Mid-Winter Agenda

56th Annual Mid-Winter Conference Agenda

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Friday, January 31, 2020

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Wyndham Gettysburg

95 Presidential Circle

 Gettysburg, PA  17325

                                                        VFW DEPARTMENT

                                     Wayne D. Perry        State Commander

                                     Ronald J. Peters       Sr. Vice Commander

                                     Nathaniel Smith       Jr. Vice Commander

John B. Getz Jr.       Adjutant/Quartermaster


      Sandra Wilder                    Department President

                                     Wendi Hennemann             Sr. Vice President

Pamela Sopher                    Jr. Vice President


 Thursday, January 30, 2020

4:00 PM Veterans Service Committee Meeting               

5:30 PM VFW Finance Committee Meeting

****Friday 01/31/2020 Hospitality Rooms will be closed from 3 PM until end of meeting!

Friday, January 31, 2020

9:00 AM                                  Convention Corporation Meeting Breakfast

12:00 PM- 2:00 PM               VFW Department Chairmen’s Informational Fair


11:00 AM                                                                               VFW Registration

11:00 AM                                                                              AUXILIARY Registration

2:00 PM                                                       District Commanders-Private Meeting

3:00PM                                                         General Session-VFW/AUXILIARY

Call to Order :                                       Wayne D. Perry,  State Commander

State Color Guard:                                        VFW Color Guard

Invocation:                 Rev. Peter R. Hook,  State Chaplain

Pledge of Allegiance :                          Robert I.  Hayes,   State Sgt. At Arms

Greetings:                                               Wayne D. Perry, State Commander

                                                                   Sandra Wilder, Department President

VOD Chairmen Reports                                           Glenn Owen & Joan Faddis

Patriot’s Pen Chairmen Reports              Benjamin Lipschutz & Joan Faddis

Remarks:     National Commander-in-Chief  William J. “Doc” Schmitz             

       National Secretary/Treasurer                   Ann Panteleakos 

VFW Eagle Award Presentation                                Wayne D. Perry

                                                                                             John B. Getz

Guest Speakers

Adjutant General of Pennsylvania-PA National Guard  

Major General Anthony J. Carrelli

Founder and President of Pa Wounded Warriors, Inc.     Helen Sajer

Donation Presentation:    PA Wounded Warriors

Safety Award                                                   Ron Smith,  Chairman

Announcements                                     John B. Getz,  State Adjutant

****Friday 1/31/2020 Hospitality Rooms will be closed from 7:00 P.M. until end of meeting.

7:00 PM – Information Session – Open to all attendees (VFW & Auxiliary)

Call to Order               Wayne D. Perry,  State Commander

Women’s Veterans Chairperson                 Amy MacKenzie

Veterans Service            Christine Smith                                                

Membership                                            Henry R. Mannella-Chairman 

                                                         Kelley Lepak-Auxiliary Chairman

Internal Affairs                         Roy Schrimp-Co-Chairman

Announcements                                  John B. Getz, State Adjutant

Closing Prayer                 Rev. Peter R. Hook,  State Chaplain

Adjourn Until Saturday Morning!!

**Saturday 02/01/2020 Hospitality Rooms will be closed from 8:30 AM until end of meeting.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

6:30 AM                                           Incoming District Commander’s Breakfast

7:30 AM                                                               VFW Registration

7:30 AM                                                                     VFW AUX Registration

8:30 AM                                                             General Session VFW/AUXILIARY

Call to Order                       Wayne D. Perry,  State Commander

Invocation          Rev. Peter R. Hook,  State Chaplain

Pledge of Allegiance               Robert Hayes, State Sgt.-at Arms

Guest Speakers

Pa National Guard                  Major General Eric G. Weller (OR)

PA Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs    Mark Pugliese-Project Manager

                                        Joint Matters-VFW/AUXILIARY

VFW                               John B. Getz,   State Adjutant/Quartermaster

AUXILIARY                      Jodie Hollinger,   Secretary/Treasurer         

Announcements                        John B. Getz,  State Adjutant

1:00-2:00 PM                                         Pre-Meeting-District Commanders

1:00-2:00 PM                                                        Pre-Meeting-District Presidents

2:00-3:00 PM                                                       Council of Administration-VFW

2:00-3:00 PM                                            Council of Administration-AUXILIARY

4:00 PM – Worship Service

5:00 PM- Voice of Democracy District Winners (Photos)

(State Commander, Department President, District Commanders & District Presidents)

6:00 PM To 6:45 PM– Reception/Cash Bar

The 2019-2020 District Commanders and Presidents will assemble with their District Winner at 6:15 PM.    

          State Commander, Department President, Nat’l Commander-in-Chief, Nat’l Secretary/Treasurer  will line up at 6:30 PM


7:00 PM Dinner Banquet/VOD Program:

VFW, Senate Leaders Key in Axing Widow’s Tax in New NDAA

‘This is a momentous victory for the more than 65,000 military spouse who endured the tragic loss of their husband or wife who paid the ultimate sacrifice’

December 20, 2019

WASHINGTON – After a nearly half-century long fight, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and its veterans service and survivor organization partners claimed victory with the termination of the contentious and embattled Military Widow’s Tax as part of the presidential signing of the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act today. 

Axe Widows Tax Passes

“This is a momentous victory for the more than 65,000 military spouses who endured the tragic loss of their husband or wife who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said VFW National Commander William “Doc” Schmitz. “Without these extraordinary spouses fighting in the trenches with us, the termination of the Widow’s Tax may not have been possible.” 

Prior to today’s presidential signing of the NDAA that included the Military Widow’s Tax Elimination Act of 2019, recipients of both the Department of Defense Survivors Benefits Plan (SBP) and the Department of Veterans Affairs Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) faced a reduction of $1,319 – the current payout for DIC benefits. For many survivors, this offset completely eliminated their SBP payments and threatened their financial security.

“There is no justifiable reason why money should have ever been stripped away from our military spouses,” said Schmitz.

The VFW led the first SBP/DIC Offset Roundtable in May with other veterans’ service organizations, congressional staffers, and widows and widowers to create a legislative campaign to eliminate the nearly half-century old Widow’s Tax.

Soon, surviving spouses of troops will keep their SBP payments, even if they are eligible for DIC.

VFW National Legislative Service Associate Director Kyle Kalman said the signing of the FY2020 NDAA rights a wrong for our military widows and widowers.

“We commend senatorial and congressional leadership and the coalition of veterans and survivor organizations who fought alongside us for their commitment to the 65,000 surviving military spouses who were unjustly forced to endure a dollar-for-dollar offset of their Survivor Benefit Plan payments and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation,” said Kalman. “Our military widows and widowers deserved this victory.”

VA extends benefits to offshore Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Jan. 1st

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) begins deciding Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 claims, Jan. 1, 2020, extending the presumption of herbicide exposure that include toxins such as Agent Orange, to Veterans who served in the offshore waters of the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

Prior to the measure, only Vietnam War Veterans who served on the ground in Vietnam or within Vietnam’s inland waterways were eligible to receive disability compensation and other benefits based on a presumption of herbicide exposure.

Signed into law June 25, the law specifically affects Blue Water Navy (BWN) Veterans who served as far as 12 nautical miles offshore of the Republic of Vietnam between Jan. 6, 1962 and May 7, 1975, as well as Veterans who served in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between Jan. 1, 1967 and Aug. 31, 1971.

These Veterans can apply for disability compensation and other benefits if they have since developed one of 14 conditions that are presumed to be related to exposure to herbicides such as Agent Orange. Veterans do not need to prove that they were exposed to herbicides. The specific conditions can be found by searching Agent Orange on www.va.gov.

“For six months VA worked diligently to gather and digitize records from the Naval History and Heritage Command in order to support faster claims decisions,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “These efforts will positively impact the claims process for Veterans filing for these benefits.”

Qualifying recipients, in addition to affected Veterans still living, are certain survivors of deceased BWN and Korean DMZ Veterans.

Survivors can file claims for benefits based on the Veteran’s service if the Veteran died from at least one of the l14 presumptive conditions associated with Agent Orange. The law also provides benefits for children born with spina bifida if their parent is or was a Veteran with certain verified service in Thailand during a specific period. The Blue Water Navy Act also includes provisions affecting the VA Home Loan Program.

The law creates more access for Veterans to obtain no-down payment home loans, regardless of loan amount, and the home loan funding fee is reduced for eligible Reservists and National Guard borrowers who use their home loan benefits for the first time. Certain Purple Heart recipients do not pay a funding fee at all. VA’s website describes these and other benefits.

Veterans who want to file an initial claim for an herbicide-related disability can use VA Form 21-526EZ, Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits or work with a VA-recognized Veterans Service Organization to assist with the application process. Veterans may also contact their state Veterans Affairs Office.

BWN Veterans who previously filed a claim seeking service connection for one of the 14 presumptive conditions that was denied by VA may provide or identify any new and relevant information regarding their claim when reapplying. To re-apply, Veterans may use VA Form 20-0995, Decision Review Request: Supplemental Claim. As a result of the new law, VA will automatically review claims that are currently in the VA review process or under appeal.

For more information about the Blue Water Navy Act and the changes that will take effect visit https://www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/blue-water-navy.asp.