Friday, April 25, 2014

Obama Administration Launches Online Veterans Employment Center

The White House distributed the news release below today.

 

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the First Lady


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 23, 2014

 

Obama Administration Launches Online Veterans Employment Center

One-Stop-Shop Connects Veterans, Transitioning Service Members, and their Spouses to Employers

 

At today's anniversary celebration of Joining Forces, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden announced the launch of a new integrated employment tool to connect veterans and service members with employers, and to help translate military skills into the civilian workforce.  The Veterans Employment Center, an integrated, online tool connecting veterans, transitioning service members and their spouses with both public and private-sector employers, is the result of an interagency effort to improve, simplify and consolidate the current array of employment resources for veterans.  Additionally, this will provide one comprehensive database of resumes for employers who are seeking to leverage the skills and talents of veterans, service members, and their spouses.

 

"Our service members haven't always had the time or information they needed to prepare their resumes, to plot their career goals, to meet with employers and get the jobs they deserve. And that's simply not acceptable," said First Lady Michelle Obama.  "As my husband has said, when you've fought for this country around the world, you shouldn't have to fight for a job when you return home.  Starting today, every single service member, every veteran, and every military family will have access to a new online tool that will revolutionize how you find jobs in both the public and private sectors.  All you have to do is log on to ebenefits.va.gov."

 

"Veterans deserve an authoritative source for connecting with employers," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "The online Veterans Employment Center is the single, federal source for veterans looking for new career opportunities, service members transitioning to the civilian workforce, and spouses and beneficiaries looking to connect with job opportunities."

 

The new online resource, called the Veterans Employment Center, is the first interagency tool to bring a wealth of public and private job opportunities, a resume-builder, military skills translator and detailed career and training resources together in one place.  In connection with the First Lady and Dr. Biden's Joining Forces initiative, the Department of Veterans Affairs worked with employers, the Departments of Defense, Labor, Education, and the Office of Personnel Management to design and develop the site and incorporate features of existing online employment tools within government.

 

The result is an integrated solution providing veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses with the tools they need to connect to employers. With this tool, employers will be able to search and view Veteran, Service Member, and spouse resumes in one comprehensive location. 

 

"Our service members transitioning to civilian life, as well as their spouses, deserve the resources they need to be successful," said Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. "Through this effort, they are getting that help. Our troops and their spouses are proven leaders, highly-skilled and hard-working. Employers hiring them are getting the best this nation has to offer."

 

"Improving veterans' employment is an all-hands-on-deck enterprise," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez. "With more than 1 million service members projected to leave the military in the coming years, the Veterans Employment Center, along with the wealth of services the Department of Labor offers through its 2,500 American Job Centers, will connect our veterans and service members with both public and private sector employers eager to hire those with military experience."

 

"OPM's USAJobs program is excited to be partnering with the VA on making this a robust tool for our nation's veterans and transitioning service members seeking Federal employment," said OPM Director, Katherine Archuleta. "It has been more than four years since President Obama established the Veterans Employment Initiative and, in that time, the Executive Branch of Government hired the highest percentage of military veterans in more than 20 years – of the 195,000 new employees hired in FY 2012, approximately 56,000 were veterans, equaling 28.9 percent of total hires. We can continue to honor and show our appreciation for the dedicated and heroic service of America's veterans by ensuring that they have every opportunity to continue their service to this great nation as Federal civilian employees. The Veterans Employment Center helps us honor these men and women by making employment opportunities available when our servicemen and women lay down their uniforms."

 

The Veterans Employment Center will provide employers with access to a targeted pool of resumes from veterans and transitioning service members, allowing them to search resumes to identify veterans with skill sets applicable to civilian employment at their organization, and to track progress towards reaching their veteran hiring goals.  Resumes are visible to all employers with an active LinkedIn or Google profile.  To prevent spam, an applicant's name and email address are redacted and only visible to employers verified by the VA as registered companies with the IRS.  The site is also built using open data and an open application programming interface to attract private-sector innovation.

 

Joining Forces is a national initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Biden to engage all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned. In addition, Dr. Biden launched the Military Spouse Employment Partnership in June 2011 with just under 60 companies. Today, Dr. Biden announced there are 228 partner employers, more than 1.8 million jobs posted on the MSEP Career Portal and more than 60,000 military spouse hires.

 

The Veterans Employment Center can be found at: https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/jobs

 

For a tutorial video on how to use the Veterans Employment Center, please visit:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWfhI-eSoWk.

           

###

 


Press Release: Legion: VA secret list "abhorrent"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Legion: VA secret list "abhorrent"
 
Report says at least 40 patients died while waiting for appointments at Phoenix VA medical center that was hiding information. 
 
WASHINGTON  (April 24, 2014) -- The Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Phoenix has been keeping a secret list of patients with long-delayed appointments, a practice which has been linked to the deaths of at least 40 veterans, according to an April 23 report by CNN.
 The secret list kept by the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System was part of a cover-up created by VA managers to hide the fact that more than 1,400 veterans were forced to wait many months to see a doctor, according to CNN's interview with a retired VA doctor, Sam Foote, who worked at the facility for 24 years.
American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger said if the allegations are true, the secret list in Phoenix "is one of the most abhorrent acts ever committed in VA history."
The American Legion is meeting with top VA Central Office officials in Washington today to discuss the issue and the department's response to it.
Dellinger is sending a team of American Legion experts to Phoenix next month to give local veterans a chance to discuss the quality of their VA health care. The team, part of the Legion's System Worth Saving Task Force, will also conduct a two-day site visit to the Phoenix medical center where they will interview administrators, medical staff and patients.
Dr. Foote told CNN that the Phoenix hospital also maintains a "sham" list that it shares with VA's Central Office in Washington, which falsely indicates Phoenix has been providing timely appointments for its patients.
"If this is all true, it is a new low in a string of breakdowns at VA medical centers – Columbia, S.C.; Augusta, Ga.; Jackson, Miss.; the list goes on – that have caused the needless deaths of individuals who served this country with honor," Dellinger said.
"We're going to find out what happened in Phoenix," he added. "We are going to find out who was responsible for this secret list and if they are still working for VA. These preventable deaths keep mounting, and yet we see not a single VA manager being held accountable. The American Legion will work with Congress and the VA Central Office to find out exactly what has been happening, and why. It is not sufficient for VA to simply say it's going to try to do better next time, without holding people accountable."
The CNN report only fuels criticism about the department's reputation for a lack of accountability among senior leadership, Dellinger said. "Preventable deaths, construction delays, cost overruns, gaming the system, over-medicating our veterans – where does it all end? This issue must be addressed at every level."
-30-
Contact: Marty Callaghan: 202-263-5758/202-215-8644, mcallaghan@legion.org. A high resolution photo of Nat. Cmdr. Dellinger is available at www.legion.org.
 
 
 
 

VA offers no answers on Phoenix allegations

VA offers no answers on Phoenix allegations
 
Legion attends meeting with VA in Washington that produces no explanation for hospital's secret list
 
American Legion officials met with a top Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) official in Washington on April 24 to address allegations made against the VA medical center in Phoenix, and how the department is responding to them.
 
Specifically, CNN reported April 23 that the Phoenix facility has been keeping a secret list of patients long-overdue for medical exams, which has been linked to at least 40 preventable deaths at the facility. The report also said the list was kept secret to conceal appointment delays.
 
Thomas G. Lynch, M.D., VA's assistant deputy under secretary for health for clinical operations, responded to questions posed by Peter Gaytan, the Legion's executive director; Jacob Gadd, the Legion's deputy director for health; and other attendees.
 
Lynch offered no useful answers. When asked about the Phoenix facility's secret list, he said it was created because some VA employees didn't use electronic wait-list software correctly.
 
"Answers like that don't increase our confidence that VA understands the terrible problems in Phoenix," said Daniel M. Dellinger, the Legion's national commander. "The fact that this secret list was maintained for quite some time, and that VA's Central Office knew nothing about it, is bad enough. But for Dr. Lynch to mask it as some kind of human error with software is inexcusable."
 
On April 24, the Washington Free Beacon reported that the Phoenix facility's director, Sharon Helman, received a $9,345 bonus last year, in addition to her base salary of $169,000.
 
When Helman's name came up at the meeting, it was explained that she had only been at her job for 18 months and, since her arrival, the current average wait-time for appointments at the VA facility had reportedly fallen to 55 days – down from more than 100 days, but still far from VA's goal of 10-14 days.
 
"Again, VA dodged the question," Dellinger said. "Dr. Lynch needed to tell us why a VA administrator deserves any kind of bonus – or a job, for that matter – when she is the person who authorized the use of a secret list that is linked to the deaths of at least 40 patients."
 
According to internal emails obtained by CNN, Helman was aware of the secret list and even defended its use.
 
Preventable deaths at the Phoenix VA facility and its secret list have caught the attention of Capitol Hill. Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake have asked the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs to conduct a hearing on allegations of patient neglect at the Phoenix medical center.
 
The committee's chair, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., responded on April 24, announcing that a hearing will be held after VA's Office of Inspector General completes its own independent investigation, which is under way.
 
###
 
 
 

Veteran Events & Announcements 4/24 to 5/1

Listed below are the events I have for the next 7 days here in the Metro Detroit area.  I have also attached my latest event listing which has 8 new items on it.  You can also go to the Legion 328 website to download any flyer for these future events.  http://www.legionpost328.org/events.html  

You can get a monthly view of events by going to:
http://www.michiganveteranresources.com/Events.aspx

ANNOUNCEMENTS!

"Red Cross Items for Veterans" The SE Michigan Chapter of the American Red Cross has several programs to assist veterans, and their families, with free programs & grants. See the associated flyer for each to get the full details. (1) Certified Nurse Assistant Training. (2) Boots to Business. (3) Emergency Financial Assistance. For questions regarding any of these programs contact Anne at 313-576-4126.

"Weekend Marriage Retreat" As we all know more and more of our soldiers are returning home to family. It is also a reality that these same men and women that have given up so much to keep us safe are not returning the same as they were when they left. This causes the relationship between husband and wife to require an adjustment. In an effort to help with the communication and understanding between husband and wife, the Warrior Ministries is offering a weekend marriage enrichment weekend. There is no cost for the entire weekend. Lodging in the Guest Lodge, breakfast, lunch and dinner, snacks and entertainment is included at NO CHARGE. The location is the beautiful VFW National Home for Children in Eaton Rapids. The date is April 25th through April 27, 2014. At this time, there are still reservations available. Please help us and our veterans by letting them know this is available to them. Contact information is Steve Sandstedt 517-881-9784 or stevelsand@aol.com

EVENTS

"Friday, April 25, 2014" The Marine Red Coats, part of the Marine Corps League, is holding the 45th Annual Marine Formal Open Mess, at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, starting at 6:30PM. Guest speaker will be Lt General Richard Mills, USMC. For details see attached invitation.

"Saturday, April 26, 2014" The Great Lakes Cemetery Advisory Council is having their annual Headstone Cleaning Project at the Holly Cemetery, starting at 9AM. Bring your bucket, brush, etc. Lunch will be served. Contact Carl at 248-318-2042 to register for this. See flyer for more info.

"Saturday, April 26, 2014" Richmond VFW Post 682 is hosting a Joint Testimonial Gold Outing at the Jewel of Grand Blanc, 5270 Perry Rd, Grand Blanc, with a tee off time of 10AM. $35 per golfer/$140 per a foursome. To register or more information see flyer.

"Monday, April 28, 2014" The Lawrence Tech University Student Veterans are holding a fund raiser at Panera Bread, 23719 Greenfield, Southfield, from 4 to 8PM. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to the LTU student vets. You must bring the attached flyer for them to receive their funds.

"Tuesday, April 29, 2014" The Federal Bar Association Federal Disability Benefits Committee is hosting a seminar on Veteran Treatment Courts in room 115 of the US Court House, 231 W Lafayette, Detroit, from 1:30 to 4:30PM. For complete information on this seminar see flyer or contact John at 248-357-7013.

"Thursday, May 1, 2014" Livonia New Horizons is hosting a Veteran Career Night at their office, located at 14115 Farmington Rd, Livonia, from 5:30 to 7PM. Vet Representatives, local business recruiters, etc., will be on hand. See attached to reserve a spot and for more information.

And from our friends at the VFW:
  1. April 25th, Friday 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. – VFW 7573 New Baltimore – "1st STEAK OUT OF THE SEASON".  Grill a delicious New York Strip Steak or Chicken Breast including a baked potato, baked beans, rolls and dessert for $11.00 per person.  Call for tickets at (586) 725-7100.  Post 7573 is located at 35011 23 Mile Road in New Baltimore.
 
9.     April 25th, Friday 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – VFW 1669 Royal Oak – "BURGER & FRIES for $5.50".  Happy Hour from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Post 1669 is located at 214 E. 4th Street in Downtown Royal Oak, just 2 blocks East of Main Street.  Phone (248) 541-9846.
 
  1. April 25th, Friday 3:00 p.m. to Midnight – VFW 9507 Madison Heights – "Burger & Fries for $5.50".  Karaoke from 9 p.m. to Midnight.  $.75 for 12 oz. Draft Beer.  $1.75 for 22 oz. Draft Beer.  VFW 9507 is located at 630 E. 11 Mile Road in Madison Heights 48071.  Phone (248) 543-2557.
 
  1. April 25th, Friday 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – VFW 2645 Southfield.  "FRIDAY NIGHT FISH FRY".  COD Fish Dinner for $8, CATFISH or PERCH Dinner for $7.50, CHICKEN FINGER Dinner for $7.50, JUMBO SHRIMP Dinner for $9, WING DINGS & FRIES for $7, COMBO Dinners for $9.50, SANDWICHES for $5 and POUND CAKE per slice at $1.50.  Sides include French-Fries, Cole Slaw, Spaghetti, and Macaroni & Cheese.  Extra Sides $1.50.  Extra Fish $2.50.  Beverage is available.  Dine In or Take Out.  Call Ahead for Quicker Service at (248) 350-3529.  Come out, bring your Friends, and Enjoy a Great Meal.   OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!  Parking in rear of Post.  Post 2645 is located at 24222 W. 9 Mile Road, just West of Telegraph in Southfield.
 
  1. April 25th, Friday 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. – VFW 1370 Pontiac – "Burger's- $4 w/ fries $5, Devil Dog- $3 w/ fries $4; bacon wrapped "Koegel" hot dog, beans, fresco cheese, and all the fixings including devil sauce, VFW 1370 is located at 791 Mae Court in Pontiac 48340.  Phone (248) 858-9501.
 
  1. April 26th, Saturday – "Joint Testimonial Golf Outing & Joint Testimonial at Gateway, Flint".  See attachments.
 
April 27th, Sunday 6:15 p.m. – VFW 4156 White Lake – "BINGO".  VFW 4156 is located at 321 Union Lake Road in White Lake 48386.  Phone 248-698-8302.
--   Tim Wirkus  Volunteer  Southfield Veterans' Commission  southfieldvets@prodigy.net  www.southfieldvets.org


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Air Force Awards Distinguished Flying Cross to Michigan WWII Veteran

Air Force Awards Distinguished Flying Cross to Michigan WWII Veteran


On every mission, there were holes.

Thirty-five times, nine men went out on a bomber so big they called it the Flying Fortress. Each and every time they came back in a plane peppered with bullet holes. Sometimes, many times, the guys flying in the plane next to them didn’t come back at all.

On Monday, April 21, 2014 – more than 69 years after he flew his final mission – the U.S. Air Force presented former Technical Sgt. Alfred P. Murphy with a Distinguished Flying Cross after an official review determined that he earned the medal in World War II, while flying as a radio operator/mechanic/gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber in Europe.

“It was only the skill and courage of the entire crew that allowed us to live through that,” said Murphy, now a few weeks shy of his 92nd birthday and living in retirement at an American House community in Rochester Hills, Mich. “No one man could have done that. You had to be a team.”

Through 35 missions, over a roughly 8-month period that began in the summer of 1944 -- roughly from the Invasion of Normandy through the Battle of Bulge -- Murphy and his fellow Airmen in the 322nd Bomb Squadron survived anti-aircraft fire, repeated attacks by enemy fighters and – after every mission – they’d land back at their base in Bassingbourn, England, and shake their heads at the bullet holes in their planes. After every mission.

“The dedication and self-sacrifice of Airmen like Patrick Murphy set a standard of excellence for today’s Air Force,” said Col. Philip Sheridan, commander of the 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. Sheridan awarded the DFC medal to Murphy in a short ceremony at Murphy’s retirement community, April 21. “It was an honor not only to present this award to him, but also to shake his hand and say thank you for your service to our great nation.”

When Murphy and his crew first arrived for duty with the 322nd Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, for the war in Europe, the goal was simple, he said.

“We weren’t trying to win medals, none of that. It was do your job, look out for your crew and hope to hell you made it home alive,” Murphy recalls now. “When I first arrived, it was complete 25 missions and you could rotate home. Then Gen. Hap Arnold changed it to 30 missions. Then (Lt. Gen.) Jimmy Doolittle came in and made it 35 missions and you could go home. When the Battle of the Bulge started, the rumor was that we were going to be there until it was over. I thought, ‘These guys are trying to kill me.’ But 35 finally came and we got shipped back to the States.”

Murphy’s crew was among the 12 from the 322nd that flew Nov. 2, 1944, in an all-out effort against industrial targets in Merseberg, Germany. It was, he says simply, his worst day of the war.

“It was our number one priority target my whole time overseas,” Murphy recalled. “The closest thing I can compare it to is the Ford Rouge Plant (in Dearborn, Mich.). It was a massive industrial complex that turned out something on the order of 15 percent of the Nazi war production. Detroit was the Arsenal of Democracy. Well, Merseberg was their arsenal.”

During that mission, weather slightly delayed the 322nd, leaving them somewhat behind the rest of the formation that day.

“Wagner, our tail gunner called up to the pilot, and he reports 30 German fighters queuing up behind us, getting ready to attack. And 30 more queuing behind them. And behind that, he says, just a bunch more milling around,” Murphy said.

The 322nd lost half of its Airmen that day – six of the 12 B-17s and crews that took off that morning did not return home. Of the 36 B-17s from the 91st Bomb Group in that mission, a total of 13 did not return.

Still, even after surviving that sort of attack, Murphy said his crew somehow soldiered on. Always focused on doing their duty. For their flag and for each other.

“We never aborted and we never turned back. Not on a single mission,” Murphy reports.

When his 9-man crew rotated home, the crew’s pilot, Capt. Milzia Ellis, stated that he was going to recommend each member of the crew for the DFC. Apparently, that either never happened or the paperwork was lost during the war.

In early 2012, encouraged by family and friends, Murphy, who was also awarded seven Air Medals and various other decorations, formally requested his record to be reviewed. Murphy’s 2014 awarding of the DFC is not a case of a medal just never delivered, it was the first time he was authorized by the military to wear the decoration.

“Mr. Murphy is so deserving of this long-awaited distinction. He is a true hero and we’re humbled that he calls American House home,” said Rob Gillette, chief operating officer of American House, where Murphy lives. “We’re humbled to have a hero of Mr. Murphy’s caliber at one of our communities.”

Instrumental in helping Murphy through the official medal-review process were American House team members Angie Kadowaki and Anne Tomlinson, who both work at the complex where Murphy lives. The women also help arrange for and transport Murphy to visits at area schools and other venues, where he frequently shares some of his experiences. He delights in telling students about the B-17 he flew aboard, which he helped name: the “Big Gas Bird.”

“I always tell them – its three separate words and don’t say it fast,” Murphy said with a grin.

Murphy’s sense of humor quickly endeared him to the American House staff.

“Not only is he an American hero, but Mr. Murphy is just a joy to be around,” said Kadowaki.

Kadowaki and Tomlinson eventually came in contact with Randy Talbot, the command historian for the U.S. Army’s Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Mich. Talbot aided with the medal-request process and made what turned out to be a critical suggestion.

“The criteria for various awards have not only changed over the years, but during World War II, the criteria for the Distinguished Flying Cross changed at several points in the war and also varied by type of aircraft and even among the different squadrons and groups flying the same aircraft. The request we made for Mr. Murphy was to have his records reviewed based on the criteria in place at the time he served with the 322nd,” Talbot said.

Talbot then reached out to the 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard for assistance in presenting the award. Sheridan, the wing’s commander, has served as a fighter aircraft pilot for most of his career, but also spent about a year as a pilot of the B-1 Lancer, a modern bomber aircraft.

“Based on the nature of this award, it was most appropriate for a senior Air Force officer to award it to Mr. Murphy,” Talbot said.

The Distinguished Flying Cross is awarded to individuals who distinguish themselves by “heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight.”

After his military career, Murphy spent more than 30 years serving his community as a firefighter with the Detroit Fire Department.

Comprised of approximately 1,700 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operation Command by providing highly-skilled Airmen to missions domestically and overseas. The 127th Wing is the host unit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which marks its 97th year of continuous military air operations in 2014.



TSgt. Dan Heaton
127th Wing Public Affairs
(586) 239-5576





The American Legion Department of Michigan represents over 70,000 members in the State of Michigan. The American Legion was founded in 1919, based on “The Four Pillars”; veteran rehabilitation, Americanism, child welfare, and national security and continued above all its mission as a consumers’ advocate for veterans. For more information contact the Michigan Legion at 517-371-4720 ext 16, mark@michiganlegion.org, or visit our website at www.michiganlegion.org.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Fwd: Vet Events & Announcements 4/17 to 4/24

Listed below are the events I have for the next 7 days here in the Metro Detroit area.  I have also attached my latest event listing which has 6 new items on it.  You can also go to the Legion 328 website to download any flyer for these future events.  http://www.legionpost328.org/events.html  

You can get a monthly view of events by going to:
http://www.michiganveteranresources.com/Events.aspx

ANNOUNCEMENTS!
Happy Easter!

"Red Cross Items for Veterans" The SE Michigan Chapter of the American Red Cross has several programs to assist veterans, and their families, with free programs & grants. See the associated flyer for each to get the full details. (1) Certified Nurse Assistant Training. (2) Boots to Business. (3) Emergency Financial Assistance. For questions regarding any of these programs contact Anne at 313-576-4126.

"Wayne County Ticket Amnesty Program" A County-Wide Ticket Amnesty Program will be offered beginning Monday, April 7, 2014 through Friday, May 2, 2014, chaired by 36th District Court. 36th District Court will have extended hours for Amnesty payments: Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 8:00 a.m. to Noon. Civil infractions in default status and/or misdemeanor tickets with judgments can be paid IN PERSON. 36th District Court will waive all late fees and warrant costs. All original assessments and mandatory State Fees including the Driver's License Reinstatement Fees will NOT be waived. Other participating courts include Allen Park/Melvindale, Dearborn, Garden City, Grosse Pointe Municipal, Hamtramck, Plymouth, Southgate, Taylor and Wayne. Please see www.36thdistrictcourt.org or each participating court's website for further details.

EVENTS

"Saturday, April 19, 2014" The Milford American Legion Riders is sponsoring a Bowling Fundraiser at the Wonderland Bowling Center, 8265 Richardson Rd, Commerce, from 1 to 4PM. Cost is $20 per person and includes shoes, 3 hours of bowling, pizza, etc. See flyer for details.

"Tuesday, April 22, 2014" The Michigan Military Technical & Historical Society, Eastpointe, is hosting a fund raiser for the museum at Ruby Tuesday's all day at their location at 30901 Gratiot, Roseville. You must bring the attached flyer for the museum to receive the 20% of your purchase.

"Wednesday, April 23, 2014" The US Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Hiring Our Heroes Job Fair at the Ford Community Center, 15801 Michigan Ave, Dearborn, from 10AM to 1PM. Employment workshops will be held starting at 8:30AM. Register at Hiring Our Heroes to attend. See flyer for more information and a listing of employers that will be present.

"Thursday, April 24, 2014" The Wayne County Veterans Community Action Team (WVCAT) is holding seminar #7, part of their "No-Wrong Door" series, at the Redford Twp District Library, 25320 Six Mile, Redford, from 10AM till 1PM.

"Thursday, April 24, 2014" The Detroit Branch of the American Red Cross is hosting a Reconnection Workshop for all military members, veterans, and their families, from 1 to 3PM at their Detroit Office. This workshop helps participants improve their communication skills to better manage their relationships. Participants will explore the differences between military communication and civilian communication. In addition to the workshop you will have the opportunity to hear about job opportunities in Detroit from the Veteran Employment Coordinator at the American Red Cross To attend contact AnneRenee at 313-833-3854 or see attached for more information.

And from our friends at the VFW:
8.      April 18th, Friday 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – Bruce Post 1146 St. Clair Shores – "FISH FRY".  Bruce Post 1146 is located at 28404 Jefferson (N. or 11 Mile Road) in St. Clair Shores.
 
9.      April 18th, Friday 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – Post 4659 Shelby Twp. – "FISH FRY".  Every Friday until Easter, you can get a Fish (cod) Dinner for $8.  The Fish (cod) Dinner includes "Sam Adams" beer batter Cod, Cole Slaw and homemade chips for $8.  Also, you can get a Shrimp Dinner including Cole Slaw and homemade chips for $7.50.  Post 4659 is located at 8311 Wilson Street in Shelby Twp. 48316.  Phone (586) 781-9109.
 
10.  April 18th, Friday 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – VFW 6756 Center Line – "Fish Fry Dinners & More".  Fish and Chips $10, Baked Cod & Rice Pilaf $10, Cat Fish Dinner $12, Shrimp Dinner $10, Smelt Dinner $8, Macaroni & Cheese Dinner &7.   All Dinners include French Fries, Coleslaw and Roll.   Carry outs available. Post 6756 is located at 25500 Sherwood Avenue in Warren.  North of 10 Mile Road.  Sherwood is between Van Dyke Avenue and Mound Road.  Phone (586) 756-6756.
 
  1. April 18th, Friday 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – VFW 6802 Richmond – "ALL YOU CAN EAT FISH FRY for $12".  Includes, Baked Potato or French Fries, Cole Slaw, Roll & Butter, OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! Fruit Salad, Cottage Cheese, Cake and Coffee.   All for Just $10.  Post 6802 is located at 34339 Division in Richmond.  48062.  Phone (586) 727-1436.  
 
  1. April 18th, Friday - VFW 2645 Southfield - 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. "FRIDAY FISH FRY". COD Fish Dinner $8, CATFISH or PERCH Dinner $7.50, CHICKEN FINGER Dinner $7.50, JUMBO SHRIMP Dinner $9, WING DINGS & FRIES $7, COMBO Dinners $9.50, SANDWICHES $5, POUND CAKE per slice $1.50.  Sides include French-Fries, Cole Slaw, Spaghetti, and Macaroni & Cheese.  Extra Sides $1.50.  Extra Fish $2.50.  Dine In or Take Out.  Call Ahead for Quicker Service (248) 350-3529.  Come out, bring your Friends, and Enjoy a Great Meal.   OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!  Parking in rear of Post.  Post 2645 is located at 24222 W. 9 Mile Road, just West of Telegraph in Southfield.
 
  1. April 18th, Friday 3:00 p.m. to Midnight – VFW 9507 Madison Heights – "Burger & Fries for $5.50".  Karaoke from 9 p.m. to Midnight.  $.75 for 12 oz. Draft Beer.  $1.75 for 22 oz. Draft Beer.  VFW 9507 is located at 630 E. 11 Mile Road in Madison Heights 48071.  Phone (248) 543-2557.
 
  1. April 18th, Friday 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. – VFW 1370 Pontiac – "Burger's- $4 w/ fries $5, Devil Dog- $3 w/ fries $4; bacon wrapped "Koegel" hot dog, beans, fresco cheese, and all the fixings including devil sauce, Steak Burrito - $4; steak, rice, bean, pico de gallo, and cheese - 2 pounder! $6, Boot Camp Burrito Challenge - 3 pound version of the regular steak burrito, loaded in devil sauce and extremely spicy.  1 out of 3 contestants have been able to complete the Ghost Chili Burrito challenge so far, the first to do it was a fellow U.S. Marine, Tom LaForge.  $12 or free if you complete the challenge within 45 minutes.   This is an open challenge, so any member or guest is welcome to try.  WARNING: it is extremely spicy.  To get a good look at the difficulty feel free to pull it up on YouTube under VFW 1370 1st Annual Boot camp Burrito Challenge."  VFW 1370 is located at 791 Mae Court in Pontiac 48340.  Phone (248) 858-9501.
 
  1. April 19th, Saturday 1:00 p.m. – VFW 9507 Madison Heights – "EASTER BAKE SALE".  Sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary of VFW Post 9507 Madison Heights.  For Special Orders, please contact the Post at (248) 543-2557.
--   Tim Wirkus  Volunteer  Southfield Veterans' Commission  southfieldvets@prodigy.net  www.southfieldvets.org

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Livonia Michigan New Horizons Veterans Career Night May 1st, 2014

This is a Veterans Career Night Thursday May 1st from 530pm-7pm.  We will present information on the Information Technology field - from entry level to Intermediate/Advanced positions open that require certifications.

Careers like:  Cyber Security, Network Administration, Server Administration, Cisco Networking, and IT Project Management are in large demand with Cyber Security expecting a 37% growth in the next 5 years according to the Department of Labor.  Our programs are eligible for both Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation and Chapter 33 GI BILL funding.  Our short-term Nationally Vendor Certification programs are available during the day or in the evening. 

All certification programs include:  Books, practice exams, and National certification exams.  We have ONSITE Instructor Led classes and Connected Remote Instructor Led classes to fit anyone’s schedule.

If a veteran would like to register, the information is on this linked flyer.
Or they may just email:  Christy.Rowe@nhgreatlakes.com or call:  734-853-2077 direct.
We will be providing food and beverages, as well as, having a raffle for a special prize.

Christy Rowe  | Your Senior Career Consultant
New Horizons Computer Learning Centers of Michigan – Livonia and Troy Centers  
14115 Farmington Rd. Livonia, MI  48154 | 2800 Livernois Rd, Troy Michigan, 48083
Direct Line at either location: 734-853-2077 | fax: 734-525-8976 
The American Legion Department of Michigan represents over 70,000 members in the State of Michigan. The American Legion was founded in 1919, based on “The Four Pillars”; veteran rehabilitation, Americanism, child welfare, and national security and continued above all its mission as a consumers’ advocate for veterans. For more information contact the Michigan Legion at 517-371-4720 ext 16, mark@michiganlegion.org, or visit our website at www.michiganlegion.org.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Press Release - Legion to Congress: Hold VA accountable for preventable deaths

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Legion to Congress: Hold VA accountable for preventable deaths
 
WASHINGTON (April 9, 2014) --The American Legion's national commander, Daniel M. Dellinger, told Congress at a hearing today that Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) leaders must be held accountable for mistakes that result in needless deaths at its medical facilities.
 
"Patient deaths are tragic -- preventable deaths are unacceptable," Dellinger told the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. "But failure to disclose safety information -- or worse -- to cover up mistakes, is unforgivable, and The American Legion will not sit quietly by while some VA employees cover up the truth – and the VA shouldn't, either."
 
Dellinger recalled the deaths of six patients from an outbreak of Legionella bacteria at the Pittsburgh VA medical center. When a team from the Legion's System Worth Saving (SWS) Task Force visited the facility last November, administrators claimed the outbreak was caused by equipment failure. E-mails and internal memos indicate human error, however.
 
At the Atlanta VA Medical Center, Dellinger testified, "two veterans died of an overdose, and one committed suicide, that was attributed to mismanagement and an inability to get the mental health care they needed in a timely manner.
 
"Veteran suicides continue to plague our nation at 22 per day, with no clear strategy from VA on addressing suicides proactively."
 
"We all need to continue to ask the hard questions," Dellinger told the committee. "What is VA doing to fix these problems, and are they concerned about keeping me informed? How is VA holding their leaders accountable for these errors?
 
"The American Legion will not stop asking the hard questions, and we hope you won't, either."
 
Reports issued by the Legion's System Worth Saving Task Force on VA medical centers nationwide are available online at www.legion.org.
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Media contacts: Marty Callaghan:202-263-5758/202-215-8644 or John Raughter (317) 630-1253 / 317-441-8847.
 
 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Marine veteran appointed to oversee Michigan Veterans Trust Fund

LANSING – Marine veteran Lindell Holm has been appointed to oversee the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund, announced Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Director Jeff Barnes. Holm will oversee day-to-day operations for the Trust Fund, which awards emergency grants to Michigan combat veterans.


“Lindell’s passion, energy and commitment to his fellow veterans make him a great addition to our team. He has worked extensively on behalf of wounded service members and veterans as part of the Marine Corps’ Wounded Warrior Regiment, and we are fortunate to be able to put that expertise to work for Michigan veterans,” Barnes said. “I look forward to working with him to strengthen and grow the Trust Fund as an important resource for Michigan veterans.”


Holm served 25 years in the United States Marine Corps, where he earned numerous medals, including the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (twice), Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four times), Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terror Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal (twice) and the Sikorsky Lifesaving Award (twice). He has a B.A. from the University of Minnesota and an M.A. from Biola University.


“I’m honored to join the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency team in assisting those who have selflessly stepped forward to serve our country,” Holm said. “The Trust Fund has a long history of providing vital assistance to our veterans, and I am proud to be a part of that. I’m also excited to get in on the ground floor of an organization like MVAA that is devoted to pulling out all the stops in reaching our veterans.”


The Michigan Veterans Trust Fund awarded grants totaling more than $2.3 million in 2013, helping more than 1,800 veterans weather financial emergencies. The Trust Fund awards emergency grants to combat-era veterans when an unforeseen situation creates a temporary financial hardship that a grant, if approved, would resolve. Applicants must be able to show they will be able to meet future expenses after the grant.


The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) mission is to serve as the central coordinating point, connecting those who have served in the United States Armed Services and their families, to services and benefits throughout the state of Michigan. The agency values inclusion, integrity, transparency, innovation and respect and aspires to provide the customer service experience that veterans deserve. 


For more information regarding emergency grants through the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund, please visit www.michiganveterans.com or call 517-284-5298.

###


Contact: Veronica LaDuke
517-284-5298

Columbia, Mo. Youth Sweeps to Victory, Earns $18K Scholarship in American Legion Oratorical Contest

Columbia, Mo. Youth Sweeps to Victory, Earns $18K Scholarship in American Legion Oratorical Contest
 
INDIANAPOLIS (April 21, 2013) – A senior from David H. Hickman High School in Columbia, Mo., capped a busy weekend of competition in Indianapolis by earning an $18,000 college scholarship and first place in The American Legion  High School Oratorical Scholarship Program – “A Constitutional Speech Contest.” His winning oration was titled “This Great House.”
Ashwath Kumar started the weekend as one of 53 state or territorial champions in the 77th annual contest. He advanced to the championship through three rounds of intense competition.
Brandon Posner, a high school senior from Doylestown, Pa., earned a $16,000 college scholarship with a second place finish, while Ellen Joy Densmore of Denver, Colo., earned a $14,000 scholarship and finished third.  The scholarships account for a small portion of post-secondary scholarships that The American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans organization, awards annually.
In his prepared oration, Kumar pointed out that conflict is not bad in a constitutional government. “Conflict is the fuel of change, and change is the engine of the Constitution. Conflict led to the formation of this country, conflict drives us every year to select representatives in government, and conflict underlies every policy, every court case, every decision that determines the course of our future. The right amount of tension holds together the foundation of our great house.”
He implored Americans to protect the Constitution. “Albert Einstein said, ‘The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do his share in this defense are the constitutional rights secure.’ As citizens of the United States, as the proud owners and builders of this great house, it is our responsibility to protect and maintain the Constitution: for ourselves, for each other and for all of posterity.”
       In each round of the weekend competition, orators delivered a rehearsed 8- to 10-minute address and a randomly assigned 3- to 5-minute oration on a constitutional topic, each without the benefit of notes and in front of a live audience, including the judges.  The 2.4-million member American Legion developed the contest to encourage young people to improve their communications skills and to study the U.S. Constitution. More than $3 million in scholarships have been awarded over the history of the contest. 
 
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Media Contacts: Joe March (317) 748-1926 or John Raughter (317) 441-8847

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Beware of VA pension scams

Q. Are there scams that I should watch out for with VA pensions?
A. As a veteran, beware of pension advance products that offer to pay military retirees a lump-sum payout in return for their monthly retirement payments. The products may amount to payment of only pennies on the dollar and the advances are reported to carry interest rates from 27 percent to 106 percent, which can threaten a safe retirement. There are many pension advance companies on the Internet, often with patriotic-sounding names and logos. If you’re offered a pension advance, stay away from arrangements that allow a creditor to access the account where you get your benefits. Instead, get trusted financial expert advice if you need emergency funds.
Additionally, some individuals and companies use VA’s Aid & Attendance pension benefit as a hook to sell services. The Aid & Attendance benefit is for eligible disabled veterans who require the aid and attendance of another person, or who are housebound. Individuals or companies looking to sell their services may offer to help veterans obtain Aid & Attendance benefits, but they often require customers to sign up for financial services first, then they move assets into irrevocable trusts for qualification. When being solicited, watch out for:
  • A lawyer or veteran advisor who offers to get the Aid & Attendance benefit for a fee. Federal law prohibits VA accredited advisors from charging to assist with VA claims. However, at times a “consultation fee” is charged up front.
  • A claim from a paid advisor stating that they can get the benefit for you more quickly than anyone else. All VA claims must go through the standard evaluation process, which no one can bypass to get it done faster.
  • An offer to help a financially secured veteran qualify for Aid and Attendance by taking control of their finances and moving assets into an inaccessible trust. This may disqualify a veteran from other benefits.
    Retirement homes using the lure of Aid & Attendance to get veterans to move in on the implied promise that they will get the benefit. If the claim is denied, the veteran may not be able to afford to remain in the facility.
Find a Legion service officer in your state:  www.legion.org/serviceofficers

Friday, April 4, 2014

Veteran Events & Announcements 4/3 to 4/10

Listed below are the events I have for the next 7 days here in the Metro Detroit area.  I have also attached my latest event listing which has 12(!) new items on it.  You can also go to the Legion 328 website to download any flyer for these future events.  http://www.legionpost328.org/events.html  

You can get a monthly view of events by going to:
http://www.michiganveteranresources.com/Events.aspx

ANNOUNCEMENTS!

"Veteran Survey" Congressman Kerry Bentivolio is requesting that all veterans take a moment and complete a survey. He states, "Dear Honored Veteran, I am in dire need of your input! As a former military serviceman, caring for the men and women who have sacrificed so much for the good of our country is a task near and dear to my heart. However, without feedback from veterans like you, I can only operate on hearsay regarding the difficulties you are facing. Obtaining accurate information directly from you will allow me to introduce precisely tailored legislation that addresses the foremost challenges you are facing. If you are willing, please take a few moments to complete the survey found by clicking the link below. Your time in service to our country is greatly appreciated. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MI112014VetSurvey If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail my District Veterans Liaison, Joe Salvia, at joe.salvia@mail.house.gov..

"Strong Military Families" The U of M Ann Arbor Hospital is sponsoring several seminars in Oakland & Macomb Counties for family enrichment for service members, their partners, & their children. Participants receive $90 for their time. See flyer for Oakland County or Macomb County for more information.

EVENTS

"Saturday, April 5, 2014" Dearborn Legion Post 364 is hosting a Quartermania at their post, 3001 S Telegraph, Dearborn, from 3 to 6PM. Shop book parties, see numerous items all for a quarter. See flyer for more details.

"Saturday, April 5, 2014" Silent Battles, a faith based group working with our young veterans with PTSD, is hosting an all day bowling fund-raiser the 300 Bowl, 100 S Cass Lake Rd, Waterford. Tickets are $20 per person and includes 3 games, shoe rental, pizza, etc. See flyer for complete information.

"Saturday, April 5, 2014 (NEW)" The Michigan War Dog Memorial is holding a winter clean-up at the War Dog Cemetery, starting at 10AM. Walmart will be sending employees and will furnish hot dogs, hamburgers, etc., for lunch. The cemetery is located at 11 Mile & Milford Rd, S Lyon. See flyer for more details.

"Thursday, April 10, 2014" The Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of Michigan is hosting its annual Awareness Day at their HQ, located at 40550 Grand River, Novi, from 10:30AM to 3:30PM. Come out and learn more about the many services the MPVA provides to handicapped veterans. This event is free and light food and refreshments will be served. See flyer for more information.

And from our friends at the VFW:
  1. April 4th, Friday - VFW 2645 Southfield - 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. “FRIDAY FISH FRY”. COD Fish Dinner $8, CATFISH or PERCH Dinner $7.50, CHICKEN FINGER Dinner $7.50, JUMBO SHRIMP Dinner $9, WING DINGS & FRIES $7, COMBO Dinners $9.50, SANDWICHES $5, POUND CAKE per slice $1.50.  Sides include French-Fries, Cole Slaw, Spaghetti, and Macaroni & Cheese.  Extra Sides $1.50.  Extra Fish $2.50.  Dine In or Take Out.  Call Ahead for Quicker Service (248) 350-3529.  Come out, bring your Friends, and Enjoy a Great Meal.   OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!  Parking in rear of Post.  Post 2645 is located at 24222 W. 9 Mile Road, just West of Telegraph in Southfield.
 
12.  April 4th, Friday 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – Bruce Post 1146 St. Clair Shores – “FISH FRY”.  Bruce Post 1146 is located at 28404 Jefferson (N. or 11 Mile Road) in St. Clair Shores.
 
13.  April 4th, Friday 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – VFW 6756 Center Line – “Fish Fry Dinners & More”.  Fish and Chips $10, Baked Cod & Pilaf $10, Cat Fish Dinner $12, Shrimp Dinner $10, Smelt Dinner $8, Macaroni & Cheese Dinner &7.   All Dinners include French Fries, Coleslaw and Roll.   Carry outs available. Post 6756 is located at 25500 Sherwood Avenue in Warren.  North of 10 Mile Road.  Sherwood is between Van Dyke Avenue and Mound Road.  Phone (586) 756-6756.
 
  1. April 4th, Friday 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – VFW 6802 Richmond – “ALL YOU CAN EAT FISH FRY for $12”.  Includes, Baked Potato or French Fries, Cole Slaw, Roll & Butter, OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! Fruit Salad, Cottage Cheese, Cake and Coffee.   All for Just $10.  Post 6802 is located at 34339 Division in Richmond.  48062.  Phone (586) 727-1436.  
 
15.  April 4th, Friday 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – Post 4659 Shelby Twp. – “FISH FRY”.  Every Friday until Easter, you can get a Fish (cod) Dinner for $8.  The Fish (cod) Dinner includes “Sam Adams” beer batter Cod, Cole Slaw and homemade chips for $8.  Also, you can get a Shrimp Dinner including Cole Slaw and homemade chips for $7.50.  Post 4659 is located at 8311 Wilson Street in Shelby Twp. 48316.  Phone (586) 781-9109.
 
  1. April 4th, Friday 3:00 p.m. to Midnight – VFW 9507 Madison Heights – “Burger & Fries for $5.50”.  Karaoke from 9 p.m. to Midnight.  $.75 for 12 oz. Draft Beer.  $1.75 for 22 oz. Draft Beer.  VFW 9507 is located at 630 E. 11 Mile Road in Madison Heights 48071.  Phone (248) 543-2557.
 
  1. April 4th, Friday 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. – VFW 1370 Pontiac – “Burger’s- $4 w/ fries $5, Devil Dog- $3 w/ fries $4; bacon wrapped “Koegel” hot dog, beans, fresco cheese, and all the fixings including devil sauce, Steak Burrito - $4; steak, rice, bean, pico de gallo, and cheese - 2 pounder! $6, Boot Camp Burrito Challenge - 3 pound version of the regular steak burrito, loaded in devil sauce and extremely spicy.  1 out of 3 contestants have been able to complete the Ghost Chili Burrito challenge so far, the first to do it was a fellow U.S. Marine, Tom LaForge.  $12 or free if you complete the challenge within 45 minutes.   This is an open challenge, so any member or guest is welcome to try.  WARNING: it is extremely spicy.  To get a good look at the difficulty feel free to pull it up on YouTube under VFW 1370 1st Annual Boot camp Burrito Challenge.”  VFW 1370 is located at 791 Mae Court in Pontiac 48340.  Phone (248) 858-9501.
 
  1. April 4th, Friday 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. – VFW 9507 Madison Heights.  KARAOKE IN THE CLUBROOM!”  No Cover Charge!  VFW 9507 Madison Heights is located at 630 E. 11 Mile Road in Madison Heights 48071.
 
19.  April 4th, Friday 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. – VFW 1146 St. Clair Shores – “KARAOKE IN THE CLUBROOM”.  No Cover Charge!  Bruce Post 1146 is located at 28404 Jefferson (N. or 11 Mile Road) in St. Clair Shores.
 
20.  April 6th, Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 12 Noon – VFW 7573 New Baltimore – “BIG BREAKFAST”  Omelets and Eggs to Order, Scrambled Eggs, French Toast, Homemade Sausage Gravy, Biscuits, Bacon, Sausage and Potatoes.  Minimum Donation $4.00 Adults and $2.00 ages 10 and under.  This is a great breakfast and you will not go away hungry!  OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!  Invite your Family & Friends!  Post 7573 is located at 35011 23 Mile Road in New Baltimore.  Phone (586) 725-7100.
 
  1. April 6th, Sunday 6:15 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. – VFW 4156 White Lake – “PROGRESSIVE BINGO”.  OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!  VFW 4156 is located at 321 Union Lake Road in White Lake 48386.  Phone (248) 698-8302.
--   Tim Wirkus  Volunteer  Southfield Veterans' Commission  southfieldvets@prodigy.net  www.southfieldvets.org