Preventing veterans suicides has been at the top of AMVETS’ priority list for several years. We finally have the VA & Congress saying the same. More than $50 Billion was spent by our federal government in this decade on this. Yet we have not seen any decline. In fact, when taking into account that there are 5 million less veteran now than there were 10 years ago, it is reasonable to say this national crisis has worsened.
You, the leaders of AMVETS from every corner of the nation, have made it crystal clear that you want our organization to do whatever is necessary to take this on headfirst, leading the charge. Your commitment to this should be applauded, and I personally appreciate the direction, resources and confidence the NEC has invested in the national staff. I am providing the following update to show how your investment is making a difference and posting AMVETS at the forefront.
National Commander Riley tore through Congress with what was widely hailed as the best testimony of the spring on Capitol Hill. You can catch a moving video snippet at http://bit.ly/2V4Bza9. He called on Congress to start real oversight on this issue, asking for a series of Congressional hearings on this issue. The House complied, and the first was this past Monday night.
So your NHQ staff took over Capitol Hill last week right through this Monday, meeting with the offices of every member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, ensuring our government acknowledges and addresses this national crisis. We submitted in-depth, bare-knuckled testimony, which I implore you to read at: bit.ly/AMVETS042919. Seriously, if you care about this issue, that testimony is a must-read. If you want to see the most thought-out, hardest-hitting response from any veterans organization, please read that.
We also helped shape important media coverage (AMVETS quoted in each):
– USA TODAY at http://bit.ly/2GLOPGM
– Military Times at http://bit.ly/2V3LTiy
– ConnectingVets at http://bit.ly/2V7FwKY
– Sherman penned an op-ed for The Hill at http://bit.ly/2GKRO22
We capped it off with a FacebookLive conversation on what’s next – http://bit.ly/2GPsXtM.
I am very proud of the work your revamped national legislative department and the HEAL program are doing, seriously raising the bar and leading the way for all VSOs. I hope you find this update suitable to forward to your posts and members. Keeping them informed, letting them know their elected leaders have the NHQ on the right path is very important. I want everyone to know how much we appreciate your guidance and confidence.
AMVETS National Executive Director