The 122nd VFW National Convention

5 Min Read

a group of veterans (with their back to the viewer) salutes a large American flag

The 122nd Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) National Convention will take place between July 31st and August 3rd, 2021 at the Kansas City Convention Center in Missouri. Thousands of VFW delegates are expected to attend. Veterans with mesothelioma should talk with their doctors before attending.

Annual VFW National Convention to Take Place in Missouri

The 122nd VFW National Convention is being held between July 31st and August 3rd, 2021 at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

VFW and VFW Auxiliary registration begins on July 30th at the Marriott and Loews Hotels.

The multi-day event will include:

  • National Veterans Service Advisory Committee
  • VFW Internal Exhibits
  • National Council Committee on Appeals
  • Budget and Finance Committee Meetings
  • Membership Workshop - Post Development
  • VFW Post Service Officer Training
  • 2021-22 Department Commanders Meeting
  • 2021-22 Department Sr Vice Commanders Meeting
  • 2021-22 Department Jr Vice Commanders Meeting

The event will also include committee and sub-committee meetings and a town hall meeting. There will be several workshops, such as foundation, membership, chaplains, and administrative operations workshops.

The convention will conclude on August 3rd with the nomination, election, and installation of national officers for the National Council of Administration.

After last year's event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 122nd convention is a promising return to form for the VFW — an organization that can be very helpful to veterans with mesothelioma.

What Is The VFW?

The VFW is a nonprofit veterans service organization composed of eligible veterans and military service members from active, guard, and reserve forces. It was created on August 1, 1914 as a merger of three war veteran societies that were formed in 1899.

Before merging, these societies operated locally to secure rights and benefits for veterans of the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection. During that period, medical care and pensions for veterans didn’t exist, so they were left to care for themselves.

The dedication the organization exhibits to veterans can be seen in its vision and mission statements.

Vision: Ensure that veterans are respected for their service, always receive their earned entitlements, and are recognized for the sacrifices they and their loved ones have made on behalf of this great country.

Mission: To foster camaraderie among United States veterans of overseas conflicts. To serve our veterans, the military and our communities. To advocate on behalf of all veterans.

Membership is open to any individual who meets the following requirements:

  1. U.S. citizen
  2. Currently serving in the armed forces or discharged honorably
  3. Currently serving (or having completed service) in a war, expedition, or campaign on foreign soil/in hostile waters

The VFW maintains its legislative service and central offices of its National Veterans Service (NVS) in Washington, D.C. It has over 6,000 local units and is nationally headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. There are more than 1.5 million members of the VFW and its Auxiliary.

The 122nd VFW National Convention is a place where thousands of delegates across the country gather together to represent the organization's total membership.

How the VFW Helps Veterans with Mesothelioma

The VFW can help veterans with mesothelioma pursue benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure and sadly affects our country’s bravest. In fact, due to the military’s widespread asbestos use between the 1930s and early 1980s, veterans today have higher rates of mesothelioma than the general population.

This is because hundreds of thousands of military members were exposed to asbestos during their service. Since mesothelioma symptoms don't appear until 20-50 years after exposure, veterans who served up until the 1980s are at risk today.

Veterans with mesothelioma may be eligible for various VA benefits, including VA health care and VA disability compensation. However, filing for benefits can be tricky to do alone.

“The claims process can be confusing and one that service members and veterans shouldn't try to navigate alone. That's why the VFW's National Veterans Service (NVS) was established to help all veterans, service members and their families.”

— Veterans of Foreign Wars official website

By working with the VFW’s NVS, veterans can get help from skilled advocates to build and file claims with relative ease.

Attending the 122nd VFW National Convention

The 122nd VFW National Convention is an event designed for members to gather and approve new national priorities that guide the organization. The priorities are then used to lobby Congress on issues important to veterans, service members, and their families.

Attendees can pre-register for the event or register on-site beginning on July 30th. They'll need to download the VFW events app to see all of the events that will be occurring throughout the convention.

The tentative agenda can be found on the VFW's official website, along with information about parking, booking hotels, and exploring Kansas City outside of the convention.

How Will the Coronavirus Pandemic Affect the Convention?

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, this year's VFW convention will be in-person. To keep people safe, the VFW released a document of expected behavior for all attending.

Among other things, it encourages:

  • Anyone who is feeling unwell to stay home
  • Attendees to provide proof of vaccination if the VFW asks for it
  • Everyone to follow local and CDC safety guidelines

The pandemic has already affected the annual event, as it was originally supposed to take place in Baltimore. However, the Baltimore Convention Center had been operating as a field hospital during the pandemic, so the convention had to be moved to its new location.

Should Veterans With Mesothelioma Attend?

Veterans with mesothelioma should only attend the event with their doctor’s approval. Mesothelioma is a very dangerous cancer and treatments can make people weak or unfit for travel. Further, since many cases of mesothelioma affect lung function, those with this cancer are at a very high risk of COVID-19 complications.

Additionally, COVID-19 is far more deadly in those over the age of 65 — and most mesothelioma patients are seniors. Seniors account for 80% of all coronavirus deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The VFW: Proudly Serving Veterans

The VFW continues to push for change that will improve the lives of veterans across the country. As the country’s oldest major war veterans’ organization, the VFW has a longstanding record of service.

The VFW by the numbers:

  • 4.5 million-plus entrust the VFW with financial contributions and volunteer hours
  • 1,900-plus VA-accredited VFW representatives
  • 1.5 million VFW and VFW Auxiliary members
  • 6,024 VFW Posts worldwide
  • $9.7 billion recouped for veterans in VA disability compensation and pension benefits
  • 110,000-plus veterans the VFW helped to submit new VA claims in 2020
  • Almost 15,000 VA claims filed by the VFW’s Pre-Discharge offices in 2020 resulting in over $138 million in disability compensation
  • $12.1 million of financial assistance awarded to military families since 2004

With the return of an in-person convention following the 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns, the VFW is poised to keep helping veterans well into the 21st century.

If you need immediate help, you can file for VA benefits today by working with us. Our VA-accredited team includes fellow veterans, advocates, and attorneys. In over 40 years of operation, we’ve proudly helped thousands of U.S. military veterans and their families get the benefits they bravely earned.

Veterans Support Team
Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

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