Letter to the Editor: Veteran Organization and other community groups need people to step up

To the Editor:

Our Veteran organization has many helpful programs for youth, community and our veterans. Our Veteran organization also lobbies for our veteran benefits to get and to keep the benefits that we have.

They also hire Veteran Service Officers that work in some of our medical centers and also in our Veterans Affairs (VA) regional offices that are advocates for our veterans and dependents and fight for their disability claims or survivor benefits as well as help with the appeal process, or act like your attorney in a VA appeal. These service officers are a very important part of getting claims granted.

Without our service organization, we would not be able to have many of the benefits that we do have. We need members to maintain those organizations as well as active members who can help continue to keep these organizations going.

Many of these organizations were also created for camaraderie and to have a place to share similar stories and experiences. This is a way of continuing to say, “I have your back.”

Veterans Organization have many programs that are beneficial in our community, such as:

Youth - Baseball, Boys State/Nation, Scholarships, Scouting, Oratorical, Junior Shooting Sports, Youth Cadet Law Enforcement, Youth Scholarships, Scout of the Year, Teacher of the year, VFW in the Classroom, Student Veterans of America, Flag Etiquette, Student Veteran Support;
Community - Legion Riders, Operation Comfort Warriors, National Emergency Fund, Volunteering, Homeless Veterans, Amateur Radio Club, Temporary Financial Assistance, Advocacy, Mental Wellness, Transportation, Homeless Veterans, Disaster Relief;
National Issues and Policies - National Convention, Washington Conference, Legislative, Flag Advocacy, National Security, Citizenship, Claims Assistance.

Our local veteran organizations are also the ones that participate in Military Funeral Details. Without these organizations, we would not have a funeral detail locally at all to perform this very important service. Many of these veterans who are involved are in their 70s and 80s.

We are losing many of our active members. Who will continue to perform these honors? We also have veterans in their 70s and 80s still marching in our parades. Who will continue to carry our colors? I have been told in the past, “I’m too old to march,” when there are people twice their age marching.

It would be nice to see these organizations continue and not reinvent the wheel down the road with new organizations. Those who started these before us put a lot of work and heart into organization that most seem to not care about at all anymore.

Heather Homewood
VFW Post 4117