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

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Beryl W. Love, National Programs Director, Spring 2012 American Veteran Column

Charity Begins At Home

I have attempted to use this quarterly opportunity to profile AMVETS programs, programs that our membership has determined to be essential to fulfill our organizational mission. As a backdrop for your consideration to actively support the programs being highlighted below, please consider the following: one of the definitions for philanthropy is the practice of giving money to help make life better for others. In AMVETS, others equal veterans who have taken an oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution. It is AMVETS’ mission to enhance and safeguard entitlements for all American veterans who have served honorably, and improve the quality of life for them, their families and the communities where they live through leadership, advocacy and service. I have suggested in the past that if your post has limited financial resources you should support/donate to veterans’ causes first, because this achieves the core goal of our mission. Given the economic pressures we are all experiencing personally, organizationally and across our states and federal government, including the DoD and VA, it is time to be more direct. If your post has limited financial resources and is going to donate to only a couple of programs, those programs need to be AMVETS programs, not just any social program. The resources and financing to support AMVETS is becoming more of a challenge each and every day, yet our mission must continue to be achieved. If we refuse to lower our ambitions, refuse to not squarely meet our objectives in service to our veterans, then we must ask what works better and be willing to embrace innovative solutions. How can you contribute? Simply review and discuss your donation policies at the post and department level and put AMVETS first. There is an old adage, “charity begins at home.” This means we should try to help our AMVETS family and veterans before we help others. Consider our collective donations reported for 2011: total cash reported for donations was $1,373,744. Twenty four percent of this amount went to programs supporting homeless veterans, sick & hospitalized veterans, and support for our active duty military, fifteen percent went to six representative AMVETS programs, and the remaining 60 percent or $827,728 went to a sundry of other miscellaneous social programs. This money could have made a significant difference in helping to further some of our native and critically important AMVETS programs, such as the AMVETS Warrior Transition Programs across the U.S. Please revisit our AMVETS mission and invest your dollars with the AMVETS family.

· Commander Gary L. Fry’s National Project is support for Freedoms Foundation campus improvements. AMVETS has partnered with Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge for more than 30 years to deliver quality educational programs to children, youth, and educators. The AMVETS Freedoms Foundation Spirit of America Youth Conference has provided dynamic citizenship education for more than 2,000 young Americans. The Freedoms Foundation is also the site of the Medal of Honor Grove dedicated to Medal of Honor recipients, the nation’s highest award for valor. One hundred percent of funds donated will go to campus improvements and you will have the opportunity to place memorial pavers in the Medal of Honor Grove.

· AMVETS Healing Heroes Fund – This fund assists OIF/OEF/OND soldiers and their families during lengthy periods of rehabilitation. The funds provide money to assist with travel, lodging, food and child care expenses that are not always covered by the DoD or VA. One hundred percent of every dollar contributed is used for financial assistance to aid veterans and their families.

· AMVETS Warrior Transition Workshops – These workshops are designed to address one of the major hidden wounds of Iraq and Afghanistan: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Developed by combat veterans, experts in the fields of PTSD, leadership, paradigm shift and a variety of other modalities, the workshops allow the warrior to process their transition without the stigma associated with a mental health program. One hundred percent of every dollar contributed is used to administer the workshops.

· AMVETS Task Force DVD – AMVETS appeals to the AMVETS Family and all patriotic Americans to donate their new and gently used DVDs, which will then be shipped to our nation’s heroes serving around the world. Posts may facilitate in the collection of DVDs and/or make donations that will assist in procuring boxes, AMVETS stickers and providing for the cost of mailing the DVDs overseas. One hundred percent of every dollar contributed goes directly to administering the program.

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