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National Adjutant Message

National Adjutant Message

J. Marc Burgess, National Adjutant

For continued success, DAV chapters must engage communities

As I reflect on how DAV has grown and evolved over the past 100 years to meet the ever-changing needs of those returning from war, it strikes me that we remain a grassroots organization at our core.

DAV could not exist, let alone thrive, were it not for our millions of dedicated members. Our robust network of state-level departments and local chapters brings DAV’s mission of hope into communities nationwide.

This structure allows the brave men and women disabled in our nation’s defense to express empathy and provide life-changing assistance to their fellow veterans.

Our member leaders should be on the front lines of engaging—often face to face—with veterans requiring assistance, with potential members and with donors. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s how DAV has a lasting impression on hometowns across America.

But we can’t do it from behind our desks. Huddling indoors, wishing for new faces to walk through, is a losing strategy. DAV leaders need to be proactive and get out among the public.

And there is no shortage of excellent chapters nationwide doing just that.

Take, for instance, two DAV chapters in Ohio that recently participated in their 17th annual golf outing. Not only did Chapter 1 in Cincinnati help coordinate the event, but Chapter 63 and Auxiliary Unit 63 in Batavia sponsored the first hole and provided volunteers to help make the outing possible.

I commend these chapters and unit for putting together a plan, receiving approval from their Department Executive Committee and ultimately being rewarded for their drive.

Such endeavors are noticed by veterans far and wide and can serve as unexpected yet organic introductions to DAV. Building trust with local stakeholders can create a foundation to attract veterans looking to make a difference.

Other chapters are getting creative in bringing new faces into DAV’s fold. This past fall, Chapter 147 in Killeen, Texas, saw dozens of local veterans come to their chapter to enjoy some Cajun food. Local news picked up that event, amplifying DAV’s message to an even wider audience and reminding the community that DAV is there to help assist with claims. Chapter leadership even spoke to the press, encouraging local veterans to come to get help if needed.

Of course, our national team stands ready to support our members and chapters in any way possible, but there’s simply no replacement for your local community engagement. It’s critical for our continued success. Without the support of our neighbors, it’s impossible to serve veterans, their families and their survivors.

I challenge each chapter and department to find new and exciting ways of promoting DAV, our mission and the communities we serve.

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