The VFW is so much more than a place to get refreshments. The VFW has a long list of accomplishments that have helped veterans, military personnel and their families. The VFW reaches out to all veterans—including those who have served in the War on Terror—to serve, represent and support them. Our mission of "honoring the dead by helping the living” is just as vital today to veterans, military troops and the community than it has ever been. We exist to serve others first and foremost through VFW programs and activities, not just as a social gathering spot. All Posts are urged to follow this mission of impacting lives through service and outreach.
The VFW is very active on the legislative front. Most of the state and federal benefits that veterans, troops and their families receive is due in part from the VFW’s fighting hard to make sure politicians deliver what they promised. Every year, we visit the nation’s Capitol and testify before Congress to make sure our veterans and their families get the highest possible level of support from government agencies. We are fighting to make sure the VA health system provides veterans with the best healthcare they were promised. We also make sure legislation to pass more costs on to veterans is defeated because veterans deserve the support of a grateful nation. We urge the VA system to better manage its patient caseload to reduce backlogs and to ensure that veterans get the best possible quality in healthcare. We hold politicians accountable when they don’t hold true to promises they made during election campaigns.
We help veterans, troops and their loved ones learn about and receive the benefits and services from the government. We represent them before the VA and will even guide them through the claims appeals process. VFW Service Officers help veterans to recover an average of $30 million in federal benefits each year. Our State Service Officers are located throughout Alabama.
We also working hard in the state government to ensure that veterans receive the highest possible level of service from state agencies. Our state legislative priorities include action on a study that showed new Veterans Homes are needed in Alabama. We support the continuation—and where needed the expansion—of programs that assist aging veterans, unemployed veterans and homeless veterans.
Every year, VFW units in Alabama contribute donations and volunteer service to make life better for people from all walks of life by making communities safer, giving youth positive programs to participate in, helping needy families, supporting charities and doing much more. Many Posts donate funds annually to police departments, fire companies, ambulance services, food pantries, homeless shelters, projects helping less fortunate and disabled persons, and many more causes.
The VFW works hard to improve the lives of veterans including disabled veterans, homeless veterans and those suffering from post traumatic stress symptoms. No one knows better the struggles that combat veterans live with than other combat veterans. This common bond is shared regardless of what war a veteran fought in. The VFW is a foundation of support for veterans experiencing hardship. We can also help their families to understand and support their loved one who is a combat veteran. We provide disabled veterans with transportation and other assistance. We help veterans suffering from traumatic stress and brain injuries to adjust to their civilian life.
The VFW supports those serving our nation today as well as their families. We adopt military units and support their families to make deployments a little less stressful. The VFW gives out emergency grants to help military families make ends meet during and after deployments. We attend military functions to show our gratitude for their service. We’re showing that the VFW is not just an organization for the older veterans, but for veterans of all ages. We want to include entire families in our activities and we support the families when their loved ones are called to duty overseas.
The VFW is proud that veterans 45 years old and younger make up the largest growing segment of the VFW membership. We use our web site, our Facebook page, blast emails and our State Service Officers to serve younger veterans. They know about our service programs and how we supported them and their families while they were deployed. They will find resources on our web site and our Facebook page that keeps them updated on issues important to their futures and to their well being.
Many younger veterans are joining the VFW even though they don’t intend to go to the post. They know that with the VFW working behind the scenes for their rights and their benefits that being a member will pay off for them today and in the future.
The support we receive from younger veterans will help us to stay strong so the VFW will be around to serve future generations of veterans. The participation of younger veterans is welcomed and will play a large role in what the VFW will be in the future. They fought as hard and as well as veterans from our previous wars and we look forward to them coming into our VFW ranks to follow in our footsteps.