DAV’s calendar year is nearly closing, and our ranks are rapidly expanding.This is good and exciting news as, in the next few years, nearly 500,000 veterans will transition from military service back into the civilian world. Everyone reading this knows that transition can be a challenge as military service leaves one changed forever.
It’s up to DAV to reach those transitioning members and make them aware of our services as well as the fraternal benefits of our organization. And both of those benefits are very, very real. Let me share a story with you that I came across recently.
In Arizona, a disabled veteran living solely via his disability compensation was about to have his water turned off by the utility company because of his inability to pay his $111 bill. You can imagine how that would impact the life of anyone, let alone a disabled veteran, living in Arizona in the approaching summer.
This gentleman pleaded with the water company and was refused any leniency. He called other relief agencies in the area and called them but had no luck. His search ended when he called his local DAV Chapter and was told, “All you have to do is get here.”
Now, the story doesn’t end there. The gentleman barely had enough gas to make the drive to the office and, in fact, ran out when he pulled into the DAV Chapter’s parking lot. The local Chapter representative the veteran had spoken to took care of his water bill from the Chapter’s relief fund and, from his own wallet, gave his fellow veteran enough money to put some gas in his vehicle and said, “We’re vets.
We do what we need to do to take care of other vets.” That gentleman’s name was Commander Albert Farmer from Chapter 2 of the DAV Department of Arizona. You can check out the whole story at: http://explorernews.com/news/article_d8543b9e-d552-11e3-b8ba-001a4bcf887a.html.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the cornerstone of why membership in a fraternal organization like ours is so important. We’re approaching the end of our year, and we’re so very close to reaching our objective of all Departments reaching 100 percent of their recruiting goals for this year. Stories like Commander Farmer’s, who made doubly sure a fellow veteran was not left behind and in need, represent the very foundation DAV was built upon. It’s why many of us chose to wear the nation’s uniform in the first place and why we continue to serve fellow veterans by being members of DAV.
I encourage all of you to go out and find those transitioning service members.Find your fellow veterans who may not need our services now but very well might in the future. Let them know we don’t just hold meetings but that our members are part of a group that takes action.
That action might be through service to fellow veterans, volunteerism, lending your voice on our Commander’s Action Network to legislation affecting veterans and a myriad of other things we do in the name of advocacy for those who served. But it all starts with Membership, and that starts with each of us individually. Let’s get out there and find those veterans and bring them into our collective fold and reach our recruitment goals for every Department this year.