DAV finds widow, provides disaster relief

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DAV is on the ground helping in numerous states ravaged by late-season tornados

DAV National Service Officers and departments across the south and Midwest have been working through numerous natural disaster zones, providing relief to veterans and their families.

Dozens of drafts have been provided to veterans in Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas, but one in particular took some extra effort.

When a news report came out that Grady Stanley, a former prisoner of war and survivor of the Bataan Death March, lost his home of 43 years to a tornado and survived, local friends and family were grateful. Then came news that although he survived the tornado, the DAV life member passed away shortly after. Upon hearing of these tragedies, DAV National Service Officers headed to Garland, Texas, looking to help. When DAV staff were unable to locate his widow, NSO Andy Karns and Bill Ferguson took the initiative upon themselves to attend the memorial service, where they met with the widow and provided a $1,000 draft.

“This is what we do – veterans helping veterans,” said National Service Director Jim Marszalek. “We rally around one another, helping where and when we can. I am proud of each DAV volunteer and employee out there doing all they can to help those in need.”

All DAV offices have plans in place in case disaster strikes. NSOs work closely with state-level DAV departments to establish emergency relief sites in neighborhoods, and visit shelters to provide direct relief to veterans who became ill, injured or wounded because of military service and their families. Department leadership and NSOs coordinate relief efforts with local, state and federal governments, other relief agencies, and organizations such as the American Red Cross. By doing this, we make ourselves readily accessible to as many veterans as possible.

“Our NSOs are already part of the veteran community where they live and work,” Marszalek said. “We are also grateful for the many volunteers and donors who help provide relief to these veterans in need.”

DAV has deployed to numerous areas throughout 2015, including Illinois, South Carolina, Georgia, Nebraska, Kentucky, Alabama, Oklahoma, Alaska, California, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas and Kansas.

In 2015 DAV provided a total of 394 drafts, resulting in the distribution of $330,950 and 390 emergency supply kits.

To be eligible for a disaster relief grant, the applicant must be the victim of an isolated or specific disaster and a veteran who became ill, injured or wounded because of military service or the spouse of such a veteran. The applicant must also be in need of immediate financial assistance at the time of the disaster.