VA & R Service to Veterans
With our “hearts on fire” for Veterans ALA members keep the “home fires burning”. There are many ways to volunteer including organizing or participating in a stand down, assembling care packages/tray favors/greeting cards, assisting with a Veteran’s burial or gravesite upkeep, making and presenting Quilts of Valor to Veterans, cooking, shopping, or providing transportation to appointments. Volunteers are the very heart and soul of the VA&R program structure. So, with all the passion and fire we hold in our hearts for our Veterans, let us work together to make this a wonderful year of “Service, not Self” for our Veterans, military and their families. Whatever a veteran needs – job assistance, transportation, food, clothing, etc. – as Auxiliary volunteers, do your best to provide it. With troops constantly deployed during our nation’s longest period of war and with many of our volunteer service members serving multiple deployments, our mission to assist veterans and their families as they transition back to civilian life has never been more relevant than it is today.
ALA Member Pride is National President Mary Davis’s theme this year: pride in helping veterans, military and their families (VA&R); pride in making a difference; pride in a job well done; pride in belonging to an organization whose mission we totally embrace.
Most importantly, to show that pride, please keep track of your hours and expenses when doing your Service to Veterans. The tracking period runs from April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2017. I hope you already have several hours of service logged by now. Your hours and expenses must be certified by your unit and sent to me by April 30, 2017. Volunteers will earn “hour bars” when reaching specific hour milestones of 50, 100, 300, 500, and 1,000 hours after which they will earn bars in 1,000-hour increments. These hours are cumulative from year to year, so keep working hard at increasing your hours and earning more bars. Pins on which to attach your bars can be ordered from Emblem Sales at your expense.
It is imperative when reporting your activities that you include your ALA member number on all reports and communications. All of us serve Veterans, but it is of utmost importance to report those hours, expenses and activities to me. If we do the work, but don’t report it, no one will ever know the burning passion we Iowa volunteers have in our hearts. Reporting is important to let legislators and our communities know all the things we accomplish for our Veterans. Please submit a short narrative to me by mail or email of your unit’s VA&R activities by December 31, 2016, so that I submit my Mid-Year Report to the Central Division Chairman. The next deadline is for your annual report which is April 30, 2017. Narratives must be submitted to me along with a listing of your unit members and their hours and expenses. Describe how hour bars were earned. Tell me what assistance your unit gave at stand downs. What did you learn about hosting a stand down? What went well? What could be done differently to improve for your next stand down? How many Veterans and/or their families did you serve? All the same rules apply to Juniors. Their hours and expenses count, too. Juniors can help serve Veteran’s meals, they can play games with Veterans. They can help pack care packages, or make greeting cards and tray favors. The list of ways juniors can serve veterans is endless restricted only by their imagination.
Department and National Awards
Outstanding Unit VA&R Program Award: Awarded to unit chairman who conducted the best overall promotion of the VA&R program. 1,000 words or less, typed in narrative format, include pictures, clippings, scrapbooks, folders, etc. Entries must include the national award cover sheet that is found on Department’s Home Page and in the National Programs Action Plan.
Service to Veterans Volunteer Hours Award: An award will be presented to a junior and a senior member for reporting the greatest number of hours from April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017, as certified by the unit. Entries must include the award cover sheet.
All narratives and contest entries need to be submitted to me by email or mail by April 30, 2017. Please let me know what the “fire in your heart for Veterans” has inspired you to accomplish for our Veterans, our military and their families this year! I can’t report what I don’t know. I need your input.