VFWMI - General Orders October 2021

- 9/30/2021

October 2021

Veterans of Foreign Wars - Department of Michigan 

General Orders

VETERANS IN THE CLASSROOM: The VFW Department of Michigan is reviving an initiative to help educate high school and middle school students about military experience and the experiences of our veterans. For the month of October, we ask that you contact schools in your area to see if they would be interested in having members of your post give a talk about military service and your experiences as veterans. Please take the initiative and engage your local schools! This can also be used as an opportunity to get applicants for the Voice of Democracy, Patriot Pen and Teacher of the Year Programs as well!

URGENT CALL TO ACTION FOR VFW SERVICE OFFICE: SUCCESSFUL OP UPDATE!!! The most recent call to action regarding the budget increase for the VFW Service Office and the Michigan Veterans Coalition has been successful! The details will be forthcoming, but the State Legislature approved a budget increase for veterans programs across the state, increasing funding for service office operations for the VFW, American Legion, DAV and VVA by $1.3 million. YOUR EFFORTS PAID OFF! Thanks for engaging your representatives and senators. Your calls, emails and letters worked!

ACTION CORPS CALL TO ACTION: TOXIC EXPOSURES: Please sign up for the Action Corps Weekly, and submit your calls to action to your Congressperson. You can do this at: https://votervoice.net/VFW/register. The Department of Michigan is requesting that all District, County Council, and Post Commanders designate time in their next scheduled meeting to register all meeting participants in Action Corps Weekly and at the same time have them submit their call to action. This month is the request to Congress to take action on toxic exposures for all generations. If you have any questions please contact Department Legislative Director, Kevin Hensley: legislative@vfwmi.vet, 478-334-0051.

NEW MICHIGAN OVERSEAS VETERAN (MOV) IS AVAILABLE ONLINE! To find the latest issue of the MOV, please go to vfwmi.org and click news. A drop down menu will appear, then click on "MOV”. The latest issue of the MOV is June, July, August 2021, and can be found in red at the top of the list of MOV issues. You can also click here to go directly to the online MOV.

FALL CONFERENCE: The Department Fall Conference will be held September 30 -  October 3, 2021 at Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs. Boyne Highlands housing is full, as is the overflow hotel. Alternative housing options can be found through Airbnb.com, Expedia.com, and other third party hotel websites.
There will be a golf outing on Thursday September 30, 2021, as well as a historic boat tour at 1:00 pm that will provide a tour around Harbor Springs and Petoskey. If you are interested in golfing please complete the registration form at this link here and email it to bookkeeper@vfwmi.vet. Alternatively, you may be able to register and provide payment upon arrival.  To sign up for the boat tour you can contact Cameron Zbikowski at Department Headquarters at cameron@vfwmi.vet to reserve a ticket prior to Wednesday September 30, 2021. There are 6 tickets still available and the cost is $30.00 each. 
This year’s Fall Conference will be heavily focused on training, and discussing ways to help make our posts more successful in everything we do. Registration will be from 8:00 am - 4:00 pm on Friday October 1, 2021 and from 8:00 am - 10:00 am on Saturday October 2, 2021.  As voted on at the State Convention, the registration fee for all members is now $7.00. 

AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL: The events surrounding the withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of war is having a significant impact Post 9/11 Veterans along with many Vietnam Veterans who may be seeing parallels between Afghanistan and Vietnam. Please make an effort to reach out to those who have served during this period -- VFW members and those who are not -- and remind them that they are part of the VFW family. Many of our Afghanistan Comrades have shared that they have felt very supported when hearing from Vietnam Veterans, as this young generation holds a great deal of respect and appreciation for their predecessors. Your support today matters. Finally, please feel encouraged to contact your local media outlets to share your stories, and the emotions surrounding the withdrawal. If you would like advice on how best to engage with your local media outlets, please contact Sarah Anderson at pr@vfwmi.vet, or call the Department HQ and ask for Sarah: 517-485-9456

NATIONAL BYLAW CHANGES: Significant changes have been made to the VFW’s National ByLaws, to include a complete restructuring of the Article IX Disciplinary process. Another change has been made that allows eligibility for those who served in the U.S. military and held qualifying campaign medals, but who were not previously eligible for the VFW because they were not full U.S. citizens. To find these new changes and others, please purchase the soon to be released 2022 VFW ByLaws & Manual of Procedure. All Posts should have an updated ByLaws & Manual of Procedure book each year. 

VOICE OF DEMOCRACY/PATRIOT’S PEN/TEACHER OF THE YEAR:  Program submission dates for all three programs are as follows. Please get out to your schools and get this program to ALL of the students and teachers across the State! For more information on VOD/PP & TOY, contact Program Chairman Eddie Dandridge: eddie.dandridge29@gmail.com; 586-615-5054
Deadline for entries to the Post is October 31, 2021. 
Deadline for Post entries to the District is November 16, 2021. 
Deadline for District entries to Department Chairman is December 16, 2021.

DONATIONS TO DEPARTMENT:  When sending donation checks to the State HQ, Camp Trotter donations must be on a separate check made out to Camp Trotter.  With the exception of VMS donations, all other donations can be included on the same check and made out to the Department of Michigan VFW. Those donations include Cancer, Camp Trotter, Commander’s Special Project (Membership Initiative), Day of Challenges, Gold Star Mothers, National Cemeteries, National Home, Mental Health (PTSD) and Scouting. All VMS donations should go directly to National HQ. Do not send donations for any other programs. At this time we are no longer taking donations for Blue Star Mothers. National Home life memberships need to be mailed directly to the National Home. Any donations that a Post makes to a specific Scout Troop should be sent directly to the Troop. To get Scouting credit for those donations send a photocopy of the check(s) to the Department. 
We are in the process of modifying the donations page of the Department website. Since it is a project that our website developer has to do we are not adding anymore donations onto the website until this is complete as we don’t want to lose any while the page is being changed.  Please be patient as these changes are being made. As soon as the changes are complete, your Post donations will be added to the donation page. 

QUARTERMASTER BONDS: All District, County Council and Post Quartermasters have been mailed the applications for Quartermaster bonds. The current Quartermaster bond expired August 31, 2021. If an outside insurance company bonds the Quartermaster, the Department must have a copy of that bond information showing the amount that is being bonded and the expiration date. This needs to be provided to the Department every year. There is a separate application and rate schedule for bonding Post employees (Bingo Chairman, Bar Manager, etc.). Any Post requiring that information needs to contact Amanda Lipocky at the Department office by email amanda@vfwmi.vet or by phone at 517-485-9456. 

AUDITS: Do whatever it takes to get your audits completed. If you have audits or reporting still outstanding, your post may be suspended. Audits must be completed by your three Elected Trustees and approved by the post Commander. In the absence of (1) Elected Trustee, the post Commander must attach a letter stating the reason for the (1) Missing Trustee’s Signature. This past practice will be terminated after the first audit. We will not accept an audit with only (1) Trustee  Signature. Audits must be completed and sent to Department Headquarters within 30 days following the end of the quarter. After audits are received at the Department they are forwarded to Inspector Randy Baldwin for review. If there is an issue with an audit, Inspector Baldwin will send a letter to the post Commander. If you need to contact Randy he can be reached at 734-626-5416 or randallrbee@att.net. 

INSPECTIONS: If your Post hasn’t been inspected, it needs to be completed now. Please have all of the necessary documents available: Incorporation Paperwork, 990, most recent Quarterly Audit, Bank Statements, Post & National ByLaws, Proof of Insurance (for those applicable). Inspections need to be sent to Department Headquarters first so the information can be updated on the Department checklist. Department will then forward the inspection forms onto the Department Inspector. Please get those to Department Headquarters as soon as possible. 

DEPARTMENT ASSIGNMENT REQUESTS:  Any Post or District wanting to have the State Commander or a designee attend a function needs to complete a Request for Department Officer form located on the Department website at the bottom of the Forms section of the Resources tab, or you can find it at this link here. The request can be emailed to Amanda Lipocky at the Department office at amanda@vfwmi.vet.

BUDDY POPPIES:  Buddy Poppy order forms can be found on the Department website in the Buddy Poppy Program under the Programs tab at the top of the page. The link to click on for the order form is at the bottom of the webpage, or you can click directly to it here. Buddy Poppies must be ordered by December 31, 2021 in order to qualify for the All-State program and to ensure the order is processed and delivered prior to distribution days. 

DEPARTMENT ROSTERS:  We’ve received feedback that some of our Comrades have had a difficult time downloading the Department Roster for printing at home. As such, the Department Commander has asked the staff to print and distribute a copy to every post, Council Member, Director and PSC. If a post would like additional rosters, they can be purchased for $5.00 each. If you would like to access the Roster digitally, it can be accessed using these instructions: click the Login tab at the top of the page and you will find the Department Roster as part of a list of other resources. Access requires your membership number. Password is the member’s last name. Districts 6, 8, 10 and 15 were taken by the District Commanders to distribute to their Posts. For the remaining Districts, C of A members, Directors and PSCs that are interested in a physical copy, we will have them available at Fall Conference. 

DEPARTMENT RAFFLE:  It’s not too late to purchase Department raffle tickets.  Proceeds go toward assisting in funding Department programs and initiatives. Tickets are $50 each with the drawing to be held on October 2, 2021 during Fall Conference at Boyne Highlands. You need not be present to win. They will be available for purchase at Fall Conference. 
1st Prize        $750
2nd Prize        $500
3rd Prize        $250
4th & 5th Prize    $125
6th - 10th Prize    $100
11th - 15th Prize    $50

DEPARTMENT SHIRT ORDERS: Commander Conklin’s polo shirt can still be ordered through the Department website in the Shirts section of the Store tab at the top of the page. This will be the same shirt that Sr. Vice Commander John Griffith and Jr. Vice Commander Ray Lopez are offering for their year as Commander, so you will not have to repurchase different shirts for the next several years. 

MID WINTER CONFERENCE:  Mid Winter Conference will be held January 28 - 30, 2022 at the Radisson in Kalamazoo.  Housing, ad book and banquet ticket forms will be forthcoming. 

Post 3243 - The meeting time is now 6:00 pm on the 3rd Thursday of the month.