DAV Magazine March/April 2018 : Page 27

“Advocacy is not a spectator sport.” —Al Labelle, Benefits Protection Team Leader, DAV Department of Wisconsin, 2017–2018 Interim Legislation Committee Chairman their local area as well,” said Jim Procunier, a DAV National Interim Legislation Committee member (2017–2018). “Every benefit, every dollar spent for veterans programs, begins as an idea that becomes law. That’s why I became involved with the legislative process years ago. DAV members need to take their ideas and turn them into resolutions so we can champion them.” A toolkit is available for anyone looking for a more effective way to discuss veterans’ issues with their legislators. It contains educational materials on the legislative process as well as resources to help prepare volunteers for advocacy on every level. Having a unified approach to advocacy puts the strength of DAV’s more than 1 million members and supporters behind every action taken in Washington. It is an important time to strengthen our advocacy efforts so VA health care reform is done in the best interest of veterans, existing benefits are protected, and future benefits are developed in line with what matters to those who have served. “I want to thank every Benefits Protection Team leader we currently have in the program,” added Ilem. “We created this movement to ensure threats to veterans health care and benefits are taken seriously, and that lawmakers and the general public know we won’t back down. Because of our tireless advocates sounding the alarm at all levels of government across the country, we’re being heard and change is happening.” “The covenant between the government and veterans is sacred,” said Labelle. “It begins on the first day of enlistment and lasts throughout the course of a veteran’s life. The role of all advocates is to see that this covenant is upheld by Congress and the administration. The main reason I have taken on this role is to see the sacrifices made by the men and women who served is properly honored.” ■ Learn More Online Go to dav.org/grassroots to access the Benefits Protection Team toolkit and to get involved with DAV’s advocacy mission. DAV National Interim Legislation Committee and advisers meet at DAV’s National Service and Legislative Headquarters in Washington, D.C., to discuss implementation of the Benefits Protection Team program. Clockwise from left: Joe Violante, Jim Procunier, Al Labelle, Joy Ilem, Richard DiGloria, Laird Culver and LeRoy Acosta. DAV.ORG | FACEBOOK.COM/DAV | @DAVHQ | @DAVHQ 27

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