Diane J. Franz, Auxiliary National Commander

We must grow to continue the mission

As we continue to celebrate the centennial mark of DAV, we are also concluding the membership year. So even while looking back, we must continue to focus on the future. As we know, the mission is never over.

When I think membership, I think growth. I need each of you to do the same. We must continue to grow in our numbers or risk facing long-term setbacks. As a generation that helped bolster this organization for many years begins to age, we must begin to welcome in a new and younger generation of veterans, their families and volunteers to help those who came before them.

The need for growth in membership cannot be more evident than in our volunteering programs. Throughout the country, we have seen a large number of volunteer drivers and VA volunteers drop off. Of course, we have been going through an unprecedented and difficult time. The year 2020 was tough on volunteerism. This has meant a loss of volunteers who are older or unable to fulfill their duties because of the risks that they face leaving their homes. This is why, as we continue to grow, we must put a focus on gaining younger members and volunteers.

The Auxiliary is in an incredible position to grow and help contribute to volunteerism and our own membership strength. We are the family members of these brave men and women, many of whom are now grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles. We must encourage the younger generation of veteran family members to give back to their loved ones who sacrificed so much for their freedoms.

For our younger members, or those looking to join who are under the age of 21, DAV offers amazing scholarship opportunities that have helped hundreds of young men and women achieve their goals through the Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship. DAV Auxiliary also offers a scholarship as part of our Education Program. I encourage those who have younger family members looking to get involved, or anyone for that matter, to please think about joining DAV Auxiliary and giving your spare time to our veterans.

There are also opportunities throughout the year to motivate veterans and their families who may not be members to join. DAV offers Recruit a Warrior, which makes recruiting as simple as sharing a link.

The reality of our situation is that many of our members will soon need that same help that they have provided to veterans who came before them. The first and most important way of reaching out to potential members is to get involved with your local veteran community. Reach out to community members. Contact those looking to get involved. You will begin to not only help your veteran community but also help DAV keep our promise to America’s veterans and their families.

Like a wind at our back, more members will carry us forward with greater ease, no matter how troubled the waters become.