This year’s 2020 Legislative Conference was held in Washington, D.C., March 1-4, 2020.
Since 1949, the VFW’s annual Legislative Conference has provided an opportunity for VFW leaders from each state to personally lobby their respective lawmakers and watch as the VFW’s current Commander-in-Chief testifies on Capitol Hill before the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees on behalf of veterans.
Guest speakers are invited to address conference delegates, and since 1964 the VFW’s Congressional Award has been presented annually to one sitting member of the House or Senate for their significant legislative contributions on behalf of those who have worn the uniform.
This year, several awards were presented to include:
– Senator Jon Tester from Montana received the VFW Congressional Award, presented to him for his work as a veterans’ champion in Congress. As ranking member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs committee, he was instrumental in securing the passage of a multitude of VFW legislative priorities including modernizing the VA appeals process, refining the Post-9/11 GI Bill, significantly improving VA health care with the VA MISSION Act, eliminating the Widow’s Tax, and ensuring thousands of Vietnam veterans were provided the care and benefits they deserve with the Blue Water Navy Act.
– The 2020 "Lima-Charlie" (Loud & Clear) Award for the influencer division was presented to Kate Mannion, for her unbiased media reporting in the nationally acclaimed podcast, Zero Blog Thirty, that is widely-popular for focusing on current events, military history, military and veteran issues, and the importance of understanding mental and behavioral health concerns.
– The 2020 "Lima-Charlie" (Loud & Clear) Award for the entertainment division was presented to Air Force Technical Sergeant Nalani Quintello, lead singer of Max Impact, in recognition of her remarkable military service and selflessness.
– The 2020 "Beyond the Call" Award in the citizenship division was presented to Congressman Lee Zeldin of New York, for his work fighting for veterans and his continued service as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves.
– The Voice of Democracy first place winner Shruthi Kumar, sponsored by VFW Post 1581 in Omaha, Nebraska, was presented with the T.C. Selman Memorial Scholarship award in the amount of $30,000. The Patriot’s Pen first place winner Ruby Howe, sponsored by VFW Post 334 in Lake Orion, Michigan, received the contest’s top $5,000 award.
VFW National Commander William "Doc" Schmitz delivered testimony focused on the VFW’s Priority Goals for 2020 before a special joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees. Schmitz called for “accountability for failure to grant benefits to Vietnam and Post-9/11 veterans suffering from toxic exposures” while expressing the VFW’s frustration with the VA’s lack of urgency in providing benefits to individuals who suffer from conditions associated with toxic exposures.
Look for #VFWDC2020 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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