|Motto||Fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served|
|Formation||September 25, 1920|
|Headquarters||Cold Spring, Kentucky|
|J. Marc Burgess|
|DAV Executive Committee|
DAV Auxiliary Juniors
The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is an organization created by the United States Congress for disabled military veterans of the United States Armed Forces that helps them and their families through various means. It currently has nearly 1.3 million members. As a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization, it is outside the purview of – and therefore not rated by – Charity Navigator.
In the aftermath of World War I, disabled veterans in the United States found themselves seriously disadvantaged, with little governmental support. Many of these veterans were blind, deaf, or mentally ill when they returned from the frontlines. An astonishing 204,000 Americans in uniform were wounded during the war. The idea to form the Disabled American Veterans arose at a Christmas party in 1919 hosted by Cincinnati Superior Court Judge Robert Marx, a U.S. Army Captain and War World I veteran who had been injured in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in November 1918. Although it had been functional for some months by that time, the Disabled American Veterans of the World War (DAVWW) was officially created on September 25, 1920, at its first National Caucus, in Hamilton County Memorial Hall in Cincinnati, Ohio. While touring across the U.S. as part of the election campaign of James M. Cox, Judge Marx publicized the new organization, which quickly expanded. It held its first national convention in Detroit, Michigan on June 27, 1921, at which time Marx was appointed the first national commander. In 1922, a women's auxiliary organization was founded. The DAVWW continued working through the Great Depression to secure the welfare of disabled veterans, although their efforts were troubled by fundraising challenges and the desire of the public to put the World War behind them. In the midst of these troubled years, DAVWW was issued a federal charter by Congress, on June 17, 1932.
The demands of World War II required the urgent expansion of the organization, which officially changed its name to Disabled American Veterans to recognize the impact of the new war. In 1941, DAV launched a direct mail campaign, distributing "IdentoTags", miniature license plates which could be attached to a keyring with instructions that lost keys should be mailed to the DAVWW, who would return them to the owners. In 1944, the DAV began offering a National Service Officer Training Program at American University in Washington, the first step of education that completed with a two-year mentorship program. In 1945, the DAV expanded the Idento Tag program and brought the manufacturing in-house, eventually purchasing complete ownership of the program in 1950. The program proved long-lasting and highly successful, both in bringing in donations and employing veterans in manufacture. By 1952, 350 people were employed in the endeavor, which brought in over $2 million a year in donations. Meanwhile, the number of disabled veterans had been increased by the still-ongoing Korean War.
The DAV suffered a decline in the later 1950s and into the 1960s, with diminishing leadership and funds, but it rallied around the veterans of the Vietnam War and also focused heavily on working for prisoners of war and missing in action. Vietnam veterans soon filled the diminished ranks of the National Service Officers. On Veterans Day, 1966, the DAV moved its headquarters to Cold Spring, Kentucky. The following year, the IdentoTag program was discontinued in favor of providing address labels, with a request for donation, when changes in license plate practices made continuing the IdentoTag program impracticable.
The DAV underwent substantial change in 1993, when internal arguments concerning the governance of the organization led to a watershed election that turned over the administration to new hands and the National Service Program was overhauled.
In 1998, DAV National Adjutant Arthur Wilson joined with philanthropist Lois Pope and for Secretary for Veterans Affairs Jesse Brown to push for congressional authorization of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. By the time fundraising was complete in 2010, the DAV and its affiliates had raised more than $10 million for the memorial. Dedication of the memorial took place on October 5, 2014.
The organization's seal has since its foundation featured a World War I soldier, armed, kneeling before Columbia, who dubs the man knight. The logo design was taken from certificates used in World War I for sick and wounded veterans. A painting by the American painter Edwin Blashfield, commissioned by the 28th President of the United States Woodrow Wilson, the certificate featured above the words "Columbia Gives to Her Son the Accolade of the New Chivalry of Humanity" and, below, the words "Served With Honor in the World War and Was Wounded in Action."
The Disabled American Veterans Organization provides service free of charge through a nationwide network of 88 DAV National Service Offices, 38 Transition Service Offices, 198 DAV Hospital Service Coordinator Offices, 52 state-level DAV Departments, 249 DAV VA Voluntary Service Representatives, and more than 1900 local DAV Chapters.
The DAV's Mobile Service Office (MSO) Program is designed to bring assistance for disabled veterans and their families living in geographic rural areas on veterans' benefits, filing claims and services closer to home by eliminating long trips for veterans to the National Service Offices. The DAV's specially equipped Mobile Service Offices "offices on wheels" visits communities according to the MSO locations schedule.
This outreach program is designed to educate veterans, their families and survivors who are unaware of veterans government benefits and programs, counseling and claims filing assistance service by DAV's National Service Officers (NSO) at communities throughout the country. Veterans Information Seminars are free of charge to all veterans and do not have to be a member of DAV to attend the Veterans Information Seminars. DAV's Veterans Information Seminars are held at Local DAV Chapters and Community Centers.
The Disabled American Veterans Homeless Veterans Initiative is supported by the DAV's Charitable Service Trust and the Columbia Trust, This initiative promotes the development of supportive housing and necessary services to assist homeless veterans become productive, self-sufficient members of society. The DAV works with Federal, state, county, and city governments to develop programs to assist homeless veterans. It also coordinates with the VA to get health care, substance abuse treatment, mental health services to put homeless veterans in transition to productive members of their community.
DAV Disaster relief grants may be issued for the purpose of providing: food, clothing, and temporary shelter or to obtain relief from injury, illness, or personal loss resulting from natural/national disasters that are not covered by insurance or other disaster relief agencies. Since the DAV disaster relief grants program inception in 1968, $8.7 million has been disbursed to veterans that suffered losses during natural disasters.
The DAV Auxiliary is the sister organization of the Disabled American Veterans. Its mission statement is "Making a difference in the lives of disabled veterans and their families". Members of the DAV Auxiliary include mothers, wives, sisters, widows, daughters, stepdaughters, granddaughters and legally adopted female lineal descendants of members of the DAV. Spouses, fathers, grandfathers and legally adopted male lineal descendants of female members of the DAV are eligible for membership in the DAV Auxiliary. The family and extended family members of any person injured and may still be in active service in the United States Armed Forces and eligible for membership in the DAV Auxiliary. Members of the DAV Auxiliary actively participate in programs such as Americanism, The DAV Transportation Network, Veterans Information Seminars and Community Service. The DAV Auxiliary also provides volunteer assistance at Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMC), Outpatient Clinics (OPC), Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC) and VA Community Living Centers (CLC).
Junior members of the DAV Auxiliary consist of boys and girls 17 years of age or under. They are eligible for membership through a family member who served in the U.S. military and was honorably discharged. The Junior members of the DAV Auxiliary can also assist activities outside of school by participating in social events at VA Medical Facilities and VA Community Living Centers, Parades, Flag Ceremonies, Welcome Home events.
The Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship Program honors outstanding young volunteers who are active participants in the Department of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service programs. The scholarships are awarded to deserving young men and women who have donated their time and compassion to injured and ill veterans in their own communities. This scholarship was established in memory of Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War, Secretary of Veterans Affairs and DAV Deputy National Service Director, Jesse Brown. https://www.dav.org/learn-more/news/2014/the-jesse-brown-memorial-youth-scholarship-program/
This award honors the memory and accomplishments of George H. Seal, a World War II combat-injured paratrooper, who made many significant contributions during his lengthy career as a DAV National Department of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service (VAVS) Representative and member of the VAVS National Advisory Committee. The George H. Seal Memorial Trophy, which is awarded annually by DAV in recognition of extraordinary volunteer dedication to the needs of ill and injured veterans through the VAVS Program.