Disabled veterans have an advocate, someone in their corner to support and help them and their family members, explained Donald Spencer Jr., senior vice commander for the Disabled American Veterans, chapter 46. The Hinesville DAV is by the Health Department on East Oglethorpe Highway.
“We help disabled vets and their families with their claims for VA compensation,” Spencer said. “We like to say, ‘We’ll fight for you.’”
He said the group of disabled veterans his organization works hardest to help is homeless disabled veterans. Spencer said the words “homeless” and “veteran” should never be found in the same sentence. However, he said there are more than 30 homeless veterans in Liberty County.
“We refer homeless veterans to other agencies like Project Homeless, Manna House to get them the help they need,” he said. “Our No. 1 goal is to provide veterans — especially disabled veterans and their families — the best possible service.”
In addition to helping veterans with disability compensation claims, Spencer said one of the services his DAV chapter provides is transportation to medical appointments in Savannah, Brunswick and Dublin.
“If they’ll just give us 10 days notice, we’ll take vets to their appointments and come back to pick them up,” he said. “If they have an appointment at the VA medical center in Charleston, we’ll take them to the Savannah clinic, where they can catch the shuttle bus to Charleston. Then we’ll come back to Savannah to get them.”
He said their chapter held a successful “forget-me-not” fundraiser Aug. 4, and it’s planning a membership drive Sept. 15. That event will include a cookout in the Walmart parking lot, he said.
According to www.dav.org, the DAV is a nonprofit organization with 1.2 million members that is dedicated to building better lives for disabled veterans and their families.
The DAV was founded in 1920 by disabled veterans returning from World War I. It was given a congressional charter in 1932, thus becoming the nation’s “voice” for disabled veterans.
Today, the DAV is made up exclusively of disabled veterans. The disabled vets provide free, professional assistance to other veterans and their families applying to the VA and other government agencies for benefits and services they earned through military service.
“We would like to get more disabled veterans to join the DAV,” Spencer said. “We’re asking disabled vets and family members to please come out to the membership drive next month and find out what the DAV can do to help them.”