We were rolling along fulfilling our mission to those that have served. Then COVID-19 hit. It is like riding a roller coaster. We were moving at the peak through Mid-Winter Conference and suddenly we are down in the valley of the roller coaster.
Prior to the virus we had a successful Convention last June. We elected Command Hert to a second year. He is the first Department Commander to serve a second year. We then attended the National Convention in Orlando, Florida where we received the Division III LVAP award for the third year in a row. We had 14 of our members present at the convention.
From there we moved to our Fall Conference in Stevens Point. This proved to be a successful endeavor; continuing our training for Commander, Adjutant, and members. Chapter Service Officers (CSO) received training from the DAV National Service Officers (NSOs). This led to a significant increase in claims being processed by the National Service Office in Milwaukee.
From there it was on to Washington for Mid-Winter Conference. Once again, great representation with 13 members present. We visited our Wisconsin Congressional Legislators, briefed their staffers, attended seminars, and most importantly were present when Benefits Protection Team Leader (BPTL) Al Labelle received the outstanding BPTL award for Division III.
Then we had to hit the brakes. We stopped having Chapter meetings, cancelled District Meetings, and our Annual Convention. The Transportation Network really took a hit due to VA Hospitals and Outpatient Clinics increase use of tele-medicine for scheduled appointments.
Fund raising was almost nonexistent with many planned Forget Me Nots being cancelled or rescheduled. Our Headquarters staff began working from home and only checking snail mail once a week. Due to our e-business ability, Office Manager/Bookkeeper Deirdre Flynn was able to accomplish most of her duties from home.
As we move forward will we discover a new normal for meetings, fund raising and Department operations? My guess, yes, we will, and we will discover them together.