Disabled American Veterans helping out

2 Aug 2003 | Lance Cpl. Thomas J. Hermesman

For many combat veterans, going to war means coming home a different person. For some, that means losing a limb; for others the mental images of war are always a blink away. For those that are injured or permanently disabled, there is help.

Following World War I, the government was under funded and unable to keep up with the need to supply jobs and provisions for service members. It was in this situation that disabled veterans in need of both social help and funds joined together to raise money and create jobs for their fellow men.

In 1920, Capt. Robert S. Marx played an instrumental role in creating the Disabled American Veterans of the World War. A year later he called a group of disabled veterans from around the country. The group of 250 veterans met in Cincinnati and created the national organization, which was then divided into state and local chapters.

Staying true to their commitment to building better lives for disabled veterans and their families, Disabled American Veterans has become one of the finest veteran’s service organizations in the world, said Jason Keough, the Jacksonville Chapter 16 commander.

Some of the many services that DAV offers are the Homeless Veterans Initiative, Transition Service Program, the Service Outreach Programs, Disaster Relief Programs and the DAV’s Claim Representative Services before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

DAV’s Transition Service Program is designed specifically designed to help enlisted service members move from military life back into civilian life. This program allows DAV professionals to host pre-discharge assistance briefings and correct service member’s military records.

“DAV helps the wounded warriors with the more pressing matters in their lives,” said Jason Keough the Jacksonville Chapter 16 commander, who is a disabled veteran himself. “We also help with the normal paperwork and issues that appear.

“We help the service members review their VA package and show them what to look for when filing paperwork. Our service officers help them to review and get the benefits that they deserve, and make sure they are covered when they get out.”

Service and Outreach Programs are also offered to educate disabled veterans and their families on specific Veterans benefits and services.

“I would say that we are probably the best veteran service center in Jacksonville. Day in and day out volunteers transport veterans to and from VA hospitals as far away as Durham,” said Keough.

Claim representatives for the DAV are trained to help veterans and their families file claims for VA disability compensation, rehabilitation and educations programs, pensions, death benefits, employment and training programs, and many other programs.

“Honestly we do what the veteran wants us to do, it is our job to go through their records with them and fix mistakes if there are any, and get them the benefits that they need,” explained Keough.

DAV is always looking for volunteers to help them in their effort to serve all those who serve. To help or volunteer with the DAV please call the Jacksonville Chapter 16 at 455-3400 for more information.