Greetings VFW Auxiliary Brothers and Sisters. We are in the midst of challenging times with the COVID-19 Pandemic. We are all having to find new ways of doing things while practicing social distancing and obeying the Governor’s “Stay Home, Save Lives” order. However, the mail is still being delivered, emailing is still an option, and the telephones work. That means we can still submit our reports on time, so the deadline for Year-End reports is still April 5.
Some of you have already mailed or emailed your Year-End reports to me, which I appreciate. This is just a reminder to those Auxiliaries who have not yet done so, and who may not have submitted any of their regular reports. Please get them into me as soon as possible. If you don’t want to go to the post office to mail your reports and are unable to send them via email, simply telephone me. You can read off the information and I will fill the form out for you. I want you to be safe, but I need your reports.
In March I had the privilege of visiting Washington, DC during the VFW Legislative Conference, and the Voice of Democracy Parade of Winners. Thank goodness it happened the first week of March, before all the restrictions on groups gathering happened! We visited the offices of all the Oregon Senators and Representatives and went over the VFW’s Legislative goals for the year. We are fortunate that Oregon’s legislators are pro-veteran and they were very responsive to our pleas for support on bills like HR 5610-the Fair Care for Vietnam veterans act that adds hypothyroidism, parkinsonism, bladder cancer, and hypertension to the presumptive diseases associated with Agent Orange; HR 5995 and S 3393, which enables Chapter 61 veterans who have been discharged due to combat-related injuries to be entitled to receive DOD longevity pay and VA disability compensation without offsetting; and HR 444, which extends the 12 year limit for accessing the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment so veterans can use it for life. That is just a few of the issues we brought to our legislators in March. For more information on the VFW Legislative Priorities, go to the VFW Auxiliary website under Resources and select “VFW Legislative Priorities” under the Legislative section.
I was also in attendance when Commander-in-Chief “Doc” Schmitz testified before the Joint Committee on Veterans Affairs. That was my first time attending, and it was quite interesting. It reminded me once again why I am proud to be a member of the VFW Auxiliary, providing Unwavering Support to Uncommon Heroes! I also had the opportunity to meet our National Legislative Ambassador, Mercie Woolfolk at the event.
In addition, it was great to see our Department Commander Rick Higgins and Department President Janie Wills escort our Voice of Democracy winner from District 15 to the stage during the Parade of Winners. Justin did very well with a cash prize of $3,500 and a new laptop donated by Dell computers.
The Legislative Conference is over, but our work advocating for our veterans with our legislators is not. Please continue to do everything you can to make sure our legislators pay attention to the needs of our veterans. Continue to encourage people to vote, read your VFW Action Corps Weekly, and act when requested. Any activities for this program that you do after March will go to next year’s Legislative Chairman, but please write your reports and hold them until the new list of Chairmen is provided to you rather than waiting to report. It is very easy to forget what you have done if you don’t keep up on reporting and we want to know what you and your Auxiliaries are doing for our programs!
Have a great month everyone, and please stay safe and healthy!
Dept. Jr. Vice/Legislative Chairman