Tracking ID: UA-110059803-1


2019 Newly Elected Officers: 

Commander: Robert Gordon

Quartermaster: Shane Fender

Service Officer: Allison Brandenburgh

Trustee: Mike Merideth 

Trustee: Lee Miller


Officer Installation: Saturday April 27th 2019 at 3:30 PM

VFW Launches Campaign to Showcase Veterans #StillServing

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is proud to launch #StillServing, a campaign to bring attention to and honor the continued commitment and sacrifice of America's veterans.

The men and women who bravely defend our nation often continue to selflessly serve their communities and country in ways beyond their military service. This awareness campaign showcases how veterans continue a life of service and how their ongoing contributions are positively impacting our society.

"Veterans truly exemplify the best of America," said William "Doc" Schmitz, VFW national commander. "They are dedicated to giving of themselves, and the skills and values they develop in the military only deepen their desire to better themselves, their communities and their country through service. We are grateful for the millions of members who have made service a hallmark of the VFW and we're excited for the veterans who are joining now to carry this forward in new ways."

Building on a legacy of service that ...

Twisted X Signs on as Title Sponsor of VFW Youth Programs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is proud to announce Twisted X has signed on to become the title sponsor of its annual Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen winners' trip. Twisted X, a longtime supporter of the VFW, initially announced its $130,000 multi-year commitment while presenting a $100,000 donation at the VFW's 120th National Convention in July 2019.

"Every year, the VFW Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen winners' trip honors the top tier of our nation's civically minded youth, and we're excited to bring Twisted X on board to help ensure this treasured tradition continues," said VFW National Commander William "Doc" Schmitz.

Together, the VFW's Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen scholarship competitions have helped foster patriotism by challenging students to examine the role our military and veterans play, our nation's history, its democratic processes, and their own role in Americ...

CDW Presents 10000 Donation to the VFW

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Representatives from CDW presented a $10,000 donation on behalf of its CDW Gives program to VFW Quartermaster Debra Anderson today in support of the vital programs and services the VFW offers to our nation's service members, veterans and their families, free of charge.

"The VFW was thrilled to receive this donation, which will help us continue to serve countless military and veteran families during their times of need," said VFW National Commander William "Doc" Schmitz. "It's encouraging to work with great companies like CDW, whose dedication to honoring and giving back to our nation's military and veteran families aligns so well with our own."

CDW is a leading multi-brand technology solutions provider to business, government, education and health care customers in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. A Fortune 500 company and member of the S&P 500 Index, CDW was founded in 1984 and employs more than 9,800 workers. Its broad array of offerings range from hardware and so...

VFW Expects Apology From POTUS

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - "In light of today's announcement from the defense department that 34 U.S. service members suffered traumatic brain injuries as a result of Iran's retaliatory strike and President Trump's remarks which minimized these troops' injuries, the Veterans of Foreign Wars cannot stand idle on this matter.

TBI is a serious injury and one that cannot be taken lightly. TBI is known to cause depression, memory loss, severe headaches, dizziness and fatigue - all injuries that come with both short- and long-term effects.

The VFW expects an apology from the president to our service men and women for his misguided remarks. And, we ask that he and the White House join with us in our efforts to educate Americans of the dangers TBI has on these heroes as they protect our great nation in these trying times. Our warriors require our full support more than ever in this challenging environment." - William "Doc" Schmitz, VFW National Commander


Lawrence, Gallucci, Eshenbaugh Named to HillVets 100 Class of 2019

WASHINGTON - Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Washington Office Executive Director B.J. Lawrence, National Veterans Service Director Ryan Gallucci and VFW Department of Texas Service Officer Terry Eshenbaugh were named to the HillVets 100 Class of 2019.

"I wouldn't expect anything less from B.J. Ryan and Terry, three dedicated and committed leaders who fight and advocate for our nation's veterans," said VFW National Commander William "Doc" Schmitz. "These gentlemen are the epitome of what the VFW represents."

Lawrence and Gallucci were named to the HillVets 100 list in the Traditional Non-Profits category due to their dedication and commitment efforts to bring veterans and service members' interests to the forefront of the national dialogue.

"This is a great honor, not only for me but for the VFW and the exceptional work our employees and members do on a daily basis on Capitol Hill and in our local communities on behalf of our veterans, service members and military families," said Lawrence.


VFW Awards 154 Student Veterans with Scholarships

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Veterans of Foreign Wars is proud to announce more than 150 student veterans from around the country have been selected as 2020 spring semester recipients of the VFW's "Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship."

"Too often I meet veterans whose GI Bill education benefits have been depleted. For more than five years, we've worked together with our long-time friends at Sport Clips Haircuts to ensure our veterans are set up for success," said VFW National Commander William "Doc" Schmitz. "The VFW is proud to offer a scholarship program that keeps them from facing crippling student loan debt as their post-military life begins to take off."

Since the program's inception, the VFW and Sport Clips have awarded nearly $8 million in scholarships to more than 1,600 student veteran...

VFW, Stars and Stripes Work to Bring More News to More Veterans

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is proud to announce it has teamed up with the renowned source for military and veteran news, Stars and Stripes, to offer VFW members a 50% discount on unlimited digital access to news and information on web and mobile.

"Stars and Stripes is certainly a trusted news source that VFW members know well," said VFW National Commander William "Doc" Schmitz. "Our members are extremely busy. So we're pleased to be able to offer them quick and affordable access to news while on the go."

Stars and Stripes is the number one source of independent news and information for the U.S. military community, serving active-duty service members, veterans, DOD civilians, contractors and their families.

"From news coverage of veteran issues to informative online tools and publications, Stars and Stripes has always made our nation's veterans a top priority," said Max Lederer, Stars and Stripes publisher. "We recognize and respect the many contributions the VFW has ...

VFW, SVA Announce 2020 Student Veteran Fellowship Class

WASHINGTON - Ten Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) members and Student Veterans of America (SVA) leaders were selected for the 2020 VFW-SVA Legislative Fellowship Program Sunday at the SVA National Conference in Los Angeles, California.

The 10 fellows will now join more than 500 VFW members on Capitol Hill in early March to advocate on behalf of all veterans, service members and their families.

"The VFW prides itself on working with our student veterans nationwide to help build tomorrow's leaders," said VFW National Commander William "Doc" Schmitz.

The VFW-SVA Legislative Fellowship is a semester-long academic experience that involves researching, coordinating, reporting and advocating on behalf of one of four veterans' policy areas: student veteran success on campus and beyond, improving veteran's health care and benefits, transitioning from military to civilian life, and challenges for service members and military families.

Each selected fellow submitted a policy proposal to address one o...

VFW Bids Congressman Roe Well Wishes on His Retirement

WASHINGTON - The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) bids Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) well wishes on his retirement at the conclusion of the 116th Congress.

"Congressman Roe has been a staunch supporter of our veterans, service members, military families, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars throughout his career as both a veteran and public servant," said VFW National Commander William "Doc" Schmitz. "Today, we thank Congressman Roe and his wife, Clarinda, for their outstanding service to the state of Tennessee and our great nation. Without him, the MISSION Act, Forever GI Bill and other significant legislation may not have been achieved for our nation's heroes."...

VFW Announces Annual Publications Contest

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Veterans of Foreign Wars is now accepting submissions for its 2020 National Publications Contest. VFW publications published up to four times annually, or five or more times annually, will be judged in four categories.

The categories are:

Department-level publications:

  • Newspaper/Newsletter
    • Defined as being printed on newspaper stock.
  • Best Feature Story
    • All publications judged together in this category and submitted separately. The story must be a published article of at least 300 words. It can be originally written by your newspaper/magazine staff or by a freelance writer, or be reprinted from a newspaper within your state. Feature articles published in online/electronic newsletters, newspapers or magazines also are eligible, but must be printed in color and submitted via USPS, not email.
  • ...

VFW, Senate Leaders Key in Axing Widow's Tax in New NDAA

WASHINGTON - After a nearly half-century long fight, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and its veterans service and survivor organization partners claimed victory with the termination of the contentious and embattled Military Widow's Tax as part of the presidential signing of the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act today.

"This is a momentous victory for the more than 65,000 military spouses who endured the tragic loss of their husband or wife who paid the ultimate sacrifice," said VFW National Commander William "Doc" Schmitz. "Without these extraordinary spouses fighting in the trenches with us, the termination of the Widow's Tax may not have been possible."

Prior to today's presidential signing of the NDAA that included the Military Widow's Tax Elimination Act of 2019, recipients of both the Department of Defense Survivors Benefits Plan (SBP) and the Department of Veterans Affairs Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) faced a reduction of $1,319 - the current payout for DIC benefits. F...

VFW Hosts 60 Wounded Warriors, Families for the Aleethia Foundation's Friday Night Dinner

WASHINGTON - Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) hosted 60 wounded warriors, their families and caregivers, and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center staff Dec. 13 for the traditional Aleethia Foundation's Friday Night Dinner at The Capitol Hill Club.

"It is an honor to break bread, share stories, and be part of the healing process for these resilient service men and women," said VFW Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Hal Roesch. "It was paramount that I attend tonight's dinner and show my appreciation and admiration that the VFW has for these amazing warriors."

VFW Post 2562 Life member Hal Koster, co-owner of a local restaurant that closed in 2006, started the weekly wounded warrior dinners in October 2003 to help support wounded, ill, and injured service members and their families though the early phases of the healing process.

The Friday Night Dinners range from $4,000 to $10,000 weekly based on number of attendees and venue. In order ...

Sport Clips Haircuts' $1.25M Donation to VFW Help A Hero Scholarships Will Support Veterans' Education for Civilian Careers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Dec. 9, 2019) - A $1.25 million donation by Sport Clips Haircuts to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation will boost the impact of the Help A Hero Scholarship program that supports education for civilian careers. Sport Clips Founder and CEO Gordon Logan, who is a veteran and VFW Life member, presented the million-dollar-plus check to VFW National Commander William "Doc" Schmitz today at the VFW National Headquarters.

"There's a common misconception that GI Bill benefits and military training are enough to secure education or training for civilian occupations, but that's often not the case. For many service members, additional degrees and certifications are needed to secure sought-after post-military work. There are 165 student veterans attending colleges and certification programs right now with the aid of Help A Hero Scholarships and more than 1,450 student veterans have benefited from these scholarships since 2014. This ye...

VFW Celebrates the Service, Sacrifice of All Veterans

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - To the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Monday, November 11 means, and always will mean, more to the more than 1.6 million members of the VFW and its Auxiliary.

Veterans Day is a day of deep significance and it provides every American with the unique opportunity to not only keep alive the memories and accomplishments of every man and woman who has answered when their nation called, but to truly appreciate and understand the service and sacrifices our veterans and their families have made, and continue to make every day.

Originally established in 1919 to honor our nation's fallen World War I veterans, today Veterans Day now means honoring all who have bravely fought to preserve the freedoms and way of life we frequently take for granted.

Our nation is like no other in history, founded not on tribalism or classism, but on the rare and unique opportunity to disagree, and to worship, express oneself and live without fear of reprisal of unjust incarceration or execution. However, this fr...

VFW Witnesses Landmark Presidential Signing of the POW MIA Flag Act

WASHINGTON - Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) stood in solidarity with fellow members of the Veterans Service Organization (VSO) community as President Donald Trump signed the National POW/MIA Flag Act into law today.

"This is a historic victory for every man and woman who courageously defended this nation and remain unaccounted for," said VFW National Commander William "Doc" Schmitz. "Today's presidential signing and the daily display of the POW/MIA flag at all prominent federal properties now serves as a daily reminder that these heroes, and their families, are forever etched in our DNA."

Law now requires the POW/MIA flag to be displayed whenever the American flag is displayed on prominent federal properties, including the White House, U.S. Capitol, World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, every national cemetery, the buildings containing the official offices of the Secretaries of State, Defense, and Veterans Affairs, office of the Director of the Selective Service Syste...

VFW Donates $70,000 to Park University's Valor Medals Review Project

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander William "Doc" Schmitz presented a $70,000 donation to Park University President Dr. Greg Gunderson today in support of the university's research initiative into the awarding or denying of World War I military service medals based on racial bias.

More than 367,000 African Americans fought during World War I, yet during that time not one was awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest possible military decoration awarded by the U.S. government to those distinguished by an act of conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. Historians, scholars and researchers believe systematic racism may be to blame, thus prompting the Valor Medal Review project.

The project is being conducted by Park University's George S. Robb Centre for the Study of the Great War, the Valor Medals Review Task Force, and in conjunction with the Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars on behalf of the U.S. World Wa...

VFW Surpasses $9B in Benefits for Our Veterans Nationwide

WASHINGTON - Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Service Officers recovered more than $9 billion in benefits for veterans for the first time this past fiscal year.

VFW service officers were responsible for the recovery of a total of $9,059,726,902 for veterans, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

"This is a true testament to the dedication and service our VFW service officers have for every veteran he or she comes in contact with," said VFW National Commander William "Doc" Schmitz. "Our veterans deserve nothing but the absolute-best customer service experience that our organization has proven to deliver day-in and day-out."

This year, as part of the VFW's Century of Service, leaders issued a challenge to its Department service officers nationwide to assist as many veterans possible who required help in filing benefits and compensation claims with the VA.

"The VFW's global network of professiona...

BK® Annual Campaign Kicks Off in Support of the VFW

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Veterans of Foreign Wars is pleased to announce nearly 800 participating BURGER KING® restaurants will be raising funds throughout the month of November in support of the VFW's Unmet Needs program. BURGER KING® customers are encouraged to donate $1 or more to the program with their purchase.

"Military and veteran families can count on the VFW when their military service causes unexpected financial hardship," said VFW National Commander William "Doc" Schmitz. "But it's because of the loyal and continued support from thousands of BURGER KING® franchisees and patrons that we're able to provide those families with the vital support they need to get through the tough and trying times."

The VFW Unmet Needs program provides grants of up to $1,500 to service members and military families who experience times of financial hardship due to military service. The grants help with basic life necessi...

VFW Delivers Vietnam War Memorabilia Artifacts to Defense POWMIA Accounting Agency

WASHINGTON - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States provided six artifacts and personal effects to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency today as part of its promise to help advance the noble POW/MIA missions.
U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. (ret.) Kelly McKeague, director, Defense POW/MIA Accountability Agency, received dog tags, among other items, today at the VFW Washington Office as part of VFW's commitment to help advance the noble POW/MIA mission.
"Our VFW members, and their families, continue to answer the call in this very important effort to bring closure to those who lost loved ones during the Vietnam War," said B.J. Lawrence, executive director, VFW Washington Offi...

VFW Demands Answers from White House, VA for Delayed Decision on Additional Agent Orange Diseases

WASHINGTON - Military Times today reported that White House officials, including Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, are responsible for the delayed decision on additional Agent Orange diseases.

"In light of today's news regarding the continued delay to add four presumptive diseases to the Agent Orange list, the VFW is extremely upset and dissatisfied with the backdoor political games that are being played in Washington as the lives of our veterans are at stake," said VFW National Commander William "Doc" Schmitz. "The health and welfare of our nation's veterans should, and must, be our number one priority."

According to the story, White House officials challenged the authority of former Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin and impeded enactment of three additional health conditions to the list of diseases eligible for Agent Orange benefits. The VFW, Gratitude Initiative Collaborate to Support Military Families

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Veterans of Foreign Wars is proud to announce it is teaming up with Gratitude Initiative to provide vital support for the children of service members and veterans.

Co-founded by former Army Captain and Operations Desert Shield/Storm veteran, Lee Sechrist, Gratitude Initiative's College Success Academy program utilizes degreed counselors and an online environment to provide full-service college and career preparatory support for veteran and military children all over the world at no cost to the family.

America's military families face unique educational challenges, as children of active-duty service members are often required to relocate between six and twelve times before graduating high school. With more than 2 million military children having a parent on active duty, 66 percent struggle with academic and school-related issues.

"The VFW's more than 1.16 million members understand better than most the strains and hardship military life can put on not only service members,...

VFW Post 6786 First Site in Innovative Initiative Giving Veterans Access to VA Health Services Close to Home

Andover, Mass. and Kansas City, Mo. (October 16, 2019) - For the first time ever, U.S. veterans will be able to receive U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) health services at their local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) or American Legion (Legion) Posts through a multi-site pilot program dubbed ATLAS (Accessing Telehealth through Local Area Stations).

This first-of-its-kind telehealth initiative is the product of an alliance between the VFW, VA, global health care leader Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) and The American Legion, which allows veterans to conduct virtual appointments with their VA providers without having to travel to a distant VA regional medical facility or outpatient clinic.

"Our goal is to make sure every veteran has access to health care," said VA Secretary, Robert Wilkie. "ATLAS eliminates another health care hurdle for Veterans living in rural areas or with limited Internet access, and it's a great example of how public and private organizations can work together to solve the challenges of healt...

Getting a Haircut at Sport Clips Haircuts Now Through Veterans Day Can Help A Hero

GEORGETOWN, Texas - Getting a haircut now through Veterans Day will support service member and veteran scholarships as a part of Sport Clips Haircuts annual "Help A Hero" campaign that kicks off in stores today. The Help A Hero Scholarship program is designed to reduce the burden of college, graduate and technical school tuition often needed to pursue post-military careers and is administered by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW). The goal this year is to raise $1.5 million toward scholarships in the more than 1,800 Sport Clips Haircuts stores across the country.

In just six years, 1,450 military and student veterans have been awarded Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarships with the nearly $6.5 million donated to date by Sport Clips Haircuts, its clients and product partners. These sc...

VFW to Host Facebook Live Event with VA

KANSAS CITY, Mo.- The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is proud to team up with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Friday, Oct. 11, to bring our Facebook followers an opportunity to get their questions answered regarding the latest VA is offering to address barriers to care for rural veterans.

During the event, experts will discuss how tools and technologies, including My HealtheVet, Telehealth and Mobile technologies help deliver care to veterans. VA experts Dr. Leonie Heyworth, VA Director of Synchronous Telehealth and Dr. Thomas Klobucar, Executive Director Office of Rural Health will speak with Ryan Gallucci, VFW Director, National Veterans Service. Our experts will discuss how these technologies improve access to care and share information about future enhancements of these tools and technologies.

Participating in the event is e...

VFW Patriotic Essay Competition Deadlines Approaching

KANSAS CITY, Mo.- The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is still accepting applications for its popular Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen youth scholarship competitions, as well as its Teacher of the Year award.

Inspiring patriotism within our nation's youth has long been a top priority for the VFW, but with the Oct. 31 deadline fast approaching, time is running out to participate in this year's annual Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen student scholarship award competitions, and the Teacher of the Year award.

As one of the top student patriotic essay competitions in the nation, each year nearly 40,000 high school students compete in the VFW's Voice of Democracy...

VFW: VA Health Care Trending in Right Direction

WASHINGTON - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States this week released the results of its latest nationwide survey on the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system from the veterans' point-of-view. Now in its seventh edition, the VFW created "Our Care" in the aftermath of the nationwide crisis in access to care and confidence that enveloped the VA in 2014, and the ensuing legislative corrective actions that followed. More than 6,900 veterans participated in the latest edition, bringing the total number of "Our Care" respondents to more than 33,000 veterans from every state, territory, and the District of Columbia.

"The VFW prides itself on having the ability to take the pulse of veterans, especially in evaluating what works at the VA and what doesn't," said VFW National Commander William J. "Doc" Schmitz, of Corning, N.Y. "Veterans turn to VA for high-quality, individualized care, but there is always room for improvement, especially in the areas of access to quali...

VFW Energized Growing As It Begins Its 120th Year

KANSAS CITY, MO. - On Sept. 29, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is celebrating its 120th year as our nation's largest and most accomplished combat veterans service organization.

In 1899, in a small tailor shop in the heart of Columbus, Ohio, 13 Spanish-American War veterans allied together with a determined resolve to fight for the justly earned care and benefits our nation's warriors deserved. With no way of knowing if their mission would survive beyond their lifetimes, their perseverance ultimately paved the way for the multifaceted organization the VFW has become today.

For the past 120 years, the VFW has remained the voice for veterans on Capitol Hill where it has played a key role in nearly every piece of veterans' legislation passed since the start of the 20th century. It was the driving force behind the restoration of benefits to 100,000 Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange through the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019. It worked to expand college education benefits thro...

Wounded Warrior Project Renews VFW Service Officer Grant

WASHINGTON - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is proud to announce that Wounded Warrior Project® has renewed a service officer grant in the amount of $410,000 that will continue to help more transitioning military to receive their earned disability compensation benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. WWP has now provided grants totaling more than $2.2 million to support VFW's Pre-Discharge Claims Program, an effort that last year enabled the VFW to file thousands of claims on behalf of transitioning military servicemen and women on two dozen of America's largest military installations. Collectively, VFW's nationwide cadre of 2,100 VA-accredited service officers helped more than 525,000 veterans to secure $8.3 billion in earned disability benefits in fiscal year 2018. Membership in the VFW is not required to receive its free, professional claim...

VFW Statement on New Southern Border Initiative

WASHINGTON - The Department of Defense announced plans last week to divert $3.6 billion in military construction funds to build or replace 175 miles of southern border fencing. The reprogramming of funds will significantly delay the start or completion of 127 military construction projects, half of which are overseas. The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is monitoring the issue closely, as its senior leaders are well attuned to the housing and associated quality of life construction project needs of the military community, to include the impact that the decision may have on some 3,000 active-duty military personnel and 2,000 National Guardsmen currently deployed to the southern border in support of Department of Homeland Security officials.

While the VFW understands and supports the need to...

VFW Statement on Wolfe v. Wilkie

WASHINGTON - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is applauding the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, who in a 2-1 decision Monday, correctly ruled for the plaintiffs in Wolfe v. Wilkie. The class action lawsuit was the result of the Department of Veterans Affairs failing to fully reimburse veterans for the emergency room care they received from non-VA facilities, an issue the VFW had thought solved in 2016 when the same court ruled in favor of Staab v. Shulkin. But a report released last month by the VA Office of Inspector General found that the non-VA emergency room claims of some 17,400 veterans were denied or rejected primarily due to a VA work culture tha...

Past National Commander John A. Biedrzycki Dies at 73

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is mourning the loss of Past Commander-in-Chief John A. Biedrzycki, who passed away yesterday, August 29, 2019.

John A. Biedrzycki was elected national commander of the VFW on July 22, 2015, at the organization's 116th national convention, held in Pittsburgh, Pa.

John served in the U. S. Army from 1967 to 1970. He served in Korea as a Pay Distribution Specialist with the 7th Infantry Division. His decorations include the National Defense Service Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and Korean Defense Medal.

He joined the VFW in 1969 at Post 418 in McKees Rocks, Pa., where he was a Legacy Life member. He served in elected and appointed positions at the Post, County, District and Department (state) levels culminating with his election as Department Commander 2002-2003 in which he achieved All-American status. On the national level, John served on many committees, including Chairman of the National VFW Programs Com...

VFW Statement on U.S. Military Dependents Overseas

WASHINGTON - The Veterans of Foreign Wars is very concerned that the dependent children of U.S. service members and government employees stationed overseas, and who are also legal permanent residents of the U.S., may face difficulty returning to the United States.

The concern arose from an update published Wednesday by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that rescinds a previous policy. The main concern to VFW National Commander William "Doc" Schmitz is that the new USCIS policy specifically targets dependent children of U.S. military personnel and U.S. government employees.

"The big question is why target dependent children?" asks Schmitz. "This has a huge negative impact on the morale of those in the fight, supporting the fight, or who are projecting America's presence around the world," he said. "To intentionally target these children who are born to legal permane...

VFW, Sport Clips Haircuts Surpass $6.4 Million in Scholarships for Veterans

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Together with longtime supporter Sport Clips Haircuts, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is proud to announce its "Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship" program has surpassed awarding $6.4 million in scholarships to more than 1,450 military and student veterans. The latest fall semester award of nearly $762,000 will help to ensure 165 student veterans attending colleges across the country are one step closer to achieving their educational goals.

"Veterans transitioning from military to civilian life face a host of challenges, but together with our friends at Sport Clips we're able to ensure that struggling to finance their last semesters of college isn't one," said VFW National Commander Doc Schmitz.

Established in 2014, the Help A Hero Scholarship program awards service members and veterans with post...

VFW Members and Their Families Are on the Way to Better Hearing Health

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is proud to announce it is working to restore the sounds of life for VFW members and their families with significant savings on hearing care through its new relationship with Amplifon Hearing Health Care. This newest member benefit is one of several the VFW has recently rolled out, to help ensure its members have the best access to meaningful savings and benefits.

Currently, one in nine Americans suffer from hearing loss, and veterans are even more likely to experience hearing loss due to their military experience and exposure to situations where noise levels easily exceed the threshold where damage starts.

Amplifon is the nation's largest independent provider of hearing health care solutions with a network of over 5,700 credentialed provider locations nationwide, enabling people to obtain hearing care solutions averaging 62% off retail pricing.

"Hearing plays such a vital role in a person's daily life, and too often veterans suffer in...

Applications Open for 2020 VFW-SVA Legislative Fellowship

WASHINGTON - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and Student Veterans of America (SVA) are now accepting applications from student veterans who are interested in participating in the upcoming 2020 VFW-SVA Legislative Fellowship program. The fellowship, now in its sixth year, will bring up to 10 student veterans - who must be VFW members - to Washington early next March to meet face-to-face with their members of Congress and senior policy makers.

Student veterans interested in applying for the 2020 VFW-SVA Legislative Fellowship must complete an application package that includes a 1,500-word or less essay that proposes legislative improvements to one of the following four specific veterans' issues:

  • Student veteran success on campus and beyond;
  • Improving veteran's health care and benefits;
  • Transition from military to civilian life; or
  • Challenges for service members and military families.

The essay proposal should include a discussion of w...

New York Veteran Elected New VFW National Commander

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - William J. "Doc" Schmitz, of Corning, N.Y., has been elected the new leader of the 1.2 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, a congressionally-chartered veterans service organization comprised of eligible veterans and military service members from all five branches of the armed forces.

Schmitz's election to VFW Commander-in-Chief occurred at the conclusion of the organization's 120th national convention in Orlando, Fla., which drew approximately 10,000 veterans, and military family members.

Each year, VFW members from around the globe representing a myriad of conflicts converge at the event. Their mission during the weeklong convention is to approve new national priorities to guide the organization in its advocacy and business efforts throughout the ensuing year.

Schmitz takes office during a time of great momentum for the organization which recently announced its first increase in membership numbers in 27 years, reached a milestone achievement of more...

VFW National Convention Returns to Orlando

KANSAS CITY, Mo.- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie will be joining more than 10,000 members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and its Auxiliary at the 120th VFW National Convention as it convenes this Saturday through July 24 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. The business sessions are closed to the public, but a free, two-day weekend veterans walk-in claims clinic and four-day health fair are accessible to all veterans, service members and their families in West Hall C-WD1.

"It's been 11 years since our last national convention was held in Orlando, so it is great to be back!" exclaimed VFW National Commander B.J. Lawrence, of Alamogordo, N.M., "and we are honored to have two cabinet secretaries join us next week, as well as recognize some very deserving individuals with the VFW's highest national awards," he said.

"We hope to hear Secretary Pompeo address issues, challenges and successes as it pertains t...

VFW Snaps 27 Year Membership Decline

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The 120-year-young Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States just added almost 25,000 members to snap a 27-year decline in membership.

America's largest and oldest war veterans' organization began its new membership year earlier this month with almost 1.165 million members, a million less than its peak in 1992, yet significant nonetheless, according to VFW National Commander B.J. Lawrence, who attributes the growth to the organization being more visible on the national scene as well as in more than 6,000 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, and 11 foreign countries.

"The VFW is making a difference in the lives of countless others every day, and thanks to the power of social media and the internet, more people are taking notice and wanting to be part of our team," said Lawrence.

"The internet allows us to share our story of service to others, and social media allows us to engage not only with our members but with potential members,...

VFW Calls for Return of Vietnam War Memorabilia

WASHINGTON - In advance of this weekend's start of the 120th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States in Orlando, Fla., the VFW national commander is asking all Vietnam veterans to search through their closets and footlockers for documents that might help Vietnam to determine the fate of an estimated 300,000 missing Vietnamese, and personal effects that might help bring comfort to their families.

"It is important for the Vietnam generation to recognize that the personal connection they have with their memorabilia will not transfer to their descendants, which means such items will either be donated or simply trashed," said VFW National Commander B.J. Lawrence. "And even though it's been over a half-century for most Vietnam veterans, now is still a great time to help solidify our government's relationship with Vietnam, and to help make a difference in the lives of other families half a world away."

Lawrence said VFW senior leaders have traveled back to Vietnam every year ...

VFW Names 2019 Scout of the Year Winners

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is proud to announce the selection of the top three winners of its 2018 - 2019 Scout of the Year scholarship competition.

Enacted in 2001, the Scout of the Year competition was designed to reward eligible members of the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Venturing Crew or Sea Scouts who have risen above their peers in exemplifying standout citizenship, patriotism and love of country with college scholarships of up to $5,000.

This year's first-place winner, Elizabeth Bock, was sponsored by VFW Post 3208 in Sierra Madre, Calif. She was selected for her activism with local youth and government programs, dedication to serving others and her work advocating for women's issues and gender equality. As the first-place recipient, Elizabeth will receive a $5,000 college scholarship.

Owen Sumter, sponsored by VFW Post 9675 in Bellevue, Neb., was selected as the second-place winner for his notable community service work, his work supporting the homeless com...

VFW Announces Top Veterans Service Officer

WASHINGTON - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is proud to announce the selection of Terry "Mike" Eshenbaugh as the VFW Accredited Service Representative of the Year.

Eshenbaugh, who is employed by the Texas Veterans Commission as the VFW Department of Texas service officer, is an integral part of the VFW's worldwide network of more than 2,100 accredited service officers who last year helped more than 526,000 veterans to recoup $8.3 billion in earned disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Accredited means VA accreditation, which allows VFW Service Officers to assist and file VA claims on behalf of veterans and transitioning service members, as well as to provide representation before the Board of Veterans Appeals if needed. The support is free to all honorably discharged veterans and is a continuation of the VFW's "service to others" mission that the organization began one century ago after returning World War I veterans faced the same government neglect as the VFW's foref...

BK® Franchisees Kick Off July Fundraiser for the VFW

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW) is pleased to announce participating BURGER KING® franchisees are set to kick off their summer fundraiser to benefit the VFW's Unmet Needs program.

Starting on July 1, patrons are encouraged to visit any of the nearly 850 participating BURGER KING® restaurants located throughout 31 states and donate $1 or more to the VFW's Unmet Needs program upon checkout. Donations will be accepted until the end of the month.

Established in 2004, the Unmet Needs program assists service members and military families experiencing financial hardship by providing financial assistance grants toward basic life necessities like rent, mortgage and utility payments.

Since 2007, BURGER KING® franchisees and their customers have contributed more than $6 million to Unme...

Blue Water Navy Act Now Law!

WASHINGTON - The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is saluting the president for signing the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 into law last night.

"Tens of thousands of Blue Water Navy veterans of the Vietnam War and dependent children born with spina bifida due to a parent's toxic exposure will now benefit from this new law," exclaimed VFW National Commander B.J. Lawrence, "and the VFW is proud to have helped lead the charge to return these benefits to these deserving veterans and to expand existing benefits to dependent children. We look forward to the Department of Veterans Affairs publishing implementation guidance on their website very soon."

The VFW-championed Blue Water Navy Vietnam ...

SCOTUS Rules on Bladensburg Peace Cross

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Today, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision that the World War I memorial in the shape of a 40-foot-tall cross can continue to stand on public land in Maryland. The high court's 7-2 decision in favor of allowing the cross to stand, clarifies the fact that the mere shape of a monument does not create an "Establishment" of religion. Therefore, the nearly 100-year-old memorial will be allowed to stay on public land. The Veterans of Foreign Wars' amicus brief is cited in the opinion.

"The Supreme Court made the right call," said VFW National Commander B.J. Lawrence. "Today's decision not only protects this memorial outright, but helps to establish a precedent to protect thousands of other veterans' memorials that currently reside on federal, state or municipal land.

"My hat's off to all of the organizations that joined the VFW in filing amicus briefs concerning this case."


VFW Urges President to Quickly Sign Blue Water Navy Act

WASHINGTON - The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is urging President Trump to quickly sign into law H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, which the Senate passed this evening by unanimous consent. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the VFW-supported legislation on May 14 by a vote of 410-0.

"We salute the entire 116th Congress for ensuring that taking care of veterans remains the most bipartisan and bicameral issue in Washington," said VFW National Commander B.J. Lawrence. "We now urge the president to quickly sign the bill into law so that tens of thousands of Vietnam veterans can have their disability benefits restored, and well as an expansion of benefits to military dependents, veterans of the Korean DMZ, and those exposed to toxic hazards in Southwest Asia."

Once signed into law, H.R. 299 will restore VA benefits to thousands of so-called Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans who had their disability eligibility taken away in 2002 aft...

UNTUCKit and NASCAR's Chase Elliott Team Up to Benefit VFW

NEW YORK - UNTUCKit, one of the fastest-growing retail brands in the United States, announced today the launch of the Chase Elliott Limited-Edition Made in America Shirt to support military service members and veterans. Crafted in North Carolina, the shirt features Chase's No. 9 car mark stitched into the sail of a signature UNTUCKit button-down and will be available beginning today for $109 at

The launch of UNTUCKit's Chase Elliott Limited-Edition Made in America Shirt coincides with the industry-wide launch of the NASCAR Salutes campaign from Memorial Day through Independence Day that honors the fallen, first responders, members of the military, and their families.

In honor of the shirt's launch, UNTUCKit is making a donation to the VFW's "Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship" which The Chase Elliott Foundation will match. The Foundation is also making a separate donation to the In...

House Unanimously Passes Blue Water Navy Veterans Act!

WASHINGTON - The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is saluting the U.S. House of Representatives for unanimously passing H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019.

"The VFW salutes the united support of the entire House," said VFW National Commander B.J. Lawrence. "Your vote this evening will positively impact thousands of lives, and it once again proves that taking care of veterans and their families is a nonpartisan issue."

The VFW-supported bill now heads to the Senate. Once signed into law, H.R. 299 will restore VA benefits to thousands of so-called Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans who had their disability eligibility taken away in 2002 after regulatory changes. It will also require the VA to contact those veterans who had filed claims that were later denied. Those veterans could be eligible for retroactive benefits.

The legislation will also mark a victory for other veterans and their families who suffer from conditions related to toxi...

VFW Secures New Eye Care Benefit for Members

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is proud to announce it is again expanding its member benefit offerings by teaming up with Eyemart Express to offer members and their families a 20 percent discount on prescription eyewear including glasses and sunglasses.

For nearly 30 years, Eyemart Express has been offering unique styles and quality frames with its focus on providing affordable, quality prescription eyewear without compromise. As one of the nation's leading optical retailers, it provides shoppers with the fastest production of glasses in the industry with more than 199 stores nationwide, each equipped with in-store labs for the convenience of same-day glasses.

The VFW and Eyemart Express have made it easy for veterans to enhance their vision and their look. VFW members and their families can visi...

House VA Committee Passes Blue Water Navy Act

WASHINGTON - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is saluting the House Veterans Affairs Committee for unanimously passing H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019. The VFW-supported bill, which must still be approved by the full House and Senate before going to the president, would restore VA benefits to thousands of Vietnam veterans, expand inclusive dates to those who served along the Korean DMZ, and benefit children born with spina bifida due to a parent's exposure to Agent Orange-related herbicides in Thailand.

"The VFW salutes the bipartisan leadership of House VA Committee Chairman Mark Takano and Ranking Member Phil Roe for leading this bill through committee," said VFW National Commander B.J. Lawrence, "and for following through on their commitment to get this bill passed in the new 116th Congress."

Once passed into law, H.R. 299 will restore VA benefits to tens of thousands of so-called Blue Water Navy veterans who had their disability eligi...

Ace Hardware Honors Fallen Heroes with 1 Million American Flags

OAK BROOK, Ill. - In the true spirit of Memorial Day, Ace Hardware is once again collaborating with the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW) to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Ace Hardware is pledging to give out 1 million American flags nationwide on Saturday, May 25. Consumers are encouraged to visit participating Ace stores to receive a free 8" x 12" American flag* on May 25, while a second flag is donated to a local VFW Post to be used for marking and honoring veteran graves this Memorial Day.

"We are proud to again affirm our long-standing commitment to honoring veterans by supporting VFW Posts and local communities," said John Surane, Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer for Ace Hardware. "This Memorial Day, Ace stands with the VFW in honoring the courage of the brave men and women who have sacrificed everything for their country. We applaud the VFW for the incredible support...