J. Marc Burgess, National Adjutant

Taking up the torch at the mid-winter conference

The 2018 Commanders and Adjutants Association Mid-Winter Conference is always one of my favorite events. It’s where we see some extraordinarily passionate members flourish and take the fight directly to lawmakers on some of the most critical issues we in the veterans community face.

If you weren’t able to join us, rest assured that your brothers- and sisters-in-arms did us proud, standing up for all veterans, their families and caregivers. When you see members of your chapter or department, be sure to thank them for their efforts and ask them to share with you the valuable information they brought home.

Once again, our members did a fantastic job representing the organization in visits with lawmakers throughout the week, meeting with influential leaders throughout Congress and sharing DAV’s legislative agenda. In addition, I thank all our members at the conference and at home who helped light up the Capitol Hill switchboards calling for inclusion of caregiver expansion in the omnibus spending bill passed in March. Though the provision was not included in the final bill, your efforts have not gone unnoticed, and we continue to gain support for this important legislation.

I commend National Commander Delphine Metcalf-Foster for another expertly delivered, high-impact testimony before the joint session of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees, highlighting the urgent need to expand the program to pre-9/11 veterans. Having intimately conveyed her experiences as a caregiver to her late husband Jimmy—a disabled Army veteran—her words truly struck a chord as the future of this legislation hangs in limbo.

We can’t afford to underestimate the influence our members have in promoting legislation that protects and supports veterans and their families.

The mid-winter conference is a great reminder of this, especially when we think back to the days after World War I, when veterans had no national groups advocating on their behalf. Nearly a century later, it’s an incredible legacy that we’re carrying forward.

This is our fight—this is your fight. We have been fortunate to have so many involved members working hard to protect what veterans have earned, and we owe them a great deal of gratitude for taking up the torch.

Even if you weren’t with us at the conference, you can still get involved through DAV CAN (Commander’s Action Network). Please visit davcan.org to keep up to date on the latest advocacy campaigns and join the effort to protect what veterans have earned.

 

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