- To serve the crisis management, information and referral needs of all U.S. Veterans and their families through: management and operation of the nation’s only toll-free helpline for all veterans and their families.
- Public awareness programs that shine a consistent spotlight on the needs of America’s veterans.
- Outreach services that provide veterans and families in need with food, clothing, transportation, employment, and other essential resources.
The founder of the National Veterans Foundation, Floyd “Shad” Meshad, has been working with Veterans since 1970. Meshad was a Medical Service Officer during the Vietnam War, where he counseled soldiers in the field who were suffering from a multitude of psychological and emotional problems resulting from their experiences in combat, including what would later become known as “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” or PTSD.
After the war, Shad continued to counsel Vietnam veterans through his work with the Veterans Administration in Los Angeles. He co-founded the VA’s Vet Center program — 300 storefront facilities throughout the country, located away from VA Hospitals, where veterans walk in off the street to receive mental health counseling. He also authored the critically acclaimed book A Captain for Dark Mornings, which chronicles his experiences both during the war and after coming home.
Today Meshad remains one of America’s most sought-after experts on Combat Stress, Trauma Therapy and the readjustment issues confronting returning soldiers and their families.
Vietnam Veterans Foundation
In 1985, Shad founded The Vietnam Veterans Aid Foundation (VVAF), a non-profit, 501- (c) (3) human services organization. The mission of the VVAF was to help veterans in need and their families with a variety of issues. Due to an overwhelming number of requests for help, the VVAF established a toll-free number in 1987 to help veterans and families in need more easily connect with the assistance they required. The VVAF was the only veterans outreach service offering nationwide benefits information, resource referral, and crisis counseling via a toll-free helpline.
By 1992, VVAF had become a recognized resource for veterans of all wars who were struggling to access benefits, locate services, or overcome the emotional scars of war. As a result, in 1992, the VVAF formally changed its name to the National Veterans Foundation, a human services agency committed to serving the crisis and information needs of all veterans and their families.
Staffed by Veterans for Veterans
Staffed by a team of veterans (from Vietnam, the Cold War, Iraq and Afghanistan) who are specially trained in the delivery of crisis information and referral services, as well as a team of licensed volunteer counselors to whom all crisis calls are routed, more than 350,000 veterans in need of medical treatment, substance abuse or PTSD Counseling, VA benefits advocacy, food, shelter, employment training, legal aid or suicide intervention, have now been served by this unique, one-of-a-kind resource.
Also, as a recognized leader within the community of organizations that specialize in providing human service programs to veterans and their families, NVF frequently plays a key role as advisor, partner, and collaborator.
Over the past two decades, this has included providing financial assistance, training, and donations of food, clothing, and other goods to other non-profits serving the specialized needs of veterans including New Directions (CA), The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation (NJ), LA County Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (CA), Desert Storm Justice Foundation (OK), Point Man of Northern California (CA), Veterans Coalition of the Hudson Valley (NY), Westside Stand Down (CA), Stamford Homeless Project (CT), US VETS (CA), and Swords to Plowshares (CA) among many others.
The NVF’s extraordinary record of service has not gone unnoticed. As one of the world’s most sought-after experts in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the U.S. Government asked Shad Meshad to provide training to the counselors at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The NVF continues to evolve. Shad, his team and the Board of Directors are committed to continually seeking and developing the most effective means to help those who have served our country and their families. The NVF is open to all who seek emotional support and other assistance.