AMVETS in Action

Category: News

AMVETS Service Officer Answering Questions in DeKalb, Il

Original story appeared on MidWeekNews.com

An AMVETS Department of Illinois service officer will share information with veterans Sept. 10 at the DeKalb Post at 421 Oak St. DeKalb, IL 60115.

Appointment are not needed, however a personal one-on-one appointment can be scheduled. Email Adjutant@AmvetsIL90.org to schedule an appointment.

Always free of charge, AMVETS service officers offer information, counseling and claims service to all honorably discharged veterans and their dependents concerning disability compensation, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pension, education, employment and other benefits.

Accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs, AMVETS service officers are trained in all aspects of veteran’s benefits and are knowledgeable about changes in VA regulations, entitlements, policies and procedures.

Original Source: AMVETS service officer to be in DeKalb

About AMVETS National Service Officers Program
A nationwide cadre of AMVETS National Service Officers are stationed at Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Offices and Medical Centers. Information, counseling and claims service are offered to all veterans and their dependents in matters concerning education, disability compensation, employment, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pension and other benefits, all at no cost to the claimant.
www.amvetsnsf.org/nso

About AMVETS National Service Foundation
The National Service Foundation (oftentimes referred to as simply “the Foundation”) is the fund-raising arm of AMVETS. A corporate subsidiary of the parent organization, it funds a variety of programs benefiting America’s veterans and their communities. Among them is the National Service Officer Program, the Memorial Carillon Program, the Americanism Program, AMVETS scholarships, youth programs and hospital projects.
www.amvetsnsf.org

Massena AMVETS Sponsoring Golf Tournament to Benefit Veterans

Original story appeared on NorthCountryNow.com

WADDINGTON — AMVETS Post #4 in Massena, NY are sponsoring a golf tournament to benefit Wounded Warrior Outdoor Adventures (WWOA) at the Twin Brooks Golf Course on Saturday, Aug. 27 beginning with a 10 a.m.

The annual tournament is a four-person Captain and crew format and the $240 per team cost includes entry fees, greens fees, carts, lunch at the turn, a buffet dinner, giveaways and cash prizes.

WWOA is a not-for-profit organization created by North Country sportsmen and veterans with the mission of providing Wounded Warriors, along with their families and battle buddies, opportunities to experience the many wonderful outdoor activities available in our area.

Register a team: Ben Gladding at 315-250-6969, AMVETS at 315-764-0686.

Sponsorship opportunities/donations: Nancy Curran at 315-769-6604.

Original Source: Waddington Amvets sponsoring golf tournament to benefit Wounded Warriors

Gallia County, Ohio Candidates Talk Politics

By Dean Wright | Daily Tribune

AMVETS members auction off Ohio State University memorabilia during the AMVET’s Meet and Greet Gallia Candidates.
AMVETS members auction off Ohio State University memorabilia during the AMVET’s “Meet and Greet Gallia Candidates.”
GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County candidates, both hopefuls and incumbents, met Thursday with local residents and veterans at the AMVETS Post 23 to discuss their platforms and court the support of voters.

Independent party Scott Rupert addressed the crowd first after being introduced by AMVETS hosts and organizers. Rupert described himself as an everyday American and a truck driver. Rupert’s belief is that the federal government has taken on too many responsibilities that belong in the states’ hands. He wishes to secure U.S. border and more stringently enforce immigration law. Many of Rupert’s views believe laws should be lifted off small business and manufacturing to promote business growth. Rupert is running for a seat on the U.S. Senate

Ohio Judge Matt McFarland appealed to voters after Rupert in his bid to continue serving in his capacity as judge on the Ohio Fourth District Court of Appeals. McFarland told the crowd that running for a judge’s seat is different than that of the county commissioners or a U.S. congressman. McFarland said it is up to judges to decide upon the spirit of law and protect the U.S. Constitution as best they can. McFarland asked the people of southeast Ohio to continue to trust him just as they had in his previous years as a judge. He promised to do his best to remain impartial and fair in decisions rendered in his court.

Gallia County Court of Common Pleas candidates took the stage next. Gallipolis Municipal Court Judge Margaret Evans took the stage with past Gallipolis municipal judge and probate and juvenile division of Gallia Common Pleas Court Bill Medley.

Evans said her court and officials attempt to deal justice in municipal court as fairly and impartially as possible. Evans spoke specifically on the issues of drugs being a problem in Gallia and the drug court over which she presides. The drug court started in 2006 and shortly after a mental health docket was also put into action. Repeat offenders are identified and put in a process to get treatment. The court makes use of Vivitrol, a drug which blocks opiate cravings and highs, as a means of treatment. The court is one of 15 in the state. Evans asked for the county’s support in November after listing her qualifications. Evans is a Republican.

Medley spoke of his past as a judge and focused on qualifications. He was previously a military policeman when in the service. During law school, he worked for a legal aide society to represent indigent people. Medley was a tenured associate professor at the University of Rio Grande and remained an adjunct professor after being elected in 1993. He taught several law classes while there. Medley served in the municipal court for 10 years and oversaw computerization of the courtroom, as well as mediation and domestic violence programs, which he noted were still in effect. He worked in the juvenile probate court for six years underneath the common pleas court. He asked the people of Gallia County to help put him back to work. Medley is an independent.

Candidates for Gallia County commissioner took the stage following the candidates for common pleas judge. Mark Danner, independent candidate, spoke first.

Danner said he was a graduate of the University of Rio Grande. Danner said he was running for a spot as a commissioner because he wanted to make an improvement. He said he wished to address the drugs and crime in the county and said he felt that the sheriff’s office may have their hands too tied to address crime and wished to help make that happen. Danner said he wanted to see the county do better for itself rather than settle for mediocrity. He wants to see Gallia excel over other counties and not just be standard. He wanted to be part of making Gallia a better place and asked for voter support. Danner has served with the O.O. McIntyre Park District.

Incumbent county commissioner David Smith addressed the crowd next. He discussed how he sat in office with the other commissioners to do the best they can to make the county run during hard times with small budgets. Smith said he was a proponent of getting a Veterans Affairs clinic established in Gallia County. Smith said at one point Gallia had about $100,000 in its budget at the end of a fiscal year. With the current commissioners’ help, he and the others have been able to oversee saving and acquire $1.3 million in the bank.

With past budget cuts that saw the four previous investigators in the sheriff’s office removed from staff, the three have been able to bring back three investigators, as well as purchase two new cruisers this year. Smith stressed the importance of saving money to save jobs in case of unforeseen consequences. Smith also said the county was ahead of schedule with the current county sewer project. Smith is a Republican.

Original Source: Gallia Candidates Talk Politics

Corning AmVets Car Show doubles and nearly triples vehicles shown in second year

Corning Mayor and car show participant Gary Strack, right, talks with Steve McClain of Corning about Strack’s 1939 Ford pickup Saturday at the AmVets Car Show.
Corning Mayor and car show participant Gary Strack, right, talks with Steve McClain of Corning about Strack’s 1939 Ford pickup Saturday at the AmVets Car Show.Julie Zeeb – Daily News

POSTED:

Corning >> The AmVets Car Show held Saturday at the Corning Veterans Memorial Hall nearly tripled in size in just its second year.

The show was held to help connect people to the veterans organization and proceeds will help veterans.

Chris Morel of Reno, Nevada was by far the furthest from home with his Nitro Funny Car that can go as fast as 290 mph, although he has only had it as high as 260 mph. He uses the car in exhibition racing and came to the Corning show after being invited by a veteran.

“We had 38 cars,” AmVets Post Commander and show coordinator Kevin Benson Sr. said. “I’m extremely happy with the turnout. This is awesome. Anyone who comes out and sits in this weather has got my vote for favorite vehicle. I’m like a little kid looking at all these cars.”

Vehicles came from as far as Redding, Chico, Paradise and one vehicle from as far away as Sacramento, Benson said. While Tehama resident Ron Warner’s 1929 DeSoto DeLugo, with its rumble seat — commonly known in the south as Mother-In-Law Seat — was the oldest vehicle present, there was one from 1931.

Tehama County Supervisor Burt Bundy of Los Molinos, who also came last year, brought his 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. He said he likes the show and enjoyed seeing all the nice cars at the event.

Corning Mayor Gary Strack was on hand with his 1939 V-8 pickup, which is “an F-100 before they called them F-100s,” he said. He bought the vehicle mostly already restored about five years ago.

“I saw it when I took my wife to a doctor’s appointment so I dropped her off and said I’m going back to look at it,” Strack said. “This is a great show to have and to have it benefit our veterans is great for the city. I’m glad to see more people this year and hope it continues to grow.”

An awards show was held at 3 p.m. followed by a dance at 7 p.m. Results from the show will be published when received.

http://www.redbluffdailynews.com/article/ND/20160726/NEWS/160729909

Lorraine Plass, AMVETS State Legislative Chair, Honored By CA State Senate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, July 20, 2016

Contact: Dana Nichol
Phone: (916) 492-0550
Fax: (916) 492-8957
Email: dana.nichol@sbcglobal.net

Lorraine Plass and Senator Steven Glazer (center) with members of the California State Senate presenting Member’s Resolution 637 to Ms. Plass
Lorraine Plass and Senator Steven Glazer (center) with members of the California State Senate presenting Member’s Resolution 637 to Ms. Plass

Lorraine Plass, the AMVETS-Department of California’s Legislative Committee Chair, was recently honored on the floor of the California State Senate by Senator Steven Glazer (D-Orinda) for her advocacy at the State Capitol on behalf of veterans for the past six years. She was also being honored for her work on Senate Resolution 69, which deals with the World War II Port Chicago disaster. Port Chicago is located in Senator Glazer’s district.

Plass received a California Senate Resolution signed by Senator Glazer which expresses “the deep appreciation for her dedication and contributions to the passage of Senate Resolution 69, and conveyed best wishes that her indomitable efforts will continue in the years ahead”.

“In my 30 years at the State Capitol, I have seen few volunteers for veterans advocacy as dedicated as Lorraine. She has become a well-known and familiar figure in the halls of the Legislature. Her advocacy on behalf of veterans has been an inspiration to all of us who get to work with her on veterans issues here at the Capitol”, said veterans advocate Pete Conaty (LTC, U.S. Army-Ret).

Plass served in the U.S. Army from 1974 to 1978 in both the United States and Germany. Following her active service, she served for six years in the California National Guard. Plass was recently appointed as the AMVETS National Legislative Co-Chair, a newly created National Committee.

About AMVETS
or American Veterans was formed in 1944 to help WWII veterans obtain the benefits promised by the federal government. AMVETS continues this commitment to America’s veterans, their families, and the active military by assisting them in securing their earned entitlements. Team AMVETS strongly supports legislation to provide services to veterans. AMVETS Department of California has over 10,000 members and over 51 local posts in the state, as well as thrift shops. AMVETS is involved in helping hospitalized veterans, Special Olympics, scouting, organ donor projects, national monuments, and living by their commitment to make a difference in the lives of others.

Free AMVETS Membership for Student Veterans

We (the veterans in AMVETS) offer you free membership in appreciation for your military service. Only one in ten Americans has the fortitude to volunteer for military service. AMVETS knows the sacrifices of service and we offer you free membership in AMVETS while you are students.

AMVETS began as a group of loosely tied college veterans clubs. We know your struggles, we have been on the path you are travelling and are prepared to help.

AMVETS (American Veterans) was chartered by congress in 1947 (public law 216).We are mandated to helping veterans reintegrate into the American workforce. Our charter allows honorably discharged and actively serving military personnel to become members. Membership is available to all the services: Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines Corps, and members of the National Guard, Reserve and Coast Guard. The GI Bill and the VA home loan program are key initiatives we supported until they became law. Two programs you may be interested in are:

The Call of Duty Endowment works through AMVETS to find veterans jobs.

AMVETS National Service Officers will shepherd your VA claim.

AMVETS is prepared to help you succeed. Go to the link below.

Free Student Membership: https://www.amvetsmembers.org/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=AMVETS&WebKey=c16108b2-8ce2-44e0-b1ff-a5be37a379cb&Action=Add

Please pass this on to other student veterans.

Visit AMVETS at www.amvets.org

If you have any question contact: hneal@amvets.org

Farmington Amvets Post 332 golf tourney will aid local veterans, Chamber of Commerce

Farmington Amvets Post 332 golf tourney will aid local veterans, Chamber of Commerce

By Melody Burri
melody@messengerpostmedia.com

Posted Jul. 13, 2016 at 10:18 AM

FARMINGTON — Golfers will swing with purpose this Saturday at the first annual Farmington Amvets Golf Tournament, held to benefit local veterans and the Farmington Chamber of Commerce.

The inaugural event, co-hosted by the one-year-old Farmington American Veterans (Amvets) Post 332 and Farmington Chamber of Commerce, will be held July 16 at Winged Pheasant Golf Club in Shortsville.

Amvets Post 332 was chartered in July 2015 by an interested group of veterans, spearheaded by Farmington resident Richard McDermott, and has already launched a number of efforts to benefit area veterans.

Golf tournament registration is at 9 a.m., with a shotgun start at 10 a.m., McDermott said. About 50 are slated to play so far, with room for more. The 18-hole, scramble format game should take four or five hours, with “lunch at the turn” and pizza after, said McDermott. The cost is $75 per person.

Half of the proceeds will go to Amvets Post 332 to fund a number of programs already underway. The rest will go to the Farmington Chamber of Commerce.

“The first thing we did was start a scholarship program at FLCC (Finger Lakes Community College) for a veteran to go to school,” said McDermott. “We also make a monthly donation to Victor-Farmington Food Cupboard. It’s my understanding that there are about 60 veterans’ families that use the food cupboard.”

Amvets Post 332 also has a program to help subsidize winter clothing for veterans through the local chapter of Blue Star Mothers, he said. In addition, the group supplies equipment for the Canandaigua VA Medical Center’s carpenter shop, and has donated gift cards and gas cards to the Ontario County Veterans Service Agency to be distributed as needed.

Other aid has been given to the Blue Star Mothers, “a great organization,” McDermott said. Amvets Post 332 has also assisted Zion House in Avon, which offers transitional housing for female veterans in crisis.

“A couple of us from the Amvets went up and toured the place,” said McDermott. “It’s pretty impressive.”

In the future, Amvets Post 332 is expected to help support the construction of a proposed Veterans Memorial in Farmington Town Hall Park, at 1000 County Road 8, he said.

“The memorial will be a place where veterans, their families and future generations can go, sit quietly and know that their sacrifice has been acknowledged with respect by the townspeople,” said Farmington Vietnam War Commemorative Committee Chair Donna Herendeen.

To help raise funds, the Commemorative Committee is selling engraved bricks for $50 each, she said. The bricks engraved with veterans’ names will line the walkway leading to the memorial.

http://www.mpnnow.com/news/20160713/farmington-amvets-post-332-golf-tourney-will-aid-local-veterans-chamber-of-commerce

From ‘Go Home’ to ‘Welcome Home’ for Sheboygan man

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Every Thursday morning Joe Glover Jr. volunteers at the Sheboygan Police Department, alphabetizing the judge’s records, mailing documents or feeding officers with food from his wife.

His work in the municipal court is quiet, and often done alone. Yet he is known around the police department for his outgoing, cheery disposition —he is always trying to make other people smile.

SPD Volunteer Coordinator Penny Weber said despite being one of the department’s newest volunteers, he already has built a positive reputation.

“If you met Joe, you know he is probably one of the most positive people you will ever meet. He always has a smile on his face. He is just one happy person,” Weber said.

The woman who volunteered before him would bring in cookies for the officers, affectionately becoming known as “The Cookie Lady.” When she retired, Joe took over her working duties, and eventually, he found out about her baking reputation and took up the mantle himself.

Joe was a volunteer at the Blood Center before he went to Coffee with a Cop at McDonalds and learned of the police department’s volunteering programs.

Joe’s decision to help the police department is remarkable given that he happily works for the same department that racially profiled him on several occasions more than 40 years ago.

His path to becoming a retired volunteer in Sheboygan is a long one that didn’t even start here.

Joe grew up in Milwaukee’s 53206 zip code, an infamously rough neighborhood now being featured in a documentary for having the highest incarceration rate in the country.

He grew up in private schools, graduating in a class that only had six minority students. He also had a machinery apprenticeship in Milwaukee and became a skilled laborer.

Those skills brought him to Sheboygan Jan. 5, 1970 to work for Hayssen Manufacturing, running the lathe machine. According to Joe, he was harassed by the white workers whom saw him as a threat to their job.

“Guys would be balling up clay, spitting it through straws, hitting you all over,” Joe said. “You’d turn around and they’d be standing there like, ‘Well who do you pick did it?’”

One day, a fellow black coworker was beat up in the bathroom before Joe saw him running across the machine floor. He went to physically defend the man—a decision that resulted in him and the man being fired, according to Joe.

That was two weeks after his first day.

The job didn’t even outlast the temporary living at the YMCA Hayssen provided. He had two more weeks to live there for free. Joe met a woman there, who was white, who would become his wife—Mary. Those last two weeks were the beginning of a courtship that lasted several months before Joe was drafted for service.

He noted that he was stopped by police both before and after he was fired. But according to Joe, they’d leave him alone when they found out he was employed.

“I’d get stopped here, stopped there,” Joe said. “I never knew about (Sundown towns) at the time. I didn’t see it immediately, I just was wondering, ‘Why are they doing this? Why do I have to be out of here at dark?”

Was Sheboygan a sundown town?

Census data dating back to 1860 shows that the black population of Sheboygan did not reach double-digits until 1970, peaking with nine in 1910. Through the 1920’s and 30’s, there were no black residents in Sheboygan, with one in the 1940 census and eight in the 1950 census.

According to research by Professor James W. Loewen, who taught race relations for 20 years at the University of Vermont, there is evidence to suggest Sheboygan may have been a “Sundown Town” – a place where people of color were forced to leave the city after sunset.

Loewen compiled an online map allowing people to find out more about the racial history of their towns, identifying thousands of likely and confirmed sundown towns across the U.S.

Sheboygan is labeled as having possible sundown status. It is unknown whether there was an ordinance or sign specifically prohibiting black people from staying, but the testimonials he lists indicate a certain amount of racial animus.

Loewen received a report of a black social worker from Madison’s state office had to stay at a smaller hotel outside of Sheboygan in 1976 because she couldn’t stay in Sheboygan’s main hotel.

Other testimonies to Loewen showed similar patterns.

“’I recall being told when I moved to Sheboygan in August 1970 that in previous years blacks had not been allowed to stay in the city overnight. There was no generalized policy in that regard by 1970, but I suppose reminisce[sic] of the one-time prohibition might have been carried on informally.

“’We lived on the city’s south side initially and later on the southwest, mostly in the working class section. And I saw no evidence of blacks being prohibited per se, that the black population was quite low.

“’We had a black mailman between 1970 and 1975, but at the junior high school I taught at in those years, also on the south (side), I don’t recall any black students,” Loewen said he was told by Donovan Walling, a former Sheboygan resident, in 2002.

Loewen’s testimonies are remembered, secondary accounts. The Sheboygan Press archives also tell a story of discriminatory local discourse and policy.

The very rumor of a sundown ordinance prompted then-Mayor John Bolgert in 1959 to outright deny that Sheboygan had any sundown laws. He cited as proof that black people we able to live in the city when they were playing baseball for the local minor league team. The same story reported a local pastor as saying there was no prejudice toward black people because there were none here.

Four years later in September of 1963, Professor Spencer Hildahl, then chair of the sociology department at Lakeland College spoke to the Sheboygan Evening Optimist Club about welcoming “negroes” into the city.

“Negroes are coming to Sheboygan just as surely as Christmas is coming next December,” Hildahl said. “We have to assume, whether people accept the fact or not, that Sheboygan is going to have a population that includes Negroes and other minority groups in the not too distant future.”

One of the unnamed Optimists present asserted that an ordinance existed that prohibited black people from living in Sheboygan.

“The same Optimist asserted that present city officials deny that Sheboygan has an ordinance preventing Negroes from living in Sheboygan. But, he claimed, Sheboygan adopted such an ordinance in 1887 —‘that no Negroes will be housed in Sheboygan — and it is still on the books,’” the Press reported.

Confirming ordinances or signs that explicitly gave a town sundown status is difficult because ordinances are revised and recodified.

The city clerk’s office has only two old ordinance books, both of which were from 1976. One of those has been updated. The city attorney’s office has a 1975 book that was updated in 1998 and a 1965 copy that was updated in 1975. The Sheboygan County Historical Research Center also has a 1928 copy of the ordinances, but it is abridged. No such ordinance is mentioned in any of those copies.

Even if the ordinance never officially was on the books, it is still possible that sundown policy was institutionalized here, according to Loewen.

“It’s typically difficult or impossible to actually find copies of the ordinances. Matter of a fact, most towns, you might ask the clerk to show you the double-parking ordinance,” he said. “I bet they can’t find that, but if you double-park you’re going to get a ticket. So the issue typically is many sundown towns never even claimed to have passed an ordinance.”

Legalized discrimination: The 1968 “Fair Housing Ordinance”

Even if there was no specific sundown ordinance, discrimination was occasionally on the books. On Monday Oct. 7, 1968—four years after the federal Civil Rights Act was passed—the Sheboygan Common Council passed an ordinance in a 15-0 vote that banned housing discrimination with two exemptions.

Religious organizations could discriminate based on religious reasons and owners of owner-occupied two-family homes could discriminate in rentals on the bases of “race, color, religion or national origin.”

The first exemption was narrowly added back into the ordinance after a motion to do so narrowly passed in an 8 to 7 vote. It had been deleted two weeks before the final vote by the Committee of the Whole. Alderpersons also rejected 11-4 a last-ditch effort to delete the second exemption from the ordinance.

The State of Wisconsin had already passed a fair housing statute in 1966, but it had several exemptions as well, which left it to cover only about 25 percent of housing in the state, according to an April 1966 Press article.  In that article, local leaders were urging the Common Council to pass a fair housing, open occupancy ordinance to ensure minorities who came to Sheboygan were not confined to a “big city ghetto.”

In the months following the ordinance’s passage, several local organizations including the Sheboygan County Council of Churches and the Sheboygan City of Elm Amvets Post 18 called for the exemptions to be deleted.

The fight was mainly over the religious exemption, not the one that allowed for racial discrimination in shared dwellings. And in February of 1969, a motion to remove just the religious exemption was defeated. The ordinance exemptions were legal until state laws, federal laws and court decisions made the exemptions illegal, according to a January 1976 Press article.

 “There’s no negroes here after dark”

Those instances of discrimination were epitomized when Joe and Mary were relaxing one night outside of the same YMCA. That was when one police officer made the situation clear to him.

“I was parked with Mary, we were having popcorn and root beer. Because of the humidity the back windows fogged up, you know, And all of a sudden this cop knocks on the back window and I’m like, ‘What’s he doing?’

“I said, ‘I bet he thinks we’re making out or something.’ She was driving because I didn’t have my license. And she’s just laughing. I rolled down the window and said, ‘Can I help you?’

“He’s looking in the back of the car—‘What’re you guys doing here?’ the officer said. I said, ‘We’re just having a beer.’ (He responded) ‘You’re not supposed to be drinking in the car!’ I said, ‘Root beer,’ trying to be funny.”

The officer was not amused and continued by asking Joe and Mary where they lived. Mary told the officer her address and Joe said he lived at the YMCA. The officer asked him where he worked and Joe explained he had recently been laid off.

“He said, ‘No then you got to get out of town.’ I said, ‘Pardon me? Why do I have to leave?’” Joe said. “He said, ‘We don’t have negroes here after dark.’ And that’s when I went, ‘Woah!’”

The officer went on to tell him it was city law that no “negroes” could be in town, unless they had a job. That was when Joe moved back to Milwaukee.

“180 degree difference”

In 2008, years after Joe first met Mary at the YMCA, they moved back to Sheboygan.

Joe spent 34 years in Milwaukee as a plumber, with Mary working at various locations over the years. Joe’s parents and his only remaining brother all died within 90 days of each other, all of whom lived in Milwaukee.

They moved here to take care of Mary’s mother. That was when Joe retired and started volunteering. He said it was also when he noticed the police are more approachable.

“180 degrees (difference). You can talk with them. You can joke with them. You can say something smart with them, you know I am sassy,” he said. “It’s like when you were a little kid and a cop gave you bubble gum and a baseball card. That’s what it feels like… You just feel happy when you see them and you’re grateful for what they do.”

Joe said he appreciates how different the policies and the police are today.

“To go from being kicked out of town to working for the police,” Joe said. “I think that’s pretty awesome.”

Joe said he never held anger or animosity toward the police department. In the ‘70s, he thought the law was the law and the officers were just doing their jobs, enforcing it.

“It was just a shock when I came here,” he said. “And you forgot about. It was ‘70 when that happened and then you go in the service and you forget about everything.”

Time has changed Joe’s perception of the police and it has also allowed for change within the department. Those explicit laws and policies are gone, and the department performs training with officers to reduce racial biases.

Sheboygan is growing too. The black population more than doubled from the 2000 to the 2010 census, although it is still only 1.8 percent of the total population. But even as Sheboygan becomes more diverse, there are still implicit disparities. Black people made up 18.9 percent of all arrests in 2015, according to documents obtained by the Sheboygan Press.

And while at 21 percent of the city of Sheboygan is either black, Asian, Hispanic and/or Latino, only 5 percent of the police department’s officers are, according to a 2015 USA-TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin article.

Nonetheless, Joe still sees the police department as better, and moving in the right direction.

“Even though it seems like I’m by myself in here, I got a whole community now,” he said. “The officers pat you on the back. Everybody sees you, (they say), ‘Hey thanks for volunteering.’ It’s a nice feeling to have the other way. Instead of ‘go home’, it’s ‘welcome home.’”

 

(, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin6:57 p.m. CDT July 10, 2016)

Photo: Miller/Jozwiak, USA Today)

Local Veterans Show Support for Law Enforcement

By Ashley Davis | KWQC

MUSCATINE, Iowa (KWQC) – After a tough week for law enforcement some local officers were reminded how much they are appreciated, as local veterans held a lunch for are law enforcement Sunday afternoon.

Organizers say they’ve been planning for months, but with the recent shootings in Dallas, they say this event couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Just to let you guys know how much we appreciate what you guys do and us veterans do support you guys and we want you to know that,” Ron Miller, a veteran and co-organizer of the event, said.

Those who served our country came together Sunday to show their support for those who serve their communities.

“It’s nice to know that they have our back, and they’re supporting us, it means a lot,” Cpl. Joe Bryant with the Muscatine Police Department said.

Veterans did that by serving a meal and by saying thanks to local law enforcement officials.

“We should be grateful for their service and for what they do for us every day, they put their lives on the line every day for us, so we need to show our gratitude for that,” Lee Miller, a veteran and co-organizer of the event, said.

“That one little thank you means a whole lot and that carries us on doing what we want to do,” Bryant said.

Those in attendance also took a moment to honor the lives lost in Dallas, with a moment of silence.

“We’re very much like the military, the military is a band of brothers, and law enforcement is a band of brothers, so when something happens in Dallas those are our brothers down there in Dallas and it has an impact all across the United States on every law enforcement officer,” Muscatine County Sheriff C.J. Ryan said.

“It makes it tough going to work, you know, everybody’s got families, everybody’s got other things that they want to go home to but we’ve all sworn to protect the communities we work for and through the tragedy we gotta push through and keep honoring those that are lost and that manner,” Bryant said.

Officials received support from others through food and kind words, and those on the force showed their support for fellow officers, as well.

“There’s a lot of good people working in this county and Louisa county too so keep your heads up and we’ll keep pushing forward,” Muscatine Police Chief Brett Talkington said.

The Muscatine American Legion, VFW, and Local AMVETS Post put on the appreciation day meal and organizers say they plan to continue holding events like these to show support for officers.

Original Source: Local veterans show support for law enforcement

“The Big 6” United Behind Veterans First Act

“The Big 6” United Behind Veterans First Act

(Washington, D.C.)–The Veterans Service Organizations who are most often called before Congress for testimony on the state of Veterans Affairs, known in D.C. as “The Big 6,” are joining together to call on the Senate to vote on the Veterans First Act. While each has been engaged separately in traditional methods of calling for votes–such as letter-writing and email campaigns– they’re maximizing the power of social media to expand their outreach and get more veterans engaged.

“The AMVETS family is in full support of the Veterans First Act. Eliminating arbitrary eligibility requirements is crucial to ensuring family caregivers of veterans from all eras receive the support they deserve and need. We support the mandate on VA to research the association between toxic exposures and health effects among exposed veterans’ offspring.”–Joe Chenelly, Executive Director, AMVETS

“We’ve recognized that Congress is starting to respond to pressure from social media, so we are doing the best we can to optimize the impact each of our members has by enlisting them to assist in less traditional ways. While Twitter may not be used by most Vietnam veterans on a regular basis, our kids and our grandkids use it. Our families will be helped most by the Toxic Exposure Research provisions within the Veterans First Act, and we are glad to bring them into the fold so they can help us let the Senate know that we all deserve a vote.”–John Rowan, National President, Vietnam Veterans of America

“The VFW strongly supports passage of the Veterans First Act because it rightfully eliminates arbitrary eligibility requirements to ensure family caregivers of veterans from all eras receive the recognition and support they deserve. It requires the VA to research the association between toxic exposures and adverse health effects among the descendants of exposed veterans, and it makes urgently needed improvements to the choice program, which would ensure veterans who receive care from private sector doctors are not erroneously billed for that care.”–Robert E. Wallace, VFW Executive Director.

“The provision within the Veterans First Act that allows for the expansion of the Family Caregiver Program is a top priority for Paralyzed Veterans of America members. Caregivers are life-sustaining for veterans with a spinal cord or disease. They are the most critical component of our rehabilitation and eventual recovery, and their well-being directly impacts the quality of care provided to veterans. Caregivers for veterans of all wartimes should be provided with adequate benefits and resources, yet caregivers of pre-9/11 are made to bear the responsibility—and the toll it takes on their own personal and professional lives—alone. We urge the prompt passage of this legislation so that this inequity will finally be addressed.”– Sherman Gillums, Jr, Paralyzed Veterans of America Executive Director

“The American Legion stands with our sister Veteran Service Organizations to support the Veterans First Act. This bipartisan legislation has one third of the senate as cosponsors and will ensure that veterans have access to a Department of Veterans Affairs that maintains accountability, organized leadership, and parity of services for all generations of caregivers.”–Verna Davis, Executive Director, The American Legion

“DAV strongly supports Senate passage of the Veterans First Act, which would extend comprehensive caregiver support to veterans of all eras. The legislation would also increase veterans’ options for long-term care through medical foster homes; enhance VA’s efforts to recruit and retain the best and brightest medical professionals; reform claims and appeals processing by creating a fully developed appeals pilot program; and make dozens of other positive changes to improve the lives of the men and women who served. DAV looks forward to working together with leaders in both chambers of Congress, the VA, and other key stakeholders to enact comprehensive legislation to help keep the promise to all eras of America’s veterans.”–Garry J. Augustine, Executive Director, Disabled American Veterans

The Big 6 Veteran Service Organizations are asking their members, families, and supporters to join them during this campaign by using the hashtag #Vote4Vets1st in our Twitter Storm. The Veterans First Act is a bipartisan effort to improve accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs, provide critical benefits to veterans in need, and improve existing programs. The veterans’ community deserves a vote on the Senate floor before Congress is dismissed for summer recess. In order for the Department of Veterans Affairs to fulfill Lincoln’s promise “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan,” they must prioritize veterans over politics and pass the Veterans First Act.

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