AMVETS in Action

Category: News

National Guardsmen Assist AMVETS with Parking Lot Project

By The Jamestown Sun Staff | jamestownsun.com

About 35 North Dakota National Guard soldiers this week will put the finishing touches on a parking lot project at the American Veterans, or AMVETS, Club Post #20 in Steele, N.D.

The Guardsmen, who hail from the 835th Engineer Detachment (Asphalt Team) and the 897th Engineer Detachment (Concrete Section) — based about 80 miles northeast in Carrington — assisted the veterans organization through a state civil-military construction project. The program provides soldiers with realistic training while providing community nonprofits and governmental agencies needed assistance.

“This was a mutually-beneficial project for our guardsmen and the residents of Steele,” said Maj. Gen. Alan S. Dohrmann, North Dakota adjutant general, who visited the units last week. “Our airmen and soldiers spend two weeks conducting annual training to build upon their military knowledge and collective skills. Being able to strengthen our communities by providing assistance and build our guardsmens’ readiness at the same time is a win-win for our organization and those we serve.”

In May, the 815th and 897th soldiers spent a unit drill weekend clearing the AMVETS parking lot site by using their inventory of earth-moving equipment. Earlier this month, the guardsmen began pouring concrete for the facility’s new 75-by-135-foot parking lot, as well as additional gutters and driveways.

Sgt. 1st Class Joel O’Neil of West Fargo, N.D., serves as the units’ noncommissioned officer in charge and acting commander. He said the AMVETS project gave the units the opportunity to train in their respective military occupational specialties, which include heavy equipment operators and concrete/asphalt equipment operators.

“The project has given us the chance to do some convoy training and mobilize the equipment we need, as well as conducting planning for the project,” he said.

O’Neil said his soldiers bring a depth of experience and knowledge to the project, many of them formally working in construction of some kind in their civilian professions.

While in Steele, which touts a population of about 800 residents, guardsmen have been housed at the local high school, sleeping in classrooms and using the shower facilities in the locker rooms.

The Guard members’ presence also has been appreciated by Steele residents, said Lavonne Stockert, the Steele AMVETS manager.

“They’ve been very pleasant, they’re easy to work with and they wanted to help out people in the community in addition to the concrete work,” Stockert said.

Stockert said the new parking lot came just in time to accommodate some additional traffic coming into town later this summer. Steele residents will celebrate a Kidder County all-class reunion later this month at the AMVETS and also will host a car show later in the fall.

Original Source: National Guardsmen assist AMVETS with parking lot project

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/

Cary-Grove AMVETS 29th Annual Picnic for Veterans

By Nate Linhart | nwherald.com

FOX RIVER GROVE (nwherald.com) – Cary-Grove AMVETS Pearl Harbor Memorial Post 245 will host its 29th annual picnic for hospitalized veterans Wednesday.

The event will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Lions Park, 747 S. River Road in Fox River Grove. Veterans will begin arriving about 11 a.m.

The picnic will include food, beverages, music and games. Boat rides and fishing also will be a part of the day’s activities.

AMVETS Cmdr. Gary Foster said he expects about 400 veterans to attend this year’s event, which he said is about the same number of veterans that were there last year.

Veterans from the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in Hines and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago are expected to attend this year’s event.

The picnic will relocate to the Algonquin Township office, 3702 Route 14, Crystal Lake, if there is any rain that day.

Cary-Grove AMVETS still is looking for volunteers and money donations. Volunteers can help serve food, participate in the day’s activities and will be able to get to know the veterans.

Donations can be sent to AMVETS Post 245, P.O. Box 741, Cary, IL 60013. For information, call Foster at 847-639-3936.

Original Source: Volunteers, donations still needed Cary-Grove AMVETS 29th annual picnic for veterans

AMVETS Donates Golf Cart to Veterans Home

By Tony Centonze | The Leaf Chronicle

Ed Harries, Executive Director of Tennessee State Veterans Homes, right, takes the key to a new golf cart donated to the facility Thursday from AMVETS Department of Tennessee State Commander Deric Everett. (Photo: Tony Centonze / The Leaf-Chronicle)
AMVETS Department of Tennessee State Commander Deric Everett (left) hands the key to a new golf cart to Executive Director of Tennessee State Veterans Homes, Ed Harries (Photo: Tony Centonze / The Leaf-Chronicle)

There was a ceremony Thursday morning at the Brig. Gen. Wendell H. Gilbert Tennessee State Veterans Home in Clarksville. AMVETS (American Veterans) donated a golf cart to the center that will be of great benefit to its residents.

“A gift like this raises the quality of life for our residents,” said Ed Harries, Executive Director of Tennessee State Veterans Homes. “For our residents who might not be able to walk well, this will allow them to get outside and see the grounds. Thanks to AMVETS’ generous donations, this is happening at all four of our Tennessee facilities.”

The Home, which has been open since late 2015, will eventually house 108 residents, primarily veterans who are in need of skilled nursing care. The inside of the expansive facility is complete, but Harries has plans for the outside. There are already trees and some landscaping in place. He would like to see the courtyard areas between the buildings further developed.

“Every window should be a picture,” Harries said. “When our residents look out from the rooms there should be something of interest outside each window. If they have to, or want to spend a lot of time in their room, they should have a view, something interesting to look at. Our veterans have earned that.”

AMVETS Department of Tennessee State Commander Deric Everett shares Harries opinion that Tennessee’s senior veterans deserve every opportunity.

“We are putting a cart in each of these facilities,” Everett said. “Our motto is ‘veterans serving veterans.’ We help veterans, their families and their communities at large. We could think of no better way to help, but to donate these special carts to the homes where our senior veterans are living.”

Everett says the carts are special. They have been extended to allow plenty of leg room for the elderly and handicapped. There is also a place on the back to hold a wheelchair. AMVETS previously donated a full size, 10-seat van to the Clarksville veterans home.

Everett says the van helps residents get to the store, doctor’s appointments, or even out for social activities. “This is a great opportunity for us,” he said. “We appreciate the chance to be able to do this for our veterans.”

Harries describes the facility as nine “houses,” each with 12 bedrooms. Each house has everything its residents need, but there are common areas, with a bistro, a great room and an activity center that encourage social interaction.

“Skilled nursing is a component in the care continuum,” Harries said. “There are things we can’t do here. We don’t offer acute care, nor is this a behavioral unit. We don’t deal with violent individuals, and we don’t heavily medicate people. Our residents are people who need rehabilitation, or just can’t function at home because of their limitations.”

The facility has already been CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) certified. The next step is Veterans Administration certification.

Original Source: AMVETS Donates Golf Cart to Veterans Home

Good Neighbor: Veteran Paints Mural on AMVETS Post

By Melissa Holmes | wgrz.com

BUFFALO, NY (wgrz.com) – The AMVETS Post in Riverside has been transformed, and an Army veteran is responsible for the military mural.

While some only see graffiti as vandalism, others consider it to be art.

Vinny Alejandro of Buffalo was approached by the River Rock Community Coalition with a blank canvas – the 2000 sq. ft. side of the AMVETS Medallion Post 13 in Riverside. He was asked to transform it.

“I did a sketch automatically. Being a vet it was an easy kind of thing to think about.”

Alejandro is a former Army specialist who served in Germany from 1993 to 1997 and for the mural he wanted to depict America’s military through the years.

He spent nearly 50 man-hours and used 100 spraycans to paint the original 13 star American flag, a desert colored hummer representing the desert conflicts, paratroopers representing WWII, an F-16, Cobra helicopter from Vietnam, M-1 tank, F-22 Raptor and a Coast Guard helicopter, and the seals of all five military branches.

Just a few weeks ago, Alejandro returned to Joplin, Missouri, to touch up another one of his murals. He originally painted it 5 years ago when he was living there and a devastating EF-5 tornado ripped through, killing 160 people.

“We just found a building that we thought was going to be torn down and we did a mural on it and it became a symbol of hope for the city,” Alejandro said.

And now that he’s living in Buffalo again, his works can be found all over, from University Heights to the Old First Ward. And he serves as a mentor to others who might use the spray can wrong way.

“There’s not just the criminal element to it. I like to teach younger kids the history of it. The artform of it. ”

“It’s meant a lot already. Just for the veterans the post the neighborhood in general, just the sense of pride that it brings back to the community,” said George Fitzpatrick, founder of the River Rock Community Coalition.

There is an officially unveiling of the mural and fundraiser planned for Friday, June 17th from 5:30 to 9:30 pm at the Amvets Medallion Post 13 on Review Place in Riverside. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the door.

To find out more about the fundraiser, click here.

To find out more about the River Rock Community Coalition click here.

To find out more about Vinny Alejandro and his artwork, click here.

Original Source: Good Neighbor: Veteran Paints Mural on AMVETS Post

AMVETS Post 19 in Ogdensburg Celebrating 25 years of Service

By Larry Robinson | watertowndailytimes.com

OGDENSBURG (watertowndailytimes.com) — One of the city’s most active veteran’s organizations in recent decades is asking the community to join hands in helping celebrate a quarter of a century of civic involvement in the greater Ogdensburg region.

AMVETS (American Veterans), Post 19 will be celebrating its 25th anniversary on Saturday at the AMVETS building on State Street in Ogdensburg.

The Ogdensburg AMVETS Post 19 is a charter member of the American Veterans, Inc. organization. At the national level the group was formed by World War II veterans as a way to help local communities and to help safeguard the interests of those who have served the country in uniform.

At the state and national level the organization advocates for causes that it deems helpful to the nation as a whole, as well as to safeguard the interests of those who have served in uniform.

The only requirement for membership is to have been honorably discharged from the U.S. military, according to AMVETS officials.

According to the organization’s website, the veteran group’s long-term goal 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.

The group advocates civic involvement through leadership, advocacy and community service.

The Ogdensburg AMVETS Post has been active for 25 years, helping sponsor a number of events and organizations over the years. The group is self-sufficient from it’s own fund raising activities and donations.

In Ogdensburg, AMVETS Post 19 will celebrate 25 years of civic involvement with a Saturday dinner that will consist of potato salad, baked beans and desert from 4 to 6:30 p.m. In addition there will be a dance and live music from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m.

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.

The Saturday celebration in Ogdensburg will include a 50/50 raffle. Cost of the dinner is $5, the dance is $5 and those who want to attend both the dinner and the dance will be charged just $8.

For more information on how to help celebrate 25 years of public service at the AMVETS Post 19 in Ogdensburg, call 315-393-6140.

Original Source: AMVETS Post 19 in Ogdensburg celebrating 25 years of service

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.

Silver Helmet Awards Submissions Needed

The Silver Helmet Awards are coming soon, and we need your submissions! The deadline is June 24, 2016. Please submit your nominations for the following categories:

Civil Servant of the Year: Recognition of a career employee, at any level of government, for outstanding public service.

Rehabilitation Award: Recognition of a person who has, within the past year, made exceptional contributions in the field of rehabilitation of disabled persons.

Defense Award: Recognition of a person who has made exceptional contributions to the defense of the United States and the Free World.

Peace Award: Recognition of a person who has, within the past year, made exceptional contributions to the cause of world peace.

Americanism Award: Recognition of an American who has made the most outstanding contributions to strengthen Americanism.

Congressional Service Award: Awarded as warranted in recognition of a member of Congress for exceptional service to the American people, principally veterans.

AMVET of the Year: Recognition of the AMVET who has contributed most to the welfare of the organization nationwide.

Nominations for the Silver Helmet Awards originate with individual AMVETS members and AMVETS posts. All properly completed Silver Helmet nominations will be submitted to the AMVETS National Honors & Awards Committee for their deliberation at the annual convention. The Honors and Awards Committee‚ composed of all past national commanders and the last five “AMVET-of-the-Year” awardees‚ reviews the nominations, selects the winners and announces them to the convention delegates. By vote, the convention delegates ratify the H&A committee’s recommendations.

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.