By Ken Boor
On Saturday, June 15 WVON am radio host Cliff Kelley spoke on behalf of America’s Heroes Group with two members of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Chapter 84. The discussion with panelists Michael Butler, Senior Vice Commander, and Legislative Officer Ken Boor, included a history of the DAV, current activities within the chapter, and future goals of the organization.
Butler stated that within the DAV’s mission statement it is noted that the organization is dedicated to a single purpose: empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. The DAV accomplishes this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s heroes on Capitol Hill; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life.
DAV Chapter 84 covers all of Northern Illinois; it meets on the first Friday of each month at the VFW Post at 9514 South 52nd Ave., Oak Lawn. Call 708-433-9522 for additional meeting details. Senior Vice Commander Butler invited all veterans to attend meetings to learn about benefits they may have earned while in service to our country.
There is no cost to the veteran for the assistance that the DAV provides. The veteran does not have to be considered disabled by the Veterans Administration to get help from the DAV. Service Officers will represent the veteran or the veteran’s family from the initial filing of a claim, through every appeal process if necessary.
Butler further explained that the DAV does not accept any funding from the government, noting that it is a non-profit organization. It exists and funds operations through the support of members and the generosity of the American public.
Each chapter hosts an annual fund-raising event where donations are solicited by members at local retail and grocery stores. The light blue Forget Me Not flower, similar to the VFW’s red poppy is handed out as a symbol and reminder of the sacrifices made by Americans who served in the military.
One hundred percent of every dollar collected is used to benefit disabled veterans, providing benefits such as: the purchase of passenger vans to transport the vets to and from medical appointments; purchase of medical devices; purchase and training of service dogs or helping veterans with short term financial aid. All DAV members are volunteers; no one receives a salary or payment for their time and effort.
Legislative Officer Boor went on to explain his responsibilities, commenting that he attends both state and national conferences where resolutions to improve the benefits disabled veterans receive through the VA are discussed, and presented to the Congressional Veteran Administration Committee in Washington, DC.
This past February the DAV requested that federal funding be provided for:
Monetary increase in surviving spouse benefits.
Additional health care for female veterans.
Recognition that veteran’s illnesses are presumptive from exposure to burn pit toxins.
Blue Water Navy veterans to be entitled to health benefits due to Agent Orange exposure.