Pat Smith, Department Adjutant

Pat Smith, Department Adjutant

By: Pat Smith Department Adjutant, Published February 2015

Our Mid-Year conference is over! What a successful event! The weather was great, the hotel was great, the food was excellent and attendance was outstanding. For those of you that were there, thanks for coming.

The mid-year conference is designed to check up on the health of the organization at the middle point of our membership year. We receive reports form all of our committees, held several training sessions and generally just network with our fellow veterans and their families from all throughout the state. The American Legion Auxiliary was there, the SAL was out in force and the Legion Riders held an excellent meeting to pursue their goals for the organization.

The Department Service office held a session for post service officers that was well attended. Our primary mission in life is service to veterans and their families. Our Department Service Office Dean Casey and our new hire Robert Rhodes conducted this session. In the every changing world of the VA the training they provide is always up to date and relevant to the issues of the day.

Boys State kicked off their training as they prepare for the 2015 version of Boys State. The program will once again be held at the southern campus of Colorado State University in Pueblo from May 31 to June 6, 2015. The program is always looking for new volunteers so if you have the time this summer contact Tom Bock at 303 366-5201 to volunteer.

Our Department Employment and Homeless committee chairman Darrell Myers assembled an impressive group of individuals all involved with solving the homeless veteran’s problems. They acted as a panel and discussed their organizations role in helping with the problem.

Attending were:Mark Walker, American Legion Deputy Director, Employment, Education and Homeless Division; Craig Dobson, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Portfolio Management Specialist; Brad Allen, Volunteers of America, Colorado; Dennis McCormick, The Home Front Cares; Matt Broker, Pikes Peak Workforce Center, Colorado Springs; Duane France, Program Director CVRC and The Crawford House; James Ginsburg, Program Director, Ft Lyon Residential Living, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless; Baylee Crone, Executive Director, National Coalition for Homeless Veterans; Kate Seif, Programs and Policy Analyst, National Alliance to End Homelessness and Brian Gault, State Diredtor U.S. Department of Labor, Veterans Employment and Training Service.

Our National Commander Mike Helm attended this session, in its entirety, and was duly impressed with the discussion. The last weekend in January was a “point in time” survey, where all involved with the issue were to hit the streets and count the number of homeless veterans in the country. Supposedly there are 736 in the state of Colorado. We’ll see what the new survey announces.

Another highlight of the conference was a presentation by Gail Hoagland. She works for the Colorado
Division of Veterans Affairs and is in charge of the Veterans Trust Fund Grant. For this coming year there are many changes to this program. She covered all of the details. If your post wants to apply for a grant visit the state website at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dmva/grant-and-trust-fund to find all the forms you will need. The deadline is March 1st to apply for funds.

It was a great conference. Our next event is our Convention in Colorado Springs June 26-28. Look for details about that event.