AMVETS in Action

Category: News

Executive Dir. Chenelly named to HillVets 100

AMVETS Executive Director, Joe Chenelly, was honored to HillVets’ 2016 HillVet100 yesterday evening, as a leading member of veteran service organizations everywhere. For those who don’t know, Joe is constantly traveling between our headquarters here in Maryland, to Capitol Hill in D.C., and recently Norfolk, VA, operating off of (I can only imagine to be) a few hours of sleep daily in his pursuit to reach out to veterans through our organization and continue to serve them in any way possible.

Traditional Non-Profits

Natick AMVETS Hosts Passion Plunge for Special Olympics Cause

This weekend, our Natick charter hosted their annual “Passion Plunge,” where this year, Christine Michelson and Kathryn Seyfarth participated in the swim. Michelson and Seyfarth pledged that if their students could raise $500 for the upcoming Special Olympics of Massachusetts, they would that the plunge into the chilling waters of Lake Cochituate. The students raised over twice the goal set. To see the result, visit the link below:

AMVETS hosts 39 honorees and Secretary Shulkin at MoH Breakfast

January 19th, Washington D.C. – AMVETS National, along with several Post commanders and representatives, boasted a large turnout for a breakfast honoring Medal of Honor recipients. Our veterans enjoyed a fine breakfast at the Renaissance hotel, listened to a few words prepared by Commander Chapman, and talked with several other guest including American Legion Commander Charles Schmidt, Afghanistan Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib, and newly-appointed Secretary of the VA, David Shulkin.

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.”

» Continue the story

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.

AMVETS donates to Veterans Trust Fund

via Middletown Transcript

Commission of Veterans Affairs Chairman Bill Farley accepted a $500 donation from Christine Bradley, of AmVets Post 2, Ladies Auxiliary, on Dec. 20 after the commission’s monthly board meeting.

One hundred percent of tax deductible contributions to the Trust Fund go to honorably discharged Delaware veterans in proven financial need.

Commision of Veteran Affairs Chairman, Bill Farley, accepts $500 donation from Christine Bradley, Ladies Auxiliary of Post 2. Photo provided by Commision of Vet. Affairs.

Sons of AMVETS named “2016 Partner of the Year”

The 45-year-old national non-profit Help Heal Veterans (HV) whose mission is to provide therapeutic craft kits to every veteran who wants them, has named “Sons of AMVETS“, the 2016 Partner of the year. “The ‘Suns of AMVETS’ has been an incredible collaborator with HV this year. It is organizations like theirs who are dedicated to helping serve others that enable us to assist so many veterans across the country,” said CEO, Joe McClain.

The “Sons of AMVETS” distributed over 6000 craft kits to veterans during 2016 Fiscal Year, as well as, dedicating time to the project. “Combined we have attributed an estimated $500,000 worth of support to Heal Veterans,” said McClain. “Clearly they have been faithful to our organization, and we want to shine a very bright light on all that they have done. They not only have committed time, but they have financially supported HV with a $28,000 donation to back a literary study on Therapy and Arts and also subsidized our costs on mailing kits.”

About the craft kits: The craft kits help veterans both mentally and physically. It enhances the ability for veterans to take their minds off their injury and the past and creates an opportunity for them to live in the present. Feelings of accomplishment and a boost in self-esteem also augment veterans mentally. Physically the kits provide a substantial challenge that increases their mobility. Craft kits include projects like woodworking, leather, models, and a variety of needle crafts, among many others. Recently, HV has partnered with actress Kerry Cahill (The Walking Dead) creating a craft kit called “The Cahill Wristband.” The wristband is similar to what Cahill’s late father used to wear. A terrorist killed Cahill’s dad in the Ft. Hood terror attack in 2009.

Help Heal Veterans, a nonprofit organization founded during the Vietnam War, supplies free arts-and-crafts kits to injured servicemen and women and U.S. veterans. The kits often become a part of the patient’s treatment plan, providing a creative outlet for stress and boredom and a way to rebuild confidence and self-esteem. Help Heal Veterans has distributed more than 29 million kits since 1971 from hundreds of craft categories.