What can I say about the DAV that you all do not already know, you are all part of the best veterans organization. The DAV MN continues to grow and support the ever growing need of taking care of those that have made sacrifices for our nation, the disabled veterans. It is such an honor to be your Department Adjutant. I am blessed to be part of such a great organization, that each and every day the members of the DAV continue to surprise me at all the great work you all do.
I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of DAV of MN and their service to veterans in MN. There has been highlight after highlight every month that this organization does. Many of our chapters have outstanding community programs, many of our members and families are in volunteer programs and making a difference in their communities. Our organization continues to grow because of our impact in statewide communities. Our business enterprises, both at State and Chapter levels, continue to work magic, thanks to our donors. Our MN DAV Donor Connection program and our VAMC transportation continue to lead the nation in miles driven, volunteer hours and veterans transported and the awareness of MN DAV in many of our communities is growing rapidly.
We have so much to be proud of as we perform our organizations purpose and we clearly know that many veterans and their families wake up every morning with a better quality of life because of MN DAV. Our challenge is that we need to ensure our communities are aware of what we do and what we have accomplished and I ask that our Chapter leadership take special steps (as I am) to blow our horn in our communities. Here at the Department, we will be bringing on a part-time public relations person to help get our message out to the public. Let me share some of my highlights as your State Adjutant / Foundation Executive Director:
* A special “thank you” to the entire volunteer the DAV has especially all the volunteer drivers and county drivers that get the disabled veteran to their medical appointments.
* MN being recognized for their recruiting efforts at the National Convention
* Our booth at the MN State Fair was very effective in passing on information to visitors.
* The transportation in NW MN has been a huge success. It continues to grow each month.
* Our MN DAV Outdoors program has been launched and we have been sponsors of fishing programs, turkey, pheasant, goose and deer hunts for disabled veterans and we continue to expand that program working with other VSOs, and Midwest Outdoors Unlimited.
* Our State Officers and Dept. Service Officer stand ready to visit chapters and we ask that you ensure you plan for a visit and make an invite in your Chapter annual plan.
* We recently attended the 14th District Meeting in Fargo along with South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana.
* We continue to distribute Hurrycanes throughout MN and 14th district donated by Martfive Co. To date they have donated over 10,000 Hurrycanes to MN DAV.
* Our MN DAV Donor Connection program is another bit of DAV magic where we will end the year with over $750,000 worth of handicapped equipment being transferred from donors to disabled veterans and/or their families. The donor connect program would not be as successful as it is without the hard work and dedication of Gerry Falkowski and the Chapters hard work. Our Chapters are delivering pieces of medical equipment all across the state. Furthermore, several of our Chapters have established their own donor connection programs.
* More and more of our chapters are participating in our Thrift program with outstanding results I would like to share just a few Chapter highlights:
* Few chapters collaborating with non-profits in their communities to host a “Cash for Causes” or also known as “C4C”.
* Anoka Chapter #37 for all the great community support activities they do. Such as, packaging food for homeless veterans in Mankato where they packaged THOUSANDS of meals.
* Public relations and Community awareness of DAV
* Expanding our transportation program to the NE MN area.
* Our legislative priorities and communication of same to State and Federal legislators.
* Our fundraising programs (5K run, Golf benefit, etc.)
* New MN Outdoors programs
As you can see, WE DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE thanks to so many of you and our donors. BE PROUD and HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you and your loved ones, as we move through the holiday season do something special for a disabled veteran in need.
DAV MN Adjutant, & Executive Director