Friday, January 30, 2015

Chief of Staff: Tools for a Strong Foundation

Vivian Bernotas
Chief of Staff

Where is IT?
“Where is WHAT?” you ask. Your Toolkit. Please locate it and USE your tools. This material has been compiled for you and provided in an easy-to-locate file here:
In order to build a strong, sturdy organization it is imperative that you use the right tools. You have them, just dust them off and let the growth begin.

Strong membership is like building a house, you have to have a solid foundation before you begin to build or your whole structure will come tumbling down. You can't build a great building on a weak foundation. You must have a solid foundation if you're going to have a strong structure!

Where are THEY?
“Who are THEY?” you ask. Your new Ladies Auxiliaries and new members. Remember to check on your new Ladies Auxiliaries often, nurture them, help them grow and be successful. Get them on the right track and let them know we are a team. Are you mentoring your new members? Utilize the talents and knowledge in your Departments. Together, “We Can!”

Are you using the Bachelor Post Presentation Slideshow?
What? You haven’t looked at it? You haven’t used it? You didn’t know it existed?
It’s not too late. Download the presentation here. Each Department Chief of Staff should have contacted every bachelor post in their Department by now and talked with them about how the addition of a Ladies Auxiliary can assist the Post.

“Patriotism Begins at Home”...
"Unwavering Support for Uncommon Heroes"...
Live it! Spread it!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Americanism: Bataan Death March

Joyce Bilyeu
Americanism Ambassador

The Bataan Death March:
After the April 9, 1942, U.S. surrender of the Bataan Peninsula on the main Philippine island of Luzon to the Japanese during World War II (1939-45), the approximately 75,000 Filipino and American troops on Bataan were forced to make an arduous 65-mile march to prison camps. The marchers made the trek in intense heat and were subjected to harsh treatment by Japanese guards. Thousands perished in what became known as the Bataan Death March.

A few of you have e-mailed me and wanted to know additional ways to promote the Bataan Death March.  Below is a list of suggestions for you to share with your Auxiliaries:

  • Educate yourself about this time in history so you can educate others. Find as much material on the Bataan Death March and share it with your members, community members, and schools.
  • Google the term "Bataan Death March" and print out some of the information and hand it out at Auxiliary meetings.
  • Promote the Bataan Death March Memorial. March 22, 2015 is the annual Bataan Death March Memorial in White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. This is a 26.2 mile (full marathon), and a 14.2 mile (half marathon) event. Several Ladies Auxiliary VFW National Headquarters staff members and I will be participating in this event (the half marathon). You are invited to come join us, or track our progress on the National Organization's Facebook page. Click here to find out more about this memorial event.
  • Go to schools and do a presentation to students on this historical event that many have forgotten.
  • Find out who in your VFW or Auxiliary had a relative that was in the Bataan Death March and interview them, ask them to come to a meeting to share their experience, or hold a dinner or lunch in their honor, etc.
Thank you for support!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Scholarships: Deadlines and Updates

Christine Begin
Scholarships Ambassador

January is almost over and that means Departments have hosted their Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen awards dinners for District winners. I’m sure everyone had a great time. Now onto the National level of the competition!

Each Department winner of the Voice of Democracy contest will enjoy an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where they will meet students from all over the country and see our nation's impressive national monuments. They will likely be on pins and needles to find out if they will be named the National winner of a $30,000.00 scholarship on Monday, March 2. It will be an exciting time to discover how each Department winner places at this level. The National winner of the Patriot's Pen contest will also be announced that evening. That contest winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.  

“Good Luck” to all the students! If you are not fortunate enough to attend in person, you can view the “Parade of Winners” ceremony live on the VFW website. Be sure to tune in and cheer on your Department Winner! I am so thrilled our National President Ann asked me to be the Scholarships Ambassador because I have the privilege of being a chaperone for the Voice of Democracy students during their time D.C.! Don’t worry - they’ll be in good hands!
Important reminders for our next three contests: 
  • Continuing Education Scholarship deadline is Sunday, February 15. An application and essay must be sent to Ladies Auxiliary VFW National Headquarters to the attention of the Director of Programs. There will be a $1,000 scholarship awarded to one entrant in each of the four Conferences. Click here to download an application.
  • Junior Girls Scholarship Contest deadline into local Auxiliaries is Wednesday, March 11. One Junior Girl will be awarded a $7,500 scholarship to be held in escrow until she enrolls in college! Click here to download an application.
  • The Young American Creative Patriotic Art Contest deadline into local Auxiliaries is Tuesday, March 31. There are eight prizes for these high school students ranging from $500 to $10,000! Click here to download an application.
Please remember it is very important to promote and publicize the contests, and recognize all the students who participated! There are less than months left to publicize these contests, so make every moment count!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Membership: Seize the DAY...Seize the MOMENT!

Tami Elliott
Membership Ambassador

Seize the DAY…Seize the MOMENT!

My focus is on increasing our organization's membership, so the techniques below are geared toward our membership goals; however, we can all use these ideas to make our everyday life more fulfilling.

We all know that if we would just take that moment or opportunity that presents itself or is presented to us, we could get so much more done, but you know the saying, "easier said than done."

Here are some helpful, straightforward tips on how to actually ‘Seize that Moment’ courtesy of this website:

  1. Stop waiting.
    Procrastination is really the fear to start now. Whether it is that call, trying something new, or making a connection.
  2. Make the time.
    “You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.” - Charles Buxton. Seizing the day means seizing it in the moment. If we make a promise to ourselves to start tomorrow or next week, there may be something entering our world then and we just have no time again. We have to make room actively for what is important to us.
  3. Say “Yes” to what is important (and “No” to what is not). 
    Is that action helping you towards your goal? Be selective in what you choose to do.
  4. Bring your best to the table.
    “Winning is not everything, but the effort to win is.” – Zig Ziglar
    In other words: Give 100 percent, give your all. By doing so, if you can honestly say you gave the best you can, you have seized the day. If you can honestly say you are proud of your efforts, then you have given it your best shot.
  5. Whatever you do, be there fully.
    People will know when you are giving 100%. They want to be part of something when you are excited and fully engaged.
  6. Be a Go-Giver.
    This simply means being out in front and leading the way. Don’t wait for signs of gratification. Don’t expect anything in return. This will follow naturally. It also includes the secret to receiving, which is simply giving. If you want to get love, give love. If you want to get value, give value.
  7. Be courageous.
    “Just do it.” is Nike's famous slogan. What’s so great about it? It just hits the nail on the head. Stop thinking and wondering what's holding you back, just do it. There is nothing sadder than missed opportunities. All it takes is a reminder to seize the day. Just ask. Ask and you shall receive.
  8. Never stop dreaming (but live your dream now).
    Don’t let anyone tell you what you are, or what you can or can’t do. A dream is nothing else than an opportunity that has the potential to become true. My dream is to make our membership 100%+. There are some who say we just can’t do it, but I say we can. I am dedicated to all my sisters, this organization, my family, and my friends to make this happen.
See all of you at the TOP!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cancer Aid & Research: Still Work to Do!

Patricia Kemp
Cancer Aid & Research

Happy New Year! 2015 has started off with a bang! Thirty-two Departments have reached 100% plus, donating $2 per-member, to Cancer Aid & Research. The other Departments are working hard and I know they will make it soon.

Those that have achieved that goal will have more time to help make the monetary goals for our other programs and finish the Cancer Aid & Research Program.

Since my last blog, another 193 Cancer Grants have been sent to our Auxiliary sisters! Each one of us knows someone that was diagnosed with cancer in the last six months. It is important that we show our members how much we care and that we will be there for them.
There is still work to do before the year ends:
The ground is cold, dormant and barren. This is the time the earth has to work it hardest, to prepare and rejuvenate itself, for Spring. Then all of a sudden you see life spring forth…the bounty even more beautiful and plentiful than the year before.
This may be our cold front, but we are never dormant or barren. Why? Because we continue to work and produce, meeting our goals and keeping the Ladies Auxiliary VFW the best in the world, each and every day.

Let’s bundle up and keep working. Say a special prayer for our sisters that are battling cancer and for their caregivers.  

Thank you for all of your work!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Legislative: Veterans Choice Program - VA Health Care Reform

Kathy Schreiber
Legislative Ambassador

Happy New Year and “New” Congress! The One Hundred Fourteenth United States Congress is scheduled to meet in Washington, D.C. from January 3, 2015 to January 3, 2017. With 247 seats in the House of Representatives and 54 seats in the Senate, this Congress has the largest Republican majority since the 71st Congress of 1929–1931. 

Now with that being said, regardless of a Congressman’s party affiliation we need them to be a veterans’ advocate.  “Your Voice Matters,” so make yourself and your thoughts known to your new and/or old Senators and Representatives.  You have quick access to your state’s Congressmen on the website. Choose Programs tab, Legislative and click on VFW Action Corp Weekly. In the center of that page is elected officials. How easy is that?! Be familiar with all that information provided on that site – Issues, Congressional Directory and so much more. Knowledge is power!
It is my privilege to share with you an email sent on December 10, 2014, by Raymond Kelly, VFW National Legislative Director. If you are signed up to receive the Action Corps Weekly this came to you. If not, the information and website is worth sharing with your veteran:

“On November 6, VA implemented its new Veterans Choice Program, which is designed to offer non-VA health care options to veterans who cannot be seen by VA in a timely manner or veterans who live too far from a VA health care facility.

Established through this summer’s Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act, the Veterans Choice Program is an innovative VA health care reform that you helped the VFW champion through your relentless advocacy and congressional action. But signing the bill into law was the easy part – we once again need your help to make sure that the program works. 

More than a month has passed since the Veterans Choice Program went into effect, so please take a few moments to complete our short survey and share your experiences with the new program. Your input is critical in continuing to hold VA accountable for its obligation to provide quality and timely health care options for our veterans:

Thank you in advance for sharing this information; this is networking at its best. Let’s have a strong voice in the 2015 Legislative year!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Hospital: Salute to Hospitalized Veterans Week in February

Grace Matz
Hospital Ambassador

Happy New Year!!! I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and made a special visit to hospitalized veterans in December.

The Salute to Hospitalized Veterans will be the week of February 14th. This is a VA Voluntary Service program so you should check with your local VA Hospital as to the events they’re planning.

The purpose of the National Salute to Veteran Patients Program is to:
  • pay tribute and express appreciation to veterans
  • increase community awareness of the role of the VA medical center
  • encourage citizens to visit hospitalized veterans and to become involved as volunteers.
But let’s not forget those who are in a medical facility other than a VA Hospital. It’s a perfect time to have a Valentine’s Day party. Who doesn’t like getting a Valentine? Visit the National Organization's Pinterest Page for some fun ideas on decorating at a medical facility, Valentine-themed games for seniors and more!

And just a quick reminder to keep recruiting volunteers. Once you have a new volunteer, please remember to recognize the time they give of themselves for our program. As they accumulate volunteer hours, honor their service by presenting the appropriate Hospital Pin. 

Don’t forget the Outstanding Hospital Volunteer is due to me by March 15th. I’m looking forward to reading about a volunteer from each Department!