AMVETS in Action

Category: Press Release

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)

“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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Marine Missing From World War II Accounted For

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, June 30, 2016

Contact: Maj. Natasha Waggoner, USAF
Phone: (703) 699-1420
Fax: (703) 602-4375

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, unaccounted for since World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Marine Pvt. Robert J. Carter, 19, of Oklahoma City, will be buried July 13 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. In November 1943, Carter was assigned to Company G, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Carter died around Nov. 20, 1943.

The battle of Tarawa was a huge victory for the U.S. military because the Gilbert Islands provided the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet a platform from which to launch assaults on the Marshall and Caroline Islands to advance their Central Pacific Campaign against Japan.

In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. In 1946 and 1947, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio Island, but Carter’s remains were not recovered. On Feb. 10, 1949, a military review board declared Carter’s remains non-recoverable.

In June 2015, a nongovernmental organization, History Flight, Inc., notified DPAA that they discovered a burial site on Betio Island and recovered the remains of what they believed were 35 U.S. Marines who fought during the battle in November 1943. The remains were turned over to DPAA in July 2015.

To identify Carter’s remains, scientists from DPAA used laboratory analysis, including dental analysis and chest radiographic comparison, which matched Carter’s records, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

DPAA is grateful to History Flight, Inc. for this recovery mission.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.

Bob Evans Farms, Inc. Goes Purple And Supports The Gary Sinise Foundation

Bob Evans Farms, Inc. Goes Purple And Supports The Gary Sinise Foundation To Salute Military Heroes And Their Families Through Its ‘Our Farm Salutes’ Campaign

Bob Evans Farms Bolsters Its Support of Those That Serve With a $200,000 Donation and a Supply of Farm Fresh Foods to Support the Gary Sinise Foundation’s ‘Serving Heroes’ Program

NEW ALBANY, Ohio (July 5, 2016)Bob Evans Farms, Inc. (NASDAQ: BOBE), is proud to announce its commitment to support America’s active duty, veterans, and their families with the launch of its “Our Farm Salutes” campaign. As part of the program, Bob Evans Farms has painted its iconic barn purple, a color that represents every branch of service, and is donating $200,000 as well as thousands of meals to support the Gary Sinise Foundation’s (GSF) Serving Heroes program, an initiative that provides meals to active duty, veterans, and their families as a way of showing gratitude for their service and sacrifice.

“Supporting the men and women that serve our country has always been a part of the culture at Bob Evans Farms, and we could not be more excited to further our commitment of showing gratitude by encouraging others to join us as we salute all of those that unselfishly serve us,” said Bob Evans Farms, Inc. President and CEO Saed Mohseni. “In painting the Bob Evans barn purple and partnering with the Gary Sinise Foundation in support of their Serving Heroes program, we are making it known that ‘Our Farm Salutes’ all of America’s active duty, veterans, and their families.”

As part of the “Our Farms Salutes” campaign, Bob Evans Farms is urging all Americans to join Bob Evans Farms in going purple this summer to show gratitude to those that serve. By visiting OurFarmSalutes.com, the public can share amessage of support or make a donation to help support the Gary Sinise Foundation’s Serving Heroes program.

Throughout 2016, in partnership with the Gary Sinise Foundation and its Serving Heroes program, Bob Evans Farms, Inc. will serve over 6,000 meals to military heroes and their families at military bases, USO centers and VAs across the country at Serving Heroes events.

In addition, Bob Evans will share a series of broadcast television and radio public service announcements featuring Gary Sinise in support of the Foundation’s Serving Heroes program.

Designed by ‘The Barn Artist,’ Scott Hagan and Columbus artist David Browning, the newly painted Bob Evans barn features a mural honoring current and past members of the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and the Merchant Marines. The painting took a total of 11 days, 176 man-hours and 30 gallons of paint to complete and will remain on the building through Veteran’s Day.

“A hearty meal and time spent with family around a dinner table is often the thing service members miss most during tours of duty,” said Gary Sinise, founder of the Gary Sinise Foundation. “The generous contribution made by Bob Evans Farms to our Serving Heroesprogram will help us to feed our nation’s service men and women and their families, in mind, body and soul; and the painted purple barn stands as a beacon of honor to those who protect our freedoms.”

For more information on the “Our Farm Salutes” campaign, look for the purple packaging on Bob Evans packaged foods products in your local grocery store, or please visit www.OurFarmSalutes.com.

About Bob Evans Farms, Inc.
Bob Evans Farms, Inc. owns and operates full-service restaurants under the Bob Evans Restaurants brand name. At the end of the third fiscal quarter (January 22, 2016), Bob Evans Restaurants owned and operated 548 family restaurants in 18 states, primarily in the Midwest, mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the United States. Bob Evans Farms, Inc., through its BEF Foods segment, is also a leading producer and distributor of refrigerated side dishes, pork sausage and a variety of refrigerated and frozen convenience food items under the Bob Evans and Owens brand names. For more informationabout Bob Evans Farms, Inc., visit www.bobevans.com.

About the Gary Sinise Foundation:
Actor/humanitarian Gary Sinise has been actively and tirelessly supporting the troops for over thirty years. Among his numerous film and television roles, it was his portrayal of Lt. Dan Taylor in the landmark film Forrest Gump which formed an enduring connection with servicemen and women throughout the military community. Over the years, Sinise participated in handshake tours, hospital visits, invited veterans to come for free performances at his theater in Chicago, and much more. In June 2011, to expand upon his individual efforts, Sinise established the Gary Sinise Foundation.

The Gary Sinise Foundation honors America’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need. Through its R.I.S.E. (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment) program, speciallyadapted smart homes are being constructed for severely wounded veterans nationwide. Each one-of-a-kind home is customized to ease the everyday burdens of a wounded hero, their family and caregivers. Other programs include Serving Heroes, Relief & Resiliency Outreach, Invincible Spirit Festivals, the Lt. Dan Band, Arts & Entertainment Outreach, and First Responders Outreach. Its latest program, Soaring Valor, is sending WWII veterans to The National WWII Museum and documenting their first-hand accounts of the war. Over the years, the Foundation has formed numerous corporate partnerships which support many of the Foundation’s programs. For more information, please visit GarySiniseFoundation.org.

Fulfilling Our Nation’s Promise: Soldier Missing From Korean War Accounted For

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, June 30, 2016

Contact: SSG Kristen Duus
Phone: (703) 699-1420
Fax: (703) 602-4375

Charles B. CroftsThe Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Cpl. Charles B. Crofts, 19, of Shelley, Idaho, will be buried July 9 in his hometown. In late November 1950, Crofts was a member of Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, as one of approximately 2,500 U.S. and 700 South Korean soldiers who were assembled into the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT). The 31st RCT was deployed east of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, when it was engaged by overwhelming numbers of Chinese forces, driving the remnants of the 31st RCT, known historically as Task Force Faith, to begin a fighting withdrawal to more defensible positions near Hagaru-ri, south of the reservoir.

Crofts could not be accounted for by his unit at the end of the battle, and the U.S. Army reported him missing in action as of Dec. 2, 1950.

Although the U.S. Army Graves Registration Service hoped to recover American remains from north of the Korean Demilitarized Zone after the war, administrative details between the United Nations Command and North Korea complicated recovery efforts. An agreement was made and in September and October 1954, in what was known as Operation Glory, remains were returned. However, Crofts’ remains were not included and he was declared non-recoverable.

During the 36th Joint Recovery Operation in 2004, U.S. and North Korean recovery teams conducted operations on the eastern bank of the Chosin Reservoir, Changjin County, North Korea, in the area where Crofts was reported missing in action. At least nine individuals were recovered and returned to the laboratory for processing.

To identify Crofts’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial and anthropological evidence, as well as DNA analysis, including mitochondrial DNA, Y-chromosome Short Tandem Repeat and autosomal DNA, which matched a sister and a brother.

Today, 7,812 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using advances in technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials or recovered by American teams.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.

AMVETS National 2016 Scholarship Program Winners Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Media Inquiries: Kristina Miller
KMiller@amvets.org
301-683-4038

AMVETS announced the 2016 recipients of its National Scholarship Program today

“The influx in applications this year was extremely impressive.” said National Programs Director, Karla Lathroum at today’s announcement. “It is an honor for AMVETS to help veterans and members of the military continue their families’ legacies by providing additional support through the AMVETS Scholarship Program.”

Graduating high school seniors selected to receive four-year undergraduate scholarships of $4,000 are:
Holloway Testerman of Chichester, New Hampshire
Mariah Cummings of Lock Haven, Pennsylvania
Felice Watson of Villa Rica, Georgia
Jacob Higginson of Springfield, Illinois
Micaela Mersch of Troy, Texas
Adriana Tapia of Mesa, Arizona

Graduating high school senior Jordan Fox of Lewisville, Texas was selected as the $1,000.00 scholarship recipient of the JROTC scholarship.

Veterans selected to receive four-year scholarships of $4,000.00 are:
Anita Ingram of Darby, Pennsylvania
Benjamin Kimball of Wichita, Kansas
Brad Swanson of Durham, North Carolina

Veterans Ashley Gorbulja of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and Jared Wymer of Seattle, Washington were selected to receive the Dr. Aurelio M. Caccomo Family Foundation Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $3,000.00.

Veteran Andrew Bates of Fenton, Michigan was selected to receive The Henry G. Huestis Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $1,000.00

The winners were selected on the basis of academic excellence and financial need. Since its inception in the 1950s, the AMVETS National Scholarship Program has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships to veterans and graduating high school students who are sons and daughters or grandchildren of American veterans.

About AMVETS
As one of America’s leading veterans service organizations with over 250,000 members, AMVETS (or American Veterans) has a proud history of assisting veterans and sponsoring numerous programs that serve our country and its citizens. Membership in AMVETS is open to anyone who is currently serving, or who has honorably served, in the U.S. Armed Forces from World War II to the present, to include the National Guard and Reserves. Visit www.amvets.org for more information on who we are and how to join.

AFSP Honors White House Staffer Bess Evans for Exceptional Service

District-of-Columbia-Facts-2016

 

WASHINGTON (June 14, 2016) – Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. The nation’s largest organization dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention gave a Federal Award on Tuesday, June 14 at the Allies in Action Awards ceremony to White House staffer Bess Evans for her dedication to suicide prevention. Ms. Evans is the Associate Director and Senior Policy Advisor for the Office of Public Engagement & Domestic Policy Council. Ms. Evans lost a close college friend to suicide.

https://afsp.org/afsp-honors-white-house-staffer-bess-evans-exceptional-service/

“We thank Ms. Evans for collaborating with organizations like AFSP, which has led to an important dialogue on how to advance suicide prevention,” said Bob Gebbia, AFSP CEO.

Through her own work in the White House, Bess has tirelessly promoted suicide prevention and mental health policies throughout the federal government, including the Affordable Care Act and efforts to ensure that people across the nation have health coverage for mental health and substance use disorders.

Ms. Evans has been working at the White House for over four years and rose from being a Senior Policy Advisor for Public Engagement in the Office of Science and Technology Policy to her current role. Prior to joining the White House, Evans worked for the Justice Department and also worked on President Obama’s campaign. Originally from Evanston, Illinois, Evans earned her bachelor’s degree from DePauw University in sociology and communications.

** Photos of the award being presented available upon request. **

For media requests: Alexis O’Brien, AFSP PR Director, 347-826-3577 or aobrien@afsp.org

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP onFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

VETERAN EDUCATION BENEFITS NOW ACCEPTED AT MERRILL INSTITUTE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 14, 2016

Contact: Andrea Fisher, Marketing Director

alfisher@MerrillTG.com 

989.928.6222 cell

989.921.4005 x 4048 office

 

VETERAN EDUCATION BENEFITS NOW ACCEPTED AT MERRILL INSTITUTE

Alma, MICH – United States Veterans can now utilize their VA education benefits to cover tuition costs for the Merrill Institute’s 12-week, 522-hour welding program. This comprehensive welding program is an American Welding Society (AWS) SENSE Level 1 program, which means successful graduates will receive AWS certification – the premier certification recognized globally by companies in the welding and manufacturing industries.

“Securing this eligibility was intense, but worth the investment on our end. Being able to offer our Veterans an in-demand skill set, like welding, is a small price to pay for the sacrifices they have made for all of us,” says Jason North, Manager of Operations & Industrial Training at the Merrill Institute.

“We believe we’ll see a lot of veterans apply their GI Bill, toward our welding program, which is great because companies all across the United States are in dire need of skilled welders to offset the skill gap that our country is currently facing.”

The Merrill Institute 12-week program includes training in SMAW, GMAW, FCAW and GTAW welding processes. The program also includes training for blue-print reading, welding inspection and testing and weld symbol and drawing interpretation.

Veterans interested in a welding career should contact the Merrill Institute to determine their eligibility at www.merrillinstitute.com or call 989.462.0322.

Since its founding in 2011, the Merrill Institute has graduated 220 students who have achieved a 90% employment rate.

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The Merrill Institute, a division of Merrill Technologies Group, is a welding institute in Alma, Michigan. Students receive the foundation for a successful career, with real-world, experiential, project focused training utilizing state-of-the-art machines and equipment and learn from some of the most talented professionals in the industry. Merrill Institute. Design, Create and Shape the Future. To learn more visit www.merrillinstitute.com or call 989.462.0322

Korean Augmentation To the United States Army (KATUSA) REMEMBERED AT THE NATIONAL KOREAN WAR VETERANS MEMORIAL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 10, 2016

Korean Augmentation To the United States Army (KATUSA) REMEMBERED AT THE NATIONAL KOREAN WAR VETERANS MEMORIAL

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Korean War Veterans Foundation will pay tribute to the more than 8,000 men who served with the U.S. Army during the Korean War at a special commemorative event at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 9:00AM.

This ceremony will remember and commemorate the service of over 8,000 Republic of Korea soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice serving alongside American United States Army soldiers during the Korean War. Names of the fallen will be read throughout the day and wreaths will be presented at 9:00AM to remember all who served in the Korean War. Members of Congress along with Embassy of the Republic of Korea will be on hand to participate in the reading of the fallen.

Few Americans know, and sadly, some Korean War Era veterans fail to remember the bloodshed by those Korean nationals who were assigned to United States Army units during the Korean War.   The history of the war generally available to our people ignores the KATUSA or, if covered, tends to denigrate their contribution and use in U.S. units.   Lost in that kind of reasoning is why Koreans were assigned to US units! And, that is where this issue becomes one that ought to be acknowledged by America — for there are at least 36 plus thousand American families that should say, “Thank you KATUSAs!”.

Korean Augmentation To the United States Army (KATUSA Korean: 카투사) is a branch of Republic of Korea Army which consists of Korean enlisted personnel who are augmented to the Eighth United States Army (EUSA). KATUSA does not form an individual military unit, instead small numbers of KATUSA members are dispatched throughout the most of the Eighth United States Army departments, filling in positions for the United States Army enlisted soldiers and junior non-commissioned officers. KATUSAs are drafted from pool of qualified volunteers who are subjected to mandatory military service for Korean male citizens. While ROK Army holds the responsibility for personnel management of KATUSAs, KATUSA members are equipped with standard United States Army issues, and live and work with the U.S. enlisted soldiers. This kind of augmentation is unique throughout the entire United States Army worldwide, because KATUSA program was developed during Korean War as a temporary measure to cope with a shortage of personnel in the United States Army. The ceremony will feature

Beginning in July 1950 at the request of General Douglas MacArthur in front of ROK President Syngman Rhee, General Macarthur took command of all ROK Forces. At this time, General Macarthur implemented Korean soldiers into the U.S. Army where there were critical shortages, making the first KATUSA soldiers assigned to 7th Infantry Division, originally in Japan, but mobilized to Incheon in September 1950. This program continued after the Korean War, and KATUSA soldiers would spend 18-months with the U.S. Army learning his occupation and would then return to the ROK Army for training others on the occupation. According to the Eighth Army Wightman NCO Academy, “With the establishment of the ROKA Training Center in 1963…KATUSA soldiers began to spend their whole military tour in the U.S. Army”

About Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation (www.koreanwarvetsmemorial.org)

The Memorial is unique in that it presents an aura of commitment both by a generation of young American soldiery as well as their comrades from 20 other nations of the United Nations and the Republic of South Korea. Dedicated to the concept that “Freedom Is Not Free”, the Memorial does not glorify war but rather the determination of our people to assist other people in preserving their freedom!

Unique among war memorials, and one of the most visited, the Korean War Veterans Memorial features a column of 19 sculptures representing those members of the Armed Forces of the United States that directly engaged the enemy in ground, sea and air combat and depicts the ethnic and racial makeup of those forces. The sculptures are flanked by a Wall filled with over 2500 photos depicted on the granite surface of personnel and scenes of the war.

The Pool of Remembrance at the head of the Memorial is dedicated to those killed in action, wounded in action, missing in action or held as Prisoner Of War by the enemy. Look closely at the numbers of casualties engraved in the granite border of the Pool and you will understand why the then “Police Action” now must be called a “War”! As surely as World War II was fought to save the world for democracy it can be said that the Korean War was fought to save the world from communism! The stand taken in Korea, and the “line in the sand” drawn there against armed aggression, became the catalyst for the eventual downfall of the goal of communism ,..”.. to enslave the world!”

Visit this Memorial! See for yourself why it is imperative that our goal of raising a Memorial Maintenance Endowment Fund is critical to ensure that it is maintained properly for future generations to enjoy and be inspired.

 

For media inquiries:

Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation

COL(R) William Weber ~ Chairman of the Board

410-775-7733 ~ email: eagle187@hughes.net

 

 

Press Release: NJHA, UHF Announce $1.35M Grant to Bolster Veterans’ Mental Health Initiatives in New Jersey.

For Immediate Release

PRINCETON, N.J. (June 13, 2016) – The New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA) and United Health Foundation brought together health professionals and military leaders today to raise awareness about the complexities of managing veterans’ health and examine ways to improve access to care through innovative partnerships and community engagement.

The forum, “Managing the Complexity of Veteran Health: Serving Those Who Have Served,” highlighted a $1.35 million partnership between NJHA’s Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET) and United Health Foundation to bolster veteran health programs, including the hiring of additional Veteran Navigators to facilitate access to high-quality, community-based mental health, behavioral health and supportive services for veterans and military families in underserved areas of the state. The forum was attended by U.S. Representative Tom MacArthur (NJ-3), Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Adjutant General Michael Cunniff and Assemblymember Cleopatra Tucker (28-LD).

United Health Foundation Partnership with New Jersey Hospital Association Helping Veterans and Service Members Navigate Health Services to Improve Access to Care

  • Veteran Navigators hired through $1.35 million partnership grant are helping connect veterans, service members and their families to health services and programs in communities throughout New Jersey
  • Forum brings together care providers and military leaders to raise awareness about managing the complexity of veteran health

“Veterans and military families face unique health needs, and it is often a challenge for them to access the care and programs that help ensure they receive quality care,” said Betsy Ryan, president and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association. “This partnership with United Health Foundation is providing valuable resources that are helping raise awareness and improving the health and wellness of our veterans and service members.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, military service members and veterans face health issues differently than civilians. The stressors of being in combat, combined with being separated from family, can put service members and veterans at risk for mental health problems. These include anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse and depression that, in extreme circumstances, can lead to suicide. According to a study commissioned by the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and United Health Foundation, there is a preparedness gap among most community-based mental health providers in being able to take care of the special needs of military veterans and their families.

Through its partnership with United Health Foundation, NJHA is using a peer-to-peer model with Veteran Navigators to connect with their fellow service members to facilitate access to the care that veterans and their families need.

“The work of NJHA is improving access to care for veterans and military members,” said New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. “NJHA’s partnership with United Health Foundation is the type of public-private approach that will make a difference in the lives of our neighbors, particularly those with the greatest needs.”

“Helping veterans and their families with support to improve their quality of life is mission critical,” said Michael Cunniff, Adjutant General, New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “Our service members, veterans and their families often face unique challenges to care including having access to care providers who understand their specific needs. By raising awareness and having veterans engage directly with service members and their families, we are helping improve their personal health and recovery.”

During the forum, guest speakers discussed important health topics facing veterans and military service members including military culture, injury and recovery programs, PTSD, suicide prevention and navigating the VA system, among others. NJHA provided an overview and update on how the organization is working collaboratively with other partners in the state to implement a comprehensive model to close the gap between providers and veterans through efforts that increase awareness of available support, and improve skills of mental health professionals in addressing veteran-specific issues and needs.

U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur (NJ-3) praised the work on behalf of veterans and service members. “I applaud the work of all the organizations gathered today for this important forum that is raising awareness about improving care for our veterans and service members who have sacrificed so much for our nation. It is important to help connect our troops with the programs and care they need, particularly given the unique situations they face. Programs like this are model initiatives that bring together the best minds and organizations to forge solutions to care.”

The Veteran Navigators, along with the entire project team at NJHA, are being cross-trained in Mental Health First Aid, Health Coaching and supplemental topics with an opportunity to become Certified Prevention Specialists to help meet the unique needs of military service members and their families

“This partnership between NJHA and United Health Foundation is helping to ensure that our military men and women understand the programs and services available to them to improve their care and quality of life,” said Heather Cianfrocco, President, Northeast Region, UnitedHealthcare. “The Veteran Navigators are a critical resource, understanding their experiences and their needs, and helping to alleviate the stresses that our nation’s service members, veterans and their families endure every day.”

About NJHA and the Health Research & Educational Trust

The New Jersey Hospital Association is a healthcare trade organization that helps hospitals and post-acute care providers deliver affordable, accessible and quality healthcare to their communities. The Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey is a nonprofit affiliate of NJHA. It provides leadership and resources to improve the healthcare delivery system and health of the community. Its mission is to develop research projects and educational initiatives that promote quality, affordable and accessible healthcare and raise public and provider awareness about vital healthcare issues.

About United Health Foundation
Through collaboration with community partners, grants and outreach efforts, United Health Foundation works to improve our health system, build a diverse and dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being of local communities. United Health Foundation was established by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation dedicated to improving health and health care. To date, United Health Foundation has committed more than $285 million to programs and communities around the world. We invite you to learn more at www.unitedhealthfoundation.org or follow @UHGGives on Twitter or Facebook.com/UHGGives.

 

Contacts:

Kerry McKean Kelly                            L.D. Platt

New Jersey Hospital Association     United Health Foundation

(609) 275-4069                                     (202) 654-8830

kmckean@njha.com                            LD_Platt@uhg.com

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