Weekly Columns

Disabled American Veterans (DAV), a veteran service organization dedicated to ensuring our country keeps the promise we made to the men and women who have served in uniform, is celebrating 100 years of advocacy.  

Throughout its history, DAV has been influential in identifying ways to best support our veterans; from pushing for consolidation of veterans programs in its early years, to direct outreach to veterans in communities with the launch of the Field Service Unit program to pressing for more funding for VA health care and benefits. There has been much progress to advance veterans services thanks to DAV’s efforts. The organization’s members and partners have a lot to be proud of.

DAV members and Auxiliary members have been leading advocates for injured and ill veterans and their families, making a difference for countless wounded warriors. Their advocacy has helped and continues to build a better life for disabled veterans.

Members of the DAV Department of Arkansas recently visited our nation’s capital to share the organization’s legislative goals for 2020. They were among hundreds of DAV members from across the country who met with members of Congress to make DAV’s priorities known.  

Among those is strengthening veterans mental health care and suicide prevention programs. In January, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Committee advanced the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act. This comprehensive legislation will strengthen our ability to provide veterans with the mental health care they need and includes language I introduced with Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) to leverage the services of veteran-serving non-profits and other community networks in our overall strategy to reduce veteran suicides. The input of Arkansas DAV members was instrumental in creating our provision. 

DAV’s attention extends to every corner of the country. It’s National Service Program helps direct services to veterans, no matter where they live. 

I applaud the efforts of the more than 11,000 DAV members in Arkansas whose outreach helps veterans understand and access their benefits. They spend countless hours advising fellow veterans about the assistance they qualify for and helping fill out the paperwork to secure those benefits through the VA.  

One of the well-known services provided by DAV is the transportation of veterans to VA medical centers and hospitals. In rural states like Arkansas, the services these volunteers offer is critical to meeting the health care needs of veterans. 

The Arkansas fleet is made up of 16 vans. Last year, more than 6,600 veterans were driven to medical appointments with the help of volunteers who logged more than 18,000 hours behind the wheel.  

I look forward to continuing to work with DAV members as Congress crafts and reforms policies to improve services for veterans and their families. I’m proud to recognize DAV on 100 years of engaging veterans and advocating to advance benefits, services and care, and making a positive difference in the lives of veterans and their families.