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#StillServing: The VFW Podcast

Oct 6, 2021

This past September 29th, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States celebrated its 122nd birthday. As one of the nation’s oldest combat veterans service organizations, the VFW has been unwavering in its devotion to serving those who served. Whether it’s fighting for health care, education, or disability compensation — No One Does More For Veterans than the VFW.

More than 100 Service Officers attended an eight-day training session put on by VFW’s National Veteran Service. During this episode of the #StillServing podcast, Host Rob Couture speaks to Junior Vice Commander for the VFW, Duane Sarmiento, about how important this training is to the VFW in continuing our legacy of helping veterans. Deputy Director of National Veteran Service, Gregg Orto, breaks down the fundamentals of VA Claim eligibility and filing and an interview with the Defense Commissary Agency discussing commissary benefits veterans are entitled to even after leaving service.


Duane Sarmiento, Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief, VFW —


  • Duane shares his opinion of the Service Officer training based on his many years of service as Director of Veterans’ Affairs in NJ. [2:56]


  • Taking care of veterans is paramount because only eight percent of Americans serve in the military to protect the nation’s freedoms. [5:04]


  • Duane’s military service includes the Navy and the Navy Reserves. [11:19]


  • Joining the VFW was a rite of passage and his continued membership is a significant part of his life, explains Duane. [14:15]


  • Duane is the first person of color to be a VFW National Officer. [19:39]


Gregg Orto, Deputy Director, National Veterans Service —


  • Gregg shares the story of his transition from active duty to working through his pre-disposition claims. [27:28]


  • Gregg defines processes, timelines, and recommendations to use when being discharged from military service. [29:13]


Sgt. Maj. Michael Saucedo, U.S.M.C., Senior Enlisted Advisor & Deborah Harris, Dietician and Health and Wellness Program Manager, Defense Commissary Agency —


  • Michael and Deborah describe how and why they arrived in the Defense Commissary Agency. [39:28]


  • The commissary offers service members and retirees scientifically-backed nutritional food. [42:44]


  • Veterans are now allowed to access the commissary benefit. [45:29]


  • New initiatives by the commissary include the Come Back to Savings campaign and home delivery services. [51:49]


  • The various payment options available at commissaries and final thoughts on DeCA. [1:01:05]

For more information or continue the conversation, please visit:

Veterans of Foreign Wars Website

VFW Podcast Page

@VFWHQ on Twitter

VFW on Facebook

@RobCoutureVFW on Facebook

VFW Unmet Needs Program

Call 1-888-JOIN-VFW

Text “NEEDS” to 20222 to donate to the Unmet Needs Program

Todays VFW Share Your #StillServing Story

Sport Clips VFW Help A Hero Scholarship

Afghan Resettlement Initiative