AMVETS has a proud history of assisting veterans and sponsoring numerous pro­grams that serve our country and its citizens. The helping hand that AMVETS extends to veterans and their families takes many forms.

One of the most visible is our network of trained national service officers (NSOs) accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Funded by the AMVETS National Service Foundation, these dedicated men and women can be found in close to 40 states, providing sound advice and prompt action on compensation claims at no charge to the veteran.

In one recent year alone, AMVETS national service officers processed more than 24,000 claims that resulted in veterans receiving some $400 million in compensation. This commitment to service traces its roots back to 1948, when our NSOs first began helping veterans of World War II to obtain the benefits promised them by the fed­eral government.

For more information: http://www.amvets.org/

 

 

As you celebrate your father today, also think of the countless active duty service members and veterans who sacrificed time with their children to serve our country during Father’s Day. Today is a happy time but also  difficult time for many families around the country who are celebrating fathers overseas or the memory of those who have passed while serving our nation.

Watch this Huffington Post Live segment about issues facing enlisted parents and the challenges facing new veterans returning to families they have left at home. We want to wish a very Happy Father’s Day to all the great fathers out there who support and love their children every day.

Happy Flag Day ! Did you know there is certain flag etiquette for the care and handling of the American Flag? This year when you raise your flag in honor of Flag Day, remember to cover these basic practices:

  • The flag is normally flown from sunrise to sunset.
  • In the morning, raise the flag briskly. At sunset, lower it slowly. Always, raise and lower it ceremoniously.
  • The flag should not be flown at night without a light on it.
  • The flag should not be flown in the rain or inclement weather.
  • After a tragedy or death, the flag is flown at half staff for 30 days. It’s  called “half staff” on land ,and “half mast” on a ship.
  • When flown vertically on a pole, the stars and blue field , or “union”, is at the top and at the end of the pole (away from your house).
  • The American flag is always flown at the top of the pole. Your state flag and other flags fly below it.
  • The union is always on top. When displayed in print, the stars and blue field are always on the left.
  • Never let your flag touch the ground, never…period.
  • Fold your flag when storing. Don’t just stuff it in a drawer or box.
  •  When your flag is old and has seen  better days, it is time to retire it. Old flags should be burned or buried. Please do not throw it in the trash.

As a symbol of our nation’s unity and independence, Flag Day is an important holiday for Americans to honor the adoption of the American flag and its makers. Raise your flag and commemorate this important day!

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re publishing recent important statistics about women in America from the U.S. Census Bureau. While women continue to make strides in income, skilled occupations and education in this country, there is still room for gains in equality. To all the women out there – especially those women who have served in the military – we salute you!

  • Power in Numbers: In 2013, approximately 4 million women inhabited the United States alongside approximately 2 million men. That means women outnumber men by a ration of 2:1!
  • The Capitol of  Women: The state with the highest percentage of women is the District of Columbia, where 52.6% of inhabitants are female.
  • The Best Medicine: One of the skilled occupations that has seen the greatest growth in women workers is pharmacy work. The number of women who are trained and work as pharmacists has quadrupled since 1970. While only 12.1% of pharmacists used to be women, starting in 2006, over half of all pharmacists were women.
  • Earning Inequality: The median annual income of women working full-time as of 2013 was $39,157, while men earned an average of $50,033 a year.
  • Food For Thought: In fall 2013, 56.2% of all college students (undergraduate and graduate) were women. That’s approximately 10.9 million women who are on their way to earning degrees and entering the workforce.

Photo courtesy of www.va.gov.

When we imagine veterans we usually conjure an image of a man coming back from Afghanistan. Rarely do we think of a woman. But the stark reality is that women make up more than 16% of the total Army, the largest portion in history. That’s over 13,000 women veterans who will soon be returning home to their families, friends and civilian life.

Iraq War Veteran, Nadine Noky, came home from Iraq in 2007 and identified the lack of casual clothing available to female veterans who wished to represent their veteran status. This lack pointed to an overall one-sided interpretation of the veteran image.

“Many women vets don’t self-identify as veterans. Some don’t even know they are veterans. They just don’t associate themselves with the idea of it the way men do,” Noky said in an article from BuzzFeed.

Noky quickly decided to fix this need herself: she learned to screen print t-shirts and started designing her own veteran apparel for women. In 2014 she founded her company Lady Brigade. She personally designs and prints all the t-shirts featured, runs the website and blog and also personally packages and sends each shirt to customers.

Prior to Lady Brigade, Noky served as a Radar Technician in the U.S. Army from 2002-2007. She even re-deployed to Iraq in 2005, only four months after she gave birth to her son, Sean. She really is a super hero.

Along with designing apparel for women veterans and service members, Noky is also organizing the first ever Women Veterans Conference to “offer quality services and programs” for women vets and “ensure they have the resources and ability to lead healthy and productive lives”.  The conference will be held from April 17-19 in Sarasota Florida.

Support Noky’s efforts to further the conversation about female veterans and service members by buying a t-shirt! You can also listen to her interview about Lady Brigade on NPR.

A new video launched by BuzzFeed titled, “Awkward Things People Say to Soldiers,” shows a soldier’s homecoming and the reactions he receives from friends and acquaintances. The video is thought-provoking and opens the conversation about the stereotypes returning soldiers face. Like the popular film, American Sniper, real-life depictions such as these are changing the way we look at soldiers and veterans in popular culture from individuals plagued with problems to normal citizens. Help advance the conversation: watch and share BuzzFeed’s video below.

When we think of veterans portrayed in the media, we often think of men and women with vacant eyes, internally suffering over images of gunfire and bloodshed in overseas lands. To assume that all veterans are gun-toting radicals, suffering from PTSD and prone to violence, is one of the greatest injustices we can do to the brave men and women who have risked their lives for our nation.

American Sniper, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper, is one of the few films in recent years that has gotten the portrayal of a contemporary veteran right. The film follows the story of Chris Kyle, a U.S. Navy SEAL known for making the most sniper kills in U.S. military history; so many in fact that he earned the nickname “Legend” over the course of his four tours in Iraq.

As he makes the difficult transition from service to home life and back with each deployment, the film deftly captures the conflicting existences on each front: the responsibility of family life that is constantly with him on the battlefield and his contemplation of the lives he could have saved while back at home. The outcome is a film that not only portrays life on the battlefield and home front, but the struggles soldiers face in the transition and the quest to find a sense of normalcy. American Sniper is an example of a Hollywood war film that thoughtfully captures the nuance of the veteran experience. It is media depictions such as these that will help bridge the civilian-military divide.

There are 22 million veterans in the United States, over 700,000 of whom are unemployed. Along with difficulties finding jobs, veterans face a heightened risk of homelessness and PTSD. Here are 5 simple ways to help veterans make the difficult transition from military to civilian life this holiday season:

  1. Buy a holiday card to support veterans programs: You can buy holiday cards this year and support veterans struggling with PTSD. Puppies Behind Bars provides service dogs to combat veterans returning home who have suffered a physical injury, traumatic brain injury (TBI) or PTSD symptoms. These canines are featured in holiday cards you can buy and support the program.
  2. Send a care package or personal letter: Through Operation Gratitude, you can send care packages and handwritten letters to active-duty service members, veterans, wounded warriors and their caregivers. Over the next two years, Operation Gratitude hopes to provide a care package to every Vietnam veteran ahead of the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.
  3. Give a veteran a ride: You can provide transportation to veterans who can’t travel to Veterans Affairs medical facilities on their own through Disabled American Veterans.
  4. Donate frequent flier miles: Through the Fisher House Foundation’s Hero Miles Program, you can donate your frequent flier miles to help family members travel to see their injured loved ones who are receiving treatments at VA hospitals.
  5. Help build a home for a veteran: You can help build a specially-modified home for veterans with physical disabilities by volunteering with a Homes for Troops building event. These homes are provided by Homes for Our Troops at no cost to veterans.

 

Finally, the most important way to give to veterans this holiday season and at all times of the year, is to say thank you. Happy Holidays.

The holiday seasons is our busiest time as many donors rush to donate their cars in time for the year-end tax season. Before you donate to Vets Vehicles or any other charitable organization, make sure you know all the necessary information about receiving a tax deduction for your generous donation. Here are the top questions to ask before you donate:

Question #1 : How much of the proceeds from the sale of my car will go to veterans charities?

Answer : This is an important question that you should ask all charitable organizations when you make donations. There are countless car donation programs out there that claim to give high returns to their benefitting charities, when in reality the charities receive as little as 10%-30% of the gross proceeds from the vehicle. Here at Vets Vehicles we give at least 60% of the gross proceeds from the car donations we receive to our veterans charities. All the charities we give your donation to are vetted for their high-quality programs, financial transparency and overall commitment to helping veterans. Visit our Why Donate page for more information about the veterans charities your donation will support.

Question #2 : Is Vets Vehicles eligible to receive tax deductible contributions?

Answer : Yes! Vets Vehicles is a 501(c)(3) organization, as such, when you donate your car to Vets Vehicles you are donating directly to a charity and eligible for a tax deduction.

This is another critical question to ask before making any kind of cash donation or contribution to a charitable organization. The most common types of organizations qualified to receive tax deductible contributions are section 501(c)(3) organizations, such as charitable, educational or religious organizations. Visit IRS.gov to search for registered charities such as these to know if your donation is eligible for a tax deduction.

Question #3 :  How much will my tax deduction be?

Answer : The IRS will only allow a deduction for the fair market value of the car. If the vehicle is sold for $500 or less the donor can claim up to $500 of the fair market value and if the vehicle sold for more than $500 the donor can claim a deduction of the selling price of the vehicle.

Question #4 : How do I actually go about getting my tax deduction?

Answer : Always get a receipt from the charity you donate to! You need this paperwork to qualify for your tax deduction. After you make a donation to Vets Vehicles, we will mail you your tax receipt after the donation is complete. If you don’t receive this in the mail, just call us at 888-838-7834 and we will re-send it.

If your car is worth more than $500, you must complete Section A of IRS Form 8283 and attach it to their tax return. If the car is worth $5,000 or more, an independent appraisal is necessary. You must also fill out Section B of IRS Form 8283. Take pictures of the car and save receipts for new tires or other upgrades to verify its value.

Question #5 : Anything else?

Answer : Yes! Always consult your tax adviser or the IRS for more information about how you can claim charitable deductions. The IRS can answer your tax questions and can provide tax forms, publications, and other reading materials for further assistance. IRS materials are accessible through the Internet at IRS.gov, through telephone ordering at (800) 829-3676, and at IRS walk-in offices in many areas across the country. If you have more questions, call us at 888-838-7834, we would love to help!

We asked our donors why they decided to donate their beloved cars to Vets Vehicles and this is what they said:

I know many veterans and would like to help them in any way that I can for their service to our country. -Minhy, Hyde Park, NY

I appreciate the sacrifice that each and every soldier has given in defense of the greatest country in the world. – Alfredo

It is a way to help the veterans out. I read about them being homeless and this is a way for me to help them. Plus it’s just sitting there. Nobody else wants it. I’m hoping it will serve a veteran well. – Paul

My Mother can no longer drive her car. She would like it to go to a good cause. Our Father was a WWII Vet and I think this would have made him happy knowing it was going here to help. – Patty, Tomball, TX

Our son-in-law is in Special Forces and we would like to help families that are in need of assistance. -Melvin, Tomball, TX

I feel this is a great charity since I have tons of family and friends serving in the military. That’s why Vets Vehicles is for me.    – Richard

I’m a Vet and it looks like more of your proceeds go to Vets instead of overhead. – Jason & Teri Crow, DuPont, WA

Always trying to give back to the ones who served us. – Mark, Mentor-On-The-Lake, OH

By donating to Vets I feel I am contributing to a very worth while cause and any proceeds received from the sale of the vehicle will greatly help those veterans who are so deserving and in need. – Webster

I am a vet myself and want to help a good cause. I don’t drive the vehicle anymore so it just sits idle and useless. – David, Coraopolis, PA

My husband was in the air force and my son who is in Africa now for a year and my daughter in law are both in the army reserves, and I think we should all do more for our Vets. They are too often forgotten and not recognized for what they have done. – Linda, Belmont, MI

We want to help our deserving US Veterans and their families in their difficult transition after deployment and possible injuries–emotional and physical. We feel this organization provides more direct funding to our men and women who served or are serving and their families. We are retired and need only one vehicle, so we are donating our second reliable vehicle, which still has value and life in it! – Elaine, Springfield, VA

In the spirit of the holiday season we want to say thank you to our donors. We would not be able to support veterans without your generosity.