|Disabled American Veterans (DAV) representatives
explained the scope of their state and local programs during a
Disability Employment Awareness Month luncheon Oct. 25 at Fort McCoy.
Sue Bickford, Army Reserve Equal Employment Office Director at Fort
McCoy, said as a Soldier who served a tour of duty in Iraq she
encountered many Soldiers who would need those services when they
returned from duty. DAV representatives were invited to the luncheon to
present programs available to disabled veterans and their Families.
A Fort McCoy audience listens to a presentation about the
Disabled American Veterans Program at an Oct. 25 luncheon.
(Photo by Anita Johnson)
Although Bickford served in Operation New Dawn, which occurred after
the combat in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Soldiers were injured through
accidents or training.
“DAV was there for them when they got back,” Bickford said. “They help
disabled veterans get access to the resources available to help them.”
Bickford said she appreciated the services DAV offers.
John Fredrickson, DAV Wisconsin commander, said the national
organization traces its origination to World War I veterans ensuring
every disabled veteran of that conflict received their earned benefits.
The DAV is celebrating 92 years of existence.
“Today, the DAV builds better lives for disabled veterans and their
Families,” Fredrickson said. “We help ensure they get the benefits they
are entitled to and represent their interests (throughout the political
process at both federal and local levels).”
DAV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that does not receive
government funding. Fredrickson said all DAV services are provided free
to disabled veterans through donations and by volunteers.
The services include free counseling to disabled veterans to help them
navigate the federal benefits process and other benefits available
through the government, he said.
Past Commander Roger Dorman spoke about the DAV van transportation
program that ensures disabled veterans have transportation available.
Volunteer drivers are available at Veterans Affairs Medical Centers
(VAMC) to transport disabled veterans to their medical appointments.
DAV also provides services such as educational assistance to disabled
veterans. For more information about federal DAV benefits, visit the
website www.dva.org. The organization is accredited by the Better
Business Bureau of America (bbb.org/charity).
Charles Geszvain, the Monroe County Chapter 27 DAV commander who
represents Fort McCoy, said the county organization was celebrating its
75th anniversary. The organization holds fundraisers, and members serve
as volunteers at various county events, such as the Tractor Pull, to
raise funds to support veterans, Geszvain said. This includes helping to
support transportation needs of veterans being served through the Tomah
VAMC. The group also supports local organizations, such as Boys and
Girls Clubs and the Tomah Police Department, in special events they
Curtis Gibeaut Sr., district commander, talked about the National
Service Office, which files veterans claims for disability, schooling
and other programs for those returning to the state after duty
supporting deployment operations.
The NSO, which opens and appeals claims for veterans at no charge, can
be contacted at 414-902-5736.
For more information about the chapter, including meeting times, contact
Gibeaut at 545 Mill St., Tomah, WI 54660, call him at 608-387-3388
(608-567-0217), or send e-mail to
Garrison Commander Col. Steven W. Nott lauded the DAV as a powerful and
professional organization that represents veterans very well. It serves
disabled veterans, who are an important part of the Fort McCoy
In honor of their work, Nott presented the DAV representatives with a
special certificate that is the equivalent of an Army Achievement Medal.
The Army Reserve EEO sponsored the Disability Awareness Month luncheon
program. For more information, call 608-388-3107.