National Veterans Foundation

National Veterans Foundation

Our Mission:

  • To Serve the crisis management, information and referral needs of all U.S. Veterans and their families through: Management and operation of the nation’s only toll-free helpline for all veterans and their families.
  • Public awareness programs that shine a consistent spotlight on the needs of America’s veterans.
  • Outreach services that provide veterans and families in need with food, clothing, transportation, employment, and other essential resources.

The founder of the National Veterans Foundation, Floyd ‘Shad’ Meshad has been working with Veterans since 1970. Meshad was a Medical Service Officer during the Vietnam War, where he counseled soldiers in the field who were suffering from a multitude of psychological and emotional problems resulting from their experiences in combat, including what would later become known as ‘Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,’ or PTSD.

After the war, Shad continued to counsel Vietnam veterans through his work with the Veterans Administration in Los Angeles. He co-founded the VA’s ‘Vet Center’; program — 206 storefront facilities throughout the country, located away from VA Hospitals, where veterans walk in off the street to receive mental health counseling. He also authored a critically acclaimed book called “A Captain for Dark Mornings,” which chronicled his experiences both during the war, and after coming home.

Today, Meshad remains one of America’s most sought after experts on Combat Stress, Trauma Therapy, and the readjustment issues confronting returning soldiers and their families.

In 1985, Shad founded The Vietnam Veterans Aid Foundation (VVAF), a non-profit, 501- c (3) human service organization. The mission of the VVAF was to help veterans and families in need with a variety of issues. Due to an overwhelming number of requests for help, the VVAF established a toll-free number in 1987 to help veterans and families in need more easily connect with the assistance they required. The VVAF was the only veteran’s outreach service offering nationwide benefits information, resource referral, and crisis counseling via a toll-free helpline. By 1992, VVAF had become a recognized resource for veterans of all wars who were struggling to access benefits, locate services, or overcome the emotional scars of war. As a result, in 1992, the VVAF formally changed its name to the National Veterans Foundation, a human service agency committed to serving the crisis and information needs of all veterans and their families.

Staffed by a team of veterans (from Vietnam, the Cold War, Desert Storm, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan) who are specially trained in the delivery of crisis information and referral services, as well as a team of licensed volunteer counselors to whom all crisis calls are routed, more than 275,000 veterans in need of medical treatment, substance abuse or PTSD Counseling, VA benefits advocacy, food, shelter, employment training, legal aid, or suicide intervention, have now been served by this unique, one-of-a-kind resource. Also, as a recognized leader within the community of organizations that specialize in providing human service programs to veterans and their families, NVF frequently plays a key role as advisor, partner, and collaborator.

Over the past two decades, this has included providing financial assistance, training, and donations of food, clothing, and other goods to other non-profits serving the specialized needs of veterans’ including New Directions (CA), The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation (NJ), LA County Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (CA), Desert Storm Justice Foundation (OK), Point Man of Northern California (CA), Veterans Coalition of the Hudson Valley (NY), Westside Stand Down (CA), Stamford Homeless Project (CT), US VETS (CA), and Swords to Plowshares (CA), among many others.

The NVF’s extraordinary record of service has not gone unnoticed. As one of the world’s most sought after experts in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the U.S. Government asked Shad Meshad to provide training to the counselors at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The NVF continues to evolve. Shad, his team and the board of Directors are committed to continually seeking and developing the most effective means to help those who have served our country and their families. The NVF is open to all who seek emotional support and other assistance. thanks the NVF for all they do to help and support our Veterans.

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     Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization exclusively dedicated to Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA’s record of achievement is a profile in tenacity and effectiveness.

     In the late 1970’s, with America’s longest and most divisive war just ended, the concerns of Vietnam veterans were not being addressed by the government or the veterans community as a whole. Many still failed to make a distinction between the war and the warrior. Where there was not outright hostility, there was indifference.

Vietnam Veterans of America


     In time it became apparent to Vietnam veterans that arguments couched simply in terms of morality, equality, and justice were not enough. Congress would respond to the legitimate needs of Vietnam veterans only when the organization professing to represent them had political strength. By the summer of 1979, the Council of Vietnam Veterans had become the Vietnam Veterans of America., a veteran’s service organization made up of and dedicated to Vietnam veterans.

     Our membership growth was slow, we met in various locations around the country. The big breakthrough came when the American hostages were returned from Iran in January 1981. America went through an emotional catharsis that put issues of the Vietnam era on the table for public discussion. The question was asked, why parades for the hostages but not Vietnam veterans. Vietnam veterans wanted action in the form of programs that would place our generation of wartime veterans on the same footing as veterans of previous wars.

     The public became more willing to deal with the Vietnam War and the basic issues it raised. The veterans themselves began to come forward and come to terms with their war. All of this culminated in the nation’s dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in November 1982. The week-long activities rekindled a sense of camaraderie among veterans and a feeling that they shared an experience that was too significant to ignore. The American people also realized that the three million men and women who came home from Vietnam had been treated unfairly and with indifference, and many still needed real help.

     Throughout the 80’s VVA grew in size and prestige. VVA’s combination of hard-working volunteers and its advocacy, claims work, and other services gained the respect of Congress. VVA’s remarkable efforts and achievements were formally acknowledged by the granting of a Congressional Charter. VVA was the last veteran’s organization so recognized in the 20th century.

     Today, Vietnam Veterans of America, takes great pride in its record of accomplishments. For many years, VVA’s motto has been: ”In Service to America.” We look forward to the challenges of veteran’s advocacy in the 21st. Century, and to its own growth and development as a leader among veteran’s service organizations.Never Forget

     VVA’s ambitious agenda has always aimed to find creative, pragmatic solutions to the programmatic concerns of Vietnam-era veterans, their families, and the community.

     VVA is an all volunteer, not-for-profit veteran’s organization dedicated to passing on the positive legacy of those who served in the longest war in U.S. history.

     Because the Vietnam Veterans of America is an organization made up of those who served during a specific period in history, the members will pass on to become a piece of history. This is not unlike the Grand Army of the Republic, the veteran’s organization for Civil War veterans.

     Both served in difficult and divisive conflicts. The confusing nature of service and trying circumstances for each has forged a special bond among the warriors.

     May we all learn from their sacrifices? Freedom requires vigilance and civic participation to survive. May those who have served and will serve be remembered, respected, and reintegrated as worthy members of our community. The work of VVA is an example of warriors that continue to serve.

Yours in service,
Richard Earley, President
Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 116

The AOL Homepage For Heroes

The AOL Homepage For Heroes

AOL honors and supports our Troops.  AOL is trying to raise 1 million free minutes for our Troops to call home.  Please click the above link or the graphic below to help support AOL in their quest.

Navy Announces DDG 116 to be Named Thomas Hudner

Department of Defense Public Affairs (NNS) — Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced May 7 the next Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer (DDG) will be named the USS Thomas Hudner.  Thomas J. Hudner Jr., a naval aviator who retired as a captain, received the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman for displaying uncommon valor during an attack on his wingman, the first African American naval aviator to fly in combat, Ensign Jesse L. Brown.  During the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War, anti-aircraft fire hit Brown’s aircraft, damaging a fuel line and causing him to crash.  After it became clear Brown was seriously injured and unable to free himself Hudner proceeded to purposefully crash his own aircraft to join Brown and provide aid.  Hudner injured his own back during his crash landing, but he stayed with Brown until a rescue helicopter arrived.  Hudner and the rescue pilot worked in the sub-zero, snow-laden area in an unsuccessful attempt to free Brown from the smoking wreckage.Hudner is the last living Navy recipient of the Medal of Honor from the Korean War.After receiving recognition for his heroism, Hudner remained on active duty, completing an additional 22 years of naval service during which his accomplishments include flying 27 combat missions in the Korean War and serving as the executive officer aboard the USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War.  “Thomas Hudner exemplifies the core values of honor, courage and commitment the Navy holds dear,” said Mabus.  “Naming the Navy’s next DDG for him will ensure his legacy will be known, honored and emulated by future generations of sailors and Marines who serve and all who come in contact with this ship.”  The Arleigh Burke class destroyer will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection.  It will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and will contain a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare in keeping with the Navy’s ability to execute the Department of Defense’s defense strategy.For more information about the Arleigh Burke class destroyers please visit:> For more information regarding Capt. Thomas J. Hudner, Jr. please visit:,_Jr.

For more information regarding Ensign Jesse L. Brown please visit:

New England Center for Homeless Veterans

New England Center for Homeless Veterans is located downtown Boston, at 17 Court Street.

Their Mission
…extend a helping hand to homeless men and women veterans who are addressing the challenges of:

  • addiction
  • trauma
  • severe and persistent mental illness, and/or
  • unemployment

and who will commit themselves to sobriety, non-violence, and working for personal change. We are recognized as one of the most effective private veteran’s transition programs in the country.

We as Veterans are one of the largest homeless groups in America today.  And as Veterans we all believe very strongly about “being left behind”, as Vietnam Veterans we will not turn our backs on our Brothers and Sisters no matter what.  Any Veteran that needs help, whether it be with PTSD, homelessness, being incarcerated, Agent Orange or whatever, is a Vet that can know, someone is looking out for them.

I urge all VVA members and ALL Veterans everywhere to help out whenever you can.  Help our comrades that are homeless.  Support the NECHV any way you can.  Visit the NECHV webpage, make a donation, contact your State and Federal Representatives and see what you can do to support homeless Veterans.  Let these guys know that “we got their backs…at home”!

I would also like to issue a very large “THANK YOU!” to the staff at NECHV, for being there, for supporting me, feeding me and keeping me warm and dry during a very cold and dark time in my life.  I will never forget you.