Veterans Benefits Information guide to VA benefits

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Veterans Benefits Information

Colorado to host Women Veterans Resource Fair

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About three years ago, The American Legion Department of Colorado’s Female Veterans Action Committee started hosting workshops around the state to provide training, health care and education information to women veterans. The committee is hosting its fifth Women Veterans Resource Fair March 30 from 9 a.m. to noon at American Legion Post 2 in Pueblo, Colo. And it’s free for women veterans in the area to attend.

Through the events, “we actually get out and hear what the female veterans have to say,” said Deb Davis, chairwoman of the Female Veterans Action Committee and commander of Post 206 in Aurora, an all-female post. “We help them in so many ways that the posts do not because a lot of posts don’t think about having female veterans in their posts, even though they’re there. But (female veterans) are not thought of as something that maybe we need to address specific issues with.”

At each event, the committee brings in veteran service officers, education staff from nearby universities or colleges, VA representatives and other community leaders that can answer the needs of women veterans. Each provider gives a quick introduction about who they are and how they can provide assistance. Attendees also receive training on finances, physical fitness, development and coaching, a free meal, and the event ends with a question-and-answer session.

During a women veterans event in Greeley at American Legion Post 18, the question-and-answer session provided a safe place for women veterans in attendance to talk about military sexual trauma, Davis said. And counselors from the Denver VA were there to provide assistance. “We are creating safe places for these women and every place that we have been to," Davis said. "These women are like sponges because they are not getting the information otherwise.”

The Women Veterans Resource Fair in Pueblo will feature veteran service officers from four nearby counties; a representative from the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System; education coordinators from Colorado Technical University, Colorado State University Pueblo and Pueblo Community College; and representation from Companion Ranch, a place for disabled veterans to train dogs for service, emotional support and therapy.

The Women Veterans Resource Fair events “are a lot of fun,” Davis said. They also serve as a membership tool. At the event in Greeley, 27 women joined The American Legion. “A lot of women veterans don’t know that they are even eligible to join The American Legion,” Davis said.

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Centennial celebrations, coast to coast

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As The American Legion prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary on March 15, American Legion posts, districts and departments are preparing to host their own centennial events for months. Some events are focusing on The American Legion’s 100th birthday, while others are tying the event in with other American Legion programs.

Florida is using the latter as its way to celebrate. American Legion Riders will participate in a 100-mile ride March 16 to both honor the Legion’s centennial and raise funds for Post 375 in Southport, Fla., which was destroyed by Hurricane Michael last fall. Rides are expected to take place statewide, including a ride to and from Post 10 in Kissimmee. And as part of 100th birthday activities at Post 63 in Winter Garden, Fla., American Legion members will present a flag to the father of a fallen soldier. The father’s previous flag was lost in a house fire.

And in Kansas, American Legion Pearce-Keller Post 17 in Manhattan is hosting both the department’s 100th birthday event and Oratorical Contest on March 16. About seven orators will compete in the morning for a chance to be named the Department of Kansas Oratorical winner and advance to The American Legion’s National Oratorical Contest in Indianapolis April 5-7. Following the competition, a birthday dinner will be held with hundreds of Legion Family members. Birthday dinner remarks will be provided by Department of Kansas Commander Dan Wiley, Auxiliary President Karen Hasting and Sons of The American Legion Detachment Commander Terry Harris.

In Texas, Royse City American Legion Post 100 will host a community celebration of The American Legion’s birthday on March 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Military Heritage Museum. There will be free food, kids’ games and activities, and free military vehicle rides. At 12:30 p.m., there will be a showing of “Sgt. Stubby,” an animated movie about a World War I Army dog that became an American Legion member. Additionally, the Auxiliary unit will host a poppy coloring booth for children.

While some American Legion posts and districts already have celebrated The American Legion centennial, many events are still to come. The following is a sample of submitted American Legion centennial events and activities, listed by state. Many can be found on the Centennial Celebration site’s calendar ( Legion Family members, posts, districts and departments are encouraged to post photos and stories of their events on Legiontown.


Post 52 in Mountain Home will be celebrating with an open house, to include entertainment by the local Navy ROTC, information displays of what the post does for local veterans, light finger foods and attendance prizes purchased from Emblem Sales. The event is open to the entire community.


Sometime later this year, Post 502 in Moorpark is going to have a community BBQ to showcase and celebrate 100 years of The American Legion.


The state’s oldest post, Post 5 in Colorado Springs, is having a centennial event March 15 that includes guest speakers and a special pictorial cancellation by the United States Postal Service.


American Legion Post 210 in New Haven will celebrate the centennial on March 15 at Adriana’s Restaurant with a family-style Italian dinner and fundraiser. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the newly chartered American Legion New Haven Post 210.


The department’s 9th District is staging a murder mystery birthday dinner party March 15 at American Legion Post 974 in Franklin Park, Ill. Proceeds from the night will go to fund American Legion programs.


On April 13, Major Samuel Woodfill Post 9 in Madison will have a centennial celebration birthday party that will include dinner, live music and door prizes.


• American Legion Post 22 in Towson is celebrating with a black tie event on March 15 that will include a live band.

• Randolph Furey Post 170 in Accokeek is celebrating The American Legion centennial March 30 with a dinner and dancing.


• Granby American Legion Post 266 in Ludlow is partnering with Western Mass Combat Wounded Veterans Chapter 875 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3236 for an American Legion 100th anniversary celebration on March 23.

• On March 31, Post 223 in Duxbury is kicking off a year-long celebration with an event that will include the U.S. Army Field Band and Chorus at the Duxbury Performing Arts Center.

• American Legion Post 86 in Braintree already has been conducting several segments on the community’s World War I veterans that have appeared on local television. On March 16, the post will turn the research it’s gathered on those veterans over to the Braintree Historical Society. And on June 15, the post will have a dinner dance for the public.

• American Legion Post 76 in Jamaica Plain will be leading the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17 and will have an indoor-outdoor family day for the community on April 27.

• The Department of Massachusetts American Legion Centennial Celebration will take place June 15 in Spencer and will include a parade and a family fun day with activities at the Spencer Fairgrounds.


American Legion Post 333 in Kasson will celebration The American Legion’s birthday with a cake-and-coffee open house. The event also will include music and a patriotic film festival that will feature “Hacksaw Ridge” and “American Sniper.”


On June 15, Post 169 in Campbell is having a community-wide event celebrating the 100th anniversary of The American Legion. Some of the plans in the works are a parade, a softball game, games in the park, an antique car and tractor show, a craft show, and an evening program honoring the Legion with slides, music and skits.

New Jersey

Post 18 in Weehawken will have two centennial events in July: A formal dinner at the Weehawken Elks on July 18, and a July 20 waterfront concert.

New York

• The Richmond County American Legion will stage a birthday celebration on Staten Island March 15.

• Post 1231 in East Greenbush is having a 100th Anniversary Celebration/St. Patrick's Day Dinner on March 16 that will feature corned beef, ham and cabbage; music and dancing; door prizes and an auction.

• Post 87 in Dansville will have a birthday party on March 23 that will include Gold Star Mother Stephanie Gleason and members of the New York state legislature.

• American Legion NYC Police Post 460 is having its 7th Annual Independence Day Military Ball and Centennial Celebration in New York City on July 11. Approximately 400 veterans and law enforcement personnel will be in attendance with their family and friends. The event raises funds for two Post 460 programs: Veteran Building Skills and Family Involvement, which bridge the gap between veterans, families and their community for a healthy transition to civilian life.


On March 23 in Beverly, Russell Chadwick Post 389’s Legion Family is teaming up for a centennial celebration that will include hors d’oeuvres, and a prime rib dinner with a USO-style show and awards ceremony.


Willamette Falls Post 5 has set up an exhibit at the local museum to commemorate the 100th anniversary of The American Legion.


• Post 177 in Newport is teaming up with Post 364 in Liverpool for a vintage carnival Sept. 7-8 at Newport Fairgrounds. The focal point will be a "Veterans Row," which will consist of canopies on either side of a causeway housing all the local Legion posts, VFWs, AMVETS, DAV, a VA service officer, reps from VA hospitals, and military recruiting stations. In addition, there will be games, bounce castles and more.

• On July 13, Post 790 in Smithton is having a memorial service program and will take part in a parade with the Smithton Volunteer Fire Department is honor of The American Legion's 100-year centennial.


On March 24 in Nashville, Post 5 is planning a sit-down dinner and dance. A 21-piece orchestra will provide the music, while historical pictures will be on display. The event is open to all veterans and friends of veterans.


• American Legion Post 350 in Needville is having a March 29 fish fry that will include U.S. Army veteran and Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls and Needville Mayor Ernie Stuart.

• In Missouri City, Post 294 Legion is using the Legion's 100th birthday to combine with one of its members' 100th birthday. The event will take place April 2 and will honor Edward “Ed” Gibbons. He will be presented with a proclamation in recognition of his 100th birthday.

• In Longview and Kilgore, American Legion Posts 232, 140 and 280 will host an event May 4 that will include guest speakers, a short re-enactment of the beginning of the Legion, food, booths set up by the VA medical center clinic, a Veterans Resource Center, a Veterans Recognition Foundation and the county veteran service officer. Each post will display historical articles it has.


The Department of Virginia is hosting a black tie centennial celebration March 23 in Richmond. The event is expected to draw more than 300 and will include dinner, dancing, live music and a recognition of World War II veterans in attendance. Maj. Gen. Tim Williams, state adjutant general and an American Legion member, is the guest speaker.


• Post 440 in Clinton is hosting a centennial open house March 23 that will include historical uniforms and other items on display.

• On July 27, Post 13 in Richland Center is having a centennial celebration that will include a remembrance walk/run, a motorcycle and UTV poker run, and euchre and corn hole tournaments. A formal ceremony will take place that evening and will include the dedication of a memorial stone for Korean War MIA and Richland Center native Ralph Verlin Jackson.

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USAA Tips: 5 easy ways to teach kids about money

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Content provided courtesy of USAA | By Angela Caban

When it comes to parenting, one of the best lessons we can share with our kids is about money. Money talks should start at an early age, and by the time kids reach middle school they should be conscious of how money works as well as the importance of saving.

Being money-wise at different stages requires clear explanations as well as total honesty about your own money situation. You can turn each situation that revolves money into a learning moment, or even a game to make kids more interested.

Here are 5 easy ways that you can teach kids about money:

1. Start simple. The traditional piggy bank is always my favorite way to teach kids about money, as well as saving it. Gift your kid with a piggy bank or perhaps a clear jar so that they can see the savings accumulate. Have them count the money and determine how much they would need to purchase something they like. My kids were always shocked at just how much they had to save to buy a new game or toy that they ended up wanting to save it. A good lesson that money does not grow on trees.

2. Use technology. There are so many apps and games available for almost anything today. Why not use it for something useful such as games that teach basic money concepts? Many games are geared towards different age groups, so be sure to load one that your child can understand.

3. Play store. Grab some play money and a pretend cash register or calculator, label some items with how much they cost and have children practice making purchases. This will help them with the basics of adding up as well as managing prices and what they have.

4. Clip coupons together. Make it a weekly event, give kids the responsibility as well as awareness that coupons help save money. Sit down and talk about the grocery list and what coupons you can use to help lower the bill. It can become a fun game and keep track of what you are saving, and show the total.

5. Give them responsibility with real money. Give them some money to use and head to a local yard sale or even supermarket. Have them shop along with you and keep track of what they have. This will also teach them about making change as well as ensuring they are alert when handling money.

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SAL: Share your Snapshots of Service

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Sons of The American Legion squadrons are encouraged to enter the annual Snapshots of Service photo contest to promote the Sons’ programs.

Submitted photos must represent one of the Four Pillars: Americanism, Children and Youth, National Security, or Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation. Members must be wearing SAL caps or apparel, and the photo must be in JPG or TIFF format.

Submission forms are available at

Squadrons and detachments are also encouraged to share what they’re doing through online platforms including Legiontown, the Sons’ Facebook page, and the Sons’ website.

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When networking, listen more than you talk

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From | By Lida Citroën

Question: I’ve recently left the Air Force and have started networking professionals to find a civilian job. When meeting someone new, I tell them what I’ve done, what I’m looking for, and the roadblocks I’ve encountered. And they look back at me with a blank stare. Or, they try to give me advice that isn’t helpful. What am I doing wrong?

Answer: One of the hardest aspects of the private business culture I teach transitioning servicemembers is the concept of networking. Let’s review some basics of networking in your civilian career:

  1. Networking requires you to form rapport first. Rapport is where both parties feel comfortable sharing information with each other. This takes time. It starts by introducing yourself, allowing them to introduce themselves and asking follow-up questions.

  2. A strong elevator pitch allows you to introduce yourself with focus and confidence. Think about sharing what you do (or want to do), why you care about that work, and a quick example of the kind of work you’re looking for. Your elevator pitch should be succinct, shared with a smile, and understandable.

  3. Be careful using too much military-speak. Odds are, you’re going to be meeting with civilians (the numbers of those who’ve served versus those who haven’t confirms this). Avoid leading with your MOS or using military terminology and acronyms. You’ll only distance yourself from the person you’re speaking to.

  4. Show interest in the other person. While it’s tempting to want to tell your entire story to each new person you meet – after all, maybe they can help connect you to a great job! – networking can’t be one-sided. If you’re doing all the talking, then you’re not networking, you’re selling.

  5. Remember, just because someone doesn’t want to talk to you doesn’t mean it’s personal. Perhaps they’re waiting to meet someone, distracted, or otherwise pre-occupied. When one conversation ends, move onto another one.

  6. First impressions matter. Are you introducing yourself with a smile and a firm handshake? Or, do you appear dejected or desperate? People are typically attracted to people who appear confident and friendly, not those who seem needy or angry.

  7. Consider the environment – are you at a social function, business meeting or professional event? Is networking expected or would it be seen as inappropriate (e.g. you wouldn’t network at a funeral). If you’re at a social function, and find yourself pitching your business idea, others could be turned off. Similarly, networking at a job fair is a great idea, since everyone attending is focused on career goals.

  8. Body language accounts for a lot of the information that is communicated. Be sure your eye contact shows respect and approachability, your handshake is firm and confident, but not aggressive, and your posture reflect self-assuredness.

  9. Think about how you can help others. It’s normal, when networking in a job search, to be focused on what you need and what you want. But networking is as much about giving as it is about receiving. As you’re talking to a new acquaintance, pay attention to ways you can help them – as a resource, with information, by making introductions for them, etc. Even if you don’t think there’s much you can offer, there is!

  10. Networking requires gratitude. If your conversation is brief, thank the other person for their time and interest. If the discussion leads to a follow-up meeting, referral or something else of value, then you should also say thank you. And, don’t forget that a handwritten thank-you note is one of the best ways you can express gratitude and stay top-of-mind with your networking contacts.

I hope these tips help you see ways you can refine your networking to produce better results going forward.

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Did you know?

The issuance or replacement of military service medals, awards and decorations must be requested in writing.

Requests should be submitted in writing to the appropriate military service branch division of the NPRC. Standard form (SF 180), available through the VA, is recommended to submit your request. Generally, there is no charge for medal or award replacements. For more information, or for the mailing address of the military branch office to submit your request to, call 1-86-NARA-NARA (1-866-272-6272) or visit the NPRC website at