Monday, September 15, 2014

Chief of Staff/Extension: Marketing & Mentoring

Vivian Bernotas
Chief of Staff/Extension

  • Marketing – every successful business must market their product – that includes publicity, newspaper ads, posters, business cards, emails, etc. Do you have your marketing plan in place? Individual members and Auxiliaries on all levels should have a plan. Not sure where to start? Check out the Publicity Guide from National Headquarters for assistance.
  • Establishing new Auxiliaries does not simply mean submitting the necessary paperwork. It also includes nurturing these Auxiliaries and assisting the members as they build a solid foundation for their Auxiliary. With guidance and leadership – early on – our new Auxiliaries will flourish and grow! “Be the reason someone smiles today!”
  • Mentor“an experienced and trusted advisor; to advise or train someone.” Each one of us is a mentor and we may not even realize it. Team mentoring can be fun – utilize the talents and knowledge in your Departments; don’t forget Past Department Presidents and others that have served on the National Level. Look to members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars - they are mentors also.  

Don't Forget...

Friday, September 12, 2014

Veterans & Family Support: Operation Changing Lives

Leona McDermott
Veterans & Family Support Ambassador


VFW Commander-in-Chief John Stroud and Ladies Auxiliary VFW National President Ann Panteleakos are joining forces during the 2014-2015 year to support the VFW’s premier program: National Veterans Service (NVS).

The goal? To raise $1 million for the program.

Here are updated details on how the funds will be used:
Operating Changing Lives is the joint program conceived by National Commander- in- Chief John Stroud and National President Ann Panteleakos.  Both national leaders are focused on doing everything possible to help not just recently discharged veterans but deserving veterans of every generation. As the military begins to dramatically downsize our military forces, we need to shift our focus and resources exponentially to assist the increasing number of separating service members.

The Veterans Service Office program is the foundation that the VFW and its Auxiliary was built upon and defines us most as advocacy organizations.  The effort to support Operation Changing Lives is vital to expanding and maintaining a program that reaches virtually every generation of veteran as well as their families. The dollars raised will be used exclusively for the training or hiring of veterans to work in a BDD or other Service Officer Capacity for the purpose of providing essential services, as well as helping with expanding Benefits Delivery at Discharge sites (BDD sites), located on select U.S. military bases around the country. BDD educates service members regarding VA or other entitlements they are eligible for upon transitioning to civilian life. BDD Service Officers also assist in initiating VA claims. The information and/or assistance service members receive at BDD sites could help immediately upon discharge, or conceivably many years into the future, whenever the need may arise.

Rest assured, your efforts in supporting this important initiative will help provide veterans and their families a path toward securing educational benefits, VA compensation, medical care and family services and ultimately helping those who deserve it most live a full and productive life-something that our veterans have earned and deserve.
Please consider donating to Operation Changing Lives because that's what we do, change the lives of our veterans and their families in a positive way.              
Donations may be sent to:
VFW National Headquarters
Attn: Operation Changing Lives
406 W. 34th St., Kansas City, MO 64111

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Scholarships: Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen

Christine Begin
Scholarships Ambassador

September already?! Where did Summer go? Whatever you did, I hope you enjoyed yourself!

With students back in school it’s time to kick the Scholarships Program into high gear! The entry deadline for both the Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen Contests is Saturday, November 1, so there’s no time to waste! We need to spread the word to as many people as possible regarding the information for both competitions. Some of us are still finding it hard to get into the schools, so we need to branch out. One of our goals this year is Community Awareness. Some ways to achieve this are:
  • Place a free advertisement/Press Release in your local newspaper describing the elements of each contest – including the amount of the scholarships and who to contact. Refer to page 9 in the Publicity Guide for a sample press release.
  • Place posters in local stores, coffee shops, restaurants, libraries, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA, etc. Please ask for permission first.  
  • Don't forget about Facebook, Twitter, and Post/Ladies Auxiliary websites at the local, District and Department levels. We know students are very knowledgeable when it comes to computers and obtaining information online. We have to reach them at these levels as extra ways of communicating in our quest to reach our another goal of increasing Student Participation. 
    • Here is a Facebook post from National for Voice of Democracy. You may use this on your personal Facebook page as well as on your local, District and Department pages:
      • Do you know a student in grades 9-12 who could use up to $30,000 for college? Encourage them to enter the VFW and Ladies Auxiliary Voice of Democracy audio-essay competition. Each year, nearly 40,000 high school students from across the country enter to win a share of the $2.2 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through this program. This year’s theme is “Why Veterans are Important to our Nation’s History and Future.” Entries must be submitted to a VFW Post no later than midnight on November 1, 2014. Click here for more information.
    • Here is a Facebook post from National for Patriot's Pen. You may use this on your personal Facebook page as well as on your local, District and Department pages:
      •  Each year more than 100,000 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest. The first-place winner from each state competes to win one of 46 national awards totaling $46,000. The national first-place winner wins $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in March. This year’s theme is “Why I Appreciate America’s Veterans.” Entries must be submitted to a VFW Post no later than midnight on November 1, 2014. Click here for more information. 
At the National level, the VFW has a total of $198,000 in award money for the Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen Contests. If we, as members, are not doing all we can to publicize these contests, then we are doing a disservice to the youth in our communities. I know you don’t want that to happen! How do I know that? By seeing first-hand how committed Ladies Auxiliary members are when it comes to these contests. By being a Department Chairman, Department President, and National Council Member, I have had the opportunity to attend Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen Awards Dinners in a few states, and attend the Parade of Winners in Washington, D.C. several times.  The electricity and enthusiasm in those rooms was inspirational! Now, as an Ambassador, I am getting a different view, but with the same results.

I was happy to see so many in attendance at the Scholarships Workshop at National Convention. And, the promotional material I have been receiving from Department Scholarship Chairman around the country is amazing! It just proves how talented and dedicated we truly are!

So go out there and promote, publicize, and advertise!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Membership - What Makes Us Go the Extra Mile?

Tami Elliott
Membership Ambassador

Ever wondered why people join our organization and do what we do? I never really thought about because it was just so natural for me to follow in the footsteps of my parents. In my quest to build membership I’ve been asking a lot of questions of my fellow Ambassadors, Department Presidents, Department Treasurers, current members, potential members, and people on the street.

Two main things I’ve learned:

#1.  When someone has a purpose or a strong belief, it allows them to tap into their potential and ability to motivate them to work harder, make sacrifices, and go that extra mile.

#2.  There is a huge group of people out there that want to do something meaningful, to help others, to be involved, but don’t know how or where to get involved. Most people know in their hearts that they owe a tremendous amount to our veterans, but they don’t know how to pay that debt. Too many choices, too many hands out, too much confusion. 

We know the good the Ladies  Auxiliary VFW does. Our challenge is to convey that message to those that want to do good, to honor our veterans, and tap into Americans' sense of duty. 

  • Who wouldn’t want to be part of a group that fights for the basic veterans/families benefits? 
  • Who wouldn’t want to be part of group that brings a little ray of sunshine to a soldier with a Christmas message or gift? 
  • Why wouldn’t you donate a few dollars to raise money for Cancer research?

We have a passion for duty, honor, and service. There are millions of Americans waiting for us to touch them; to show how they, too, can be involved; to welcome into our ranks.

Use the passion we have, use your motivation, and go the extra mile.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Legislative: Make it Personal!

Kathy Schreiber
Legislative Ambassador

It's a new year for the Legislative Program and my emphasis is to make this year personal. 

The first step in making this personal is to “Become A Veterans ‘Advocate”. You can join here: If you are already a Veteran’s Advocate, you are receiving the Action Corp Weekly e-newsletter and all the VFW Action Alerts. THANK YOU!  If not, do it is so easy. The e-newsletter will keep you current with important legislative issues and you will receive the VFW Action Alerts when your involvement can make a critical difference.

Did you know the VFW has an established 800 hotline for veterans? This 800 number has been in continuous service since the late 1990’s. It is currently being used in an outreach campaign for veterans who have a concern with their VA healthcare. Please share- we all know a veteran that may be affected! 1-800-VFW-1899.

VFW establishes 800 hotline for veterans in wake of healthcare scandal

KANSAS CITY, MO. – As the VA scandal now spreads across 19 states, the VFW or Veterans of Foreign Wars, fights back for veterans by holding their own town hall meetings to look for solutions.  As the largest organization working for active veterans and their families, the VFW has also set up an 800 number for veterans. The VFW wants to hear from veterans about their experiences both negative and positive by calling 1-800-VFW-1899.

Thanks for reading and remember...make the Legislative Program personal. It benefits each and every one of us.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Hospital: How to Incorporate September Patriotic Events at Medical Facilities

Hospital Program
Grace Matz

As I read about all of your activities in medical facilities, it proves that “Patriotism Begins at Home." I’m so happy to see that you are reaching out to those who are confined to a hospital or nursing home!

With many patriotic events taking place this month, think about how you can incorporate these events into your visits:

September 11th: Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance
I hope everyone remembers the impact this tragic day had on our country. Please take the time to visit a facility and pass out American flags. By including those who are confined, you will give them the chance to participate in showing their American pride.

September 19th: National POW/MIA Recognition Day 

Contact a facility and schedule a POW/MIA Ceremony. Invite ALL veterans, members, and the public. If you’re unable to schedule a ceremony, consider visiting a facility and passing out POW/MIA and American flags. It’s so important to honor those who were prisoners of war and never forget those who are still missing in action.

Entire Month of September: Suicide Awareness and Prevention

Please remember those who are suffering from PTSD. If you’re near a VA Hospital, find out what those patients can or cannot have, and see what you can do to help. Even a simple card may be all that is needed to bring a smile or let them know they are important!