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This isn’t your granddaddy’s VFW! Join AFE in celebrating veteran’s organizations, see how you can help fellow veterans and veterans’ organizations this VFW day.

September 29th is VFW Day. On this day, we celebrate the veterans of foreign wars who are so deeply committed to serving this great nation.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars was founded in 1899 by a small group of Veterans of the Spanish-American War who organized to secure rights and benefits for their service. The organization’s successes include advocating the creation of the Veterans Administration (VA), working to establish the National Cemetery System, and in 2014, securing the passage of G.I. Bill for the 21st Century.

A gathering of friends in 1947 at Fraser VFW Post 6691, Fraser, Michigan. Source: Fraser VFW 6691

Through patriotic activism and community outreach, the VFW has been instrumental in ensuring the care of veterans and their families following military service. 

From its humble beginnings, the VFW has expanded into a robust network of over 6,000 posts and over 52 departments, spanning the globe. 

Today, we salute all veterans service organizations who have fought to improve the lives of our honored veterans.

 Inside a VFW Post, you’ll find veterans of every era–from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistanall enjoying the special bond that Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines share. Photo Credit: VFW Post 8790

While veteran’s groups primarily function as service organizations, it is equally important that these organizations function as social clubs. Car shows, barbeques, softball leagues, tailgates, and parades, are just some of the activities that veterans can expect to take part in–but the bond goes even deeper than community events.

VFW Post 7383 Stages supplies to help out their North Carolinians in preparation for Hurricane Florence’s landfall in 2018.

In the VFW, and other veterans organizations such as the American Legion, members report finding an immediate bond with their fellow members. Some soldiers may have fought in the desert, others in the jungle, but the shared experience of service creates an immediate connection across members, branches served, and even generations.

Whether 3 years or 30 years have passed since you’ve served, these groups can help veterans to rekindle a sense of belonging, camaraderie, and inclusiveness after military retirement. You can strike up a conversation with anyone at your local post, and immediately be drawn in by a lifetime of stories and shared experiences. 

New York VFW Post 69 gather after a 2019 March in support of Veteran’s awareness. Photo Credit: VFW Department of New York

Now, more than ever, veterans are in need of support. While Fall Conferences are canceled, live music events are postponed, and canteens are closed or restricted to reduced hours, the VFW members are still dedicated to their mission of highlighting resources available to help veterans facing homelessness to secure safe and stable housing.

As a way of navigating these times of separation, the VFW is also going digital. The VFW Podcast is a new show by veterans, for veterans. Tune in October 7th for the new podcast, which will address critical issues, challenges, and legislation affecting veterans, service members, and military families worldwide.

Carlo and Lee Ann Davis of Post 9191 in Killeen, Texas, at VFW’s 120th National Convention in July in Orlando. They are the first married couple in their Post’s 60-year history to lead their local chapter for consecutive years.

Times are trying, but our veterans are resilient. This VFW Day, in honor of all veterans who have served this great nation, here is a list of more Veterans Service Organizations that would appreciate your support. These are only a fraction of the groups dedicated to serving our heroes.

AMVETS

AMVETS is a congressionally chartered organization that supports over 250,000 veterans at more than 1,200 posts nationwide. Membership is open to anyone who has served honorably since WWII, including Reserve and Coast Guard veterans.

AMVETS has made a long-term economic impact by providing assistance, jobs, and services to veterans and their communities for more than 70 years.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

IAVA‘s mission is to unite, empower, and connect post-9/11 veterans through education, advocacy, and community.

Membership in IAVA is free for its 425,000+ members. Image Source: IAVA

The organization’s programs include advocacy on Capitol Hill, data-driven research on post-9/11 veteran issues, and transition assistance for veterans. IAVA also fosters fellowship through its VetTogether and online community events.

Team Red White and Blue

Team Red, White & Blue’s mission is to enrich the lives of America’s Veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. With a nationwide network of over 192 chapters, Team RWB hosts events designed to engage veterans with the communities where they live and work.

Team RWB connects over 200,000 veterans nationwide through shared purpose and outdoor endeavors. Image Source: VA Blog

Whether it’s workouts, races, social activities or service projects, Team RWB members, also known as Eagles, support each other through shared values and experiences. Team RWB even has a social platform on iOS and Android, enabling the “Eagle Nation” to connect and share their workouts and events.

Blinded Veterans Association

BVA is the only Veterans Service Organization chartered by Congress to advocate for the interest of America’s blind and visually impaired veterans. The group represents over 130,000 blinded and visually impaired veterans and their families with more than 50 regional groups nationwide.

BVA Member Eric Marts rappels down a cliffside as part of a 2019 Blinding Endeavors programs. Image Source: BVA

The cause of blindness or vision loss need not be limited to loss in the line of duty. BVA provides peer support and access to rehabilitation for all blind veterans, including Coast Guard and Reserve. The group’s mission, “Blind veterans helping blind veterans” rings true in their commitment to helping blind veterans find their independence.

The American Legion

The American Legion is the largest nonpartisan, not-for-profit, veterans service organization in the US. The Legion offers a wide variety of programs and activities including American Legion Baseball, a youth sports league, and Heroes to Hometown, a nationwide reintegration assistance program for wounded veterans from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

American Legion Post 245.

Check out the Legion’s 100 Miles for Hope virtual race, benefitting the Veterans and Children’s foundation. You can join the virtual challenge by walking, running, or riding 100 miles now through Veteran’s Day on November 11th, 2020.

Armed Forces Entertainment

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