Ellen L. Timmerman, Auxiliary National Commander

It has been an honor

Serving as your DAV Auxiliary national commander has been a true privilege, and representing you and all our members this past year has been one of the greatest honors of my life.

My year as commander started with the Caregivers Initiative Program at the TEE (Training, Experience, Exposure) Tournament in Iowa, and it was a great way to dig into the role. I learned so much and met so many wonderful people.

I am extremely proud to be a small part of the organization that led the way on caregiver support, and we were fortunate to have seen the VA MISSION Act passed last year. That said, we have to stay vigilant about the VA’s implementation of the law and advocate for sufficient funding to ensure veterans and their caregivers get the support they need and deserve.

Going to DAV’s mid-winter conference was another amazing opportunity to sit at the head table as DAV National Commander Dennis Nixon addressed the joint Veterans’ Affairs Committees, advising them on what is still needed for our veterans and their families. This experience once again reminded me that all of us are part of something bigger than ourselves, and we are all in it together.

Attending the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Colorado was a true highlight of my year. Seeing the veterans’ faces light up as they did something they thought was impossible was awe-inspiring. I will never forget listening to one particular veteran who was so proud of himself because he went down the mountain 10 times the day before. I will remember watching and cheering on the veterans as they climbed the rock wall, ringing the bell victoriously as they reached the top. The whole week served as a great reminder on why the clinic is dubbed “Miracles on the Mountainside.” The clinic changes lives each and every year. I encourage any of you who have thought about attending to go.

Lastly, in order to keep this great organization moving forward, we need to be ready to accept and implement changes. Sometimes, the changes may seem difficult, but we must be open to new ideas. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”

Well, we are by no means “finished.”

This past year has been a blessing, and I look forward to what’s next. To all my DAV friends and family—keep up the great work!

God bless each of you for all that you do to help veterans and their families. I truly believe, as long as we work together, we can get it done.