Dear Chaplains and Some Commanders,

Quite often we are called upon to speak in public and many of our VFW leaders have not received any training in public speaking.  Here are two things every trained professional speaker or singer will do prior to getting behind a microphone.

  1. They make sure they are properly and sufficiently hydrated.  They drink water prior to speaking and therefore there is no need to stop and take a drink during a performance.  When a person is relaxed and sufficiently hydrated they should be able to speak or sing for well over an hour with no need to interrupt what they are saying to take a drink of water.  So, the next time you see someone stop and take a drink during a speech, realize how it interrupts the flow and spirit of what they are trying to communicate and please, don’t do it.
  2. Second, a trained speaker or singer will do vocal exercises and warm-up their vocal cords prior to speaking.  When one is sufficiently hydrated and vocal exercises are done, there will be no need to clear the throat or cough as you begin to speak.  The next time you see someone begin to say something and then stop to clear their throat, then say, “excuse me,” and then try to begin again, realize that is a terrible way to start one’s speech or prayer.  And, there is no need for that to happen to you if you do vocal exercises and warm up your vocal cords.

In a private place before every speaking engagement, even if only offering a prayer in public, warm up your vocal chords.  Here are two helpful sites with some simple things to do:


National Chaplain of the Year Award

Attached is the information sheet pertaining to the National Chaplain of the Year Award for 2017-2018.  Rev. James Gray, our National Chaplain, will be spearheading this project and his contact information is included at the end of the information sheet.  Send you nominations to Rev. Gray.


Online Reporting System for Chaplains

Simply click on this link and it will take you directly to the reporting system.  VFW Chaplains are encouraged to report their activity at the beginning of each month using this reporting system.  Once you submit your report you will receive an email that lists all the data that you submitted.  That email can then be forwarded to you State Chaplain or Department if your state has a reporting system in place.  It can also be forwarded to your Post and included in the Post Community Service Report.

Again, to submit your Chaplain’s Report please use this link and provide as much detailed information as possible.  Don’t forget to hit SUBMIT at the bottom of the form.

VA Should be Notified When a Veteran Passes Away

The VA has established a process for family, executors and legal representatives to follow to notify VA about the death of a veteran enrolled in the VA health care system.  Look at the attached document for the details.

Also, your VFW Department, and the VFW National Online Membership, should be notified by your post quartermaster when a comrade passes away.

New Death Notification Form

Attached is a new form to report a deceased member.  Special thanks to Chaplain Mel Stewart who got me thinking about the need for such a form.  The intent of this form/program is to inform as many members as possible of the passing of a comrade, so they might be able to attend the services of the deceased, offer condolences and support to the spouse, family and loved ones of the deceased and pay their final respects to their friend.  Those comrades who are not able to attend the services can still grieve for their friend, offer prayers, send a card, call the family and express kind thoughts, and cherish their memory.


If you have any comments or ideas as to how we can improve on this form or how better to implement this program, please contact me at

For Chaplains serving in PA:  I look forward to seeing some of you in Gettysburg at our Mid-Winter Conference January 26-28, 2018.  Also, an event honoring our National Chaplain is planned for May 18-20, 2018.  Please read the attached article and plan on attending.  Put it on your calendar now.


Resources for Chaplains: Check out my Chaplain’s Page at the PA Department Web Site –   Just look under District/Post Tools and you will see Chaplain’s Guide.  I continue to update the page and have posted items you may find helpful as you continue to serve those who serve.  If you have something that would benefit others in our network, please send it to me.

Blessings as you serve,

Peter Hook Sign

Rev. Peter R. Hook

Past National Chaplain

Eastern Conference Chaplain

PA State Chaplain

Veterans of Foreign Wars

534 Parkvale Ave.

Langhorne, PA 19047


Fax 215-750-1511

Click on a report title to view it.

2017 Hospice Care (pdf)       VFW Cover Etiquette and Ritual Ambiguity (pdf)       What to do When a Veteran Passes Away (pdf)      Deceased Member Report Form  (fillable .doc) 

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