AMVETS in Action

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AMVETS Post 118 sends care packages to Delco military residents

Care Packages Being Sent To Delco Residents Serving In Military

(Story via Max Bennett of Patch.com)
December 2, 2016 10:04 am ET

Delaware County Council and county employees will once again spread cheer to Delaware County natives who are serving in the military either overseas, stationed on base in the United States, or recuperating in a veteran’s hospital.

For the past nine years, County Council and the department of Public Relations, which oversees the Armed Services Tribute Board, have collected and mailed hundreds of holiday cards and gifts as part of the Armed Services Tribute initiative, according to the county

“During the holidays, it’s important to remember the brave men and women of the armed services who are fighting for our freedom at home and overseas. With tensions overseas and random acts of terrorism in the news, we are all painfully aware of how precious our freedom is,” Councilman Mike Culp said in a statement.

This year, County Council is partnering with the AMVETS Post 118 in Morton to mail care packages to our troops serving on base overseas or here in the United States, according to the county. Every month since 2006, Harry Mirra and his fellow veterans have been sending care packages to troops.

Mirra, the past department commander of the AMVETS Post and current chairman of the Care Packages initiative, said he has the support of several organizations including Wawa, the local senior center, school groups and other veterans groups. Mirra was joined at the Council meeting by Charles Dougherty, commander, AMVEST Post 118, Jeff Elliot, past post commander, and Ginny Valonis.

“We are grateful to Harry and his post for partnering with us to send care packages to our Delaware County men and women,” Culp said.

“New this year, Council is providing greetings and gifts for the nearly 100 veterans living at Fair Acres, our skilled care facility in Middletown. We are partnering with the Delco News Network to provide copies of the 2016-2017 Veteran’s Book to each of the veterans at Fair Acres along with a greeting from County Council,” Culp said. “We are really pleased to be able to partner with these organizations to make the holidays a bit brighter for our troops and veterans.”

Culp reminded people to stop by the Armed Services Tribute Board where we honor active duty troops.

Wayne native and Radnor graduate Galen Fisher, who is a U.S. Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade, recently was added to the board.

Delaware County residents who have family members actively serving in the military are invited to submit a 4-by-6 inch color photograph of the individual, along with the soldier’s name, town of residency and their official military address to The Public Relations Department, Room 226A, Delaware County Government Center, 201 W. Front St., Media, PA 19063.

Photos and information can also be sent via e-mail to Katherine Morrone at morronek@co.delaware.pa.us.

BOOK REVIEW: A Tour of Duty

Our most recent read here at AMVETS is A Tour of Duty, by physician Michael R. Butner. His work centers around Marine sniper, Mitchell Rice, who is situated in the highlands of Vietnam as a part of a two-man team. When his partner is killed, Rice finds ways to deal with his inner demons through support of those in the Catholic Church.

From there the story take a James Bond-like turn, when Rice (now back from Vietnam and studying medicine) saves an unstable chemist named Jacob Wade, but fails to save Wade’s wife. As a result, Wade seeks vengeance against Rice and our protagonist is sought out twice throughout the book to hunt down and capture Wade.

This book had its share interesting, even occasionally comical, moments in it. I appreciate the constant battle between Wade and Rice, it breaks up the monotony of what I was expecting of a veteran coming back from war, struggling through PTSD, and finding solace in a passion, story that we’ve been exposed to several times before.

This is also simple to read, not bombarded with run-on sentences and pretentious wording. Despite its occasional moments where the events tend to drag on slightly longer making it a little harder to contain a reader’s attention, I find A Tour of Duty, to be a good read for those who enjoy a “feel good” read with a splash of a James Bond or Taken vibe. However, DO NOT expect the same amount of action-packed content.

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AMVETS Post 26 collecting donations

MANSFIELD – The Ladies Auxiliary of Amvets Post 26 is collecting personal hygiene items — such as razors, body wash, undergarments and deodorant — to be distributed across Ohio to female veterans who are in need.

Also, a portion of collected items will be donated to the domestic violence shelter in Mansfield.

Items may be dropped off through Dec. 23 at Post 26, 1100 W. Fourth St. For details, call 419-631-5150.

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Editor’s Notes: Some V-Day Notes and the Direction of AMVETS Social Networking Presence

Some Veteran’s Day Notes and the Direction of AMVETS Social Networking Presence

Back in July of 1950, right after the Korean War started, my father called us all together, my fourteen cousins and I. He told us there’s a war that has started; it’s your generation’s turn to volunteer to go. In our family you didn’t wait ‘til you were drafted, you just go.”

Native American Veterans Associate National Commander, Don Loudner is standing between the oak tree-sized pillars of the Arlington National Cemetery amphitheater, telling the story of how his military service came to be.

He pauses to cover his hand to his face, momentarily blocking the calm but consistent wind whistling through the marble structure. The light morning fog causes him to squint in focus, collecting his thoughts before explaining on what today symbolizes to him.

“As National Commander of all Indian Veterans serving with a whole range of other soldiers, I can remember when we got back a lot of us didn’t even go to the VA (Veteran Affairs) We told people we didn’t go to war for the benefits,” explains Louden.

“We went to keep the freedom we’ve had for years. Needed to retain the freedom.”

Loudner had flown in from Portland, Oregon, after previously traveling to Portland from his home in South Dakota. No matter how busy, his determination to reach Arlington Virginia can only be echoed by the other veterans in a representative position like his.

To many, the Arlington Veteran’s Day wreath laying observance is circled in calendars months before November, as well as flights and accommodations booked early, as they diminish fast. Diversity between those who have served our nation range from those who are Catholic to Jewish, men to women, Scottish, African or Native American, etc.

Several times of the year, representatives for each organization dedicated to our diverse vets gather in the tradition of wreath laying. They silently symbolize that while veterans carry different ancestry and served in unique ways, they make up one forever-holding bond; they are America’s veterans. They are America’s finest. They act as the sheepdog, endlessly guarding its herd from the wolves, foreign and domestic, that seeks to unleash evil onto all they come in contact with.

Many civilians not acquainted to military lifestyle find it hard to distinguish between the days we honor or celebrate. Most Americans find little difference between Memorial and Veteran’s Day, some even going so far as to salute the flag upon hearing our National Anthem or wear un-authorized articles of uniform that they find.

I’ll pause for a moment to let that sink in.

At AMVETS, we strive to provide exceptional service to those who have served this country and its citizens. This includes raising awareness and creating a platform that properly displays what our vets are all about. As we continue to build on our social network presence, AMVETS aims to bridge the relationship gap that is occasionally visible between citizens and veterans, while also maintaining a hunger, considerably a mild obsession, to provide undying service our veterans.

God Bless Our Vets,

 

Miles Migliara

Communication Manager, AMVETS

 

amvets_logoMiles Migliara

Communication Manager, AMVETS

“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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Kerry Cahill

American Veteran sat down recently with rising star and Veterans’ advocate Kerry Cahill. Many may recognize Kerry from her roll as Lt. Whitley in last year’s major picture Terminator Genisys. Kerry will soon be a familiar face in this year’s release of Free State of Jones starring Matthew McConaughey.

Kerry proudly describes herself as an Army brat, very familiar with the trials and tribulations of the military. Garnering all sincere admiration and respect, she is no stranger to AMVETS’ cause in raising awareness toward lowering suicides among our ranks.

And she is no stranger to the dangers and tragedies that befall those who serve our nation. Kerry’s passion is inspired by her father’s work as a physician assistant, working with pre- and post-deploying Soldiers at Ft. Hood, Texas. Tragically, Michael Cahill was killed in 2009 by a gunman, along with 12 others at Ft. Hood.

AMVETS National Commander on VA Secretary’s Remarks

Contact/Inquiries: Kristina Miller
4647 Forbes Blvd.
Lanham, MD 20706
KMiller@AMVETS.org
301-683-4038
www.AMVETS.org

Statement from AMVETS National Commander Jim Pidgeon on VA Secretary’s Remarks

The overall experience for veterans, or “customers,” at U.S. Veterans Affairs medical centers has been lacking in quality for far too long. AMVETS (American Veterans) is pleased that the VA is working toward the important measurement of customer satisfaction. That metric is central to all private medical care systems, as well at VA.

VA Secretary Bob McDonald’s unfortunate remarks Monday in which he drew a loose comparison between wait times veterans were facing to receive medical care and the lines for rides at Disneyland were not serious enough for the matter at hand. Waiting for VA medical care should not be compared to waiting in line at an amusement park. It is important to continue tracking and reducing wait times for veterans.

That said, this one sentence does not reflect the full context of McDonald’s overall message and the work being done at VA. In the full context, the need to focus on veteran satisfaction is something that can be agreed with by most, if not all, veterans and their families.

McDonald was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in a deeply partisan era in large part because of his successful business experience in bringing customers what they need and want. While his latest remarks were easy to spin, the fact is Disney is one of many successful business models the VA can look to through its ongoing transformation.

The VA remains focused on industry and businesses’ best practices and efforts to increase access and reduce wait times. The overall experience must be improved, and AMVETS is hopeful the new MyVA efforts and applications of business and industry best practices are positive steps in that direction.

AMVETS is committed to comprehensive transformation of the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Administration to best serve every veteran. AMVETS will continue working with McDonald and the rest of the VA leadership in a collaborative, transparent effort to create an overall positive experience for every VA “customer.”

LZDC Landing Zone 2016

Storm the Hill Events
Storm the Hill Events

LANDING ZONE DC:

Annual Storm the Hill Events
March 1-3, 2016

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Storm the Hill Pre-Briefing
7:30 pm: Alexandria Mark Center Hilton

Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Storm the Hill
7:00 am: Bus departs Alexandria Mark Center Hilton

Thursday, March 3, 2016
Congressional Reception
7:00 am: Bus departs Alexandria Mark Center Hilton
8:00 am – 9:45 am: 334 Cannon HOB

Commander’s Testimony
10:00 am – 12:00 pm: 345 Cannon Caucus Room; Cannon HOB


» Download Agenda

Hotel Information:
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
5000 Seminary Road
Alexandria, VA 22311
www.hiltonalexandriamc.com

Reservations: (800) 445-8997 or (703) 845-1010
Room Rate: $117.00
Parking: $8.00 Per Night

2014 Americanism Award Winners

Americanism Essay

americanism-ftrd

6th Grade

1st Place – Aiden Pendergast, Anderson, CA
2nd Place – Drew Culbreath, Paria, TN
3rd Place – Teanna Binder, Steele, ND

7th Grade

1st Place – Allison Thibaudeau, Rochester, NH
2nd Place – Eddie Dispensa, Bowler, WI
3rd Place – Aaron Hum, Tucson, AZ

8th Grade

1st Place – Amy Barto, Findlay, OH
2nd Place – Morgan Gust, Port Hope, MI
3rd Place – Mya E. Urena, Rochester, NH

9th Grade (Freedoms Foundation Students)

California – Gabrial Brown
Florida – Noah Hempfield
Iowa – Eleanor J. Sullivan
Kansas – Mikaila Cook
Massachusetts – Madison Duffey
Michigan – Liam Browning
Minnesota – Caroline Bender
Missouri – Jamie Best
North Carolina – Alexander G. Dryer
North Dakota – Allison D. Galbreath
Nebraska – Roberto Jimenez
New Jersey – Pierce Burgin
New York – Amanda Mason
Ohio – Noah Lambert
Pennsylvania – Lauren Bowersox
Tennessee – Melissa Clevenger
Washington – Alex Vargas
Wisconsin – Krista Fuller

10th Grade

1st Place – Mary Grace Hanson, Ogden, UT
2nd Place – Mary Taylor Peele, Wilmington, NC
3rd Place – Sandra Estrada, Tacoma, WA

11th Grade

1st Place – Timothy Sheehan, Colorado Springs, CO
2nd Place – Yvette O. Smith, Gulfport, MS
3rd Place – Colin Gust, Port Hope, MI

12th Grade

1st Place – Russell T. Warren, Moscow, ID
2nd Place – Candace S. Miller, Middleburry, VT
3rd Place – Haley Haas, Findlay, OH

Americanism Poster

2nd Grade

1st Place – Holly M. DiStefano, Salisbury, NC
2nd Place – Amber Bush, Buchanan, TN
3rd Place – Mikel Roberson, Rochester, NH

3rd Grade

1st Place – Jon Snell, Potsdamn, NY
2nd Place – Christopher Tiesmeyer, Dunnellon, FL
3rd Place – Caleb Zavlb, Burlington, IA

4th Grade

1st Place – Brianna Hoyle, Lincoln, NE
2nd Place – Savannah Fish, Garden City, MI
3rd Place – Lexus Corbin, Rochester, NH

5th Grade

1st Place – Tristin Timblin, Houstal PA
2nd Place – Harley Ellis, Parishville, NY
3rd Place – Elaina Pechota, Cadillac, MI

Americanism Flag Drawing

Kindergarten

1st Place – Anthony J. Hoyle, Lincoln, NE
2nd Place – Lena Schieferstein, Inglis, FL
3rd Place – Kayla Gillett, Prentice, WI

1st Grade

1st Place – Elliott Lang, Bismarck, ND
2nd Place – Alexandria Helbing, Berwick, PA
3rd Place – Lauren McMahon, Leominster, MA