“We reached out to Jon to let him know, on behalf of our national commander and 1 million members, we had chosen him to receive the Bugle Award, the highest honor we bestow upon individuals in media who contribute significantly to awareness about veterans and the issues we face,” said Dan Clare, DAV’s Chief Communications & Outreach Officer. “He said he appreciated the thought and would be happy to speak to our members if it would encourage veterans to seek the benefits they’d earned, but basically told me to pack sand on the award part.”
DAV did not give up. Following several exchanges and arm twisting, the comedian unenthusiastically accepted. The recognition is noteworthy because Stewart’s efforts led to the passage of the largest and most comprehensive expansion of veterans benefits for toxic and environmental exposures.
“I don’t know why they were so persistent about an award. They seemed pretty convinced it would be more newsworthy. I don’t think anyone really cares,” said Stewart. “But the people at DAV seemed so sure. Before I even agreed, they mailed me the damn thing and it’s an actual bugle on a stand. I’m thinking, ‘very creative.’ Now, any time some kid comes across it I’ll get to hear them try to play reveille in my office.”
Stewart only acquiesced because, while there’s no deadline to apply for PACT Act benefits, those who file a claim or submit their intention to file by Aug. 9, 2023, may receive benefits backdated to Aug. 10, 2022. Filing through an organization like DAV may protect thousands of dollars in earned benefits for affected families.
Veterans with any concerns related to the claims process can contact their local DAV national service office at benefitsquestions.org for free-no obligation assistance.
“The PACT Act is the best effort in the history of public policy to expedite and ensure justice for generations of veterans exposed to toxins while defending our country. I don’t know why Jon Stewart takes such exception to receiving an award from our charity,” said DAV National Commander Joe Parsetich. “I mean, we get it: he doesn’t do it for the awards. But we’re still grateful for all he’s done and hope his wishy-washy acceptance of this recognition leads to more sick veterans receiving justice for the sacrifices they made in uniform.”
DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: keeping our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them, fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill, linking veterans and their families to employment resources, and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a nonprofit organization with over 1 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932.