Friday, February 27, 2015

Membership: The Ultimate VIP Experience at National Convention

Tami Elliott
Membership Ambassador

At the Mid-Year Conference in Anaheim, Calif., National President Ann Panteleakos and I announced our latest membership contest - the Ultimate VIP Experience at National Convention 2015!

Three leaders of one Department - the Department President, Treasurer, and Membership Chairman – will win the "Ultimate VIP Experience at National Convention" for bringing in the highest percentage of remaining continuous members in their Membership Group from March 1 through May 31, 2015.
For contest rules and VIP prize details, please check out information at the link below.

By winning the Ultimate VIP Experience, you will know that you have done your best for yourself, your Department, the Ladies Auxiliary VFW, and most of all, the veterans who we serve.

See all of you at the Top!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Chief of Staff: A Goal is a Dream with a Deadline

Vivian Bernotas
Chief of Staff/Extension

At our recent Mid-Year Conference in California each Ambassador presented “Two for the Win” information – two things that will make for a winning year. In Extension, my information included:

1. Presenting Good Job Certificates and the Health Certificates
2. Reporting

It is not too late to complete your assignments. Our year is not over and we still have work to do.
We can still “Establish New Auxiliaries” and “Maintain Current Auxiliaries” – the two basic goals for Extension.
Remember, “A goal is a dream with a deadline.”

That statement has three parts:
  1. The goal which is what you want to achieve;
  2. The dream which is what you think you can do; and
  3. The deadline which means you will accomplish what you set out to do.
Each member must understand that her contributions directly affect the growth in our programs and her input is vital to our future and our success. As a valued member of our team it is necessary to focus on your goals and commit to teamwork – as you experience this, volunteering has new meaning and a greater purpose. Success!

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin." - Mother Teresa

This is my final blog as the Chief of Staff and Extension Ambassador. This has been a very productive year, and while we have lost some auxiliaries, we have also added many new auxiliaries that are committed, dedicated, vibrant, and full of great ideas, ready to work for our veterans and their families.

This assignment has been exciting and rewarding; thank you to all of the Department Presidents and Department Chairmen for their participation in a great year! Together we have made a difference and we can be so proud! Thank you!

Thank you, National President Ann, for this appointment, and, for leading our Ladies Auxiliary and providing us with the guidance to better serve our veterans and our organization. Our future holds many new ventures that will provide positive and productive change for all – remember we are not using the same cell phone that we used when they first came out – we accept changes and challenges, and we learn to use better and more efficient ways in order to get the job done and be successful. The staff at our National Headquarters is all about effectively leading and guiding us in to the next chapter of our history book. Please do your part to “stay tuned.” I challenge each member to continue spreading kindness; we never know what issues others may be dealing with. Besides, it is much easier to be nice and feel good, than to be a “bully” and accomplish nothing but discontent. Please, let us not forget why we joined and what our mission is - Unwavering Support for Uncommon Heroes.™

As a reminder - I am sharing a few excerpts from the renowned script of All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum:

"These are the things I learned: Share everything, Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat...Live a balanced life. Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. Think of what a better world it would be if we all – the whole world - ...had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and cleaned up our own messes.  And it is still true - no matter how old you are, when you go out in to the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together."

Our National Ambassadors have done a tremendous job this year providing promotional information. I am proud to boast about their accomplishments and congratulate them for their commitment and dedication. What awesome volunteers in these leadership positions! I hope each of you have the opportunity to share your thanks and appreciation with these leaders.

As National Ambassadors we have promoted our programs with excitement and fireworks – we have shared, supported, and demonstrated that “Patriotism Begins at Home!”

"Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together."
- James Cash Penney, Founder, JCPenney Company

Friday, February 20, 2015

Legislative: Checkpoint & 2015 Priority Goals

Kathy Schreiber
Legislative Ambassador

As we head into the end of our program reporting year there are several resources we want to make sure you're aware of. They are as follows:

Your source for VFW’s “Front-line” News
This valuable tool for our Legislative Program is a bi-monthly newsletter that comes from VFW National Headquarters. This publication is an award-winning newsletter that highlights VFW’s community activism. For only $5 per year (with a three-year subscription), you can have this premier publication delivered to your home and it is also available to read on the VFW website.
Packed with great news about the work VFW members perform at the grassroots level, this newsletter keeps you informed about VFW’s youth activities, community service, veterans’ assistance, troop support endeavors, Post operations and much more. Checkpoint is a must-read for all active VFW and Ladies Auxiliary members.

Professionally written and presented, Checkpoint is a great informational piece to share with members and nonmembers alike. This newsletter can be found by going to the Home page, News & Events tab, and Checkpoint is listed. Take the time to review – it is worth the read!

2015 Priority Goals
The 2015 Priority Goals brochure is available to print; carry and share. This is one of the best advertising pieces for our Legislative Program that the VFW provides. The message includes Key Legislative, Employment and Security Goals. On the back it states "Support Today’s Veterans and Military" and "Play a Role in the Process." It can be printed from the VFW website under VFW in D.C. or the Ladies Auxiliary website under Programs/Legislative. Again, our Washington D.C. team making it personal and easy.

Good things from Capitol Hill last week – SAV Act Now Law (Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans) was signed by President Obama on February 12, 2105 and the Senate approved Dr. Ash Carter as the new Secretary of Defense. Stay current on all veterans’ issues and events through the VFW Action Corp Weekly e-newsletter.  – SIGN UP NOW!

Thanks for reading! Remember – Your Voice Matters!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hospital: Double-Dipping Reporting Hours?

Grace Matz
Hospital Ambassador

For those of you who couldn’t make it to Mid-Year Conference, I want to again address an issue that was brought to my attention.

There seems to be concern about “double dipping” by reporting hours volunteered at a VA facility to both the VAVS and our own Hospital Program.

1.  A member who volunteers at a VA facility not only can, but should, report her hours to her Hospital Chairman.

2.  The VAVS is the government-run program with a tracking and volunteer recognition system separate from our Ladies Auxiliary Hospital Program.

That’s why it is not “double dipping."

Please report all hours volunteered at any medical facility to your Auxiliary Hospital Chairman.

Watch this brief video explaining the similarities and differences of the Ladies Auxiliary VFW Hospital Program and the Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service program:

Monday, February 9, 2015

Youth Activities: February Holiday Activities

Lois Callahan
Youth Activities Ambassador

I am sure that many of you already have plans to involve your communities’ youth in Valentine activities. If not, get busy because the big day is literally just around the corner!
  • There are plenty of hospitalized Veterans in your area who would enjoy a visit from a young person on Valentine’s Day.  
  • Perhaps you could sponsor a letter or card writing campaign for mailing across our great nation.  
  • Get youth involved in packing boxes of cards and comfort items to be mailed around the globe.

Whatever you plan and no matter the activities, don’t let this special day pass without giving our youth the opportunity to say “Thank You” to our Veterans.

Right on the heels of Valentine’s Day is another gem of a Holiday:  President’s Day. This is another golden opportunity to engage your youth groups. Work with your Americanism Chairman, sponsor coloring contests, trivia games, flag education, music and more!

Make the best of these last few months before this reporting year comes to an end, and above all don’t forget about letting me know what you have been up to. Keep those reports coming. 

Thank you for all your hard work and I look forward to seeing all of you soon!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Veterans & Family Support: Tick-Tock. The Clock is Ticking. Donate to Operation Changing Lives Today!

Leona McDermott
Veterans & Family Support Ambassador

We are half way through our year and still have a long way from our goal of $1 million for this project. You, the members, told the Ladies Auxiliary VFW that sending $5.00 per member for Cancer Aid & Research was too much of a burden on the Auxiliaries and stressed that we are a veterans organization. National listened and asked that this year you send in only $2.00 per member for Cancer Aid & Research and to please shift your fundraising efforts to our veterans and this very important project. I am at a loss for words as to why we are not even one quarter of the way to reaching our goal.

I know some of you feel that this project doesn't actually benefits veterans. That is not the case. Did you know that since 2012, the VFW Service Officers have recovered $3.7 billion in VA benefits for 125,000 veterans? How is that not actually assisting veterans? Our Service Officers are highly skilled professionals who must receive up-to-date training on all aspects of entitlements in order to give our veterans the best there is to give.

The Ladies Auxiliary VFW is first and foremost a veterans’ service organization founded on the principle of helping veterans. Our veterans need your donation today! It is not too late for us to reach our goal.

Please send your donation today to: 
VFW National Headquarters
Attn: Operation Changing Lives
406 W. 34th St.
Kansas City, MO 64111

I believe in each and every one of you because I believe with my heart and soul that you won’t let our veterans, American’s greatest heroes, down.  

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Cancer Aid & Research: World Cancer Day & Cancer Survivor Celebrations

Patricia Kemp
Cancer Aid & Research Ambassador

Today (February 4) is World Cancer Day. World Cancer Day, organized by the Union for International Cancer Control, is an opportunity to highlight the wide range of actions needed to effectively prevent, treat and control the many forms of cancer. Learn more about World Cancer Day here:

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. - Mark Twain

That sums up the effect that our “Cancer Survivor Celebrations” are having on members and those being honored. Kindness, caring and love are being given by Auxiliary sisters to fellow members and those in their communities. Gratefulness and appreciation fills the survivor’s hearts; smiles, tears and happiness can be seen and felt by all.

My heart is filled with joy as I read about the celebrations that have been done. If your Auxiliary has not yet hosted a Survivor Celebration, here's what you need to get started:
  • An event chairman and a publicity contact.
  • A date for, and the type of, celebration you will have.
  • Are you going to give a small gift? A couple of places to start looking are:
  • Get the word out about your celebration. Share the information on your Facebook page, post flyers in the community, place a notification on your local paper, etc.
  • Volunteers to assist with decorations, food, greeters, etc.
  • When all is done and you have completed a Survivor's Celebration...REPORT, REPORT, REPORT.
As I stated at the beginning of the Program Year, monetary donations are essential, but the giving of our time is equally important and truly needed. Also, we will show our love and care for our members with cancer, by the giving of our Cancer Grants and being there for them and their caregivers.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched they must be felt with the heart. - Helen Keller