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The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) is a congressionally chartered war veterans organization. VFW currently has 1.6 million members and is the largest American organization of combat veterans.

Membership

Members must be US citizens and be currently serving in the US military or have an honorable discharge from the US Armed Forces. Membership also requires military service overseas during a conflict and decorated with an expeditionary medal, a campaign medal or ribbon. Receipt of imminent danger/hostile fire pay is accepted for membership.

and/or

Service for thirty (30) consecutive days duty in Korea or sixty (60) days of non-consecutive duty in Korea.

Soldiers currently deployed to a combat zone meet the qualification for joining the VFW.

A DD214 or World War II era discharge paper with campaign medals, and or badges printed on back is used to verify membership eligibility.

The VFW became a government-chartered non-profit organization by an act of the United States Congress on May 28, 1936; as such, it receives no funding from United States tax receipts and is supported by charitable donations. The first VFW was founded in Columbus, Ohiomarker in 1899. The current VFW was first formed in 1914 from the merger of two prior veterans organizations which both arose in 1899: the American Veterans of Foreign Service and the National Society of the Army of the Philippines. The former was formed for veterans of the Spanish–American War, while the latter was formed for veterans of the Philippine–American War.

VFW works on behalf of American veterans by lobbying Congress for better veterans' health care and benefits. The VFW also maintains a nationwide organization of employees and volunteers to assist veterans with their VA disability claims.

VFW also donates hundreds of thousands of dollars and millions of hours for community service. One of their most popular programs, Operation Uplink, provides free phone cards to overseas service members.

The current Commander of the VFW is Thomas J. Tradewell, Sr.

Involvement

Direct community involvement is a VFW priority, extending beyond the realm of veterans helping veterans.

Annually, VFW and Auxiliaries donate more than 13 million volunteer hours of community service. VFW members mentor youth groups, help in community food kitchens, volunteer in blood drives and visit hospitalized veterans. Others help veterans file compensation claims.

VFW's Community Service programs are designed to encourage community service and increase civic pride, which ultimately enhances education, improves the environment and ensures the availability of health services for our nations veterans.

VFW's Citizenship Education program is designed to stimulate interest in America's history and traditions and to promote citizenship, civic responsibility and patriotism.

VFW's Youth Scholarship programs provide more than $3.5 million in scholarships to our nation's youth. They include Voice of Democracy, Patriot's Pen youth essay contest and Scout of the Year.

The VFW's partnership with the Boy Scouts of America includes the sponsoring of more than 1,200 Scouting units with 40,000 members across the nation.

VFW's Safety Program encourages VFW Posts and Auxiliaries to conduct programs in home, auto and bicycle safety, as well as programs dealing with drug awareness and substance abuse.

The VFW National Home for Children is a community development in a family-like environment that is home to orphaned or single parent children of VFW or Ladies Auxiliary members. The home, which was established in 1925 on in Eaton Rapids, Mich., emphasizes the values of education, good work habits and sound moral character.

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