The Veterans of Foreign Wars Posts 1284 and Post 8332 hosted a Fire Prevention Week Open House October 7that Armed Forces Post 8322, 6940 W Diversey, Chicago.
Paul Bezazian, Chicago Firefighter as well as Post Quartermaster taught attendees the dangers of fire, how to prevent them, and how to make escape plans in case of fire. Paul Bezazain also put on safety training for the children and parents along with another retired fire fighter. Smoke Detectors and boxes of baking soda (For grease fires) were given away. A local business provided fire extinguishers that were raffled off. VFW Posts 8322 and 1284 have made plans to hold annual safety events with the Chicago Police Department.
Student and teacher entries are due by October 31
Blue Water Navy H.R. 299
If you received a Purple Heart for being wounded in Vietnam, you could be one of nine lucky veterans to win the VFW's "Return to Vietnam" trip.
This in-country tour from April 25 - May 8, 2019, will include the sites of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), the DMZ, Khe Sanh, Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, Marble Mountain, Cu Chi and Tay Ninh. Airfare, accommodations and meals are included.
Don't miss this chance to revisit battle sites and share your experiences with fellow Vietnam veterans!
Entries must be received prior to the drawing on November 30, 2018. Click here for complete information....
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is pleased to announce that for the twelfth consecutive year, participating BURGER KING® franchisees will be raising funds throughout the month of November for the VFW's Unmet Needs program. Patrons are encouraged to donate $1 or more to the program upon checkout. The fundraising campaign officially begins Nov. 1, and last year raised nearly $800,000.
"America's military and veteran families have given so much to our country, and not being able to make their rent or mortgage payment is a stress they shouldn't have," said VFW National Commander B.J. Lawrence. "Every year, BURGER KING® franchisees and their loyal patrons set the bar of support higher and higher, helping to ensure the VFW can keep meeting the needs of America's service members and veterans and provide them with the support they deserve."
The Unmet Ne...
WASHINGTON - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs to add hypertension and a precursor to multiple myeloma to the current list of 14 presumptive diseases associated with contact with chemical defoliants used in Vietnam, Thailand, and along the Korean DMZ.
The VFW's case is bolstered by a new report just released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The report, entitled Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 11 (2018), found that sufficient evidence exists that links exposure to at least one of the hazardous chemicals with hypertension and MGUS, or monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance. The hypertension finding is an upgrade from th...
WASHINGTON - The national commanders of the nation's two largest veterans organizations are demanding that Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie bring immediate attention to his nursing home program that currently has 70 percent of its 132 homes receiving failing grades by the VA's own rating system.
The call by Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. National Commander B.J. Lawrence and American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad is in response to a series of scathing articles by two USA Today and Boston Globe reporters who documented substandard and negligent care at the VA nursing home in Brockton, Mass., which is one of 45 nursing homes that received the VA's lowest rating of one star. Forty-seven homes received two stars, 16 homes three stars, and 15 homes four stars. Only nine nursing homes received the VA's top five-star rating....
One of the requisite World War I recruitment posters showed a beautiful and composed nurse bending over a young soldier gazing up at her in gratitude and admiration.
Such art was, of course, a fantasy, and by war's end it was an affront to truth. Thousands of U.S. nurses served admirably during the Great War of 1914-18, but there was nothing romantic about their experience. Trench warfare and the impact of the machine gun on infantry operations created an avalanche of casualties that turned field hospitals into hospices of horror.
During the Battle of Belleau Wood in June 1918, for instance, "hundreds and hundreds of wounded poured in like a rushing torrent," Army Nurse Eula Crow wrote in her diary. "The packed, twisted bodies, the screams and groans, made me think of Dante's Inferno."
Conditions were no better at the evacuation station near the old St. Mihiel salient south of Verdun, in northeast France. It was there that the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), under the command of Army Gen. John J. Persh...
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., America's largest and oldest major combat veterans organization, is pleased to announce it has deployed a new look.
The new VFW logo and visual language embraces the organization's storied 119 years of service to America's veterans, service members and their families, while underscoring its forward-thinking approach to service and distinguished membership base. The VFW believes the new logo will improve market position and provide visual clarity to its mission.
"We're excited about the bold, new look," said B.J. Lawrence, national commander of the VFW. "There's a lot of complex meaning b...
VFW Commander-in-Chief B.J. Lawrence visited with Army units during predeployment training at the nation's largest Army training center.
Fort Irwin's National Training Center (NTC) is the only U.S. military training facility that supports brigade-level, live-fire exercises ranging from small arms to aircraft-launched bombs.
Lawrence met with the Commanding General of Fort Irwin and the Army's National Training Center (NTC), Brig. Gen. Jeff Broadwater, to talk about troop readiness and morale.
"Talking to troops on the ground-level helps us better advocate for them on Capitol Hill," Lawrence said.
Lawrence also met troopers of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR), including Col. Scott Woodward, to talk with him about the realistic training Army brigades endure during its month-long visit. The 11th ACR acts as a lethal and professional opposing force to train the Army's Brigade Combat Teams.
"NTC is the only place for brigade-size training," Woodward said. "The entire focus of this whole post is...
WASHINGTON - More than 500 members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. are arriving in the nation's capital this weekend to urge their members of Congress to continue transforming the Department of Veterans Affairs so that it can more efficiently and effectively serve America's veterans.
"The VFW is fully committed to working with Congress and the VA to change the way the department delivers health care, to include finding the best way to leverage what the VA provides with what public or private practitioners out in the community can offer, with the end goal being the delivery of the highest quality integrated care so that no veterans are ever stranded in line again," said VFW National Commander Brian Duffy.
The VFW national commander is scheduled to present his organization's legislative positions at 2 p.m., Wednesday, in testimony before a joint hearing of the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committees in room G-50 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Along with f...
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - With its 2017 Legislative Conference only weeks away, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. has designed a new mobile event app to give attendees the tools needed to make the most of their visit to the nation's capital. As the official guide to the 2017 VFW Legislative Conference, the VFW DC 2017 mobile app is available for download now at both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.VFW to Take Veterans’ Voice to Capitol Hill
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Next weekend, more than 500 members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., the nation's largest and oldest war veterans' organization begin rallying in Washington, D.C., to voice the concerns of veterans directly with the nation's lawmakers during the 2017 VFW Legislative Conference, Feb. 26 - March 2.
The annual conference strengthens the VFW's advocacy efforts on behalf of America's veterans, service members and their families, as VFW members meet with elected representatives in the House and Senate to discuss the VFW's stance on a number of high priority veterans' issues.
The 2017 VFW Legislative Conference culminates on March 1, as VFW National Commander Brian Duffy testifies before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans Aff...
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliary proudly announced the national winners of its annual Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen youth scholarship competitions, live during last night's 2017 VFW Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.
|VFW Testifies: ‘Congress Must End Sequestration!’
WASHINGTON - This afternoon, before a joint hearing of the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees, Brian Duffy, national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. delivered testimony focused on fixing the VA and ending sequestration.
"Let me be perfectly clear: Congress must end sequestration!" he told the committee members in attendance." He explained that despite ongoing conflicts and the rise in new threats since the 112th Congress created sequestration in 2011, America's service members continue to operate under a budget ax which has adverse effects on how successfully they're able to defend our nation, as well as quality of life programs. VFW and SVA Announce 2018 Student Veteran Fellowship Class
WASHINGTON - Ten Student Veterans of America (SVA) leaders have been selected to join more than 500 members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW) when they converge on Capitol Hill, March 4 to 7, to advocate on behalf of all veterans, service members and their families. The fellowship selections were announced during SVA's 10th National Conference in San Antonio.
WASHINGTON - Ten Student Veterans of America (SVA) leaders have been selected to join more than 500 members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. when they converge on Capitol Hill, Feb. 26 to March 2, to advocate on behalf of all veterans, service members and their families. The fellowship selections were announced this afternoon at SVA's 9th National Conference in Anaheim, Calif.
"Through our fellowship program, the VFW and SVA seek to work with exemplary student veterans to hone their unique skills as advocates on campus, in the community, and on the national stage," said VFW National Commander Brian Duffy. "The VFW sees this fellowship as yet another way of supporting our shared mission with SVA to transform today's scholars into tomorrow's leaders."
The VFW-SVA Legislative Fellowship is a semester-long academic experience that involves research, action, reporting and advocating on behalf of one of four veterans...
WASHINGTON - This morning, before a joint hearing of the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. delivered testimony focused on ending sequestration and improving the care, services and programs provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"The VFW is pleased Congress recently passed a bipartisan budget agreement to alleviate the sequester's impact on our military and veterans, but you only delayed its return by two years," VFW National Commander Keith Harman told members of the committees. "Our service members, veterans and their families are counting on you to repeal sequestration once and for all!"
Harman commended the committee members in attendance for making some VFW-proposed changes to the Choice Program that have improved access to care, but reminded them the Choice Program is merely a stopgap, and must be replaced with a permanent and improved program that would:
WASHINGTON - More than 500 members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliary are arriving in the nation's capital this weekend to urge their respective members of Congress to end sequestration and to continue improving the programs and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"The VFW is appreciative of the two-year budget agreement because it will bring temporary funding stability to the Defense Department," said VFW National Keith Harman, "but a two-year agreement doesn't end the continued threat of sequestration on a military that is still at war with an all-volunteer force that is fighting with less training and overused equipment," he said. "Sequestration has been the law of the land for seven years, so service members, veterans, their families and the VFW are counting on the newly-established super committee on budget and appropr...
WASHINGTON - More than 500 members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. will take to the nation's capital the first week of March to advocate on behalf of America's nearly 25 million veterans and military service members, as well as their families and survivors.
VFW members meet regularly with their elected officials in their home offices and on Capitol Hill to enlist their support in bringing the VFW's legislative Priority Goals to fruition. Highlighting this year's conference will be VFW National Commander Keith Harman's testimony before a special joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees, the presentation of the VFW Congressional Award to Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), and the Voice of Democ...
The winners of the VFW and Ladies Auxiliary sponsored Voice of Democracy audio-essay competition and the Patriot's Pen essay competition were announced yesterday during the 2014 VFW Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is proud to continue its support of building a memorial in the nation's capital dedicated to the Global War on Terror.
Michael "Rod" Rodriguez, an Army Special Forces retiree, was recently named President and CEO of the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation. He visited the VFW Washington Office this week to provide an update on the foundation's progress.
"Building a memorial is a 24-step process," said Rodriguez, who's a life member of the VFW Department of North Carolina. "We are on steps 9 through 12, which is site selection. Site selection involves the foundation itself coming together with a program and going before the various commissions that exist within this area."
Rodriquez says the GWOT Memorial Foundation is trying to raise $50 million for the project, which received the support of President Donald Trump in August 2017 when he signed the VFW-supported Global War on Terrorism Memorial Act into law. It clears the way for...
Controlling the "ABCs of diabetes" -- A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol levels -- is difficult enough, but when you add that second C - costly medications - it's easy to see how one's levels can spiral out of control quickly.
According to the American Diabetes Association, for the 30 million people living with diabetes in the U.S., health care costs are more than double (2.3 times) the costs of those without diabetes. This is due to the ever-increasing costs of medications to treat diabetes and the chronic conditions that often accompany the disease, namely high blood pressure and high cholesterol. In fact, between 2002 and 2013, the cost of insulin has tripled, and newer cholesterol- and blood pressure-lowering medication costs are also on the rise.
Now consider that in the U.S., more than 2 million children and adults living with diabetes do not have access to health insurance, and millions more are in high-deductible plans that can require high out-of-pocket costs.
Lack of access to diabetes medications c...
Charles Honaker of Vancouver, Wash., joined the United States Army when a recruiter visited his college campus. He served for "20 years, one month and one day" in the I-18 Airborne Military Police Company at Fort Bragg, N.C., and as an Army recruiter.
"The values instilled by the Army have led me to leadership opportunities and lifelong friends," Honaker said.
The support system the Army has provided him over 20 years has been vital. When Honaker's wife, Becky, became sick with a disease that shut down both of her kidneys, he didn't even question the decision to give her one of his. The Army not only gave him six months off for recovery but also covered his wife's entire hospital bill so the family could focus on healing rather than worrying about the costs of treatment.
While Honaker was serving at Fort Bragg, he was conducting a multi-branch training program with a large number of troops on a continuous airborne jump. Being the third person up, he jumped from the plane as the light turned green to go. Little...
WASHINGTON - The national commander of America's largest and oldest major combat veterans' organization will be visiting the nation's largest Army training facility in California next week.
B.J. Lawrence, national commander of the 1.6 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and its Auxiliary, will be visiting the National Training Center at Fort Irwin on Tuesday and Wednesday to learn more about the live-fire training required of armored brigades before they deploy overseas. He is especially interested in troop training, readiness and morale.
The National Training Center, more commonly known as NTC, is the only U.S. military training facility that supports brigade-level, live-fire exercises. The more than 460-square-mile facility supports joint and combined team operations expending live munitions ranging from small arms to 2,000-pound aircraft-launched bombs.
The NTC visit is part of a larger initiative that will have the VFW national commander meeting up with an armored ...
Juan Campana was born in Ecuador and immigrated to the United States at a young age. Entering the United States Marine Corps after September 11, 2001, he spent four years as a Combat Engineer. He served two tours in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N.C.
Once Campana retired from the military, he continued to work in other capacities for the United States government. Campana then enrolled into The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina and wants to use his Intelligence and Security Studies major to return to work in the federal government after graduation.
As he was receiving a free haircut at Sport Clips on Veteran's Day, Campana heard about the VFW's "Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship" for the first time. When his GI Bill was exhausted two years later, he was recommended to apply by his campus chapter of Student Veterans Association. The scholarship has made all the difference to Campana's future.
"I cannot be more grateful and honored to receive this award. I...
Minneapolis VA researchers found that opioid pain medication might not be the powerful "wonder drug" many people believe it to be. Published in March by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a study by the group of researchers did not support the use of opioids for chronic back, hip or knee pain relief.
The study, featured in the JAMA article "Effect of Opioid vs. Nonopioid Medications on Pain-Related Function in Patients with Chronic Back Pain or Hip or Knee Osteoarthritis Pain: The SPACE Randomized Clinical Trial," was conducted from June 2013 to December 2015. Researchers randomly selected 240 patients from 62 VA primary care clinics in the Minneapolis area.
Results showed that opioid pain medication treatment was "not superior" to treatment with nonopioids. It also showed that while there wasn't a "significant difference" in pain-related function between the two groups, pain intensity was "significantly better" in the nonopioid patients over the 12-month period.
"Our study contri...
Navy veteran Melissa Fahlgren's ultimate goal in life is to start an arts and crafts consignment shop in her hometown of San Antonio. To get there, she plans to earn a bachelor's degree in business administration then a master's degree in marketing.
For help along the way, Fahlgren applied for VFW's Sport Clips Help a Hero Scholarship.
Fahlgren, who served as a logistics specialist from 2012 to 2016 and aboard the USS George H.W. Bush, said she found out about the opportunity from Palo Alto College in San Antonio, where she currently attends. It sent her an email of scholarship opportunities for veterans.
Fahlgren said it was "very easy" to apply - all she had to do was fill out an information form and write a short essay. Those two things provided her with more than $1,600 for her tuition and fees during this semester. She added that the scholarship will "significantly help with tuition costs."
Fahlgren said she is transferring next semester to Texas A&M University-San Antonio to continue toward her b...
VFW's newest commander-in-chief is a man who wants to get things done, sooner rather than later. His experiences as an artilleryman in Korea and an undercover police officer in New Mexico, as well as his rapid rise through VFW's ranks, underscore his leadership philosophy.
"I believe in more action and less talk," Lawrence said. "And this all comes back to membership recruiting. We know what the plan is, now we have to execute it. That's why I chose ‘Make it Happen' as my slogan."
To attract veterans of the post-9/11 generation, Lawrence said VFW members must do a better job of spreading the message about the organization's reasons for existing.
"We've come a long way on reaching those vets," he said. "What we need to do better is simply tell our story about the wonderful things we do for veterans and our communities. Young vets are interested in participating in projects where they believe they are making a difference."
Lawrence said being a veteran who came of age in the 1980s puts him in a unique posi...
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For more than 70 years, encouraging patriotism within our nation's classrooms has been a principle of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., but time is running out for this year's annual student scholarship award competitions and teacher recognition programs.
Students, teachers and VFW Posts only have until Oct. 31 to submit their entries and nominations for the popular Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen youth scholarships, and the Teacher of the Year award.
As one of the top student patriotic essay competitions in the nation, nearly 40,000 high school students compete for their chance to win a $30,000 college scholarship. This year's participants are faced with the challenging theme, "Why My Vote Matters."
With the chance to win a slice of more than $54,000 in Patriot's Pen national awards, this year's sixth through eighth-grade students must...
WASHINGTON - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is urging tens of thousands of student veterans to immediately contact the Department of Veterans Affairs at 888-GIBILL-1 (or 888-442-4551) if they are facing a financial hardship due to delayed VA housing payments.
The VA said that as many as 180,000 student veterans housing payments were delayed this month in part due to computer updates to reflect benefit changes through the Forever GI Bill. Until the problem is fixed, VA is requiring benefits processors to work overtime and weekends, while many student veterans may be forced to raid their individual savings accounts or borrow money from their families to hopefully avoid late fees, ruined credit ratings or eviction.
"The VA reports that education claims will be processed immediately, as will disbursements, but if student veterans do not achieve resolution within three business days, I urge them to contact the VFW through our VFW Tops $8.3 Billion in VA Benefits Recoveries for Veterans
WASHINGTON - The Department of Veterans Affairs has reported that more than a half-million veterans represented by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. this past fiscal year received in excess of $8.3 billion in VA disability compensation and pension benefits, which far exceeds last year's record recovery of $7.7 billion.
"The VFW advocates for veterans in many ways, from lobbying Congress to create good quality of life legislation for America's veterans, service members and their families and survivors, to helping veterans and transitioning service members receive the VA benefits they earned after they return home wounded, ill or injured," said VFW National Commander B.J. Lawrence. "For nearly a century - and a full decade before the VA's predecessor organization was created - the VFW has helped veterans understand and file for their government benefits, a service that is needed now just as much as it was then."
The VFW accredits an international network of more than 2,0...
Bob Martin recalls vivid details of the day he found Roberta Sunday 48 years ago this month. It was a typical, hot and humid August day in Vietnam's Quang Tri province. A sergeant with C Troop, 3rd Sqdn., 17th Air Cav, Martin was leading a platoon to search an enemy bunker complex that had just been pummeled with U.S. bombs.
"It was our job to provide a damage assessment after the strikes," said Martin, now commander of VFW Post 889 in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho. "There were a lot of dead bodies. In one bunker, I found two dead NVA men and one woman dressed all in black. I imagine she had been supporting them."
As Martin turned to leave the bunker, he heard a faint sound, almost like a cough. He thought perhaps it was the sound of a rat because it wasn't coming from the people who were "obviously" dead. After hearing it again, he searched the bunker and discovered a naked baby girl under the woman's body.
"I thought, ‘Oh my God, now what? I can't just leave her here,'" Martin recalled. "I wrapped her in one of the e...
Repetitive keyboard clicks and sudden, synchronized shouts of awe echo through a Michigan VFW Post as video gamers wage war against one another while others, some dressed as characters from gamer culture, gather around a large display monitor to watch the action unfold - all in an effort to raise money for veterans.
More than 250 people converged this summer at VFW Post 4113 in St. Johns, Mich., roughly 25 miles north of Lansing, for its second Combo Con - a two-day fundraiser featuring video game competitions, cosplay (dressing up as characters from popular culture) and special guests from the fighter-game community.It raised more than $2,500 for the Post.
Hunter DeSander, the 25-year-old commander of VFW Post 4113, is the brainchild behind Combo Con. A fan of gaming since his youth, DeSander's passion continued during his military service, and he saw that gaming was "still a predominant thing" that brought people together.
While there are similar, nationally recognized events in the state, DeSander said he wa...
WASHINGTON - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is proud to announce that Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has renewed a service officer grant in the amount of $443,145 that will continue to help more transitioning military to receive their earned Department of Veterans Affairs benefits. The grant will be used to support the VFW's Pre-Discharge Claims Program, which has a proven history of providing free and expert VA claims filing assistance on two dozen of America's largest military installations.
GEORGETOWN, Texas - Sport Clips Haircuts' annual "Help A Hero" scholarship campaign starts today, and you can be a part of the mission to help service members and veterans take the next step toward civilian careers through education. Today through Veterans Day, November 11, you can "Help A Hero" when you get a haircut at one of the almost 1,800 Sport Clips locations across the U.S. The goal this year is to raise $1.5 million toward scholarships through the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW)-administered program.
WASHINGTON - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is calling on both the Senate and House Committees on Veterans' Affairs to hold oversight hearings on the recent delayed payments of Department of Veterans Affairs educational benefits.
VFW is also urging the Senate to pass the SIT-REP Act of 2018, which would ensure that student veterans cannot be disenrolled from their educational programs due to processing errors by VA.
In a letter sent to the House and Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs chairmen and ranking members, Carlos Fuentes, VFW's director of National Legislative Service, said that in the months preceding the deadline to enact the Forever GI Bill by Aug. 1, "VA officials repeatedly vowed that students and schools would receive payments on time and, while the amounts may not be correct, veterans would not be harmed."
Fuentes also noted that the SIT-REP Act of 2018 was passed unanimously in the House in May, "but lack of Senate action has prevented this ...
"I want to thank everyone at the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Sport Clips for giving me the opportunity for a second chance at an education," said VFW's "Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship" recipient Nikolay Maltsev.
The first time Maltsev attended college, he quickly realized he wasn't prepared for this life change without real-world experience.
"I went to the Army recruiter and decided to get some hands-on training as a wheeled vehicle mechanic to get another view of the world. I spent time in South Korea, Fort Riley and Kuwait."
While serving active duty in Kuwait, Maltsev began planning ahead for future educational opportunities and searching for financial aid. He stumbled upon the VFW's "Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship" and filled out an application.
Maltsev is thankful for the second opportunity to pursue a degree in economics at the State University of New York at Albany.
"My passion has been ignited to study economics … in my opinion it is the best way to learn how the world works t...
As Americans work hard to meet all the obligations that come with work, family and everyday life, many are challenged to find time to manage all the financial elements affecting their health care.
The details associated with health care insurance can be confusing. At the same time, you want to make smart decisions about the quality health care you and your family need.
Out-of-pocket health care spending rose by more than 50 percent between 2010 and 2017, The Atlantic recently reported, partly because half of all health insurance policyholders in the U.S. are dealing with annual deductibles of at least $1,000.
Whether you're uninsured or simply facing a high insurance deductible, you can take several steps to better manage your health care budget. Consider how the following money-saving tips can help control the rising costs of health care.
Amber Putnam, 59, of Parrish, Fla., has lived her life in service of others. Helping others was instilled in her at a young age.
In her role as a VFW Assistant Department Service Officer, Putnam works tirelessly to help veterans receive the benefits they deserve.
"I feel like I'm making a difference in veterans' lives by helping them obtain the benefits they earned through their service to our country."
As a veteran, Putnam knows first-hand the struggles and challenges veterans face. Inspired by her grandfather's advice to give back to her country through military service, she joined the United States Air Force.
For 32 years, Putnam served her country with pride. She was deployed to Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. She retired as a senior master sergeant.
Putnam's husband, William, and children, Elaine and Justin, supported her in the transition from military to civilian life. She searched for an opportunity to continue to serve veterans when she retired.
Two moments stand out for former Army Spc. Justin Lane when he recalls his deployment to Afghanistan - one he'll never forget and one he'll never remember.
Always happy-go-lucky with an air of optimism, Lane's attitude became jaded and vengeful when on March 26, 2011, his brother in arms, and friend from his hometown, Army Cpl. Justin Ross, was killed in Afghanistan. Less than four months later, on July 2, 2011, Spc. Lane was in a vehicle that hit an improvised explosive device (IED). It nearly ended his life.
Lane vowed to return one day and leave Afghanistan on his terms. In April, he got that opportunity. Another wounded combat veteran introduced Lane to an organization called Feherty's Troops First Foundation. The Laurel, Md.-based nonprofit supports "wellness, quality-of-life and event-based initiatives" for troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to its website.
Through its program, Operation Proper Exit, Troops First gives wounded veterans the opportunity to return to Afghanistan or Iraq and ...
While unemployed and in the middle of finding new living arrangements, Army veteran Wanda Griffin turned to VFW's Unmet Needs program.
She came across the program while researching options for assistance and applied for the grant in March. Since receiving the $1,303.65 grant, Griffin has become more financially secure. She also now has the means to secure housing for herself and her son.
"[The Unmet Needs grant] meant the world to me," Griffin said. "It came at a time in which I was having to move from one place to another while I was unemployed and in need of assistance."
Unmet Needs, according to Griffin, is significant to the veteran community because it's "designed to help all who have served in their time of need."
"A lot of times, we don't know what's available to us," Griffin said, "and to have an organization that's real and available saying, ‘Thank you for your service,' ‘What can we do to help you because you served?' is a wonderful and outstanding compliment that goes a long way in our com...
Veteran Tonya Palmer of Mechanicsville, Va., was getting used to not having enough food to eat. On the day she applied for the VFW's Unmet Needs grant, she was down to a few slices of cheese.
Palmer joined the Army at 33 years old, just after the September 11, 2001 attacks. After completing basic training in Ft. Jackson, S.C., she moved on to Georgia to learn satellite maintenance and control. Soon after, Palmer was injured during training. She suffered physically and emotionally after breaking both her legs, damaging her lower back and developing Post Traumatic Stress (PTS).
"I have suppressed much of that time. But now, 15 years later, I still suffer every day. It affects every aspect of my life. I joined to protect my family and country, and when I left the military I was a private first class," Palmer said.
Even with her 100% rating for service-connected disability, the loss of pay after being laid off in 2016 made it impossible for her and her fiancé to keep up their finances.
Palmer couldn't buy g...
During a cool March evening at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., service members and veterans were able to take a break. They were laughing, relaxing and, even for a couple of hours, not thinking about the treatment they were receiving at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in nearby Bethesda, Md.
Since 2003, wounded warriors from Walter Reed have gathered for the Aleethia Foundation's Friday Night Dinners. Foundation founder and executive director Hal Koster, a life member of VFW Post 2562 in Silver Spring, Md., said these dinners are an important part of the healing process.
"In the beginning, we saw mostly combat injured service members at the dinner," said Koster, a Vietnam War Army veteran who served as a helicopter door gunner with the 174th Assault Helicopter Company. "We have now transitioned into providing a night away from the hospital to patients who have cancer, [traumatic brain injuries] and other illnesses."
GETTING AWAY TO ‘FEEL HUMAN AGAIN'
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - HonorBound Foundation has awarded the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. a $55,263 grant to help offset a larger initiative that will begin equipping VFW Service Officers with new laptops and tablets so that they can more efficiently and effectively help more veterans to file disability claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The VFW has nearly 2,000 VA-accredited service officers across America and abroad. In 2017, more than a half-million veterans represented by the VFW received $7.7 billion in benefits from the VA, to include $1.2 billion in new benefit awards. VFW Service Officers are stationed at every VA Regional Office and on two dozen military installations to help transitioning service members to complete and file their claims, but despite being seemingly everywhere, there are still veterans residing elsewhere who are need of the professional - and free - services the VFW ...
An Army veteran received a $1,500 grant from VFW's Unmet Needs program for living expenses because he is unable to work.
Jesse Thorsen, a member of VFW Post 5789 in Lee's Summit, Mo., served two deployments in Afghanistan. During the first in 2009-10, Thorsen was an infantryman with 2nd Bn., 509th Regt., 25th Inf. Div. He later served as a combat engineer with the 402nd Engineer Company (Sapper) while in Afghanistan in 2012-13.
Thorsen, of Lee's Summit, Mo., said that he suffers from epilepsy and had to separate from the Army after 14 years of service in August 2016. He is rated 70 percent disabled by VA due to his service-connected disabilities. After his discharge, he applied for social security disability due to having seizures.
"Originally, I was denied on my social security disability," Thorsen said. "So I figured I would work to try to make some money for my family."
Working as a bricklayer, Thorsen suffered a seizure on a job site and was unable to keep his job because of the episode.
The Home Depot has started accepting applications for their 2018 Community Impact Grant. VFW members can receive up to $5,000 to fund repairs or construction projects at their Post building.
While there are no guarantees to being funded, several VFW Posts have been awarded this grant in the past.
Applications are only accepted through Home Depot's online form. Telephone calls, emails or written submissions sent to Home Depot will NOT be accepted, nor will you be able to turn this application in at your local Home Depot store.
Applicants should expect a decision by email within six weeks of submission. Grants are awar...
LOUISVILLE, Ky. and KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), one of the nation's leading health and well-being companies, through the Humana MarketPoint organization, has enhanced its exclusive agreement with the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW), the nation's largest organization of war veterans and the oldest major veterans' organization in the U.S. As part of this expanded relationship, Humana is the national Medicare Advantage (MA), Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) and Medicare Supplement plans carrier for the VFW with exclusive marketing and promotional rights to the VFW.
The 750,000+ members of the VFW, and their spouses, who are eligible, or approaching eligibility, for Medicare, will get seamless education, guidance and access to these plans.
Hunting, much like war, forms a bond between people of different backgrounds. This holds true for the disabled veterans who participated in this year's 35th annual VFW magazine - and Doonan Gulch Outfitters - sponsored antelope hunt. Four Vietnam War veterans participated in hunting antelope, sightseeing and conversations.
Located 25 miles west of Broadus, Mont., Doonan Gulch Outfitters is owned and operated by Russ and Carol Greenwood. Russ Greenwood said Carol and he started hosting the annual hunt in 1982 because they didn't like the way Vietnam War veterans were treated when they came home.
Russ Greenwood also has a personal connection to Vietnam War veterans. His twin brother - Roger, a member of VFW Post 987 in Black River Falls, Wisc. - flew helicopters during the war. The Greenwoods started hosting disabled veterans 20 years ago. Since then, Doonan Gulch Outfitters has hosted veterans of every generation since the Vietnam War.
WASHINGTON - The nation's top three veterans service organizations have released their latest edition of The Independent Budget to coincide with the Administration's fiscal year 2019 budget recommendation for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
For more than 30 years, the three Independent Budget co-authors - DAV (Disabled American Veterans), Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans), and the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States) - have presented budget and policy recommendations to Congress and the Administration. These recommendations - which are supported by 27 other health, family, military, and veteran service organizations - are meant to inform lawmakers of the needs of all veterans, and to offer substantive solutions to address the many health care and benefits challenges they face. This independently-developed budget serves as the veterans groups' benchmark for properly fu...
Torrey Wingate of Rochester, N.Y., joined the United States armed forces after she met an Army recruiter who inspired her to become more. Wingate was first stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash., and went on to serve at Fort Myer, Va. During her time at Fort Myer, Wingate injured her back and knees.
She thrived in the structured routine of her military life, and missed this steadiness and stability when it came time to transition to civilian life. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder made the transition even more challenging. The fear and anxiety she felt took a great toll on her mental health.
Securing a job and leaning on her support system of husband, Todd, and their five children (ranging from 5 to 28 years old) helped smooth her transition.
Her progress came to a sudden halt when her family moved from upstate New York to North Carolina. With the increased cost-of-living and Wingate unable to find a job, they went from a "two-income household to a fraction of one."
She was devastated to see her dreams crumble as ...
WASHINGTON - Early this morning Congress voted to keep the government open for six more weeks as it works out a two-year budget deal that increases sequestration-levied spending caps for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The good news is the two-year budget deal should provide the Department of Defense the predictable funding it needs to improve readiness, and build a larger, more capable and lethal force. But the deal does not eliminate sequestration.
"Reducing the impact of sequestration by raising spending caps is a step in the right direction," said Keith Harman, national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, "but the deal doesn't eliminate the sequester, which will still be the law after the two-year deal expires."
This morning's action raises spending caps by nearly $300 billion for both defense and non-defense spending for FYs 2018 and 2019. The VFW believes that the funding increase will protect military quality of life programs, the promised 2.4 percent pay raise, and oth...
Marine veteran Jordan Soderman wears many hats. Everyday he is a full-time firefighter for the city of Minneapolis, Minn., father to 7-year-old Hunter and 5-year-old Caleb, husband to wife Jessica, Staff Sergeant in the Air Force Reserves and master's student in Emergency Management. It's a lot of responsibility and he takes great pride and care in each role.
Soderman was extremely grateful to be a recipient of the VFW's "Sport Clips Help a Hero Scholarship," especially because his family depends on his salary for a living.
Soderman grew up in the rural Midwest on his family's farm. He joined the Marines in 2006, right out of high school. He felt called to enlist because his parents taught him how much respect service members deserve, even though they were civilians themselves.
"The military was on a pedestal to me, and I wanted to give back to my country and travel outside my small town."
Soderman was deployed three times between 2007-2010. During the first two deployments, he was assigned to a Fleet An...
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