Hello fellow DAV members,
Time has been flying by each and every day. I am really enjoying my job and the chance to work with DAV of MN. These past few months I have had the chance to see firsthand the great work our Chapters are doing and the amount time and hard work everyone does to help the disabled veterans in their community.
We have been extremely busy here at the Department over these past few months. We have hired our new Director of Operations for the DAV of MN, Joshua Vrtacnik. Don’t worry about trying to pronounce his last name, you can call him Josh! I think he has heard his last name pronounce a thousand different ways. Josh is a veteran that served two tours in Iraq. He started in September and has been doing an outstanding job. Josh replaced Bob Connor to allow Bob to go back into retirement.
We have also hired a new Department Service Officer, “DSO”, to replace Tom Mckenna who took a position with our National Service Office here in Minneapolis. Our new DSO, John Carson, is a veteran who has two deployments with the MN National Guard. This is John’s first week so he is still getting his feet under him and will start his training next week.
As you see, the Department continues to improve our process and make changes to our operations to help not only the Department but our Chapters as well. I am really excited about these two new employees we have hired. They both bring a lot of great talent to the team and motivation.
Over the past few months DAV of MN has had the opportunity to be part of some hunting events were we sent some of our members to a few different hunts that our Chapters and Department help sponsor. Thank you to those chapters that gave donations to these events. Some of the events include the annual Disabled Veteran deer hunt at Camp Ripley, the Disable veteran pheasant hunt at Sand Pines Pheasant Preserve in Avon and the Disabled Veteran pheasant hunt in New Ulm. Between these three hunts we had almost a hundred disabled veterans that were able to participate in these hunts.
The Department also just held our annual Fall Conference this past weekend, October 12-13, in Willmar, MN. We had a great turnout for this conference. Thank you Chapter 34 Willmar for hosting this event. I also want to mention that the DAVA also held their conference at the same time as the Department, Thank you Auxiliary for being part of our event. Between the two organizations we had over 140 members take part in this event. The Fall Conference went extremely well, I feel. There was a lot of participation from those that attended. The conference was set up to be more of a training event for those that participated. We talked about; what you need to know about DAV of MN, Membership, and how to organize your Chapter for Success. Thank you to all of those that attended and I hope you took some good information out of it. For those of you that were not able to make it, hopefully you will make it to next year’s Fall Conference. We missed you.
What’s up and coming for the Department? Well, with Fall Conference over, we will now be turning our attention to Spring Convention. Spring Convention this year will be held in Duluth on May 3-4, 2013. Be watching our website for more information. We also have our Mid-Winter Conference coming up in February out in Washington D.C were we will hear from our elected officials what they are going to do for our Veterans.
I also want to congratulate Chapter 5 South of the River’s new officers. I know you will do a great job at getting the Chapter more active.
Till next time, take care.
I am proud to be serving each and every one of you.
Stephen Whitehead, Adjutant/Executive Director