COMMITMENT TO SERVICE
FULFILLING OUR PROMISES TO THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO SERVED
I would like to offer my appreciation to all who attended our Mid-Year Seminar, January 13-15, 2017, in Corpus Christi, Texas. This seminar was well attended with participation from our DAV National Commander, Mr. David W. Riley, and our DAV National Adjutant, Mr. J. Marc Burgess. We were inspired and enlightened as a Veterans Service Organization (VSO) by many outstanding presentations from our Department Committee Chairpersons and our Department Service Commission. There were two major seminars presented by Mrs. Teresa Johniken, Department Adjutant/Treasurer, and Mr. Dennis Nixon, Department Inspector/Judge Advocate. The seminars were centered around officer reports, annual finance reports, tax form 990, the three times rule, fundraising, convention committee appointments and committee resolutions. Life doesn’t allow us to go back and fix mistakes made in the past, but it does allow for us to live each new day better than our last. The 2017 Mid-Year Seminar has equipped all of us as members of the DAV, to live each new day better than our last.
On Tuesday, January 3, 2017, I had the opportunity to visit our Houston Regional Office where Mr. Aaron Delaughter is the supervisor. I was very impressed with his organizational skills and contributions to the Houston veterans community. On Monday, January 23, 2017, our DAV delegation visited the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas. My thanks to Mrs. Barbra Bell, Chief, Voluntary Service, for her assistance in setting up the agenda for this meeting. She gave those attending a short briefing regarding DAV volunteer hours and donation opportunities. She led us on a tour of the newly remodeled women’s clinic and introduced us to the Medical Center director, Mr. Frank Vazquez before his presentation and the questions-answers session. We had two members from the Pasadena Memorial Chapter #194 attending: Mr. William R. Bezdek, Commander and Mr. Israel Cortez, Jr., Senior Vice Commander. Our Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary (DAVA) Department Commander, Mrs. Anita Lee, and her husband, Mr. Oscar W. Lee, were present for this visit. Department Senior Vice Commander, Mr. Robert Squyres as well as our VAVS Chairman, Mr. Jose Garcia, and my brother, Mr. Vince Foley also accompanied me on this outstanding visit to the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.
On Thursday, February 16, 2017, I had the privilege of visiting the VA North Texas Health Care System (NTHCS) in Dallas, Texas where Mrs. Bobbie K. Scoggins serves as Chief, Voluntary Service. Mrs. Scoggins and her staff shared with us the outstanding work of DAV volunteers at their medical center. DAVA volunteers present for our visit were past DAV Department Commander, Mr. Ken Hackney, past DAVA Department Commander, Mrs. Belinda Hackney, past DAVA Department Commander, Ms. Mary Choate, DAVA representatives, Ms. Dottie Dozier, Ms. Jean Scott and Mr. Larry L. Dockery. They are members of Grand Prairie Chapter #42. Also attending this site visit were our DAVA Department Commander, Mrs. Anita Lee and her husband, Mr. Oscar W. Lee, Commander of the Frank F. Simpson Chapter # 3 in Waco, Texas. Mr. Jeffery L. Milligan, Director of the North Texas Health Care System gave an outstanding presentation regarding the overall operation of the NTHCS. His presentation was followed by the introduction of several other important staff members. We had a most memorable tour of the Fisher House on the medical center’s campus. Our tour guide was Ms. Lydia Henderson, Manager of the Fisher House.
On Friday, February 17, 2017, DAVA Department Commander, Mrs. Anita Lee and I were honored to visit the Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center in Bonham, Texas. Mrs. Tina McDaniel, Voluntary Specialist and Mr. James L. Douglas, Administrative Service Manager provided our group with a briefing and tour of their Community Living Center (CLC). Other DAV members attending were Mr. Frederick H. Haas, Mr. Lorenzo H. Gonzalez, Jr., Mr. Michael Reaves, and Mr. William Roth–all from Chapter #38 in McKinney, Texas. VAVS representatives present were Mr. David Johnson and Mr. O.H. Hubbard. My thanks to our DAVA Department Commander, Mrs. Anita Lee, and her husband Mr. Oscar W. Lee, for being present for this outstanding visit. Thanks to all of you, our DAV/DAVA volunteers for your long-term commitment to our hospitalized veterans and their family members. Our Veteran Service Organization (VSO) commitment has been the foremost reason why our mission has been successful for more than 96 years. Indeed, as members of the Disabled American Veterans, you have enriched the lives of veterans and their families within the great State of Texas.
I attended the 2017 Mid-Winter Conference in Washington, D.C., February 25-March 1, 2017. DAV established several helpful talking points in scheduling appointments with our elected officials. Those talking points included: 1) Strengthening, reforming, and sustaining the VA Health Care System, 2) Putting the “Choice” program for veterans in context, 3) Planning Fiscal Year 2018 VA Budget, 4) Providing comprehensive support for caregivers of veterans, 5) Improving Women Veterans Health programs, and 6) Legislating reform of the claims appeal process. Detailed information regarding these talking points is found at dav.org. Then you must go to 1. Veterans, 2. Events, 3. 2017 Mid-Winter Conference, and 4. Talking points. Remember, a dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.
Reminder: Please place on your calendar the dates for our upcoming DAV events in 2017:
DAV National Winter Sports Clinic – March 25-31, 2017 – Snowmass, Colorado
DAV & DAVA Department of Texas Convention – June 9–11, 2017 – Austin, Texas
DAV Commanders and Adjutants Association Orientation – July 8-11, 2017 – Cold Springs, Kentucky
DAV & DAVA National Conventions – July 29 – August 1, 2017 – New Orleans, Louisiana
Commander’s Medical Center visitations scheduled for March 2017:
VA Medical Center – Waco, Texas – Thursday, March 9, 2017…9:00a.m.
VA Medical Center – Temple, Texas – Friday, March 10, 2017…1:00p.m.
If your chapter is located near the Temple or Waco VA Medical Centers, please plan to attend. Contact me or our VAVS Chairman, Mr. Jose Garcia, and we will provide additional information regarding the medical center visitations.
Again, I appreciate your membership in DAV. Your support will make us stronger, and a stronger DAV means a more effective DAV and benefits for you, your family, and all disabled veterans of our state and nation. I am looking forward to seeing many of you at our DAV Department Convention in Austin, June 9-11, 2017. Once again, I am honored to serve as your Department Commander and offer my appreciation to all of you for your Commitment to Service. Yes, we are connected through our service and through our sacrifice. IT IS REAL!!!
Dr. Charles W. Edwards, Jr., Commander
Disabled American Veterans – Department of Texas