Georgia Commander Tony Dobbins passed on the following information from National VFW Commander BJ Lawrence:
From October 1st through October 31st, the Post in each membership Division that shows the highest percentage of membership increase will receive an award of $500 to be deposited directly into their Post Fund to be used as needed for the Post.
In addition, each Department with a winning Post will receive a matching $500 to be deposited into the Department Fund to be used as needed by the Department. If a Department has more than one winning Post, they can receive this award multiple times!
* Membership totals will be based on close-of-business totals on September 30th and October 31st.
State Sr Vice Commander Jeff Carroll
Someone asked me a few weeks ago why we, in the VFW, wear our hats indoors when we were always taught not to do so in the military. It seems like we're doing the exact opposite of what we were taught in the military. That got me to thinking... I looked online and I can find information on the "overseas" cap and it's origins. It came about because, when deployed, it was easy to travel with and it was originally only used by those who were deployed overseas. So it makes perfect sense why the VFW chose to use this cap for theirs. But I couldn't find anything on why we wear the cap indoors.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) is a fraternal organization. We are about camaraderie; it is the first purpose listed among those of our corporation. And that means something. It means something in that we are comrades that share a particular bond with each other. Our cap (hat, cover, etc...) is the identifying aspect of that comradeship. When you see the VFW cap on someone you instantly share a bond. So the cap is, in effect, our uniform. It denotes our post, our position, and often some of our service. The VFW cap is the one consistent dress item that pulls us together. Likewise, our meetings are generally indoors, the post meeting being the primary membership meeting. It makes sense that wearing the VFW cap strengthens the comradeship among the members and promotes a sense of inclusion and teamwork. A meeting with no caps could be any kind of a group, but when we see that sea of VFW caps in a meeting, we know we are among comrades. It should be noted that we do not wear our VFW cap when eating.
As an example of how unifying the VFW cap is, we need only look to prayers offered during meetings. In the By-Laws, under the General Rules, 13(b), it says "members will follow the action of the Chaplain or presiding officer relative to removal of caps during prayers". So if the Chaplain, for whatever reason, leaves their cap on, we all should keep our caps on as well. We are a team. If some people are removing their caps and others aren't, it affects the appearance of the team and, subsequently, our perceived professionalism and comradeship.
And speaking of the "team," when the public sees VFW caps in a group, they know we are a like-minded team; an organization rather than just a group of people. Perceptions speak loudly, and our uniform cap helps to paint a picture of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Likewise, when we are out in force, whether 3 or 30, the public notices. People realize that the VFW is out there doing good in the community.
So, while we are all military veterans, we are not a military organization. We are a fraternal organization and as such we follow fraternal bylaws and customs. And one of our strongest fraternal customs is that we wear our VFW cap indoors and outdoors when engaged in VFW activities.
"We are excited to open this vital new office,” said GDVS Commissioner Mike Roby. "Having a full-time advocate for Georgia’s women veterans has been one of our top priorities. We are thankful that our legislators saw how important this resource is for our veterans and approved the creation of this office.”
GDVS Appeals Officer Veda Brooks has been selected as the first Director of the Women Veterans Office.
Georgia Senate Bill 108, sponsored by state Sen. Larry Walker III, establishes this office as Georgia’s primary resource to meet the unique needs of a quickly growing population. Before the creation of the Women Veterans Office, Georgia’s women veterans were supported by an appeals officer who served as a women veterans coordinator as an additional duty.
"We have been watching Georgia’s population of female veterans grow over the past few years. Establishing this new office allows us to respond to their needs with the specialized care they deserve,” said GDVS Assistant Commissioner Dan Holtz.
Based out of the GDVS central office in Atlanta, the Women Veterans Office will focus full-time on women veterans’ issues across the state.
One of Brooks’ primary responsibilities is informing Georgia’s women veterans of the availability of benefits and assistance that they may be unaware of. This will include educating and working with GDVS field service officers to create a network of support for women veterans’ issues.
Brooks will provide direct assistance to women veterans, including filing benefits claims, providing counselling for military sexual trauma, and hosting programs for women veterans around the state. She will assist women veterans in connecting with resources available at both federal and state levels, including programs offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The Women Veterans Office is also tasked with working with state veterans treatment courts. These courts are modeled on drug treatment and mental health courts, providing an alternative treatment plan for veterans charged with felony and misdemeanor offenses.
"Veda’s background in social work and experience in assisting with women’s issues make her the perfect choice for this position,” said GDVS Assistant Commissioner George Canavaggio. "Her technical knowledge of VA systems and processes and her relationships with key VA personnel will be a major benefit for our women veterans.”
Born in Compton, California, Brooks is the fifth of six children. She served 15 years in the U.S. Army, including a deployment with the 2nd Armor Division as a combat medic during Desert Storm.
Following her retirement, she moved to Florida to pursue a degree in social work from the University of West Florida. Brooks returned to California with her degree to work for the Calvary Christian Center as the Outreach Director. Her responsibilities included working with homeless veterans and assisting veterans transitioning from prison or rehabilitation programs.
"It’s great to be here working with Georgia’s women veterans. Serving veterans like this has always been a passion of mine,” said Brooks. "I’ve been dreaming about having the opportunity to work collectively and directly with women veterans.”
Brooks joined the GDVS in August of 2014 as a Veterans Field Service Officer in the department’s Newnan office. In 2015, Brooks joined the GDVS Appeals division and served as the department’s American Legion service officer. She is a member of VFW Post 2667 in Newnan.
Women veterans in need of assistance can contact Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 404-656-5893. The Women Veterans Office is open Monday through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (except state holidays).
Jeff Carroll of Newnan, GA, was elected Junior Vice Commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of Georgia on June 18, 2017 at the VFW's Georgia State Convention held in Macon.
Jeff is a U.S. Air Force veteran and moves into a formal leadership position in the state VFW. He is a past Post commander of VFW Post 2667 where he led the Post to All-State and All-American honors.
He is also a past District 5 commander where he led the District to All-State and All-American honors. He has served as the Department Chief-of-Staff and Department Judge Advocate.