Cut Us a Huss
Seventeen years ago, when I first became President of TAVV, my primary goal for this organization was to develop a solid network that would benefit all veterans and their families, not just the members of TAVV. A bit naïve back then, I assumed that every veterans group would jump at the opportunity to participate in such a worthy undertaking. Not so. In fact, very few groups dared to venture outside their own fiercely guarded perimeter of policy and politics. Steeped in tradition and with a penchant for maintaining status quo, veterans groups, even now, rarely welcome outside interference. Still, through the perseverance of our members, we’ve managed to develop meaningful relationships with many veterans groups, and in turn, TAVV has established itself as a well respected, well-connected veterans organization and one of the most active and proactive groups in Central Texas.
Within the veteran community, as in most social networks, WHAT you know is almost never as useful as WHO you know. Only through working directly with other veterans service organizations and with veterans service providers are we able to learn about people, programs, and plans that may be helpful to us both as an organization as well as individually. As most of us have experienced, navigating the bureaucratic maze of veteran red tape and dead ends is not pleasant. Sharing knowledge gained from others can certainly ease the inherent frustration. Communication. That’s what this is about. And in the veteran community, there never seems to be enough of it. The tight bonds that we’ve developed with VFW 856, VVA 915, the Lone Star Chapter of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association, and the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association Chapter 23-7 are shining examples of how veterans organizations with different objectives can work together for the common good.
Since my election so long ago, your team of TAVV officials has undergone many changes. But throughout the years, we've always maintained our quest for interaction and our willingness to engage any group that'll entertain the idea of working with us. And we’ve never limited ourselves to only the military. We’ve supported diabetes events, breast cancer events, lupus events, Special Olympics, kids with cancer, and many other community-based charities. It’s central to who we are, folks, as strength in numbers extends well beyond the military. As long as we can take advantage of that fact, every citizen wins. However, interaction does require effort on your part. Even now, Joe, John, and I rarely pass up an opportunity to attend a veterans event, a veterans council or committee meeting, or a veterans social gathering, often at a great personal inconvenience. So, we could use a little help from you folks.
Recently, Joe and I set up TAVV tables at the Heroes Night Out family BBQ outing and the Dell Diamond Military Appreciation Night, both really good annual events that promote the networking of veterans organizations and services. Although all of you were invited to participate, only one TAVV member bothered to join us. It was disappointing to see that even TAVV's leadership was so sparsely represented. These events aren’t just about absorbing information and gathering brochures and business cards, it’s also about introducing ourselves to the veteran community. Not only did we give out TAVV newsletters, talk with veterans, and solicit new members, but we also met new veteran leaders and reestablished ties with past connections, thus extending and prolonging our network. Our friends include folks from TexVet, the Veterans Land Board, the VA Clinic, the Travis and Williamson Counties Veteran Service offices, and the Veterans Commission, just to name a few. These people exist to serve you, and you should want to know them.
As long as TAVV continues to participate in veterans events, we're doing our organization and our veteran community a service, but your officers can't continue to do it alone. TAVV is your organization, and what we do as a group serves each of you. So I'm asking once again for you to participate in your own well-being. In order for your own personal veteran needs to be met, perhaps you could contribute some of your own personal time. Besides, helping yourself just might help others. On a personal note, Joe and I would be most grateful if you could find the time to cut us a huss. We’re overwhelmed.
See you on Thursday.
Don Dorsey, President
The Austin Chapter of Texas Association of Vietnam Veterans (TAVV) meets Thursday, July 14, 2014 - 7:00 pm at VFW Post 856 — 406 E Alpine Rd - Austin, Texas 78704.