AMVETS in Action


Message from the Commander

Ladies and Gentlemen:

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

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

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


Harold Chapman
AMVETS National Commander

Bush Hog donates $10,000 to AMVETS Foundation

By Alaina Denean Deshazo | Selma Times Journal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


AMVETS is ‘Deeply Concerned’ About VA Secretary Position

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

AMVETS is ‘Deeply Concerned’ About VA Secretary Position

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Struthers AMVETS Post Hosts Pearl Harbor Event

(story via

STRUTHERS — AMVETS Post 44, 305 Elm Street, is having its annual Pearl Harbor Remembrance at 11 a.m. Wednesday, December 7.

Harold Ryther of the USS Oklahoma Remains Preservation Project is the speaker.

The USS Oklahoma was docked on battleship row and sunk with the USS Arizona during the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

The 388 sailors and Marines entombed within the ship when it was sunk are still listed as missing in action.

In 1943, the bodies were placed in an unmarked grave in the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. In 2015, the Defense POW/MIA Agency exhumed the remains for identification. Because dog tags were not issued by the Navy except during war time, identification was nearly impossible. The use of mitochondrial DNA is now being used to help reunite families with the remains.

A light lunch will be served after the program. The public is welcome. For information, contact Jan Brown at 330-518-5532.

Original Source: Struthers AMVETS post hosts Pearl Harbor event Wednesday

Leaders of AMVETS Visit Taiwan

By L. J. Lamb | The China Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016 Fall Sweepstakes Winners

Lanham, MD, November 14, 2016 — AMVETS selected the 10 lucky sweepstakes winners from thousands of 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.

Congratulations to the following winners of the 2016 AMVETS Veterans Day Sweepstakes:

  • $10,000.00 – Mr. & Mrs. William Carter of Huntley, IL
  • $5,000.00 – Mr. George Ben Johnson of Seabeck, WA
  • $2,500.00 – Mr. John M Evers of Iselin, NJ
  • $1,000.00 – Mr. Thomas J. Melvin of Millsboro, DE
  • $500.00 – Mrs. Betty D. Kelm of Bowling Green, KY
  • $500.00 – Mrs. M. Bissinger of Ormond Beach, FL
  • $500.00 – Mr. Charles Kelley of Davie, FL
  • $500.00 – Ms. Marlene Kearns of Pittsburgh, PA
  • $500.00 – Mr. James L. Lutz of Eastlake, OH
  • $500.00 – Mr. Robert Zellner of Green Bay, WI

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

Santa’s Wonderland Offers Support for Active Military and Veterans

Original story appeared in the Webster County Citizen

On Saturday, November 12, Santa will officially arrive at Santa’s Wonderland at 79* Bass Pro Shops locations nationwide to start the 2016 holiday season. With a little holiday magic, Santa’s Wonderland transforms Bass Pro Shops into a sprawling Christmas village featuring free photos with Santa and free family holiday activities, crafts and games. This year families can also help Bass Pro Shops and AMVETS send a quarter-million cards to active military and recovering veterans overseas and at home.

The magic begins at 5 p.m. local time on opening day when customers can greet Santa, enjoy free cookies, McSteven’s hot chocolate and carols. Children are invited to help Santa light up the outside of the store and a big Christmas tree in the main entrance at participating locations.

“Offering free photos with Santa and craft activities at Santa’s Wonderland is a way for us to say thank you to our customers and communities. Last year we provided more than one million free photos with Santa,” said Stan Lippelman, Bass Pro Shops Vice President of Marketing. “We are also proud to partner with USO and AMVETS to thank the men and women of our armed forces who make all of this possible. We cannot thank them enough for their sacrifices.”

In the spirit of the season, Bass Pro Shops again this year invites customers to support service members, military families and veterans at stores across the country through a donation program for the United Service Organizations (USO) and AMVETS. Beginning on Veteran’s Day, November 11, through the end of the year, customers can round up their purchase and donate the balance to the nonprofit organizations. Families can also complete one of 250,000 cards that AMVETS will deliver to active duty military and recovering veterans. The efforts are just one part of Bass Pro Shops significant commitment to supporting active duty military, veterans and their families including employing thousands of veterans and offering a monthly military/veteran discount.

About Santa’s Wonderland

Nobody celebrates Christmas like Bass Pro Shops. For the ninth year, Santa’s Wonderland will transform Bass Pro Shops into an immersive holiday experience with rustic Christmas cabins, animated holiday characters, interactive talking caribou, and live elves set amongst snow-covered hills, illuminated Christmas trees and an arctic sky. The Christmas village offers remote control trucks, a laser arcade and a foam toy arcade. Families can also spend time at one of the activity tables where they can write a letter to Santa and make Christmas decorations and handmade crafts to take home, all for free.

Get a time, skip the line

The highlight of Bass Pro Shops Santa’s Wonderland is the big guy himself. Guests can enjoy family activities and avoid waiting in line with the free Bass Pass system. Upon arrival in-store, visit the Bass Pass Ticket Depot located at the entrance of Santa’s Wonderland to pick up a time-stamped pass. Return to see Santa at the time marked on the Bass Pass to share Christmas wishes and take a photo. Bass Pass reservations are only available in-store on a first-come, first-served basis; weeknights have the most availability.

Families visiting Santa Claus receive a free 4 x 6 studio-quality photo, and a digital Christmas video card to share online with family and friends.

New In-Store Activities in 2016

  • Holiday greeting cards for veterans – 250,000 cards provided in-store for customers to personalize from November 11 through December 16; Bass Pro Shops to mail on their behalf, in partnership with AMVETS
  • A big dig excavation area where kids can try out a new ride-on digger and control the scoops and shovels
  • Lincoln Logs building area for boys and girls to create anything they can imagine
  • An activity center for kids to play games and test out fun new toys of the season

Christmas Wish List Giveaway

Fans can also tune in online where celebrities from the world of sports and outdoors will share their photos with Santa on social media and followers can submit custom photo captions for a chance to win great prizes. Customers have the chance to win their Christmas wish list and share the generosity with a member of their community. For more information and to enter to win your Christmas wish list, visit

Original Source: Santa’s Wonderland Offers Free Family Activities and Support for Active Military and Veterans

Field Of Honor In Dennis Supports Those Who Served

By Susan Vaughn | Wicked Local Media

Twenty-year Army veteran Ken Gingras served in Vietnam from 1970-71 and retired from the Army in 1990, but was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) only three years ago. A psychologist leading a veterans counseling group then connected him and other veterans with a therapeutic horsemanship program.

Gingras was one of six veterans in the program at Emerald Hollow Therapeutic Riding Center in Brewster, where two veterans are paired up with an abused horse. He lights up when he talks about the program.

“We learn how to calm them and clean them and learn horsemanship skills,” he said, “After the horse has established a comfort level, we are able to get them to circle and come to you. They have to have a comfort level with you and you feel comfort as well.”

The program is among the many beneficiaries of the Field of Honor, the fourth annual Veterans Day event, which displays more than 300 flags in honor of veterans and other everyday heroes at Johnny Kelley Park in Dennis. The flags, which are purchased by individuals, will be on display from Nov. 11-14 with a public ceremony on Nov. 13.

The event leaders are looking for more people to buy flags at $35 each to bring the total up to 400 this year, said Vinnie Fontaine of Dennis, a Marine veteran who got the program started.

Gingras went on to explain how the horse program works. He said horses are prey animals, much like the military veterans feel who have been through war. The horses can pick up danger through their ears and eyes and signal with their heads when they are stressed or relaxed, he said.

“It gives you a better understanding of what you’re going through. We have trust issues,” Gingras said of veterans with PTSD. “We’re always looking behind us.”

The four-hour program once a week for five weeks also helps the veterans to develop a camaraderie with each other, he said. In his group, there were two other Vietnam veterans and veterans from the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars. A second session is under way at the farm.

“I felt it was an excellent program for me. It should be for others,” Gingras said. After the program finishes, he said, “You’re always welcome to come back to the farm and you can be a facilitator.”

The therapeutic horse program receives no outside funds and is run by trained volunteer guides along with a therapist.

DAV Chapter 96 gave $1000 donations each to the Delta Dogs and Emerald Hollow Horse Farm, which are designated as the primary recipients for this year’s Field of Honor, according to Brian Hawkesworth of Dennis, a Vietnam veteran and veterans service officer for the DAV chapter and AMVETS Post 333, co-sponsors of Field of Honor.

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Original Source: Field of Honor in Dennis supports those who served