- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
As new vets go online, VA and others follow
Question of the Day
DENVER (AP) - Busy, tech-savvy and often miles from their peers, thousands of new veterans are going online to find camaraderie or get their questions answered _ forcing big changes in long-established veterans groups and inspiring entrepreneurs to launch new ones.
Bongioanni and many other men and women who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are gravitating to websites open only to them, where they can talk about GI Bill education benefits, job hunting, the personal toll of war and other concerns they share, any time, day or night.
They can also track their health benefits on a Department of Veterans Affairs website and read the VFW magazine on their smartphones, upgrades prompted at least in part by the needs and habits of the 1.4 million veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“You need to go where they are, and that’s online,” said Jerry Newberry, director of communications for the VFW.
Not all the changes are happening online. The VFW’s oldest chapter, Post 1 in Denver, was created in 1899 by First Colorado Volunteers returning from the Philippines in the Spanish-American War. Today, it’s reorganizing around the needs of the new veterans.
Its new building, currently being remodeled, won’t have a full-time bar. The space will be devoted instead to offices for veterans service groups, said Izzy Abbass, the post commander and a 44-year-old Army veteran of the first Gulf War.
“We’re not the traditional VFW post,” he said. “Typically the image is of a smoky, dark bar, (a) bunch of guys wearing funny hats sitting around bitching, and they look a lot older than I do.”
Abbass said he has deep respect for the previous generation of veterans and is grateful for what they accomplished, on the battlefield and at home. He said older veterans in Post 1 are among the strongest advocates for making changes to engage the new generation.
The VFW traces its origins to local associations of war veterans who lobbied for health care and pensions, and their meeting halls often became neighborhood gathering places.
The VFW is no longer the center of its members’ social lives, Abbas acknowledged.
“There’s, what, 2,500 bars across Denver? We could hit a different one every night and be fine,” he joked.
Post 1 emphasizes activism, working with veterans groups on college campuses, sponsoring outings for families of deployed servicemen and women and coordinating with a group that helps families reconnect after a deployment.
TWT Video Picks
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- EPSTEIN: All IRS roads lead to the archivist
- HAYDEN: Intelligence, evidence and the case against Russia
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Border surge puts Obama legacy on immigration at stake
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- KUHNER: Will Russia-Ukraine be Europe's next war?
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq