As one of America’s fore­most vet­er­ans ser­vice orga­ni­za­tions, AMVETS (or Amer­i­can Vet­er­ans) has a proud his­tory of assist­ing vet­er­ans and spon­sor­ing numer­ous pro­grams that serve our coun­try and its cit­i­zens. The help­ing hand that AMVETS extends to vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies takes many forms.

One of the most vis­i­ble is our net­work of trained national ser­vice offi­cers (NSOs) accred­ited by the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Affairs. Funded by the AMVETS National Ser­vice Foun­da­tion, these ded­i­cated men and women can be found in close to 40 states, pro­vid­ing sound advice and prompt action on com­pen­sa­tion claims at no charge to the veteran.

In one recent year alone, AMVETS national ser­vice offi­cers processed more than 24,000 claims that resulted in vet­er­ans receiv­ing some $400 mil­lion in com­pen­sa­tion. This com­mit­ment to ser­vice traces its roots back to 1948, when our NSOs first began help­ing vet­er­ans of World War II to obtain the ben­e­fits promised them by the fed­eral government.

Since then, the orig­i­nal char­ter has been amended sev­eral times to admit as mem­bers those who served in dif­fer­ent eras. Today, mem­ber­ship in AMVETS is open to any­one who is cur­rently serv­ing, or who has hon­or­ably served, in the U.S. Armed Forces from World War II to the present, to include the National Guard and Reserves.

As a volunteer-led orga­ni­za­tion, we annu­ally elect and/or appoint offi­cers at the national, dis­trict, depart­ment and post lev­els. Each August, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from these lev­els attend the AMVETS national con­ven­tion to make deci­sions on issues affect­ing vet­er­ans and the organization.

Over the years, AMVETS has been in the fore­front of public-policy related to national defense, ser­vices for home­less vet­er­ans, ade­quate fund­ing for the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Affairs, con­cur­rent receipt of retire­ment pay and dis­abil­ity com­pen­sa­tion by dis­abled mil­i­tary retirees, vet­er­ans employ­ment and train­ing,POW/MIA account­abil­ity and flag protection.

But help­ing oth­ers is not lim­ited to our fel­low vet­er­ans. AMVETS mem­bers in more than 1,400 posts nation­wide also pro­mote and sup­port “qual­ity of life” community-service pro­grams rang­ing from Spe­cial Olympics and ROTC to scout­ing and organ-donor projects.

Apart from these ini­tia­tives, the orga­ni­za­tion has thrown its mon­e­tary sup­port behind work on such national mon­u­ments as the USS. Ari­zona, the Statue of Lib­erty and the Viet­nam Vet­er­ans Memo­r­ial. It also spon­sors its own car­il­lon pro­gram to honor America’s deceased ser­vice­men and women. Since 1949, when Pres­i­dent Tru­man ded­i­cated the first car­il­lon at Arling­ton National Ceme­tery, this pro­gram has grown to encom­pass more than 60 sites in the United States and overseas.

As the orga­ni­za­tion moves fur­ther into the 21st cen­tury, it does so with the con­vic­tion that its focus on pre­serv­ing free­dom, sup­port­ing America’s defend­ers and serv­ing her com­mu­ni­ties remains a clear blue­print for con­tin­ued ser­vice to God and country.