We want to extend our thanks to all those who took part in our 2021 Virtual Mid-Winter Conference this past weekend. While we would have liked to meet in person, we are glad that so many of you logged on and engaged in our legislative discussions, performed important interim committee business and helped move the ball forward in terms of DAV’s advocacy efforts.
We do have one more event lined up which we hope you will all make time to attend virtually— the centerpiece of our annual mid-winter event, the national commander’s presentation of DAV’s legislative priorities before Congress.
National Commander Stephen “Butch” Whitehead’s testimony before a joint session of the Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs committees has been scheduled for March 3 at 10 a.m. EST. A link will be made available at www.dav.org/2021midwinter and across our social media channels.
We also encourage you to visit the updated 2021 Virtual Mid-Winter Conference page for additional resources, including our legislative critical policy goals for the 117th Congress along with staff overviews, advocacy award presentations, a legislative roundtable discussion and more.
Thank you all for helping to make this year’s Virtual Mid-Winter Conference a success. Please feel free to reach out to DAV’s legislative staff with any questions you may have, and as always, thank you for your continued advocacy efforts and for your support for DAV’s legislative goals.
The state legislative session is underway, and that means DAV MN has been active in advocating for Minnesota’s Veterans during the process. This session is something far different from anything I have experienced in the past 6 years doing legislative work for the DAV. None of the hearings are being held in person, everything is Zoom. There is one major upside to this, it puts all of us on a level playing field. If you are from Greater Minnesota, you have just as much access to testify, or attend a hearing as the usually heavily represented Metro area.
The session started with DAV MN having an opportunity to present who we are as an organization to the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees. This is always a highlight for me, as I enjoy the opportunity to share what we as an organization do to make an impact in the lives of Minnesota’s Veterans, their families, and survivors. I strongly encourage every chapter to do something similar, and have one member (hopefully your BPTL) contact the Representatives and Senators who represent your area and let them know who DAV is locally.
The initial round of introductions has been followed by testifying on some legislation, the primary bills I am working on this year are HF 641 & SF 683. These are companion bills that would create a tax credit for hiring homeless or disabled Veterans in Minnesota at $1,500 and $3,000, respectively. This has been something we have been working on for years, but never seems to make it across the finish line. It is past time that Minnesota joins states like Wisconsin, with a $4,000, Iowa with a $4,8000, and not to mention New York who has a up to $15,000 credit to encourage hiring Veterans.
The DAV also remains active with the Commanders Task Force, who has again made their primary focus the Veterans Restorative Justice Act. This bill has been amazingly frustrating as St. Paul politics have seen it pass in one chamber or the other, and fail for reasons that seem unrelated to actual content of the bill.
Veterans Day on the Hill UPDATE
know many of you look forward to our annual Veterans Day on the Hill event, where hundreds of Veterans from across Minnesota make some noise in the Capitol Rotunda. It is also one of my favorite events. Unfortunately, due to everything that is going on with the current pandemic it has been decided that we can’t safely make the event happen this year.
That doesn’t mean we’re not planning something though. I have presented, and had accepted a DAV driven idea to instead try a “Veterans Week of Advocacy”. Many more details will come out in the coming weeks, but please start thinking about ways we can drive advocacy through the roof and at least for one week push Veterans priorities to the top of the list. We are currently looking at April 11-16 to ask the Veterans community, and our supporters, to engage in various ways to advocate for Minnesota’s Veterans.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected] or 651-291-1212.
——–Trent C Dilks, Executive Director-Foundation
Virtual Fall Conference-
The DAV MN is proud to announce the rollout of our Virtual Fall Conference 2020 content. The current pandemic forced us to cancel Convention and Conference, but we wanted to ensure you got the updates and information you need. The Executive Committee and staff have put together an excellent set of content on topics that are important to DAV MN members and leaders in professionally shot and edited video.
Starting 10/9/2020 all content, updates, and links will be here:
- Commander’s Report
- Clothing Program
- New Tool to Easily Complete Your Chapter AFR
- And MORE..
The DAV MN will also hold Live Virtual Sessions for you to hear more on certain topics and ask questions if you have them. If you would like to submit your question to be answered during the event in advance please send them to [email protected]
Chapter Officer Guides: Copies of the Chapter Officer Guides (Updated) have been mailed to the person listed on your Chapter Officer Report to receive mail. 5 copies per chapter. Most of the questions chapters have regarding duties, timelines, roles, etc.. can be answered by the updated version of the Chapter Officer Guide.
First, and foremost, I hope you all have a fun, and safe, 4th of July. I know this year will look different for many of you, but it is always a great time to look back on where we have been as a country and look forward to where we are going.
I have been doing something very similar for the DAV of MN the last couple of weeks as we approach the holiday. As many of you know our new year as an organization starts July 1st. That means this is the time of the year to look back on where we have been as an organization, and look forward to where we are going.
As we look back, it has been a tough year. A truly unprecedented year for our 100-year-old organization, as we have seen our Chapter’s cancel meetings, our Department Convention cancelled, our National Convention cancelled, our major fundraiser ground to a halt as the economy closed down, but the one thing that wasn’t cancelled is our mission. You cannot cancel our devotion to serve Minnesota’s disabled Veterans and their families. You will see in this newsletter articles from each of our programs highlighting what we as an organization have been doing to continue to achieve our mission, even in these unprecedented times.
As I look back, I am incredibly proud of how we have handled this pandemic, I am proud to be a member of this organization, and I am truly fortunate to have the opportunity to serve as your Adjutant.
Looking forward is the other major part of this time of year, and I am as excited as ever for where our organization is headed. We will continue to expand our services into new areas, continue to pursue new opportunities for new types of service, and continue to remain focused on our mission. The Department of Minnesota anticipates we will spend over $1 million dollars on veterans’ services in FY 20-21 alone. That is a major accomplishment, and something we can all be proud to be a part of.
There will be challenges, and the pandemic appears to be far from over, but I am confident we have built something strong enough to overcome any challenge we may face. We will remain focused on what matter most, serving our Veterans and their families.
Have a safe and joyful 4th of July,
Trent C Dilks, Adjutant
The Fourth of July is a cause for celebration. Fireworks, fairs, barbecuing with family and friends, parades, you name it. We often look forward to this day for months because of all the fun that it brings, but we must not forget why we celebrate in the first place.
We celebrate because on July 4th 1776 we declared our independence from England, as the 13 original colonies, and started what we know today as the United States of America. So, while we celebrate in different ways with our parties, with families, friends, fireworks, and fairs remember what it truly means to be an American and to be free.
Remember our Veterans, brothers and sisters that fought for our freedom. It’s not just a three-day holiday, it is a time to give thanks to all of our Veterans now in the present and in the past.
During this pandemic the way you celebrate may be different from what you’re used to doing. There may not be fairs to gather at, a fireworks display in town, or large parties but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate America’s birthday at home. Remember to social distance yourself at least 6 feet away from other individuals not in your home, to safely and correctly light fireworks by following the proper procedures, and to stay safe.
We wish we could be celebrating with you all, but it’s important to stay safe during these hard times. Whatever way you decide to celebrate remember to wash your hands often, wear a mask when appropriate, and practice safe social distancing.
Happy 4th of July to you all, stay safe, have fun and celebrate America’s birthday.
Scott Berndt, Commander