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The Veterans of Foreign Wars have begun an effort to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina, the organization’s newly elected commander announced Thursday.

“It is critical that VFW Departments [states] respond quickly to ensure that the citizens of Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama receive all of the assistance we can provide them," VFW commander James Mueller stated in a news release. “During difficult times like these, we must unite as an organization to do everything we can to make sure the appropriate resources are available to help rebuild these communities."

Many of those affected by the hurricane are military families, according to Mueller, who assumed his position as head of the organization on Aug. 25.

“Many of the National Guard, Air National Guard and Reservists in the affected areas are deployed,” he said. "It is heart-breaking for those families who have loved ones deployed to have to cope with such a disaster by themselves. … We [the VFW] must go to extraordinary means to ensure our troops that we will take care of their families while they are deployed."

The VFW is centering its relief efforts on monetary donations because clothing, food and building-materials drives will cause logistical problems.

"The best way that we can help is through direct donations to the Department Headquarters of Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. Donation checks need to be clearly marked for disaster relief, " Mueller stated. "With your help, the VFW can play an important role in assisting those who have been hurt by this weather-related disaster.

Donations can be sent to:

Travis E. Whaley, Adjutant

Department of Alabama, VFW

P.O. Box 231177

Montgomery, Ala. 36123-1177

Precilla Wilkewitz, Adjutant

Department of Louisiana, VFW

10185 Mammoth Avenue

Baton Rouge, La. 70814-4421

Johnnie L. Richard, Adjutant

Department of Mississippi, VFW

P.O. Box 2027

Jackson, Miss. 39225

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