Wow…where has the summer gone? Leaves falling, frosty mornings, school buses on the roads, boats in the garage, farmers harvesting and hunters cleaning their guns!
All through the summer and into this Fall the DAV of MN has been busy serving our veterans and getting our committees and officers assigned their duties. We are on a roll!!
The MN DAV organization was well represented at our National Convention in Las Vegas. We were very proud to see LeeAnn Karg of the Hutchinson Auxiliary unit elected as the DAV Auxiliary National Commander. This is truly an honor for her and she will no doubt take our Auxiliary organization to new levels of success. At the National Convention we were again awarded for our 1st place finish in membership recruiting in our division
Looking back at my calendar clearly shows I have been a busy Commander!! .
- The DAV Foundation met in early August in Ostego at the Riverwood Conference Center and reviewed our financial reports and began to set the stage for the fiscal year.
- John Carson from HQ staff and I attended a fundraiser headed up by Benson area business and the results of the event all went to our DAV of MN Outdoors Programs. The generosity of these donors will play a huge role in getting our disabled veterans outdoors for a variety of events we have planned.
- The Department staff and I hosted a 1st time “key leader” training session in St. Cloud in early September. Our target audience was the Chapter Commanders, Adjutants and other Chapter leadership. We invited representatives from the Auxiliary units as well. It was well attended and attendees clearly seen the value of the event and have suggested we do this annually.
- I attended the CVSO annual conference at the Grandview Lodge in Nisswa. I enjoy meeting with our Statewide CVSOs and share with them the DAV gratitude for key role they play in serving our veterans. I ask that you too take the opportunity to recognize them, acknowledge their efforts in your communities.
- Each year the Commissioner of MN Department of Veterans Affairs hosts a session for veterans organizations leadership. Adjutant Whitehead and I attended this session at the Kelly Inn in St. Paul Sept 24th and 25th. At that session, the CTF (Commanders Task Force, which is made up of the Commanders of the nine major veterans organizations here in MN ) elected Peggy Moon, Dept. Commander of the American Legion, as the chairman. We attend the monthly meetings of this group and we are busy currently developing our unified legislative priorities for the State of MN
- On October 11th I attended the annual pheasant hunt we sponsor for disabled veterans at the Sandpines pheasant preserve in Avon, just N of St. Cloud. Over 20 had a great time hunting pheasants European Style. (Where hunters are stationary in blinds and pheasants are released). This make it very accommodating for the disabled veterans who participate. What a hoot to hear over 1200 shots fired and close to 150 pheasants taken home.
- In addition to the above I have traveled to several chapters and spend time on a regular basis at Department HQ. I have also attended meetings at the VA medical centers, the veterans homes and MAC-V standowns.
- We are in the process of addressing the inactive South of the River Chapter 5 organization by transferring their members to chapters near them and then merging the remaining with Mayo-Hiawatha chapter in SE MN.
I am proud to serve you as your DAV of MN Commander. My goal is to continue to do the outstanding job we have be doing but at same time improve where we have opportunities to reach higher levels of success. Some of my key initiatives:
- Expand of Department Service office support, especially at the VA medical centers, veterans homes, and veteran events around the State.
- Continue to assist chapters who are struggling with membership and volunteer participation in DAV Chapter sponsored programs in their communities.
- You will be seeing initiatives from the Department HQ and Chapters aimed at Public Relations and Public Awareness of the MN DAV organization and its chapters.
- In the area of membership recruiting we will be focused on members who have partially paid their life memberships.
- We will be focusing on recognizing members, volunteers, partner organizations, and businesses who have assisted us in big ways in the performance of our mission. We are fortunate to have many in our midst.
In closing, I encourage you to set aside time in one of your upcoming meeting or chapter events for a State officer or myself to attend. Meeting our statewide members and understanding your local programs is very important to me.
In the upcoming Veterans Day, and the Holiday Season let us take the time to thank our fellow veterans, especially those in our veterans homes, local nursing homes, hospitalized in our VAMCs or confined to their homes and take the time to also take the time to thank and recognize their caregivers.
Serving You and MN DAV,
David Valtinson, State Commander