A Legacy of Service, Hope for the Future
DAV is a nonprofit charity that provides a lifetime of support for veterans of all generations and their families, helping more than 1 million veterans in positive, life-changing ways each year. The organization provides more than 700,000 rides for veterans attending medical appointments and assists veterans with more than 300,000 benefit claims annually. In 2015, DAV helped attain more than $4 billion in new and retroactive benefits to care for veterans, their families and survivors.
DAV is also a leader in connecting veterans with meaningful employment, hosting job fairs and providing resources to ensure they have the opportunity to participate in the American Dream their sacrifices have made possible.
With almost 1,300 chapters and 1.3 million members across the country, DAV empowers our nation’s heroes and their families by helping to provide the resources they need and ensuring our nation keep the promises made to them.
J. Marc Burgess, National Adjutant
Strength in numbers
You’ve likely heard it time and time again, but I believe it warrants repeating: When we stand up as one, with the unified voice of our 1.3 million veterans, Congress and the president have to Listen.
With the 2016 election cycle heating up, our unity couldn’t be more important. The entire House of Representatives, one-third of the Senate and the presidency are up for grabs. As these campaigns pick up steam, for the first time in many years, we—veterans—are one of the critical pillars of support that candidates will need if they hope to be successful.
Given the concentrated media and political focus on the challenges facing veterans over the past two years, this will be one of the most pivotal elections in our lifetimes for determining the future of the VA system of health care and benefits.
There is no doubt that VA health care must be reformed and strengthened. We know the VA can’t be everywhere at all times, but we also understand that most of the specialized services ill and injured veterans rely on don’t exist in the private sector.
That’s why we worked with our Independent Budget partners to develop a comprehensive plan to expand access by developing local veteran-centric health care networks that integrate the best of community care into VA health care. Our plan would rebuild and expand the VA while utilizing high-quality private providers to increase access wherever and whenever needed.
Already, the VA has incorporated many of our ideas as part of its system wide MyVA initiative focused on meeting veterans’ needs and preferences. We’re also working closely with congressional leaders as they are considering new legislation to reform the VA.
At the same time, there have been some truly disturbing statements from candidates, elected officials, commissions and political organizations calling for hundreds of VA hospitals and clinics to be closed and our earned benefits to be scaled back.
As Congress and candidates deliberate these and other VA reform proposals, it will be essential for DAV members to be involved in this debate.
We are at a crossroads and need the voices of our members to be heard.
So, with all of this in mind, I urge all of you to help one another stay informed on legislation impacting veterans and their families. We need to constantly remind Congress, the Administration and prospective future leaders that we will not sit idly by and let our health care and benefits be abolished or diminished.
We have much work ahead of us, but I am confident that by standing together and relying on the strength and power of our grassroots members, we can and will continue to empower veterans to live high-quality lives with respect and dignity.
If you want to find out more about the National Adjutant, you can find his biography here.