VFW Signs MOU with Student Veterans of America
'The entire VFW and its Auxiliaries are extremely pleased to have this opportunity'
January 14, 2013
of Foreign Wars of the U.S. Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Bill Thien and
Student Veterans of America Executive Director Michael Dakduk signed a
memorandum of understanding between the VFW and SVA last week during the fifth
annual SVA national conference in Orlando, Fla.
“This memorandum will provide
opportunities for the VFW and SVA to pool their resources and help our veterans
and nation’s service members overcome many challenges, find strength in
camaraderie and provide expanded programs and services for veterans on college
campuses nationwide,” said Thien, a Vietnam veteran who attended Indiana
University Southeast after his military service. “The entire VFW and its
Auxiliaries are extremely pleased to have this opportunity to work with the SVA
in ensuring our student-veterans attain the education and benefits we promised
The MOU further codifies the great
relationship the VFW has enjoyed with SVA since the fledgling organization was
founded in January 2008. The two organizations have stood side-by-side over the
past few years to push for sound veterans' education policy on Capitol Hill,
which includes the passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, as well as numerous other
student-veteran improvements, such as just-passed legislation that provides
better consumer information for new student veterans.
The MOU will enable closer
collaboration between the VFW’s nationwide network of 7,200 posts and 1,200
VA-accredited claims service officers, and SVA chapters now located on more
than 700 college and university campuses. VFW will also establish an e-mail
address exclusively for student-veterans who need acute assistance with VA
education issues or disability claims.
VFW Past Commander-in-Chief Jim
Nier from Texas has been tapped by the VFW to spearhead student-veteran
outreach efforts to ensure that SVA and the VFW can enjoy a synergistic
relationship, helping to mold the next "Greatest Generation" of
American leaders through today's student-veterans.
In addition to signing the
memorandum, VFW was out in force at the SVA conference, participating in
roundtable discussions on student-veterans’ issues like education policy and
the transition from combat to college, as well as offering information about
the VA disability claims process, VFW advocacy efforts on behalf of all
veterans, and ways the student-veterans could continue to serve the veterans’
community as a VFW member.
The 2013 SVA national conference
was the largest to date for the organization, with more than 600 student
veterans traveling from college campuses around the country to participate in
the weekend events.
VFW leaders said they were inspired
by the caliber of student-veterans they met on the ground in Orlando, and look
forward to working with SVA chapters on the local level to help foster
leadership and success for a new generation of American veterans.
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