The Minnesota Delegation to the 95th National Convention for the Disabled American Veterans, has returned to Minnesota. Minnesota was well represented in Atlanta, GA this year with over twenty members in attendance. It was an exciting week with meetings, seminars, guest speakers and the election of national officers.
The Convention kicked off with the meetings on the Saturday, July 30th and it kept rolling from there. On Sunday the MN Delegation was well represented at the morning business session and the seminars throughout the afternoon. During the course of the convention the assembled members and guests had the opportunity to hear from Sec. VA Robert (Bob) McDonald, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Senator Johnny Isakson, Department of Veterans Affairs Under Secretary for Health Dr. David J. Shulkin and the President of the United States Barack Obama. The message was similar from the President on down, there have been some significant gains in reforming the VA and there is still much to be done.
Minnesota was recognized several times receiving awards for membership, we also received a brand new Ford Flex donated by Ford. The Flex was given in recognition for the outstanding work our Volunteers in Minnesota do transporting our Veterans. In 2015 DAV Volunteers traveled over 1.7million miles transporting Veterans to their medical appointments. Over the lifetime of the vehicle it will transport thousands of Veterans to their appointments.
One of the highlights of the National Convention came towards the end when our Adjutant Stephen (Butch) Whitehead was unanimously elected for higher office of Second Junior Vice Commander. Congratulations Butch!!
This was my first National Convention and it was a terrific learning and networking opportunity. Every opportunity I have been given to learn about the DAV, over my first two years, I have been impressed. Through all of the training, seminars, speeches and workshops there was one overarching theme; We have had some successes and are making progress, however, as an organization we will continue to push for change and refuse to rest on our laurels.
Trent C Dilks