Dedication, Flexibility a Must for Service

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VA Shuts Down; DAV Open for Business

When the Department of Veterans Affairs informed DAV that once the government shutdown went into a second week veterans, their families and survivors would not be allowed into federal buildings, we knew that meant our National Service Offices as well. So there was no question what we, as an organization, needed to do.

Being a good service officer requires a passion for those we serve and for what we do. There is no way we would allow the political antics in Washington to keep us from doing what we love. So when congressional discourse meant our nation’s wounded and ill veterans were going to be barred from entering the buildings in which we  operate, I asked each of our offices across the country to create a contingency plan to enable service to continue, regardless of where we had to provide it. Within hours. fully developed plans from each of our 60 National Service Offices were complete and ready to implement.

As we know, October 1 came and went without a resolution to the shutdown, so the offices’ plans were put into motion. Led by our outstanding supervisors, about 50 of our offices moved to temporary locations. We were fortunate to be welcomed by Department Headquarters, Chapters, and VA medical centers. Others set up Mobile Service Offices and even tents in parking lots. There were a lot of moving parts that required our NSOs to apply their unparalleled knowledge of veterans’ needs and their ingenuity to accomplish the mission.

Our Chapter and Department Service Officers are also playing a key role in helping veterans get through this difficult time by providing claims and benefits counseling—as with all of DAV’s services, we continue to offer the best possible representation at no cost to our nation’s heroes. Perhaps what is now most important to veterans is the fact that we aren’t going to allow them to be left behind. Our NSOs are on duty. They understand the needs of their fellow veterans and are there to advocate on their behalf. That means more than ever when VA employees aren’t able to answer phones or accept walk-ins.

When the government could no longer meet its obligations to our injured and ill veterans, DAV stepped up and refused to be sidelined. I am proud of all involved and the organization as a whole.

The shutdown is still in place as I write this, meaning the fate of our veterans’ compensation and other benefits remains unknown. That’s a scary situation to the many  who rely on that earned compensation to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. But everyone should share my complete confidence that our NSOs will remain on the job, working to do all they can to find and provide needed information and resources for those who have already sacrificed so much.

If you are in need of representation, contact a DAV NSO today. Our office addresses, both temporary and regular, are online at

DAV members are urged to get involved through Social Networks such as Facebook ( and Twitter (, where you can share your opinions and encourage others to voice their support for resolution to this issue. You can also join or encourage your fellow veterans to share their stories with lawmakers through DAV CAN (Commander’s Action Network) at


  • FMF Doc

    I was a FMF Corpsman that was stationed at Camp LeJuene from 3/63 to 9/64. I have a friend who was in Vietnam about the same time who is receiving all sorts of benefits from the VA because he may have come in contact with agent orange. If he comes down with an ailment, he receives an answer almost immediately and receives additional benefits. I filed a claim a couple of years ago because I have Barretts Esophagus which is a preliminary condition to esophageal cancer from the water that we drank at Camp LeJeune during that period. My Barretts Esophagus did indeed progress into cancer whch I had removed at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center 16 months ago and am due to go back to my doctor for yet another EGD (I have had several both before the cancer removal and after) to see if the cancer has come back. I sure would like to know what a person has to do to get a response from the VA other than “We’re working on it”. I have submitted all paper work that they have requested a long time ago. It should never take this long to get a determination one way or the other.

    • SC–Justice for All

      All I can say is keep fighting the fight. I also know of veterans who haven’t fought in a way nor station in a foreign country and receive approximately 300%. I was station in Utapao Thailand, (71-72) Exposed to Agent Orange/Agent Purple have endured kidney failure, kidney transplant, near blindness from diabetes and denied each time. I receive 40 % last December for a ulcer operation that damage nerves in my stomach and diabetes was diagnosed three weeks after surgery. I had my first surgery in 1976—44 years ago and my present age 63. Life changing events for a 26 year old man with a 10 year old, wife, 6 day newborn, house mortgage and not allowed to return to work due to health issues. So keeping pushing it all any of us can do. Don’t give up.