Category Archives: News

PVR Bulletin – May 2020

 

FLORIDA LEGION RIDERS · NOW RIDING VIRTUALLY TO #ENDVETERANSUICIDE

The coronavirus, or COVID-19, is not going to stop the Florida American Legion Riders from raising awareness and much needed funds to end veteran suicide. The annual Unity Ride was scheduled to kick off Sunday, April 26th for a week-long journey through the entire state of Florida. However due to the current pandemic, Riders
Chairman, Jim Wineland, was forced to take the ride VIRTUALLY.

This was not an easy decision, as this event is something the Riders look forward to every year. However, they are doing their best to accommodate and support PROJECT: VetRelief’s Suicide Prevention Initiative (SPI) in these uncertain times. Their goal is to still raise $50,000 for the program.

What does a VIRTUAL event mean? Riders are encouraged to still ride, but only individually. They have been challenged to ride 22 miles for the 22 veterans who take their lives every day sometime before May 22nd. Once they complete their ride, they are asked to document on their social media accounts with a photo and using
#iRideforthe22. Every registration, dollar raised, and photos posted using the hashtag will give their District points towards the coveted District Trophy.

Additionally, all participants have been asked to create a fundraising page to share with their friends and family to collect donations. The more funds they raise, the more prizes they earn.

Join the Florida Legion Riders and make an impact on Florida’s veteran community and help save lives! You can either sign up to participate in the virtual event or make a donation to their campaign.

REGISTER OR DONATE HERE: https://give.floridalegion.org


SUPPORTING VETERANS THROUGH COVID-19

As many organizations are being forced to close their doors, our veterans are unable to work and provide an income to support their families. PROJECT: VetRelief has teamed up with the Florida Veterans Foundation to support those who are affected by this pandemic. We have been able to fund over 50 cases for April alone,
which is three-times our monthly average. We are expecting May and June to be very similar.

The application process has been adjusted to assist veterans who are experiencing loss of income due to the virus. A new condensed form was created and additional documentation is required to show proof of loss in income. Funds at the present time are covering shelter and food expenses only.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: PROJECT: VetRelief and the Florida Veterans Foundation are counting on individuals and corporations to help us meet this increased demand. Please donate so that together we can assist all those who need our support.

DONATION LINK: http://www.helpflvets.org/covid-19-support/

HOW TO SUBMIT: Please send the application, DD-214 (member 4 copy), proof of temporary/permanent layoff due to coronavirus, and the bill for which you are requesting assistance to: or by fax (407) 299-0901. For the safety of our staff and volunteers, our office is closed to outside visitors. Therefore, we will not take any
walk-in appointments or applications that are hand-delivered.

PVR Bulletin – April 2020

 

Supporting Veterans Through COVID-19

The coronoavirus, COVID-19, is impacting Florida’s veterans, active duty military members and their families. As many organizations are being forced to close their doors, our veterans are unable to work and provide an income to support their families.

PROJECT: VetRelief is teaming up with the Florida Veterans Foundation to support those who are affected by this pandemic. We are anticipating that we will be see a substantial increase in the number of applications requesting assistance over the next
few months. Both programs are privately funded and are not equipped to fund the expected demand of our veteran community.

Please find it in your heart to donate so that we can make a greater impact and support all service members who need us during this chaotic time.

Existing Guidelines:

  • Veteran, Active Duty Military, or Immediate Family Member (Spouse, Legal Guardian, or Child)
  • Acceptable Discharges: Honorable or General Under Honorable Conditions
  • Florida Resident for minimum of 120 Days
  • Show Sustainability – balance of income and expenses
  • Experiencing an unforeseeable emergency
  • Provided for necessities: shelter, utilities, food (in the form of a gift card), and some transportation and medical expenses
  • Funds are granted one-time annually per household

Additional process for COVID-19:

  • Applicants who are experiencing loss of income must show proof via pay stubs or letter from employer.
  • Phone interview with local VetRelief Advocate will be accepted.
  • To avoid depletion of funds, a monthly financial cap will be put in place.

HOW TO SUBMIT:
Please send the application, DD-214 (member 4 copy), proof of temporary/permanent layoff due to coronavirus, and the bill for which you are requesting assistance to: aid@legionmail.org or by fax (407) 299-0901.

For the safety of our staff and volunteers, our office is closed to outside visitors. Therefore, we will not take any walk-in appointments or applications that are hand-delivered.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

PROJECT: VetRelief has partnered with the Florida Veterans Foundation on raising funds to accommodate the increased needs of our veteran community. Please donate so that together we can assist all those who need our support.

DONATION LINK: http://www.helpflvets.org/covid-19-support/

PVR Bulletin – March 2020

 

SUICIDE PREVENTION: Update

After much deliberation and research, we are excited to announce that we have created strategic partnerships with six organizations. The following organizations are focused on mental health for veterans and their families: 22Zero, K9 Line, Research & Recognition Project, SOF Missions, Veterans Counseling Veterans, and Warrior Beach Retreat. These organizations have received a donation from PROJECT: VetRelief’s Suicide Prevention Initiative (SPI) to sponsor a veteran through their program or assist with bettering their services.
 
In April, the Suicide Prevention Initiative Team will host it’s first of many Network Coalition meetings. During this time, several mental health organizations will get together to brainstorm how we can all work together to end veteran suicide.
 
Additionally, branding for this initiative has been revealed. Participants of the American Legion Riders Unity Ride will have a chance to earn the first versions of the official apparel. Anyone can join to raise funds and receive these items. Visit give.floridalegion.org to sign up today!
 
To learn more about SPI, visit: www.projectvetrelief.org/spi

ICEMEN HOCKEY GAME: Proceeds benefit Suicide Prevention

 
MARCH 28TH | Jacksonville, FL
 
To purchase tickets, visit:
 
Purchase (10) ten or more tickets, by calling Trent Blair: 904.661.7241 or email trent@jacksonvilleicemen.com

SPOTLIGHT: Avon Park Awareness Event

Thank you for everyone who attended the Challenge 22 Event at American Legion Post 69 in Avon Park on February 15th. What a successful event to raise $2,600 and awareness for veteran suicide!
 
There were approximately 400-500 people and over 40 vendors who attended this event. Vendors included Veteran Service Organizations and companies who provided Veteran benefits. After walking 1 mile to raise awareness for Veteran suicide, attendees heard from expert speakers explaining warning signs and symptoms of mental health, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
 
Congratulations to Larry Roberts and his team for putting together such a wonderful day.

PVR Bulletin – February 2020

 

SPOT LIGHT: Hockey League Supports PVR

The Jacksonville Icemen Hockey Team has partnered with The American Legion, Department of Florida for a Veterans Appreciation Night to benefit Project:VetRelief. A portion of each ticket sold will be donated back to Project: VetRelief!
 
  • $20 ticket- $5 donation
  • $30 ticket- $7 donation
  • $40 ticket- $10 donation
To purchase tickets, visit:
 
Purchase (10) ten or more tickets, by calling Trent Blair:
904.661.7241 or email trent@jacksonvilleicemen.com
 
Come out and help cheer on the Icemen as they take on the Cincinnati Cyclones. This is sure to be a FUN event. We hope to see you there!

Raising Awareness: One Event at a Time

We are so grateful to the Legion Family for stepping up and hosting events for our NEW Suicide Prevention Initiative program. For the month of February, there are three different events scheduled around the state: Gainesville (Feb 1st), Avon Park (Feb 15th) and Fern Park (Feb 22nd).
 
Please plan to attend to show your support and raise awareness to end Veteran suicide. We are on a mission and need you to help us get there! #EndVeteranSuicide

LEGION RIDERS: Unity Ride

 
CALLING ALL LEGION RIDERS… Are you wanting to participate in a week-long FUN ride to benefit PROJECT: VetRelief? We have just the event for you… The Florida Legion Rider’s Unity Ride.
 
This year’s event will be from April 26th through May 1st and will feature two routes. The North Route will begin in the panhandle and the South Route will start near the Keys. Each route will be stopping at Posts along the way to collect donations and raise awareness for PROJECT: VetRelief. There will be opportunities to earn COOL PRIZES! More details will be announced during the Legion Riders Summit.

PVR Bulletin – January 2020

SPOT LIGHT – Post 359 Fundraising Activities

During January, the Legion Family from Post 359 are dedicating their entire fundraising efforts to benefit PROJECT: VetRelief. They have many events planned over the course of the month including a variety of dinners, motorcycle rides and movie nights.

We are grateful for the support of all those involved in planning for these events and are truly honored they chose our program to receive the funds generated. The full listing of events are below. Please be sure to head to Titusville and support them in one or all of their fun activities.


DID YOU KNOW? – Few Quick Facts

► The PVR office was closed from December 24th and reopened on January 2nd. Be patient as we work through calls received during that time.

92% of every dollar donated to the program goes directly to our veterans and their families. Less than 2% is used towards organizational compliance and accounting/banking fees.

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

► Our veterans are depending on us to process their financial assistance cases in a timely manner. If you are conducting an interview on our behalf, please schedule a meeting and return the follow up report as soon as possible.

► Commander William “Rick” Johnson chose PVR as one of his charities for his fundraising project. When submitting donations for his efforts, be sure to include “Commander’s Charity” in the memo line. Let’s help him get to his goal of $75,000!

► PVR has partnered with AmazonSmile. If you choose PROJECT: VetRelief, Inc. before checking out, Amazon will donate 10% of your order to our program!

PVR Bulletin – December 2019

From the Board of Directors: We need your support!

 
Thanks to you PROJECT: VetRelief was able to provide financial assistance to nearly 150 families this past year. On behalf of them, thank you for saving their lives and their dignity.
 
We recently helped a disabled female veteran who served in the United States Navy, a single mother of two children, by providing financial assistance for her rent. By providing her the support, we were able to keep her and her children from being evicted. Without your help, this veteran and her children would be out on the street. Today, they are safe, warm and self-sufficient.
 
Every day, your support makes stories like this disabled female veteran’s possible.
 
Today, we’re launching a campaign to increase the number of families we are able to provide support in 2020. Our goal for next year is to be able to help an additional 50 active duty military, veterans, and their families as they transition into civilian lives. You see, even though we helped nearly 100 families this year, there are still over 106,000 veterans who are in-need and living below federal poverty levels across the state.
 
In order to reach our goal, we will need to raise an approximate additional $50,000. If we raise that amount, we’ll be able to provide food, shelter and utilities for 50 additional service members and their families this year than last year. We need your help to make it happen.
 
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 meet our goal and provide 50 more families assistance?
 
Donations can be made online (www.projectvetrelief.org/donate), mailed into the Department Headquarters, or given through the Commander’s Charity. We simply can not increase our level of support without you!

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 last month. Take a look at all of the exciting things that happened:
 
• Held our very first Suicide Prevention Initiative Class with approximately 40 attendees
 
• Trained nearly 20 BRAND NEW VetRelief Advocates
 
• Hosted a Networking Event for trained Advocates with key topics of discussion
 
Presented during the Service Officer School, and the Legion and SAL General Sessions
 
• Distributed marketing materials at the PVR Booth

 

PVR Bulletin – November 2019

COMMANDER’S CHARITY:

Help Him Reach His Goal!

This year, the American Legion, Department of Florida’s Commander, William “Rick” Johnson, chose PROJECT: VetRelief as one of his charities of choice. Donations marked as “Commander’s Charity” will be divided equally between his two charities: PROJECT: VetRelief and Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA). If you would like your donation to go towards a specific charity, please note that on the check. For example, write “Commander’s Charity – PROJECT: VetRelief” in the memo line. All checks should be made payable to the American Legion.
 
Commander Johnson has set a lofty goal to raise $75,000 between the two charities. Before Fall Conference, the total amount raised for both charities this year was $15,983; $11,530 for PVR and $4,453 for COTA.
 
Legion Posts are asked to make a one-time donation or hold a 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 the details!
 
Commander Johnson is in the middle of his District visits. While he’s making his rounds, give your donation to him and he will turn them into the Department Headquarters for you.

SUICIDE PREVENTION

3RD ANNUAL
Central Florida Challenge 22 Ruck Walk
CROOKED CAN, WINTER GARDEN
11:00AM – 11:00PM
 
On Saturday, November 16th, The American Legion Post 63 in Winter Garden and Crooked Can Brewing Company are once again partnering to raise money and community
awareness of the 22 veteran and active duty suicides happening per day due to PTS. The Challenge 22 event is just one of the vehicles
used to create awareness and raise money for this important cause.
 
WE NEED YOU! Everyone can help make the Central Florida Challenge 22 Event and Ruck Walk a success and help us reach our goal of raising $100,000 to eliminate veteran suicide due to Post Traumatic Stress (PTS).
 
Individuals, families, businesses, community and civic groups are needed as walkers, sponsors, service providers, or donors/volunteers. 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 volunteer.
 
The money raised will be distributed to organizations that provide help and hope to our fellow Americans, including PROJECT: VetRelief and K9-Line.
 

PVR Bulletin – October

 

2019 FALL CONFERENCE DETAILS

The American Legion, Department of Florida Fall Conference is just around the corner. The event will be held next month from November 1-3, 2019 at the Renaissance at Sea World in Orlando, FL.
 
There will only be one training opportunity again this year. Be sure to visit the link below to reserve your seat today!
 
VETRELIEF ADVOCATE TRAINING:
Saturday, November 2nd
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 Michael Beaven and introduce yourself to our new PVR Team Member, Cristina Hakim-Rosario. 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, by emailing 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…

The 6th Annual PROJECT: VetRelief Golf Tournament was held on Monday, September 23rd 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 124 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$57,100 to PROJECT: VetRelief!
 
The following Legionnaires came to show their support by either playing golf or volunteering: Commander, Rick Johnson; Adjutant, Michael McDaniel; Americanism Chairman, Kurt Gies; VA Entitlement Chairman, Larry Roberts; and Michael Beaven.
 
Our appreciation goes out to all of the sponsors, players, and volunteers for their continued support of Florida’s veterans!
 

PVR Bulletin – September 2019

UPCOMING PVR GOLF TOURNAMENT – SOLD OUT!

On Monday, September 23rd at approximately 8:30AM, the shotgun for the 6th Annual Golf Tournament hosted by RL James, Inc. will take place.  The tournament is PROJECT: VetRelief ’s largest fundraising event and has brought in nearly $200,000 in just 5 years!

The anticipated 120 golfers will enjoy a premier experience at the Bella Collina Golf Course, located in Monteverde, FL. Golfers should expect a day filled with fun, and many chances to win some cool prizes.

During the awards banquet and luncheon, there will be a silent auction featuring an impressive list of more than 50 items. Not to mention there will be a tasty buffet!

There are a few volunteer positions available, if you’d like to come and help out. If you are interested, please contact Jennifer Cooper at 407-295-2631 to coordinate the details! Hope to see you there!


WELCOME ABOARD – Cristina!

Cristina joined the PVR Team in August as a part-time Case Worker. She has worked within the Orange County community for over 11 years by assisting those who needed additional resources, and is currently enrolled in grad school at Southeastern University studying Human Services.
Although she did not serve in the armed forces, she has a passion for helping veterans and their families through their hard times.

When she is not busy with her schoolwork or large family, she enjoys motorcycles, volleyball and volunteering through organizations to raise awareness for homelessness and providing sustainability to families.

We feel lucky to have Cristina as a part of our team as she brings a lot of passion and experience. She will be in the office on Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays. Please help us welcome her to the team!


SUICIDE PREVENTION

Suicide among our veteran community has exceeded 22 a day. ink about it, that’s over 8,000 veterans we lose every year. We no longer can sit back and say, “that’s someone else’s problem”!

Over the past year, we have seen a great deal of interest from the Legion Family in supporting a new Suicide Prevention Initiative. In fact, we created a committee last November to address this tragic statistic on veteran suicide here in Florida. The Committee includes: John Dollinger, Bob James, Jim Wineland, Barry Roberts, Larry Roberts and Kurt Gies.

The committee’s plan of raising awareness, educating our communities and identifying Florida’s community partners was approved by the Board in June. They have already identified over 20 organizations that assist veterans with mental health needs. The committee is going through each organization using a vetting process to identify those who have a proven track record and are validated within their communities.

It will take the entire Florida Legion Family working together to even make a dent in this devastating epidemic our veteran community faces. But, we must start somewhere!

PVR Bulletin – August 2019

Congratulations Commander!

Congratulations to William “Rick” Johnson on becoming the 2019-2020 Department Commander for e American Legion, Department of Florida! We are so thrilled to learn that he has chosen PROJECT: VetRelief as one of his charities for his Commander’s Project. Here’s how the Commander has chosen for the donations to be processed:

Any donation marked as “Commander’s Charity” will be divided equally between his two charities: PROJECT: VetRelief and Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA). If you would like your donation to go towards a specific charity, please note that on the check. For example, write “Commander’s Charity – PROJECT: VetRelief ” in the memo line. All checks should be made payable to the American Legion.

Commander Johnson has set a goal to raise $75,000 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!


MAKING A DIFFERENCE: One Veteran at a Time

Michael Beaven, alongside the entrusted DeLand Police Department Detective, visited the 82 year old veteran who was scammed of over $50,000. Donations from all over the country were collected on his behalf through PROJECT: VetRelief and a check for $18,300 was given to him.

We are still collecting donations. In fact, the Legion Family from Post 402 all pitched in and raised $2,000! If you’d like to help, please donate through the link below or mail in by check. All donations are going directly to him!

DONATION LINK: https://www.projectvetrelief.org/delandveteran/


2019 Convention Recap

We hope you were able to stop by and see us at some point during the Florida Legion Annual Convention this past June. We were excited to see all our VetRelief Advocates and share the accomplishments that they helped us achieve!

Check out a few of our highlights from the event:

  • Collected $39,823 in Legion Family donations
  • 48 VetRelief Advocates attended a PVR Training
  • Over 15 Advocates came to our Exclusive Networking Event for a round table discussion
  • The Board of Directors approved for the Suicide Prevention Committee to move forward with their plan of action. Details will be revealed in the coming months on their efforts.

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. ere will only be one opportunity, so be sure to sign up when the details are announced.

*For promotional items, such as brochures or fliers, contact Jennifer Cooper by sending an email to jcooper@floridalegion.org or call 407-295-2631