Resource Highlight: DAV
It may not come for many years, or it may be just around the corner, but one thing is true: every service member will eventually leave the military and transition to civilian life. When that day comes, organizations like Disabled American Veterans — better known as DAV — are here to help.
DAV is dedicated to a single purpose: empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. Their organization started in the days following World War I, when men and women came home with scars from years of fighting. Many had lost limbs or suffered from mental health issues that weren’t well understood at the time. While these veterans came home as heroes, they were also met with the harsh reality of a nation unprepared for the aftermath of a global war. Many were unable to find work, housing, or medical care, and were soon on the streets.
To help their fellow veterans, a group formed in 1920 that would be known as DAVWW, or the Disabled American Veterans of the World War. By the next year, they held their first national convention, and membership quickly grew around the country. In 1932 they were recognized as the official voice of America’s wartime disabled veterans.
Today, DAV continues their mission of helping all veterans access the full range of benefits available to them. They do everything from helping newly separated veterans file disability claims to providing volunteer programs that help veterans find camaraderie and purpose. DAV is also the voice for veterans and their families from local governments all the way to the White House. Their goal has always been to help America keep her promise to the men and women who volunteered to defend the freedoms we hold dear, and it’s a mission they proudly continue today.
Here in the Black Hills, you can find DAV near downtown Rapid City. Their office is currently located at 101 E. Madison St., and volunteers can assist with disability claims and other benefits Monday through Friday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. They are also open the first Saturday of every month from 9 to 11 a.m.
If you’re separating or retiring from the military soon, DAV is a great resource to help you settle into your post-military life. You can find more on their national website at www.DAV.org, or on the local chapter Facebook page, here.