VFW National Commander Meets with President

WASHINGTON — The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. met with President Obama in the Oval Office yesterday morning to discuss issues important to America’s veterans, servicemembers and their families.

Thomas J. Tradewell Sr., a combat-wounded Vietnam veteran from Sussex, Wis., thanked the president for his strong support of the military and veterans' communities, and for signing into law two of the VFW's top legislative priorities: advanced healthcare appropriations for the Department of Veterans Affairs, and new caregiver legislation for family members who provide 24/7 care to their wounded loved ones.

"Since his days on the Senate VA Committee, the president has been well aware of the untiring love and commitment family members provide to their wounded heroes, plus the negative impact a late budget has on a federal agency that exists only to serve veterans," said Tradewell. "I wanted to personally thank him for his support of this much needed legislation, and for his outstanding budget recommendations to help speed the VA's transformation into a more user-friendly and responsive provider of world-class healthcare to more veterans in more areas."

Also addressed were VFW concerns about the high military suicide rate, the huge VA claims backlog, unemployed veterans, and burial accountability problems that surfaced a week ago at Arlington National Cemetery.

"It was a good meeting and I am grateful for the opportunity, because it is clear that the president shares our concerns to make things right, as does the first lady, and the vice president and Dr. Jill Biden," said Tradewell. 

"The VFW looks forward to working with him and his administration to ensure that our nation properly cares for those we send into harm's way, and for their families back at home."