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There’s new leadership at the North Alabama Veterans Fraternal Organization Coalition.

“We want to bring all of the (veteran) organizations together,” KC Bertling, the new president, said. “And to share our common goals to better veterans’ lives and support veteran organizations.”

The group held their first meeting with the new board members last week. It was a chance for everyone to introduce themselves and discuss how to go about achieving some of the coalition’s goals.

One of the main focuses for the board is improving the communication and coordination amongst the groups it serves.

“We need to get back to supporting the events we were supporting before in prior years, and communication with some of the veterans organizations that we have not been doing recently,” Mark Hooper, a board member, said.

The coalition supports 29 members and 11 affiliate organizations. Board members want to grow that number as well.

Eventually, NAVFOC wants to be a one-stop-shop for veteran events. The idea being if you’re planning an event, you tell NAVFOC and then it gets distributed to all the veteran organizations in North Alabama, or if you need to reach veterans in North Alabama, then you could contact NAVFOC and quickly get your message out to many of the veterans group you’d need to reach to be successful.

The board also wants to help coordinate events to cut down on the cannibalism that happens when two veteran groups schedule conflicting events. The key is disseminating the information to the right people.

“I’ll say that’s the way it used to be years ago,” Dawn Parish, another board member, said. “We were like the main group, and we tried to coordinate all the events, all members and round up volunteers for what was needed where for whose events.

“There are well over 400 nonprofits serving veterans in North Alabama, and out of those 400, say five, end up wanting to have an event Saturday … you’re actually hurting each other by doing that because you’re taking funds away.”

Board members serve two-year terms, and they know they have a lot of work to do.

“Sometimes, when originations get older and older, just like anything in life, you take it for granted,” Bertling said. “You just have to reenergize everyone and share information with the community. We are here for veterans. We are here for veteran organizations.”

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