Silent Recruiting for New Members
Membership has its benefits. It provides the means and power to effect change. Our VA system of benefits and healthcare exist because we, the veterans of foreign Wars, joined together 112 years ago to fight for what is right. Now that we have these hard-fought for benefits, it is our duty to ensure that non-member veterans in our community have access to them.
How can you help non-member veterans? “Just Ask!” Use every opportunity you have when out in in public to introduce yourself and ask them, “Are you enrolled with the VA?” Who do you ask? Watch for veteran caps and be sure to wear one of yours.
Your District Sr. Vice Commander looks for Vietnam hats. He yells over to the veteran, “66,” and slows his pace. The 66 denotes his first year in Vietnam.1966. It is always recognized by the vet and a call back or comment is made. Lively conversation follows and he makes a new friend. No meeting is ended without the most important question, “Are you enrolled with the VA?” No sales pitch is made about membership. Membership is not a precursor to helping a veteran, but he has applications!
We challenge you to seek out and help World War II and Korean War veterans. They are facing serious financial times. You have access to resources to help them. Here are just three examples of what you can do. We use everyday situations to demonstrate you how you and the Veterans of Foreign Wars can make a difference.
- Help them locate a DD Form 214. They may not have seen theirs for 20 or 30 years!. Try 55 years! One Korean War vet in Carrboro, NC, needs one because he is getting older and may need it for burial. Chapel Hill Post 6 helped him apply for his DD 214 and St. Louis came back with the infamous “There was a fire…” response. He could also use and needs VA medical care. He is well below the earning threshold. Now here is a caveat. We don’t have to sign them up as members to help them. It is our and your duty to do so. Make a friend. Friends become members.
- Enroll them in VA HealthCare via the VSO. Our nation is in a recession. Costs are going up and retirees are in a bind. Not every veteran has a retirement plan beyond Social Security. They are paying for Medicare each month. Times are hard. If they were signed up with VA Healthcare they would have access to medicine at reduced or no cost. This program requires a medical examination. That exam may save a life by identifying a problem ignored or overlooked. Help your neighbor. If you see a potential World War II or Korean War veteran, ask them, “Are you a VA patient?” If not, your job is to inform them about what is available and to point them to their local County VSO. You will not always get a member, but you will gain a friend for life.
Aid & Attendance Pension. You are at church and you look around for Bob, Bill, or Patrick. They are not there and you ask around. They are now home-bound. You know they are vets, but they don’t belong to your post. They have not heard about Aid & Attendance benefits. They may even be considering selling their home to pay for special care. They may even have been approached by one of the many companies who are targeting them (and their potential pension benefit). Remember, the veteran does not have to be suffering from a service connected illness for this benefit. Give your friend a call, visit them, and let them know about this new VA benefit. Learn more