Good circulation. Good color. Youthful appearance. Most who have worked hard for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for more than 50 years can't make those claims. But VAnguard, VA's premier employee publication, can claim all of that and more.
The first issue of VAnguard was published on June 25, 1958. Back then it was a bi-weekly publication for employees cranked out by the VA Central Office Personnel Service.
VAnguard's predecessor was a small newsletter for headquarters employees. But the VA administrator at the time, the late Sumner G. Whittier, wanted to expand the newsletter and make it a more effective communications medium. He wanted it to be for and about VA employees nationwide, not just headquarters staff.
Hundreds of employees from all over the country submitted entries in a contest to name the redesigned employee publication. One eager employee submitted 40 entries. Eight employees suggested "VAnguard" and won $25 each. Though a satellite by that name had been launched into space three months earlier, that wasn't the reason the name was chosen. "VAnguard" was selected by the panel of three judges because of its dictionary meaning of "foremost"—the "VA" part probably didn't hurt, either.
A box in the upper-right corner of that first issue of VAnguard proclaimed the focus of the new national employee publication: "People, Purpose, Progress." And though the look and feel of the publication has changed over the years, that focus remains the same.
The staff strives to produce a publication that humanizes our workplace and fosters a sense of community and shared mission among the disparate and widespread employees who serve those who served—the nation's Veterans. And now that we're online, we can bring our stories that matter to a broader audience of Veterans, their families, and others who care about and serve the Veteran community.