Veterans service organizations
AMVETS is one of the nation's largest Congressionally-chartered veterans service organizations, representing nearly 250,000 veterans and their family members at more than 1,200 posts nationwide. AMVETS is also the nation's most-inclusive major veterans' group, with membership open to anyone who has served honorably since WWII, including members of the Guard and Reserve.
Veterans service and community service drive the commitment we have to make a difference in the lives of others.
Disabled Veterans (DAV)
DAV is the most long-lasting veterans advocacy and assistance group in this country. We’ve watched this country change and grow, and we’ve grown along with it. However, DAV has never wavered in its core mission to fulfill our country’s promises to the men and women who served. We invite everyone, veterans and civilian, men and women, young and old, to join us as we stand up for those veterans who risked it all when they stood up for us, our country, and our ideals.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)
IAVA is the country's first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. IAVA is building the next greatest generation with a three-pronged model based on advocacy, awareness, and assistance. IAVA programs empower our community online and offline, and include Smart Job Fairs, our signature New GI Bill calculator and Community of Veterans, a veterans only social network.
Our mission is to improve the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families. We strive to build an empowered generation of veterans who provide sustainable leadership for our country and their communities.
The American Legion
The American Legion is the nation’s largest veterans service organization, committed to mentoring and sponsorship of youth programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting a strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans.
In contrast to other veterans organizations, the Legion offers a number of local programs and activities to strengthen its commitment to our nation’s grass roots and the people we serve. American Legion Baseball is one of the nation’s most successful amateur athletic programs; it continues to educate youths on the importance of sportsmanship and develops the quality of our country’s citizenship. The Heroes to Hometowns program is the only nationwide reintegration assistance service for wounded veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Additionally, millions of dollars in donations have been given to fellow veterans and their families in times of grief, and various scholarship opportunities ensure the future success of our youth.
The American Legion is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization with great political influence perpetuated by its grass-roots involvements in the legislation process. Legionnaires’ sense of obligation to their community, state and nation drives an honest advocacy for veterans in Washington. The Legion stands not behind politics, but the issues and people that institute progress by focusing on veterans rights and quality of life.
The Military Order of the Purple Heart
The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces of the U.S. who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action. It is specifically a combat decoration.
The organization now known as the Military Order of the Purple Heart, was formed in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all who have received the decoration. Composed exclusively of Purple Heart recipients, it is the only veterans service organization comprised strictly of “combat” veterans.
Funds for welfare, rehabilitation and/or service work carried on by the organization are derived through the collection of used household items, the operation of thrift stores, through the donation of automobiles and, at the community level, from the annual distribution of its official flower, the Purple Heart Viola. Violas are assembled by disabled and needy veterans, many of whom receive little or no compensation from other sources. Thus, your contribution to our programs serve are two-fold. First, they help the veterans who participate in these endeavors and, secondly, they enable the organization to do many things on behalf of hospitalized and needy veterans and their families.
Wives, mothers, daughters, step-daughters and adopted daughters of Purple Heart recipients are eligible to belong to the Ladies' Auxiliary of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, which also does important work nationally and locally in veterans' hospitals.
Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)
The VFW traces its roots back to 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service: Many arrived home wounded or sick. There was no medical care or veterans' pension for them,and they were left to care for themselves.
In their misery, some of these veterans banded together and formed organizations with what would become known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.
Since then, the VFW's voice had been instrumental in establishing the Veterans Administration, creating a GI bill for the 20th century, the development of the national cemetery system and the fight for compensation for Vietnam vets exposed to Agent Orange and for veterans diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome. In 2008, VFW won a long-fought victory with the passing of a GI Bill for the 21st Century, giving expanded educational benefits to America's active-duty service members, and members of the Guard and Reserves, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The VFW also has fought for improving VA medical centers services for women veterans.
Besides helping fund the creation of the Vietnam, Korean War, World War II and Women in Military Service memorials, the VFW in 2005 became the first veterans' organization to contribute to building the new Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial, which opened in November 2010.
The members of the VFW and its Auxiliary contribute have a strong presence of volunteerism in the community, including participation in Make A Difference Day and National Volunteer Week.
Vietnam Veterans of America
Vietnam Veterans of America is the only national Vietnam veterans organization congressionally chartered and exclusively dedicated to Vietnam-era veterans and their families.
VVA's goals are to promote and support the full range of issues important to Vietnam veterans, to create a new identity for this generation of veterans, and to change public perception of Vietnam veterans.
Veterans Affairs Offices
Department of Veterans Affairs website
State and Local Government Veterans Affairs offices