On Location: The VFW 123rd National Convention in Kansas City

On Location: The VFW 123rd National Convention in Kansas City


About this episode

The 123rd VFW National Convention just concluded at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City Missouri. It was the first time the convention has been back in full swing since 2019. One of the new things was an exhibit sound stage in the exhibit hall where #StillServing Podcast Host Rob Couture had the pleasure of interviewing sponsors, exhibitors, comrades, and special guests.

Ryan Gallucci, Director of the VFW’s National Veteran Service


    Ryan describes all of the available services at the convention including the Claims Clinic and Health Fair provided by the NVS. [2:29]


    How the NVS and VFW help veterans understand the full breadth of benefits available to them. [5:33]


    The delegates function as the governing body but each VFW member has a voice in how decisions are made. [7:55]


Joe Bailey, President of Bridgestone’s BRAVO Employee Research Group

    Joe shares his military background and his civilian career history. [11:21]


    The BRAVO initiative supports veterans with career-based transition services and more. [12:19]


    Firestone Direct is a new program that offers on-site mobile services directly from mobile specialists. [15:48]

Clayton Smith, Senior Director for Sales at Twisted X



    Clayton spoke at the convention in place of Twisted X’s President, Prasad Reddy. [20:50]


    In 2005, Twisted X morphed from cowboy gear to lifestyle and casual styles. [23:17]


    To be more sustainable, Twisted X developed a fabric made from discarded plastic water bottles. [24:54]


    Twisted X is a proud sponsor of the voice of democracy scholarship program and the Tough Enough to Wear Pink program. [28:43]


Honorable Denis McDonough, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs


    During the convention, Denis discussed the partnership VA has with the VFW organization. [31:35]


    Denis shares what VFW can expect for the next year regarding the PACT act. [33:47]

Kelly McKeague, Director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA)


    Kelly vehemently thanks the VFW for the time and effort they put forth finding, identifying, and recovering POW/MIA military members. [37:28]


    Raising the nation’s consciousness about National POW/MIA Recognition Day. [40:47]


    Kelly describes the various methods that connect families to the remains of their beloved service members. [43:01]


    Johnny Webb was awarded a gold medal for his well-established dedication to the DPAA. [44:36]

Aaron McCoy, Regional Veteran Executive for Humana


    Aaron is a life member of the VFW Post #3345 and served in the Army and National Guard. [48:36]


    Humana donated $25,000 to the VFW’s Unmet Needs Program and helps educate veterans about their medical benefits. [49:52]


    At the convention, Humana sponsors two booths to show their gratitude to the VFW organization. [53:16]


    Humana also partners with the service officers of the NVS to enhance their veterans’ service offerings. [55:40]


    To address food insecurity, Humana joins forces with the VFW for the Uniting to Combat Hunger campaign [57:15]


Chris Ward, Public Affairs Manager for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES)


    Chris describes the changes and new benefits available to veterans as part of the AAFES. [1:00:06]


    The AAFES currently has a robust hiring program for veterans and military spouses. [1:02:56]


Teddy Robb, country music recording artist


    Teddy describes his experience at the VFW National Convention [1:07:13]


    Leaving football behind in Akron, Ohio, Teddy got his recording career started in Nashville, Tennessee. [1:10:15]


    In his song, “Heaven on Dirt,” Teddy reached out to the VFW to promote the Unmet Needs program. [1:14:12]


For more information or to continue the conversation, please visit:

Veterans of Foreign Wars Website

VFW Podcast Page

@VFWHQ on Twitter

VFW on Facebook

@RobCoutureVFW on Facebook

VFW Unmet Needs Program

Call 1-888-JOIN-VFW

Text “NEEDS” to 20222 to donate to the Unmet Needs Program

Today’s VFW — Share Your #StillServing Story

National Veterans Services — Claims Help

Firestone Direct

Apply My Exchange Website

Find out more about the VFW National Convention