A Legacy of Service, Hope for the Future

DAV (Disabled American Veterans) is the most long-lasting veterans advocacy and assistance group in this country. We’ve watched this country change and grow, and we’ve grown along with it. However, DAV has never wavered in its core mission to fulfill our country’s promises to the men and women who served. We invite everyone, veterans and civilian, men and women, young and old, to join us as we stand up for those veterans who risked it all when they stood up for us, our country, and our ideals.

Ronald Hope, National Commander

It’s been the greatest honor

Words cannot adequately express how I feel as I write this last column. It’s been the greatest honor, privilege and joy to serve as your National Commander. Taking care of the men and women who undoubtedly have what the words “service,” “sacrifice” and “freedom” entail is a sacred promise DAV has made to America’s veterans, and I always kept that in mind.

It was a very busy and productive year. As you all know, for two straight years DAV marched on Congress’ doorstep to make ourselves clear that we expect our lawmakers to do the right thing for the men and women who had the courage to wear our nation’s uniform. Passing advance appropriations into law to ensure veterans and their families would continue to receive their earned benefits in the event of a government shutdown was, quite simply, the right thing to do. And I’m proud to say that DAV made that happen.

In 2015, we again found ourselves on Congress’ steps to say that we expect them to pass the Caregivers Expansion and Improvement Act. This bill will open the VA family caregivers program to all eligible veterans of any era who were severely injured while serving our country.

As I prepare to leave this post, I want to take one more chance to impress upon you how critical this legislation is. The family caregivers program provides home health training, peer support and a financial stipend to caregivers of injured veterans. It would also provide caregivers access to mental health support and enrollment in the VA’s civilian health and mental health programs, if they are not already eligible. This is something I know you can all get behind, as many of you have personal experience with this issue.

Providing equal benefits for family caregivers of wounded and ill veterans for the decades of service and sacrifice before 9/11 is simply the right thing to do, as well as plain common sense. I urge you to let your elected representatives know you will hold them accountable—with your votes.

DAV’s Transportation Network remains top-notch, and I’m very proud that we provide such an important service to our brothers and sisters. But we’re seeing a shortage of drivers. If you have the time and are not otherwise engaged, I respectfully ask that you consider volunteering for this important program.

Like many of us, DAV came into my life when I desperately needed it and, as a result, I wanted to become active in the organization and help continue our legacy of service to America’s veterans. I plan to stay an active part of DAV and hope you will as well.

Thank you for placing your trust in me to represent our wounded and injured veterans. In my mind, there’s no greater group of men and women on Earth, and I’m as proud to stand with all of you today as I was when I joined DAV more than two decades ago.

If you want to find out more about the National Commander, you can find his biography here.