LAS VEGAS (August 8, 2012) /PRNewswire/ — Nearly 4,000 veterans and others convened at DAV’s 91st National Convention at the Bally’s Hotel in Las Vegas, Aug. 4-7, to discuss key legislative and policy issues affecting veterans. A central discussion focused on the actions the Department of Veterans Affairs and Congress are implementing to eliminate the back log for delivering benefits to veterans and how veteran groups, like DAV, can be instrumental in this process. Vice President Joe Biden kicked off the convention by addressing attendees at the Join Opening Session on Aug. 4.
DAV also recognized and honored several individuals for their commitment and outstanding service to veterans. The honorees were:
- J.R. Martinez (Los Angeles) – Received the Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year award for his remarkable accomplishments in service to veterans, inspiring the nation, and advancing the causes of America’s veterans.
- Gary Sinise (New York) – Was honored with a special recognition for speaking out on issues affecting veterans and military men and women and his long track record of proactive support.
- Emily Hall (Annapolis, Md.) – Received the Auxiliary Member of the Year award for her contributions and dedication as an outstanding member of the Auxiliary whose efforts have enhanced the goals of DAV and community activities for veterans.
- Ellen Papadimoulis (Cleveland) – Was awarded a National Commander’s Outstanding VA Employee award in recognition of her remarkable skill in planning and directing vision and blindness rehabilitation services at the Cleveland VA medical center.
- Diane Till (St. Petersburg, Fla.) – Received a National Commander’s Outstanding VA Employee award for ensuring claims corrections are expeditiously handled and for providing excellent training opportunities for the staff at the VA veterans service station in her city.
- Reva Henderson (San Diego) – Was honored with a National Commander’s Outstanding VA Employee award for her compassion and professionalism when working with families interring their loved ones at the Fort Rosecrans-Miramar National Cemetery.
- Patricia Davis (Oak Creek, Wisc.) – Was recognized with a George H. Seal Memorial Trophy for extraordinary volunteerism – an accumulated 21,000 volunteer hours in 12 years.
- Mary Ann Keckler (Valrico, Fla.) – Received a George H. Seal Memorial Trophy for extraordinary volunteerism – an accumulated 5,700 volunteer hours in 15 years.
- Ronald Holtberg (Wilmington, N.C.) – Was recognized as the Recruiter of the Year for his diligent work in recruiting the most new members for the organization.
Other convention highlights included the election of DAV’s new National Commander, Larry A. Polzin, and the organization’s line officers and a substantial donation from Ford Motor Company of $200,000 to purchase eight new vehicles for the DAV Transportation Network and $45,000 for DAV’s youth volunteer scholarship program.
DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a non-profit organization with 1.2 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U. S. Congress in 1932. Learn more at www.dav.org