FEVER, COUGH, & SHORTNESS OF BREATH? CALL FIRST!

A Reminder to Minnesota Veterans…. If you have these symptoms: Fever 101 F or above,  cough, and shortness of breath The VA Health Care System asks that you call FIRST if feeling ill:

Minneapolis: 612-467-1100

Fargo: 701-239-3700 extension 2319

St. Cloud: 320-252-1670 or 800-247-1739

Sioux Falls: 605-336-3230 or 605-336-5001

The medical staff will advise you on next steps based on your symptoms. In a medical emergency, call 911.

NATIONAL VIETNAM WAR VETERANS DAY

National Vietnam War Veterans Day on March 29 honors the men and women who served and sacrificed during the longest conflict in United States history.

On March 29, 1973, combat and combat support units withdrew from South Vietnam. Generations later, Veterans of this time period are gaining the respect that was not so freely given upon their return. Involving five U.S. presidents, crossing nearly two decades and 500,000 U.S.military personnel, it left an indelible mark on the American psyche.

Returning veterans did not always receive respectful welcomes upon their arrival on American soil. Over 58,000 killed, never to return. The observance recognizes the military service of these men and women who answered the call to serve their country when she needed them. They didn’t make the decisions to go to war.

Throughout the observance, we recognize the service and duty rendered by all servicemen and women of this era.

NATIONAL VIETNAM WAR VETERANS DAY HISTORY

U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., introduced legislation in 2017 to honor Vietnam Veterans with a day on the anniversary of the withdrawal of military units from South Vietnam.  President Donald Trump signed the Vietnam War Veterans Day Act on March 28, 2017, calling for U.S. flags to be flown on March 29 for those who served.

MN DAV ANOKA CHAPTER 39 MEETING AND EVENTS UPDATE

Following the guidelines by National and Minnesota DAV, Anoka Chapter 39 and Auxiliary Unit 39 will NOT be holding an April meeting.  MN DAV Chapter 39 officer elections will be postponed until May 14 (pending Coronavirus health status). The Department Convention on May 7th has been rescheduled for June 26.  It will only be a one-day convention.  Details are in the making.  The first clothing drive scheduled for April 25 & 26 at Cub Food in Coon Rapids is tentatively still a “go.”  If not, volunteers will be notified by phone call of change.  Veterans Day on Hill has been cancelled.  We are hoping everyone is safe, staying healthy and abiding by the Governor’s COVID-19 guidelines.

UPDATE FROM MN DAV ADJUTANT TRENT DILKS, MARCH 26, 2020

Dear DAV MN members…

I want to briefly provide you with an update on how your Department Headquarters is working to address the concerns arising from the current situation with COVID-19. We are receiving regular communication from DAV National, and monitoring all of the advice from the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health. We will make the best decisions possible, with the available information.

Below are specific updates:

DAV MN HQ Office
At this time, the DAV MN HQ office located in the State Veterans Service Building will be closed as of Friday Midnight.  The HQ staff will be working remotely and will be reachable thru email.  If you have any questions please email admin@davmn.org and your email will be directed to the appropriate person.

DAV MN Pick Up Service
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 mitigation efforts and the resulting Governor’s executive order for all Minnesota residents with “nonessential” occupations to shelter in place, the DAV of Minnesota will be temporarily suspending our metro residential pickup service effective March 23, 2020 throughout the shelter in place order. We hope to resume our collection activities as soon as conditions allow. Please check back with us periodically throughout the month of April as new information comes available. We truly appreciate the support and advocacy we have received and express our heartfelt gratitude for the continued support for the DAV of Minnesota and the Minnesota Veterans, their dependents and survivors we serve. The DAV of Minnesota sincerely wishes health and safety to all during these unprecedented and unfortunate times.

DAV MN Transportation
Minnesota Governor Walz ordered a Shelter in Place order last night going into effect Friday evening March 27th. Guidance has been left up to the Directors and upper management team of each VA facility. This means there are differences in how each VA is limiting/restricting our transportation programs. So far, Fargo VA has shut down transportation as a whole. We are looking for guidance at this time if that is just to the Fargo VA hospital or to any appointment. Minneapolis has restricted the number of riders in a vehicle, has canceled/rescheduled all non urgent appointments and moved many appointments to telehealth and restricted the number of Veterans allowed in clinic at one time. St. Cloud has canceled/rescheduled all Optical and Audiology appointments, postponed and surgeries and are encouraging Veterans to reschedule non essential appointments or utilize a telehealth option however they have not at this time mandated this change for many of their mental health appointments and other departments such as podiatry.

We will give rides to emergent appointments (dialysis, INR lab draws, essential imaging  ect) as long as we have volunteer drivers willing to do so and have not been grounded by our VAs.

DAV MN National Service Office
Currently the Office is closed until further notice and all Service Officers will be working remotely for the safety of the veteran population and ourselves. The only way to make contact with the NSOs is through our corporate email at dav.vbaspl@va.gov or through our National NSO locator at www.benefitsquestions.org.

DAV MN Convention 2020
Convention 2020 has been POSTPONED.  As of now, we are planning a 1 day event on Friday June 26th.  This will be to conduct mandatory business only.  Members seeking higher office, the application is available on our website and details on meeting with the Nominating Committee PRIOR to June 26 will be shared at a later date.  For those members that made hotel reservations UNDER our DAV Block for May, these reservations will be cancelled by the hotel.  Please do not call the hotel at this time as their staff is overloaded. 

Chapter Meetings/Elections
I have been getting more questions about holding Chapter meetings. There is guidance from CDC discouraging groups of 10 or more from gathering, especially if the space will not allow for the proper “social distancing”. It is ok to cancel/postpone meetings.

These are uncharted waters for all of us and we all have to make the best decision we can with the best interest of our families, community, and members in the forefront of our mind. I know many chapters are looking at upcoming elections, please know we will work with you when things settle down to resolve any and all issues. Currently, the guidance is if you can not safely hold a scheduled election, your current line will continue until you can meet again.

Please know we will keep you posted as things change and your Dept. Staff and Executive Committee continue to work for you and to navigate these trying times. I encourage you to reach out if you need anything. Clothing Collection Operations
As of today (3/16/2020), we are not aware of any specific changes to our clothing program fundraiser due to the COVID 19 situation. However, as new information comes available conditions seem to be changing quickly. We are working on contingency plans for several different scenarios (just in case) and we will keep Chapter and Department Leadership updated with any changes to the best of our abilities. 

DAV MN Donor Connect Program
Effective immediately, we have decided to suspend the MN DAV Donor Connect Program until further notice. This means we will not accept Durable Medical Equipment donations nor will we assist in the disbursement of medical equipment we have on our current inventory dated Feb 24, 2020. 

DAV MN Hog Hunt POSTPONED

Disabled Veteran Turkey Hunt at Camp Ripley CANCELLED

Veterans Day on the Hill 2020
The COVID-19 virus has caused disruptions that limit gatherings throughout the state and nation. Current federal and state guidance requires that the scheduled “Veterans Day On The Hill 2020” pre-event lunch, march and capitol rotunda rally will not convene in-person as scheduled on April 20, 2020. I strongly encourage you to immediately contact transportation companies you may have made arrangements with to let them know the event has been cancelled.

Parting Message
The Disabled Americans Veterans of Minnesota has an important mission, and it is entirely possible that at a time like this we may be called on to help our Disabled Veterans in new ways. During this time please keep in mind the Veterans who may be struggling in your communities as schools close, workplaces shut down, and elderly Veterans face possible shortages. Our Chapter’s are the best positioned to help these Veterans immediately, as new challenges arise.

COVID-19 AND MN DAV ACTIVITIES AS OF MARCH 10, 2020

Dear DAV MN Members…
I want to briefly provide you with an update on how your Department Headquarters is working to address the concerns arising from the current situation with COVID-19. We are receiving regular communication from DAV National, and monitoring all of the advice from the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health. We will make the best decisions possible, with the available information.

Below are specific updates:
DAV MN Convention 2020
Convention 2020 has been POSTPONED. As of now, we are planning a 1 day event on Friday June 26th. This will be to conduct mandatory business only. Members seeking higher office, the application is available on our website and details on meeting with the Nominating Committee PRIOR to June 26 will be shared at a later date. For those members that made hotel reservations UNDER our DAV Block for May, these reservations will be cancelled by the hotel. Please do not call the hotel at this time as their staff is overloaded.

Chapter Meetings/Elections
I have been getting more questions about holding Chapter meetings. There is guidance from CDC discouraging groups of 10 or more from gathering, especially if the space will not allow for the proper “social distancing”. It is ok to cancel/postpone meetings.

These are uncharted waters for all of us and we all have to make the best decision we can with the best interest of our families, community, and members in the forefront of our mind. I know many chapters are looking at upcoming elections, please know we will work with you when things settle down to resolve any and all issues. Currently, the guidance is if you can not safely hold a scheduled election, your current line will continue until you can meet again.

Please know we will keep you posted as things change and your Dept. Staff and Executive Committee continue to work for you and to navigate these trying times. I encourage you to reach out if you need anything.

Clothing Collection Operations
As of today (3/16/2020), we are not aware of any specific changes to our clothing program fundraiser due to the COVID 19 situation. However, as new information comes available conditions seem to be changing quickly. We are working on contingency plans for several different scenarios (just in case) and we will keep Chapter and Department Leadership updated with any changes to the best of our abilities.

DAV MN Donor Connect Program
Effective immediately, we have decided to suspend the MN DAV Donor Connect Program until further notice. This means we will not accept Durable Medical Equipment donations nor will we assist in the disbursement of medical equipment we have on our current inventory dated Feb 24, 2020.

DAV MN Hog Hunt POSTPONED

Disabled Veteran Turkey Hunt at Camp Ripley CANCELLED

DAV MN HQ Office
At this time, the DAV MN HQ office located in the State Veterans Service Building is open with minimal staff. Please do not visit the office if there isn’t an immediate need. Alex the Department Service officer and the National Service office are only available thru phone calls. They are not seeing veterans in their offices at this time.

Veterans Day on the Hill 2020
The COVID-19 virus has caused disruptions that limit gatherings throughout the state and nation. Current federal and state guidance requires that the scheduled “Veterans Day On The Hill 2020” pre-event lunch, march and capitol rotunda rally will not convene in-person as scheduled on April 20, 2020.

I strongly encourage you to immediately contact transportation companies you may have made arrangements with to let them know the event has been cancelled.

Parting Message
The Disabled Americans Veterans of Minnesota has an important mission, and it is entirely possible that at a time like this we may be called on to help our Disabled Veterans in new ways. During this time please keep in mind the Veterans who may be struggling in your communities as schools close, workplaces shut down, and elderly Veterans face possible shortages. Our Chapter’s are the best positioned to help these Veterans immediately, as new challenges arise.
Regards,
Trent C Dilks
Department Adjutant Disabled American Veterans, Dept. of Minnesota

PERSONALIZED BLANKETS HONOR VETERANS #100ActsOfHonor

Marty Kampa, Lisa Miller, Bill Gordon, Ken Plant and Scott Berndt have all volunteered their time to provide personalized blankets to more than 3 dozen Veterans now living in nursing homes and assisted living communities in January and February 2020.  Lisa Miller heads up the MN Anoka Chapter 39’s blanket presentation program which is planned to continue throughout DAV’s Centennial Celebration challenging us all (individuals, companies, schools, clubs, our chapters and members, as well as our fellow organizations) to conduct 100 Acts of Honor in the name of veterans. #100ActsOfHonor

VA SUSPENDS VISITATION TO NURSING HOMES

VA suspends visitation to nursing homes, spinal cord centers amid spread of coronavirus…The Department of Veterans Affairs has banned virtually all visitors from its nursing homes and spinal cord injury centers to protect its most vulnerable patients as coronavirus cases increase across the country. “While the [coronavirus] risk to average Americans remains low, these common-sense measures will help protect some of our most vulnerable patients,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said Tuesday in a statement. “VA will make every effort to minimize the impact of these policies on veterans while putting patient safety first.” The VA announced all of its 134 nursing homes, which are home to more than 41,000 veterans, adopted a “no visitor” stance, meaning no outside visitors are permitted to see patients, according to the department. The only exception will be when veterans are in the last stages of life, at which time visitors will be limited to the patient’s room. VA’s 24 major spinal cord injury and disorder centers serve 24,000 veterans, whom the agency considers vulnerable to infection. These centers also are barring visitors but will have the same exception in the case of the veteran approaching the end of his or her life. All spinal facilities will avoid inpatient admittance for routine care and exams and will be directing those patients to outpatient care. VA has the largest health care network in the country, tasked with caring for more than 9 million service members and veterans. Dozens of VA hospitals from across the country have been cracking down on visitations to quell the threat of a coronavirus outbreak in the department’s facilities. More than half of VA patients are older than 65, which is an especially vulnerable population to the disease. The department has at least six coronavirus patients in its care, with five of them waiting for official confirmation, a VA official said Tuesday. The single confirmed case is being treated as a patient at the VA in Palo Alto, Calif. Two others who tested positive but have not been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are at the VA Southern Nevada Health Care System in Las Vegas and the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System in New Orleans. The remaining three patients are quarantined at home after testing positive at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center in Denver and the VA Portland Health Care System in Oregon. The number of cases of the virus in the United States now stands at 761 with 27 deaths, according to the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The VA urges veterans who think they are infected to call their health care provider before showing up at a hospital.

MARCH BAGGING FUND-RAISER CANCELLED

MN DAV Anoka Chapter & Unit 39 Bagging Fund-Raiser planned at Country Market in Andover on Wed., March 25 has been cancelled. To lower the possibility of spreading COVID-19 in a public setting other planned events may also be cancelled.  Stay updated to minimize the spread of COVID-19 by visitinng https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/index.html

NOMINATION OF OFFICERS OPEN AT MARCH 12th MEETING

Nomination for officers will be open at the MN DAV Anoka Chapter 39 meeting to be held on Thurs., March 12, from 6:30 – 7:30 PM at the VFW, 1919 Coon Rapids Blvd., Coon Rapids, MN 55433.   Election of officers will be conducted at the April meeting.  Congratulations to the Auxiliary Unit 39’s newly elected officers to include Dorothy Hegna, Unit commander.