Veterans Benefits Information guide to VA benefits

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Veterans Benefits Information

SAL donations to CWF approach $8M mark

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The Sons of The American Legion will soon pass $8 million in donations to the Child Welfare Foundation (CWF).

As of Feb. 8, SAL donations to CWF stood at $7,992,545.18 since 1988. That includes donations of $171,879.43 since June 1, 2018.

The SAL is the single largest contributor to the CWF. The CWF is a nonprofit that has two primary purposes: to contribute to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual welfare of children and youth and establish more effective uses of knowledge possessed by well-established organizations. To attain these goals, CWF raises donations and awards grants to organizations that help children. The CWF is governed by its board of directors and a national chairman. All administrative costs of the Child Welfare Foundation are borne by The American Legion, so 100 percent of all money raised for the foundation is used exclusively for grants.

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SAL squadron proudly serving those who served

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Since being chartered in 2011, Sons of The American Legion Squadron 524 in Ocean City, N.J., has grown from “humble beginnings” to regularly raise thousands of dollars for local charities.

“Back then, we didn’t even have an official Sons flag,” said Squadron 524 Commander Michael Byerly.

Now, with some 150 members of the squadron at Morvay-Miley Post 524, the squadron has been able to make substantial contributions.

Those include $1,500 to the South Jersey chapter of Heroes on the Water, a nonprofit which provides therapeutic kayak fishing at no cost to veterans, active duty personnel and first responders; and $7,500 to Operation Safe Haven, which provides 300-square-foot micro-houses to veterans so they can adapt to and overcome PTSD.

Byerly said the squadron has hosted several successful fundraisers, including beef ‘n’ beers, spaghetti dinners, pancake breakfasts and chicken dinner. They’re also raffling a Weber gas grill for Father’s Day this year.

“However, our largest fundraiser is the Ocean City Fall Block Party where we distribute hundreds of 4x6 stick flags and accept donations,” he said. “This past year we raised over $3,500 in a single day. It has become such a tradition that families search us out to have their picture taken with ‘The Legion boys’ and their flags.”

Byerly, whose father, Ken, served in the Army in the Vietnam War, said joining the SAL “has been one of my most rewarding experiences.”

“My squadron membership has provided me the opportunity to tangibly express my gratefulness and strong respect for veterans, and especially for my father and his service. I love this country and it is an honor to proudly serve those who proudly served,” Byerly said.

“As we are all aware, engaging recent vets is difficult at best, and Legion membership is aging rapidly. The Sons provide a support structure for the Legion members and a boost to overall participation and involvement. Hopefully, in time, the young guys will join the ranks. Until that time, the Sons stand ready to fill the gap and help build for the next 100 years.”

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Committee Organizational Meeting 116th Congress

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On Wednesday, February 13, 2019, the United States House of Representatives, Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will hold a Business Meeting entitled “Formal Organization of the 116th Congress”. Members will vote on adopting the committee rules of procedure, appoint the subcommittee chairs and Vice Chair, appoint the Subcommittee Ranking Members and Vice Ranking Members, establish majority and minority subcommittee assignments, and appoint committee staff.  Watch the meeting here

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Job seekers: are you underselling yourself?

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From | By Lida Citroën

I recently had a mentoring conversation with an Army veteran who was pursuing a new career as a leadership coach and speaker. He asked me about being a business owner, starting a speaking business and developing a client list.

When I inquired as to his value proposition, brand and qualifications, he pointed to his certification in leadership coaching, his understanding of organizational development and then, finally, his experience in the Army. We agreed that the leadership training in the Army was exemplary, and his talents were to be respected in the civilian sector, but I reminded him that leadership coaches and speakers were plentiful in the private sector.

I pushed further about his passion and qualifications to teach leadership. “What makes you stand apart from all the other leadership coaches out there?” That’s when he softly mentioned, “Well, I actually taught leadership at West Point for 10 years. Does that count?”

What? Yes!

You Must Learn to Self-Promote

Civilians are accustomed to self-promotion. We’ve learned – in school and throughout our careers – to be able to list off our accomplishments at a moment’s notice.

While the concept of “selling yourself” feels repugnant to someone coming from a military background – where values of service before self are lived -- it is imperative that you are able to articulate what makes you unique, compelling and relevant to someone who asks.

Bring your value forward

When a prospective employer looks at your resume, LinkedIn profile or interviews you, they are looking for how you (specifically) can help them solve the problem they have at hand: They need to hire an X, with experience doing Y, who will fit within the culture of the team.

To keep your skills, talents and unique value vague or general does not serve you in that moment. The employer is looking for someone specific, so specificity works!

Keep in mind:

  1. Your cover letter should list out (in bullet points) how your training and experience directly qualify you for the open position,

  2. If you include an “objective” statement on your resume, it should speak directly to the open position for which you are applying,

  3. When listing “skills” or “qualifications” on your resume, lead with the most noteworthy or notable,

  4. Your list of past jobs should highlight all the qualifications you bring that set you apart from the competition and point to your fit for the job, and

  5. Ensure that your online profiles match up with what you’re presenting in a resume.

In the case of my Army mentee, we added a list of “Key Qualifications” to the top of his resume and led with his expertise in leadership training having served as an instructor at one of the most premiere military academies in the world. On his website, we promoted his valuable training in the military and drew direct correlations to how private sector businesses could learn from techniques taught there. Then, we built out areas of his online profiles and resume where he could show how that experience transferred skills, expertise and value to clients outside of the military.

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House Democrats, Newly Empowered, Turn Their Investigations on Veterans Affairs

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The new Democratic leadership of a House committee will investigate the influence exerted by three members of President Trump’s beach club on veterans policy.

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Did you know?

Military Funeral Honors ceremonies must be scheduled in advance.

The law requires that every eligible veteran receive a military funeral honors ceremony, which includes the folding and presentation of the United States flag and the playing of “taps,” upon the family’s request. This Department of Defense program calls for the funeral director to request military funeral honors on behalf of the veteran’s family.