THE ROAD AHEAD
Stephen “Butch” Whitehead, DAV National Commander, reflects on THE ROAD AHEAD… “One year ago, many of us were excited for the year ahead. Planning and preparation for events like DAV’s centennial celebration, national convention and National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic were in full force as the organization was hyper focused on and dedicated to ensuring it properly celebrated 100 years of service to America’s disabled veterans and their families. But then, seemingly as quickly as we turned the page into 2020, our country was blindsided by COVID-19. At the time, we had no clue this pandemic would force us all to dramatically change how we interact for the foreseeable future. We had little idea that the cancellation of small local gatherings and events would spiral to schools and businesses closing their doors nationwide. And we certainly could not predict that more than 200,000 Americans would die and millions more would be unemployed as a result of the virus. To say 2020 has been a challenging year for our nation is an understatement. Now, as we enter this holiday season and prepare for 2021, many of us are taking stock of all that was lost this past year. But it’s also important to remember what we’ve gained, and for me, that’s plain to see: Increased appreciation for the men and women who make DAV the nation’s premier veterans service organization. Appreciation for those who worked behind the scenes to set up and promote DAV’s COVID-19 Unemployment Relief Fund so we could provide financial assistance to disabled veterans who lost employment in the wake of the virus’s outbreak. Appreciation for the many generous Americans who donated to the COVID-19 Relief Fund. Appreciation for our dedicated service officers who work on the front lines of our disaster relief efforts and continue to provide no-cost services to disabled veterans in need every day. Appreciation for our many volunteers, including Transportation Network drivers, who remain dedicated to serving veterans in the midst of this pandemic. Appreciation for an employment program that seamlessly converted our in-person career fairs to virtual events nationwide to keep veterans connected with employers. Appreciation for corporate partners like Ford Motor Co., who donated more than 1 million face masks to be distributed to DAV’s service offices, VA medical centers and our separate headquarters to protect veterans, their caregivers, volunteers and staff working to support the men and women who served. The list goes on much longer than we have room to print on this page, but I want to leave you with what I’m most appreciative of: your effort and dedication. Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for your service to this nation. And thank you for your service to each other. Stay safe and Gold Bless America.