News from the Executive Committee!
Read the comments from VA Liaison John Miller at the end of this newsletter!
Happy Veterans Day
Veterans Day this year is also the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. The Tomb was established to honor the service and sacrifice of millions of Veterans.
On October 25, 1921, after significant efforts to select, ensure, and preserve their anonymity, a soldier who fell in France during World War I began the final difficult journey home aboard the historic USS Olympia, now part of the Independence Seaport Museum at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia.
The Unknown Soldier from WWI was laid to final rest in the Tomb on November 11, 1921, after being conferred the Medal of Honor and medals of valor from allies of the United States.
Thanks to those who were able to attend our Fall Quarterly meeting and participate in the election process. We are pleased to welcome Tammy Cartagena to the team, and to welcome back Nancy Isserman and Norm Glover. We’ve also added an additional VA Liaison, John Miller, Public Affairs Officer for the Philadelphia and Wilmington Regional Offices of the Veterans Benefits Administration (see his message). Looking forward to another great year!
In other DVVC news, the Marketing & Social Media Committee has updated the DVVC brochure, with references to Town Halls and virtual meetings, and with a QR code that sends potential new member organization representatives to the updated website at dvvc.org. The Cpl. Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center will be printing a supply for us, but member organizations can also print them from the website. The brochure is for DVVC’s primary audience: other Veteran-serving organizations who should join DVVC. Please use them to pass the word!
The MSMC also created a Veteran-focused poster to ensure that individual Veterans know they can get assistance from DVVC member organizations.
Individual Veterans and their families remain an important but secondary audience for us; we know they interact with DVVC by attending Town Halls and Quarterly meetings, and they come to the website. DVVC kept this in mind during the website revision, highlighting the “join our mailing list” option just for them, and putting the search function at the top of the Directory.
The poster includes a QR code that sends these users to the Directory page on the website. The poster is designed not for printing in quantities but to be displayed by member organizations in a frame or stand at their own event tables.
Let Veterans know that your organization is proud to be a DVVC member organization!
For Veterans who might not be ready to scan the QR code when stopping by, a half-sheet take-away can be printed in small quantities and kept behind the poster for use as necessary.
Find all these great new products on the website … And if you’d like DVVC “Proudly Service Member Organization ” button, let us know!
NEWS FROM OUR MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS
Heroic Gardens Nurtures DVVC Connections
Submitted by Collie Turner, Founder of Heroic Gardens
Heroic Gardens was honored to participate in “Wellness Warrior 2021: Complementary & Alternative Therapies,” which gave us the opportunity to talk about the connection between plants and people and how working with plants can help with individual healing.
Imagine how thrilled we were to see DVVC member organization representative Karen Jennings, Marine Mom and founder of the Military Support Group of New Jersey, arrive at our volunteer event at the Stratford Veterans Park in Stratford, NJ, two days later, to help us plant for Spring. Karen jumped right into the activities, and we witnessed many connections among our Army, Air Force, and Navy Veterans that day.
A key aspect of our volunteer events is the opportunity for Veterans to share stories with other Veterans and perhaps talk with civilians and families members as well. Everyone has a common bond, working together to achieve a common goal. Because of this, people just start sharing.
And sharing is what we all need right now.
We watched Karen make a connection with Air Force Veteran Emily, who is also an active member of the group Action Tank. Karen planted bulbs with Emily’s children around the Veterans sign, while Emily planted a Witch Hazel tree with volunteer Tess, who drove from Bucks County, PA. Navy Veteran Michele and Army Veteran Thom moved two Yew trees from around the gazebo to a new home behind one of the park benches. And Army Veteran Constance worked around the gazebo with our team lead Dawn and volunteers Heidi and Kait to ensure we had tidied up the entire space.
Strangers in the morning, just one hour in, the sounds of laughter and teamwork were evident across the entire space.
For us, DVVC is an opportunity to meet additional organizations through which, working together, we can spread awareness, collaborate, and continue our work wherever and to whomever we are called. We look forward to joining together with more DVVC members in the future as we continue to support this community.
Learn more about Heroic Gardens at https://www.heroicgardens.org. More volunteer events coming up, including one on November 20th supporting HAVEN Women!
Philadelphia Veterans Parade and Festival Returns With Live Celebration
The 7th Annual Philadelphia Veterans Parade will be held on Sunday, November 7th, beginning at noon. With more than 150 organizations involving over 7,000 participants and 30 Veteran Service Organizations, the Philadelphia Veterans Parade is always a celebration to remember. The parade begins at Juniper & Market Streets with a brigade of over 250 motorcyclists and continues heading east on Market Street and concluding at North 5th Street where the Veterans Festival will take place. Channel 6 will be airing the parade beginning at 12:30 p.m.
The Veterans Festival takes place during the parade on Market Street between 3rd and 5th Streets and continues until 4 p.m. The Veterans Festival is a fun and family-friendly atmosphere where veterans and family members can gain access to resources ranging from job recruitment to healthcare benefits and service providers, to educational opportunities, financial assistance and workshops. The Festival also includes numerous Food Trucks and activities for all to enjoy!
Due to City of Philadelphia’s ongoing COVID regulations, parade and festival participants will be required to wear masks and are encouraged to carry proof of COVID vaccination. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
For more information, visit the Philadelphia Veterans Day Parade website at http://www.phillyveteransparade.org.
GPVN Hosting Senior Military Hiring Event
The Greater Philadelphia Veterans Network will host a ‘How to Hire Veterans’ roundtable for HR professionals and transitioning senior military leaders, Friday, November 5th, 9 to 11:30 a.m.
This year’s event will focus on the hiring of transitioning senior military Veterans. Senior military personnel – those with 15 or more years of service, culminating in a rank of E-6 or higher – offer a depth of experience and skills unmatched by most civilian counterparts, preparing them for upper management roles as they transition into the workforce.
The event will be held virtually and consist of panel discussions and breakout rooms for networking with Veterans and military-friendly companies.
‘How to Hire Veterans’ is an annual program organized by the GPVN Employers Council to educate employers on the value add of employing veterans. Transitioning or recently transitioned senior military leaders can register here.
Veterans Can Get Physical with the Athletes with DisAbilities Network
After a year off due to Covid, Athletes with DisAbilities Network Northeast is excited to bring back their 5K fundraiser on Sunday, November 14, starting at 8 a.m., in Pennsauken.
Funds raised through the Veteran’s Day Run, Walk & Roll 5K help ADNNEC continue to serve injured Veterans, first responders, and community members with a disability, through their adaptive sports and mentoring programs.
This is a great opportunity for Veterans of all abilities to participate, support, and honor other Veterans.
The race will be a 5K loop around Cooper River Park ending at Jack Curtis Stadium. The path is paved and accessible to racing chairs. ADNNEC has a limited quantity of adaptive cyclings available for para-athletes. Interested Veterans are asked to contact Brandon Holiday at email@example.com to arrange for a cycle or a course guide, or if a financial burden might prevent participation.
The first 250 registered will receive an event medal and T-shirt. Register here.
Drexel Hosting Veteran & Military Family Appreciation Events All Month
American Flag Installation Honoring Student Veterans at Drexel University
Monday, November 1, to Monday, November 15
As part of the 2021 Veterans and Military Family Appreciation events at Drexel University, American flags will be placed on the lawn beside Perelman Plaza and Gerri LeBow Hall to recognize Veterans who are currently enrolled at Drexel University. Stop by to see the display!
Pivot and March Forward: Pathways from Military Service to Educational and Career Success
Thursday, November 4, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
When members of the military march in formation, they may reach a point where they pivot to change direction. And after time in the service, Veterans reach a pivot point where they must decide what to do with their future. This thought inspired the title of this virtual conference, designed specifically for current or potential military-connected students and stakeholders. Learn about the many educational and professional options available after military service and ask questions on topics such as the admissions process, financial aid, and the Yellow Ribbon Program, and what it’s like to be a student-Veteran at Drexel.
Interested Veterans and family members can join any or all sessions. Register here, and pass the invitation along. All virtual sessions will be hosted using the VisitDays platform. Email any questions to Rebecca Weidensaul at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Military Memorial Tree Planting at Drexel Park
Friday, November 5, Noon to 1:30 p.m.
Join the campus and community in honoring and remembering Drexel Veterans past and present in a special memorial tree planting at Drexel Park. This event is rain or shine and offers attendees the opportunity to plant four trees to beautify our neighborhood and campus while memorializing military service members and supporting environmental sustainability.
Come to Drexel Park, N 32nd Street and Powelton Avenue, prepared to roll up your sleeves to plant these trees or show your support on the sidelines; meet on the north side of the park. There will be a brief program to honor recently passed Drexel Patriots: Chuck McNally, U.S. Army Veteran, Assistant Dean, College of Arts & Sciences; Adrian Jordan, U.S. Navy Veteran, College of Arts & Sciences; and John “Johnny” Cook, U.S. Army Veteran, College of Engineering.
Drexel Family Weekend – Open House at The Masci Family Veterans Lounge
Friday, November 5, 3:30 to 5 p.m.
In concert with Drexel University’s Family Weekend festivities, the Masci Family Veterans Lounge will be open for military families. Come and meet some of our current student-veterans and members of the Veterans Task Force. Learn more about the Yellow Ribbon Program at Drexel University and our Military Friendly Campus Community.
City of Philadelphia 7th Annual Veterans Day Parade
Sunday, November 7
Drexel University continues its proud participation in Philadelphia’s Veterans Parade and will be represented this year by members of Army ROTC Task Force Dragon, the Veterans Task Force, Drexel Veterans Alumni Network, Drexel Veteran Colleague Resource Group, and the Drexel Veterans Association. Students, faculty, staff, families and supporters are welcome to march with fellow Drexel Military-Affiliated Dragons. Sign up here.
The Drexel University participants will meet up at the Corner Bakery at 15th and JFK to organize the banner and team for the march. Drexel t-shirts will be provided to participants.
Drexel University Veterans Day Tribute
Thursday, November 11, noon to 1:00 p.m.
This annual gathering has become a tradition at Drexel, coordinated by the Office of Veteran Student Services, Veterans Task Force and Drexel Army ROTC. This tribute includes military traditions and protocol, patriotic music, and reflections. Army ROTC’s newly appointed Professor of Military Science, LTC Charles Wilson, will lead the program. The featured speaker is Drexel alumna Major Lauren Finch Serrano who graduated from the College of Arts & Sciences in 2009 and was commissioned by the University of Pennsylvania Navy ROTC program. Major Serrano is currently serving as the Aide-de-Camp to the Chief of Naval Operations at The Pentagon. Event takes place in Gerri C. LeBow Hall, DiPiero Grand Meeting Room (Room 220), 3220 Market Street. This event will be livestreamed at https://youtu.be/pxQDYHevsj0.
Green Zone Training: A Faculty and Professional Staff Professional Development Session on Drexel University’s Yellow Ribbon Program and Military Friendly Campus Culture
Friday, November 12, 9:00am to 10:00am
Want to support our campus student-Veterans and military dependents and colleagues? Have questions about what it is like to transition from the military to academia? Join us for this interactive in-person and virtual session hosted by The Offices of Equality & Diversity (OED), Human Resources and The Center for Learning and Academic Success Service (CLASS), and the Office of Veteran Student Services, featuring presentations by the Drexel Veterans Task Force, OED and Drexel Student Veteran Ambassadors. RSVP by November 11th at 12 noon using Career Pathway to attend this event, or contact Rebecca Weidensaul at email@example.com.
NOTE: Visitors to Drexel campus facilities fall under the City of Philadelphia’s “Vaccine Mandate Regulation” for higher education and should comply with Drexel’s public health policies and procedures. To learn more, visit: Drexel.edu/coronavirus/visitors/overview.
Vet Center Offering Wills for Veterans
In partnership with Legal Aid of Southeastern PA, the Norristown Vet Center will offer free wills for Veterans and their families.
Services will be conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 9 & 11, at the Norristown Vet Center, 320 E. Johnson Hwy, Suite 201. Time-reserved slots will fill quickly.
RSVP by calling Chanel Santiago at 215-823-5245.
U Penn Seeks Veterans for Advisory Board on PTSD, TBI, and Suicide Prevention
The University of Pennsylvania is forming a community advisory board to bring together experts from the community on the topic of posttraumatic stress disorder, suicide prevention, and traumatic brain injury. If you have the expertise or lived experience in these areas and would like to provide input on treatment decisions, please apply.
Veterans and active-duty service members are wanted to serve. To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Board members will meet (virtually) quarterly. Opportunities for professional development are available!
Penn Medicine Hospice will host a tree-planting event on Friday, November 5, at 3 p.m. in honor of the Veterans served in the program. Action Tank – one of DVVC’s newest member organizations – is collaborating with PMH to plant two trees in front of the Rittenhouse building at 1800 Lombard Street. The public is invited to participate in the memorial event.
YourNexStage to Present Program at Military Women’s Memorial in Arlington
The YNS program Celebrating Women Veterans: Growing Through Allyship will be held on Wednesday, November 10, from noon to 5 p.m. The program features five panel presentations from leading experts on intersectionality, workplace culture, employment, purpose, and women in the media. Onsite guests are invited to attend the entire program or individual panels that interest them. See the detailed agenda and register here.
The program will be recorded and broadcast on The Female Quotient’s social channels on Veterans Day, November 11, 2021.
Cranaleith Offering Another Women Veterans Retreat
The next retreat for women veterans presented by Cranaleith Spiritual Center is Saturday, November 20th, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Please share with any woman Veteran you know. Transportation assistance is available.
Register at https://cranaleith.org/retreats-for-women-veterans/ For more info, contact Bernadette Rudolph at 215-934-6206 or email@example.com.
SF4V invites the community to attend a Veterans Day Celebration on November 11th, 5 – 8 p.m. at the Collingswood Community Center, 30 W. Collings Ave. Collingwood, NJ. With a night full of entertainment, food, and fun, this event will be dedicated to highlighting female Veterans and celebrating their successes. SF4V will also host their own 5K fundraiser in Hainesport on November 14. Learn more here.
SF4V is a 501c3 nonprofit organization assisting Veterans to better acclimate in society. Services include job placement, certified counseling, education, housing, basic needs, supportive services, and other individual and group enrichment activities. They recently highlighted a fellow DVVC member organization, Operation Homefront, in their own newsletter, and the two organizations look forward to further collaboration on behalf of military children.
Operation Homefront is holding their Holiday Meals for Military Programs, where holiday meal kits and gift cards are distributed to eligible servicemembers. Events will be held in Cookstown, NJ, and Horsham, Carlisle, and Coraopolis, PA, on multiple dates in November and December. Eligible service members include: 1) Post 9/11 wounded, ill, or injured service member of any rank, both currently serving and those no longer serving in the military; 2) all ranks, Active Duty, Guard and Reserves, any duty status; and 3) transitioning service members within 12 months of their discharge/retirement date. To register or for more information, visit www.operationhomefront.org/events.
Topics for November include LinkedIn, Clubhouse, Interviewing, Search Tips, Self-Employment, & more! Below is a small sample of the many career education and networking events available to Veterans from the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group.
- Fridays, 9-11 a.m. – Interviewing Techniques with Les Segarnick
- Fridays, 11 a.m. to noon – Clubhouse Audio App Job Seeker Power Hour with Lynne Williams
- 11/2, 9-11 a.m. – How to Work on Your Business When You Are Too Busy to Work on Your Business with Larry Kaul
- 11/3, 6-8 p.m. – How to Use Your Intuition to Get on Your Career Path with Sharon Pastore
- 11/4, 9-11 a.m. – The Secret Shift from Finding a Job to Creating a Dream Position with Jan Barlow
- 11/8, 6-8 p.m. – Beating the Applicant Tracking System with Lynne Williams
- 11/9, 9-11 a.m. – Put Your Dream to the Test with Cherryann Joseph, Army Veteran
- 11/10, 6-7:30 p.m. – Salary Negotiation Mistakes with Jeff Altman
- 11/11, 9-11 a.m. – Career Agility: Decoding the Virtual Job Search with Marti Konstant
- 11/16, 9-11 a.m. – Navigate Intergenerational Communication Barriers During the Interview Process with Kamber Parker
- 11/22, 9-11 a.m. – How to Design Your Dream Job & Get Hired to Live It with Alanna Morton
- 11/30, 9-11 a.m. – 7 Levels of Energy with Michelle Saunders
The Chapel of Four Chaplains invites the community to help “Remember, Honor, and Teach” on Saturday, December 18, by sponsoring a wreath, volunteering, or inviting friends to help.
Wreaths Across America will be delivering wreaths to the Chapel of Four Chaplains to remember and honor Veterans through the laying of Remembrance Wreaths on the graves of fallen heroes. The Chapel is honored to join volunteer groups across the nation each year on Wreaths Across America Day and to host a service at the chapel. Service this year is at noon, at the Chapel of the Four Chaplains, 1201 Constitution Ave., Philadelphia, PA.
Deadline for ordering or sponsoring wreaths is Wednesday, November 24, at 5 p.m. Wreaths can be ordered for placement at cemetaries or for the Chapel, and are available for home delivery as well. See the website for more information.
VA Extends Gulf War Presumptives
The Department of Veteran Affairs has extended the presumptive period for qualifying chronic disabilities resulting from undiagnosed illnesses in Persian Gulf War Veterans to December 31, 2026. Prior to the extension, Persian Gulf War Veterans had to file a claim for disability compensation before the end of the 2021 calendar year. VA is extending the presumptive period for qualifying chronic disabilities of 10% or more to ensure benefits established by Congress are fairly administered.
A wide variety of symptoms can qualify a Gulf War Veteran for presumptive service-connection, Veterans who are experiencing unexplained medical issues are encouraged to file a claim.
Learn more about VA and Gulf War Veterans here.
VA and SBA Celebrate Veteran Small Business Week November 1-5
The Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) celebrate, connect, and empower aspiring and current service members, Veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouse entrepreneurs during National Veterans Small Business Week, November 1-5, 2021.
During the week, SBA and its extensive partner network celebrate the strength and resilience of the #VetBiz community by hosting events across the country and sharing information about the resources available to veteran entrepreneurs. Learn more here.
See the entire list of upcoming events, including job fairs and hours with the Small Business Administration, at https://www.va.gov/outreach-and-events/events/ And please share with the Veterans, Service Members, and Family Members you serve!
This newsletter serves DVVC member organizations by providing information to share with Veterans they serve. Member organizations can also use our LinkedIn group, www.linkedin.com/groups/12177627/, and Facebook page, www.facebook.com/dvvcorg to get the word out! Let us know how we can help!
News from the Executive Committee November 2021
Greetings to all, especially my fellow Veterans.
As Veteran’s Day approaches, and we honor all those who have served and are currently serving, I feel compelled to reach out to all of you regarding what has transpired in Afghanistan. With the mass exodus of both civilians and military, and the accompanying violence, I know the Veteran side of our personality is in turmoil.
Those of us who fought in any conflict, regardless of when or where it was, often feel a need for a result – a mission accomplished – to have closure. The way that the current conflict is ending, there seems to be no closure. Veterans are reaching out to friends, fellow Vets, and counselors for answers. My personal response is that there is only one answer: we followed the orders of our Commander-in-Chief while serving “One Nation Under God.”
We are conflicted, but we must keep in mind that we did what our Commander-in-Chief, the President of these United States, told us to do. Whether it was under George W. Bush, Barrack Obama, Donald J. Trump, or Joseph R. Biden, we carried out the orders as given.
We may feel there is no true resolution, or we may feel we did this for nothing, but we have important things to remember: we completed our mission assigned at the time, and we carried out our personal goal of serving the nation. And most especially important: we brought many of our fellow Veterans home to their families.
So, as we celebrate Veterans Day 2021, let us take a minute to reflect on what we have done throughout the history of our nation and realize that all who served – wherever, whenever, however, and for however long – are part of that noble history.
God Bless and Happy Veterans Day!
Change Management Agent /
Public Affairs Officer
Philadelphia Regional Office
Department of Veterans Affairs
5000 Wissahickon Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19144