KANSAS CITY, Missouri— Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough is one of many speakers who will join more than 10,000 members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and its auxiliaries at the VFW’s 123rd National Convention, which will will meet Saturday through July 21 at the Kansas City Convention. Downtown Kansas City, Missouri.
“It feels so good to have a full National Convention again,” said VFW National Commander Matthew “Fritz” Mihelcic. “For the past two years, we have had to either cancel or change our plans for our annual gathering. Although we were able to conduct VFW business last year, we were unable to invite distinguished speakers or honor individuals with the highest national VFW awards – key elements who make our national convention such a significant event year after year. ”
The list of guest speakers and honorees includes Missouri Governor Mike Parson; Vice Minister of Taiwan Veterans Council Wu, Chih-Yang; inspirational speaker, former US Army Master Sgt. Travis Mills; and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Army Gen. (Retired) Martin Dempsey, who will receive the VFW Distinguished Service Award on Monday. For Secretary McDonough, this will be the first time he has appeared in person to address the assembly.
“Our members look forward to hearing from Secretary McDonough on some of the critical issues that veterans are concerned about, such as workload and improving claims wait times, laying out a way forward for VA medical infrastructure and facilities, advances in life-saving healthcare. , the presumptive conditions related to toxic exposure and how it will implement the SFC Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022.” says Mihelcic. “Not only are these talking points within today’s veteran community, but they are also on the minds of service members and their families as they prepare to transition to civilian life. .”
The 10,000 VFW delegates and VFW auxiliaries represent the organization’s total membership of over 1.5 million at the week-long convention. Their mission will be to approve new national priorities to guide the VFW as it lobby Congress on issues important to the nation’s veterans, service members and their families. In addition, convention delegates will also elect a new VFW National Commander, Tim Borland, of Sierra Vista, Arizona, as well as prominent individuals and organizations for their support of veterans and military communities.
For the first time at a VFW National Convention, the immersive Modern Warrior LIVE experience will take to the main stage at 1 p.m. Wednesday inside the Kansas City Convention Center, Hall AB. The film and accompanying live performance, sponsored by TriWest Healthcare Alliance and PhRMA, explore mental health, post-traumatic growth and veteran experience through music, storytelling, theater performance and multimedia.
Other main sponsors of the 123rd VFW National Convention are Burger King, Humana, Sport Clips, Twisted X, USAA and Wounded Warrior Project. The convention is expected to generate $14.2 million in revenue for Kansas City.
While only VFW members will be admitted to the business sessions, there are other offerings the convention will be hosting for the public in the convention center’s CD Hall. A blood drive will be held Saturday and Sunday and a free five-day VA claims clinic and health fair are available to all veterans, service members and their families at Hall CD.
Country music entertainer and entertainer Teddy Robb will also perform live at noon Monday and Tuesday on the CD Hall Show Stage.
While not open to the public, the VFW National Convention will livestream its business sessions from July 18-21 on VFW.org/Convention, beginning with the joint memorial service on Sunday, July 17 at 8:30 a.m. CDT. A full schedule of events can be accessed using the “VFW Events” app, available for download from the Apple App and Google Play stores.
Receiving VFW National Awards on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are:
VFW Distinguished Service Award at General (Retired) Martin E. Dempsey, 18th President of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one of Time’s 100 Most Influential Leaders, bestselling author and speaker
VFW Commander-in-Chief Gold Medal of Merit to:
- John Hamil, 2021 – 2022 National President of the VFW Auxiliary
- Lt. Col. Johnie Webb Jr., Retired U.S. Army, Deputy Director of Outreach and Communications, Defense Accounting Agency POW/MIA
- Dan Starks, Founder, National Military Vehicle Museum
VFW “Into the Fox’s Hole” Awardher :
- Staff Sgt. Christiana Bardesly, US Air Force Reserve
- Alexandra Nowak, former United States Marine Corps corporal
- Marine Barracks, Washington, DC
VFW “Beyond the Call” Awardher :
VFW National Teacher Award at Lisa Russell, East Elementary School, Mountain Home, Idaho
VFW Fred C. Hall Outstanding Post Special Project Award at VFW Post 3665, raceland, Louisiana
VFW Accredited Service Representatives of the Year:
- 2019 – 2020: Wendy Griffin, Department Duty Officer, Utah VFW Department
- 2020 – 2021: Nadine Newman, Claims Consultant, VFW Department of Washington
- 2021 – 2022: Jon Gohn, Department Duty Officer, Minnesota VFW Department
Joseph AllenVFW National recruiter of the year
Daniela Mare$30,000 winner VFW Voice of Democracy
Aurora, VFW National Children’s Home 2022 Buddy Poppy Child
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