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:
  • 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.
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.

Scott Berndt, Commander

Greetings from Commander Berndt

State Commander Scott Berndt

Greetings Comrades,

                Well with the Department Convention over, I would like to thank the Nomination Committee and the governing body of the Disabled American Veterans, Department of Minnesota for electing me as the State Commander.  I am honored to be selected; it’s been a long road for me.  I am very proud and will work hard for all the members. I would also like to congratulate my wife, Nancy, on the start of her second year as Auxiliary Commander.

The last time the Disabled American Veterans Department of Minnesota had a Husband and Wife as Commander’s was back in 1949. We will travel a lot this year visiting Veterans homes, Veterans Care Center, and Chapter and Unit’s.

                As the Commander I feel we already have a Great Staff for our Organization in place.  There are some minor changes in our largest fundraiser, our clothing program with Saver’s, I will address early in my year as Commander.  I am confident with the guidance of the Full-time staff, the Finance Committee, and Executive Committee we will take care of business. 

I truly believe, together as one team, we need to start thinking outside the box to come up with additional ideas for fundraising. If you have thoughts on some additional ways we could secure funds, please bring them forward.             

                I have two primary goals I would like the Department to achieve during my year.  My first goal is to have Department make membership goal.  My second goal is to help strengthen our Chapters and not lose any charters.  We are all one team in the state and I look forward to working together for our ultimate goal, assisting our disabled Veterans and their families.

                Any Chapter Commander or Adjutant can call me and talk about problems they might be having.  If there are problems, I want to find a solution together as a State. 

Scott Berndt, State Commander 2019-2020

Greetings from Commander Jarvis

Warm Greetings to all,

In this ever-changing world one thing remains the same: DAV’s commitment to the men and women who served. The Department of Minnesota walks that walk.

The organization is strong and healthy, focusing on legislation, transportation, outdoors, enterprise, and our foundation which reviews grant applications. You will see all this explained in detail in the articles included in this newsletter.  We can be proud of the successes in each of these areas already this year.

Since the state convention in early May I have been busy being the’ face of DAV MN ‘for many events and fundraisers. The Old Glory Run in St Joseph was a huge success as was the Foundation’s Golf Event in Apple Valley. Many hours of planning and organizing resulted in generous donations and community good will at these state events.

I attended the national commander/Adjutant orientation in June at National headquarters in Cold Spring KY. We had seminars about updates in all departments. It was good to network and share ideas with other states. There is a lot of good work being done across the country for our veterans!

Our DAV MN committees are in full swing and are always looking for new ideas and involvement. Have you heard of something another veterans group is doing or seen a veteran’s event that was successful somewhere else? Tell us about it! We encourage you to find your place in DAV and to volunteer with us.

I look forward to this year as your Commander. I will work hard and keep you updated through the newsletter and through the e-news on our website. I am excited to meet new faces as I travel around the state! Let’s make this year fun and successful by working together. I encourage you to get involved in your local chapters and come to the Fall Conference to share ideas with all of us.

Respectfully submitted,
Rick Jarvis
Commander Dept of MN


Commander Update March 2018

One more month closer to our Convention in Rochester May 3-5, if you have not made reservations please do so, let’s all work to make this one of the largest ever and please at least one or more from each Chapter, remember Executive committee has approve a free Convention to anyone from all Chapters who has not gone to a Convention in the past, since each Chapter has new members we should see every Chapter present. Go to for information on the Convention. This has been a busy month however, have not been able to achieve all our goals thanks to Mother Nature. A big thank you to each of you for your time away from your families to volunteer to help Veterans, in so many different ways from just setting and listening to all the other services you so freely give.  Also look at the fishing other events going on around the State from State outdoor program to Chapter outdoor events. Thank you for the large turnout at the Vets on the Hill Rally the biggest thus far, I am very proud of the work each of you do.

My monthly activity


1st returned from Washington DC

2nd Food to Bemidji Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC)

5TH Chapter executive meeting

6th Conference call of Commander Task Force (weather made driving dangers in many areas of state)

7TH Duluth meeting with Savers

11th-12th Cities Veterans on the hill Rally.

13th Took Veteran to Fargo with our auto as our Van was in the shop

14th -15th Computer work DAV

16TH Bemidji Grand Opening of new CBOC

19TH Chapter meeting

21st Cities for Emergency Executive meeting

22nd Computer work

23th Escort Veteran to Fargo for surgery went via Bemidji DAV/VA van

28th Food to Bemidji CBOC

Drove 1,713 miles 157 hours Volunteered 17 days total

Once again thank you for the honor of being Commander this year it has been such a rewarding year to have meet so many of you and represent you at many different events. God Bless each of you and your families; may you each enjoy the spring that is sure to come.

Robert Saddoris, State Commander

Senior Vice Commander 3Q Update

The quarter started out slow due to the holiday season and New Year but soon picked up.
. Generated monthly membership reports
. Contact with membership committee
. Met with Adjutant Whitehead
. Met with Josh and had tour of operations.
Met with Annie and overview of scheduling  drops for chapters. Overview of route
Pick ups in metro area.
. Met with John on Outdoors program
. Attended Finance committee meeting
. Attended Foundation meeting
. Participant of Executive committee conference call
. Attended National Salute to Veteran
Patients program at St Cloud VA with Commander Saddoris
. Attended Winter Conference in Washington  DC

Coming events:
. March 21, V4V meeting
. April 3, Commander Task Force meeting
. April 4, Foundation meeting
. April 12, Veteran Home dinner in Luverne . April 17 Executive Committee meeting . May 3-5 State Convention

Respectfully Submitted,
Rick Jarvis
Sr Vice Commander


Commander’s Update February 2018

State Commander Corner February  2018

This has been very slow month as was January, mostly weather related had Chapter visits lined up but could not travel safely.  Have been very busy on computer and helping several Veterans on phone. Perhaps March will be milder for all of us so we can get out, recruit new members and help Veterans in need. Each of you should have gotten the membership report from our Senior Vice Rick Jarvis for February. Has had the pleasure of working with members of committees and talked many times with our State Adjutant Stephen Whitehead. Travel lowest month thus far @ 973 miles, hours well over 120. Travel in last 9 ½ months by auto 19,449 miles, hours with a guess of 1,140 hours, and at least 132 days.


1st Worked with sick veteran spent most of day on computer

5th -7th Rogers for a DAV Foundation meeting; then to cities for Commander Task Force meeting

12th-13th St Cloud for Chapter meeting

13th Picked up food and deliver it to Bemidji CBOC

14th not sure this is correct date worked on awards for Spring Convention.

18TH Talked with Adjutant Chapter 33 Marshall intended to visit but weather not safe to travel.

19th Computer all day

21st  Worked with a family member of Veteran that needed power wheel chair and lift chair with the help of Stephanie Ziemetz was able to give the son several contact #s for the needed equipment.

23th meeting with DAV/VA Bemidji van drivers to set up drivers schedule for next four months.

24th-28th Traveled to Washington DC for National Winter Legislative Conference.

Once again it is an honor to have the privilege of working for each of you; with all of your help we are indeed making a difference for Veterans around the state, may God bless each of you and your loved ones.

Robert Saddoris, State Commander

Commander Report January 2018

Very slow month, I had time to get a lot of computer work in with very little pressure. Hope you all have had a good start to 2018. It’s hard to believe Veterans on the Hill rally is almost upon us March 12th, and Mid Winter Conference February 25th, and only 3 ½ months to end of my tour. Drove 1,246 mile, spent many hours on phone calls and doing computer work. Several emails back and forth with CVSO Roseau County Marty Howes; talked to many executive committee members; good month to be home and off roads with the weather we have had. Feb will be very busy month for many of us. May God bless each of you and your family’s.

1st to Fargo to discuss DAV of Minnesota with VA Health Care Service Director, Volunteer Service Director and Assistance Director of Engineering

3rd  Food to Bemidji CBOC

7th visit sick veteran

8-9 Commander Task Force meeting St Paul

13th visit sick veteran

17th Meeting in Bemidji Reference veterans home went as member of Chapter # 7

23rd executive meeting via phone where new Chaplain Tara Schwinghammer was appointed to complete Chaplain James term do to his illness, very good meeting many things accomplished

31st new schedules and new logs placed in DAV/VA van and short visit with Beltrami County CVSO

Robert Saddoris,
State Commander DAV MN

Commander’s Year End Wrap up

It does not seem possible for this year to be over, in 5 months we will elect a new Department Commander in Rochester at our Department Convention. Friendly reminder, the dates for Convention are May 3-5. This has been an exciting year and a very educational year. I have done so many things, traveled to States and met folks which would not have been possible without the trust you have placed in me, continue to meet extremely dedicated individuals that are doing so many great things for Veterans. I have had the honor to see how very hard both our Chapter and Units work, firsthand how very dedicated our full-time staff is, as well as our Minnesota Veterans Administration Commissioner and his staff. This opportunity is a once in a life time experience that I wish each of our members and auxiliary could experience. We (as members) have no idea of all the work that goes on in our great State for Veterans and their families. I encourage each of you to get involved as officers in your Chapter and then at the State level; I promise it will be an experience of a life time. Our Foundation, Executive committee are both very active and both a pleasure to work with.

I also want to remind everyone about Veterans Day on the Hill. The date for “Vet’s day on the hill” is March 12th. The Department Legislative Director has sent out the flyer for this event. I encourage each and everyone of you to attend.

Activity December
4th Crookston Chapter 14 Christmas party
6th and 7th computer work
10th Visit sick Veteran
11th Food to Bemidji CBOC
12th Minnesota Department of Veteran Affairs to work on grants
12th Willmar for Chapter 34 Christmas party
13th Rogers for Foundation meeting
13th Little Falls Chapter 12 Christmas party
14th Visited with St. Cloud Chapter # 9 Officer
14th St Cloud for Commander Task Force meeting (Legislative agenda for 2018 choose)
15th To cities for full time staff party
16th Grand Rapids Chapter 13 Christmas party
17th Visit sick Veteran
18th Bemidji Chapter 7 Christmas party
21st Minnesota Military Radio (talked about visiting Veterans at Veterans Homes, Hospitals and contract nursing homes as well as families by our chapters/Units)
24th Visit sick Veteran
31st Visit sick Veteran

Throughout the month I have worked with drivers, dispatcher and Veterans families wanting a ride for their loved one on Bemidji van. Worked very close with our outstanding Adjutant, we are so blessed to have him and our other full time staff; I cannot put enough emphases on this. I have talked with many of the Chapter Officers around the State that have had questions. I must also mention how much PDC’s Aguirre, Remus, Valtinson as well as our Executive committee, and full time staff have had my back and assisted at every turn. For the year, I have driven 17,230 miles plus many not counted in this total and at least 114 days working on veteran’s issues, many of which have been away from home, plus many not counted and over 800 hours perhaps more. Will say that I do not regret any of these miles, hours, or days away from home. It has been great to work with other Commanders from our great State.
Opal and I wish each of you and your families a glorious New Year.

Robert Saddoris, State Commander
Disabled American Veterans, Department of Minnesota

Commander’s Update December 2017

Comrades:  From May when you gave me the honor of being your Commander, the time has flown by. Here it is the end of 2017 and over half of the time as Department Commander has elapsed.  May seems like only yesterday, it has been so rewarding to represent you, thank you for making this year special.  I have seen so many of you and looking forward to meeting even more of you before my tour is up!  At this time I am setting up Chapters to go visit this month and next year. There is no question in my mind that we are one of the top DAV organizations in the USA.  Between our Chapters and your Full-time staff, each one is working very hard each day to help us achieve the DAV mission by helping every Veteran or Spouse in every way possible!  I also am very proud of our Chapters and what they have achieved this year by volunteering the countless hours all of you put in helping Veterans throughout our great State.  What some of you may not realize, each of our full time staff also volunteer many hours (without pay) helping Veterans, Chapters, and varies State committees. We now have 23 vans on the road transporting Veterans to appointments in 4 States besides MN. My mentors, our full time staff and many PSC have stepped forward to help on all levels. Our senior vice Rick Jarvis has been doing a great job on membership; each of us knows at least one Veteran we can sign up let’s (get err’ done). Your executive, foundation, and outdoor committees has also been very busy working for us all also this year.

My November follows:

2nd – 4th: to Bemidji to purchase treats for deer hunters, than onto Bagley to present DAV picture to a donor who provided supper for hunt, then to Bemidji to purchase supper for the hunters.  Thank you to Chapter # 7 for providing treats and Supper in Bemidji (hunters bagged 3 Deer). Mr. O’Shea the land owner also provided a wonderful dinner for the hunters.

5th– 6th Computer work ( the Department Adjutant likes to fill my email inbox) J

11th to Inver Grove for Veterans Day Celebration both MN Senators,  3 State Representatives,  as well VA Commissioner and many other present talked with several of them.

12th Computer

13th Commander Task Force (CTF) meeting St Paul if you are not aware of CTF please go to web site it is made up of 8 Veteran organizations State  Commanders I have the honor of being elected Chair of this committee.

28th To Fargo Stanford Hospital to visit State Chaplin Walter James. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

29th DAV State Transportation Committee provided lunch to the DAV/VA Bemidji van volunteer drivers and their wives; guest speakers Adjutant Whitehead and dispatcher Dan Woods.

30th to Fargo for donation of courtesy van to Fargo VA hospital, spearheaded by PDC Remus getting donations from several MN Chapters , DAV MN Foundation and some Chapters in ND.

Over all I traveled 1,826 miles, in November very slow relaxed month, perhaps 110 hours possibly more. As of the end of November, I have traveled 16,164 miles since May, not including trips by air to Commander/Adjutant Orientation in OH, and National Convention in New Orleans.

By the time you read this it may be Christmas thus I wish each and every member and their families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, may God bless each and every one of you.

Robert Saddoris, DAV MN State Commander 2017-2018