Quartermaster Update (May 2024)

By Harold Hamilton

Hello comrades! We have made it through another VFW year. It’s had its share of ups and downs. Comrades who have moved on to new opportunities and adventures, as well as comrades who have crossed into the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns. Through it all, our constant core has continued to move the post forward. I want to thank Aly for her leadership. I want to honor our trustees and senior members who have been the heart and soul of our post. Let’s also give a special shout-out to our Scottish Swiss army knife, Jan! We may not appreciate how crucial Jan is to the post’s operation.

We are facing a challenge of relevance in the lives of our veterans. We can be at the forefront of addressing this here at the post. We have the membership mix capable of achieving great things. How do we activate it? Yes, the problem is significant but we must not go gently into that dark night of irrelevance. We have work to do. In this coming year, let’s all commit to spreading our mission. In July, we will ask our members to commit to eight hours of service per month and to bring one guest to a social event per quarter.

Post installs 2024-2025 officers

At our May 2 business meeting, Post 3063 officers were installed for 2024-2025. Thank you to Past Commander Nestor Tamayao for presiding.

Here are the elected and appointed officers serving for the next year:

Commander: Alyson Teeter
Senior Vice Commander: Gabe Whetsel
Junior Vice Commander: Harold Hamilton
Quartermaster: Joseph Mesa
3-Year Trustee: Gail Engler
2-Year Trustee: Harold Rodenberger
1-Year Trustee: John Ellingboe
3-year House Committee: Mike Hicks
2-year House Committee: Jesse Basher
1-year House Committee: Bob Lehman
Adjutant: Harold Hamilton
Service Officer: Joseph Mesa/Harold Hamilton
Judge Advocate: Dan Stokke
Chaplain: Joe Fitzgerald
Surgeon: Bob Lehman
Officer of the Day/Guard: Russ Seelig

installation 2024

Service Officer Update (May 2024)

By Joseph Mesa

In 2023, several critical issues concerning veterans have come to the forefront. Some of the key areas:

Disability and Retirement Pay:
1. Last year, Congress passed a significant benefits expansion for veterans affected by toxic exposure injuries during their service.
2. However, the focus this year is on ensuring that veterans who suffered injuries while on duty receive all the compensation they deserve.
3. The issue revolves around concurrent receipt and the Major Richard Star Act.
4. Currently, veterans with a disability rating of at least 50% receive both their full military retirement pay and disability benefits. But those with a disability rating below 50% face dollar-for-dollar offsets, resulting in reduced payments.
5. The Major Richard Star Act aims to allow combat-wounded veterans medically discharged before serving 20 years to receive both retirement and disability pay, without any offsets.

Mental Health Crisis:
1. Veterans experience high rates of mental health conditions, including PTSD, depression, and substance use.
2. Suicides among veterans increased significantly from 2006 to 2020.
3. Innovative treatment strategies are urgently needed, and addressing mental and metabolic health simultaneously may lead to better outcomes.

VA Workforce Challenges:
1. The Department of Veterans Affairs faces a flood of new cases due to the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act(PACT Act).
2. Claims processors are strained, leading to workforce challenges and impacting veterans’ access to services.

Finally, all veterans, including those exposed to toxins and hazards during military service, are now eligible for VA health care. Veterans who are exposed to toxins or hazards during training or active duty in the United States are also eligible. Eligible Veterans can enroll directly in VA health care without needing to apply for VA benefits.

Day of Service: May 18

Mark your calendars for May 18 for our post’s VFW Day of Service. In conjunction with One Seattle Day of Service, we’ll spiff up the post and outside property, recycle discarded flags, and end the day with a barbecue, courtesy of Comrade Joe Fitzgerald. Family and friends are welcome to join us! Stay tuned for more details.

Commander’s Corner (March 2024)

Greetings! I heard I missed out on a fantastic social in February that was put on by Quartermaster Harold “H2” Hamilton. H2 stepped up to represent his hometown of New Orleans with some good grub and Mardi Gras trivia. If you have a special cuisine you like to cook and a theme in mind, please consider volunteering to plan a post social or cook a meeting dinner. Organizing and executing socials have fallen on the shoulders of a few in years past but this model isn’t sustainable. We will discuss more at our March meeting and in the meantime, feel free to send me your thoughts about our socials and how they should look going forward.

For our March social, we plan to honor our Vietnam Veterans in recognition of Vietnam Veterans Day later in the month. Stay tuned for details, which I’ll send out over email.

H2 isn’t only a good social host and cook, but he’s also offered to teach Yoga. He’ll hold a mid-day and evening session this month. It’s open to anyone, for free, so bring a family member or friend and come and experience “Body by Harold.” 

March is the start of spring AND VFW election season. woohoo! Nominations open at the March business meeting and we vote in April. We have a variety of leadership opportunities available so let me know if you’re interested in doing more to help the post. This is truly a team effort!

In comradeship,
Aly Teeter, Commander