Matthew Kampainen, DAV WI Commander
Coming Soon - 2021 State Convention!
Greetings, Everybody! I am fired up and excited as we will be soon hosting the 2021 DAV/DAVA Wisconsin Convention. The silver lining to our experience with COVID-19 is that we have gained an appreciation for those joyful and straightforward events within our daily lives. A case in point, it was a natural assumption that we would experience a State Convention every year. Never did any of us anticipate that we would share a global pandemic that would shut down our daily lives.
Sadly, due to health concerns, we had to postpone our 2020 State Convention. What made it a heartbreaker is that we would be celebrating our National Centennial year as an organization. However, much like the phoenix rising from the ashes, DAV Department and Chapter members, despite the health risk of COVID-19, still moved forward and reached out to our fellow veterans.
An example of this is that despite COVID -19, as of this writing, we still were able to post 7,402 LVAP hours in Wisconsin. I am proud to see the compassion and tenacity of everyone to make great things happen despite the devastation of this horrible pandemic. DAV members still attempted to connect and provide support through online and phone call buddy checks. We offered transportation services with safety modifications, conducted visits while utilizing social distancing, and sent out Chapter updates using social media. Many of us learned to make friends with technology to foster comradery bonds within our veteran's community.
Despite many of us not being able to meet at the Chapter level for anywhere from three to six months, as of this newsletter article, we were still able to bring in 200+ new members into our ranks. That is simply incredible! The last time we had a global pandemic of this magnitude was 100 years ago. This pandemic was a once-in-a-lifetime event. Yet, our members rose to the challenge and brought 200+ new members into the fold
While the pandemic could either bring things to a halt or slow things down, we continued to engage our elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels. Though the efforts of Al Labelle, Wisconsin’s Benefits Protection Team Leader (BPTL), the Department again captured the Division III’s Outstanding Performance in Advocacy (OPA) award and BPTL Labelle was recognized as the Outstanding BPTL in Division III. Although the Department and BPTL Labelle were recognized, this is really a team award. Thank you, Team DAV Wisconsin, for your efforts
We continue to engage with our elected officials. Recently, your Department leadership was involved in a virtual meeting with U.S. Senator Ron Johnson’s Washington staff regarding DAV’s Critical Policy Goals for 2021. Whether it be at the County, State or the Federal level, we will make sure our voices are heard.
This will be our last newsletter before State Convention so it is my great honor to announce that DAV National Senior Vice Commander (SVC) Andy Marshall will be in attendance at our Convention. It is anticipated that SVC Marshall will be our next DAV National Commander.
While our State Convention is just days away, it is never too early to discuss future events. Our Fall Conference is typically the highlight of our Department training year; however, last year, due to COVID-19, it was canceled. At the Conference, training is offered regarding the roles and responsibilities of Commanders, Treasurers, Line Officers, and Reports due. Due to its cancellation, we may have unforeseen Chapter training that will need to be addressed. Please provide me, your thoughts and input regarding your training needs. While your Department Leadership team may have had great ideas regarding the way forward, nevertheless, members attending the Fall Conference must provide critical training guidance to ensure that our Chapters remain healthy and thriving.
We will not only have training at Fall Conference but also have walkthrough videos. These videos will be on things like 990, AFR, Resolutions, and whatever else we can think of to help the members build a stronger chapter.
I look forward to seeing every one of you at our State Convention in Green Bay. I am excited to listen to the great things that are happening within your Chapter and, if needed, to provide Department assets and resources as we return to a degree of normalcy.
A Commander's Salute to all! It is the membership that ensures that our fellow veterans continue to lead a life of high-quality with respect and dignity.
Next Stop – DAV, Department of Wisconsin Convention in Green Bay!