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Disabled Veterans chapter makes comeback


For those who may have thought the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 17 was simply going to disappear, think again. The Doylestown organization is thriving, once more, said Commander George Lindsey.

First established in 1971 by 30 veterans, primarily from World War II and Korea, the chapter worked to support vets and the larger community for many years, explained Lindsey and Jack Thomas, the chapter’s junior vice commander. After more than two decades, however, the dedicated group’s numbers began to dwindle, as members aged.

Determined to keep Chapter 17 and its important work alive, Golane D. Vanderhoff made it his goal, Thomas said, “not to let the chapter fade into the sunset.” Until his death in 2017, at age 92, he did just that, Lindsey and Thomas agreed.

In 2015, Lindsey, an Iraq War veteran, stepped in to ensure the chapter’s continued survival. “Through his leadership and the work of the membership, this chapter has grown and now works with other veterans groups in the area for a common cause,” Thomas said.

“We’re a diverse group,” said Lindsey. “The youngest vet is 26 or so and the oldest … up into their 80s or 90s. There are men and women vets involved.” With 234 members overall, and between a dozen and 22 who regularly attend meetings, the chapter is continuing the tradition of its founders, the commander said.

“We pay it forward when it comes to vets. I like to say, our chapter can expedite the process of getting vets assistance,” Lindsey said.

He credits the health of the organization, part of the national Disabled American Veterans, to changing the meeting time and place to one more vets can attend, expanding the group’s visibility by joining Doylestown’s popular Memorial Day parade and helping develop a program at the Central Bucks YMCA.

“A lot of disabled vets isolate themselves,” said Lindsey. “The Y Wellness Program offers 12 weeks of free membership for the vet, his or her spouse and their family. It can help them find their pathway.”

After the 12 weeks, the veteran can have six more months of free membership, Lindsey noted.

DAV Chapter 17 is not just for combat vets. “It’s open to anyone who suffered injuries while on active duty, “ added the commander.

The chapter supports a variety of local programs, including the YMCA, Pennsylvania Wound Warriors, Meghan’s Foundation, Meals on Wheels and Toys for Tots. “To that end, we are trying to uphold the commitment that those original 30 veterans made in 1971,” Thomas said.

Currently, the organization meets at the American Legion Post on West Street in Doylestown Borough at 6 p.m. on the fourth Monday of. The chapter also has a Facebook page.


Disabled American Veterans Mission Statement

We are dedicated to a single purpose: empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. We accomplish this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life.

• Providing free, professional assistance to veterans and their families in obtaining benefits and services earned through military service and provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other agencies of government.

• Providing outreach concerning its program services to the American people generally, and to disabled veterans and their families specifically.

• Representing the interests of disabled veterans, their families, their widowed spouses and their orphans before Congress, the White House and the Judicial Branch, as well as state and local government.

• Extending DAV’s mission of hope into the communities where these veterans and their families live through a network of state-level Departments and local Chapters.

• Providing a structure through which disabled veterans can express their compassion for their fellow veterans through a variety of volunteer programs.

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