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A shared responsibility.

Day in and day out, thousands of DAV volunteers are doing their part to bring light into the lives of this nation's injured and ill veterans and their families. It's all part of our mission of service and hope that took root in the grim aftermath of World War I and continues to grow and flourish today.

Whether it's providing transportation or visiting patients in a VA hospital, or simply doing whatever they can to improve the quality of life for veterans in their communities, DAV volunteers are special people who have answered a calling to give generously of their time, their energies and their compassion to America's veterans.

And while we're extremely proud of our volunteers, we also commend the dedication and commitment of our partners at the VA for their service to veterans and their families. From the caring staffs at VA medical centers and clinics, to the claims adjudicators working hard to deliver our earned benefits, to those who provide dignified funeral services for us and our families, they all share the mission to fulfill our promises to the men and women who served.

The National Commander's Awards Program honors an outstanding individual within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) and the National Cemetery Administration (NCA). This awards program provides DAV an opportunity to nationally and locally recognize individuals within the VHA, VBA and NCA who perform outstanding work on behalf of America's veterans and their families. It is also a way for DAV to thank each of them. Each year our Departments and National Service Offices nominate deserving candidates from each of these administrations.

Nominees are selected based on several factors, including their exemplary accomplishments and the positive impact of their services. Also considered is their ability to motivate others in the VA to follow their example.

Just imagine if everyone who works for the VA were as praiseworthy, what a difference it would make for all of us and our loved ones. The National Commander's Awards Program not only rewards outstanding achievement, it encourages others in the VA to strive for self-improvement. That, in turn, serves as an incentive for greater accountability throughout the system.

We do not always see eye to eye on every issue, but DAV and the VA must continue working together for the benefit of veterans and their families.

Veterans, especially those with illnesses and injuries linked to their military service, must overcome many obstacles in making the transition to civilian life. DAV and the VA are partners in helping them gain a sense of normalcy so they can live high-quality lives with dignity and respect. Ensuring they can access programs and services that address their overall health and well-being is a responsibility we share.

As a strong and influential advocate for the men and women who made the greatest commitment to our country one can make, rest assured DAV will continue working as partners with the VA--while demanding accuracy and accountability--to ensure our government does what is right by our nation's veterans.



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Title Annotation:COMMENTARY; Disabled American Veterans volunteers
Author:Wilson, Arthur H.
Publication:DAV Magazine
Article Type:Viewpoint essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2013
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