By Barry St. ClairDecember 13, 2011
Disabled American Veterans local chapter 187 teams with Team Bliss and other organizations to assist active military of all branches, and veterans, whether they have disabilities or not.
DAV was formed following World War I in 1920 and chartered by Congress in 1932. DAV is a national non-profit organization with local chapters. DAV 187 has been serving the El Paso veterans since 1972.
"Our chapter membership is currently more than 1500 people," said 1st Junior Vice Commander Richard (Rick) Flores. "We still have that military mindset and need fellowship and connectivity."
"There is hope is the message we want to bring," said DAV 187 Commander retired Chief Warrant Officer 2 David Garcia. "The heart of a great organization is to offer a service to people to meet a need."
DAV 187 members assist active duty, transitioning Servicemembers, separated veterans, and their family members with filing applications and writing claims.
"We offer these services for free to better the lives of Disabled American veterans, surviving widows and orphans," said Garcia.
"Assisting as Ambassadors for Combat Related Special Compensation CRSC applications and claims is part of what we offer here at DAV 187," said Garcia.
Sgt. ( R) Tabitha Chapman is one of the newest members of DAV 187. She has become involved as an ambassador for CRSC in the short time since her discharge from the Army recently.
"I came here because it's like family," said Chapman.
"I had a service dog while going through the transition process to assist with post traumatic stress disorder," said Chapman. "The dog recognizes episodes, nightmares and helps me with my attentiveness while driving."
"The dog will lick my face if I am having nightmares or bark if she sees my attention is not on my driving," Chapman said.
"I am involved as a volunteer with DAV 187 because it makes me feel good to help other people," Chapman said. "It's my therapy, it helps to get out."
In addition to helping with claims and applications, DAV 187 is involved with Team Bliss and many other organizations.
DAV 187 participates in supporting veterans at the Rescue Mission and partners with Salvation Army in El Paso.
DAV 187 members partner in Education at Newman Elementary and serve as educators in patriotism, serve as crossing guards and science fair judges. DAV 187 is also active in volunteering at the Veterans Hospital and Texas State Veterans Home in El Paso.
"There is hope, we can help," said Garcia.