Veteran Affairs and Rehabilitation
Kathy Wilkerson - Chairman
9326 Hwy 99
Wapello, IA 52653
Veteran Affairs & Rehabilitation
Purpose Statement - To initiate, sponsor, and participate in programs and services that assist and enhance the lives of veterans and their families, ensuring restoration and/or transition to normally functioning lives physically, mentally, socially, and vocationally.
Coming home may be the end of one journey for many of our veterans; it is also the beginning of the transition to a “new normal.” Helping them reach this “new normal” is the primary focus of the American Legion Auxiliary. As Iowa ALA members, there are several things we can do. We can volunteer to serve veterans and their families at VA health care facilities through the Veteran Affairs Voluntary Service (VAVS), and we can ask others to join us. Record your VAVS hours through the volunteer hour tracking system, which is different than tracking your Service to Veterans Hours outside the VAVS system to earn service bars (See VA&R—Service to Veterans)
« assist veterans in accessing VA benefits and coordinate with local American Legion posts to identify the local Service Officer
« assist in activities to help homeless veterans by participating in the VA Project CHALENG for Veterans
« volunteer at homeless veterans’ Stand Downs
« Contact homeless veteran emergency shelters, transitional housing projects and permanent housing projects in your community and identify the organization's volunteer and in-kind contribution needs, including:
o Meal preparation and serving
o Clothes collection and distribution
o Assembly and delivery of hygiene kits, buddy baskets
o Purchasing or securing household items or furniture
« knit or crochet hats, scarves or mittens to be distributed to homeless veterans
« support rehabilitation and healing of veterans through arts, crafts, and hobbies by donating supplies to help supplement veteran artists’ needs for their projects. Contact your local VA hospital coordinator or Dept. chairman for a list of items. Donate funds through department, to help local veterans attend state and national Wheel Chair Games, Veterans Creative Arts Festivals and Para Olympics
« help promote job fairs for veterans and their families or volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, especially if the house being built is for a Veteran and is supported by the Legion. Or through Rebuilding Together if home repairs or additions are for a Veteran.
« assist and support caregivers of Veterans. Become familiar with the VA caregiver support program.
« If you live near a VA facility, become a regular VAVS volunteer and invite others to become VAVS volunteers with you.
« Send notes and provide supplies to support those who volunteer at VA facilities.
« There isn’t a VA hospital close to your community? Find opportunities to serve veterans in your area. Hours outside of a VA facility will count toward your Service to Veterans pin and hour bars.
Monetary Donations reminder: They should always be sent to Department Office earmarked for the facility of your choice. Send a letter to that facility to tell them of your donation and what you want it used for.
Department and National Awards - additional details may be found on the National website.
National Veterans Creative Arts Festival Award for donations made through the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation: 3 levels—Bronze, Silver, Gold—for donations received—August 1, 2018—July 31, 2019.
Veteran Affairs Voluntary Service (VAVS) Award: awarded to the nominee who has given extraordinary service to our nation’s veterans through the ALA VA&R program and the VAVS program. Nominee must serve in an established VA assignment and be defined as a regularly scheduled volunteer. Should be active in any one of the following areas; outpatient clinics, nursing homes, homeless veteran programs, hosted veteran-related functions outside the VA, or visited veterans confined to their homes.
10,000 Hour Volunteer Service Award: given to volunteers who have reached 10,000 hours of service in a VA facility during this year (April 1, 2018-March 31, 2019).
20,000 Hour Volunteer Service Award: given to volunteers who have reached more than 20,000 hours of service in a VA facility during this year (April 1, 2018-March 31, 2019)
VA&R narratives on how you have served our Veterans and our Military in our VA Medical Centers or CBOC’s or any other VA sponsored program. These narratives are due by April 30, 2019.
Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Reporting: Please send me, your department chair, information on what you’ve been doing in support of VA&R by December 1, 2018, and again by April 15, 2019, either via email or through a narrative so I may submit Iowa’s mid-year and year-end reports to Central Division and National.
I hope everyone will help support President Mary’s theme of Honoring Our Veterans’ Legacy and make this the best year ever for our Veterans and their families.
Additional Resources You Can Use
1. Homeless Veterans Coalition: www.nchv.org
2. Other “How to Sheets” can be found at ALAforVeterans.org
3. Quilts of Valor: www.qovf.org
4. VA Homeless Programs: www.va.gov/homeless/
5. HUD Homeless Assistance Programs:
6. On-Call: Handbook for Homeless Veterans and Service Providers
7. The American Legion Family Support Network: www.legion.org/familysupport
8. American Legion Auxiliary Veterans Creative Activities Action Guide,
9. National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, www.creativeartsfestival.va.gov
10. The national VA&R Committee Facebook group, search ALA Veterans Affairs &
11. Your national VA&R committee members (see VA&R program page on the national
website or Annual Supplement for contact information)