Kirsten Mustain

Grove Sun

Chapter 19 Disabled American Veteran (DAV) Commander Harold Smith, or “Smitty” as his vet compatriots call him, is a man with a cause.

Smith recently assumed command of Grove’s chapter of the DAV and he is now working tirelessly to help fellow veterans lead better lives.

“Whatever we can do to help, we do,” Smith said. “We don’t get paid, but we get a lot of job satisfaction.”

Smith, a U.S. Navy veteran of Viet Nam and the Middle East, has been with the Grove DAV since last year when he moved to town.

He has been a DAV member since 1978.

The club, which has about 154 members, meets on the third Friday of each month at the Grove Community Center at 6:00 p.m.

At last month’s meeting 46 members attended.

“We furnish the meat and everybody brings a covered dish,” Smith said.

“We try to cover good topics at the meetings and get good participation,” he explained. “They aren’t just gab sessions.”

Area businesses donate door prizes each month, which are then awarded to a few lucky vets.

“We try to show our appreciation for veterans,” Smith said.

These days, one of the chief challenges facing the DAV is a lack of younger members.

Although there are younger disabled veterans in the area, very few of them have joined the DAV.

“We need some young blood in there,” Smith said.

He said he isn’t sure why younger disabled vets have not joined the group, but he has a few ideas about it.

“I think it has to do with misconceptions about the conflicts we’re in,” Smith said. “There is a lot of doubt out there. That may not be the case, but this is our country and we should be proud to defend it.”

To join the DAV, veterans must have a service-related disability.

However, Smith noted, veterans don’t have to be disabled to received help from the DAV.

One of the chief services offered by the Grove chapter of the DAV is transportation to the VA hospital in Fayetteville.

The shuttle leaves at 6:30 in the morning from Cornerstone Church (formerly the First Baptist Church at 5th and Main).

The DAV also helps area veterans in other ways.

“We sometimes give them monetary help if they are in dire circumstances,” Smith said.

The DAV also facilitates the donation of household items, etc., for veterans in need.

To make a donation to the DAV, schedule a ride to the VA hospital, or volunteer to act as a driver, contact Smith at 918-786-5084.