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National Commander Message

National Commander Message

Joe Parsetich, Commander

To help others, we must first take care of ourselves

I am a firm believer that God has provided each of us with a mission in life. And that to fulfill that mission, we’ve been armed with the weapons of our minds, bodies and spirits.

For many of us DAV members, this idea of a mission is comforting. We’ve all been changed by our military service, yet we can still serve. It’s a strong, common thread that ties each of us and our families together. We share a common goal of achieving more victories for veterans.

We can use our weapons for so much good. To lift a fellow veteran out of a dark place. To speak up for what is right. To be a shining light in our communities and Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities.

But we have a problem. I’m talking to myself here as much as I am to you: I’m disappointed to report that, even though the military taught us all the importance of self-aid, buddy care and even equipment maintenance, many of us have not carried that lesson into our service today. We are less effective, even powerless, in helping others when we aren’t right with ourselves.

We’ve all made excuses about why we’re out of shape or how what we’ve been exposed to has messed up our minds. We’ve allowed the challenges we face to isolate us from those around us.

Still, there’s hope. We don’t have to accept that we are damaged beyond repair. We can make choices that can fix what’s broken. We can reach out and ask for help.

One option is going to and clicking “Get Help Now” at the top of the page to be connected to one of our benefits advocates. Additionally, the DAV Charitable Service Trust invests heavily in programs that focus on restoring your mind, body and spirit, and our benefits advocates can help you take the first steps toward healing.

Also, I pledge from this day forward to start taking better care of my mind, body and spirit. I promise to watch what and how much I eat, to exercise regularly, and to pay attention to what I watch and read. Junk in, junk out, as the saying goes. I can’t take care of others if I don’t take care of myself first. And taking care of others is our mission. I can’t accept failure at that mission. Will you take that pledge with me?

Collectively, we’ve survived a lot. Not just our time in uniform, but our transition from service and, most recently, the pandemic. Let’s take what we’ve learned from these times and use the resources we have available to provide ourselves with much better cared-for weapons. We must be able to fulfill our mission and our promise to our fellow veterans, and that starts with taking care of ourselves.

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