NEWSLETTER
JULY 2020
COMMANDER'S CORNER
Matthew Kampainen, DAV WI Commander

With COVID-19 – endure, adjust and be upbeat 

Greetings to my fellow veterans and our loyal DAV friends and associates! As previously shared, we are truly going through unchartered territory with COVID-19. At times, I feel like the main character in the film “Groundhog Day,” as it seems like the days keep repeating themselves. Just when I think it's going to be in our rearview mirror, the COVID-19 situation remains in our passenger seat with us. Social distancing, face masks, and using hand sanitizer appear to be part of our “new normal” as we forge forward into the future.

Due to our military background and status as veterans, major character strength for us is our ability to endure, adjust and be upbeat in the toughest of situations. We cannot get ourselves bogged down but instead readjust our battle plans to challenges that lie ahead.

In my last article, I talked about three areas of focus for the coming year, those being compassion , empowerment , and unity . I would like to take this opportunity to focus on empowerment. As defined, “Empowerment” is the process of becoming more confident and stronger. There is an old saying out there “When given a lemon, make lemonade.” Due to COVID-19, we have experienced DAV events being cancelled at the Chapter, State, and National levels. I can see it being disheartening especially when as a National organization, we were celebrating our Centennial year.

Yet I want to verbalize a word of caution and that we do not throw in the towel regarding our activities. The easy route would be in the face of COVID-19 to shrug our shoulders, say to ourselves, “Oh Well,” and then let the year wander off on us.

That’s why I like the meaning and the power of the word empowerment. Whether as an individual DAV member, Chapter, or Department members, we still have the power to make a difference in the lives of our veterans. It’s akin to battlefield planning. If one route is blocked or has overwhelming force covering it, you adjust and come up with your target from a different way. Again, our end state is watching the back of our veterans.

As an example of a simple activity that can occur between the Chapter and its Auxiliary Unit, we have three Wisconsin Veteran Homes within the State located at Chippewa Falls, King, and Union Grove. The residents are living under strict quarantine conditions and have no contact with the outside world. I would encourage you to get a list of the birthdays and send out cards to our veterans. It’s pretty cost-effective, and you just need cards, stamps and the volunteers to send them out. However, to the veteran living in isolation, receiving that card will mean everything. A straightforward yet powerful gesture.

I encourage Chapters to connect with their local County Public Health Departments and receive guidance regarding activities during these COVID-19 times. Think outside of the box, empower yourselves, look for potential opportunities to make that difference in the lives of your local veterans. Also, share that information with your District Executive Committeeperson as they can relay it to our Chapters and the Departments. Again, if you have a high speed, hot idea, please share it with others. Remember, the game is not over until the final second ticks off the clock.

In closing, again, I would like to thank everybody for your support and kind words since coming on board as your Commander. Despite the challenge of COVID–19, I still believe that we have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our veterans and that our membership has the tenacity and insight to make it happen.
2020 DAV NATIONAL STATEMENT
National Commander addresses sexual harassment at VA Facilities. See Video.
BENEFITS
DAV National Service Office closed but still working to help veterans. Read More.
TRANSPORTATION
DAV Wisconsin Transportation Program Updates. Read More.
ADVOCACY
What's happening in Washington - Mid-Year Legislative Updates. Watch Webinar.
EMPLOYMENT
Learn about DAV's virtual career fairs and unemployment relief fund. See Video.
MEMBERSHIP
A new era of membership. Read More.
WOMEN VETERANS
Learn about Nicole Watson, VA Women Veterans Forum and more.  Read More.
LOCAL VETERANS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
Changes are coming to the Local Veterans Assistance Program. Read More.
DAV TESTIMONY
DAV testifies on women veterans, COVID-19, and pending legislation. Read More.
DAV AUXILIARY
A strong Auxiliary Unit is a phenomenal resource for DAV Chapters. Read More.
2020 CONVENTION BOOK - DISABLED VETERANS OF THE YEAR
Matthew Kempainen named a DAV WI Disabled Veteran of the Year. Read More.
2020 CONVENTION BOOK - DISABLED VETERANS OF THE YEAR
Robert Hilliard named a DAV WI Disabled Veteran of the Year. Read More.
2020 CONVENTION BOOK - YOUTH AWARD WINNER
Sara Lacoursiere is DAV Wisconsin 2020 Youth Award winner. Read More.
2020 CONVENTION BOOK - AUXILIARY MEMBER OF THE YEAR
Rita Fuchs named DAV Auxiliary Betty J. Wimmer Outstanding Member of the Year. Read More.
WISCONSIN PUBLIC RADIO (WPR)/MILITARY VOICES INITIATIVE (MVI)
WPR and MVI are seeking veterans to share their stories. Read More.
VA EMERGENCY CARE
New Veterans Emergency Care Centralized Notification Center. Read More.
FROM THE DAV DEPARTMENT ADJUTANT
LARRY HILL
The Department in the age of COVID-19

Comrades, another month and COVID-19 is still with us. We do keep moving forward but rather slowly. We are now starting to see some Chapters meeting again and doing fund raising. Keep in mind the ways to stay safe for you and others is wear a mask, stand six feet apart, hand washing, and avoiding large crowds. COVID-19 cases in the South and West are skyrocketing and even here in Wisconsin the number of cases is trending upward. Be careful out there!

Volunteers are still limited at the VA Hospitals and State Veteran Homes. We have been truly fortunate; our hospitals have had far fewer COVID-19 cases and deaths of veterans than many others. Of the three State Veterans Homes, there is only one case of COVID-19 which was later determined to be a false positive. That is a tremendous record and is due to the early initiative WDVA took to protect veterans.

We are beginning to do more business using the GoToMeeting (GTM) software application. I think as we move forward, we will begin to use GTM more often. Chapter 57 has now used the GTM to do social gathering and a check on members on two different occasions. It appears to be well received by the members. We are prohibited from conducting meetings using GTM, though it can be used for socialization and informational purposes. For our Fall Conference Commander Kempainen wants a training session on the use of GTM for all members.

Speaking of Fall Conference, for now it is still a go. Coordination with the Holiday Inn in Stevens Point is occurring, and we now have until the end of August to decide. It will be dependent on the COVID-19 situation. Input will be obtained from local Health Department and State guidance for our Executive Committee to decide.

Should you have ideas that will help us continue our mission of helping veterans in this environment contact our headquarters. We will consider your recommendation. 

Stay safe and healthy as we move forward.   
Wisconsin DAV Headquarters
1253 Scheuring Road Suite A
De Pere, WI 54115
Phone: 920.338.8620
Fax: 920.338.8621
  You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of every email.