Memorial Day at the St. Cloud VA Medical Center 

Junior Vice commander Rick Jarvis and Past Auxiliary Commander Laurie Pekarik attended the Memorial Day Program at the St Cloud Veterans IMG_0269Medical Center. Beautiful sunny days with the grounds lined with white crosses and poppies. Most of the veterans who are in care at the VA attended. From WWII to Iraq were represented. Great music and excellent speakers with a parade from local service clubs.

The commander and senior vice commander of chapter 9 carried the DAV banner in the parade.
During the remembrance ceremony Jr Vice Commander and past Auxiliary Commander placed a wreath a the cross for the unknown soldier.

The DAV of MN received a very generous donation from a local motorcycle group with a far reach.

The Classic Panheads page was formed on Facebook in 2013, for the purpose of uniting and educating people from all walks of life, and from other countries, on the maintenance, upkeep, acquisitions, and lore of the Harley Davidson Panhead motorcycle (1948-1965). It is in era that included the chopper culture, as well as the AMA respectable clubs of the day. At its inception, the group was going to be of a higher order and calling. Many of the members are veterans, most have relatives that have served. The need for veterans services has always been a concern, so Greg enlisted the help of the group immediately, and began with T-shirt sales to support DAV nationally.

The idea of an auction began in 2014, and they held their first in Spring of 2015. Members of the page donated items, all relating to motorcycles, to be auctioned off in an open format, using Facebook as the launch pad. The first auction, we were able to raise about $6200. They doubled the goal in 2016! Many items were very unique and had sentimental value to the person donating, but they felt the need and they all stepped up with VERY high prices for everything auctioned. Actor and philanthropist Peter Fonda ( very involved in veterans affairs) donated an Easy Rider  soundtrack LP, signed and with a note of appreciation. This LP sold for $1100 to a very generous bidder! As we continue our relationship with the DAV, we will look for other ways to be involved. As it stands now, Classic Panheads also received donations from Canada, Australia, Germany and South America. It truly is a world stage, and it is a testament to the brotherhood of bikers that folks from other countries would be donating to this cause.

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Call to Action!

Greetings Members,

I am writing to you to ask you assistance with a pending legislative issue. This has directly to do with one of the DAV of MN’s top legislative priorities:

 Military Retiree Tax Exemption– 39 states have some form of tax benefit, or no state income tax, for their retired Service Members, Minnesota does not. It is time for MN to join 39 other states and become as competitive as our neighbors in getting these Veterans to move back to the state.

The argument about how much this would cost is ineffective. We are talking about service members in their late thirties or early forties, many with families, who will join the workforce and become highly desired assets in our communities. Looking at the simple cost calculation is narrow sighted, in that it does not take into account the additional revenue, community benefits, leadership and entrepreneurship these highly desired individuals would bring to Minnesota with them.

The tax bill is currently in a conference committee that has yet to meet. However, if you look at the legislative calendar, if they are going to meet it will have to be soon. The House, to their credit, passed a provision to provide for a tax exemption for Military Retirees, the Senate did not. That means this Conference Committee will have the power to include/remove this long awaited for provision.

I am asking for your assistance in making it clear to our elected officials this is a top priority for the entire Veteran’s community in Minnesota.

Who is on the Conference Committee-

Senate: 

Sen. Skoe – District 02 – 651-296-4196

Sen. Rest – District 45 – 651-296-2889

Sen. Koenen – District 17 – 651-296-5094

Sen. Dziedzic – District 60 – 651-296-7809

Sen. Gazelka – District 09 – 651-296-4875

House:

Rep. Davids – District 28B – 651-296-9278

Rep. Drazkowski – District 21B – 651-296-2273

Rep. Barrett – District 32B – 651-296-5377

Rep. Swedzinski – District 16A – 651-296-5374

Rep. Pelowski – District 28A – 651-296-8637

If you are represented by one of these members, you can contact them at the listed number. If you are unsure of who your local legislators are, or how to contact them, you can click on the below link:

http://www.gis.leg.mn/iMaps/districts/

Please take a moment to let the Legislature know the Veterans community in Minnesota believes it is time for us to join 39 other states in giving a tax incentive to our Military Retirees.

If you have any questions, would like information or to provide feedback you can contact me at: [email protected]

Regards,

Trent Christian Dilks
DAV of Minnesota
Legislative Coordinator
Ph: 651-788-3186

The DAV and County Drivers Pull Together

The DAV Drivers and County drivers have become a network that provides transportation for veterans to VA Medical Centers and Clinics for medical care.  Most counties have vans that provide this service, and all VA Medical Centers have DAV Hospital Service Coordinators (HSCs).  HSCs supervise volunteer drivers go into the communities to get veterans for their medical appointments.  It amounts to being an amazing program that demonstrates what can be done to serve and benefit veterans and even society when different organizations and people pull together.

The Transportation Networks in Minnesota provided rides for over 29,254 veterans in 2015.  It is something that DAV members support through their membership and should be extremely proud of.  It is a program that is unique to the DAV. This number of veterans transported is obtained by drivers signing in at the Minneapolis and St Cloud Medical Centers

On a day to day basis the volunteer and county drivers are already going above and beyond what most people do.  But sometimes an unusual circumstance arises and they step up to really save the day.  A situation like this happened in late February.  Even though all the vehicles are well maintained, on rare occasions, a vehicle can break down.   And it did happen on a cold day in late February.  At 7:30 am a county van was coming up Interstate 35, on board were 5 veterans.  There were two Iraqi vets, two Vietnam vets and a WWII vet on board.  It was cold outside, it was in the forties.  Not cold enough to be immediately life threatening but cold enough to warrant concern.  Suddenly the van’s engine stalled and stopped functioning. As the vehicle slowed the driver steered it safely to the shoulder of the road.  The driver tried to start it but the engine wouldn’t crank.  And then there was no heat in the van. Slowly the cold seeped in and the passengers began to feel the cold.  But more than that, they became concerned about getting to their medical appointments.  Not knowing what else to do the county driver called the DAV office at the Minneapolis VAMC and reached a dispatcher.  All the local DAV drivers were out making their pick-ups.  But thinking quickly the DAV dispatcher called another county driver that had already arrived with his veterans to the Medical Center.  This driver had already signed in at the desk so the dispatcher knew he was there at the medical center.  The second county driver learned of the situation and quickly went to pick up the veterans at the stalled vehicle,  and then brought them back safely to the Med Center.  The first driver then waited for a wrecker and rode it back to his county seat and picked up a second vehicle.  He returned to Minneapolis and waited for his passengers to finish their appointments.

The county drivers bring in their veterans from their counties located all over Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Some are paid small stipends, some are strictly volunteers. They get up early, sometimes early enough to be on the road by 4:00 am.  But all do a self-less job in taking care of and getting the veterans to their appointments on time.  The driver that had the vehicle that broke down was very appreciative of the support he got from the DAV dispatcher.  “ I’m glad you guys are here to help, we can be kind of helpless out there.”

Babette Blumenauer, DAV Minneapolis VA Medical Center HSC
Phone: 612-467-2768

Minneapolis Veterans Home needs Volunteers!

Our home was established near Minnehaha Falls not long after the Civil War as place for veterans to live after serving their country. We are now a 341 bed skilled nursing care facility and our Residents are Minnesota Veterans and their spouses. We have many ways you can contribute to the lives of our Veterans through volunteering here;
Adult Day Center Volunteer, Chapel Escort, Pet Visitor Volunteer, One on One Visitor, Rehabilitation Therapy Escort, Recreation Activities Volunteer or volunteer as a one-time or regular group of friends, co- workers, family, faith group, or student/ alumni group.

To learn more about the volunteer roles go to;
http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/org401290.jsp

To learn more about the Minnesota Veterans Homes go to;
http://mn.gov/mdva/homes/minneapolis/

And feel free to contact me!
Thank you kindly,
Erin Betlock 
Volunteer Services Coordinator
Minnesota Veterans Home- Minneapolis
direct 612.548.5751 
[email protected]

Vietnam Veterans Recognized in St. Cloud

Jim Kellogg, American Legion Department of Minnesota Commander: Rick Miller, Mayor of Waite ACE_0047 finalPark, Minn.; Mick Aguirre, Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Department of Minnesota Senior Vice Commander; Barry Bahl, St. Cloud VA Health Care System Director;  and Ken Klein, Paralyzed Veterans of America Department of Minnesota President, were recognized for their service in the Vietnam War by Secretary of Veteran Affairs Robert McDonald at a stakeholder meeting at the St. Cloud VA on March 25, 2016.

The St. Cloud VA Health Care System, designated as a Commemorative Partner in the national Vietnam War Commemoration, is committed to publicly thanking and honoring Vietnam Veterans and their families.

Authorized by Congress, established under the Secretary of Defense, and launched by the President in May 2012, the Vietnam War Commemoration recognizes all men and women who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces from November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975.  Nine million Americans, approximately 7 million living today, served during that period, and the Commemoration makes no distinction between Veterans who served in-county, in-theater, or were stationed elsewhere during those 20 years.  All answered the call of duty.

By presidential proclamation issued on May 25, 2012, the Commemoration extends from its inaugural event on Memorial Day 2012 through Veterans Day 2025.

To learn more about the Vietnam War Commemoration, go to:
www.vietnamwar50th.com.