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

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

John Mitchell, National 2nd Vice Commander, Spring 2012 American Veteran Column

Greetings to all, particularly to our post and department 2nd vice commanders of programs. Programs are our game and in the words of the late AMVETS member Donald R. Deis, “I believe if AMVETS is to grow, if we are going to increase our influence, we must get our message out. Programs, both national and local, are our keys. Who we are, what we do, what we stand for is embodied in our programs.” Don was a great AMVETS member and we can honor his memory by implementing the basics of solid programs planning and execution. An important part of our mission is to improve the quality of life for our veterans, their families and their communities through leadership, advocacy and service. Services are really “programs” that will benefit others.

One measurement of how well our posts are poised to deliver on the mission is to take a look at how many quality posts we have: as of 2011 we stood at 15 percent. This is an area we need to improve as we approach revalidation time, which is when the QP distinction is determined.

Also, the due date for entering a submission for the National Program Awards is July 1 and the forms are available online at the National website, The process of submitting an entry in itself is recognition for your members who have worked hard on behalf of your post and our veterans. A major incentive for submitting entries is the cash awards that accompany the recognition and may be used to enhance your programs. There is a total cash value of $10,500 spread over five categories for both posts and departments. Please consider submitting an entry for one or more of the following categories: Americanism, ROTC, Special Olympics, AADAA, and Community Service.

Another issue that needs your attention is the collective effort to regain the two percentage points we lost in post-programs reporting at the end of 2011. We closed out the six-month reporting period at 916 posts (79 percent) having made at least one report. In December 2011 we fell back to 77 percent. As of March 27, we stood at 34 percent, leaving us the next three months to regain 45 percent to reach and/or surpass our all time high. We must capture all of the outstanding programs that positively impact our veterans, their families, the active duty military and their communities. This information demonstrates the effectiveness of our organization not only to our membership, but also to those on Capitol Hill and the public to whom we look to for financial support.

The final thought I want to share with you is the need for each of our posts to report their numbers and document their successful programs. It is my goal to actively support our Department 2nd vice commanders and this type of information proves critical to that end. Only by sharing our successes will we truly accelerate our ability to fulfill our mission. Each of you is encouraged to take advantage of our program resources available online at the AMVETS National website ( One of the resources available is a simple form that may be used to record and share your best practices. Send the form to our National Programs Department and they will post the report for others to access. Thanks for all you do!

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