119th VFW National Convention

Kansas City, Mo., has been selected as host city for the 119th VFW National Convention, July 21-25, 2018.

Thousands of VFW and Auxiliary members will convene from all over the world at the Bartle Hall Kansas City Convention Center, in a city that is having its moment now! The Huffington Post recently named Kansas City the coolest city in America, Travel + Leisure has named KC the #1 affordable getaway 5 years in a row and Yelp named the Nelson-Atkins Museum the best in the country.

From its top chefs that keep winning notoriety to its makers and doers, like Baldwin Denim and Christopher Elbow Chocolates, who keep creating a nationwide buzz … if there were an award for making visitors feel like locals, Kansas City would grab that title, too. Plan your visit and see everything Kansas City has to offer here.

Housing for the 119th VFW National Convention is now open! Hotel space fills up quickly, so make your reservation today. Stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available.

More information

State VFW Bowling and Golf Tourneys Approaching

VFW members interested in bowling and golf are encouraged to participate in the upcoming State VFW Bowling and Golf Tournaments.

VFW Post 1989 of Indiana, PA invites all Post members of the VFW to the 63rd Annual 2018 PA State VFW Golf Tournament. It is also open to all military veterans with proper identification.

June 4-7 practice Rounds. June 8-10 Tournament. Held at Indian Springs Golf & Country Club, Indiana, PA. 8 flights championship 1st through 5th 2 Seniors.

Entry Fee of $120 includes 4 practice rounds, three rounds tournament play. Riding carts for 3 rounds, Lunch provided at The Post Building for 3 rounds, 2 continental breakfasts at the Jim Wilson Pro-Shop, Register gifts, skill prizes Trophies and cash prizes to top two winners in each flight.

All players must submit application and entry fee before May 15th. Hotel information listed on entry forms. Submit all entries with a check made out to the Quartermaster, VFW Post 1989, 824 Indian Springs Road, Indiana, Pennsylvania 15701.

Tournament is limited to the first 120 Entry Fees Received. For more information contact Wes Skibo at (724) 840-1269. Entry Forms available upon request. First time entries require proof of military service. Veterans who are not post members may submit their entry after 15 April. All Applications must be submitted before 15 May.

Bowling Tournament
Sponsored by Bruce Shorts Post 5958 VFW – Dates will be April 7th and 8th (first weekend) and April 14th and 15th (second weekend). Team entries for members residing outside of a 100-mile radius from Titusville Pa will be given first preference for the desired squad times. If this event does not have enough teams for both weekends, the tournament will be held the 2nd weekend, April 14th and April 15th.

All entrants must be a member of the “VFW” post within the state of Pennsylvania. Entrants do not need to be a member of the actual Titusville post. Deadline for entries in person, or by mail, will be Easter Sunday, April 1st, 2018. Entries can either be dropped off or mailed to the Titusville VFW Post only.
Do not mail entries to Lin Van Lanes. No exceptions. No cash will be accepted, make all checks payable to Bruce Shorts Post 5958 VFW.

Handicap is 90% of 240.

Tournament Fees – $65.00 total per person covers every event.
Team Event – $20.00 per person, $100 per team
Doubles – $20.00 per person, $40 per team
Singles – $20.00 per person
All events – $5 per person

For more information, please contact Debbie at the Titusville VFW Post 5958 at (814) 827-6223.

VFW: ‘Repeal Sequestration Once and for All’

Testimony Caps the 2018 VFW Legislative Conference 

Before a joint hearing of the Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committees, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. delivered testimony focused on ending sequestration and improving the care, services and programs provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“The VFW is pleased Congress recently passed a bipartisan budget agreement to alleviate the sequester’s impact on our military and veterans, but you only delayed its return by two years,” VFW National Commander Keith Harman told members of the committees. “Our service members, veterans and their families are counting on you to repeal sequestration once and for all!”

Harman commended the committee members in attendance for making some VFW-proposed changes to the Choice Program that have improved access to care, but reminded them the Choice Program is merely a stopgap, and must be replaced with a permanent and improved program that would:
Ensure timely access to high quality care;
Consolidate VA’s community care programs into an easily understood and administered program; and
Consolidate funding.

“In addition, any bill to improve how veterans’ access private-sector care must also correct problems at VA medical facilities,” said Harman. “This is why the VFW calls on Congress to pass the Caring for Veterans Act of 2017, which would ensure veterans have timely access to high-quality health care that is tailored to their unique needs.”

Harman also conveyed the VFW’s strong support for the full expansion of caregiver benefits to veterans of all eras, stating “As a multigenerational organization with roots tracing back to the Spanish-American War, and with members from every war and contingency operation through Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, the VFW believes it is disgraceful that Congress has failed to properly recognize the sacrifices of those who have put their lives on hold to care for their pre-9/11 veterans.”

The VFW national commander went on to note the VFW’s support of several “common sense” proposals included in the president’s budget, such as closing the loophole which allows flight schools to charge exorbitant fees for flight training and authorizing VA doctors to practice medicine across state lines.

Several other key points in Harman’s testimony included the VFW’s support for VA’s adoption of the same electronic health care record as the Department of Defense, providing VA the resources it needs to meet the demand on its mental health services, and working to ensure women veterans have access to health care and services designed to fit their needs.

Video of today’s testimony will be available at www.vfw.org/VFWDC2018/ today at 2 p.m. EST.

Today’s testimony marks the end of the 2018 VFW Legislative Conference, where approximately 500 VFW leaders traveled to the nation’s capital to discuss various veterans’ issues, as well as the VFW’s expectations of lawmakers.

Other notable events from this year’s conference included:
A VFW-hosted dinner at the National Press Club for more than 70 wounded, ill and injured warriors and caregivers from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, along with their families;
Rep. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) being presented the VFW Congressional Award in recognition of his years of unwavering support to veterans, service members and their families;
VFW Voice of Democracy winner Robyn Anzulis, sponsored by VFW Post 10076 and its Auxiliary in Mt. Airy, Md., receiving the $30,000 T.C. Selman Memorial Scholarship award; and
VFW Patriot’s Pen winner Karolina Mazur, sponsored by VFW Post 521 and its Auxiliary in Owings Mills, Md., receiving her $5,000 award.

PA VFW’s State VOD Winner Places 4th Nationally

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is proud to announce the national winners of its 2017-18 Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen youth scholarship competitions. The winners were announced live during last night’s Parade of Winners at the 2018 VFW Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. The PA Department’s VOD Winner, Justin Grosvenor from Kingsley, PA., , placed fourth nationally to earn a $7,000 prize, in addition to the $5,000 Department prize he received and winner awards from the district and local VFW levels.

The Voice of Democracy audio-essay program celebrated its 71st year with nearly 40,000 students weighing in on this year’s theme, “American History: Our Hope for the Future.” Robyn Anzulis, sponsored by VFW Post 10076 and its Auxiliary in Mt. Airy, Md., received an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where she was presented with the $30,000 T.C. Selman Memorial Scholarship award and delivered her first-place essay.
The second-place winner, Philip Dunagan, sponsored by VFW Post 2471 and its Auxiliary in The Dalles, Ore., was awarded the $16,000 Charles Kuralt Memorial Scholarship. Third-place winner Hannah Brown, sponsored by VFW Post 1039 and its Auxiliary in Menomonie, Wis., was awarded the $10,000 VFW Scholarship. All other state winners received at least a $1,000 college scholarship. See the complete list of 2018 Voice of Democracy winners.

For 23 years, the Patriot’s Pen essay program has fostered patriotism by allowing students in grades 6-8 the opportunity to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society based on an annual theme. 2018 first-place winner Karolina Mazur, sponsored by VFW Post 521 and its Auxiliary in Owings Mills, Md., received an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where she accepted a $5,000 award and delivered her winning essay on this year’s theme, “America’s Gift to My Generation.”

The second-place winner, Victoria Perry, sponsored by VFW Post 7239 and its Auxiliary in Acushnet, Mass., received a $4,000 award, while third-place winner Isabella Garces, sponsored by VFW Post 2929 and its Auxiliary in Smithfield, R.I., received a $3,500 award. Nearly 130,000 students participate in the competition annually. See the complete list of 2018 Patriot’s Pen winners.

“Our Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen programs are a very sacred part of our organization,” said VFW National Commander Keith Harman. “The VFW believes our nation’s future lies in the hands of America’s youth, and if we empower our youth and demonstrate how to honor, respect and show compassion for their fellow man and country, not only will they have a greater sense of patriotism, they’ll become better citizens and greater leaders for future generations.”

For more information on the VOD and PP programs visit this link.

To listen to PA VFW State Winner Grosvenor’s speech and the rest of the Department winner’s speeches, visit this page.

From Struggling to Finding Strength

At PatientsLikeMe, a member of the VFW’s Mental Wellness Campaign, we’ve been shining a spotlight on voices in the veteran community. We’ve heard from a military caregiver battling caregiver fatigue, a lung cancer survivor celebrating a year cancer free, and a veterans advocate who shared how he stays calm with embroidery.

Today, we’d like to introduce Lynn, an Iraq war veteran living with PTSD and depression. Lynn shared about how he went from struggling daily to crossing the finish line of the Bataan Death March, a 26-mile trek through high desert terrain.

“I was smoking, drinking every night, making bad decisions,” Lynn says, until friends, family and military colleagues helped him quit. “I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off me, I beat what I was facing. And here I am.”

Lynn now has a successful career helping veterans, and encourages other veterans to reach out for help.


At PatientsLikeMe we continue to be committed to bringing veteran voices like Lynn’s to the forefront by listening to and learning from the nearly 18,000 veterans on PatientsLikeMe. Interested in meeting and connecting with other veterans? Join PatientsLikeMe today.

Have a #MoreThan story you’re interested in sharing on social media? Find out how at morethan.patientslikeme.com.

This guest article was written by Sam K., with PatientsLikeMe.

VFW Statement on the State of VA

‘We need a fully functioning VA, not distractions or self-inflicted headlines’
WASHINGTON — “The news media over the past week has reported on the disingenuous actions of a few political appointees in Washington who are attempting to undermine the support and confidence of America’s veterans in their Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as in the secretary and deputy secretary who lead it,” said Keith Harman, national commander of the 1.7 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and its Auxiliary.
“Let there be no mistake that veterans and this Administration can lay claim to a host of successes ranging from increased accountability and transparency to a beefed-up education package and increases in overall funding and patient satisfaction,” he said.
“As reported in the press, the acts of these individuals have become a cancer inside this Administration. They sow doubt, they create turmoil, and their ideological agenda clearly puts outside interests ahead of the care and well-being of millions of wounded, ill and injured veterans. I now call on President Trump to clean house of these distractors. We need a fully functioning VA, not distractions or self-inflicted headlines. That’s what veterans of today and tomorrow expect and definitely deserve.”

PA Dept. to host 2018 National Chaplain Event

For 50 years, the members of VFW Post 1865, and the citizens of Kenosha, WI, honored the VFW National Chaplain and other VFW Chaplains for the service they provide. This was a very special event not duplicated anywhere else in the world. Unfortunately, a few years ago, the tradition stopped when Post leadership changed.

Past National Chaplain Ted Bowers presented the idea of bringing this event to Pennsylvania to his home Post (Richard J. Gross VFW Post 8896) in East Berlin. The East Berlin Post decided to take on the responsibility of honoring the VFW National Chaplain and the work of Chaplains.

The Post held its first event last year, when I served as National Chaplain. This year, the Post will again host the “National Chaplain Event,” May 18-20, 2018.

I would love to have many of our Post and District Chaplains and their spouses, join us that weekend. If you need a place to stay, I recommend the Bechtel Victorian Mansion in East Berlin. The staff can be contacted at www. bechtelvictorianmansion.com.

We will check in on Friday evening and have dinner together. On Saturday, Armed Forces Day, a special guided tour of the Gettysburg battlefield will be led by Chaplain John Waga, an expert in Civil War history as well as the role chaplains and faith played in that national conflict. On Saturday evening, there will be a dinner and program honoring our special guest, Rev. James W. Gray, our National Chaplain. Chaplains, and anyone else who would like to attend, please mark these days on your calendar now and save that weekend.

– Article by Rev. Peter Hook, Chaplain – [email protected] If you need to reach me by phone, please call (267) 229-7722 or [email protected] verizon.net. Blessing as you serve!

Veterans Orgs Exempt from Realty Tax in PA

(By Digital First Media staff Posted 01/11/18)
HARRISBURG >> Nationally recognized veterans organizations are now exempt from the Realty Transfer Tax, under a provision sponsored by state Sen. John Rafferty, R-44th Dist., and state Sen. Mario Scavello, R-40th Dist..

Prior to the change, veterans organizations wishing to transfer property from the local home association to the post were not excluded from the 2-percent realty transfer tax despite their tax-exempt status. The Realty Transfer Tax exemption was introduced by Rafferty and Scavello as Senate Bill 430, which was amended into Act 43 of 2017, the Tax Code bill.

The change was made necessary as the result of a 1998 state Supreme Court ruling that prompted American Legion home associations which did not have a liquor license but wished to obtain one to apply as an incorporated unit of a national veterans organization. The associations were advised to transfer all other realty and assets to the post to insulate the post and its assets from liability while still affording them the opportunity to have social or associate members who can contribute to the post’s financial success.

The new law exempts veterans organizations from the Realty Transfer Tax during such necessary transactions.

“For organizations serving Pennsylvania’s veterans, covering costs is a constant challenge. The last thing government should be doing is imposing burdens that divert funds away from services for veterans,” Scavello said. “Other tax-exempt entities are excluded from the Realty Transfer Tax, and now organizations that serve veterans will receive the same treatment.”

“Implementation of this tax exemption will be especially beneficial to the many smaller social clubs affiliated with veterans organizations. For them, the Realty Transfer Tax is a costly impediment to performing a simple transfer of real estate,” said Rafferty. “These organizations tend to operate on very thin financial margins, and now they can spend more of their funds on matters important to veterans, rather than this on tax bill.”

Despite the change in tax status, the home association is still dependent on the national veterans organization post, and the post continues to have the authority to disband the home association at any time.

Find the form here.