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The Role of the Chairman
The VFW’s chairmen do more than just plan projects to improve their communities. They also recruit volunteers, build relationships with community leaders, organize partnerships with civic groups and promote the VFW.
You Are the Point Person
A program chairman should understand one important fact right from the outset: You are the Post’s point person in your community.
As chairman you will be your Post’s liaison to:
• School teachers and administrators.
• Community leaders.
• Local military personnel.
• City government officials.
• Members of civic groups.
• Members of the media.
• Your fellow veterans.
Seek out these new relationships.
When it comes time to recruit volunteers or you need specialized expertise for Post projects, these community contacts will prove invaluable. Project an outgoing, friendly personality. Speak positively about your Post, your community and your projects. Articulate your thoughts and plans clearly, concisely and coherently. Remember, you represent not only your Post, but the entire VFW organization as well.
Reporting Your Activities
You may have heard it said that "the job’s not over until the paperwork is done!” That is especially true of VFW Programs. A chairman must report their Post activities in their respective areas. Check with your respective Department chairman to learn what should be reported and in what form. Documentation of your programmatic efforts is the thing that ensures the VFW’s reputation and our not-for-profit status.
Master Organizational Skills As chairman, your talents must be varied. Consequently, your organizational skills should be fully developed.
Some of your specific duties include:
• Recruiting and maintaining a pool of active volunteers.
• Identifying and initiating programs needed in your community.
• Motivating your Post members, community volunteers and sponsors involved in your various projects.
• Recognizing your volunteers efforts
• Organizing and maintaining records, photos and newspaper clippings that document your activities.
• Reporting to your Department chairman the volunteer hours, dollars donated by the VFW, Auxiliary, and Cootie members and other information requested.
Through the contacts you’ve developed in your community, cooperate with other civic or fraternal groups. They may already be involved in community service programs you would like to undertake, or they may be eager to help with projects that you’ve planned. Also identify resources at your Post, talk with members and find out what special skills or hobbies they may have. Since 1923, the Veterans of Foreign Wars has concerned itself with the safety of the communities in which their Posts and members reside. Alarmed over the post-WWI use of drugs, VFW magazine, then called Foreign Service, printed a resolution calling for President Warren G. Harding to declare a National Anti-Dope Week and set up a national conference to deal with the problem. VFW Posts began a process of making the public aware of the dangers of drug use that continues to this day. 
Early on, VFW Posts began sponsoring bicycle safety clubs. In 1962, Posts started providing reflective stickers through the Lite-a-Bike program.
When manufacturers began putting lights on bicycles, the reflective stickers were moved to backpacks and jackets and the program became Lite-a-Tike. Working with the National Safety Council, driver safety programs were part of the first safety efforts. Later the VFW began to promote AARP’s 55 Alive/Mature Driving program.
Throughout the history of the VFW, Posts have been quick to recognize the contributions of those who make our homes, highways and communities safer.
Today, VFW Posts regularly honor citizens who save lives and those who serve the community as emergency responders. A special section in this manual is dedicated to the ways in which these courageous individuals can be recognized at every level of the VFW.
In the late 1970s, VFW families became increasingly concerned about the safety of their children. One of the first organizations to create a child ID kit, the VFW provided hundreds of thousands of parents with this tool they hoped would never be used.
With the tragedy of 9/11, the VFW has begun encouraging Posts to utilize the resources of the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). These organizations, as well as hundreds of others, provide printed materials about safety in the home, community, while traveling, almost anywhere.
Chairmen should visit the following websites and review the materials and information relevant to almost any emergency or security situation a community might encounter:
VFW Post, District and Department Safety Chairmen play a vital role in the VFW’s impact on our communities. They are responsible for overseeing the various safety programs at their respective level.
To accomplish this purpose it is essential that they do the following:
• Read and understand all Safety Program materials.
• Maintain a working knowledge of all program aspects so as to be the authority on the Safety Program.
• Promote the execution of Safety Programs at their respective Post, District or Department levels.
• Provide timely and accurate program activity reports of Safety Program activities at their level.
VFW Recognition Program
The purpose of the VFW Recognition Program is twofold. First and foremost, as an organization of wartime veterans and their spouses, the VFW and Auxiliary understand the need to recognize and honor those individuals who have performed above and beyond their peers. Of particular significance are those who, like wartime veterans, have placed the safety and welfare of others above their own. Secondly, the VFW and its Auxiliary realize the value of these awards to the Post, District, Department and National organization. Recognizing worthy individuals makes the public aware of the VFW and Auxiliary and increases the public’s respect and appreciation for these organizations. That increased respect and appreciation results in greater public support for these organizations and membership growth.
For those reasons, it is important that VFW and Auxiliary leaders at every level take advantage of every opportunity to honor worthy individuals and sometimes organizations. With that in mind, the VFW National organization has established a number of suggested awards. The Post/Auxiliary Safety Chairman should constantly be on the lookout for opportunities to honor individuals of all ages in the community.
The following are suggested awards:
National Citation of Recognition
These citations are available to recognize Posts or individual Post chairmen who have demonstrated an exceptionally high level of service to their community. VFW Department Chairmen are given sole responsibility for identifying those Posts and individuals within their Department worthy of this citation. Application forms including all criteria and instructions are sent to the Department by February. Completed forms
listing each Post or chairman by name and Post number must be submitted to the national organization by May 1st to allow time for proper presentation at the Department Convention.

Public Servant Award Citations for Emergency Medical Technicians, Law Enforcement Personnel and Firefighters
Each year, the Veterans of Foreign Wars selects emergency medical technicians, law enforcement and firefighter personnel to receive VFW Public Servant Awards. Post Safety Chairmen are
encouraged to submit a candidate for these awards to their Department Headquarters by January 1.
The Department must select a single candidate for each of the three awards and submit those to VFW
National Headquarters by February 1. NOTE: The VFW National Programs Department
does not require all documentation items to be mailed to Kansas City, Missouri (from Department to
National.) The only item the National VFW Programs Department requires is the "VFW Department Public Servant Award Citation Request Form”, which is now available on the VFW website. You can locate this form by logging in to and searching under "My VFW” in the Training and Support section. 
VFW National Emergency Medical Technician Public Servant Citation
Any individual, who actively gives emergency medical treatment, provides rescue service or civil disaster assistance as a member of any public or volunteer company organized to give emergency medical care, provide rescue and civil disaster
assistance to our nation’s citizens. VFW National Law Enforcement Public Servant Citation
Any individual who serves in a municipal, county, state or federal unit tasked with enforcement of
the laws pertaining to their area of responsibility. This award does not apply to individual employed
by private companies or security services.
VFW National Firefighters Public Servant Citation
Any individual who actively fights fires as a member of any public or volunteer company
organized to fight fires and give assistance to our nation’s citizens.

Criteria for these awards - Candidates must have demonstrated:
• Recognition by their colleagues or those they serve.
• Consistent excellence in the performance of their duties.
• Consistent dedication to their official responsibilities over a period of years and continuous growth in responsibilities and skills within their profession.
• Dispatchers can compete for the awards.
Documentation required for all Candidates:
• Nomination letter containing the candidate’s name, title, and identifying the award for which the individual should be considered.
• Include justification outlining background in field, accomplishments and awards. If personal identifiable information (PII) becomes a concern recommending an officer, please submit as much information as
possible to justify nomination.
Nomination – Post Safety Chairmen should send the above information to their Department Headquarters to arrive not later than January 1.

The (1) page VFW Public Servant Award Citation Post Entry Form can be located by logging in to and searching under "My VFW” in the Training & Support section. (Not required for
Department judging.) 

Departments should submit their "VFW Department Public Servant Award Citation Request Form” on no later than February 1 to:
VFW National Headquarters
Attn: Programs
406 W. 34th Street
Kansas City, MO 64111
Fax: 816.968.2779
Phone: 816.756.3390, ext. 6287

Life Saving Award
Safety Chairmen at Posts, Districts and Departments are encouraged to regularly identify and honor individuals throughout the year in their geographic area who have saved a life. The VFW National Programs office provides the following three different citations, free of charge, for local presentation.

• Regular Life Saving Citation – Honors individuals who have, without regard for their own comfort, taken action resulting in the saving of another human life.
• Line of Duty Life Saving Citation – Honors individuals who, in the execution of their assigned duties, have taken action resulting in the saving of another human life.
• Valor Life Saving Citation – Honors civilians who have taken action resulting in the saving of another human life and have placed their own safety at risk.

Safety Chairmen should request citations by sending the following to VFW Programs,
VFW National Headquarters, 406 West 34th Street,
Kansas City, MO 64111, fax: 816.968.2779, e-mail

• Documentation of the event – newspaper clippings, articles, etc.
• Completed VFW Life Saving Award Citation Entry Form. The (1) page VFW Life Saving Award Citation Entry Form can be located by logging in to and searching under "My VFW” in the Training & Support section.
If you have any questions, please call Tammy Beauchamp, 816.756.3390, ext 6287 or

Youth Cadet Awards Programs
The VFW awards for special recognition of outstanding achievement and exceptional leadership are available for Junior and Senior ROTC programs, Naval Sea Cadets and Civil Air Patrol Cadets. If any
of these programs exist in your community, these awards provide your Post an outstanding
opportunity to honor these patriotic young people.

Youth Cadet Awards Administration Cadet awards may be initiated by the local VFW Post or directly by the cadet’s unit. In either case, documentation should come from the unit as follows:
• Naval Sea Cadets: from the unit commanding officer in a letter with copy to NSCC HQ.
• Civil Air Patrol Cadets: from the candidate’s squadron by submitting a CAP-120 form.
• JROTC/SROTC Cadets: from the unit by submitting a letter documenting the criteria.\
All letters of nomination should be sent to:
VFW Programs  VFW National Headquarters
406 W. 34th Street
Kansas City, MO 64111
Fax: 816.968.2779

Criteria for Civil Air Patrol and Naval Sea Cadet awards:
• Good academic standing.
• Satisfactory progress in the cadet program
• Outstanding achievement in community service and/or the cadet program.
• Outstanding leadership in the cadet program.
• High moral character.
• Exceptional professionalism in appearance and actions (Officer Award).
• Outstanding military bearing and conduct in and out of uniform (NCO Award).
• Involvement in patriotic programs, drill team, color guard, etc.
• Demonstrated potential and willingness to assume higher levels of responsibility.

Additional criteria for JROTC & SROTC awards:
• Positive attitude toward the ROTC Program.
• For JROTC, must be enrolled as a 10th - 12th grade JROTC student.
• For SROTC, must be an undergraduate student enrolled in Military Science I through IV.
• Must maintain a "B” average in ROTC curriculum and a "C” average in all remaining subjects with no failing grades in the previous semester.
• Active in at least one other student extra-curricular activity (music, athletics, government, etc.).
Upon receipt of the letter and documentation, VFW Programs personnel will review the submitted materials, approve them, and contact the VFW Department (state headquarters office.)
The Department or a local VFW Post may then purchase the award(s) through the VFW Store for
presentation. Awards, stock numbers and contact information are as follows:
• JROTC Medal #1229.
• JROTC Citation # 4387.
• ROTC Medal #1226.
• ROTC Citation #4386.
• Naval Sea Cadet Medal #1207.
• Naval Sea Cadet Citation #4393.
• Civil Air Patrol Officer Medal #1208.
• Civil Air Patrol Officer Citation #4394.
• Civil Air Patrol NCO Medal #1209.
• Civil Air Patrol NCO Citation #4395.

Order through:
VFW Store 406
W. 34th St.
Kansas City, MO 64111

Recognizing local heroes, heroines, patriots and outstanding youth with VFW awards, citations and medals is one of the easiest and most effective ways to grow a VFW Post. Every time your VFW Post honors a local individual, you spread good will among the individual’s family, friends and your entire community. That good will returns to your Post in the form of increased public support for your fundraising, increased attendance at your events and, perhaps most importantly, more members for your Post and its Auxiliary.
Tammy Beauchamp
Phone: 816.756.3390, ext. 6287