• The AVA celebrates veterans and their families every day.

    The AVA celebrates veterans and their families every day.

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    Donate to the AVA using Paypal Secure Payments.

Veterans Are Our Mission.

Welcome to the AVA, where every day is Veterans Day.

Cooperation, Coordination and Creativity. The AVA works in conjunction with other veterans service organizations, nonprofits, corporate sponsors and government agencies to provide support and advocacy at national and local levels.

Waddell McGee, National Board Chair
What is the AVA?
What is the AVA?

The American Veterans Alliance is a nonprofit organization that serves to coordinate the efforts of Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs), not-for-profit agencies that serve vets and their dependents, and companies with veterans as a part of their priority to provide advocacy and support for America's Heroes.

Veteran Advocacy
Veteran Advocacy

The AVA works alongside its partners and affiliates to overcome institutional and personal barriers to accessing benefits for veterans, their families and dependents. Our aim is to declare the needs of the individual, the family and the community of those who served our nation.

Supportive Services
Supportive Services

The AVA provides supportive services to veterans, families and dependents such as assistance with transportation to VA facilities, food and commodities assistance in emergency situations, transitional assistance, job preparedness and placement, referral services and access to technology.

The Stigma that Denies Vet Benefits

stigma

 

At the height of the Iraq war, the Army routinely fired hundreds of soldiers for having a personality disorder when they were more likely suffering from the traumatic stresses of war. The Army later acknowledged the error and cut the number of soldiers given the designation. Unlike PTSD, which the Army regards as a treatable mental disability caused by the acute stresses of war, the military designation of a personality disorder is considered a “pre-existing condition” that relieves the military of its duty to pay for the person’s health care or combat-related disability pay.

 There are an unknown number of troops that still unfairly bear the stigma of a personality disorder, making them ineligible for military health care and other benefits.

According to figures provided by the Army, the service discharged about a 1,000 soldiers a year from 2005 to 2007 for having a personality disorder.

Were you wrongly discharged? Are you carrying “the stigma” and unable to access your benefits?

Tell us your story!

Humanist group sues to remove the Peace Cross WWI memorial

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A humanist advocacy group has filed a federal suit to remove the “Peace Cross” in Bladensburg, Maryland. According to the Town of Bladensburg, the cross was erected by the Snyder-Farmer Post of the American Legion of Hyattsville and dedicated on July 13, 1925 by the American Legion. A bronze tablet at the base of the monument contains the unforgettable words of Woodrow Wilson: “The right is more precious than the peace; we shall fight for the things we have always carried nearest our hearts; to such a task we dedicate ourselves.”  At the base of the monument are the words, “Valor, Endurance, Courage, Devotion.”  At its heart, the cross bears a great gold star.

According to Fox News, the town administrator told The Daily Record this is the first time a lawsuit has been filed to remove the Bladensburg Cross. He said the memorial has “historic and patriotic” value.

The Peace Cross commemorates the lives of the 49 men of Prince George’s County who died during World War I.

 

Certifications, Licensing and Education easier for Connecticut Vets

Connecticut-veterans

 

 

The American Veterans Alliance highlights Governor Malloy’s announcement that he has signed an executive order streamlining the process for veterans of the looking to get occupational certifications and licenses, and simplifying the process for awarding college credit to veterans for military education.

According to Governor Malloy and reported on the StamfordPlus website, “Connecticut has nearly a quarter of a million military veterans residing in our state and another 9,000 residents currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. These are people with special training, skills, and education who, upon returning to civilian life, are ready, willing and more than qualified to enter our workforce,” Governor Malloy said. “We must make it as easy as possible for these accomplished men and women to apply their skills to the goals they seek to accomplish after having served in our military so admirably.”

For additional information on how the government of Connecticut is serving America’s military veterans, visit  veterans.ct.gov.

 

Military Suicides at an All Time High

Military Suicide Prevention

 

According to a NBC news report, every 25 hours a service member committed suicide in 2012.

 

More than 349 individuals took their own lives across the four branches. This is more than the total number of military deaths in Operation Enduring Freedom, according to figures published by the military’s Defense Casualty Analysis System (Source: NBC News)

USA Today reports Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), chairman of the House VA Committee, said he is holding a hearing Feb. 13 to find out “if the VA’s complex system of mental health and suicide prevention services (is) improving the health and wellness of our heroes in need.”

Researchers found that the average age of a veteran who commits suicide is about 60. Analysts concluded that Vietnam and female veterans need particular focus.

They also determined that a very intense period of risk for suicide is the first four weeks after someone leaves the military, and that this period requires strong monitoring and case management (Source: USA Today)

The Department of Veterans Affairs reports the Veterans Crisis Line has answered more than 650,000 calls and made more than 23,000 life-saving rescues since 2007. In 2009, VA added the anonymous online chat that has since helped more than 65,000 people.

Emotional and mental crisis is serious. You should know the warning signs:

  • Hopelessness, feeling like there’s no way out
  • Anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness, or mood swings
  • Feeling like there is no reason to live
  • Rage or anger
  • Engaging in risky activities without thinking
  • Increasing alcohol or drug abuse
  • Withdrawing from family and friends

 

If you are a veteran or know a veteran experiencing these symptoms – get help. The Veterans Crisis line is available: Dial 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 to talk to someone now!

You can also take a self-assessment quiz at:  http://www.vetselfcheck.org/

 

 

Thank You, Veterans!

Veterans Day

 

From The Presidential Proclamation:

“Whether they fought in Salerno or Samarra, Heartbreak Ridge or Helmand, Khe Sanh or the Korengal, our veterans are part of an unbroken chain of men and women who have served our country with honor and distinction. On Veterans Day, we show them our deepest thanks. Their sacrifices have helped secure more than two centuries of American progress, and their legacy affirms that no matter what confronts us or what trials we face, there is no challenge we cannot overcome, and our best days are still ahead.”

 

The History of Veteran’s Day

In World War I an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

In 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the commemoration of Armistice Day:

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

Congress officially recognized the end of World War I and passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, that included:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

An Act approved in 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With this legislation November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

 

Download the Presidential Proclamation of Veterans Day 2012 by clicking here.

 

Sources: Veterans Administration Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs; Office of the White House

 

Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness

 

The American Veterans Alliance observes National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

 

We’ve gone pink to promote and support Breast Cancer Awareness!

Throughout the month of October, be on the lookout for interesting articles and resources regarding breast cancer prevention, treatment options and statistics.

Our affiliate organization, The Society of Hispanic Veterans, shares interesting facts about Latina women and breast cancer in a recent post.

Keep checking back!

More Money for Vets to Retrain

Veterans VRAP VOW Program

Veterans VRAP VOW Program

 

If you are an unemployed veteran looking to increase or adapt your skills and training so you and re-enter the workforce, the Veteran’s Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) may be for you. As a part of the administration’s efforts to decrease the number of unemployed veterans, the VRAP program enters its second year.

According to the Veterans Administration, as part of the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, qualifying Veterans can receive up to 12 months of education assistance equal to the current full-time Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty rate, which increases to $1546 on October 1, 2012.

If you are unsure if you qualify or if you need help completing your application, be sure to contact the AVA.

There are several factors that qualify you for participation:

  1. The VRAP program covers 1 year (12 months) of re-training.
  2. You must be unemployed as of the date of your application.
  3. You must have received an other than dishonorable discharge from service.
  4. You cannot be eligible for any other VA educational benefit program (for example,  the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance).
  5. You are currently not receiving VA compensation for unemployability.
  6. You are not enrolled in another state or federal job training program.
  7. You must be between the ages of 35-60.

If you want to apply but are unsure if you qualify, contact us and let us help you. If the VRAP program doesn’t work for you, we may be able to direct you to other options.

Hurry, time is running out!
Have you applied? Are you currently in training? Share your stories and comments!

 

 

 

Help Us End Homelessness!

Veterans Home for Christmas Campaign

Veterans Home for Christmas CampaignIn these uncertain times, words and phrases like ‘terror’ and ‘violent protest’ flash across our television screens and create alerts on our phones, tablets and laptops. Yet, we sleep soundly in our beds knowing there are strong, brave men and women working to protect our nation and our freedom.

Americans who sacrifice everything to guard the comfort we feel and experience in our lives and homes. They deserve our sincerest thank you.

Yet, while we rest in our comfortable beds, there are over 60,000 homeless veterans in our country.

The Society of Hispanic Veterans and the American Veterans Alliance is working to ensure that during this holiday season we honor the sacrifices of all those who served…whether they served in a World War or are just returning from Operation Enduring Freedom.

None of our veterans should live unsheltered from the cold.

Would you help us provide a veteran a Home for Christmas?

We are asking partners to provide rooms for one or two nights for homeless veterans across America during the December holiday season.

In return for your tax-deductible donation, we will list you as a sponsor of the “Home for Christmas” campaign on all of our web based and print media, radio advertisements and the flyer inserted in the package of health and beauty goods we provide each veteran. Further, the Guide to Vet-Friendly Companies published by our organization will include your commitment and earn a higher rating – reaching the tens of thousands of veterans we represent.

Helping is easy! You can email promotional or discount codes and a letter expressing your company’s commitment on letterhead to jmartinez@hispanicveterans.org. You can also mail gift cards or vouchers along with a letter to the American Veterans Alliance.

We thank you in advance for providing shelter to those who served…

 

Welcome Back!

AVA_Thank_You

 

We are updating our site to better serve the veterans and families that support us.

Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month

The American Veterans Alliance observes Hispanic Heritage Month.

 

Each year from September 15 to October 15 Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month and the rich histories, cultures, and contributions of ancestry from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The observation began under President Lyndon Johnson in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week. President Ronald Reagan extended the period in 1988 to cover 30 days starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

September 15 is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

The American Veterans Alliance and its affiliate organizations proudly celebrates the beauty and depth of Hispanic culture and salutes our hispanic and latino veterans.

 

(Source: hispanicheritagemonth.gov)