All posts by Jennifer Cooper

PVR Bulletin – September 2021

 

One of our largest fundraising events for PROJECT: VetRelief, the Annual Golf Tournament hosted by RL James, Inc., is scheduled for Monday, September 27th. This event is crucial to our program and without it would see a financial strain on our Emergency Assistance Program!

Golfers will enjoy a premier experience at the Bella Collina Golf Course, located in Monteverde, FL, and should expect a day filled with fun and many chances to win some cool prizes while staying safe.

Although the tournament is currently sold out, you can still participate. We will feature the Silent Auction online again this year. You do not have to be present to participate and anyone can bid on these items. Check it out using the link below:

>> WWW.PVRGOLF.ORG <<

We have a few volunteer positions available. If you’d like to come and help out, please contact Jennifer Cooper at 407-295-2631. Volunteers can expect to help with golfer registration, work a contest hole, or assist with our silent auction. Hope to see you there!


THE BRANDT’S CHOOSE PVR

Newly elected Florida Legion Department Commander and Florida Auxiliary President, Jerry and Wanda Brandt, chose to support PROJECT: VetRelief for their fundraising efforts during their one-year term in office.

Both Jerry and Wanda are passionate about assisting Florida’s veterans in all capacities! In addition to collecting funds, Commander Brandt would like to see our program enhance our directory of service organizations and ensure our Legion Posts have access to them. Although PROJECT: VetRelief has already started collecting this information, it’s currently provided to Advocate Training Attendees only.

Please join them in their efforts in providing the necessary support our veteran community needs. The Auxiliary has requested all Units to use the donation form when submitting your donations for President Wanda Brandt’s charity. For those supporting Commander Jerry Brandt, please ensure your checks are made payable to PROJECT: VetRelief, and “Commander’s Charity” is marked on the memo line.

If you are planning an event, we would like to hear all about it so we can promote it in our monthly newsletters, on the PROJECT: VetRelief website and Facebook page. We also have promotional materials that we can send for your events. Contact Jennifer Cooper by sending an email to jcooper@floridalegion.org with all of the
details!

PVR Bulletin – August 2021

 

CONGRATULATIONS TO JERRY BRANDT on becoming the 2021-2022 Department Commander for The American Legion, Department of Florida!

We were delighted to learn that he has chosen PROJECT: VetRelief as his charity for his Commander’s Project. Any donation marked as “Commander’s Charity”  will count towards his efforts. Commander Brandt has set a goal to raise $50,000 during his one-year term. Legion Posts are asked to make a one-time donation or hold fundraising event(s) to help him reach his goal.

If you are planning an event for PROJECT: VetRelief, we can help promote it. Contact Jennifer Cooper by sending an email to jcooper@floridalegion.org with all of the details!


CONVENTION RECAP

It was great being able to see some familiar faces during our Department Convention this past month. There were plenty of activities, classes, and presentations for you to partake in. Here are just a few of our highlights:

  • Collected $112,083 in Legion Family donations ($54,500 from Home at Last; $32,163 from SAL; $17,800 from Legion; and $7,620 from ALR)
  • Provided program updates, accomplishments, and future plans during the Legion, Sons of the American Legion and Legion Riders’ general sessions
  • Trained new VetRelief Advocates

Additionally, the Florida American Legion Auxiliary elected Wanda Brandt as their next Department President. We are excited that she chose to support PVR as her project. Like us, her passion is to keep veterans off the streets; which has been our primary focus since 2014. The majority of our funds have gone towards housing assistance; like rent, mortgage, or HUD-VASH vouchers to keep
veterans within their own homes. We are extremely thrilled that the Auxiliary will be joining our mission to continue to provide this type of service to Florida’s veterans and their families!

Lastly, we are grateful for PDC William ‘Rick’ Johnson’s support over the last two years. He increased program awareness within the Legion Family and local communities, and raised over $300,000! THANK YOU, Rick! We are looking forward to having you as a Board of Directors and helping us continue to fundraise.


THANK YOU, HOME AT LAST

It was an honor to be selected by the folks from Home at Last to receive a portion of their funds as they dissolved their organization. They donated $54,500 to PROJECT: VetRelief to support veterans through financial hardships! Members of their Board of Directors are also affliated with Legion Post 55 in Clermont. THANK YOU!!

PVR Bulletin – May 2021

Florida Legion Riders… The Road to #EndVeteranSuicide!

For the entire month of April, the Florida Legion Riders fully devote themselves to support PROJECT: VetRelief’s Suicide Prevention Initiative through their Round Robin. Riders are encouraged to join forces to rack up miles as they ride to End Veteran Suicide. All their efforts are translated into a pointing system to award the Top District with the coveted trophy.

As a part of that event, over 160 Legion Riders signed up to attend a week-long motorcycle ride called the Unity Ride. They divided into two groups, or routes, to cover as much ground as possible. They explored Florida’s less traveled roads and each Rider logged over 1,000 miles. Along the way, nearly 40 American Legion Posts opened their doors to allow them to rest, eat and contributed to their cause.

At the end of the week, both routes met at American Legion Post 10 in Kissimmee, FL to celebrate their accomplishments at the State Rally. Other Riders joined in their celebration for a full day of music, food and fun!

ALR Chairman and PVR Board Vice President, Jim Wineland, set a goal to raise more than the $60,000 they received during last year’s virtual event. We are still tallying the results from all their hard work, but we can officially say they have more than surpassed that mark!!

Both routes found ways to raise additional cash by doing things like engaging in friendly bidding wars for the “It’s Jim’s Fault” patches, or we even heard there were pushup contests.

The Florida American Legion Riders have been one of PROJECT: VetRelief’s largest supporters throughout the years and have always taken on any challenge, or competition, to support veterans in any capacity. We certainly are grateful for all their hard work and dedication they continually provide for our veteran community!

And, although their motto is “For the Cause, Not the Applause”, we think they truly deserve a standing ovation for what they have been able to accomplish!!

DONATE NOW: http://bit.ly/URdonate

 


Department Convention… Getting Back to “Normal”

During the upcoming American Legion, Department of Florida Convention in July, we will be revealing how we will ease back into our normal application process, provide an update on our
program’s growth, and introduce you to our strategic partners through the Suicide Prevention Initiative.

The coronavirus pandemic has made things somewhat chaotic this past year, and we know that’s putting it lightly! Thankfully, our program was able to make quick decisions, adapt to the new
CDC guidelines, and still meet the increased demand of our veteran community.

As a result of that, we were forced to forego the VetRelief Advocate interview portion of the financial assistance process and our program is now facing a shortage of funds. As the world continues to open back up and things become more safe, we need to get back to our “normal”; focusing on our fundraising, and relying on our Advocates again.

Our VetRelief Advocates mean a lot to us, and we are so eager to see each and every one of you! Please be sure to be on the look out for our Convention activities, classes and presentations.

We hope to see you there!

PVR Bulletin – April 2021

Florida Legion Riders… Looking to surpass last year’s total of $60,734 to end veteran suicide! 

The Florida Legion Riders kicked off their registration for this year’s Unity Ride and State Rally. This event is a week-long motorcycle ride geared towards raising funds and awareness for PROJECT: VetRelief’s Suicide Prevention Initiative.

Last year’s event was altered due to the coronavirus pandemic. The annual in-person event was switched to a virtual ride. However, the Legion Riders knew their veteran community was counting on them and took on the challenge and was still able to raise over $60,000. They want to raise more this year, and it will take your help for them to do so!

The Unity Ride will be split into two routes: North and South. Each route will include a Meet & Greet on April 18th and officially begin the next day. The NORTH ROUTE will start in Pensacola and the SOUTH ROUTE in Marathon, FL. Both routes will stop at Posts along the way collecting donations and will end in Kissimmee on Friday, April 23rd. Hotels can be booked through AAA by calling Kelly Krupinsky at 904-543-6866.

We hope everyone will sign up and join the Legion Riders in their efforts to end veteran suicide. Once you’re registered, we encourage you to create your fundraising page. The more funds you raise the more COOL PRIZES you’ll earn.

If you are unable to attend the actual ride, we will have the Virtual Rider ($5) option. You can ride at least 22 miles and post a photo on your social media account using #iRideforthe22. Virtual Riders will be eligible for the COOL PRIZES, too.

The State Rally will be on Saturday, April 24th at Post 10 in Kissimmee, FL. Tickets are $20 each and can be purchased using the registration link. You can still also raise funds and earn the COOL PRIZES. Please note, if you register for the Unity Ride, entry to the State Rally is also INCLUDED. There is no need to purchase a Rally Ticket, too.

Register Now

 


Challenge 22 Events… Kudos to Board Members on Their Events 

Thank you for everyone who attended last month’s Challenge 22 Events at American Legion Post 69 in Avon Park and Jacksonville Beach hosted by the 5th District. Two successful events to raise awareness for veteran suicide!

Both events were well attended and included vendors from Veteran Service Organizations and companies who provided Veteran benefits. Additionally, they each featured an awareness walk for Veteran suicide, attendees heard from expert speakers explaining warning signs and symptoms of mental health, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).Many of our SPI strategic partners were also in attendance.

Congratulations to Board Members, Jim Wineland and Larry Roberts, and their teams for putting together such great events!

 

 

 

 

PVR Bulletin – March 2021

Welcome to the Team…Commander Johnson and Dr. Janell Royster!!

We are excited to announce that the PROJECT: VetRelief Team has grown! This past month, we officially welcomed American Legion, Department of Florida’s Commander, William ‘Rick’ Johnson and Dr. Janell Royster, a psychologist and a Florida Licensed Mental Health Counselor.

Historically, the Commander has been invited to our Board Meetings as a non-voting guest. However, our Board felt they would benefit from the dedication and devotion that Commander Johnson displays for our veteran community. With him on our Team, helping to spread the PVR and SPI mission, we believe his impact will greatly increase our resources – while “keeping the fun – in Fundraising”.


Dr. Janell Royster is an individual who is extremely passionate and motivated towards ending veteran suicide. We are excited to tap into her energy and expertise! Dr. Royster works with Dan Jarvis & the 22ZERO team, one of our SPI Strategic Partners. Our SPI Committee now has
five (5) members, and with this new addition, we will add a level of professional experience that we feel will become instrumental, positive and impactful!

Please help us welcome them both to our team!


Challenge 22 Events… Raising Funds and Awareness to End Suicide

It is PROJECT: VetRelief’s goal to raise awareness about the staggering statistic on veteran suicide through various Challenge 22 events. Whether it’s a ruck walk, educational seminar or speaking engagement, there’s no shortage of opportunities to alert our communities on this serious issue our veterans are facing.

These Challenge 22 events are designed to encompass fundraising, creating awareness and educating our communities on the importance of mental health within our veteran communities and understanding the severity of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Our hope is to have at least 12 Challenge 22 events this calendar year to promote the mission of SPI, and since next year will be 2022, we are shooting for 22 events!

Take a look at the upcoming opportunities to make your impact on ending veteran suicides.

MARCH 13

Post 69 Challenge 22 Event
Avon Park, FL
2 mile walk, vendors, silent auction, 50/50, door prizes, raffles and crafts to raise awareness for
veteran suicide.

MARCH 27

District 5 Challenge 22 Event
Jacksonville Beach, FL
2.2 mile walk on the Jax Beach, followed by food, entertainment, and vendors at Legion Post 129

Registration: $22/walker
Registration Link: give.floridalegion.org/JaxChallenge22

 

APRIL 19 – 23

ALR Unity Ride Kick Off
Entire State of Florida
Week long event with two Ride Routes (North & South) travelling to raise awareness for veteran
suicides. Anyone can participate, and there will be a virtual element again this year!Learn more on the event: http://bit.ly/UnityRideInfo

Join the Unity Ride: http://bit.ly/URregister2021

 

APRIL 24

ALR State Rally
Post 10, Kissimmee
Celebrate with the Legion Riders after their week-long journey raising funds and awareness for
veteran suicide. Enjoy food, entertainment and camaraderie!

Get Tickets: http://bit.ly/URregister2021

PVR Bulletin – February 2021

Challenge 22 Events… Raising Funds and Awareness to End Suicide

It is PROJECT: VetRelief’s goal to raise awareness about the staggering statistic on veteran suicide through various Challenge 22 events. Whether it’s a ruck walk, educational seminar or speaking engagement, there’s no shortage of opportunities to alert our communities on this serious issue our veterans are facing.

These Challenge 22 events are designed to encompass fundraising, create awareness and educate our communities on the importance of mental health within our veteran communities and understanding the severity of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Over the past couple of years, we have had several Posts host events to further our mission and join our efforts to put an end to veteran suicide. in fact, a check for $30,350 was presented to the Suicide Prevention Initiative (SPI) earlier this month from various Challenge 22 events, including contributions from Post 63, Post 243, Post 22, and Post 110. Kudos to Board Member Kurt Gies and their team for a successful Challenge 22 event, even with overcoming new obstacles pertaining to the virus!

Our hope is to have at least 12 Challenge 22 events this calendar year to promote the mission of SPI, and since next year will be 2022, we are shooting for 22 events!

Take a look at the upcoming opportunities we have coming up for
you to make your impact on ending veteran suicides.

 

Emergency Assistance Cases Still Continue to Climb

PROJECT: VetRelief continues to be in high demand, which means we are helping more and more of Florida’s veterans each year.


When the coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020, PROJECT: VetRelief was able to take action and provide life-saving assistance to our service members by keeping a roof over their head, lights turned on, or food on the table. In fact, we have been able to help 169 veterans and their families avoid an eviction so that they could focus on staying healthy during this deadly pandemic!

Truth is, since COVID-19 our funding has gone out a lot faster than it has come in. We will not be able to continue this level of support without your help!

The American Legion, Department of Florida Commander, William ‘Rick’ Johnson has recognized the true impact the emergency assistance program has on our veteran community and chose to extend his efforts to support the
program.

We hope that you will participate in his Challenge to the Legion Family and help him raise $225,000 by the end of June. He‘s almost there, as he only needs $8,510.67 more!

Donations can be made online (www.projectvetrelief.org/donate), mailed into the Department Headquarters, or given through the Commander’s Charity.

Our veterans are counting on us working together to be there for them!

PVR Bulletin – January 2021

The Challenge is On… Will the Commander Sing Karaoke?

Commander Johnson is issuing a challenge to all American Legion Posts to see who can raise the most funds between now and the District Constitutional Conferences in the spring.

He is certain that the entire Legion Family can step up and provide the necessary funding the program needs to continue to support veterans through the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, he is so confident that he set a goal to raise $30,000 for PROJECT: VetRelief by April 30, 2021. 

Every American Legion Post is encouraged to raise a minimum of
$100 and the Post that raises the most funds will receive celebrity
treatment during our next Annual Department Convention, hopefully in June 2021!

As a bonus, if we are able to reach or surpass his goal of $30,000,
Commander Johnson will take the stage at Convention in costume and sing karaoke. We know you’d like to see Commander Johnson belt out his favorite patriotic tune!

Remember, Commander Johnson chose PROJECT: VetRelief as one of his charities of choice. All efforts raised through this Challenge will also count towards his Commander’s Charity goal of $225,000.

Although this is all fun and games, the bottom line is… Florida’s veterans need you to help them through their difficult times – and we know that Florida’s American Legion Family can rise up to
any challenge and be that support for our veterans and their families!

CHALLENGE DETAILS

GOAL: $30,000 by April 20, 2021
Objective: Raise a minimum of $100 per Post. Highest fundraising Post will receive celebrity treatment at Convention in June.

Top Fundraising Post will receive:

  • Complimentary room nights at Department Convention in June
  • Table at Commander’s Banquet
  • Red Carpet walk and introduction during General Session
  • Preferred seating during General Session
  • Receive inaugural PROJECT: VetRelief Trophy

Posts who raise the $100 minimum
will receive a commemorative plaque to
display at the Post.


Upcoming Fundraising Events – Mark Your Calendars

Exciting News! Our calendar is starting to book up again with a variety of fundraising activities to raise funds for both our
Emergency Assistance and Suicide Prevention programs. We are grateful to our Legion Family for doing what they can to support PROJECT: VetRelief, even through a pandemic!

If you are hosting an event, we want to hear about it so we can help promote it! Please contact Jennifer Cooper at 407-295-2631 or
jcooper@floridalegion.org with the details.

PVR Bulletin – December 2020

COMMANDER JOHNSON IS CHALLENGING YOU…WILL YOU ACCEPT?

As you may be aware, Commander William ‘Rick’ Johnson chose PROJECT: VetRelief as one of his charities of choice for the second year in a row! We have a long way to go in order to surpass last year’s efforts of raising over $116,000. Additionally, the Commander heard that the Legion Family from Post 359 will be holding their month-long fundraiser in January.

With that, Commander Johnson is issuing a challenge to all American Legion Posts to see who can raise the most funds between now and the District Constitutional Conferences in the spring.

He is certain that the entire Legion Family can step up and provide the necessary funding the program needs to continue to support veterans through the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, he is
so confident that he set a goal to raise $30,000 for PROJECT: VetRelief by April 30, 2021.

Every American Legion Post is encouraged to raise a minimum of $100 and the Post that raises the most funds will receive celebrity treatment during our next Annual Department Convention, hopefully in June 2021!

As a bonus, if we are able to reach or surpass his goal of $30,000, Commander Johnson will take the stage at Convention in costume and sing karaoke. We know you’d like to see Commander Johnson belt out his favorite patriotic tune!

Although this is all fun and games, the bottom line is… Florida’s veterans need you to help them through their difficult times – and we know that Florida’s American Legion Family can rise up to any challenge and be that support for our veterans and their families!


INCREASED VETERAN SUPPORT = MORE FUNDING

PROJECT: VetRelief continues to be in high demand, which allows us to help more and more of Florida’s veterans each year. As you can see in the chart below, we have more than DOUBLED our total number of approved cases during the first 4 months of this fiscal year! 

When the coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020, PROJECT: VetRelief was able to take action and provide life-saving assistance to our service members by keeping a roof over their head, lights turned on, or food on the table. In fact, we have been able to help 147 veterans and their families avoid an eviction so that they could focus on staying healthy during this deadly pandemic! 

Truth is, since COVID-19 our funding has gone out a lot faster than it has come in. We will not be able to continue this level of support without your help! 

Would you be willing to make a special tax-deductible year-end donation of $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can afford to help us support these service members through their difficult times?

Donations can be made online (www.projectvetrelief.org/donate), mailed into the Department Headquarters, or given through the Commander’s Charity.

PVR Bulletin – November 2020

 

HELP US RAISE AWARENESS FOR VETERAN SUICIDE

We encourage you to get involved with our upcoming Challenge 22 Events through our Suicide Prevention Initiative. These events are geared towards raising money and identifying solutions to end veteran suicide.

In addition to the walk itself, Veteran Service Organizations will also be in attendance to promote how they are impacting the veteran community with mental health programs and services. We firmly believe there are multiple forms of successful treatments for mental health. From K9 companion organizations to representatives from various counseling or therapy facilities, we know that it will take us all working together towards ending this staggering statistic.

We hope that you will be able to show your support for our veterans by attending our Challenge 22 events. We got their six, do you?

NOVEMBER 14th

4th Annual Post 63 Challenge 22 Event
Winter Garden, FLFor more information or to become a sponsor, please visit www.WGAL63.org

To register to walk, visit https://bit.ly/2GhziSt

NOVEMBER 22nd

13th District Challenge 22 Event
Port Charlotte, FL

All day event starting at 10:00AM with the National Anthem and followed by 2.2 mile walk, live music, raffles, giveaways, and cookout. Bring your Legion Banners to show your support during the walk!

JANUARY 9th

Post 69 Challenge 22 Event
Avon Park, FL

Details coming soon!


VIRTUAL CLASS

PROJECT: VetRelief is please to offer an online Advocate Training course on Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 10:00AM. The class will be held via Zoom and led by the PROJECT: VetRelief Team.

Please help us share this information with anyone who might be interested in learning about PROJECT: VetRelief or becoming an Advocate within your Post. REMEMBER: ANY Legion Family Member may attend (this includes Auxiliary and SAL members).

To attend, you must pre-register, no later than Wednesday, November 4th. The course has limited availability, and attendance is FREE of charge. Please note, attendees will need to have a Zoom account to attend the webinar.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Click the button below to get registered today!

Register


COVID-19 CASES CONTINUE TO RISE

Since the end of March, PROJECT: VetRelief has seen a tremendous increase of financial assistance cases for veterans and their families due to the coronavirus pandemic.

PROJECT: VetRelief has provided support to 210 veterans who experienced temporary or permanent layoffs due to the coronavirus by giving out $167,305.03. 

Check out the table above, as it breaks down what type of assistance has been given out to these veterans who need our help. 

It is very apparent that our veteran community still needs us to get them through these difficult times! However, our funding is quickly going away and many of our fundraising events have been canceled in order to remain compliant to safety orders from local and state governments. 

Our program will not be able to keep up with the necessary demand of providing support if we do not secure future funding! 

Now, more than ever, we are relying on the entire Legion Family to do what they can to support our program. Whether you are able to hold a socially-distanced fundraiser or make a personal donation, it will take us all working together to provide the help our veterans need!

Donate

 

PVR Bulletin – October 2020

GOLF TOURNAMENT WAS A HUGE SUCCESS

The 7th Annual PROJECT: VetRelief Golf Tournament was held on Monday, September 21st at the beautiful Bella Collina Golf Course in Monteverde, FL. At approximately 8:30AM, after attendees stood at attention for the Pledge of Allegiance, the shotgun went off sending approximately 120 golfers on their way.

PVR Board President, Bob James, hosted corporate partners, vendors and friends to a fun filled day of golf.

At the end of the day, we were short approximately $5,000. Mr. James met with his RL James, Inc. partners and they all quickly decided they would kick in the extra funds in order to achieve their goal. Their total contribution to this event is over $25,000!!

He was able to meet his goal, and provide a total donation of $60,000 to PROJECT: VetRelief! This is a record setting donation, and is ALL net proceeds that directly benefits our mission.

We are so grateful for this group of people who are dedicated to impacting the veteran community. They truly are a blessing to our organization!

Our appreciation goes out to all of the sponsors, players, and volunteers for their continued support of Florida’s veterans!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


VIRTUAL CLASSES?

The PROJECT: VetRelief Advocate Training classes are normally held during the American Legion, Department of Florida’s Convention or Fall Conference. Since both events have been cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will be a full year that we have not held a training course.

Would you be interested in attending a virtual training class if the PROJECT: VetRelief Team held one on Zoom? 

We are still providing assistance to our veteran community at a higher rate than we ever have before. Additionally, our caseworkers, Michael Beaven and Cristina Rosario, are processing all of these cases on their own. 

As the state of Florida opens back up, we will need to have our Advocates informed on our new COVID-19 application form for veterans who have experienced a loss of income due to the virus. 

If you would like to be a part of a virtual class, please send an email to jcooper@floridalegion.org. If there are enough people interested, we will hold a training class in mid-October.


CHALLENGE 22 EVENT SCHEDULED FOR NOVEMBER

On November 14, 2020, American Legion Post 63 is hosting the 4th Annual Challenge 22 Event to raise money and identify solutions to help end Veteran Suicide from Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS). This year’s event will take place at the Veteran’s Memorial Park in Winter Garden, Florida. 

The Challenge 22 event is just one of the vehicles used for this important cause through the new Suicide Prevention Initiative (SPI). 

We need you! Everyone can help make the Central Florida Challenge 22 Event and Ruck Walk a success and help us beat last year’s total donation and work towards eliminating veteran suicide. 

We invite you to get involved and support this very important cause and save lives by registering to join the Ruck Walk, becoming a sponsor, donating, being a community partner, or volunteering.

 For more information or to become a sponsor:

www.WGAL63.org

 To register to walk:

https://bit.ly/2GhziSt