Commander Gerald Tidd has been nominated to receive the National Commanders Award for Outstanding Disabled Veteran 2012-’13.
NORTH TONAWANDA - Continuing to uphold the vow of conducting himself by exuding honor, courage, and commitment, which he took 54 years ago when he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Commander Gerald Tidd, has been given the chance to be recognized for his dedication to helping low-income and homeless veterans throughout Western New York.
Tidd was recently nominated by Howard H. Brittain, III, who was formerly known as the National Service Officer for the DAV, but now serves as the National Area Supervisor, as a recipient for the National Commanders Award for Outstanding Disabled Veteran 2012-’13.
Among those veterans nominated along side Tidd are 100 other DAV commanders, who operate chapters throughout the United States.
“He [Brittain] has helped me greatly,” said Tidd. “When I originally went to the VA, it was determined that I was only 10 percent disabled, I could hardly walk. He took my case and got my records, and with his help I am now considered to be 50 percent disabled.”
Tidd, and members of his chapter, spend most of their days collecting and delivering toiletries, canned goods, clothing donations, and small appliances to the Homeless Veterans Shelter in Buffalo.
“These people need our help,” said Tidd.
In 2012, with the help and the support of the community, the chapter was able to donate hams to the veterans and their families for Easter; turkeys for Christmas and Thanksgiving; gifts cards to Walmart and Burger King; toys for children; and provide a variety of basic, everyday living essentials including shaving cream, disposable razors, etc.
DAV Chapter 120 is considered to be one of the most active chapters in the state, with Tidd standing at the front of the line.
“It’s very prestigious to get nominated. I was shocked,” said Tidd. “I am happy in a way, because we have done something that helps other people.”
If Tidd is chosen to receive the National Commanders Award for Outstanding Veteran, he will be flown to Orlando, Fla. in August, where he will speak in front of all members of the different DAV chapters.
Although he is grateful and humbled by this nomination, Tidd knows his work at the DAV is not complete and is concerned with the well-being of the chapter’s future.
“We need members. Our members, although they are great men, are getting older,” said Tidd in a jovial tone. “We would love to have some younger members come by the post and see what the chapter is all about.”
A membership drive will be held during the first week of May. Tidd encourages any disabled veterans to come into the post, enjoy some pizza and soda, and learn about the organization. Any disabled veterans who are seeking help with their claim are also encouraged to visit the post.
“They [veterans] can learn about what benefits they are eligible for and also learn how they can help other veterans,” said Tidd.
Advocating for the DAV is one of the most important parts of becoming a member.
“We need members who will speak up, who will greet people as they walk by, and be willing to have a conversation about the DAV,” said Tidd.
Tidd is looking forward to continued fund-raising efforts, especially the Forget-Me-Not fund-raiser, as well as the continued support from the community.
“We couldn’t do this without the help of the community,” said Tidd.
Items in need:
• toiletries; fresh canned food - no expired food; monetary donations
Checks can be made payable to DAV 120, 460 North Ave., North Tonawanda, 14120.