It is a great honor to announce that DAV MN BPTL – Trent Dilks, was selected by DAV National Legislative Director as the Division II Outstanding Performance in Advocacy. As you all know, Trent has done an outstanding job at advocating on behalf of the disabled veterans and their spouses, not only for State of MN issues but for National issues as well. Keep up the great work Trent!!
I am happy to announce we are currently scheduled to have
Veterans Day on the Hill (VDOTH) 2020 on April 20th, 2020. I am well
aware this is the latest date to hold the event since I have been involved with
the planning, and I want to assure the setting of a date was not without
This is the session leading up to an election, I fully
suspect that the pace will go something like this: Initial committee work,
two months of issues based politicking to appeal to elected official’s
base, final weeks to complete the work necessary and govern.
The later date is partially based on my belief that
the combined efforts of the Veteran’s community can push our supported
legislation through the first couple of stops in the committee process
which is the first part of how I suspect the session will go.
Historically, interest in the process has been high
early on when the path for bills is relatively predictable; original
committee, subsequent committee, etc.. with regularly scheduled committee
hearings. However, once the process starts to “breakdown” into legislation
being “held over for possible inclusion”, entire bills become small parts
of a ‘monster’ omnibus bill, etc.. it becomes hard to explain the process,
difficult to coordinate responses, and our advocacy suffers as a result at
the most important times.
A later date will allow for a clear statement of
current position in the most confusing part of the process.
We can focus our advocacy on the bills that actually
have a chance. It’s harsh to say, but many of our groups will support many
pieces of legislation but the honest truth is very few of them have a
chance based on the priorities set during the session.
As a community we can make it clear that by holding Veterans
Day on the Hill this late we would gladly make it into a celebration if
our elected officials get their work done for Veterans within the first
three months of session. If they decide to keep Veteran’s issues moving,
and above the predictable partisan fighting, they can all enjoy a day of
being cheered for a job well done.
However, if the more likely scenario happens where
politicking is taking the place of progress, this later date will have us
positioned to make a strong call for our officials to “Get it DONE for our
Veterans” (or some better tagline).
This is Minnesota and the weather can suck earlier in
Additional details will emerge as the CTF, UVLC, and MACVSO
work toward their vision of the formal VDOTH proceedings. The DAV MN does
intend to offer funding busses and providing a lunch prior to the formal event
again this year. Details will be shared as they become available.
Please feel free to reach out me with questions or concerns.
The gavel will drop before we know it and it is important we continue to work
together for our Veterans.
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.
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.
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