Northeast MN DAV Transportation Program launches Ely Program

Pictured are the volunteer drivers from left to right Jim Fierek, Tom Brown (Duluth Program), Sherry Brown (Duluth Program), Pat Nelson, Steve Schon, Commander Chapter 23 Bob Kroll, and Mike Pope.

The DAV of MN, Northeast Minnesota Transportation Program launched a new volunteer driver transportation program in Ely to assist area veterans in making scheduled Veteran Affairs appointments.

On Monday October 21 volunteer drivers Tom Brown and Sherry Brown assisted NE DAV Transportation Coordinator Daniel Welsand deliver a 2015 Ford Flex to Ely. The vehicle was presented to Paul McDonald St. Louis County Commissioner where it will be housed at the County Commissioners Office. The Ford Flex will be utilized in helping Ely and surrounding area veterans get to their VA approved appointments. Currently, we are still trying to figure out routes for the area, but veterans are encouraged to call for details. We will service the Ely CBOC, the Hibbing CBOC, Twin Ports CBOC, and other Mission Act appointments if they are approved through Veterans Affairs. We are also looking for volunteer drivers in the area. The program currently has four volunteer drivers but is looking to increase that amount.

We are always looking for new volunteer drivers in all areas of MN. The DAV of MN NE currently has programs in Duluth/Superior, Hibbing/Virginia, and now Ely. If you are retired or just have 1 day a month to spare to help veterans get to their VA appointments, please contact Daniel Welsand at 218-204-0693 or inquire at [email protected] to help out. For other volunteer driver opportunities, please visit the DAV of MN website at davmn.org.

Adjutant Update

Greetings DAV Leaders;
It is hard to believe how quickly the summer is flying by. The Commander, Senior Vice, and I recently returned from the Commanders & Adjutants training at National HQ in Cold Spring, Kentucky. This was a great opportunity to learn more about DAV from the National Staff and network with leaders from other Departments around the country.

One thing became very clear to me while visiting with Departments from around the country; what we have here in Minnesota’s DAV is special. Minnesota has a national reputation for excellence and I was approached many times from other Departments’ wanting to know our “secret”. I told them no secret, it is the amazing dedication of our members, a history of strong leaders (State and Chapter) setting a solid course, a slate of current leaders dedicated to our mission, and a dedicated staff working with a true passion for what we do.

The strength of Minnesota’s DAV will once again be on display as over 50 of our members attend DAV National Convention 2019. I look forwarded to participating in a loud cheer from our section as our own Stephen “Butch” Whitehead seeks the opportunity to become the DAV National Commander. We at the Department are very proud of Butch, and will support him as he takes this next momentous step.

There is so much to cover, but I don’t want to make this too long, so I will hit some highlights here:

  • The DAV MN has added a second vendor for our clothing program, which has helped us continue to succeed in an everchanging operating environment. Huge thank you to all of the chapters who have shown flexibility to ensure our continued success.
  • Planning for Fall Conference is well underway. Information on Conference can be found at: https://davmn.org/Events/dav-mn-fall-conference/
  • Please submit attendees who will be at the annual Chapter Service Officer certification to [email protected] or HQ at 651-291-1212. A detailed note on training was sent to Chapter Commanders and Adjutants.
  • Department Headquarters will be staffed during National Convention; however, it will be less people so please have patience if we are a little difficult to reach by phone. Email is always good.
  • Membership goals have changed; every chapter is a minimum of 10 members. It appears likely the delegates at National Convention will vote to raise membership price starting 2020, so sign up new members now.

I am sure I am missing some items, as there is always so much going on. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Department Headquarters staff.

Quick note in closing: I had the opportunity to participate in a “live-load” in Hutchinson this week and I have to tell you, I walked away so impressed with what our membership can do. The hard work and dedication you all show in your communities is nothing short of amazing. I am proud to be a part of this organization, and grateful to have the opportunity to be your Department Adjutant.
Regards,
Trent C Dilks
Department Adjutant  

Commander’s Update

I recently returned from the Commander and Adjutants training at National Headquarters in Cold Spring, Kentucky.  I was able to learn a lot of important information and discuss how different Departments operate around the country.

There were some announcements about Membership I’d like to cover.  The first one was the new goals for Chapters will be a minimum of 10 new members.  The Department Goal is 489 new members, both full-Life and partial paid members count toward this goal. Second, there is a very good possibility that the National organization is going to change the life membership to a flat rate of $300.00 starting in 2020. Nothing on this is certain, currently it is a resolution and will have to go through the committee process and a floor vote (if passes committee) at National Convention.  New members over 80 years old will still be free. 

Membership is the livelihood of your Chapter; without new members your chapter is failing.  Last fiscal year we did have a few Chapters that did not make goal. I will be talking to each Chapter Commander and Adjutant on how the Department can help them get more new members.

 I learned how much our Department has spoiled our chapters with all they do for us.  Our Department Staff is very professional and keep everything running as smoothly as possible. In my discussions, with over 15 other Departments, it became clear Minnesota’s Department staff is by far one of the strongest in the Nation. Many Departments are trying to figure out how we are so strong year, after year, and much of the credit goes to our full-time staff.

Saver’s has given the Department a change in the quota for the remainder of the year.  Adjutant Trent Dilks and Deputy Adjutant Josh Vrtacnik are working hard at adjusting the program to adapt to the ever-changing operating environment.  We have many chapters that are loading 53-foot trailers for Saver’s and our new vendor, Simple Recycling.  The Department is working diligently to find workable solutions to keep everything moving in the right direction. 

With the New Fiscal year starting the time clock for getting National Financial Report ready and turn in by September 30, 2019.  Please remember you only need to submit the final bank statement ending on June 30 to Department or National.  And please double check the math and don’t rely on Excel program for getting your numbers.

 We are conducting Chapter Service Officer training on Thursday before Fall conference.   We need to have names turned into Department to make sure there is enough material for all attendees. Hope to see you all at the Fall Conference this October in Brooklyn Park, MN.

Thanks,
Scott Berndt, Commander