The official blog of American Veteran Magazine, the national quarterly publication of AMVETS.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

National Commander Hotop Visits Walter Reed

This morning AMVETS National Commander Jerry Hotop and AMVETS National Programs Director Beryl Love made their way to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. to visit with wounded warriors recovering at the facility.

Hotop, whose schedule routinely takes him out of the Washington area, wanted to take a few moments to meet with troops recuperating at the facility.

During the visit, Hotop was able to meet with troops in various stages of the recovery process from all across the country and offered words of gratitude and encouragement on behalf of the 250,000 AMVETS, AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary, and Sons of AMVETS nationwide.

Hotop also received a briefing from hospital brass on the forthcoming merger between Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the nearby National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., to form the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

The two facilities are slated to merge between September and October, when the current Walter Reed facility is scheduled to close permanently. The majority of patients transferred to the new facility in Bethesda will be amputees and those suffering from severe traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. Remaining patients will be transferred to the new state-of-the-art Army hospital at Fort Belvoir, Va.

While at Walter Reed, Hotop also had the opportunity to visit with three of the Federal Recovery Coordinators who have been assisting service members and their families in requests for financial assistance through the AMVETS Healing Heroes program. To date, AMVETS Healing Heroes has given more than $500,000 in grants to 256 requesting families, with more aid still available.

(Story with contributions from Beryl Love.)

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

AMVETS at the White House for Roll-Out of "Joining Forces"

Yesterday AMVETS National Acting Legislative Director Christina Roof joined President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, the nation's top military brass and leading veterans' advocates at the White House for the roll-out of a new program by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to serve military families called "Joining Forces."

Joining Forces is the latest in a string of initiatives from Obama and Biden designed to meet the needs of military men and women and their loved ones who have borne the burdens of war for nearly a decade.

During the announcement, Obama said she felt that Americans were grateful for the sacrifices America's military families have made over the years, but that many civilians were simply disconnected from the rigors of military life.

Retired U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal was tapped by the White House to head the new initiative, designed to help Americans connect with military families and offer support while their loved ones continue to defend the American way of life.

The fledgling "Joining Forces" Web site currently includes an overview of the program, ways for Americans to become involved, and a link where visitors can send personal messages to troops.

Roof said she was honored to represent AMVETS at such a critical announcement and looks forward to working with the White House and her colleagues in veterans' advocacy to support the initiative.

Below is the official White House video explaining "Joining Forces":

(Photo: President Barack Obama discusses the importance of serving America's military families during yesterday's roll-out of "Joining Forces" in the East Room at White House. Photo by Christina Roof. Video: Official video explaining "Joining Forces," courtesy of the White House, released.)

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

AMVETS Says 'No' to TRICARE Increases

This week AMVETS took a stand on proposed increases in military health care premiums, voicing support for legislation that would keep premiums for TRICARE at the current rate.

The Military Health Care Affordability Act, H.R. 1285, was introduced by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and AMVETS Acting Legislative Director Christina Roof sent a letter of support to the Congresswoman, expressing the importance of the bill.

At the 2010 AMVETS National Convention in Louisville, Ky., AMVETS members voted on a resolution to fight increases in military health care premiums. The resolution is included in the 2011 AMVETS Legislative Priorities book and has guided AMVETS' legislative department in its decision-making on proposed TRICARE increases.

AMVETS is one of the few veterans' organizations to put its foot down on the issue of TRICARE increases, calling health care an earned entitlement for military service.

AMVETS leaders call the proposal particularly unconscionable during a time of war, and encourage AMVETS members around the country to reach out to their representatives in Congress, voicing their opposition to the proposed increases.

To find your representative and to voice your opinion on TRICARE increases, Click Here.

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