meeting with congressional staff and leadership this week to discuss the AMVETS agenda.

Founded more than 70 years ago, AMVETS has more than 250,000 members across the United States. The non-profit organization’s mission is to enhance and safeguard the entitlements for all American Veterans who have served honorably, including the National Guard and Reserve, and to improve the quality of life for all veterans, their families, and the communities where they live through leadership, advocacy and services.

Traveling Vietnam Wall hits Cedar Falls AMVETS

A mobile version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial made it’s way to Post 49 this past Sunday. Several members of Post 49 Riders escorted “The Wall that Heals” along Interstate 35 to AMVETS grounds, and opening ceremonies hosted speakers from various veteran organizations as well as elected officials. Second vice commander Wayne R. Heiselman stated that more than 200 volunteers staffed the exhibit, educating those who came and assisting in directing visitors to names on the wall. Nearly $10,000 was raised from the community in an effort to bring the wall to Cedar Falls.

Riders Honor Chaplain During Annual “Blessing of the Bikes”


The AMVET Riders of Post 91 conducted the annual “Blessing of the Bikes” in Monticello, Indiana, May 7.

The event also honored past post chaplain George Hagle, who passed March 18 after a long battle with cancer. The riders provided George’s wife, Connie, with a signed, framed photo of George to commemorate his time with AMVETS.

“George was a great guy. He was one of our past presidents and our chaplain for a number of years,” Post 91 Riders President Don Kiselus said Sunday. “George was very active in the AMVETS organization, as well as the VFW and American Legion. He’s definitely going to be missed, especially by myself, as he was my mentor as well as my friend. Looks like we have a great turnout here today. I am just so glad and happy that he had so many friends that have some here to honor him today.”

Weekly Recap (May 1-5)

Week Round-up (May 1-5)

Miles Migs

Some of the top stories circulating around the veteran community.

What SECVA Shulkin said: Military Times reported that the VA is seeking to close more than 1,100 VA buildings, 430 of which are vacant and 735 are underutilized. The situation is costing the government $25 million annually, and Shulkin proposed the VA work with the pentagon when considering which buildings to close, known as Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). Shulkin also expressed concern that the VA budget not be increased in the future. VA efforts will also be spending the summer establishing a new medical records system.



Former director of Women Marines dies at 100 years old. Julia Hamblet, the longest-serving director of women Marines, died at a nursing home in Williamsburg, Virginia, May 1. Hamblet was one of the first women to be commissioned as an officer during World War II, and by the war’s end, had commanded 2,600 women and became the director of the Women’s Reserve. She retired from the Marine Corps in 1965 and transitioned into the U.S. Office of Education (now the Department of Education). After 13 years, she retired to Alexandria, Virginia, and volunteered with the YMCA and American Red Cross.




 The GI Bill outcry is receiving plenty of attention, but at the cost of other veteran legislation.

Congress heard from several service organizations and advocates the last few weeks when a reformed bill proposed taxing service members to fund their educational pursuits later in life. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe, R-Tenn., described opposition to the reform as “a giant step backward,” and hoped VSO’s would accept the bill as the Committee moved on to other issues, specifically the VA.



POTUS sings extension of the Choice Program & EO on Accountability Office.

President Trump gave the green light for the formation of a new Veteran Affairs Accountability Office April 26. The team will specifically look into the waste of resources and irrelevant employees at VA establishments nationwide. The signing of the executive order comes just days after reports of incompetent management at the VA Medical Center in Washington D.C. surfaced. The order should help bridge trust between the VA and many veterans who’ve experienced subpar treatment over the years. While currently in the mindset of establishing a leaner and centralized system, the order could lead to firing of several VA employees, diminishing of wasteful practices at VAMCs, and maintain the protection clauses for whistleblowers. The VA plans to place an executive director in the accountability office by mid-June.



AMVETS teams w/ VA in “Shark Tank” innovation competition. AMVETS announced a partnership with the Department of Veteran Affairs’ Diffusion team on a nationwide VA Medical Center competition April 24. The Under Secretary of Health Shark Tank Competition, inspire by ABC’s Shark Tank, focuses on celebrating diverse practices among VA Medical Center’s that yield success.

“AMVETS has a proud history of assisting Veterans and sponsoring programs that serve our country and its citizens,” said Joseph R. Chenelly, AMVETS’s executive director. “We’re pleased to work with VA to increase innovation within its health care system.”

Presentations for the competition will take place in June, with AMVETS and other veteran service organizations currently reviewing several practice proposals from centers.


MOST RECENT: The ACHA may do more harm than help for veterans.

The proposed American Health Care Act offers tax credits for citizens, permitted they are not eligible for other low-cost government health care.. such as VA care. This directly affects the somewhat 7 million veterans who are eligible for VA care, but are not enrolled, forcing them to either turn to the VA or face the consequences of going without. Republicans created a small clause in light of the situation, titled “special rule with respect to veterans health programs,” explaining that vets who were not enrolled in VA care would be eligible for tax credits. But Republicans knew the bill would most likely not withstand a Democrat filibuster, so they sent it through an up-and-down vote. The problem with this is it would need to be passed on to the House Committee on Veteran Affairs, where it could become a regular legislation proposal, be subject to deliberation and filibustering, and a long bureaucratic process for new health care. Republicans stand behind the 2012 IRS rule that as long as vets were not receiving care through the VA system, they were eligible for tax credits, an effort made under Obamacare to protect veterans. But if Obamacare is scrapped, so is that rule. Long story short, in an effort to enhance health for America, lawmakers may have just slighted those who protect it.

New AMVETS Women Veterans’ Post Breaks Boundaries

By Neil Hebert | WEAU

There are roughly 1,300 female veterans in the Chippewa Valley and there is now a group specifically made for them.

The Sierra AMVETS Post 2017 is the first female-oriented post in the State of Wisconsin.

The post’s goal is to help female veterans in the area with a variety of things: medical issues, finding employment, and other things they need help with. The post was chartered into existence today and the sky is the limit.

The post currently has only 12 members, but Denise Wenz, the post commander, says it will hopefully grow throughout the years. A big reason for the creation of the post is that female veterans face the same issues as male veterans, but they’ve never had something like this to help them find out how to deal with issues they’re facing back in the states.

“We have ladies serving in combat roles now and pretty much doing everything men are doing,” Wenz said. “When they get out, they just kind of fade into the background and they don’t necessarily know how to go about staying connected.”

Women veterans have the same benefits as men do, but Wenz says they typically don’t know that.

“A lot of the ladies when they get out, they don’t realize what kind of benefits they have and how to get those benefits,” Wenz said. “Hopefully, we’ll be kind of a bridge for the ladies who need benefits.”

Mike Hanke, who was in the military for over 20 years, says this is new territory for women veterans and will hopefully get them the help they need.

“That’s going to break grounds,” Hanke said about the post. “That’s going to hopefully lift some glass ceilings and give answers or give aid or give assistance or build bridges to other veterans similar to Denise or female veterans in the Chippewa Valley.”

The post will be meeting at Marc-On Shooting in Lake Hallie free of charge: a gesture that means a lot to the veterans.

“They’re veterans and they’re kind of looking out for us fellow veterans,” Wenz said.

The post will continue to host their meetings on the last Thursday of each month at Marc-On Shooting until they outgrow the space.

AMVETS Post 113 Riders Donate To Perryville Relief Fund

Provided by AMVETS Post 113

Amvets Post 113 Riders recently held a donation ride for the Perryville Disaster Relief Fund. Amvets Post 94 hosted the presentation at which Post 113 Riders President Rob Moore and 2nd Vice Commander Powell Meister presented $368 to Scott Sattler of Perry County Economic Development for help in the recovery effort following the Feb. 28 tornado that struck the city.

New AMVETS Post Launched In Oyster Bay

For Immediate Release

Contact: Wendy Goldstein

(516) 375-2946

AMVETS “Veterans Helping Veterans” Launches New Post in Oyster Bay

Oyster Bay, NY – AMVETS (American Veterans), a national organization that represents, supports and assists veterans and their families, has established a new post in Oyster Bay, NY. The charter was formally presented to AMVETS North Shore Veterans Memorial Post 21 at the American Legion Hall in Oyster Bay April 18.

The new AMVETS post already has approximately 50 members. It is presently conducting a food drive to benefit veterans’ food pantries and preparing care packages for deployed service members.

“The new post is a welcome addition to this north shore community,” said founding Post Commander Richard G. DeJesu, former Commander of the New York State AMVETS Department and a resident of Oyster Bay. “The AMVETS Post gives our returning veterans a place where they can find camaraderie and friendship, and the opportunity for continued service and engagement through activities aimed at helping other veterans.”

AMVETS welcomes active duty military and honorably discharged veterans from all military branches and time periods and does not require combat or wartime service. Membership eligibility includes service in the National Guard and Reserves.

AMVETS North Shore Veterans Memorial Post 21 meets on the first Wednesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. at the American Legion Hall located at 120 South Street in Oyster Bay. The next meeting will be Wednesday, May 3, 2017.

As one of America’s leading veterans service organizations, AMVETS has a proud history of assisting veterans and sponsoring programs that serve our country and its citizens.

Services provided by AMVETS include:

  • Hospital visits to brighten the lives of hospitalized veterans. Visits include talking, playing cards and even watching television with sick and disabled veterans to alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • Visits to and support of families of deployed and hospitalized veterans.
  • Educational scholarships to veterans to help them complete their education.
  • Trained national service officers (NSOs) accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs and funded by the AMVETS National Service Foundation provide sound advice and prompt action on compensation claims at no charge to veterans.

Over the years, AMVETS has been at the forefront of public policy related to national defense, services for homeless veterans, adequate funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, veterans’ employment and training, POW/MIA accountability and flag protection.

AMVETS has more than 250,000 members across the U.S. The organization’s mission is to enhance and safeguard the entitlements for all American Veterans who have served honorably and to improve the quality of life for them, their families, and the communities where they live through leadership, advocacy and services.

For additional information about AMVETS North Shore Veterans Memorial Post 21, please visit, email or call Commander DeJesu at (516) 220-9954.


AMVETS Joins Evaluators Panel for VA Health Care Innovation Competition

Left to right: Secretary of Veteran Affairs David Shulkin and AMVETS Naitonal Commander Harold Chapman look on during “Because We Care” Day at the VA Medical Center in D.C. April 5.

Via the Dept. of Veteran Affairs

For the first time, AMVETS is partnering with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on a trailblazing competition that identifies and spreads health care innovations and best practices across VA. The Under Secretary for Health (USH) Shark Tank competition, inspired by ABC television’s Shark Tank, recognizes enterprising VA employees who are solving some of the department’s toughest challenges.

The USH Shark Tank Competition supports the VHA Diffusion of Excellence Initiative, which identifies and spreads innovations and best practices that promote positive outcomes for Veterans system-wide. The goal of the USH Shark Tank Competition is to identify promising practices that address VHA’s priorities of improving access, care coordination, employee engagement, quality and safety, and the Veteran experience.

“VA has a longstanding partnership with the AMVETS and other Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) related to improving Veteran access and support related to VA benefits and services,” explains Dr. Poonam L. Alaigh, VA’s Acting Under Secretary for Health. “Their knowledge will help us identify better and more promising health care solutions.”

The USH Third Shark Tank Competition solicited promising practices from front line VHA employees throughout the nation. During the first round of evaluation, winners from prior USH Shark Tank competitions, Medical Center and Veteran Integrated Service Network (VISN) Directors, and other subject matter experts from the field will evaluate the applications and recommend approximately 100 Semifinalists. During the second round of evaluation, VHA program office and VSOs leaders will evaluate the semifinalists and recommend finalists to proceed to the third USH virtual Shark Tank competition. The evaluator’s feedback and scores will assist VHA leaders in selecting approximately 20 finalists. At the USH Third Shark Tank Competition, Finalists will pitch their promising practices to Medical Center and VISN Director “Sharks”, who will bid resources to the practice, hoping their improvements will be selected as “Gold Status” practices and adopted nationwide.

“AMVETS has a proud history of assisting Veterans and sponsoring programs that serve our country and its citizens,” said Joseph R. Chenelly, AMVETS’s executive director. “We’re pleased to work with VA to increase innovation within its health care system.”

In the first two USH Shark Tank Competitions, the evaluators included VHA leaders, as well as clinicians and staff from facilities across VHA. For the USH Third Shark Tank Competition, AMVETS leaders will serve as Evaluators, along with representatives from five other VSOs.

“VHA is proud to have VSO partners on the evaluators panel,” said Dr. Shereef M. Elnahal, Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Health for Quality, Safety, and Value. “We know they will use their experience to identify promising solutions that offer unique value to Veterans and their families.”

A Practice awarded “Gold Status” will proceed with implementation in the winning Shark’s facility or VISN, improving the system from the ground up. An employee recognized as a “Gold Status” Fellow, spend the subsequent six months guiding other the winning Shark’s facility or VISN in adapting and implementing the Gold Status practice.

Already, VHA is implementing more than 400 Diffusion of Excellence program replications at more than 70 of its health care facilities. Previous “Gold Status” practices have ranged from efforts to increase the availability of an opioid overdose treatment among clinical and community partners, to increasing wound care access for rural Veterans through telehealth, to a new way for VA physicians to review specialty care requests as soon as they are made.

Presentations for the next national “Shark Tank’ competition will take place in June. AMVETS and other service organizations have already been given sets of promising practice proposals to review.