New National Commander, Star-Studded Line Up Light Up Vegas Stage (Part 3)
By Joseph R. Chenelly
Under Secretary Hickey spoke strongly about the relationship between veterans service organizations (VSOs) and her teams addressing claims and appeals processing, working to reduce mistakes and time. She said there are representatives on every such team, noting DAV’s role in developing the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS).
“We are not going anywhere without our VSOs, and we are not going anywhere without our labor partners,” Hickey said. “I am fond of saying I am all in, but I am also all out, meaning we are not hiding anything. We are getting wide open transparency. We are asking you to help solve these problems up front.”
Hickey said recent results of this working relationship include developing a plan she projects will cut the time needed to complete an appeal from 1,000 days on average to about 270 days.
Jim Vella (far right), president of Ford Motor Company Fund & Community Services, presents a $245,000 check to National Adjutant Arthur H. Wilson (center) and then-National Commander Samuels. The donation is for the purchase of eight new vehicles for the DAV Transportation Network and for DAV’s youth volunteer scholarship program.
Ford Motor Company made a donation of $200,000 at the convention toward the purchase of eight new vehicles for the DAV Transportation Network and $45,000 for DAV’s youth volunteer scholarship program.
Jim Vella, president of Ford Motor Company Fund & Community Services, presented a ceremonial check and two new vans bearing the new DAV logo and tagline.
DAV’s work “might be one of the best kept secrets,” he said, adding he believes the new look on the Ford vans will help DAV achieve the visibility and credit deserved.
“Ford certainly recognizes the great, important work DAV is doing,” Vella added. “And it is especially good to be here during the 90th anniversary of the relationship between DAV and Ford.”
Emily Hall of Annapolis, Md., received the Auxiliary Member of the Year award for her contributions and dedication as a member of the Auxiliary whose efforts have enhanced the goals of DAV and community activities for veterans.
Patricia Davis of Oak Creek, Wisc., was recognized with a George H. Seal Memorial Trophy for extraordinary volunteerism—an accumulated 21,000 volunteer hours in 12 years.
Mary Ann Keckler of Valrico, Fla., received a George H. Seal Memorial Trophy for extraordinary volunteerism—an accumulated 5,700 volunteer hours in 15 years.
Ronald Holtberg of Wilmington, N.C., was recognized as the Recruiter of the Year for his diligent work in recruiting the most new members for the organization.
Ellen Papadimoulis was awarded a National Commander’s Outstanding VA Employee award in recognition of her remarkable skill in planning and directing vision and blindness rehabilitation services at the Cleveland VA medical center.
Diane Till of St. Petersburg, Fla., received a National Commander’s Outstanding VA Employee award for ensuring claims corrections are expeditiously handled and for providing excellent training opportunities for the staff at the VA veterans service station in her city.
Reva Henderson was honored with a National Commander’s Outstanding VA Employee award for her compassion and professionalism when working with families interring their loved ones at the Fort Rosecrans-Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego.
The New Directions Veterans Choir wowed convention attendees at both the opening session and the Commander’s Reception. The acappella group is made up exclusively of veterans who are current or former residents of a transitional housing facility for homeless veterans in Los Angeles.
Future national convention sites were announced on the final morning in Las Vegas. The 92nd National Convention is slated for Aug. 10-13, 2013, at the Hilton Orlando. DAV will convene back at Bally’s in Las Vegas in 2014 and at the Sheraton Hotel Denver in August 2015.
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