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 keeps the promises made to them.
J. Marc Burgess, National Adjutant
What better gift
For many American families, the holiday season represents a time to celebrate with loved ones, to reflect on the past and to embrace change for the new year.
But for still far too many veterans and their families, this time of year will not be joy-filled. Homelessness, unemployment and underemployment, and struggles with both physical and emotional pain can leave many of our nation’s finest in distress.
DAV will be there for these men and women. We will work tirelessly to secure the care and benefits earned by veterans, to connect them with meaningful employment opportunities and to ensure our volunteers are serving their needs. But while DAV as an organization will be there this holiday season, it’s even more important that DAV as a community of caring, compassionate individuals be there.
We can do a great deal as a veterans charity, but we can’t underestimate the power of personal interaction. For those struggling with depression or anxiety, those who are having a hard time putting food on the table, those who have nowhere to sleep at night, those who are lonely and ill and have no family to comfort them—your kind words and a few moments of your time could make all the difference in the world.
You may not be able to pull a family out of homelessness, but taking the time to acknowledge their struggle and connect them with local resources can be a
wonderful expression of compassion in a world that so desperately needs it.
Many of our chapters go to great lengths to involve members in sharing the spirit of the season with local veterans. In years past, Chapter 90 in Boone, N.C., has organized a toy and clothing drive for the children of local National Guard families; Chapter 31 in Detroit Lakes, Minn., and Chapter 21 in Greenbrier, Tenn., have helped supply meals and food baskets to veterans; Chapter 44 in Shelby Township, Mich., brought gifts and good cheer to veterans at a nearby nursing home; Chapter 39 in Coon Rapids, Minn., has worked for the past decade supplying gift and fuel cards to veterans. And each year, dozens of chapters host community holiday parties as a way to invite local veterans into the DAV family and recognize their sacrifices.
There are countless ways you can help reach your fellow veterans at this time of year, right in your own communities. If your chapter doesn’t have a plan, make one—it’s never too late and no initiative too small when it comes from the heart.
I hope you all enjoy a wonderful holiday season and that you keep each other in mind. After all, what better gift can we give to our fellow veterans this time of year than our kindness and our compassion.
If you want to find out more about the National Adjutant, you can find his biography here.