VFW Department of Ohio donates $4,000 to families of fallen Westerville officers

Columbus, Ohio (February 15, 2018) – VFW of Ohio Charities has donated $4,000 to the families of two Westerville police officers who were slain in the line of duty this past Saturday while responding to a 911 call.


“This is a tragic loss for the officers’ families, the Westerville community and our nation,” said Bill Seagraves, Director of VFW of Ohio Charities.  “Like all first responders, officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli courageously put themselves in harm’s way every day to protect their community, and sadly they lost their lives.  We have a moral obligation to support these heroes’ families.”


The funds were donated through the CME Federal Credit Union and divided equally between each officer’s family.


VFW of Ohio Charities’ donation has been made possible through the use of a statewide charitable electronic raffle program operated by the Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition (OVFCC) at posts and lodges throughout Ohio.  Since it began in 2011, the video raffle program has raised over $35 million for charities.

February 15th, 2018

VFW to donate over $40,000 for hurricane relief

“Video raffle program makes it possible”


Columbus, Ohio (September 1, 2017) – VFW of Ohio Charities is teaming up with the national VFW in donating over $40,000 to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.


VFW of Ohio Charities will donate $20,000 and the national VFW will match that donation with another $20,000.  Additionally, local VFW posts throughout Ohio will be donating funds through the end of September.  The funds will be donated to the VFW Disaster Relief fund, and will be used to provide essential support to hurricane victims.


The storm has caused catastrophic flooding along much of the Texas coast and has displaced thousands of Texans from their homes.


“We need to rally around those whose lives have been devastated by this hurricane,” said VFW Department of Ohio Commander Robert Gianonne.  “This is a practical way for us to help people get their lives back on track.”


“In tragic times such as these, it’s important for us to help our fellow Americans who are in desperate need,” said Bill Seagraves, director of the VFW of Ohio Charities. “Our hope is that this donation will provide support for those who have been forced to evacuate their homes and are without essential items like food, clothing and shelter.”


VFW of Ohio Charities’ hurricane relief donation has been made possible because of charitable video raffle games at veterans and fraternal posts throughout Ohio.  Since the video raffle program began in 2011, over $30 million has been raised for charities.


“The video raffle program makes it possible for us to support hurricane victims,” said Seagraves.  “Without the program, we simply could not help these victims.  Prior to the video raffle, our revenues were declining year after year.  With new technology and video forms of gaming, paper games are losing interest.  Video raffles have given new life to our organizations’ ability to raise funds to support themselves and local charities.”


But veterans and fraternal leaders are concerned that the video raffle program is in jeopardy.  In 2013, Attorney General Mike DeWine said that the program was illegal and ordered it shut down.  The groups disagreed and quickly obtained a temporary restraining order allowing the program to proceed, pending a court decision, which is expected soon.  The groups are hopeful they will win their court case and continue to be able to raise vital funds to support their posts and charities at no cost to taxpayers.

September 1st, 2017

Charitable video raffle program passes $17 million mark

Now raising $1 million every two months


Hundreds of local charities benefit from support


Columbus, Ohio (November 30, 2015) – The Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition (OVFCC) announced this week that its video raffle program has now raised over $17 million for Ohio charities along with its member posts and lodges.  The program began operating in October 2011.  For a regularly updated tally of charitable revenues, go to   The funds directly benefit veterans’ posts, fraternal lodges and hundreds of local 501(c)(3) charities; fifty percent of the revenue supports the posts and lodges and fifty percent supports local charities in communities across Ohio.


“Charitable funds raised through the video raffle program are vital to our communities and veterans in need,” said Suzette Price of the American Legion Department of Ohio.


“The recent Central Ohio Stand Down for homeless veterans is a great example of how these funds help those in need.  We provided medical treatment, help with local agencies, legal assistance, clothing, personal grooming, and a hot meal, all at no expense to taxpayers.”


Below is a sampling of just some of the important work veterans and fraternal organizations are doing to support local charitable causes that are so vital to local communities throughout Ohio. These initiatives have been made possible through funds raised by the video raffle program:



December 1st, 2015

Ohio Eagles continue to have positive impact on spinal cord injury patients through charitable contributions

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center sees charitable contributions by Ohio Eagles as crucial


In a recent letter to all members of the Ohio State Aerie of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, new State President and Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition Boardmember Jim Donaldson urged them to continue their support of the East Central Regional Lew Reed Spinal Cord Injury Fund.


“My special charity for my year as state president is the ‘the walking machine’ project at The Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center and their affiliate, the NeuroRecovery Network,” Donaldson said.


The “walking machine”, more formally known as a Body-Weight Support System, is truly groundbreaking technology. The patient’s body is suspended over a treadmill using a harness system while specially trained therapists move their legs to simulate walking. This innovative training helps awaken nerve pathways by repetitively stimulating the muscles and nerves in the lower body.


So far the Eagles have raised over $30,000 for the new Body-Weight Support System with financial support continuing from clubs across the state that participate in the OVFCC’s charitable raffle program.


“Much of the money in our Lew Reed Spinal Cord Injury Fund comes from Eagle clubs that participate in the charitable raffle program. During my three years on the OVFCC Board, my other passion has become implementing a successful and accountable video raffle program. Since the OVFCC started that program, we have helped raise over $2.4 million dollars for Eagle charities and Aeries across the state. It’s a great tool for our clubs and the charities they support and is truly a step in the right direction for our Aerie’s to embrace their charitable efforts, as well as pay some of our internal pressing needs”.


“This electronic raffle program is going to help purchase another body-weight support system that would double the Wexner Medical Center’s treatment capacity and reduce their patient waiting list”, said Donaldson.


“Isn’t that something? Just think of the impact this will have on future patients and their families”.

September 28th, 2015

Major milestone reached by OVFCC over Labor Day weekend

Over $16 million raised since program started; over $4 million raised for charity year-to-date


This past Labor Day weekend the Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition’s charitable video raffle program hit another major milestone; $16 million raised for our members and the charities they support. Even more impressive is that the program has raised over $4 million for charity this year alone!  This is truly remarkable and could not have been accomplished without the support of our organizations and their individual members.  It is a great example of veterans and their supporters helping veterans in need!


The charitable video raffle program has been operating under a temporary restraining order against the State of Ohio since December of 2013 after abiding by the Attorney General’s request to shut down the program. Since receiving the TRO, the program has generated in excess of $9.4 million for our organizations and their charities.


September 9th, 2015

Charitable video raffle helps deceased soldier’s family keep their home

Program surpasses $13 million contributed to Ohio charities 





Columbus, Ohio (March 26, 2015) – Spc. Michael B. Cook Jr. of Middletown, Ohio died in Iraq June 6, 2011 as a result of a rocket attack, leaving behind his wife Samantha and two children.  After Michael’s death, Samantha moved from Ft. Riley, Kansas back to Butler County, Ohio.   “Michael’s death was extremely hard on me and our children.  I still feel his presence every day,” says Samantha.


In the years following Michael’s death, Samantha was able to support her family financially.  Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances this past year, Samantha fell behind on her mortgage and needed some temporary help.


Thankfully, Samantha became acquainted with Carolyn Coley, wife of Ohio Senator Bill Coley as they worked together in planning an upcoming highway dedication in her late husband’s name.    A portion of Tylersville Road in both Butler and Warren Counties will be named the “Spc. Michael B. Cook Jr. Memorial Highway” at a dedication on April 26th.


During the highway dedication planning process, Mrs. Coley became aware of Samantha’s recent financial difficulty and learned that she was in jeopardy of losing her home.  Mrs. Coley reached out to the VFW of Ohio Charities to see if it could help Samantha.


VFW of Ohio Charities subsequently donated over $4,600 to the Cook family to help Samantha catch up on her mortgage payments.  “We were honored to be a part of keeping Spc. Cook’s family in their home,” said Bill Seagraves, Director of VFW of Ohio Charities.  “This is the type of charity work we do every day, so it fit right within our mission to help veterans and their families.”


Samantha was grateful for the VFW’s support, saying “Because of the VFW, I have been able to get back on track financially.  My mortgage is due on the first of each month and I have a long-term financial plan in place.  I just needed a little help to get through an unanticipated circumstance and the VFW was there for me.  I want to thank Mrs. Coley and the VFW for working together to make this happen.”


The donation was made possible because of the Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition’s (OVFCC) charitable video raffle program, which has now generated over $13 million for Ohio charitable causes.  Each year, thousands of charitable dollars generated by the raffle program support veterans and their families who are struggling to pay expenses like housing and utility bills.


By law, fifty percent of video raffle revenue supports posts and lodges and fifty percent supports local 501c3 charities in communities across Ohio, who in turn assist hundreds of veterans and their families who are in need.


“We want all veterans and their family members, especially widows and children to know that we are ready and willing to help during a time of crisis,” said Seagraves.  “The OVFCC’s raffle program has allowed us to help provide millions of dollars in assistance to those in need.”


While the charitable video raffle program continues to garner praise and support from Ohio’s veteran and fraternal groups and the charities they support, they lack certainty in their ability to continue supporting families like Samantha’s in the future.  The program was ordered by the Attorney General to be shut down in December 2013, but the OVFCC immediately filed a lawsuit and was allowed to remain in operation under a court restraining order until the issue is decided by the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas in a trial scheduled to take place later this fall.

March 25th, 2015

BREAKING: President Signs Important Veterans Reform Bill Into Law

Courtesy: US News

Courtesy: US News

The Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition (OVFCC) applaud Congress and President Obama for passing, and signing, the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014.  This legislation addresses issues that are important to the care of our veterans and their families both in Ohio and across the United States.  The act addresses many of the veteran’s issues that the OVFCC has worked tirelessly to address though charitable initiatives.  These issues include equality, education, health and safety, and quality of life.
Specifically the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 will provide the following benefits:
Sexual Assault, Harassment, and Incompetent Senior Officials
The legislation would improve the delivery of care for veterans who experienced sexual trauma while serving in the military.  In addition, the VA secretary would be given the authority to immediately remove incompetent senior executives based on poor job performance or misconduct such as sexual harassment. An expedited appeals process through the Merit Systems Protection Board would prevent political firings or other abuses of the new personnel power, such as retaliation against whistle blowers.
Bolster VA Staffing
The legislation would provide the VA funds to hire additional primary and specialty health care providers along with other clinical staff to increase the department’s capacity to provide high-quality health care to our nation’s veterans. The measure also would provide enhanced incentives to attract more doctors and nurses and other health care professionals to the VA. The VA’s Access to Care Audit found that the need for additional doctors, nurses and other medical providers was the highest barrier or challenge to access to care.
Add Space for Veterans Care
The VA’s physical infrastructure plays a significant role in its ability to provide timely, quality care to veterans in a safe environment. The legislation would provide funds to enter emergency leases for facilities that would directly improve veterans’ access to care.
Authorize New Clinics
The legislation would authorize VA to enter into 27 major medical facility leases in 18 states and Puerto Rico. In many instances, these leases would improve access to care closer to veterans’ homes and increase the availability of specialty-care services in these locations.
Veterans Choice Card
The legislation would allow veterans who have had to wait more than 30 days for an appointment with the VA to seek care from a private physician, a community health center, a Department of Defense health care facility or an Indian Health Center. Veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility also would be eligible for this program.
Survivor Benefits
The legislation would expand the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship to include surviving spouses of members of the Armed Forces who die in the line of duty while serving on active duty.
In-State Tuition for Post-9/11 GI Bill
The legislation would let veterans eligible for education benefits under the Post 9/11 GI qualify for in-state tuition.
TBI Treatment
The bill would extend a program about to expire which provides housing for veterans struggling with traumatic brain injuries.
For more information, click here for the official American Legion response, and here for the VFW response.

August 8th, 2014