J. Marc Burgess, National Adjutant

Remembering fellow veterans in the wake of tragedy

On Veterans Day, we take time to honor those who served in our nation’s military and—as veterans—to think of those men and
women who stood beside us. But it can also be an opportunity for us to examine how we, as members of DAV, can better accomplish our mission of serving veterans and their families.

Like you, my heart went out to those affected by the devastating flooding in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico caused by this year’s destructive hurricane season. The images and footage on television served as a reminder that natural disasters can strike at any time and can indiscriminately destroy the lives of those in the path of destruction. In particular, photos of nursing home residents
stranded in chest-deep floodwaters made me think of the particularly difficult time disabled veterans must experience during such tragic events.

As you’ll read in this edition of the magazine, our national service officers and members have gone—and are still going—above and beyond to come to the aid of veterans and their families who were impacted by the storms. I am incredibly proud of those who have put in the extra hours to ensure displaced veterans, many of whom have lost everything, have a friend to turn to in their greatest time of need.

To date, DAV has issued more than $866,000 in disaster relief funding in 2017, and donors have been exceptionally generous in supporting our efforts by contributing more than $859,000—the most we have ever raised in a single year. This enables us to continue providing emergency assistance to veterans for the remainder of the year, including those impacted by the outbreak of wildfires in California.

Of course, we need not wait for disasters to strike to offer a helping hand to veterans in our own communities. There are so many injured and ill veterans among us who could use assistance, whether getting to a medical appointment, filing for a disability claim or other benefits, or even just having a friend to talk to.

John F. Kennedy, a DAV member, once said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.”

At DAV, we’re fortunate to be able to live out a mission of service to our fellow veterans. Disaster relief is just one example of how we do more than just talk
about helping veterans; we are out there in the community doing what we can to help them in the most desperate of times.

My thanks go out to all of our members and staff who have been there to aid their neighbors and fellow veterans. You have no doubt touched many lives through your hard work and caring, generous spirits.

It takes strong communities to recover following such terrible tragedies. I urge you all to keep our fellow veterans in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and California in your thoughts as they work through the next few months to rebuild and restore their homes, neighborhoods and lives.

 

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