VA & R Service to Veterans
Judy Neal - Chairman
1260 190th Street
Earlham, IA 50072
VA&R Service to Veterans
What is VA & R Service to Veterans?
The Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation program promotes the ALA Mission to enhance the lives of veterans, military and their families. Service to veterans are volunteers who provide service to veterans, service members and their families outside a VA Medical Center.
How can you serve veterans, service members and their families?
As an individual member or as a group such as your Unit or County. Here are a few ideas:
· Supply postage for local veterans in rest homes or assisted living facilities
· Visit and remember them on special occasions
· Take a veteran on a Sunday drive, picnic or to see one of their friends
Offer to stay with a veteran when their regular primary caregivers go shopping or out for a break
· Organize a clothing drive
· Organize transportation for veterans to assist them with essential errands
· A Unit or County could provide hospitality for a job fair for veterans
· Coordinate with local quilt shops to sponsor a Quilts of Valor®️.
· Help with yard work - mow; weed flower beds and gardens; trim shrubs, bushes or trees
· Scoop Snow
· Do home repairs.
Help homeless veterans;
· Crochet or knit hats, scarves or mittens to be distributed
· Assemble and deliver hygiene kits or buddy baskets
· Volunteer at a stand down
· Clothes collection and distribution
At risk veterans
· Short on time but have some cash? Make payments of overdue rent, utility payments or deposits and security deposits.
· Meal preparation and serving.
Those Veterans transitioning back to civilian life is a big challenge facing veterans today.
· Encourage eligible veterans to use the VA health care system and its services, including hospitals, Community Based Outpatient Clinic, Vet Centers, etc.
o VA Health Care Hotline for women veterans
o 1-855-VA-Women (1-855-6636); explore.va.gov/health-care
· Invite the local, county or state Service Officer to be the guest speaker at a unit/department event.
How do you determine who needs assistance?
Start with your post home. Some Legionnaires are aged, infirmed or confined due to illness or inability to drive. Reach out to leaders in your community. Contact government officials, religious leaders and social service offices to ask about different programs in the community serving veterans. Once you have contact information, reach out to the organization(s) and ask them to identify their needs. With needs identified in your community, run free with your ideas to meet the needs of those who served our country. To complete bigger projects, utilize your Unit and/or American Legion Family,
In addition to serving our veterans, service members and their families, it is IMPORTANT to TRACK and REPORT YOUR HOURS and EXPENSES. Services to a volunteer's family or relative cannot be counted. The tracking period runs from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019.
Your hours and expenses must be certified by your unit and sent to me by April 30, 2019. 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. The hours are cumulative from year to year. Pins on which to attach your bars can be ordered from Emblem Sales at your expense. It is essential when reporting your activities to me that you include your ALA Membership number on all reports and communications.
Why do we report our volunteer hours? If we do the work and don’t report it, no one will ever know the support Iowa volunteers have for those who served and are serving America. Reporting is important to let our communities and legislators know we support our veterans, service members and their families and they need to support them too.
Submit a short narrative to me by snail mail or email of your units VA&R Service to Veterans activities by December 31, 2018, so I can prepare and submit my Mid-Year Report to the Central Division Chairman. The annual report deadline is April 30, 2019. Narratives must be submitted to me along with a listing of your unit members, their membership hours and expenses. Include a brief description of how the hour bars were earned. Include in your narrative what you or your Unit did. What went well with a project and what you learned to make future projects easier? Who and how many were served by your service?
So, run free with your ideas on how you and your Legion Family can be of service to veterans, service members and their families. Accomplish those ideas to the best of your ability and you will make a difference in the lives of others. And Remember to report hours and expenses to me by the deadlines with all the required information. I cannot report what I do not know. However, i know Iowa has awesome volunteers and EVERYONE needs to report!
Department and National Awards
Outstanding Unit VA&R Program Award: Award to unit chairman who conducted the best overall promotion of the VA&R Program. 1,000 words or less, typed in a narrative format, include pictures, clippings, scrapbooks, folders, etc. Entries must include the National Award Cover Sheet that is found on the Departments 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, 2018 - March 31, 2019, as certified by the unit. Entries must include the award cover sheet.
Additional details, information and resources may be found on the National American Legion Auxiliary website www.alaforveterans.org in the Members Only section.