Category Archives: News

PVR Bulletin – JAN 2019

 

EVENT SPOTLIGHT: Vets Invade the Canyon

Come and celebrate the American Legion’s 100th Birthday at the Vets Invade the Canyon Concert on Friday and Saturday, January 18th-19th at the Rock Crusher Canyon. This two-day birthday celebration is being hosted by American Legion Post 155 in Crystal River and have designated event proceeds to benefit PROJECT: VetRelief.

 FRIDAY NIGHT (1/18/19) CONCERT features Sister Hazel, Scooter Brown Band and Letters from Home

SATURDAY NIGHT (1/19/19) CONCERT features Aaron Tippin, Buddy Brown and Letters From Home

 PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS:

Visit www.vetsinvadethecanyon.com or contact Jennifer Cooper at the Department Headquarters Office before January 15th.


DID YOU KNOW: Program Facts

97% of every dollar donated to the program goes directly to our veterans and their families. The additional 3% is used for organizational compliance and accounting/banking fees.

  The PVR office was closed from December 22nd and reopened on January 2nd. Be patient as we work through calls received during that time.

  Legion Riders have already raised over $10,000 for our NEW Suicide Prevention Initiative and have future events planned to raise even more.

  We are collecting resources and contact names of Veteran Service Organizations our VetRelief Advocates work with to create a state-wide resource tool. If you have any contact you’d like to share, please visit to enter the information: https://www.projectvetrelief.org/vso-resource-entries/

  The Legions 5th District is encouraging Post 400 members to transfers into a local post. As an incentive, the 5th District will donate $5 of their dues to PVR.

  Jim Wineland, Florida Legion Riders current Department Chairman, joined the Board of Directors in November during the Fall Conference meeting.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Upcoming Events

All of PROJECT: VetRelief’s financial support comes from the generosity of individuals and corporations who believe in what we do. Join us for one of our next events, or hold your own fundraiser.

 If you are interested, please contact Jennifer Cooper at 407-295-2631 or jcooper@floridalegion.org.

 Vets Invade Canyon – Jan 18-19, 2019

Crystal River, FL (get info)

 Coral Head Music Fest – Feb 16-17, 2019

Marathon, FL (get tickets)

 Legion Riders In-State Unity Ride / Concert – Apr 2019

Tampa or Daytona, FL

 6th Annual Golf Tournament – Sept 2019

Bella Collina, FL

 Coral Head Music Fest – Nov 2020

Pinellas Park, FL

PVR Bulletin – DEC 2018

From the Board President: John Dollinger

Due to the increased demand to our program, we are already on track to surpass the total number of cases we funded from last year. Additionally, in October 2017, PROJECT: VetRelief received a large grant from the Florida Veterans Foundation that we will not be receiving again this year.

Therefore, the program growth and absence of funding will cause PROJECT: VetRelief to experience a significant strain due to the financial gap.

We are asking that you help ensure that we are able to continue our mission by making a year-end contribution. As you make your final 2018 tax-deductible donations, please consider the immediate, and in some cases life altering, impact you can make on Florida’s veterans, active duty military members, and their families.

Your year-end gift will move us one step closer to reaching our goal of helping one veteran or military family for every work day – that’s 260 families. Best wishes for a bright and beautiful holiday season, from our family here at PROJECT: VetRelief.

P.S. You will make a difference with your tax-deductible
donation of any amount.


ADVOCATE CORNER: New Resource Tool

As a part of our efforts to grow and meet the needs of our services members, we are developing a centralized phonebook of veteran organizations or resources. This list of organizations can help PROJECT: VetRelief in two very important ways:

  • create state-wide relationships to assist veterans
    in a larger capacity
  • develop a web-based platform for anyone to use to identify resources within their local area; whether it be a veteran looking for help, or a new Advocate looking to network

You can help us develop this tool by providing a list of organizations and/or any contact representatives you are already working with. We’ve created an easy online form that you can use to send in your point of contacts.

Here is the link:
https://www.projectvetrelief.org/vso-resource-entries/

Thank you for always stepping up to the plate and assisting veterans in whatever capacity needed!


2018 FALL CONFERENCE: Wrap Up

Thank you to everyone who took advantage of the many PROJECT: VetRelief opportunities during The American Legion, Department of Florida Fall Conference. Take a look at all of the exciting things that happened!

  • Trained nearly 40 NEW VetRelief Advocates
  • Hosted Networking Event for trained Advocates with key
    topics of discussion
  • Board of Directors voted to establish a suicide prevention
    program and brought on a new member, Jim Wineland
  • Presented during Service Officer School and Legion’s
    General Session
  • Distributed marketing materials at the PVR Booth

Mark your calendars: Upcoming Events

All of PROJECT: VetRelief’s financial support comes
from the generosity of individuals and corporations
who believe in what we do. Join us for one of our next
events, or hold your own fundraiser.

If you are interested, please contact Jennifer Cooper
at 407-295-2631 or jcooper@floridalegion.org.

  • Vets Invade Canyon – Jan 18-19, 2019
    Crystal River, FL (get info)
  • Coral Head Music Fest – Feb 16-17, 2019
    Marathon, FL (get info)
  • Legion Riders In-State Unity Ride / Concert – Apr 2019
    Tampa or Daytona, FL
  • 6th Annual Golf Tournament – Sept 2019
    Bella Collina, FL
  • Coral Head Music Fest – Nov 2019
    Pinellas Park, FL

PVR Bulletin – NOV 2018

 

YOUR SUPPORT IS NEEDED: We Are Growing

As we continue to grow and the word spreads, so does the demand  and workload on our team. In fact, each month, we receive over 1,500 phone calls from Florida veterans who are needing some type of assistance.

What does PROJECT: VetRelief do each month to accommodate these calls? Our caseworkers provide guidance and direction regardless of their inquiry; whether we are providing financial assistance through our emergency fund or guiding them through a VA sponsored program. Additionally, we are supported by and rely
on our advocates to conduct field interviews and help us determine the qualifications and merits of each financial case. It takes the collaborative efforts from our entire PROJECT: VetRelief Team, hired part-time caseworkers and volunteered advocates, to meet the demands of the veterans and their families who need us.


2018 FALL CONFERENCE: Come visit us! 

This month is The American Legion, Department of Florida Fall Conference. The event will be held at the Renaissance at Sea World in Orlando, FL from November 2-4, 2018. Check out the different activities we have going on:

ACTIVITIES:

• Pick up marketing materials (Vendor Area)
November 2-3 from 8:00AM – 5:00PM
• Service Officer Presentation (Palini)
Friday, November 2 at 8:00 AM
• EXCLUSIVE Networking Event
Friday, November 2 at 5:30PM
*MUST be a trained VetRelief Advocate.
• Legion Presentation (Crystal DE)
Saturday, November 3 around 12:00PM
• Advocate Training (Palini)
Saturday, November 3 at 2:15-4:30 PM

We are looking forward to seeing you all there!
*Times and room locations are subject to change.


Suicide Prevention… Update

Over the past few months, we’ve had a significant amount of interest in supporting a new suicide prevention initiative, especially from the Auxiliary and the Legion Riders. Our Board of Directors has been working diligently to establish how PROJECT: VetRelief can evolve to make a dent in the tragic statistic of 22 veteran suicides a day that happen throughout the nation.

ADVOCATE SPOTLIGHT: Larry Roberts

Larry Roberts has been much more than a VetRelief Advocate for not only PVR, but for the American Legion and other veteran service
organizations. He is a trained Post Service Officer and has also served as the Legion’s Entitlement Chairman. We are fortunate
that he will help guide us as we establish our action plans moving forward.

It will take the entire Legion Family working together to help bring awareness to this devastating epidemic our veteran community faces. Be on the lookout for fundraising events, such as the upcoming Winter Garden Post 63 Challenge 22 Ruck Walk on November 17th.

PVR Bulletin – Oct 2018

2018 Fall Conference: Come visit us!

The American Legion, Department of Florida Fall Conference is just around the corner. The event will be held next month from November 2-4, 2018 at the Renaissance at Sea World in Orlando, FL.
 
There will only be one training opportunity this year. Be sure to visit the link below to reserve your seat today!
 
VETRELIEF ADVOCATE TRAINING:
Saturday, November 3rd
Time: 2:15 – 4:00 PM
Room: Palini
 
The PROJECT: VetRelief Team will also have a table in the vendor area. Please stop by to see our case workers, Michael Beaven and Jeremy Gottschalk. You can collect any materials to take back with you to your Post, or ask any questions you might have.
 
Calling all trained Advocates – We will be holding a special event for all trained VetRelief Advocates. If you are interested in learning more information on this event, and have already taken our Training course, please contact Jennifer Cooper, jcooper@floridalegion.org, for the details.
 
We are looking forward to seeing each and every one of you there!
 
*Times and room locations are subject to change.

The Results are in: Golf Tournament

The 5th Annual PROJECT: VetRelief Golf Tournament was held on Monday, September 24th at Bella Collina Golf Course in Monteverde, FL. At approximately 8:30AM, after attendees stood at attention for the National Anthem, the shotgun went off sending over 115 golfers on their way.
PVR Board Vice-President, Bob James, hosted corporate
 
partners, vendors and friends to a fun filled day of golf. He set a lofty goal to work towards for this year’s event. He was able to meet his goal, and provide a donation of a record setting $50,000 to PROJECT: VetRelief!

The following Legionnaires came to show their support by either playing golf or volunteering: Commander, Dianne Boland; 1st Vice Commander, Rick Johnson; NEC, Dennis Boland; Adjutant, Michael McDaniel; Asst. Adjutant, Bruce Comer; VA Entitlement Chairman, Larry Roberts; PVR Board President, John Dollinger; Legionnaires, PDC Omer Gene Smith, Kurt Gies, Michael Beaven, and Jeremy Gottschalk.
 
Our appreciation goes out to all of the sponsors, players, and volunteers for their continued support of Florida’s veterans!

PVR Bulletin – Sept 2018

CALLING ALL VOLUNTEERS: We need you!

Are you interested in joining the VetRelief Team and helping us assist veterans within your community? We have an extreme shortage of Advocates to help us do interviews as a part of the financial assistance application process for emergency funding.
 
What does it take to become an Advocate?
Ideally, we would like for you attend a training course during the Department Convention or Fall Conference. If you are unable to make it, or want to help before the next class, you can chat with one of our Case Workers, Michael Beaven or Jeremy Gottschalk, and they will walk you through the requirements.
 
Who can be an Advocate?
Any member of the American Legion Family can be a VetRelief Advocate. Members of the Sons and Auxiliary are able to do interviews for PROJECT: VetRelief cases only. National’s Temporary Financial Assistance Program (TFA) requires an interview to be conducted by a member of a Legion Post.
 
How much time does it take to do an interview?
Typically, each case can require up to 2-5 hours to complete but will vary depending on the applicant and their family.
 
Do I have to go to the applicant’s home?
No, you can hold interviews at your Legion Post.
 
If you are interested, please send an email to Jennifer Cooper at jcooper@floridalegion.org.


YOU MAY HAVE HEARD: Suicide Prevention

YOU MAY HAVE HEARD that PROJECT: VetRelief was teaming up with The American Legion, Department of Florida’s Chaplain, Barry Roberts, 6th District Vice Commander, Kurt Gies, and Department VA Entitlement Chairman, Larry Roberts, to raise awareness on veterans’ suicide. This rumor is definitely true!
 
This team of dedicated veterans is passionate about ending veteran‘s suicide. The PVR Board feels like this would be a great addition to our mission, and expanding our efforts to help one veteran each day. Currently, we are referring to their initiative as Veteran’s H.O.P.E., but we will be operating under the established Legion program and 501c3, PROJECT:VetRelief.
 
At this time, we are all working together, under the guidance of the PVR Board, to iron out a step by step approach to assist a veteran in desperate need. This collaboration, in its infancy stage, will hopefully make a dent in the veteran suicide rate.
 
PROJECT: VetRelief welcomes the opportunity for these three veterans to help guide us within this new expanded initiative; not only to raise awareness, but to make a larger impact and hopefully save lives.
 
If you are interested in getting involved or learning more about PROJECT: VetRelief’s Suicide Prevention Program, please send an email to outraged@floridalegion.org.

PVR Bulletin – AUG 2018

Convention Wrap Up: What a Success!

We hope you were able to stop by and see us at some point during the American Legion, Department of Florida Annual Convention in July. We were excited to see all our VetRelief Advocates and share the accomplishments that they helped us acheive!
 
Check out a few highlights:
  • Collected $50,622.04 in Legion Family donations:
    • Legion – $21,830.87
    • Sons – $20,081.17
    • Riders – $8,210.00
    • Auxiliary – $500.00
  • 52 Memory Box Raffle entries. Congratulations to the winner, Teri Strong, and a special thank you to Roger Main for donating the wonderful Memory Box!
  • 61 VetRelief Advocates attended a PVR Training
  • Over 20 Advocates came to our Exclusive Networking Event for our All-Star Advocates
  • Nearly $400 was donated through our new dice game at the PVR vendor booth.
  • Presented during the Legion and Son’s General Sessions
If you didn’t make it to the Convention and catch one of our trainings, don’t worry! A class will be offered at the Fall Conference in November. There will only be one opportunity, so be sure to sign up when the details are announced. Stay tuned for more details.

Congratulations, Dianne Boland!

We would like to congratulate the incoming Commander, Dianne Boland, on becoming the first elected female Commander to the Department of Florida! We wish her the best of luck for a successful and productive year ahead.

 

OUR HATS ARE OFF TO Steve Shuga!

THE RESULTS ARE IN – After collecting, adding, and reconciling all of the donations that we received over the past year, the final total that the 2017-2018 Department Commander Steve Shuga collected was $104,457.70!!!
 
We are so very grateful to Steve for choosing PROJECT: VetRelief for his charity of choice. Not only did he raise a lot of money to provide more assistance to our service members and their families, but he increased the awareness of our program throughout the state of Florida. Because of him, more Legion Posts got involved in the program by either holding a fundraising event, making a donation, or getting their members to become VetRelief Advocates to help conduct applicant interviews.
 
Thank you to all of the Posts, Units, Squadrons and Chapters who helped Steve reach his goal!

PVR Bulletin – June 2018

Commander’s Charity and Challenge Update:

Be sure to turn in your donations for Commander Steve Shuga’s fundraising project! He’s working towards his secondary goal of $75,000! Donations can be turned in during your DCC meeting, the Department Convention, or mailed to the Department Headquarters.
 
Additional monies collected for the Commander’s project will go towards ALL Florida Legion programs. Donations can still be made to PROJECT: VetRelief, just be sure to indicate where you’d like the funds to be applied to when submitting your donation.
 
We’d like to thank the following Posts, Units, Squadrons and Chapters who have already submitted their donations (order is listed by date received, not by amount given):

MORE FAMILIES = MORE FUNDS:

PROJECT: VetRelief continues to grow and serve our veterans, active duty military and their families. Each year our number of approved cases increases and our average assistance per case also increases. We continue to need your support and assistance to meet the requests we receive.
 
 
 
 
 
 

ADVOCATE TRAININGS:

LAST CHANCE – Reserve your seat during one of our next trainings at the Department Convention on July 5th – 8th in Orlando! Space is limited and will be based off first come first serve basis. Please disregard if you’ve already signed up.
 
Thursday, July 5th | 9:00am – 10:00am | Crystal E*
Friday, July 6th | 3:30pm – 4:30pm | Crystal E*
 
Registration Link:
 
We look forward to seeing you there!
 
*Class day, time and location are subject to change.

 

Mark Your Calendars: Upcoming Events

JUNE 9th: CH 117 Year End Party
Palm Bay, FL
12:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Ride or drive in to the Post for Food, Raffles, Music and FUN!
 
JUNE 10th: ALR 372 Poker Run
Jacksonville, FL
8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
 
JUNE 16th: ALR 137 Leather & Lace Party
Jacksonville, FL
5:00 PM – 11:00 PM
 
JULY 5-6: Advocate Training
Department Convention – Orlando, FL
 
SEPT 24th: 5th Annual RL James Golf Tournament
Bella Collina, FL
Details coming soon!
 
OCT 13th: Coral Country Road Concert
Marathon, FL
Full day event of country music with Jerrod Niemann & Little Texas as headlining bands!
 
OCT 19th: RWPC, Inc. Clay Shooting Event
Alachua, FL
Details coming soon!


PVR Bulletin – MAY 2018

Advocate Trainings:

Convention is two months away, and the PROJECT: VetRelief Team has already started planning the details to learn more about the program and become an Advocate. This year’s Convention will be held from Thursday, July 5ththrough Sunday, July 8th at The Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando.
 
Classes will focus on a more in-depth look of the VetRelief Advocate roll and how the Legion Family can best support the program. Class details have been finalized and are below. Space is limited, so be sure to register ahead of time to reserve your seat. You can do so by visiting the link below. 

Thursday, July 5th | 9:00am – 10:00am | Crystal E*

Friday, July 6th | 3:30pm – 4:30pm | Crystal E*

 
Registration Link:
 
We look forward to seeing you there!
 
*Class day, time and location are subject to change.

Leaderboard:

Update on Commander’s Charity and Challenge

Last month Department Commander Steve Shuga reached his fundraising goal of raising $50,000 for PROJECT: VetRelief! The Commander has decided to raise his goal to $75,000 to continue his efforts in providing funds for our Legion programs. He knows that with the generosity of the Legion Family and the passion they have for the Florida Legion programs, this goal is very attainable! We know you can help him reach his secondary goal, and ultimately help veterans and their families through our various programs!
 
Addtional monies collected for his project will now go towards ALL Florida Legion programs. Donations can still be made to PROJECT: VetRelief, just be sure to indicate where you’d like the funds to be applied to when submitting your donation.
 
We’d like to thank the following Posts, Units, Squadrons and Chapters who have already submitted their donations (order is listed by date received, not by amount given):

Mark Your Calendars:

Upcoming Events

 
MAY 11th: Post 409 Golf Tournament – POSTPONED
Orlando, FL
Individual Player – $125 | Foursome – $400
 
MAY 17th: Squadron 112 “Dine to Donate”
Perkins – Winter Park, FL
7:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Perkins on University Blvd in Winter Park will donate 10% of your bill when dining with them. Be sure to tell your srver and cashier!
 
JUNE 10th: ALR 372 Poker Run
Jacksonville, FL
8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Details coming soon!
 
JUNE 16th: ALR 137 Leather & Lace Party
Jacksonville, FL
5:00 PM – 11:00 PM
 
JULY 5-6: Advocate Training
Department Convention – Orlando, FL
 
SEPT 24th: 5th Annual RL James Golf Tournament
Bella Collina, FL
Details coming soon!
 
OCT 19th: RWPC, Inc. Clay Shooting Event
Alachua, FL
Details coming soon!

 

PVR Bulletin – APR 2018

PROJECT: VetRelief Spotlight

Convention Classes

Convention is right around the corner, and the PROJECT: VetRelief Team has already started planning and preparations. This year’s Convention will be held from Thursday, July 5th through Sunday, July 8th at The Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando.
 
Classes will focus on a more in-depth look at the VetRelief Advocate roll versus an overview of the program. Class details have been finalized and are below.Space is limited, so be sure to register ahead of time to reserve your seat. You can do so by going to the link below.

Thursday, July 5th | 9:00am – 10:00am | Crystal E*

Friday, July 6th | 3:30pm – 4:30pm | Crystal E*

 
Registration Link:
 
We look forward to seeing you there!
 
*Class day, time and location are subject to change.

A huge THANK YOU to the folks from the Coral
Head MusicFest who donated $3,500!!
 
We were not expecting anything from this year’s MusicFest, as we know there are many folks in the Keys who need the help rebuilding after Hurricane Irma. We are so thankful to Rich and the kind members of American Legion Riders
Chapter 154! You all rock, literally!

Leaderboard:

Results from Commander’s Charity and Challenge

WE DID IT! – We helped the Commander reach his fundraising goal of $50,000 for PROJECT: VetRelief. Additional monies collected for his project will now go towards ALL Florida Legion programs. Donations can still be made to PROJECT: VetRelief, just be sure to indicate where you’d like the funds to be applied to.
 
We’d like to thank the following Posts, Units, Squadrons and Chapters who have already submitted their donations (order is listed by date received, not by amount given):

Mark Your Calendars:

Upcoming Events

 
APRIL 8th: 7th Annual Charity Ride
West Volusia County, FL
Registration – 9:30am | Kick Stands Up: 10:30am
 
Starting Location: Foxhead Lounge – Osteen, FL
Cost: $15 / person | Additional Cards $1.00 each
 
All vehicles are welcome: bikes, cars, trucks, buses, etc.
 
 
MAY 11th: Post 409 Golf Tournament
Orlando, FL
Individual Player – $125 | Foursome – $400
 
Enjoy a day filled of fun, contests, raffles, and prizes. Sponsorship Opportunities Available!
 
 
MAY 17th: Squadron 112 “Dine to Donate”
Perkins – Winter Park, FL
7:00 AM – 4:00 PM
 
Perkins on University Blvd in Winter Park will donate 10% of your bill when dining with them. Be sure to tell your server and cashier!

 

PVR Bulletin – March 2018

PROJECT: VetRelief Spotlight

Michael & Jeremy

Michael Beaven has recovered from his recent surgery and is now back in the office as of Monday, February 26th. With having him back, this means PROJECT: VetRelief will now have two people processing financial assistance cases; which is something our program has never had before. We are really thrilled to have two folks on the PVR Team doing their best to help our service members and their families!
 
As you probably already know, both Michael and Jeremy are veterans themselves. They have a different skill set and background that they bring to our organization. However, both are passionate about supporting their fellow comrades in whatever capacity they can. Having both of them working closely together will create a balance in our processes that will ultimately provide a higher quality service to those who need us.
 
Both gentlemen will be working on a part time basis, but their schedules are balanced so that a case worker will be in the office every work day. Below is their contact information and hours they will be in the office:
 

 Michael Beaven

mbeaven@floridalegion.org

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

8:00am – 4:00pm

 

 Jeremy Gottschalk

jgottschalk@floridalegion.org

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday

8:00am – 4:00pm

 

 


  

Advocate Corner:

“How to Build a Board Ready Case”

We have put together a list of items that will help “speed up” the
application process. Our goal is to help our veterans and theirfamilies in a promptly manner. However, the process can be delayed when we are waiting on supporting documentation or an Advocate to do an interview on our behalf. There have been situtions where a completed case has been submitted to the Board for Approval that same day because the Advocate followed these steps below.
 
1. Be sure application is filled out correctly. Ensure that the applicant, veteran or family member, has completed the entire financial assistance application.
 
One major thing to verify with the applicant is the Financial Information, or Section 4 on Page 3 of the form. It’s important that the applicant fill in the information for reoccurring monthly income and expenses; do not include one-time revenue or expense items. Another thing that gets overlooked is the signature on the bottom of Page 3. We will not be able to process a case without a signature.
 
2. Include all supporting documents. All required documents are necessary to complete a case: DD-214, Military ID Card or VA Card, Marriage and/or Birth Certificants (if applicable), Copy of Bills needing paid, Letter of Hardship, Pay Stubs, Social Security or Disability Award Letters. Additional documents may be necessary for completion, such as: adoption papers, employment offer letter, bank statements, etc.
 
The letter of hardship should explain how the applicant has fallen onto hard times and does not need to be a lengthy document of their entire life story. It should also state what type of funding they are seeking. (EX: one month’s rent, electric and gas bill, etc.)
 
One of the guidelines for funding is sustainability. To prove that an applicant is sustainable, proof of income is required.
 
3. Fill out Follow Up Report (PVR) or Investigator’s Report (TFA). Since you are already working with the applicant, go ahead and fill out the appropriate Follow Up or Investigator’s Report and send in with the veteran’s application.

Leaderboard:

Results from Commander’s Charity and Challenge

We’d like to thank the following Posts, Units, Squadrons and Chapters who have already submitted their donations (order is listed by date received, not by amount given):