Tuesday, December 20, 2011

HR 2985 Veterans ID Card Act

P.O. Box 44 • Sandwich, MA 02563 • 508-888-1129 • veteransaction@gmail.com

December 20, 2011

The Honorable Bill Keating
297 North Street
Hyannis, MA 02601

Dear Representative:

The Cape and Islands Veterans Action Committee is requesting that Representative Keating co-sponsor the following bill, HR 2985; Veterans I.D. Card Act.

Atlantic County, NJ  Veteran ID

This bill would offer veterans a means of providing proof of having served in the armed forces of the United States.  Veterans must carry with them their DD214s in order to offer proof of service.  The I.D. card would provide a photo, thus, preventing fraud by some individuals.  The Veteran’s I.D. Card would be issued by request only.


A number of businesses offer discounts to veterans. The vast majority of veterans do not carry their DD214s with them resulting in the failure to receive those discounts.
Thank you for your consideration to co-sponsor this legislation.


Richard D. Carey
Executive Director

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Patrol Officer Richard F. White Appointed as New Military Support Officer


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Patrol Officer Richard F. White Appointed as New Military Support Officer

Yarmouth Police Department Patrol Officer Richard F. White has been appointed to serve as our first Military Support Officer.

The Yarmouth Police Department strongly supports and recognizes our Veterans and their families. We realize the sacrifices made and want to insure that all of the needs of our Police Officers and their families serving in our Armed Forces are recognized and met. We further recognize our nation’s large scale and long term commitment to two wars and the reliance on National Guard and Reserve Forces and that many of these individuals are past, current, and future members of the Yarmouth Police Department and the profession of Law Enforcement.

The creation of a Military Support Officer is a proactive step and part of our ongoing Community Policing Plan.  The appointment of Patrol Officer White is based on his record of serving with distinction for the past 24 years as a full time Yarmouth Police Department Patrol Officer. In addition, Patrol Officer White served for three years as an active duty soldier in our United States Army and for 18 years as a Military Police Officer in our United Army National Guard.  Furthermore, Patrol Officer White has earned an Associate Degree in Applied Science from Central Texas College and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Law Enforcement from Western New England College. Patrol Officer White resides in Yarmouth and is married and the proud father of three adult children.

In addition to his regular patrol duties, Patrol Officer White will serve as the point of contact between our Command Staff and front line Supervisors, Veteran Officers, and our Armed Forces.  Some of his areas of assignment are:

·         Understanding Today’s Military

·         Veteran Officer Reintegration Guidance

·         Employing Veteran Recruits

·         Available Veteran Resources 

·         Identify Issues and Make Referrals to the      Appropriate Resources

The men and women of the Yarmouth Police Department welcome Patrol Officer White to his new assignment and recognize the value of our Veterans and earnestly appreciate their ongoing service and sacrifice.

This media release was prepared and distributed by Yarmouth Police Department Deputy Chief of Police Steven G. Xiarhos


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Towns faulted on aid to veterans Assistance mandates go unmet, state says!

Towns faulted on aid to veterans

October 25, 2011|By Brian MacQuarrie, Globe Staff

Massachusetts veterans and their dependents appear to be forfeiting hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual state benefits because some municipal officials who serve veterans are unaware of available aid, not working state-mandated hours, or not trying hard enough to locate retired service members, state officials say.
As a result, officials said, thousands of financially struggling veterans might not be receiving cash payments and medical reimbursements they are entitled to get.

Twenty-three communities have no veterans agent or do not employ a full-time officer, as required by law. A total of 177 cities and towns failed to meet the state’s Sept. 1 deadline to document the status of their veterans agents, according to officials.
Dear Friends of Veterans, and Veterans Agents, Public Officials and interested parties.

Until last week on December 7th, 2011,(Pearl Harbor Day 70 years later,) we in Harwich, had no listing for our towns' veterans agent!
Brewster still has no listing on their town's website for their veteran agent as well, it would behoove us all to contact our various town web masters, as I have in Harwich and ascertain as to WHY we to seem hide our veterans service outreach telephone number numbers and email addresses.

Veterans have done their share and we continually disrespect them, and their families sacrifice, we at least owe it to ourselves and our veterans never forget the contributions and help these warriors and their families to have all services made directly and inconspicuous  available.

We must go beyond the yellow ribbons, and Veterans Day parades, and memorial day celebrations to actively help our veterans and their under-served families, by developing real outreach in actions, directories, and websites since this the the new medium of ideas and community information.

We should have town blogs and facebook communities helping each-others' communities as well, in the spirit of rationalization. We should also have a county wide veterans task force to be introspective and be in consultation with all towns to do a needs assessment of our Barnstable veterans.

We also I believe need a county mental health coordinator to connect the dots with both regular citizens, and their families as well as veterans, and their familie, to secure the much needed substance abuse counseling and treatment other than incarceration in the Barnstable House of Corrections.  Perhaps we should correct out thinking about treatment of mentally un-well individuals, and as the ADA acts states not  treat these folks as felons and criminals, but left untreated with PTSD and other maladies, they will cost our communities one way or another, and not forget that the human cost of war is ongoing as collateral damaged folks who live, and work among us. We need a alternative plan of action, rather that locking them up, and trowing away the keys. The real key is prevention, assessment and treatment and transportation to such treatment, county wide.

Why do we seem to incarcerate our veterans at an alarming rate in our state prisons and county jails? Why don't we have a census of the veterans in jails? The Massachusetts Bar association when asked recently how many members are veterans, stated "they knew not how many were veterans and never counted them!

We propose a new sensitivity for and to veterans, but it up to all of us to point the way forward and embrace our retuning brothers and sister veterans in facts and in deeds.

John Bangert

Veteran Advocate

Friday, May 27, 2011

Click on Link to Watch Introduction

HBO WARTORN 1861-2011

How many veterans are there in state?

How many veterans are there in state?

May 26, 2011

How many veterans are there in state?

New state secretary of Veterans Affairs is wanting to find out

ENID — As a veteran herself, retired Air National Guard two-star general Rita Aragon knows she is one of a large group of Oklahomans who have served in our nation’s military.

The trouble is, she doesn’t know how large that group actually is.

Presently, there are some 327,000 known veterans in the state of Oklahoma. That total, however, is based on the number of veterans receiving services from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

But Aragon, the new state secretary of Veterans Affairs, believes the actual number of vets in the state is much higher.

“We believe that there is probably double that number,” she said. “I don’t get services from the VA, neither does my father or my uncle. What we want to do first is establish a guideline, how many veterans do we really have in the state of Oklahoma, and what are the needs of those veterans?”

Aragon was appointed as state Veterans Affairs secretary by Gov. Mary Fallin. She replaced Enid’s Norman Lamb, who had held the position since 1995.

The past 10 years of war has produced a large group of young veterans, Aragon said, and their needs are far different from those who fought in World War II, Korea or Vietnam.

“We need to establish what the needs are, and then try to find how do we partner with private enterprise and other public entities,” Aragon said.

One such initiative, she said, is veterans’ courts. These are similar to the drug court concept in which non-violent drug offenders are diverted from jail into structured, supervised treatment programs.

Veterans’ courts, Aragon said, would divert veterans who get in trouble with the law away from the criminal justice system into one that would provide counseling, supervision and treatment that would be paid for by their veterans’ benefits, rather than by the state. Veterans’ court programs already are in place in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

“We’ve introduced legislation to enable it across the state to any entity that wants to do it,” she said. “It actually saves the taxpayers a lot of money and it’s the right thing to do for the young Americans who have put their life on hold for us.”

The No. 1 veterans’ issue, Aragon said, is suicide prevention. A quarter of all suicides in Oklahoma, she said, involve those who are or have been in the military, and these people represent only 1 percent of the state’s population.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is working with city and county mental health associations across the state to begin offering free counseling services for veterans.

Oklahoma Bar Association is offering Oklahoma Lawyers for America’s Heroes, through which all 44,000 members of the state bar have offered to do one pro bono case for a military or veteran family in the next year.

The Oklahoma Legislature also is considering increasing the amount of a veteran’s income that is exempt from state income tax, Aragon said.

“Oklahoma loves our veterans,” Aragon said. “We have a great mindset here.”

Communicating with state veterans, particularly in rural areas, is another area of concern, she added, particularly since the state has only 33 benefits counselors. Younger veterans are comfortable accessing benefit information on the Internet, older veterans much less so. Aragon’s agency is working with groups like the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans to train people to help older veterans navigate the Internet in search of benefit information.

“Almost all our communities have libraries and those libraries have computers, if we just have someone who knows how to use them,” she said.

Aragon was in Enid Thursday wearing another of her many hats, as the governor’s representative on the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission, which held its regular meeting at Vance Air Force Base.

The focus of the commission, Aragon said, is not simply protecting state military facilities from future Base Realignment and Closure rounds, but making them more attractive to possible expansion.

“How do we go and bring in missions?” Aragon said. “This is an extremely competitive environment right now.”

Aragon lauded the relationship between Vance and the city, state and Oklahoma’s congressional delegation.

“Vance does a great job of communicating with Washington and Pentagon sources,” Aragon said. “Mike Cooper (city of Enid military liaison and chairman of the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission) is known all over the hill and all over the Pentagon as a guy who’s really aggressive about the support for Vance Air Force Base, Enid and Oklahoma in general.”

Vance’s joint mission is an asset, Aragon said. Vance is the only Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training base, teaching not only airmen, but also naval personnel and Marines to fly. Vance also is home to one of seven state Armed Forces Reserve Centers, housing Army Reserve and Oklahoma National Guard troops.

“You now pull the dollars from the Department of the Army and the Department of the Navy, as well as the Air Force,” she said. “You want to diversify. That’s the key to staying relevant in this next century of the military. We will be doing more with less in the military.”

In seeking increased efficiency, Aragon said, the services won’t necessarily wait for a Congress-mandated BRAC round. An example is the Air Force’s recent announcement it was planning to close the Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals squadron at Vance. That prompted Oklahoma Sens. Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn and Rep. Frank Lucas, to write a letter to the secretary of the Air Force and Air Force chief of staff asking for evidence such a move would actually save money.

“What makes the most sense in the short-term might not make the most sense in the long-term,” she said. “Our job is to stay aware so we can explain to them the long-term effects of what they are about to do.”