By: Greg Palo, State 2nd Junior Vice Commander
I retired last year and with my newfound time decided to put my life into the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). This past year has been an exciting experience. I maintained our Mission Statement to the highest standards while accomplishing my mission duty.
In electing me as 2nd Junior Vice Commander, I was tasked with the major duty of coordinating the Department Local Veterans Assistance Program (LVAP). Taking over from Matt Kempainen, who brought our department to be the national division winner, was quite daunting.
I visited numerous Chapter Coordinators and Chapters during the year, assisting them with an understanding of the LVAP system and its rewards to the individual and Department.
I have made a Monthly Volunteer Summary to help Chapters follow their Volunteer hours in a similar way that the monthly Population Summary follows the Chapter population.
For the first time I attended the National Convention and found it to be very similar to our Department Convention, but on a much grander scale. I met many people in the know. I also attended many seminars and learned a great deal. In the Voluntary Service Seminar there was so much information regarding LVAP I decided to stop by National Headquarters in Cold Spring, Kentucky on my way back from Florida.
I attended the Department Fall Conference and gave training on the whole system of Local Veterans Assistance Program (LVAP). I trained on the reporting forms (the columns and how to use them) as well as the relationship between salary, per diem, travel, and expenses as they relate to volunteering and the hours you do.
At the end of our LVAP year, we increased the number of volunteers from 364 in 2018 to 444 in 2019, and the number of volunteer hours from 47,123 in 2018 to 78,692 in 2019.
I revamped the Department’s LVAP reporting process that made it much more user friendly for the Chapter LVAP Coordinators. I gave the first Department ever Webinar in which I trained the Chapter Coordinators and Department Executive Committee members on how to use the new form.
In February, I attended the National Mid-Winter Conference and had the wonderful experience of meeting our Legislators. This was my first trip back to Washington, DC since 1968. The conference had much information to share and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of speaking with Senators and Congressmen.
Since March, we have been hit hard because of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) Pandemic and the Governor declared ‘EMERGENCY ORDER #12 SAFER AT HOME’. We are all Disabled Veterans and a lot of us fit in the “at risk category”, therefore, I look forward to the coming year when our Pandemic is behind us.
I thank you for your support and Volunteer hours.