A reader asks about new legislation for vets

October 1, 2013

Dear Sgt. Shaft,

Are you aware of any new legislation that would enhance veteran’s benefits?

RS
Silver Spring, MD

Dear RS,

The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted unanimously (402-0) in favor of passing H.R. 1412, the Improving Job Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2013. The bill, which passed the Senate Monday, now awaits President Obama’s signature.

The bill extends a number of veterans initiatives such as the adaptive sports program for disabled veterans, homeless veterans programs and the extension of grants to assist disabled veterans with home adaptation

“This was an important moment of cooperation between Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate. I am grateful that my colleagues in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle feel as strongly as I do about the necessity of extending these programs. As this bill heads toward the president’s desk, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will remain vigilant in our oversight of each of these programs to ensure the prompt delivery of veterans benefits and appropriate use of taxpayer dollars.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Shaft Notes

• The Sarge urges all women veteran in the DC Metro area to take advantage of the 4th annual Ladies’ Night sponsored by the Washington DC VA Medical Center. This outreach event is an opportunity for women Veterans to engage with Medical Center staff, Veteran Service Organizations, community partners and Veterans Benefits Administration representatives to learn about gender-specific VA health care programs and services. This year women Veterans and guests will also receive a guided tour of the Women’s Health Pavilion, which will be fully operational January 2014.

Ladies’ Night is attended by over 200 women every year. Many of the attendees are currently enrolled for VA health care and some are seeking to enroll for care.

The evening will include health screenings, flu shots and informational booths along with music, food, pampering, and alternative therapies such as Auricular Acupuncture, Reiki and an opportunity to take a relaxing walk on the Labyrinth.

Ladies’ Night will take place Friday, November 22 from 7:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. in the Atrium of the Washington DC VA Medical Center, 50 Irving St. NW, Washington DC, 20422.

• The White House Press Secretary has issued the following proclamation in recognition of Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day, 2013.

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

In our city centers and our bustling parks, monuments stand dedicated to visionary leaders and singular moments in the life of our Republic. But in empty seats at family dinners and folded flags above the mantle, we find the constant thread of our Nation's character -- the truth that America endures because it is home to an unbroken line of patriots willing to lay down their lives for the land they love. As we honor the men and women who gave their last full measure of devotion, we hold close the families left behind.

Most of us can only imagine the pain of a mother who loses a daughter, the husband who loses his partner, or the son who loses a father. Prepared to serve others at any cost, their loved ones exemplified the values of courage and selflessness that define our Armed Forces and fortify our Union. The families of the fallen embody that same character. Amid their sorrow, these home front heroes support one another and lift up their communities. As our country seeks to understand the depth of their sacrifice, we draw strength and inspiration from their example.

On this day, we remember our commitment to the Gold Star mothers and families who carry on with pride and resolve despite unthinkable loss. We recall our sacred obligation to those who gave their lives so we could live ours. As a grateful Nation, we declare that we will never forget their sacrifice, and we renew our promise to build a future worthy of their devotion. We also recognize our countrymen and women who continue the fight, putting their lives on the line each day. Long after the battle is over, we will continue to give our military and Gold Star families the care and support they deserve -- in a listening ear, a comforting shoulder, a helping hand, and a moment given to keep alive the memories of their Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 115 of June 23, 1936 (49 Stat. 1985 as amended), has designated the last Sunday in September as "Gold Star Mother's Day."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 29, 2013, as Gold Star Mother's and Family's Day. I call upon all Government officials to display the flag of the United States over Government buildings on this Special day. I also encourage the American people to display the flag and hold appropriate ceremonies as a public expression of our Nation's sympathy and respect for our Gold Star Mothers and Families.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

BARACK OBAMA

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330, call 202/257-5446 or email sgtshaft@bavf.org.