Lumpkin County Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee
|Address||99 Courthouse Hill
Dahlonega, GA 30533
To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; to recognize those residents of Lumpkin County who have honorably served our nation; to promote the welfare of the citizens of Lumpkin County, paying particular attention and devotion to the veterans of this county.
Page Index by major topic. Please use the next section to see more detailed information on each category and access links to documents and websites.
- Crisis Line
- Disabled Veterans Services
- Free Veteran Cell Phones
- Gold Star Programs
- ID Cards
- Loan Assistance
- Medical Attention
- Multi Topic Resources
- Military Service flags
- Quilts of Valor
Veterans Page Index (Hot linked to the category specifics)
- Crisis Line – Shareable materials to spread the word and encourage people to reach out to veterans going through difficult times or at risk for suicide.
- New Distinctions for Military Performance and Valor Awards
- Georgia Veterans Hall of Fame – The Georgia Military Veterans Hall of Fame is a nonprofit, with the dual purpose of honoring Georgia veterans and educating young people as to who real heroes are. The Service Category can be recognized for activity of former military members on active duty, in the reserve, National Guard or after they become civilians. Nomination packets and instructions are available at the website.
- Burials – Provides information on eligibility of veterans, spouses and children for burial, and the required process and contact information specific to the 775 -acre National Cemetery in Canton, Georgia. They provide at no cost to the family a grave site, the opening and closing of the site, placement of a carved headstone, and site maintenance.
- Cemeteries – The grounds of Arlington National Cemetery honor those who have served our nation by providing a sense of beauty and peace for our guests. The rolling green hills are dotted with trees that are hundreds of years in age and complement the gardens found throughout the 624 acres of the cemetery. Information is available regarding funerals, policies, visiting, and exploring.
- Disabled Veterans Services
- Outdoors Without Limits – Outdoors Without Limits is a unique organization that empowers people to reach their potential in a setting that breaks down barriers and removes stereotypes through our love of the…The Great Outdoors. They work on behalf of disabled veterans to foster hope, confidence, self-esteem and independence.
- Georgia License Plates
- Title Ad Valorem Tax Information
- Free Georgia Drivers’ Licenses and Auto Tags
- 10% discounts on in-stock and special order items 365 days a year at Dahlonega and Dawsonville Home Depot and Cumming Lowes. Effective January 5, 2018, enrollment will be required to continue to receive the military discount at Lowes. Please visit Lowes.com/Military to enroll.
- Shop my Exchange offers discounts to those who can provide a DD 214. Please visit their site for more information.
- Education –
- GI Bill – GI Bill Information
- GA Veterans Education Training Division – Georgia Veterans Education and Training Division
- Arizona State – Online Education: Success Factors for Veterans. For more information, click here.
- Maryville University – Understanding a Veteran with PTSD – https://online.maryville.edu/online-bachelors-degrees/psychology/understanding-a-veteran-with-ptsd/
- Employment –
- Hire Heroes USA – www.hireheroesusa.org Area Manager – Ms. Elena Comperatore (470) 363-7374 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- CompTIA’s resource on how to transition from the military to the civilian IT workforce Attention! How to Change Careers from Military to IT
- Free Veteran Cell Phones – Provides mobile phone service to income-eligible residents as part of the government-funded Lifeline Assistance program. Lifeline is intended to help individuals experiencing financial hardships stay connected to family members, schools and child care providers, as well as be reachable to potential employers and have a means of communicating in case of an emergency. Lifeline provides customers with a free mobile phone and a free monthly allotment of minutes/text messages/data each month.
- Gold Star Programs –
- Army Gold Star – The Army recognizes the sacrifice that all Gold Star Family members make when a father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, or other loved one dies in service to the nation. Comprehensive services are offered to all members of the surviving family.
- Navy Gold Star – The Navy Gold Star is an inclusive program – regardless of your loved one’s military branch, location, or manner of death. The commitment is that regardless of the branch of service, you will be provided with support and help to locate your branch’s survivor services for as long as desired.
- Air Force Gold Star – Air Force Gold Star families are survivors of military service members who lost their lives during armed hostilities, including deployments in support of military operations against an enemy and/or during an international terrorist attack. It provides enhanced support and outreach for the lifetime of each survivor.
- Marine Corps Gold Star – Marine Corps survivor advocates are available to provide support and address issues or concerns by spouses and other dependents of deceased service members regarding casualty assistance or receipt of military survivor benefits authorized by law. For information, email email@example.com .
- Coast Guard Gold Star – The Coast Guard Gold Star Program is its official initiative for providing long-term support to surviving families of Coast Guard members who die while on Active Duty. Its purpose is to build a survivor community.
- ID Cards
- Loan Assistance
- VA Home Loan Centers mission is to provide resources and guidance to help veterans reduce debt and make sound financial decisions. Visit their site at https://www.vahomeloancenters.org/lumpkin-county-georgia-va-property-information/
- Quicken Loans -VA Loan Tips for Disables Veterans. There are additional benefits available based on your disability status. For more information, check out their blog.
- Health.Mil – Health Agency – Covers many topics including access, costs, quality, safety, training, business support, conditions and treatments, readiness, research and innovation.
- Cohen Vets Military Family Network of Medical and Mental Health Care -Low to no cost treatment to veterans and families in 11 (and growing) clinics across the country offering same day intake screenings and first appointments within one week. None in Georgia but call closest one for referral.
- Veteran to Veteran Hadit.com – Offers assistance with disability claims, PTSD claims, disability calculator, VA compensation, legislation, and many other medical claims.
- TriCare – Covers eligibility for health care for uniformed service members, health plans, plan finder, and compare plans, enroll or purchase a plan, what’s covered, dental plans, prescriptions, find a doctor, etc.
- VA offering same-day services for urgent primary and mental health-care needs. For more information, visit https://www.accesstocare.va.gov/ .
- The Recovery Village – For more information on substance abuse resources for Veterans, click here.
- ExploreVA – Learn about VA benefits you may be eligible for at ExploreVA.
- Hospice for Veterans. Northeast Georgia Medical Center has partnered with We Honor Veterans, to provide skilled hospice for Veterans.
- PTSD and Substance Abuse Help for Veterans
- Guide to Finding a PTSD Therapist
- Multi Topic Resources
- Transitioning Service Member Cheat Sheet – Over 2,500 free cheat sheets, revision aids, and quick references to classes, resume assistance, mental programs, professional civilian appearance tips, training opportunities, VA claims, regional opportunities, college education information, veterans with disabilities, plus much more.
- US Department of Veteran’s Affairs – Benefit Briefing – Participant Guide – 108 pages and a four- page index of most everything you need/want to know about benefits after transitioning either recently or in the past.
- US Department of Veterans’ Affairs – Comprehensive information ranging from health care benefits, burials and memorials, VA forms, careers, and crisis line information.
- E-Benefits – Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense -A comprehensive resource to assist with compensation, pensions, housing, educational opportunities, health care, insurance, burials, employment and more.
- Fiscal Tiger – topics range from healthcare guides for veterans to resources for transitioning back to civilian life.
- How to Stop Living Out of Your Car – Guide for Homeless Vets
- Homeless Veterans’ Resources
- National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
- Financial Assistance for Homeless Vets
- Homes for Homeless Vets
- Legal Advice for Veterans
- Support for Veterans and Their Struggles
- The Military Guide: Mike Miller comes from a military family with a long tradition of service. He and his brother Brad Miller created The Military Guide as a “straight shooters handbook” to help veterans, active duty service members, reservists, and anyone considering joining the Armed Forces.
- Help for American Veterans – please see this link for an updated list of available resources for veterans.
- Military Service Flags – A service flag or service banner is a banner that family members of those serving in the United States Armed Forces can display. The flag or banner is officially defined as a white field with a red border, with a blue star for each family member serving in the Armed Forces of the United States during any period of war or hostilities in which the Armed Forces of the United States are engaged. A gold star (with a blue edge) represents a family member that died during service, regardless of cause of death. The deceased might have been killed in action, or died due to unrelated causes.
- Georgia Military Bases – Lists all military bases in Georgia along with a description of each, maps and driving directions.
- Chief of Staff, Army Retired Soldier Council Report – 2017
- Charity Watch – A guide to the best and worst veterans charities.
- Dawsonville, Georgia Vietnam Veterans of America – Chapter 970 – they support veterans and their families in many ways, including conducting the veterans’ Day Parade, distribute flags and markers on Memorial Day, 4th of July and Veterans’ Day, raise funds for a domestic violence shelter, the Miracle Network, and rainbow Children’ Home, along with numerous other veteran services.
- Military Officers Association of America – A national organization of officers from all service branches set up to assist veterans with topics of finance, pay and benefits, healthy transition and careers, and educational assistance.
- ROA (Retiree Assistance Office) Bulletins – Provides an “answer place” for veterans on employment, education and scholarship, small business grants, discounts, FPO mail services and veterans forms.
- For the Warriors Foundation – Their mission is to assist disabled/wounded veterans fully integrate back into society to live a rewarding and productive life.
- Georgia American Legion – A patriotic veterans’ organization committed to mentoring youth, promoting national security, advocating honor and patriotism, and devotion to fellow veterans.
- American Legion Post #239 – this is the post located in Dahlonega, Georgia To contact them please email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Georgia Council of Chapters, Military Officers Association of America – MOAA – An organization of Georgia officers both active and retired working to make a difference to the military community, maintaining a strong national defense, and delivery of the promised benefits for those who served.
- Their Facebook link is WWW.facebook.com/GMC-MOAA-190597790967641/
- Georgia Department of Veterans’ Services – An agency created for the purpose of advising, counseling, and assisting Georgia’s veterans and their families in receiving their rightful benefits, and exactly how to apply for them.
- Patriot Guard Riders – A volunteer group of motorcycle riders that insures respect and dignity at memorial services honoring Fallen Military Heroes, First Responders, and Honorably Discharged veterans. When requested, they shield the mourning family and their friends from interruptions created by any individual protester or group of protestors.
- Sailor John’s article #1 – Where to Find Benefits
- Sailor John’s article #2 – Discounts for local veterans
- Sailor John Article #3 – Benefits for Veterans
- Sailor John’s Article #4 – Beware of scams that target Veterans
- Captain Mike’s article – Memorial Day 2016
- Captain Mike’s article – Veterans Services in Canton, GA
- Georgia Mountain Chapter, Military Officers Association of America newsletter archives
- Vietnam Veterans of America Newsletter archives
- Quilts of Valor – The Dahlonega Valor Quilters is a group of local very talented ladies who create beautiful 60” X 80” patriotic quilts. Their mission is to award and publicly present each unique and custom sewn quilt as a gift to the honorably discharged Lumpkin county veteran for his/her valuable service to our great country. Please see “Quilts of Valor” in the downloads section of this page for more information and a form that can be used to request a quilt.
- Records – National Personnel Records Center – Obtain military records, medals and other awards. Start the process by visiting their website.
- Survivors – T.A.P.S. – Tragedy Assistance Programs for Military Survivors – Offers care at no cost by a national peer support network to all those grieving the loss of a military loved one. They have assisted over 70,000 surviving families, casualty officers and care givers.
- Wreaths – Wreaths Across America is an organization established to annually remember, honor and teach by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and 1200 additional locations in all 50 states, – Includes sponsorship form. (Includes Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, Georgia.)
Below is a slide show of the landing at Normandy. Let us never forget the great sacrifices of the men and women who serve our country.
Photos from the 2018 Memorial Day Ceremony
Just a Common Soldier video
Three year old Issac Sullens, grandson of Jerrell Sullens, USAF Veteran is being taught
to respect our fallen veterans and remember the high cost of freedom.
Jack Thompson and Paul Wingo holding the certificate of appreciation from the Wreaths Across America for the committee’s participation in the 2017 event.
Lee Flowers receiving a certificate of appreciation from Paul Wingo for his many years of service to the LCVAAC.
Committee members John Gerheim and Paul Wingo presenting a certificate of appreciation to Allison Martin for work on website.
Chairman Chris Dockery, LTC, USA Retired and a DockCo employee help install the tank display plaque. The committee is thankful for the assistance with this project.
December 16, 2017 Wreaths Across America – Lumpkin County Ceremony
The Lumpkin County Veterans Affairs Committee congratulates First Sergeant (Ret.) Mike Ramsey on his recent induction into the Ranger Hall of Fame.
|Name||Branch of Service Represented|
|Paul Wingo, Chairman||Army|
|Clark Jack Thompson, Co-Chair||Army|
|Bruce Hoffman, Secretary||Marine Corps|
|Allen Storey, treasurer||Army|
|Lewis Houser, member||Air Force|
|R. Ridge Rairigh, Jr., member||Coast Guard|
|Damien VanLaningham, member||Army|
|Elizabeth Curley, member||Air Force|
|Nolan Olson, UNG Cadet||UNG Cadet Representative|
The Lumpkin County Veterans Memorial Marker Program
The Memorial Marker program was started in 2000 with 28 markers and 6 volunteers. In 2017 we placed 789 markers utilizing 14 teams with an average of 8 to 10 volunteers on each team. Memorial Markers are rolled out one week prior to Memorial Day and taken down one week after the 4th of July, and also one week before Veteran’s Day and taken down one week after. A small number are displayed in memory of Sept. 11, 2001 and also in recognition of Dec. 7th 1941 and then are returned to storage.
Each marker consists of a white cross topped with an American flag which is inserted into the ground along numerous major roads within Lumpkin County and closest to the city of Dahlonega. On the Memorial Marker is the veteran’s name, and in which war or conflict they served if any.
It takes each team approximately two hours to pick up the crosses and flags from storage and complete the installation, and then weeks later around two hours to retrieve the markers and return them to storage. Necessary tools to complete installation and removal are sledge hammers, levels, and cordless drills with ½ inch sockets.
A separate facility is now available to properly house and protect the markers located at 755 Rail Hill Rd, Dahlonega, Georgia.
There is no on-going fee for maintenance of the markers, however donations are graciously accepted.
Donations are kindly accepted to help cover on-going expenses including marker and flag maintenance, and replacement if necessary. Valued contributions may be sent by check to the Veterans Memorial Marker Committee, P.O.box 245, Dahlonega, Ga. 30533.
We are always looking for interested men and women who would like to volunteer to help with this important and most meaningful program. Maintaining a group of volunteers numbering nearly 140 with 14 team leaders is always a challenge as you may imagine. If you are interested in learning more, please contact either:
Paul Hanson – Committee Chairman – email@example.com -706-429-7991, or
Jack Smoot – Secretary / Treasurer – firstname.lastname@example.org – 706-867-0632
Ordering a Marker (form below)
Criteria: the following information will be used to help determine the eligibility of the individual:
- The form below is used to request a Memorial Marker for a deceased Honorably Discharged veteran of the United States armed services who at some time resided in Lumpkin County.
- The person making the request must be a Lumpkin County tax payer.
- Presentation of official documentation of eligibility, or other evidence acceptable to the committee.
- A one-time donation of $75.00 is requested for each memorial marker, to assist in defraying the marker and flag costs. Payment may be made to by check and forwarded to Veterans Memorial Marker committee, P.O. Box 245, Dahlonega, GA 30533.
VVA 970 MOONSHINE FUNDRAISER SCHEDULE
Friday – 4:30 PM – 26 October 2018 –
We will meet at 4:30 PM to set up the VVA 970 Moonshine fundraiser tent site:
Same location as last year – On the corner across from the Pool Room on main street.
We have limited window to get the tent, tables, etc. set up before the darkness catches up with us. Join us if possible.
Dan Pichon will have the trailer there with everything needed.
Saturday – 0700 to 0730 – 27 October 2018
Again, a limited time window to complete the setup with the jeep, prizes, and last minute needs. Vendors may open for business at 0800 and close at 7 PM. We will start selling tickets as soon as people are there to buy them.
We need members and anyone willing to help to sell tickets to join us as you can. If only for a few hours your help will be appreciated.
Sunday – 0700 to 0730 – 28 October 2018
Hours of operation – 0800 to 5 PM. Vendors MUST be packed up by 6:30 PM. DOT will open the road at 7:00 PM.
Our last drawings will be at 3:00 PM on Sunday. In the remaining time we will attempt to contact winners and pass out prizes. Also, we will start the break down of the site.
Please remember to bring whatever you need to survive the day.
If I have missed anything let know.
Thank you, Larry
August 28, 2018
- SICK CALL Patti McGuirt , Ken Justice, Hezzie and Sue Patrick, Matt Pesce, Jane Day, Jim Clark, Louise Sparks (Ray’s mother), Bill and Judy Sexton (Bill was in the hospital and should be back home today) Paula Harris, Kimball and Linda Schenk, Rambo’s Mother (101 years old) Those members that have asked not to be named. Please keep these member and families in your thoughts and prayers. Steve and Kathy Alvey thank all for the prayers, Cindy is doing better and in Rehab.
Veterans at UNG
- We have had various members give assistance to Vets at UNG. The Vet center now has a new color printer and refrigerator that have been donated by chapter members. We will see what else we can do to assist fellow vets that are returning home and to school. “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another”
- The Still is getting fired up and is ready for another year of Moonshine Festival. This year the Grand Prize will be a 7500 watt, dual fuel generator. The crew is out getting other prizes. If you know of a business that could donate a prize, please let us know. Raffle tickets can be picked up at The Bunker on Fridays or by contacting any officer. Check this month’s Newsletter for details.
- There has been an electric wheelchair donated to the chapter. The wheelchair has been checked out and is in fine mechanical shape. Rambo has replaced the old batteries with new one. If there is anyone in the chapter in need of a wheelchair. Please contact one of the chapter officers. We will coordinate delivery. When you no longer require the use of this wheelchair. It is asked that it be returned so another chapter member can have access to it.
Good of the Chapter
- Join us at the Bunker AKA Billy’s Biscuit. Stop by and have your grits, eggs, pancakes and the weekly special of BS stories. Every Friday 8:00Am or thereabouts till ??.
- The planned picnic scheduled for June 23 has been moved to September 29 @1400hrs (weather should be cool). Our Hostess, Linda Moore will be providing BBQ, please bring a side dish and chairs. .
- Cindy Hayes of Georgia Veterans Services will be at Dawsonville City Hall on September 19, 10:00AM to 2:00
- Steve has forwarded this link. The link will take you to a directory of information about the Vietnam war and other military and political information.
A policy developed more than a year ago that creates new distinctions for performance and valor awards has taken effect for the Department of the Navy.
According to an all-Navy message released in late August, Marines and sailors can begin to receive awards bearing new “C” and “R” devices, indicating the award was earned under combat conditions or for remote impact on a fight, a condition that would apply to drone operators, among others.
The policy also establishes more stringent criteria for the existing “V” device, stipulating that it applies only to awards for actions demonstrating valor above what is expected of a service member in combat.
The changes were first announced in January 2016, when then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced a Pentagon-wide review of high-level combat awards, a measure designed to ensure that troops serving since Sept. 11, 2001, had been appropriately honored.
Army Approves New Award Devices for Combat
Air Force Announces Who’s Eligible for New ‘R’ Device
Military Awards, Medals and Decorations
Carter also approved the creation of the new devices as a way to distinguish clearly the conditions under which an award had been earned.
Development of the C device for awards earned under combat conditions enabled more selective use of the V device, giving it added weight and significance as an indicator of heroism.
“We’re raising the bar,” a Pentagon official told reporters at the time of the policy rollout. “What we’ve seen is, maybe it has been … a little too loose in the past.”
Notably, the ALNAV states, authorization of the C device does not entitle award recipients to wear the Combat Action Ribbon, which has more restrictive criteria.
The R device, meanwhile, is the product of conversations about how to recognize those who have direct impact on a fight from afar in a changing battlespace, such as unmanned aerial vehicle operators.
According to the all-Navy message, the sailors and Marines who might be eligible for this award are not just drone pilots. They also include:
Those who conduct ship-to-shore or surface-to-surface weapon system strikes.
Operators who remotely pilot aircraft that provide direct and real-time support that directly contributes to the success of ground forces in combat or engaged in a mission, such as a raid or hostage rescue.
Cyberwarfare that disrupts enemy capabilities or actions.
Surface-to-air engagement that disrupts an enemy attack or enemy surveillance of friendly forces.
Troops exercising real-time tactical control of a raid or combat mission from a remote location not exposed to hostile action.
For awards in which certain conduct or conditions is presupposed, the rules are not changing.
Bronze Stars, for example, are not eligible for the new C device, as combat conditions are inherent in the award.
Likewise, Silver Stars, Navy Crosses and Medal of Honor awards are not eligible for the V device, as all these awards are presented for extraordinary valor or heroism.
For the Department of the Navy, processing of awards with the new devices began with the release of the ALNAV, Lt. Cmdr. Ryan De Vera, a service spokesman, told Military.com.
While the Navy will not retroactively remove V devices from any awards in keeping with the new rules, De Vera said Marines and sailors who believe they merit one of the new devices for awards earned since Jan. 7, 2016 can contact their command to initiate a review of the relevant award.
“The onus is on the sailor or the Marine to do that,” he said.
Awards given before the new policy was announced will not receive any additional scrutiny.
“All previous decorations that had a V device remain valid,” De Vera said. “It’s important to note that they are in no way diminished or called into question by the new policy.”
The Army announced in late March that it had implemented a policy for awarding the new devices; the Air Force did likewise in June.
The Navy and the Marine Corps are the last of the services within the Defense Department to roll out guidance for incorporating the new devices.
State Bar of Georgia Military Legal Assistance Program – assists service members and veterans by connecting them to State Bar members who are willing to provide free or reduced fee legal services. (State Bar of Georgia ) Complete application letter for assistance, have notarized, and return to Military Legal Assistance Program, Attn. Norman E. Zoller, 104 Marietta Street NW, Suite 100, Atlanta, GA 30303, 404-527-8765
VA Facilities Now Offer Same-day Care for Urgent Primary and Mental Health-care Needs
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced a major milestone, that 100 percent of its more than 1,000 medical facilities across the country now offer same-day services for urgent primary and mental health-care needs.
Same-day services means a Veteran with an urgent need for primary care and mental health-care receives services that may include: a face-to-face visit with a clinician; advice provided during a call with a nurse; a telehealth or video care visit; an appointment made with a specialist; or a prescription filled the same day, depending upon what best meets the needs of the Veteran.
“We made a commitment to our nation’s Veterans that we would work to reduce wait times and improve access, and we are doing it,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “We were able to meet this goal, in large part, because of the concerted focus of our staff who care for our Veterans in facilities across the country.”
Since 2014, VA has concentrated its efforts on improving access and meeting the urgent health-care needs of Veterans. In 2016, all of VA’s medical centers offered same-day services for primary and mental health services.
In addition to offering same-day services, VA has reduced patient wait times. VA also implemented a new process to ensure timely follow-up appointments for time-sensitive medical needs. More than 100,000 such appointments have been completed.
In 2017, Veterans completed over 57.5 million appointments and VA clinicians saw almost 6 million patients.
To view access information about each facility nationwide, visit https://www.accesstocare.va.gov/. The information provided at this link is not offered by any major national hospital organization in the country.
The Dahlonega Valor Quilters is a group of local very talented ladies who create beautiful 60” X 80” patriotic quilts. Their mission is to award and publicly present each unique and custom sewn quilt as a gift to the honorably discharged Lumpkin county veteran for his/her valuable service to our great country.
36 U.S. Code § 301 – National anthem
The composition consisting of the words and music known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem.
(b)Conduct During Playing.—During a rendition of the national anthem—
(1)when the flag is displayed—
individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note;
members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform; and
all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and
when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.
VA Home Loan Centers mission is to provide resources and guidance to help veterans reduce debt and make sound financial decisions. Visit their site at https://www.vahomeloancenters.org/lumpkin-county-georgia-va-property-information/
Quicken loans – blog about benefits available to disabled veterans
A guide to the best and worst veterans charities
Where is your veterans charity money going?
The organization grades each charity on an A-F scale:
Top choices among veterans charities
- Bob Woodruff Family Foundation (A)
- Fisher House Foundation (A+)
- Gary Sinise Foundation (A)
- Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind (A)
- Homes for Our Troops (A)
- Hope For The Warriors (A-)
- Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (A)
- National Military Family Association (A)
- Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (A)
- Operation Homefront (A)
- Semper Fi Fund (A+)
- Team Rubicon (A-)
- Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (A)
- Wounded Warriors Family Support (A)
Avoid these veterans charities
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is out with a new list of bogus charities.
In some cases, the FTC says the following charities pocketed 95% of donations intended for veterans:
- American Disabled Veterans Foundation
- Foundation for American Veterans, Inc.
- Healing Heroes Network
- Help the Vets, Inc.
- Healing American Heroes, Inc.
- Military Families of America
- National Vietnam Veterans Foundation
- Veterans Fighting Breast Cancer
- VietNow National Headquarters, Inc.
Meanwhile, CharityWatch.org singled out four other veterans charities after they received failing marks in its charity rankings:
- AMVETS National Service Foundation (F)
- Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation (F)
- Paralyzed Veterans of America (F)
- Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (F)
How to make your money count for any charitable donation
Before donating to any charity, you need to know the rules of the road and the precautions to take to ensure that the money will go where it’s needed.
- Don’t give cash. Legitimate charities will take a check.
- Don’t give credit card, bank account or personal information to telemarketers. In fact, you should be skeptical of telemarketers. If you want to give, you should be the one who initiates the call.
- Don’t give to Internet appeals if the cause does not look legitimate and doesn’t check out. Traditional frauds have gone electronic in recent years, giving con artists easy access to thousands of potential victims.
- Don’t give in to pressure. Anyone that can’t wait for a donation while you check out his or her organization is likely to be a crook.
- Expect specific information. Ask what kind of relief this organization is going to provide. Don’t give to a vague appeal.
- Check out the charity with national, state and local authorities. Established charities register with the Internal Revenue Service. You can search for specific non-profit organizations on the IRS website.
- Beware of newly formed organizations. If the charity is new, you may have to rely on your relationship with the company or sponsor of the organization to determine whether you trust the group.
- Report abuses to the nearest Better Business Bureau and the State Attorney General’s office. You can also report abuses to the National Fraud Information Center at (800) 876-7060 or at Fraud.org.
Mike Miller comes from a military family with a long tradition of service. He and his brother Brad Miller created The Military Guide as a “straight shooters handbook” to help veterans, active duty service members, reservists, and anyone considering joining the Armed Forces.