AMVETS in Action

Category: Press Release

Horizon Goodwill Industries Launches AMVETS Career Center powered by the Call of Duty Endowment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact
David Gai
Phone: 301-683-4035
Email: dgai@amvets.org

On Wednesday January 20th, Horizon Goodwill Industries, in partnership with AMVETS (American Veterans), will launch their AMVETS Career Center powered by the Call of Duty Endowment at the Goodwill Resource Center at 100 Eagle School Road, Martinsburg, WV 25401 from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Horizon Goodwill Industries (HGI) is proud to be AMVETS’ first non-AMVET partner in this critical resource for our community,” said Catherine Fleming, Director of Mission Services for HGI. “HGI is a perfect fit as a partner with AMVETS for helping veterans. Job seekers of all kinds come to Goodwill® for services every day, including veterans. AMVETS is well-known to men and women who have exited the service. This partnership offers veterans a convenient location to access training and help finding employment.” said Fleming. Up to now, AMVETS, a national veterans’ service organization, one of eight Call of Duty Endowment grantees, has used local AMVETS posts to house their career centers.

“We are proud to be working together with HGI and confident that this partnership will enhance our joint service offerings for this nation’s heroes, especially for the veterans in the Martinsburg area,” said Jim Pidgeon, AMVETS National Commander. By the end of 2016, more than 74,000 veterans will be living in the 4-state region*. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 5.0 percent national unemployment rate for all Americans (16 and over) for December 2015. That same report identified the unemployment rate for veterans in the following age categories; 20-24 at 6.1%, 25-29 at 6.5%, 30-34 at 8.3%, and 35-39 at 6.3%. If these statistics hold true for the 4-state area, that means between 4,000 and 5,000 men and women who have served our country will be without a job.

Goodwill and AMVETS are doing something about that! #puttingheroestowork

“We provide case management, paid work training and job placement services for vets that are also receiving assistance from the VA,” said Fleming. “Both AMVETS and Goodwill are increasing services to veterans resulting in closer partnerships with VA programs. This vital career center partnership is the first of its kind for both of our organizations.”

AMVETS National Commander James D. Pidgeon and Horizon Goodwill Industries CEO John N. McCain will speak at the launch about the partnership and how it will benefit veterans in the 4-state region.

HGI serves people in Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia and is able to support needs that could otherwise go unmet in local communities. Goodwill’s vison is helping people achieve their full potential through the dignity and power of work.

AMVETS provides support for veterans and the active military in procuring their earned entitlements, as well as community service and legislative reform that enhances the quality of life for this nation’s veterans and citizens alike. AMVETS is one of the largest congressionally-chartered veterans’ service organizations in the United States, and includes members from each branch of the military, including the National Guard and Reserves.

*Source: Department of Veterans Affairs, Veteran Population Projection Model-VetPop2014; statistics for Washington, Allegany, and Garrett County in MD, Grant, Hardy, Mineral, Hampshire, Morgan, Berkeley, and Jefferson counties in WV, Winchester City and Frederick county, Warren, Clarke, Page, and Shenandoah counties in VA and Fulton and the southern portion of Franklin counties in PA.

For more information, please visit www.horizongoodwill.org and www.amvets.org. #puttingheroestowork

Defense Department Announces Results of Military Decorations and Awards Review

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Release No: NR-004-16
January 7, 2016

Today, the Department of Defense announced the results of its year-long review of the military decorations and awards program to ensure continued appropriate recognition of the service, sacrifices, and actions of its service members while maintaining the historical legacy of the awards program.

The department’s review focused on combat and valor recognition utilizing lessons learned over 14 years of combat operations. Among the key changes was:

  • Implementation of new goals and processes to improve timeliness of the Medal of Honor and other valor awards;
  • Standardization of the meaning and use of the “V” device as a valor-only device to ensure unambiguous and distinctive recognition for preeminent acts of combat valor;
  • Creation of a new combat device (e.g., “C” device) to distinctly recognize those service members performing meritoriously under the most arduous combat conditions;
  • Adoption of a common definition of Meritorious Service Under Combat Conditions to determine eligibility for personal combat awards;
  • Introduction of an “R” remote impacts device to recognize service members who use remote technology to directly impact combat operations.

The complete list of changes to the military decorations and awards program can be found at: http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/Military-Decorations-and-Awards-Review-Results.pdf. These changes will be implemented over the next 12 months.

Heroes Vodka Donates $14,000 to AMVETS

Nashville, TN – Dec. 9, 2015 — Nashville-based Heroes Vodka, founded by U.S. Veteran Travis McVey, is donating $14,000 to AMVETS for its 2015 Giveback. The annual donation is an ongoing commitment by the award-winning vodka to give back a portion of every purchase to benefit U.S. Veterans and their families.

McVey dedicates the month of November to American Heroes by traveling to stores and bars that sell his product and personally thanking them for their support. “With 9 gold and silver medals in blind tastings, the vodka sells itself,” says McVey, “but the bars and liquor stores in Middle Tennessee also see value in the giveback to Veterans.” Heroes Vodka is the only local spirit that has a Giveback attached to every purchase.

McVey made personal visits to local establishments to present the annual donation including ACME Feed & Seed, The Palm Restaurant, Cool Springs Wines & Spirits, Sperry’s Restaurant, Whiskey Bent Saloon, Tootsie’s Lounge, Corner Pub and Bridgestone Arena. Dignitaries including Nashville Mayor Megan Berry and more than 100 Veterans joined in the festivities. Heroes Vodka is available in nearly 400 accounts in TN, and in hundreds more nationwide. Heroes Vodka will be the main sponsor of the 2015 Music City New Year’s Eve Bash on Broadway in conjunction with Tootsie’s Lounge, Rippy’s Bar & Grill, and Honky Tonk Central. In addition to being featured on the VIP Fast Pass, Heroes Vodka will be the preferred pour with specialty drinks to ring in the new year.

McVey is traveling to New York to for the official Giveback presentation of the $14,000 check to the AMVETS National Commander on Dec. 9, 2015 at the Union League Club, located at 38 E. 37th St, New York, NY 10016.

About Heroes Vodka
Heroes Vodka is an award-winning, Veteran-owned premium American vodka. It was first bottled at Buffalo Trace on Veteran’s Day – 11.11.11 – a date that occurs only once in a century and epitomizes the rarity of this event. An all natural gluten- and glycerin-free spirit, Heroes Vodka has received 9 Gold and Silver Medals in national tasting and spirit competitions. Made from 100% American corn, each batch is distilled four times to create an ultra-pure, world-class spirit. The mission of Heroes Vodka is to deliver exceptional taste and superior value to consumers, while honoring Veterans and other American service organizations through charitable contributions. Every purchase of Heroes Vodka supports American Veterans through its Official Giveback Partner AMVETS. Donations are used to to develop community assistance programs for U.S. Veterans, active duty military and their families. To date, Heroes Vodka has donated $34,884 to support America’s military Heroes. HeroesVodka.com

About Travis McVey, Heroes Vodka Founder & U.S. Veteran
Travis McVey is a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran who proudly served as a Presidential Honor Guard from 1989-1992. An innovative and determined entrepreneur, Travis endured the life-changing tragedy of a good friend dying in combat in the War Against Terror in Afghanistan. The experience paved the way for the production of Heroes Vodka, which donates a portion of every sale to AMVETS, helping to make a difference in the lives of the brave men and women who have sacrificed for our country. McVey is a member of NaVOBA (National Veteran-Owned Business Association) and author of “Heroes of the Stage: Country Serving Country.” He serves as a correspondent for Vets on Media and has been a keynote speaker at multiple Veteran advocacy events, including the AMVETS National Convention. McVey currently resides in Nashville, TN.

About R.S. Lipman Company
R.S. Lipman Company is a Nashville-based international supplier of wines, spirits, beers, and mixers. The company’s diverse portfolio includes: Country Club Vodka (established in 1957), Lonely Cow Wines from New Zealand, Hap & Harry’s Tennessee Beers, U.S. Veteran owned Heroes Vodka, Red Eye Bloody Mary Mixes, El Diamante del Cielo Tequilas, Old Hickory Great American Whiskeys, Hidden Jewel California Wines, Saturday Night Red Wine, and the Napa Smith Brewery collection of craft beers. RSLipman.com

About AMVETS
A leader since 1944 in preserving the freedoms secured by America’s armed forces, AMVETS provides support for Veterans and the active military in procuring their earned entitlements, as well as community service and legislative reform that enhances the quality of life for this nation’s citizens and Veterans alike. AMVETS is one of the largest congressionally-chartered Veterans’ service organizations in the United States, and includes members from each branch of the military, including the National Guard and Reserves. AMVETS.org

For more images from the Heroes Vodka Giveback events in Nashville, please visit our photo gallery found in the link below:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/heroesvodka/sets/72157661992749435

AMVETS Announces Thanksgiving Sweepstakes Winners

LANHAM, Md., November 23, 2015 — AMVETS leaders this week congratulated AMVETS 2015 Thanksgiving Sweepstakes grand prize winner Perry Tucker. AMVETS National Executive Director James B. King personally called Perry Tucker to congratulate him on winning the $10,000 sweepstakes grand prize.

AMVETS selected the 10 lucky sweepstakes winners from approximately 105,000 entries from around the country for prizes ranging from $500 to the $10,000 grand prize. The drawing took place today at the AMVETS National Headquarters in Lanham, MD.

Proceeds from the sweepstakes help support AMVETS’ continuing mission to deliver quality of life programs for veterans and their families. Be sure to look for the next AMVETS Sweepstakes entry form in the mail in February 2016.

2015 Thanksgiving Sweepstakes winners:

$10,000.00 – Perry Tucker, Burke, NY
$5,000.00 – George Swanson, Naples, FL
$2,500.00 – David D. Vander Hyde, Newaygo, MI
$1,000.00 – John T. Heron, Edmore, MI
$500.00 – Brett Thomas Lamour, Lambertville, MI
$500.00 – G. Northway, Clarence, NY
$500.00 – Edwin Sanborn, Medway, OH
$500.00 – Darrell E. Jensen, Audubon, IA
$500.00 – Bryant S. Mitchell, Louisville, TN
$500.00 – Rose Nemeth, Hillsboro, MO

About AMVETS:
A leader since 1944 in preserving the freedoms secured by America’s armed forces, AMVETS provides support for veterans and the active military in procuring their earned entitlements, as well as community service and legislative reform that enhances the quality of life for this nation’s citizens and veterans alike. AMVETS is one of the largest congressionally-chartered veterans’ service organizations in the United States, and includes members from each branch of the military, including the National Guard and Reserves. To learn more visit www.amvets.org.

AANP, AMVETS Promote Non-Pharmacological Approaches for Chronic Pain

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

For AMVETS:
Diane Zumatto, National Legislative Director
Phone: 301-683-4016
Email: dzumatto@amvets.org

For AANP:
Michael Jawer, Director of Government and Public Affairs
Phone: 202-237-8150
Email: mike.jawer@naturopathic.org

Washington DC, September 16, 2015 – AMVETS, one of the nation’s largest veterans service organizations, has joined with the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) in seeking to promote natural, non-pharmacological approaches to treating veterans suffering from chronic pain.

The organizations have collaborated via a “Dear Colleague” letter in the US House of Representatives calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to take steps to employ licensed naturopathic physicians, who are specially trained in natural, non-invasive methods of healing. A “Dear Colleague” letter to that effect has begun circulating in the US House of Representatives. Leading the charge is Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI), who – like many of his colleagues – is concerned about the dangers of overmedicating veterans, especially with painkilling opioids. Rep. Pocan is joined by Representatives Julia Brownley (D-CA), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), and Walter Jones as the letter’s initial signators.

“After incidents across the country of veterans overdosing on or abusing opioids associated with chronic pain, it is clear we need a new approach to veterans’ pain management,” Rep. Pocan stated. “Our veterans deserve access to all possible forms of care when making their healthcare decisions, including the services provided by naturopathic doctors (NDs).”

The VA serves 8.76 million veterans each year, and chronic pain is known to disproportionately affect those who are serving or have served in the military, affecting nearly half of all active-duty military personnel and veterans.

The letter urges VA Secretary Robert McDonald to assign an employment code to licensed NDs so that they can be brought into the agency’s healthcare system. Signators will be on record as supporting the inclusion of “licensed naturopathic doctors, who are trained in the use of safe and effective natural and conventional therapies, in the spectrum of healthcare professionals employed within the agency.” Citizens can quickly and easily urge their Representative to sign the letter by clicking here.

Before its collaboration with AMVETS to support the House Dear Colleague letter, AANP commissioned a nationwide survey of a representative sample of America’s veterans, finding that nearly two-thirds of veterans (64%) would prefer a doctor who prescribes natural therapies before considering drugs or surgery, and that nearly three-quarters of veterans (73%) would consider seeing a ND if he or she were on staff at a nearby VA facility.

For military veterans, chronic pain often coexists with other health problems such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. NDs are well suited to help, since they are specially trained in natural, non-pharmacological approaches that facilitate the body’s self-healing ability.

Approximately 4,400 NDs are licensed to practice naturopathic medicine, having earned their degree from 4-year postgraduate naturopathic medical schools accredited through the US Department of Education. The approaches studied include nutritional counseling and stress reduction, botanical medicine, therapeutic manipulation, and oriental medicine. A strong emphasis is placed on disease prevention and educating patients on proactive self-care to maintain wellness. Resolutions passed by the US Senate have urged Americans to learn more about this “safe, effective, and affordable form of health care.”

The seeds for the VA initiative were planted at this spring’s AANP legislative conference, when NDs and naturopathic medical students swarmed Capitol Hill expressing the need for the VA to bring NDs into its employment mix. The agency has the ability to assign NDs an existing employment code; Congress’ letter is intended to encourage the VA to take the next steps.

Ultimately, the letter will be delivered to the VA, with the agency asked to respond to this “clear and present need.”

About AMVETS:
AMVETS (American Veterans), a leader since 1944 in preserving the freedoms secured by America’s Armed Forces, has supported Veterans, Active & Reserve Component Service Members, their families and survivors, for more than a half a century. As a leading advocate for Veterans rights and benefits, AMVETS serves as one of the preeminent voices of Veterans on Capitol Hill. AMVETS seeks to enhance and defend the earned benefits of all Veterans & Service Members through leadership, advocacy and service. Learn more at www.amvets.org.

About The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians:
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) is the professional association that represents licensed naturopathic physicians. AANP strives to make naturopathic medicine available to every American, and to increase recognition of naturopathic physicians as the identified authorities on natural medicine. Learn more at www.naturopathic.org.

Fixes to Reform VA Put Veterans First

LANHAM, MD, Sept 9, 2015 – Veterans must come first. The AMVETS (American Veterans) support viable plans and initiatives that provide veterans with real choice and that ensure the VA is held accountable for the services it provides to our veterans and their families.

Because AMVETS firmly believes veterans should have the liberty to take advantage of the benefits they have earned, we are proud to support the core principles embodied in the “Fixing Veterans Health Care Bipartisan Policy Taskforce” report, sponsored by Concerned Veterans for America (CVA).

These core principles, embodied in the taskforce’s reform proposals, are a necessary first step in implementing viable solutions that benefit veterans and address the problems impacting them and their families.

The taskforce’s proposals give veterans true health care choice, whether they want to keep using the VA system, or use their benefits at a provider better suited to their needs.

Specifically, the taskforce’s proposed reforms transfer ultimate authority on health care decisions from the VA to the veteran, while also preserving the current “brick and mortar” VA hospital system, supporting the important research and training functions the VA has so long provided, and modernizing it so that it can provide the highest quality of care and effectively respond to the challenges represented by the coming demographic changes in the veteran population.

Ultimately, veterans should be able to choose where, when and how to get their quality health care. Under the reforms of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 (VACAA), passed by Congress in 2014, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) serves as the “gatekeeper” for care and limits the number of veterans who qualify for private health care choices. Geographic restrictions are made based on VA facilities, not where veterans receive care, and wait-time restrictions are based on what the VA deems “medically necessary,” not when a veteran requests an appointment. Even with the choice card program, the VA still exercises significant control of veterans’ health care choices. The VA’s self-determined role as the gatekeeper of Veterans’ health care choice must stop. The VACAA is a good first step, but it is a temporary one whose funding is expected to run out in a few years. In the end, VACAA has kept the VA bureaucracy in control, and offers few real choices to veterans.

Some of the taskforce’s core reform principles AMVETS endorses include the following:

  • The veteran must come first, not the VA. The institutional priorities of the VHA weigh too heavily in current planning, funding and care delivery decisions. The interests of veterans should be paramount.
  • Refocus on, and prioritize, veterans with service-connected disabilities and specialized needs. Veterans with service-connected disabilities and specialized health care needs should be heavily prioritized; any reforms should ensure that VHA health care delivery centers on service-connected veterans and leveraging the VHA’s comparative advantage in specialized areas.
  • VHA should be improved, and thereby preserved. Those veterans who choose to use VHA facilities should receive timely and quality care. In order to achieve this goal, the VHA should be restructured—in theory as an independent, efficient, and modern organization—that can compete with private providers.
  • Grandfather current enrollees. Veterans should have the option to seek care outside of VA system but current enrollees who wish to continue to receive care within the system should retain the option to do so. Currently enrolled veterans will also have the option to “opt-in” to the reformed system.
  • Veterans should be able to choose where to get their health care. Based on eligibility, veterans should have the option to take their earned health care funds and use them to access care at the VA or in the voluntary (civilian) health care system. Because private health care is somewhat costlier than VHA-based care, most veterans who choose this option will be expected to share in some of the costs of such care, through co-pays and deductibles.
  • Veterans health care reform should not be driven by the budget. More efficient health care for our veterans may reduce the cost of their care, but reform should not be viewed as an avenue to reduce federal spending. Conversely, increased funding is insufficient to address VHA’s deficiencies. Thankfully, our fiscal modeling suggests reform can be achieved in a revenue-neutral manner.
  • Address veterans’ demographic inevitabilities. The VHA must be reformed now, or demographic changes in the veteran population will force difficult—and inevitable—changes in the future. Any reform proposal must consider substantial forthcoming demographic shifts in the veteran population, including substantial shrinkage in overall numbers—save for another protracted conflict—and disproportionate decreases in future enrollment.
  • Break VHA’s cycle of “reform and failure.” Minor tweaks to the current system may incrementally improve health care in the near term, but the monopolistic VHA bureaucracy is likely to return to a standard operating procedure heavily influenced by the desires and concerns of the institution and its employees. Only fundamental reform will break the cycle and empower veterans.
  • Implementing reform will require bipartisan vision, courage and commitment. A well-connected VA bureaucracy, parochial congressional concerns, and powerful outside groups frequently stifle difficult reforms across the government—and the same could happen with VHA reform.
  • VHA needs accountability. The VHA must be accountable to both veterans and taxpayers for its performance. An independent VHA will have more latitude to reward high performers, fire poor performers, and monitor the quality of health care delivery.

Congress must be aggressive in its oversight of VA health care delays and abuses. But turning principles into policies will be its greatest challenge.

AMVETS, along with other veterans service organizations and veterans advocacy groups like CVA, will continue to serve veterans and their families by encouraging hard looks at why the VA health care system and claims process have been overwhelmed, and providing reports that offer a strong start for policymakers. Because no plan is perfect, the specific merits of our recommendations and initiatives will benefit from further examination, refinement and fiscal modeling. Viable solutions could reshape the VHA reform debate and truly place veterans at the center of their own health care.

About AMVETS:
A leader since 1944 in preserving the freedoms secured by America’s armed forces, AMVETS provides support for veterans and the active military in procuring their earned entitlements, as well as community service and legislative reform that enhances the quality of life for this nation’s citizens and veterans alike. AMVETS is one of the largest congressionally-chartered veterans’ service organizations in the United States, and includes members from each branch of the military, including the National Guard and Reserves. To learn more visit www.amvets.org.

AMVETS Supports Veterans, Not Politicos

Lanham, MD – In response to the comments over the weekend from Donald Trump in regard to Senator McCain’s military service and record on VA reform, AMVETS (American Veterans), National Communications Director, David Gai, issued the following statement on behalf of AMVETS.

“When the dust settles and the rhetoric is gone, what is the true impact on veterans? Let the politicos open their mouths and insert their foot. That’s what they do; they don’t need our help. We refuse to sink low and get involved in the mud-slinging and political jabs because it has no benefit to supporting veterans, which is our organization’s focus.”

For media inquiries, please contact amvetscomms2@amvets.org.

About AMVETS:
A leader since 1944 in preserving the freedoms secured by America’s armed forces, AMVETS provides support for veterans and the active military in procuring their earned entitlements, as well as community service and legislative reform that enhances the quality of life for this nation’s citizens and veterans alike. AMVETS is one of the largest congressionally-chartered veterans’ service organizations in the United States, and includes members from each branch of the military, including the National Guard and Reserves. To learn more visit www.amvets.org.

VA Expands Disability Benefits for Air Force Personnel

VA Expands Disability Benefits for Air Force Personnel Exposed to Contaminated C-123 Aircraft

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today published a new regulation that expands eligibility for some benefits for a select group of Air Force Veterans and Air Force Reserve personnel who were exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange through regular and repeated contact with contaminated C-123 aircraft that had been used in Vietnam as part of Operation Ranch Hand (ORH).

VA published this regulation as an interim final rule so that it could immediately begin providing benefits to eligible Air Force veterans and Air Force Reserve personnel who submit a disability compensation claim for any of the 14 medical conditions that have been determined by VA to be related to exposure to Agent Orange.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald made the decision to expand benefits following receipt of a 2015 report by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM) on Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. This VA-requested report found evidence that as many as 1,500 to 2,100 Air Force and Air Force Reserve personnel who served as flight, medical and ground maintenance crew members on ORH C-123 aircraft previously used to spray Agent Orange in Vietnam were exposed to the herbicide.

“Opening up eligibility for this deserving group of Air Force veterans and reservists is the right thing to do,” said Secretary McDonald. “We thank the IOM for its thorough review that provided the supporting evidence needed to ensure we can now fully compensate any former crew member who develops an Agent Orange-related disability.”

Under this new rule, Air Force and Air Force Reserve flight, medical and ground maintenance crewmembers who served on the contaminated ORH C-123s are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides during their service, thus making it easier for them to establish entitlement for some VA benefits if they develop an Agent Orange-related presumptive condition. In addition, for affected Air Force Reserve crew members, VA will presume that their Agent Orange-related condition had its onset during their Reserve training. This change ensures that these reservists are eligible for VA disability compensation and medical care for any Agent Orange-related presumptive condition, and that their surviving dependents are eligible for dependency and indemnity compensation and burial benefits.

The interim final rule can be found on the Federal Register: www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection. VA will immediately begin processing claims and issuing benefits to eligible Air Force crew members.

VA encourages reservists who were assigned to flight, ground or medical crew duties at Lockbourne/Rickenbacker Air Force Base in Ohio (906th and 907th Tactical Air Groups or 355th and 356th Tactical Airlift Squadron), Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts (731st Tactical Air Squadron and 74th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron) or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, International Airport ( 758th Airlift Squadron) during the period 1969 to 1986, and developed an Agent Orange-related disability to file a disability compensation claim online through the joint VA-Department of Defense web portal, eBenefits (https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/).

VA also has identified several active duty locations where ORH C-123 aircraft may have been used following their service in Vietnam. Active duty personnel who served in a regular USAF unit location where a contaminated C-123 was assigned and who had regular and repeated contact with the aircraft through flight, ground or medical duties during the period 1969 to 1986, and who develop an Agent Orange-related disability, also are encouraged to apply for benefits. For more information on applying for these benefits, including the affected units, Air Force Specialty Codes and dates of service for affected crew members, and a listing of Agent Orange-related conditions, visit www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/claims-postservice-agent_orange.asp.

In order to avoid unnecessary delay of benefits, claimants should annotate “(C-123)” after each Agent Orange related disability in Part II, Block 14 of VA Form 21-526 or Section I, Block 11 of VA

Form VA Form 21-526EZ when filing on eBenefits. Example: Diabetes (C-123). If claimants have any of the following documents, they should be attached to their application:

  • Discharge, separation papers, (DD214 or equivalent)
  • USAF Form 2096 (unit where assigned at the time of the training action)
  • USAF Form 5 (aircraft flight duties)
  • USAF Form 781 (aircraft maintenance duties)
  • Dependency records (marriage & children’s birth certificates)
  • Medical evidence (doctor & hospital reports)

VA will process all claims related to C-123 exposure at the St. Paul, Minnesota, VA Regional Office. Claims not filed through eBenefits should be mailed to the following address (or faxed to 608-373-6694):

Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
Attention: C123 Claims
PO Box 5088
Janesville, WI 53547-5088

Individuals with specific benefit questions related to herbicide exposure on C-123s may call VA’s special C-123 Hotline at 1-800-749-8387 (available 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. EST) or e-mail VSCC123.VAVBASPL@va.gov.

University of Phoenix and AMVETS Offer Full-Tuition Scholarships

Scholarship program provides active-duty service members, their families and veterans with education opportunities this Memorial Day

LANHAM, Md, May 22, 2015 — University of Phoenix and AMVETS, a vocal advocate for veterans’ education, are committed to helping America’s military stand out among job seekers in today’s competitive employment landscape and pursue their civilian career. To reinforce that commitment, the University and AMVETS are awarding 20 full-tuition scholarships to active-duty service members, eligible family members and veterans to pursue an undergraduate or master’s degree from University of Phoenix. AMVETS has teamed with University of Phoenix since 2007, offering 345 scholarships in appreciation of the sacrifice these individuals make for the country and to assist them in transitioning from the military to the civilian sector.

“We must do all we can to help all veterans, particularly our post-9/11 veterans, attain their educational goals as they strive to make a successful reintegration back into the civilian world,” said AMVETS National Commander Larry Via. “We are so very grateful for our long standing education partnership with University of Phoenix, and extremely proud to announce the new scholarships available. This commitment will truly change the lives of those selected.”

“We all have a responsibility to the servicemen and women who have and continue to protect our freedoms, including helping them prepare for careers as they transition from military to civilian life,” said University of Phoenix Military Relations Vice President retired Army Col. Garland Williams. “University of Phoenix and AMVETS share a common mission in providing America’s active-duty service members, their families and veterans access to the education they need to enhance their professional skills and pursue their career goals.”

Applications for the 2015 University of Phoenix AMVETS Scholarship are being accepted now through Sept. 8, 2015, and scholarship recipients will be announced on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2015.

More information on the 2015 University of Phoenix AMVETS Scholarships, including eligibility requirements, terms and conditions and how to apply can be found at www.phoenix.edu/amvetscholar.

About AMVETS
A leader since 1944 in preserving the freedoms secured by America’s armed forces, AMVETS provides support for veterans and the active military in procuring their earned entitlements, as well as community service and legislative reform that enhances the quality of life for this nation’s citizens and veterans alike. AMVETS is one of the largest congressionally-chartered veterans’ service organizations in the United States, and includes members from each branch of the military, including the National Guard and Reserve. To learn more, visit www.amvets.org.

About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help working adults move efficiently from education to careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant and engaging courses, and interactive learning can help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. As a subsidiary of Apollo Education Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: APOL), University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit www.phoenix.edu.

AMVETS Announces Summer Sweepstakes Winners

LANHAM, MD, May 21, 2015 — AMVETS leaders this week congratulated AMVETS 2015 Memorial Day Weekend Sweepstakes grand prize winner Robert Davis. AMVETS National Commander Larry Via personally called Mr. Davis to congratulate him on winning the $10,000 sweepstakes grand prize.

AMVETS selected the 10 lucky sweepstakes winners from over 100,000 entries from around the country for prizes ranging from $500 to the $10,000 grand prize. The drawing took place today at the AMVETS National Headquarters in Lanham, MD.

Proceeds from the sweepstakes will help support AMVETS’ continuing mission to deliver quality of life programs for veterans and their families. Be sure to look for the next AMVETS Sweepstakes entry form in the mail in September 2015.

2015 Memorial Day Weekend Sweepstakes winners:
$10,000.00 – Robert Davis, Newark, DE
$5,000.00 – Rita Ludlum, Skillman, NJ
$2,500.00 – Anthony J, Picciuto, Grosse Ile, MI
$1,000.00 – Steven R. Clark, Lakewood, OH
$500.00 – Alice S. Dempsey, Barboo, WI
$500.00 – Gerald Maccombs, Elyria, OH
$500.00 – Gary E. Haines, Middleton, NH
$500.00 – Robert H. Boyd, Orange City, FL
$500.00 – Charles David Petty, Callaway, FL
$500.00 – Les Henriksen, Fort Wayne, IN

About AMVETS:
A leader since 1944 in preserving the freedoms secured by America’s armed forces, AMVETS provides support for veterans and the active military in procuring their earned entitlements, as well as community service and legislative reform that enhances the quality of life for this nation’s citizens and veterans alike. AMVETS is one of the largest congressionally-chartered veterans’ service organizations in the United States, and includes members from each branch of the military, including the National Guard and Reserves. To learn more visit www.amvets.org.