AMVETS in Action

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Weekly Recap (May 8-12)

Week Round-up (May 8-12)

Miles Migs

Some of the stories circulating the veteran community.

VA refocusing on pre-need eligibility forms and benefits. The Veteran Benefits Administration (VBA) announced through a press release December 8 that it now “provides eligibility determinations for interment in a VA national cemetery prior to the time of need. Through the Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility Program, upon request, individuals can learn if they are eligible for burial or memorialization in a VA national cemetery.” The VBA express that they recognize families of deceased veterans often have trouble financing funeral services. Some of these benefits include burial in any open VA national cemetery, grave liners, perpetual care of the grave, government-furnished headstones, burial flags, and Presidential Memorial Certificates. Pre-Need applications can be found at http://www.cem.va.gov/preneed.


An Assemblywoman in California is looking to provide legal help for deported veterans.
 The California state assembly passed a bill created by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher Monday that aims to provide legal representation for honorably discharged veterans who were deported.
“It’s time we bring our deported vets back,” said Gonzalez Fletcher. “California can lead the way by trying to bring them home.”
The bill unanimously passed the assembly and now goes to the Senate.


Lawmakers made another run at accountability legislation Thursday.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled Congress’ legislation that aimed to ease termination rules for the Department of Veteran Affairs unconstitutional Tuesday. In light of the accountability legislation passed earlier this year, House Democrats continue to voice concerns that the legislation is still too restrictive.
VA Secretary David Shulkin issued a statement Tuesday evening that the ruling “underscores yet again the need for swift congressional action to afford the secretary effective and defensible authority to take timely and meaningful action against VA employees whose conduct or performance undermines veteran’s trust in VA care or services.”
However, on Thursday a bipartisan group of Senators introduced a new piece of accountability legislation that contains a process for quicker termination for employees who have displayed misconduct, the ability to strip those employees of ill-gotten bonuses, and an endorsement from key Congressional leaders.
According to MilitaryTimes, a majority of House Democrats oppose Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe’s support of the legislation, but it already has several Democratic co-sponsors.

Riders honor post Chaplain during the annual “Blessing of the Bikes.” The AMVET Riders of Post 91 conducted the annual “Blessing of the Bikes” in Monticello, Indiana, May 7. The event also honored past post chaplain George Hagle, who passed March 18 after a long battle with cancer. The riders provided George’s wife, Connie, with a signed, framed photo of George to commemorate his time with AMVETS.
“George was a great guy. He was one of our past presidents and our chaplain for a number of years,” Post 91 Riders President Don Kiselus said Sunday. “George was very active in the AMVETS organization, as well as the VFW and American Legion. He’s definitely going to be missed, especially by myself, as he was my mentor as well as my friend. Looks like we have a great turnout here today. I am just so glad and happy that he had so many friends that have some here to honor him today.”

Riders Honor Chaplain During Annual “Blessing of the Bikes”

 

The AMVET Riders of Post 91 conducted the annual “Blessing of the Bikes” in Monticello, Indiana, May 7.

The event also honored past post chaplain George Hagle, who passed March 18 after a long battle with cancer. The riders provided George’s wife, Connie, with a signed, framed photo of George to commemorate his time with AMVETS.

“George was a great guy. He was one of our past presidents and our chaplain for a number of years,” Post 91 Riders President Don Kiselus said Sunday. “George was very active in the AMVETS organization, as well as the VFW and American Legion. He’s definitely going to be missed, especially by myself, as he was my mentor as well as my friend. Looks like we have a great turnout here today. I am just so glad and happy that he had so many friends that have some here to honor him today.”

AMVETS ‘Employer of the Year”

Since 1983, the AMVETS Veteran Friendly Employer of the Year Awards program recognizes employers from the private sector and government (local, state and federal) who have made great strides to by providing employment to our veterans.

The AMVETS Veteran Friendly Employer of the Year Awards recognize organizations based on their commitment to serving veterans through both their hiring practices and community involvement. This award allows our organization to recognize those employers who make a commitment to including veterans in their organizational culture. Through community service, fundraisers, and veteran preference hiring practices, employers are showing their continued dedication to improving the lives of veterans throughout the United States. We hope you will take the time to tell us about some of these employers so that we may get the chance to recognize their outstanding achievements.Below are examples of our past winners, AECOM and the Washington State Corps of Engineers.


Named as one of Fortune magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” for two consecutive years, AECOM is a pillar of the engineering world. In 2015, AECOM hired almost 4,000 new employees; over 1,100 of those new hires are veterans. Over 250 of those veterans are disabled. In total, AECOM employs over 9,000 veterans. AECOM is truly a Veteran Friendly employer; they prove that companies value the unique training and experience the military provides. Thank you, AECOM, for your commitment to hiring our nation’s heroes. Please accept our award of Employer of the Year for your outstanding veteran-friendly employment.


The United States Corps of Engineers employs 37,000 dedicated civil servants in 130 countries around the world. The Department of the Army, Washington State Corps of Engineers employs over 1,700 engineers and civil servants in the state of Washington to further the mission of the Corps of Engineers to “deliver vital public and military engineering services.” In 2015, Washington State Corps of Engineers hired 259 new hires, 102 of which are veterans. Of those 102 veterans, 39 are disabled veterans and 12 are women veterans. Thank you, Washington State Corps of Engineers, for actively pursuing Veteran candidates and prioritizing the hiring of local veterans. Please accept our award of Employer of the Year for your outstanding veteran-friendly employment.

» Download Employer of the Year Nomination Form – PDF file (198 Kb)

All submissions can be mailed to:

AMVETS Programs
4647 Forbes Blvd.
Lanham, MD 20706

Questions/concerns can be addressed to Stephanie Mullen at smullen@amvets.org

VAntage Point: Joe Chenelly – Marine Veteran, AMVETS National Executive Director

 

This week in VA blog news, out National Executive Director, Joe Chenelly, was featured in the Veteran Affairs Podcast. For those that didn’t know, Joe enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in March 1998, serving with the 1st Marine Division, and was honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant in April 2006. He is a combat veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, having served in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Kuwait, East Timor and the Horn of Africa.

On this episode, Joe speaks with Tim Lawson on his experiences as a Marine, the 9/11 terrorism that occurred while being a service member, suicide, and being a leading veteran advocate voice in D.C. through AMVETS.

Post 122 Donates $10,000 to School District

Amvets donate 10K to JCSD

Board votes to purchase, install freezer at EJHS

Julianne Cahill via The Sentinel

MIFFLINTOWN — The Juniata County School District is the recipient of a significant community donation.

Thompsontown Amvets Post 122 presented $10,000 to the district’s cafeteria fund during the board of directors’ meeting Jan. 19.

“We (the Amvets) choose between veterans and youth to help out in the community,” manager Greg Spancake said.

This time, they decided to help youth.

He said their donation provides food for the schools, therefore benefiting students throughout the whole county.

Also during the JCSD meeting, directors approved:

¯Purchase and installation of a freezer for East Juniata High School, at a cost of $36,306;

¯Resurfacing of the infield at EJHS’ baseball field with Diamond-Tex;

¯Administration and solicitor to proceed with the purchase of .046 acres of land adjacent to the existing Monroe Elementary School, at a cost of $14,000, to be used as a turning lane for the proposed construction project;

¯Financial reports for November and December;

¯Listing of bills for payment;

¯Compensation for tax collectors at $2.90, per real estate payment in 2018, $3 in 2019, $3.10 in 2020 and $3.20 in 2021;

¯Transportation plan and memorandum of understanding with Children and Youth Services to establish transportation procedures for foster care youth;

¯ 2017-18 academic year calendar;

¯Corrected 2016-17 academic year calendar;

¯First reading of revised transportation policy for video/audio recording;

¯Listing of student field trips;

¯Homebound instruction for two high school students and extended instruction for one student;

¯Robert St. Clair Jr.’s request to electronically survey students in grades nine through 12 in regard to bullying at Juniata High School;

¯Two teacher conference requests;

¯First reading of revised district policies related to policy manual access, emergency preparedness and conflict of interest;

¯Collective bargaining agreement between the JCSD and United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, on behalf of local union 1940-09, effective July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2019. This agreement affects custodians, secretarial workers, paraprofessionals and nursing staff.

The board also approved the scheduling of workshop meetings monthly on the Wednesday prior to regular voting meetings, with the exception of December 2017.

Director Danny R. Snyder will serve as JCSD representative to the Tuscarora Intermediate Unit Board of Directors, July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2020.

Post 91 supports “Adopt a Veteran”

The Black Hawk County Veteran Affairs Commission conducted their first “Adopt a Veteran” event this Christmas, aiming to provide gifts for veterans and their families struggling or alone during the holidays.With the help of several organizations, AMVETS included, the event ran successful enough to increase chances of it becoming annually scheduled.

“There were nearly 70 people, companies, organizations who came forward to adopt a veteran,” stated Kevin Dill, commission executive director. “The Cedar Falls AMVETS riders adopted two families and held a craft sale that generated money in the form of gift cards to families.

“We received monetary donations from (Waterloo) AMVETS Post 19, the local Disabled American Veterans, DENSO (Waterloo engineering and service center), Black Hawk County bake sale, Waterloo Woman’s Club,” Dill said. “The Cedar Falls AMVETS donated some socks as gifts. The Cedar Falls VFW Post 3896 adopted a family as well.”

AMVETS Post 251 donates toys

· By Rebecca Carlbon (Burlington County Times staff writer)
· Dec 14, 2016

Members of AMVETS Department of New Jersey and Riverside Post 251 AMVETS (American Veterans) are donating new unwrapped toys to children, ages 3-10 years old as part of Operation Homefront.
The toys will be delivered on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at the AMVETS location at 611 Beverly-Rancocas Road, Willingboro in the old Beneficial Bank. The toys benefit children of the surrounding communities.

Congress Finally Approves Veteran Status

John Goheen (via NGAUS.org)

Washington Report

(December 13, 2016) All retired National Guardsmen and Reservists are now only a presidential signature away from finally being recognized as veterans.
Congress approved legislation last week that would expand the legal definition of a veteran to include Guardsmen and Reservists that honorably serve 20 years. It now goes to the White House as part of a package of veterans bills.

The current definition requires a Guardsman or Reservist to have spent more than 179 days on federal active duty for other than training to be considered a veteran, regardless of how long they served.

“The current definition has long been out of date,” said retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett, the NGAUS president. “Many of those affected underwent arduous, even dangerous, training to maintain their combat readiness. Others worked in direct support of those who did deploy. Yet our nation tells them that they aren’t veterans.

“That’s wrong, but we’re on the cusp of righting that wrong.”
NGAUS has been pushing the change for six years. It easily passed the House every session only to be killed in the Senate by fears that it would increase eligibility for some benefits, thereby raising the cost of veterans’ programs.

“It took a while, but we finally convinced everyone in the Senate that we weren’t seeking more benefits,” Hargett said. “Guard retirees just want the honor of their nation calling them veterans.”

The House and Senate actually approved the change in concept last year, but they disagreed on the specific language. This forced the two chambers to come up with and formally approve a compromise provision, which they did last week.

“This won’t provide the Guard one extra dollar for better training, equipment or benefits,” Hargett said, “but it is one of our most satisfying accomplishments since I’ve been here.”

– See more at: http://ngaus.org/newsroom/news/congress-finally-approves-veteran-status#sthash.5uFmLei1.dpuf