727 Goucher St.
Johnstown, Pa. 15905


Copyright © Veteran Communtiy Initiatives.

Veteran Community Initiatives, Inc.

​T C Ramblings

To: Chip         From: Tom Caulfield

As we approach and (hopefully) warm up into the month of May, my thoughts center on all the military and veteran programs, services and recognitions coming up.

Briefly to mention a few, we have Military Spouse Appreciation Day (May 12), Armed Force Week (May 15-20),  Memorial Day (May 29), and here in the Laurel Highlands PA area Veteran Court Graduation (May 30).  I can assure you there will be many local military related activities: - veterans, their families and supporters wanting to honor and recognize servicemen and servicewomen (past and present) can participate in. (Search VCIINC.ORG website for a listing)

While we look forward to these meaningful and significant events and programs coming up, we must unfortunately caution you that there are thieves, frauds and shysters who prey on the emotional hearts and financial strings of good caring people wanting to help veterans facing difficult situations and challenging needs.

Well, how do you know if individuals or groups seeking funds on behalf of veterans are legitimate?  Everybody donating certainly wants to be assured their contributions are getting to veterans in need.

How does one protect from these unscrupulous and misleading poachers?  Although we do not have a completely foolproof answer, try learning about and /or become familiar with those seeking your financial support.  Certainly we are all familiar with true, proven and bonafide veteran service organizations (American Legion, VFW, VVA, DAV, PVA, CVV etc.).  Local veteran private non-profit organizations such as our Veteran Community Initiatives, Inc. (VCI) have been active and recognized (since 1993) in our community and area chamber of commerces for ‘making a difference’ and are more likely to be trusted and legitimate.


Questions you might ask of organizations not familiar to you but seeking your financial support might be: Are programs/services provided either entirely or predominantly benefiting local area vets?  Does the organization’s Board of Directors include veterans from the area you live?  There are legitimate Veteran Programs that provide services and benefits throughout the entire county and do a good job - if you feel comfortable with non-specific directed contributions that is fine.  However, we suggest learning as much as you possibly can regarding the cause and finding out something about the organization soliciting. You want to make sure veteran organizations under the broad category labels of non profits are not being headed up by a number of six (6) figure salaried employees, or where lobster dishes and champagne are on the organization’s Board of Directors meetings menu.

For example, our organization VCI is completely open with what we do, where we do it, and how our services provided are 100% local.  At VCI our small (but highly effective) staff is closer to four (4) figure salaries than six (6) figures compensation.  And I can assure you our Board certainly does not feast on lobster dishes and the ‘bubbly’ refreshment, but rather we order take out (locally) from Pizza Six Pack Deli minus the six pack.

So we urge and encourage you during the month of May (year round also) to continue your much appreciated generosity to legitimate veteran services and programs in support of our veterans. VCI is not a government or government funded agency, and are dependent solely on the generosity of your community contribution through donations.  No legitimate veteran organization will ever mind your asking who/what/when/where, your contribution will be going, what services will be provided, and where / if this money will benefit veterans in your community! Please ask!  Happy Memorial Day! 

         May God Bless,         

Tom Caulfield