The Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation program promotes our mission to enhance the lives of veterans, military and their families. The Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Program and the Service to Veterans sub-committee of Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation replaces the old Field Service and Home Service sub-committees of years ago. Service to Veterans is direct support an individual member provides to a Veteran or Veterans. The intent of the program is for the individual member to use their available resources to provide goods and services to advance the health and welfare of a veteran NOT related by blood or marriage to the member. The award for Service to Veterans is an individual member award represented by a pin and hour bar that is attached to the pin.
- Volunteers are recognized when specific hour milestones are reached: 50, 100, 300, 500, and 1,000
- After the first 1,000-hour bar is awarded, the next bar will be earned in 1,000-hour increments up to 20,000 hours. Hour bars are also offered in increments of 25,000 and 30,000 hours. After achieving 35,000 hours ALA National Headquarters will issue a separate Lifetime Service to Veterans pin.
- Hour bars are provided at no cost to departments; however, the appropriate pin (from which the hour bar is affixed) can be obtained from Emblem Sales at the department’s expense. See Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation: A Guide for Volunteers.
What can you do?
1) Assist in activities that help homeless veterans.
Members and Units
- Crochet hats, scarves or mittens to be distributed to homeless veterans. Use information provided by your department chairman to contact the homeless veteran coordinator at the VA health care system nearest you to explore what the unit or you can do to help homeless veterans in your community.
- Contact homeless veteran emergency shelters, transitional housing projects and permanent housing projects in your community and identify the organization’s volunteer and in-kind contribution needs, including:
- Meal preparation and serving
- Clothes collection and distribution
- Assembly and delivery of hygiene kits, buddy baskets
- Purchasing or securing household items or furniture
- Create a Tree of Warmth by collecting scarves, mittens, hats and attaching them to a tree in a location the homeless frequent. Include a sign that says Please Take if Needed, Free if Needed, or something similar.
2) There isn’t a VA hospital close to your community? Find opportunities for Auxiliary members to serve veterans in your area. These hours will count toward your Service to Veterans pin and hour bars.
Service to Veterans recognizes volunteers who provide service to veterans, service members and their families outside a VAMC. Volunteers conduct projects and work for military/veterans and/or families from their homes and in their communities including volunteering at Fisher Houses. Service to Veterans volunteers maintain their own recordkeeping and dollars spent. The Service to Veterans pin has been designed to reflect the work of those who volunteer in their communities and at home for veterans. Hour bars, which attach to the pin, are also available to earn. More information may be in the Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation: A Guide for Volunteers available online for download at www.alaforveterans.org. To purchase a printed copy, please visit www.emblem.legion.org.
- Read the Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation: A Guide for Volunteers
- Sew quilts for the Quilts of Valor Foundation. For more information, please visit www.qovf.org/.
- Help a veteran use the Internet.
- Supply postage for local veterans in rest homes or assisted living facilities.
- Organize transportation for veterans to assist them with essential errands or medical appointments; many live far from a VA facility and shouldn’t be driving if they don’t feel well.
- Contact the Legion Service Officer at your post and offer to be on the list of people to call when a military family needs help.
- Buy school supplies, throw a baby shower, or send care packages to military kids who are headed to college.
- Report your Service to Veterans hours to your unit VA&R chairman.
- See Awards section of this plan for information on Hour Bar Recognition.
- Become the catalyst to find needs and encourage members to help veterans in their community.
- Provide hospitality for a job fair for veterans.
- Coordinate with local quilt shops to help your unit sponsor a quilting event in support of Quilts of Valor.
- Contact members, including those who never or only occasionally attend meetings and events and invite them to participate for specific limited duration projects that would help area veterans.
- Compile and record hours provided by your members.
- Coordinate with your PR chairman to tell the community what work your unit members are doing for veterans.
Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Awards
VA&R Awards Deadlines and Submission Requirements – Taking the time to share a favorite story about the positive impact you or someone you know has had on our mission is worth doing! It helps us tell the world who we are, what we do, and why we matter.
Unit Award: Most Outstanding Unit VA&R Program
Department Award: Best Department VA&R Program
Mid-Year Reports — Each Unit is required to submit a narrative report to the Department Service to Veterans Chairman.
Year-End Reports — Each Unit is required to submit a narrative report to the Department Service to Veterans Chairman.
- Please submit a narrative report describing how members earned their Service to Veterans hours.
- Please include pictures and clippings if appropriate.
Additional Resources You Can Use
- Homeless Veterans Coalition: www.nchv.org
- How To Sheet: How to raise awareness in your communities about the ever-increasing number of homeless veterans. www.ALAforVeterans.org
- How To Sheet: How to increase donations to the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival. www.ALAforVeterans.org
- Other How To Sheets can be found at www.ALAforVeterans.org.
- Quilts of Valor – www.qovf.org
- VA Homeless Programs www.va.gov/homeless/index.asp
- HUD Homeless Assistance Programs “ www.onecpd.info/homelessness-assistance/
- On-Call: Handbook for Homeless Veterans and Service Providers www.legion.org/homelessveterans/handbook
- The American Legion Family Support Network: www.legion.org/familysupport
- National Veterans Creative Arts Festival Facebook Page
- American Legion Auxiliary Veterans Creative Activities Action Guide, www.ALAforVeterans.org
- National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, www.creativeartsfestival.va.gov