VFW, SVA Name 2023 Student Veteran Finalists for Legislative Fellowship

Five fellows to be the face and voice of the veteran community to elected officials in Congress

WASHINGTON — Five Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) members were named today at the SVA National Conference in Orlando, Florida, for the 2023 VFW-SVA Legislative Fellowship.

“This is fantastic news, not only for these fellows, but also for veterans, service members and their families they will represent,” said VFW National Commander Tim Borland. “On behalf of the entire VFW and its Auxiliary, I’d like to congratulate the five student veterans selected for the Legislative Fellowship Class of 2023. We look forward to all the advocacy work they will do on Capitol Hill, ensuring Congress understands that Every Veteran Counts.”

Student veterans selected to the VFW-SVA Legislative Fellowship class of 2023The VFW-SVA Legislative Fellowship is a semester-long academic experience that involves researching, coordinating, reporting and advocating on behalf of one of four veterans’ policy areas: student veteran success on campus and beyond, improving veteran’s health care and benefits, transitioning from military to civilian life, and challenges for service members and military families.

Each selected fellow submitted a policy proposal to address one of these issues through federal legislative action.

“Our alliance with the VFW focuses on strengthening the opportunities and outcomes available to veterans,” said SVA’s National President and CEO, Jared Lyon at the initial announcement of the opening of the 2023 program this past September. “This fellowship ensures Capitol Hill hears directly from those impacted by the programs and services we advocate for.”

“This important program cultivates the future of veteran advocacy and we look forward to welcoming the 2023 VFW-SVA Legislative Fellows to Washington,” said Lyon, who is also a member of VFW Post 3308 in Tallahassee, Florida.

The fellows will participate in the 2023 VFW Legislative Conference, March 5-9, during which they will be paired with their VFW Department delegation to participate in meetings with their members of Congress to advocate for their policy proposals.

Upon returning home, each of the fellows will also be responsible for executing a community action plan, to include delivering their individual research papers directly to their respective congressional delegations. 

The five fellows selected for the 2023 class are:

  • Chet Bennetts, Marine Corps veteran, Kansas State University
  • Meghan Fitzgerald, Army veteran, University of Denver
  • Harry Phillips, Army veteran, Tulane University
  • Jordan Quinones, Army veteran, Arizona State University
  • Gregory Sanchez, Navy veteran, University of California – Riverside

The VFW-SVA Legislative Fellowship program continues a legacy of collaboration between the two organizations that was formalized in 2013. To interview any of the selected fellows, contact VFW National Legislative Service Associate Director, Katherine Cassell at kcassell@vfw.org.

Photo cutline: (L-R) Chet Bennetts, VFW National Veterans Service Director Ryan Gallucci, Jordan Quinones, Greg Sanchez, Harry Phillips, VFW National Legislative Service Associate Director, Katherine Cassell, Meghan Fitzgerald, SVA National President and CEO, Jared Lyon.