1. Return of criminal penalties
The American Legion wants the return of criminal penalties enforced against non-accredited violators who take advantage of disabled veterans or their families when filing for VA benefits.
“The American Legion or other accredited veterans service organizations (VSO) are the best first step for veterans seeking assistance because we successfully provide expert help free of charge for hundreds of thousands of veterans a year,” National Commander Daniel Seehafer said. “We also understand and support a veteran’s freedom to choose representation – whether it’s a VSO, another claims agency, law firm or private company. But we support that right on a key condition: that anyone who represents a veteran in the filing of a claim is accredited with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Accreditation means the representative has been vetted, is trained, and is accountable to VA’s rules, which include the regulation of fees that can be charged.
“As it now stands, nothing stops or deters profiteers from overcharging and taking advantage of veterans. That has to end.”
Receive benefits assistance: If you need help filing a service-connected disability claim, American Legion service officers are available to help veterans and their families free of charge. Locate a service officer near you here. For information on how to become a Legion service officer, visit here.
2. Be the One takes center stage
The American Legion’s Be the One suicide prevention initiative was visible across the country during Veterans Day weekend. The Be the One mission aims to reduce the number of veterans lost to suicide by destigmatizing mental health treatment and empowering everyone to take action when a veteran’s life is at risk.
Read the following stories of how Be the One made an in impact:
· Arkansas Veterans Day event celebrated the 75th birthday of the War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock and the 70th birthday of the Corvette, all while promoting Be the One.
· Veterans Day events held by American Legion Family members across the nation.
· Day 1 of MCON, a three-day conference for veterans and their families held at the Expo World Market Center in Las Vegas.
Wear Be the One: American Legion Emblem Sales has a variety of Be the One items to purchase in support of the Legion's suicide prevention initiative. See what’s available.
3. Don’t miss these deals
Join The American Legion’s Thank You Thursday e-newsletter for weekly exclusive offers and Black Friday deals. Sign up here.
Every Thursday, members will receive exclusive offers, great deals and even some free stuff as a way of saying thank you for your service.
There’s more: American Legion members have a variety of discounts offered to them from auto rental to travel. See the list of discounts.
4. Trained DINFOS killer crowned beauty queen
Air Force veteran Terace Garnier has survived Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and homelessness to become the first Pentagon correspondent, covering military affairs, for the Newsy network.
Garnier has used her voice to advocate for women's rights in the military. As a survivor of MST, she turned her pain into a platform to help other survivors tell their stories. She was awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal for producing and shooting a commercial series speaking out against sexual assault in the military, which aired on the Pentagon Channel, and for providing assistance to other survivors. And she was recently crowned Ms. International World.
Garnier shares her inspiring story as the special guest on this week’s American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast.
Keep listening: Also in this episode, co-hosts Amy Forsythe and Ashley Gutermuth discuss topics including: Uncle Sam wants you — to file a report on UFOs, why National Guard soldiers are not being paid and how The American Legion and the White House are getting veterans into civilian careers.
5. A brighter holiday
The American Legion Riders Chapter 169 in Wichita, Texas, delivered more than 1,000 Christmas presents to local children last year through the Toys for Tots program. The chapter recently kicked off its fundraising efforts by conducting a 60-mile Toys for Tots Run.
Chapter Director Craig Rause said one of the reasons Chapter 169 chose Toys for Tots was because it’s a recognized charity. “There’s a lot of people that need help at Christmastime,” he said. “And everyone understands Toys for Tots and what it is. They know it’s a legitimate product.
“I always say that Toys for Tots is a lot of work. It’s a lot of work in the beginning to get everything set up and get the (donation) boxes out to all the locations. And then there’s a lot of work at the end collecting everything, sorting the toys, putting together the bags for the families. But last year really put it into perspective for me. For us to … have that kind of impact, that’s what it’s for right there. They left, and we were crying once they walked out of the building.”
Share your giving plans: The American Legion wants to hear how your Legion Family is providing a brighter Thanksgiving and Christmas to veterans and their families. Share your story on legiontown.org.