Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation

 Purpose: “Promote our mission to enhance the lives of veterans, military and their families.” National POA

 Current Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation (VA&R) Chairman

What can you do?

  1. Provide opportunities for Auxiliary members to serve veterans and their families as volunteers as VA health facilities through VA Voluntary Service (VAVS)
  2. If no VA facility near you, find opportunities for Auxiliary members to service veterans in your area. (These hours count towards your Service to Veterans pin and hour bars.)
  3. Assist veterans in accessing VA benefits including, but no limited to, healthcare. (Coordinate with your local American Legion Post Service Officer.)
  4. Assist in activities that help homeless veterans
  5. Support rehabilitation and healing of veterans through arts, crafts and hobbies
  6. Help The American Legion, State Department of Veterans Affairs and Chamber of Commerce promote job fairs for veterans and their families
  7. Support the American Legion programs

 Christmas Hospital Tour and Santa Fund Info:

  1.  Santa Fund Form: $10 for each veteran (Legion – $5.00, ALA – $3.00, SAL – $1.00 & Riders – $1.00)
  2. Hospital Tour: visits to the 16 VA hospitals/homes across the state from December 2-8, 2016

 

VA Medical Center & Outpatient Facilities

The ALA fills an imperative role at VA facilities and Veterans Homes.  This is done through volunteering.  This enables the facilities’ staff to extend services to more patients.  Field Service and Home Service Volunteers also assist veterans and active duty service members as well as their families. Please contact your area’s Hospital Representative to find out how you can start volunteering.

Members can also donate supplies for the residents.  Items include: shampoo, body wash, lotions, toothbrush/paste, combs/brushes, shaving cream, deodorant, non-alcohol mouthwash,  t-shirts, socks, neck pillows, wheelchair bags, ball caps, etc.

Field and Home Service (see Hospital Field and Service)

Volunteers provide services to veterans outside the VA facility.  They keep their own record-keeping and monies spent.  Assistance can be in the veteran/service member’s home.  In addition, errands and transportation for doctor visits is services provided.

Homeless Veterans

Active involvement is encouraged pertaining to working with veteran homeless programs.  The American Legion in Pennsylvania has a program that assists homeless veterans.  It is the American Legion Housing for Homeless Veterans Corporation.  ALA members can work with the VA Homeless Veterans program, the American Legion and National Coalition of Homeless Veterans.  Members are encouraged to actively participate in initiatives for the homeless veterans.

To help fund the houses. there is an annual fundraiser dinner every January. For more information about the Pennsylvania American Legion Housing for Homeless Veterans, review their brochure. Their contact information is PA American Legion, Housing for Homeless Veterans, Inc., PO Box 2324, Harrisburg, PA  17105-2324. The telephone number is (717)730-9100(717)730-9100.

National Veterans Creative Arts Festival

This is an annual celebration, which is the pinnacle of talent competitions in art, creative writing, dance, drama and music for veterans treated in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national health care system.  For more information about the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, please visit their website on US Department of Veterans Affairs.

 Operation Comfort Warriors

“While the care at many military hospitals and warrior transition units is extraordinary, The American Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors (OCW) program was created to provide “nonessentials” – items that help wounded warriors’ recovery but don’t usually show up as a budget line on government spreadsheets.”

Operation Comfort Warriors is a program dedicated to meeting the needs of wounded, injured or ill military personnel by providing them with comfort items not usually supplied by the government. 100% of all donations go towards needed items for the wounded, sick or ill.

The Legion contact officials to obtain a list of needed items.  There are two (2) types of purchases; individual and unit grants. Individual grants will go directly towards a recovering warrior. The Unit Grant  is for the facility and benefits the unit and multiple service members.

To donate, go to Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors. Donations have been used to buy and deliver countless items that help recovering service members. A small sampling: (Canoes, games, fitness equipment fill needs of wounded warriors)

WATER RECREATION

  • Canoes, kayaks, a launch dock and installation
  • Snorkeling and diving equipment
  • Fishing rods, reels, anchors, rod holders and spearfishing gunsStand-up paddle boards

EXERCISE EQUIPMENT

  • Softball bats, batting gloves, softballs and jerseys
  • Recumbent bikes
  • Electronic ride simulator for stationary bikes
  • Fitness heart-rate monitors
  • Weight-lifting equipment and resistance bands

INDOOR RECREATION

  • Pool tables, foosball tables, ping pong tables, air hockey tables and electronic dartboards
  • Wii Fit fitness package
  • Music equipment such as guitars and amplifiers
  • Art supplies such as paints, utensils and pottery equipment

 Programs that are built on the foundation of VA&R:

 Welcome Home Celebrations

Members are to work with local VAMC in supporting returning service members and their families in their communities.  VAMC’s have been mandated to sponsor Welcome Home Celebrations in their facility and community.

If there is not a VAMC in the area, members can work with their Legion Post, local VFW and other civic organizations to hold welcome home celebrations in their own towns and communities.

Fisher House

Units and members are encouraged to volunteer at their nearest Fisher House.  Donations are always welcome.  For more information about Fisher House, please visit their website.

Veterans Affairs Voluntary Services National Advisory Committee

Also known as VAVS committee.  Units and members are are to actively engage in the VAVS committee’s activities.  For more information about the National Advisory Committee’s programs, please visit their website.

Support The American Legion Programs

Units and members are to promote The American Legion’s legislation efforts.  These efforts support Department and Post levels programs to increase awareness of and contribute in programs and resources.  These assist the transitioning of service members from military life to the civilian life, maintaining the highest quality of life.

National Recognition Programs

Annually salute America’s Heroes – more than 98,000 veterans of the Armed Forces.  The week of February 14th is awareness week for VA facilities.  All are encouraged to volunteer, furnish refreshments or donate to their local VA facility

National Volunteer Month

National Volunteer month is the April.  All Units and members are to recognize and celebrate the importance of the volunteers that give their time on the behalf of the veteran.

Resources:

Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Guide
Homeless Veterans & Service Providers Handbook