Table of Contents
- The American Legion
- Veterans of Foreign Wars
- How does Neptune Society work with its veteran partners?
- Neptune Society’s “10 Facts” Program
- Other Ways Neptune Society and Their Partners Provide Veteran Assistance
- Proud to support veterans and other military service members
The Neptune Society works closely with a number of organizations that assist, honor, and work with military service members and veterans. In this post, we highlight some of our partners and let vets and their family members know how they can get involved with or seek assistance from these organizations.
The American Legion
The American Legion provides programs to veterans, military service members, and their families. The organization has offices across the country, and the Neptune Society specifically partners with the American Legion’s Florida Department. Some of the programs the American Legion provides involve mentoring and healthy activities for youth, scholarships, assistance for homeless vets, and meetings and networking opportunities for current and former service members.
The organization began in 1919 with a charter from Congress. Through the years, the American Legion has been active in assisting veterans and working with federal and state agencies to ensure that the interests of military members and vets are protected. For example, in 1989, the Veterans Administration received an elevation in government structure, giving vets greater representation in federal matters. The American Legion fought alongside other organizations for this change.
If you are a veteran or service member who has served in active duty status as part of the federal Armed Forces during wartime, you are eligible to join the American Legion. The organization specifies the dates for what it considers to be wartime periods:
- August 2, 1990 through today, related to the war on terrorism and original action in the Persian Gulf
- December 20, 1989 through January 31, 1990, related to Operation Just Cause in Panama
- August 24, 1982 through July 31, 1984, related to military action in Grenada and Lebanon
- February 28, 1961 through May 7, 1975, related to the war in Vietnam
- June 25, 1950 through January 31, 1955, related to the Korean war
- December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946, related to World War II
- April 6, 1917 through November 11, 1918, related to World War I
You must have been discharged with a status other than dishonorable to join. Your service and status of discharge is confirmed with the DD Form 214. You can find out more about eligibility requirements or join the American Legion on its website.
Veterans of Foreign Wars
Like the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars is both an advocacy and a networking organization. It provides opportunities for veterans who have served in combat overseas to develop camaraderie, and it also works with other organizations to advance the causes and interests of veterans and their families.
The VFW began as a grass-roots effort to unite veterans of the Spanish-American War as long ago as 1899. Since then, it’s become a more organized agency, with VFW halls located across the country.
Some of the VFW’s missions are caring for veterans and their families, looking out for the interests of its members, honoring military service, and promoting patriotism. In addition to advocacy and community programs, the VFW offers assistance to vets and families, such as free professional advice, scholarships, emergency financial relief, and help connecting with other agencies or benefits programs.
To become a member of the VFW, you must be a United States citizen. In addition, you must be currently serving in the federal Armed Forces or have been discharged with a status of either “honorable” or “general (under honorable conditions).” Service records and discharge status are confirmed by your DD Form 214, which every vet receives upon discharge. The VFW also requires that its members have served on foreign soil or in hostile waters during a campaign, war, or expedition. For more information on what type of proof the VFW accepts for eligibility, visit the VFW website.
How does the Neptune Society work with its veteran partners?
The Neptune Society works alongside its partner organizations in a number of ways. First, we typically have a table at conventions related to our partner organizations, and vets at the conventions can visit our table for information about veteran cremation and burial benefits, cremation services for veterans, and other end-of-life matters. We also work with our partner organizations to provide this information in other ways when possible.
The VFW annual convention is held in a different location in the United States each year. As many as 10,000 members come together to attend workshops and business sessions, listen to speeches, explore the exhibition halls, meet up with old friends, and make new ones. The Florida American Legion also hosts a yearly convention, usually in Orlando, where some 3,000 attendees engage in networking, workshops, and business sessions. We make it a point to be present at these events and make ourselves available to answer questions for organization members and veterans.
In addition to attending events, the Neptune Society also helps veterans and their families across the country to secure the appropriate government death benefits and memorial services for which they are eligible. For example, if you are a veteran who is eligible for VA burial benefits, you may also be eligible for funeral services that include a flag ceremony, presentation of the flag, and the playing of Taps.
Neptune Society’s “10 Facts Program”
One of the ways we encourage vets and their families to understand their benefits is via our “10 Facts Program” brochure. This brochure covers 10 facts about veteran cremation and memorial services. We know that many vets and their families may not realize what benefits they can receive or may not know how to seek those benefits in a time of need, which is one reason we created this resource.
The Neptune Society gives out free copies of this brochure at conventions, and you can also access an expanded form of this guide via our Veteran Death Benefits and Memorialization: Important Information.
Other Ways Neptune Society and Their Partners Provide Veteran Assistance
The Neptune Society partners with numerous other organizations that work with vets or are run by vets. From volunteer organizations to fraternal orders that have the same respect for veterans that we do, these groups work alongside military service members and others in the community to enact positive change. Some of those organizations are highlighted below.
Toys for Tots
The Toys for Tots Foundation is a program run by U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. It collects new toys throughout October, November, and December each year, distributing those gifts to children throughout the same community where they were collected. The children who receive the gifts are from families who might be otherwise unable to provide presents for their kids for Christmas. The Marines want to bring a message of hope to these children and help cultivate productive, patriotic citizens who grow up to help others.
One of the ways the Neptune Society partners with Toys for Tots is by offering some of our offices across the country as drop-off locations for donated toys during the drive months. For those outside of our area, the Marines provide a convenient online search tool, so you can locate a drop-off location during the holiday season.
Fraternal Order of Eagles
The Fraternal Order of Eagles is not specifically a veterans organization; anyone with an interest in the organization can go through the application process to join. However, the FOE offers discounted membership for veterans, with some extra perks, through its Those Who Serve membership program. You can take advantage of this program if you are a veteran who was honorably discharged. This program is also open to firefighters, EMTs, police officers, and active military members.
Some benefits of FOE membership include:
- Access to discounts on a variety of products and services.
- Admission to any FOE location in the country.
- Benefits through the FOE Memorial Foundation.
If you interested in joining the FOE, fill out the organization’s >contact form to get additional information. The FOE does not provide details about membership requirements on its website.
Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks
The Elks is another organization that isn’t limited to veterans and is not specifically military in nature, but it offers a range of programs and benefits for veterans and military service members. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is a nationwide network of community groups that work to support each other, encourage volunteers, and provide family-friendly programs that help kids grow up to be drug-free and successful.
Some programs the Elks offer for veterans include grants and scholarship programs that benefit vets and their families, volunteer opportunities, and an Adopt-A-Vet program. Elks also work together to create Welcome Home Kits. These kits are provided to veterans who are moving into new homes, often after being homeless. The kits include items that can help make a building into a home, such as small furniture, cleaning supplies, and housewares.
To be eligible to join the Elks, you must be 21 years of age or older and believe in God. You also must be sponsored by a current Elk member and receive references from at least two other Elk members. If you are interested, you can complete a membership inquiry form on the national Elks website.
Proud to support veterans and military service members
The Neptune Society is proud to align itself with military service members and veterans. We honor the sacrifice, service, and time you have given to your country, and we want to support you in any way we can. By partnering with the organizations listed here, we are able to provide support beyond our own resources and services.