Advocating on behalf of veterans

17 years ago

To the editor:
Yesterday, I sat in the last Maine Veterans Coalition Committee (MVCC) meeting prior to the summer break, and noticed that the attendees are dwindling; perhaps due to the advent of spring; perhaps due to old age and illness.  This extremely dedicated and loyal group of veterans represents virtually every Veteran Service Organization in Maine. Attendees are members of the Marine Corps League, AMVETS, VFW, DAV, Jewish War Vets, Viet Nam Veterans of America, American Legion, Korean War Veterans, Women Veterans, and others. The major goal of this organization is to establish one united voice in their advocacy for the men and women serving in the military today. It suddenly dawned on me that the benefits that I receive today as a career-retired veteran, was due to the advocacy of the veterans that served before me. My VA benefits, my healthcare benefits, pay increases, pension benefits, PX and Commissary privileges, use of military lodging, free use of military fitness centers all came from veteran service organizations like the ones I mentioned earlier.
It is a disappointing reality that people my age and younger, are not joining these organizations in the numbers of our parents and grandparents. I fear that lesser numbers will result in less advocacy. National Guard and Reserve Commanders, I urge you to encourage your service members to join any or all the veteran service organization to which they are eligible so that they can continue to advocate on behalf of present and future veterans.

Ray Nagel, LTC (Ret)
CEO Maine Veterans Homes