It is hard to believe how quickly time passes, but many years ago, I served as an enlisted Soldier with the 101st Airborne Division (Screaming Eagles) in the United States Army. I remember being in formation, waiting for the command “Forward March” to be given by the First Sergeant. Then in unison, our right foot would step forward, strike the ground, and together we would move towards our next mission. As your DAV State Commander, I am pleased to announce the command “Forward March” as we together move forward in unison towards the 2021 State Convention!
As of this writing, we are in the middle of 5 District meetings which are occurring throughout the State. The meetings have been successful and a source of inspiration for me!
This last year, the global pandemic has been devastating to all of us – whether giving our economy a big thump, feeling isolated in quarantine, or having COVID-19 impact the health of ourselves and our loved ones. It has been a year we will never forget.
The pandemic has also impacted the DAV organization on local, State, and National levels. Many Chapters across the State did not meet for months, the 2020 Department Convention and Fall Conference were canceled along with the DAV Centennial National Convention.
There is an old saying, “The Phoenix rises from the ashes.” This saying represents our moving forward into 2021. It is a statement that symbolizes our rebirth and renewal. The past year was devasting; however, we can now take steps toward the new standard, possibly a semi-post pandemic era.
While at the District meetings, I witnessed many smiles, shouts of “How are you doing!” This represents the bond of comradery that is only known from those who have worn boots in service to our beloved Nation. There is now a real hunger and desire to be engaged in fellowship with our fellow DAV members.
While most of us were considered high risk for COVID-19 due to medical issues. A silver lining is we were in the top tier to immediately receive the vaccination. At our State Convention in Green Bay, we will err on the side of caution and utilize the required Center for Disease Control (CDC) protocols.
I would also like to share that Andy Marshall, DAV National Senior Vice Commander (SVC), will be attending our Convention. It is anticipated that SVC Marshall will be nominated as our next National Commander at the 2021 DAV National Commander. Andy is a combat-disabled Army Veteran of the Vietnam War plus a retired National Service Office Supervisor.
Having him at our Convention is an indication that Wisconsin continues to be a place of destination for DAV leadership to visit and meet our membership. Wisconsin Chapters and the Department continue to lead the way in engaging with veterans and ensuring that they are treated with dignity and respect. If you want to hang out with the best, come to Wisconsin!
In closing, between now and our State Convention, the tempo level will be incredibly high for many of us. However, after our 2020 State Convention was canceled due to COVID-19, I am extremely grateful for the upcoming Convention. In my next month’s column, I will provide final Convention updates to you.
Remember that together we do make a difference in the lives of veterans!