Military service ingrains in all of us that we’re stronger together. Membership in DAV builds upon that principle by leveraging our strength in numbers to empower us through camaraderie and legislative action.

But did you know that you’re also helping fellow veterans with your DAV membership dues? While part of your dues helps produce DAV Magazine, which keeps you informed about topics important to you and your family, a portion of these funds is also redistributed to departments and chapters to directly support DAV programs and services that are offered in your community.

For example, membership dues can help purchase new vehicles for the DAV Transportation Network and support our incredible network of volunteers. The importance of that cannot be overstated.

I think of Marine Corps veteran James Childers, who used one of those vehicles to drive nearly 1,500 veterans to and from their VA medical appointments. He had volunteered more than 7,000 hours and traveled more than 186,000 miles as a volunteer driver when his house tragically burned down last year.

Although James and his wife Linda were unharmed in the fire, they lost just about everything they had. But because of DAV’s Disaster Relief Program, they were able to receive financial assistance and find temporary lodging to ease some of their immediate needs.

Membership dues also support initiatives to assist homeless veterans and provide supplies for our service officers.

Navy veteran Joseph Lightwies had been homeless for decades before connecting with DAV National Service Officer Joe Kauffman in 2015. This encounter proved to be the catalyst that changed his life.

Lightwies had a VA claim pending since his military discharge in 1968, so when his disability compensation was finally approved, the back pay made it possible for him to pick up keys to a new home.

As a DAV member, you can get involved and work with local DAV leaders who help decide how these funds are used. They identify the greatest needs of the veterans in your area.

DAV’s programs and services are free to those who need them, and membership dues are one way we all help ensure DAV continues to be there, in your community, fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. Thanks for making a direct impact in the lives of our fellow veterans.