Participate in the VFW’s Loyalty Day Program

PA VFW to Hold Patriotic “U.S. Loyalty Day” on May 1
WHAT: PA Veterans of Foreign Wars “U.S. Loyalty Day” to Celebrate Freedom

WHEN: Wednesday, May 1, 10 a.m.WHERE: State Capitol/East Rotunda
The Pennsylvania Department of Veterans of Foreign Wars will hold its annual Loyalty to America Day event on Wednesday, May 1, starting at 10 a.m. in the East Rotunda of the State Capitol building. VFW combat veterans and the PA VFW Auxiliary will lead a celebration of the U.S. flag, freedom, the role veterans have played in preserving freedom, troops who defend freedom today and the liberties made possible by democracy. The program is expected to last about 45 minutes.

State officials, veterans and military representatives will participate in the program. The Keynote Speaker is PA Adjutant General Anthony Carrelli, who commands the state’s National Guard and oversees the state’s veterans benefit programs. Governor Tom Wolf has been invited to participate as well as leaders of the State House of Representatives and State Senate.

A 21-gun salute will be held honoring those who have lost their lives while serving in the military. A photo opportunity for veterans and government officials is scheduled immediately after the event.

Loyalty Day originally began as “Americanization Day” in 1921 to counter the Communists’ May 1 celebration of the Russian Revolution. Through a resolution adopted in 1949, May 1st evolved into Loyalty Day.

Observances began in 1950 on April 28 and climaxed May 1 when more than five million people across the nation held rallies. In 1958, Congress enacted Public Law 529 proclaiming Loyalty Day a permanent fixture on the nation’s calendar. VFW State HQ and local VFW Posts hold events on May 1st.

“This event will inspire everyone to celebrate the powerful and unique ideals that make living in America so special. Many people take freedom for granted, and they forget that around the world instability threatens to take freedom away from millions of people,” said VFW State Commander Thomas Hanzes, a Vietnam War veteran, who will also speak.

“We are very blessed in America to have freedom and a form of representative government. We may not all agree on issues of the day, but we value our right to freely bear arms, speak our minds and vote for the nation’s leaders. We appreciate those have protected, and those today who protect, our freedoms including many who died defending what our nation stands for.”

The PA Department of VFW consists of 72,000 members in 420 posts throughout the Commonwealth. PA VFW organizations annually donate more than $15 million combined in financial donations and volunteer community service.

The State VFW, through its Veterans Service Officers, connected veterans with $30 million in federal benefits last year through free assistance, made possible in part by a PA Act 66 grant. Nationally, the VFW helped veterans receive more than $4 billion in federal benefits last year and have provided 1,287 student veterans with scholarships totaling $5.7 million.

State HQ hopes that many VFW districts, posts and individual members will attend the event. Shuttle vans will run from State HQ in Harrisburg to the State Capitol. Call State HQ for more information on when the vans will begin and return to the VFW office. Attendees also have the option of driving into Harrisburg and using one of the many parking garages close to the Capitol complex. Large groups are encouraged to organize their own transportation.

PA Teacher Wins Nat’l VFW Award

Carlisle Post 477 Sponsors Top Educator

News Release – For Immediate Distribution

Carlisle PA Teacher Receives VFW’s National Education Award – Wagner will be honored during the VFW’s 120th National Convention in July

KANSAS CITY, MO/National VFW Headquarters – The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is pleased to announce Kevin Wagner, an advanced placement history teacher at Carlisle high School in Carlisle, Pa., has been selected for its 2019 Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award at the high school level.

Kevin Wagner, an advanced placement history teacher at Carlisle High School in Carlisle, Penn., was chosen to represent the high school level for his dedication to honoring the memory of America’s veterans. Through his “Silent Heroes” project, students explore the life and service of a local World War II veteran killed at Normandy and create a webpage preserving their legacy.

Last year Wagner’s project expanded to identify local Vietnam War veterans, leading to the construction of a Vietnam Wall of Honor which displays the names of more than 213 veterans and 10 flag cases in honor of the former students killed during the war. VFW Post 477 and its Auxiliary in Carlisle, Pa., sponsored Wagner.

“Students who are lucky enough to have teachers like Kevin develop a deep sense of patriotism and understand the values and freedoms upon which our nation was founded,” said VFW National Commander B.J. Lawrence. “The VFW is honored to recognize the vital role America’s educators play in nurturing and encouraging the civic-minded leaders of tomorrow.”

Post 477 Commander Rick Olson noted that the Post is extremely proud of Kevin for his dedication to generate patriotism and a growing appreciation among students for freedom.

Co-sponsored by past VFW National Commander John Smart and retired VFW Quartermaster General Larry Maher, the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award was established in 1999 to recognize three exceptional teachers for their outstanding commitment to teach Americanism and patriotism to their students.

Each of the three national recipients will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Orlando, Fla., where they will each be presented with a $1,000 award for professional development and $1,000 for their school during the 120th VFW National Convention, July 20-24.

VFW Reviews POTUS Budget Proposal

WASHINGTON – The president’s federal spending plan for fiscal year 2020 adds 30,000 more troops and proposes a 3.1-percent military pay raise. It would also increase the Department of Veterans Affairs overall budget by 9.6 percent to $220.2 billion, which would enable the VA to implement the MISSION Act, strengthen mental health access and treatment programs, increase women’s health services, boost electronic health record interoperability with the Defense Department, and support a host of legislative initiatives being championed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.

“More money isn’t always the solution to every problem, but the lack of it weakens every congressional initiative to improve the VA,” said VFW National Commander B.J. Lawrence, who called the president’s budget submission a very good start. “What the VFW now expects from Congress is thoughtful consideration of what the proposed budget does for veterans, service members and their families, and what the VFW demands from Congress is a fair hearing,” he said. “For more than 17 years our military has remained heavily engaged in a nonstop, multi-front war, with more national security challenges and threats emerging every day. Our troops and families of past, present and future deserve nothing less than a clear-eyed Congress focused on our nation’s first obligation, which is to defend and secure our nation, and to care for those who selflessly answer the call to serve.”

Specifically, the proposed FY 2020 would benefit the VA by:

  • Increasing the medical care budget to expand veterans inpatient, residential and outpatient mental health care, boost women’s health care services, and broaden veterans’ homelessness prevention programs.
  • Support the continued implementation of Forever GI Bill initiatives, expand disability and education claims processing, and deliver a more timely claims appeals process.
  • Boost information technology initiatives, to include the creation and implementation of a single electronic health record from active duty to veteran status.
  • Continue to fund 144 national cemeteries, as well as open eight new cemeteries in 2019 and 2020, and build a new VA hospital in Louisville, Ky., among other projects.

As good as the budget request seems, the VFW national commander remains very concerned with the reintroduction of a controversial round-down of annual cost-of-living allowance increases, the proposed 45-percent decrease to VA’s construction budget, and the near yearlong delay to expand caregiver benefits.

“The COLA round-down is something the VFW continues to strongly oppose because it forces disabled veterans to financially offset VA program improvements,” said Lawrence. “We also cannot expect average 60-year-old facilities to improve with age, nor can we delay the much sought-after expansion of caregiver program benefits to pre-9/11 veterans and their families,” he said.

“However, since the FY 2020 budget process just began, the VFW will now work with the administration and Congress to improve where needed in order to secure a quality budget for our men and women who answer the call to serve.”

Read the new FY 2020 budget request here.

Secretary Position Candidates Sought by State HQ

VFW State HQ Job Announcement:

JOB SUMMARY: Secretary under supervision of the Department Adjutant, position located at State HQ.
Individual must have excellent written and oral communication skills. Responsible for Commander and Adjutant’s correspondence as well as VFW program support as determined by the Adjutant. Possess outstanding organizational skills and work independently, effectively, and a part of a team in a challenging and fast paced work environment. Person must conduct multiple projects simultaneously and maintain knowledge for all Veterans of Foreign Wars programs.
Candidates are encouraged to be an active participant in programs involving communities, Military Troops, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Strong typing/computer skills are necessary to interact daily with multiple audiences in a professional manner. Respond to inquiries by voice and e-mail.

– Maintain computer filing system that is user friendly and networked to all stations.
– Ensure all tasks directed by the Adjutant are processed quickly, accurately and keep file area current to reflect recent work.
– Maintain an efficient flow of correspondence by reviewing, planning, and prioritizing work on a daily basis.
– Perform duties such as maintaining filing system, photo copying and collating messenger services, mailing system, and other office duties as assigned by the Adjutant.
– Limited travel to some Veterans of Foreign Wars functions as required to assist the Commander and Adjutant and to support other staff—with the Mid-Winter Conference and State Convention among the events requiring travel.
– Ability to assist the Adjutant with planning meetings, conventions, multifaceted projects, and special sessions.- Ability to use Microsoft Word or other program to design certificates used to honor participation in VFW Programs.
– The above duties are general in nature and are not intended to reflect all duties which may be required of the employee.

1) Computer skills
– Demonstrated proficiency in:
– Word, Outlook, Excel, Access, Power Point- Veterans of Foreign Wars Member Information System (database)- Internet Resources
2) Clerical Skills
– Efficient and accurate typing
– Ability to write concise, grammatically correct and easy to understand documents
– Calculating and compiling data, manually and by computer programs
– Transcribe minutes/notes from digital files and audio tapes
– Ability to work well with and communicate with program/committee chairpersons, Department officers and staff, and external audiences
– Excellent clerical qualifications by knowledge and experience
– Reliability and flexibility
– Ability to work while maintaining strict confidentiality
– Ability to work well with Military Units and Military Family Groups
– All other duties as assigned

WORK WEEK: Work week up to 35 hours from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (1/2 hour lunch)

SALARY: To be negotiated during the interview process. An increase may be offered after 90 days, provided the work performed and other job measures are satisfactory.

Applications are being excepted now.

Send your cover letter, resume, business writing samples and contact information to State Adjutant at [email protected] or mail it PA VFW State HQ, 4002 Fenton Ave., Harrisburg PA 17109-5943.

If you have questions about this position, please call (717) 234-7927 and ask for the State Adjutant.

PA State Winner Takes Nat’l VFW VOD $30k Scholarship

Congratulations to Christine A. Troll for winning the National VFW Voice of Democracy first-place award of $30,000, which follows her receiving a $5,000 prize from the PA Department for winning the State VFW VOD contest during our Mid-Winter Conference in January. Here’s the video of the National VFW VOD Awards reception in Washington. Her winning address appears near the end of the video file. Way to go Christine A. Troll and congratulations to Post 554 and District 23 for sponsoring the national VOD champion!

Golfers invited to play in Tourneys

Event #1 – May 18, 2019 – Armed Forces Golf Outing, 4 person Scramble.  Entry Fee of $30.00 includes 18 holes of golf with cart, hole prizes hot dog with beverage at the turn, sit down dinner after the outing.  Sign up at the Pro-Shop by May 12, 2019.  (724) 465-2121.

Event #2 – June 3-9th, 2019 – 64th Annual VFW State Tournament. June 3 – 6 practice rounds. June 7 – 9 Tournament. $120.00 Entry Fee includes:  4 Practice Rounds (3 Rounds Tournament Play) Riding cart for 3 rounds, Lunch for 3 rounds, 2 continental breakfasts, Register gifts, skill prizes, trophies & cash prizes   All players must submit application and entry fee before May 15, 2019.  New this year – 2 or more foursomes from your post gets a $20 discount on entry fee for all players.

Submit all entries to:  Quartermaster, VFW Post 1989, 824 Indian Springs Road, Indiana, PA 15701.  Tournament is limited to the first 120 entries received.  For more information call 724 465 2121 or email [email protected]  Text or call 215 837 8635.  If you have questions, call ( 215) 837-8635 . 

State Cmdr. Announces Spring Membership Contests

All Posts that reach 100% in membership by June 30, 2019 will be entered into a drawing for one (1) of fifteen (15) life memberships.  The drawing will be held in early July and the Post will be notified by mail.  It will be the choice of the Post who will receive the life membership.

All Posts that recruit three (3) new or reinstated members from March 15th to May 15th will be entered into a drawing for one (1) of three (3) $100 awards.


All Posts that meet the All State Mandatory Criteria by April 30, 2019, the Post Commander and Quartermaster will receive their cap, pin, and special recognition at the Department Convention in Erie, June 12-15, 2019.

Any Post that meets the All State Mandatory Criteria between May 1, 2019 and June 30, 2019, the Post Commander and Quartermaster will receive their cap and pin at the OTI in their area.


All District Commanders who reach 100% in membership by June 30, 2019 will receive a special gift from State Commander Hanzes.  Also, the District will receive $100.00 from State Commander Hanzes.

PA Dept. Hosts VFW National Chaplain Event in May

For fifty years the members of VFW Post 1865, and the citizens of Kenosha, Wisconsin, honored the VFW National Chaplain and other VFW Chaplains for the service they provide. This was a 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, PA. The East Berlin Post decided to take on the responsibility of honoring the VFW National Chaplain and the work of Chaplains.

They held their first event in 2017 when I served as National Chaplain. Last year, we honored Rev. James Gray from Decatur, GA. This year our VFW National Chaplain is Charlene Cobb from Darien Wisconsin. The National Chaplain Event will take place May 17-19, 2019.

This is a retreat weekend for Post, District, and State Chaplains and their spouses. We will check in on Friday evening and have dinner together. Here is a preview of our schedule on Saturday, which is Armed Forces Day:
• 9:15 am – Meet at the Gettysburg Museum & Visitors Center,
• 9:30 am – See movie / Cyclorama
• 11:00 am – Visit Museum / Gift Shop / Lunch in cafeteria
• 12:00 pm – Board Bus for Tour: A special guided tour of the Gettysburg battlefield by Chaplain John Wega, an expert, not only in Civil War history, but in the role chaplains and faith played in the Civil War.
• 3:15 pm – Return to Hotels/Bed & Breakfast.
• 6:00 pm – Banquet at East Berlin VFW Post 8896. Following Dinner and Program there will be a time of informal fellowship at East Berlin VFW.

We have reserved eight rooms at the Altland House (, 1 Center Square in nearby Abbottstown, PA 17301; phone number is (717) 259-9535. These rooms are for guests who will check in on Friday, May 17, 2019, for 2 nights (departing the morning of Sunday, May 19, 2019).

Those planning on attending the National Chaplain Event who desire to stay at the Altland House, should call the Altland House individually on a first-come, first-service basis to review what each room features and confirm the nightly rates.

Chaplains, and anyone else who would like to attend, should put this on the calendar now and contact Chaplain Hook at (267) 229-7722 or email [email protected] to fill out a reservation form.

Blessings as you serve!

For participation information click here.