It’s a true honor and privilege to be selected by the membership as Commander for 2018-2019. Our Past Department Commanders have laid down a firm foundation for which I only see a successful and exciting year of growth for DAV in Wisconsin. My motto for the next 12 months is “Together Forward”.
When DAV Members stand alongside each other in solidarity, we are truly an unstoppable force. DAV makes a difference in the lives of veterans by getting them to medical appointments, meeting with elected officials or being engaged in community outreach. These efforts help fulfill our mission: Ensuring that veterans lead high quality lives with respect and dignity.
For the upcoming year we will have a three pronged attack: Membership, Legislation and Community Engagement.
Our organization has truly experienced an ebb and flow across the generations. Our roots began after World War One, when returning Veterans discovered that America forgot them and in turn Veterans organized into a dynamic force which stands strong close to 100 years later. The WWI Veterans brought WWII and Korean Veterans into the fold. Not long after came the Vietnam veterans who set a high bar of performance and commitment. Today, we have a new set of Veterans, who served after the events of 9-11 shook our Nation. These Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Coast Guard are deployed into Combat Theatres in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the globe.
In 2018, we need to engage and encourage our newest “greatest generation” to join the DAV and ensure the promise made to the men and women who served is fulfilled. In the coming days, Stan Kogutkiewicz, Senior Vice Commander, will roll out the membership plan for this next year.
DAV is a non-profit that falls under a 501 (c) (4), which means that we are able to have direct contact with Legislators to promote those issues that are important to us. As our own Al Labelle once said “Advocacy is not a spectator sport”. Our membership needs to be actively engaged with elected local, State and Federal officials regarding those issues that are DAV priorities. That can be done through the DAV’s Commanders Action Network, attending a town hall meeting, writing a letter, calling them, or visiting their office. The worse thing we can do is nothing! If that occurs, our Government officials will assume all is fine and our issues will not be addressed.
DAV has a wonderful story that needs to be shared with family, friends, neighbors, and in the community that we reside in. We need to take every opportunity to connect with others. Please share the story of America’s premiere Veterans Service Organization and how it positively impacts Veterans. Wear your DAV hat, shirt or jacket in public. Place a bumper sticker on your car. If you doing a “Forget Me Not” Drive talk with people, engage them, and during the course of conversation share our mission. They will be interested as you may be the first person with DAV, they have ever met.
In conclusion, I look forward to being your Commander and let’s get the job done for the DAV. Remember – “Together Forward”