VFW ANNOUNCES KICK-OFF OF YOUTH SCHOLARSHIP COMPETITIONS

NEW THEMES SELECTED FOR THE 2015-16 CONTEST

April 14, 2015

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW) is pleased to announce the kick-off of the 2015-16 VFW’s Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen scholarship competitions. The announcement comes just weeks after students from across the globe took home their share of the more than $3 million in scholarships and awards from last year’s competitions.

The VFW’s Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen essay competitions are dedicated to encouraging a better understanding and appreciation for our great country and fostering patriotism among our nation’s youth. Students are asked to submit an essay in response to a question or statement on a subject which prompts them to consider how American history and democratic ideals and principles apply to their lives.

This year’s Voice of Democracy theme asks students to contemplate, “My Vision for America.” The Voice of Democracy scholarship competition is an audio-essay competition open to students in grades 9-12. The national winner will receive the $30,000 T.C. Selman Memorial Scholarship Award.

The Patriot’s Pen competition is open to students in grades 6-8. This year, students are asked to reflect on the statement, “What Freedom Means to Me.” The national winner will receive a $5,000 award.

Student participants are asked to submit their entry (along with a completed entry form) to their participating local VFW Post. The deadline for student entries in both contests is November 1, 2015.

Click here to find your local VFW Post. For more information on the contests, visitwww.vfw.org/Youth

VA Expands Choice Program Eligibility, Effective Immediately

 

04/24/2015 10:36 AM EDT

 VA Expands Choice Program Eligibility, Effective Immediately

VA Will Now Determine Eligibility Using Driving Distance

WASHINGTON  – In order to expand eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that it will determine eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program based on the distance between a Veteran’s place of residence and the nearest VA medical facility using driving distance rather than straight-line distance. This change has been published in the Federal Register and is effective immediately.

“VA is pleased to announce the distance calculation change from straight-line to driving distance for the Veterans Choice Program,” said Secretary Robert McDonald.  “This update to the program will allow more Veterans to access care when and where they want it. We look forward to continued dialogue with Veterans and our partners to help us ensure continued improvements for Veterans’ to access care.”

The change from straight-line to driving distance roughly doubles the number of eligible Veterans.  Letters are being sent to the newly eligible Veterans to let them know they are now eligible for the Veterans Choice Program under this expansion. If a Veteran does not remember receiving a Veterans Choice Card or has other questions about the Choice Program, they can call (866) 606-8198.

Effective immediately, VA is also changing the mileage calculation for beneficiary travel. The change will ensure consistency in VA’s mileage calculations across the two programs. The beneficiary travel calculation will now be made using the fastest route instead of the shortest route.

For more details about the department’s progress and related information, see www.va.gov/opa/choiceact/factsheets_and_details.asp.

VFW NH Paper Poppy Launches: Raise Awareness of Your Local VFW Post

The Veterans Foundation of NH Inc. raises awareness of the VFW Department of New Hampshire and invites all local communities to express their support for our service men and women by producing the Paper Poppy Project.

Show your support by displaying the Paper Poppy at your location. The Paper Poppy may feature the name of a veteran or a supporter and acknowledges all our local service men & women throughout our community.

The Veterans Foundation of New Hampshire Paper Poppy--We'll Do More For Veterans`The Paper Poppy is produced by the Veterans Foundation of New Hampshire, Inc. to raise awareness of the VFW, inviting family members and veterans to join the organization in building on over a century of service to our nation and to the care of our military families.

This is a grass roots effort to recruit and to assist veterans service through participating VSOs (Veterans Service Organizations) and the Veterans Foundation of New Hampshire, a solvent and self-sustained non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization.

The Veterans Foundation (VFNH) operates at the heart of modern post-war support through its developing programs and projects. VFNH is endorsed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Department New Hampshire and is the Special Project for VFW NH Commander Gregory Lynch.

The Veterans Foundation of New Hampshire is also the only known foundation with a mission to help not only individuals in need, but to assist all veterans service organizations in New Hampshire. Join the VFW NH. Support the Veterans Foundation. Together, We’ll Do More For Veterans

Special Thanks to the Country Goods of East Wakefield for kicking it off. If you would like to support your local VFW Post with Paper Poppies at your location, let us know below:

VFW letter: the debt deal's done, now what?

Dear VFW, Ladies Auxiliary and Supporters:

The president this afternoon signed congressional legislation to raise the federal debt limit and reduce government spending. The larger question is now how this all impacts veterans, service members, their families and survivors.

The measure passed by the Senate today and in the House yesterday will raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion. An additional $500 billion could come in the fall, provided two-thirds of Congress approves. The final increase, expected early next year, would provide the Treasury enough borrowing power to pay its bills into 2013.

The deal also calls for sharp cuts in agency spending — about $917 billion over the next decade — starting with a $25 billion reduction in fiscal year 2012, which begins Oct. 1, with a second set of reductions coming later this year via a special committee charged with wringing at least $1.2 trillion more over the next decade. If the committee fails to act — or if Congress does not adopt its recommendations by Dec. 23 — government spending would be cut across the board by the same amount, with the reductions split 50:50 between security and non-security programs.

Either way, many DOD and VA programs and services could be negatively impacted, which would counteract everything the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. has worked hard to create over the past 112 years. The VFW and our supporters cannot let this happen.

On the VFW website is a list of 10 services and programs the organization believes are most vulnerable to being cut or curtailed in order to help pay for 10 years of war. The "10 for 10" list will form the basis of VFW's legislative efforts and calls to action to its membership and grassroots supporters. Now is the time to re-engage with your members of Congress.

Yours in Comradeship,

ROBERT E. WALLACE
Executive Director
VFW Washington Office

VFW Joins in Houston National Cemetery Censorship Lawsuit

KANSAS CITY, Mo., July 1, 2011 – The national commander of America's largest and oldest major combat veterans' organization is appalled over allegations of religious censorship at one of the nation’s national cemeteries, calling it a case of “bureaucracy running amok.” 

“This is a point in case of bureaucracy…or rather, a classic example of a bureaucrat running amok.  In spite of VA policy, the cemetery director is making up her own rules and has imposed hurtful, unilateral restrictions of her own choosing,” said Richard L. Eubank, the national commander of the 2.1 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliaries.   

Texas-based Liberty Institute has filed suit on behalf of the VFW, American Legion, and The National Memorial Ladies over allegations of religious hostility and unlawful censorship by the VA and its director of the Houston National Cemetery.  "They've told the VFW and the American Legion that they cannot have prayer during the burial services of our veterans, unless the family requests it in writing and submits the prayer for pre-approval," said Liberty Institute general counsel Jeff Mateer.

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VFW Washington Weekly – May 13, 2011

In This Issue:
1. Defense Bill Includes TRICARE Increases

2. New Vet Employment-Transition Bill
3. House Hearings
4. Korean War MIA Identified

1. Defense Bill Includes TRICARE Increases: The House Armed Services Committee approved its version of the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act this week.  The $533 billion defense bill (H.R. 1540) provides a 1.6-percent military pay increase, reduces the SBP-DIC offset for survivors, and would increase TRICARE fees for working-age military retirees.  Beginning with FY 2013, the committee voted to link future TRICARE increases to annual cost-of-living-adjustments, or COLAs, which has been zero for military retirees for the past two years.  The committee did not vote to prohibit a fee increase for FY 2012, which now opens the door for DOD to raise TRICARE fees by 13 percent this fall.  The VFW will continue to oppose all TRICARE fee increases.  Military retirees paid for their healthcare through long and faithful service; for their children being uprooted repeatedly from school; for their spouses not being able to have full careers; for their homes accumulating no equity; and for some, for not being fully marketable because they served so many years in uniform.  The House, then the Senate, have to agree on the bill before it goes to the president for his signature.  The VFW urges you to redouble your efforts and get your representatives to reject the TRICARE increase when the bill comes up for a floor vote, and to contact your senators to reject the proposal if it makes it through the House.  To take action against the proposed TRICARE increase, go to http://capwiz.com/vfw/issues/alert/?alertid=46437541.

2. New Vet Employment/Transition Bill: Senate VA Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced VFW-supported legislation to aggressively improve the unemployment rate among veterans.  S.951, the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011, would require the Departments of Defense, VA and Labor to work together to improve the Transition Assistance Program and to identify barriers in translating military jobs into civilian employment.  The bill hopes to offer unique job skills training, create new direct federal hiring authority, and improve veteran mentorship programs in the private sector.  According to Labor Department statistics, about 27 percent of veterans ages 20-24 are currently unemployed.  Read the committee press release at http://veterans.senate.gov/press-releases.cfm?action=release.display&release_id=1fc27742-327f-437d-9544-04058da51d3d.

3. House Hearings: The House VA Committee cleared several VFW-supported bills, which now move to the House floor for a vote.  They include:
*   HR 1383, Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011, to grandfather veterans attending private schools who were adversely affected by the changes made in the GI Bill last Congress.  It also increases the cap to $27,000 from $17,500 for students already enrolled in private schools under Chapter 33.
*     HR 1657, legislation that would improve VA's enforcement of service-disabled, veteran-owned small business contracting.

* HR 1441, a bill to ban reserving burial and interment locations at Arlington National Cemetery, and clears the way for a memorial on Chaplains Hill to honor Jewish chaplains who died defending our country.
*   HR 1407, The Veterans Cost of Living Adjustment Act of 2011, would provide a cost-of-living increase to veterans' disability compensation rates and other benefits.  It would also provide a five-year extension to VA adaptive grants program for severely wounded veterans residing in a family member's home.
For more information visit the committee website at http://veterans.house.gov/.

4. Korean War MIA Identified: The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced identification of remains belonging to Army Cpl. Primo C. Carnabuci, of Old Saybrook, Conn.  On Nov. 1, 1950, Carnabuci's unit, the 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, was forced to conduct a fighting withdrawal from their position along the Kuryong River, near Unsan, North Korea.  He was among almost 600 men to be reported missing from the battle.  Read more at http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=14484

Veterans Crisis Line

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is unique because all of our members have served overseas in a combat zone. Our nation is in debt to all of those who served, and we understand that returning home and reintegrating into society can cause stress in many aspects of life. Because of this, VFW is participating in a campaign with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to increase awareness of the Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 and Press 1). 

The campaign revolves around the confidential Veterans Crisis Line (formerly the Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline), establishing a unique identity designed to lower the threshold for Veterans and their families to make that critical call for help. 

The line, available 24 hours a day and seven days a week, has answered more than 390,000 calls and has made more than 13,000 life-saving rescues since its launch. 

The campaign is a national outreach effort to increase awareness and use of the confidential Veterans Crisis Line and online chat service, support and promote broader VA suicide prevention efforts, and promote help-seeking behaviors among Veterans.

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BUFFALO WILD WINGS to Partner with Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation

Visit your local participating restaurant and support the VFW Foundation.

Participating Buffalo Wild Wings® locations are showing their support of the troops by partnering with the VFW Foundation to support the Return the Favor™ campaign. Participating restaurants will donate 10 percent of guest’s food purchase when the guest shows their military ID card, VFW membership card or Return the Favor card. To find participating restaurants or to print a Return the Favor card, visit http://www.returnthefavor.org/. The program will run from May 16 through June 12.

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VFW Names 2011 WebAward Winners

The VFW Communications Department has selected the winners of the 2011 VFW WebAward Competition.

This year nearly 60 entries were received. Judging was based on navigation, load time, design and overall content. Entries were divided into two separate categories: VFW Departments and VFW Posts/Districts.

The first-place winner in the Department category is the Department of Wisconsin. Second place has been awarded to the Department of Pacific Areas.

In the Post/District category, Post 5702 has been named this year’s first-place winner, with Post 5727 being awarded second place.

This year’s contest proved especially difficult to judge due to the number of quality websites submitted by our Posts, Departments and Districts.

Everyone who submitted an entry deserves praise for their hard work and creativity. Please continue to keep up the good work! We look forward to next year’s competition.

(via VFW.org)