RockVets E-Newsletter: January 2018 Edition
Jerry Donnellan - email:
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RockVets Newsletter

January 2018              
Volume 10
Issue 1



In the 40s after the war veterans we’re heroes. The public thought they walked on water. Being a veteran was almost a prerequisite to run for Congress in those days. if you weren’t a veteran people wanted to know why. These heroes of the 40s became the scapegoat of the 60s. By Vietnam we no longer walked on water but in it. It seems the nation’s patriotism had been badly wounded. I kept hope that it would recover. A couple of times it seems so, after Desert Storm and 911, but they were brief and quickly faded. Now people want to know why you are a veteran!

Last week at the last minute Congress voted for funds to ensure VA medical care would continue past January 2. Nine members of Congress actually voted against it. Vietnam veterans by nature are skeptical and know that Congress just votes for themselves. Eisenhower told us as much, but how sad is it that some of our World War II veterans have lived to see this country they saved, has come to this.

VA Budget

Math was never my strong suit, and if you don’t believe me I’ve got a bunch of nuns that will back that up! This year the VA budget is north of $180 billion, the number of veterans who regularly use the VA healthcare system is about 5 million. The VA likes to use the number 9.3 million — that’s how many are enrolled — not how many use the system. So that comes to $36,000 a head. I know it’s not that simple — there are other costs like malpractice, legal fees, millions on mailings, and exclusive travel.

Okay, let’s be fair: let’s say the number is half or even a quarter. It’s still better than eight grand per veteran per year. So why then is the VA secretary saying that they will be out of money come January 2, 2018 for the Veterans Choice Program? That’s the program that allows vets to go outside of the VA if they are more than 40 miles from the VA Medical Center or if they have to wait more than 30 days. At least those were the rules. Now, regardless of time or distance, outside care will be at the discretion of the VA…that’s convenient!  Maybe that's because 60% of the veterans registered with the VA now get all or part of their care outside the VA.

The reason the Veterans Choice Program came to be, was that in 2014, 40 veterans died waiting for care at the Phoenix VA Medical Center. That’s only one of 168 VA Medical Centers across the country. Then the VA proved that they couldn’t handle the number of vets they had to treat. Now they can? Despite that fact in 2018 VA facilities will begin to close….that’s comforting!

Pistol Permit Renewals

Pistol permit renewal. This is a relatively new law that requires permit holders to renew every five years. So if you’re holding a license that’s dated earlier than January 2013 you need to be re-certified. It’s a simple two page form that even a Marine can handle! It can be found online by simply Googling New York State Pistol Permit Renewal. You can fill out the form online or you can print it and send it by mail. if you’re sending it by mail I’d suggest you send it via certified return receipt.

For the Marines and those don’t have access to a computer I would call our good County Clerk, Paul Piperato, at 845-638-5070 or a member of his professional staff who will be able to help you. The deadline for this is January 15, 2018. So do it now before you forget.


Protest — the word came on my radar somewhere in the 1960s, when a bunch of guys who didn’t want to get drafted began protesting. I got it — I didn’t want to get drafted either! However, rather than being honest they wanted to sound more noble and less wimpy, and they became the antiwar movement. 

Here again, no one wants peace and hates war more than those of us who fought it. For that matter, the first significant antiwar movement began in mid-April 1967 with the march of nearly 400,000 by the Vietnam Veterans Against The War. 

Yeah, a lot of people don’t know that.  This would have been a great opportunity for the so-called antiwar / peace movement to embrace the returning GIs who could say, " I’ve gone and fought your war and I’m back to tell you it’s wrong."  That would have been a strong statement for them.

Instead, they wanted to continue to protest, filling college campuses — eventually turning their sights on returning Vietnam veterans. They clogged the airports carrying signs festooned with the ubiquitous peace dove, that they used to beat the returning soldiers on through ’68 and ’69 while hiding behind their peace signs. 

Then in May 1970 these heroes burned down the ROTC building at Kent State, after trashing the City of Kent and assaulting Police Officers. That caused the Governor to call out the National Guard — that part of this isn’t often told.  In the interest of full disclosure, during the war in Vietnam it was extremely hard to get into the National Guard — you had to be connected or know a Congressman.  It was the politically correct way of avoiding the draft.  Combat soldiers referred to the National Guard (NG) as Nixon’s girls. 

The irony here is you have two groups dodging the Draft, reaching critical mass, killing 4 kids in Ohio. In that same week 200 American kids were killed in Vietnam, but that didn’t make page one. Sad!  Truth is the first casualty of war.  To this day people believe that the soldiers at Kent State were Vietnam veterans, further adding to our popularity. 

Question here — we have been at war for 17 years, where are the protesters?  Could it be that the draft is gone and so have they?

New Side-Arm 

The Army has a new Side-Arm — it’s called Sig Sauer XM 17 modular hand gun system. This replaces the Beretta that came to be in 1986. The new one comes in colors to match your outfit, laser sites, night vision. Back in my day it was the 45, and had a maximum effective range of 50 yards, yes yards, not meters, and that was if you threw it. The best defense if you were under fire from one was to stand directly in front of it — they were notoriously inaccurate, didn’t come in colors or have lasers or night vision accessories, but they were great for driving nails and had the kick of a mule, that was around long enough so that the comparison could be made.

United Nations

A couple of weeks back we announced that we were moving our Embassy to Jerusalem. Now whether not you think that’s a good idea or not is up to you. However I don’t see where the United Nations gets off condemning us for it. I realize this, like most everything it does, has no teeth. However, diplomatically it was not the thing to do. I’m no historian, but the way I’ve got it is, after World War I they formed the League of Nations — the idea being that when nations had differences, the League would step in and settle things peacefully. Well, it never worked. In the run up to World War II the League of Nations spent a lot of time condemning Mussolini, Stalin, and Hitler. We all know how well that worked out. Then, at least the United States never officially joined the League of Nations. So in 1946 the United Nations was formed to do the same thing — it’s primary mission again was world peace.

Just like their predecessor they spent a lot of time condemning and passing resolutions against many things. However, keeping peace and stopping wars wasn’t their long-suit. Since then we’ve had Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan — all of which they strongly condemned. Recently they’ve condemned Russia after it took Crimea, and marched into Yugoslavia. So I guess they’re right — it is doing the same thing as the League of Nations did — which is nothing.

So since this all started with the Treaty of Versailles In France, perhaps we should send it back to France. After all, fair is fair, they gave us the Statue of Liberty so we should give them the sponge like building just up the East River. On second thought, why don’t we keep the building, give them the contents. This building could make some great condos and certainly relieve parking to some degree on the east side. I understand the UN does a lot in terms of helping refugees. However if they did their original job and stopped the wars, the likelihood is there would be a lot fewer refugees.

Show of Strength

A couple of weeks ago we had a show of strength. We flew over Korea with the formation of fighter planes that were to be led by two B2 bombers which turned out to be one B2 bomber, because the other was grounded for repairs. Sad to say, it happened — sadder that it was on the news. Going online to look a little further into it I found that half of our B2 bomber force is unable to fly. If I can find that out, those who wish us ill know it. Washington still won’t pass defense spending.

Companion Dog for Veteran

We received this note from Nicole Pizzuto.  If you are interested, you can reach Nicole via email at:

Note:  I am reaching out because I am fostering a dog in who would make a GREAT companion. I thought a veteran might be a good idea. Please note, I am fostering through a rescue group and am not representing any formal program or institution. I just wanted to reach out to get some information about how I might share an adoptable pet with someone who may be benefit from having such a LOVING and LOYAL dog!  We really love this dog and know he’d really bring a lot of joy to someone!

Jerry Has Officially Retired From the County

Jerry Donnellan has now officially retired from his position as Director of the Veterans Service Agency of Rockland. The County of Rockland has no responsibility for any information, articles, events, or comments posted in our newsletters. The volunteers at New York Vets / RockVets will continue to publish the e-newsletter.  We welcome your thoughts, questions, and feedback.  Please pass this along to other veterans who can benefit from some of the information in the newsletters.

At the discretion of the editor, we'd be happy to add your upcoming events to our newsletter.  Please submit the details to us as soon as possible, but no later than the 25th of each month so we can get the information in the following issue. Send information to

Local Veterans Organization

For your information, here are the addresses for some of our local veterans' organizations:
  • Rockland County Marine Corps League, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970  
  • Military Order of the Purple Heart, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970
  • Vietnam Veterans of America, P.O. Box 243, New City, New York 10956
  • Nam Knights, 1 Western Highway, Tappan, New York 10983
  • Korean War Veterans, P.O. Box 304, New City, New York 10956
  • R.C. Military Order of the Purple Heart, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970
  • Jewish War Veterans, P.O. Box 38, New City, New York 10956
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars, P.O. Box 921, New City, New York 10956
  • Air Force Association, Chapter 251, 207 Treetop Circle, Nanuet, New York 10954
  • Rockland County American Legion, 86 South Reld Drive, Pearl River, New York 10965
Combat Vet ID Cards Available
Combat Veteran ID Cards are now available.  If you are a combat veteran, you can get this card at the County Clerk's Office which is located at 1 South Main Street, Suite 100, New City, New York 10956.  To apply for the Combat Veteran ID Card, or the F.A.V.O.R. card for all veterans, if you don't already have one, bring your DD214 to the County Clerk's Office.  They'll take your photo and make up a card for you. For further information, contact the Rockland County Clerk's Office at (845) 638-5076.

This new Combat Veteran ID Card offers all of the same benefits as the F.A.V.O.R. (Find and Assist Veterans of Record) card, which includes almost 1000 discounts to Rockland's veterans, but this new CVID card has specific advantages. The CVID card is co-sponsored by the Rockland County Police Benevolent Association and will be recognized by our local law enforcement agencies. So if you ever get pulled over, along with your license, registration, and insurance card, show the police officer your Combat Vet ID card so he knows you're an in-country vet.
Useful Telephone Numbers for Veterans

Rockland County Veterans Service Agency


Rockland County Sheriff’s Office


Veterans Peer-to-Peer (Counseling)


People to People (Food)


Montrose VA Hospital


New City VA Clinic


Housing Unit


Rape Crisis Services (Main)


Rape Crisis Services (24/7)


Home Health Care


Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency


Nyack Hospital Emergency


Domestic Violence


Suicide Hotline


Mental Health Association of Rockland County


Mobile Mental Health


West Point (nearest military base)


New York National Guard (Orangeburg, NY)


Army Reserve (Orangeburg, NY)


Military Recruiter


Rockland County Housing Action Coalition


Alcoholics Anonymous


Emergency Shelter


Meals on Wheels


Here are useful links from Army Echoes June - September 2017 issue - check out page 22:

Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial and Monument

The Rockland County Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial and Monument will honor those from Rockland who served in those two theaters of war, whether in the Persian Gulf War, Operations Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, or Inherent Resolve in Iraq, or Operations Enduring Freedom or Freedom's Sentinel in Afghanistan - particularly those who gave their lives.
The Memorial and Monument will be located in Haverstraw Bay County Park near the Rockland County 9/11 Memorial. We will keep you posted as to dedication ceremony for the Memorial.
Chapter 120 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart is accepting tax-free donations in support of this memorial and monument and providing a structure through which to coordinate and arrange for its construction.  For further information, please call 845-371-7605 or visit our website at: 

Rockland County Marine Corps League Auxiliary

The Rockland County Marine Corps League Auxiliary continues its on-going campaign - Pet Rescue - to reunite our troops with pets they may have had to leave in Afghanistan. Cans and bottles (no glass bottles) that can be recycled for cash, may be brought to Kearsing Edwards American Legion Post 1600, 20 Station Road in Pomona, New York. They are collected by ARC Pet Rescue volunteers and recycled. Contributions for the Pet Rescue Project are also welcome! The funds pay for food and water to sustain pets on their journey home; their transportation is free. For more information contact Chairman Dale Fisher 845-304- 3595.

Rockland County Marine Corps League - MASH Unit

We regularly receive donations of handicap assistance equipment for disabled veterans from people who want to help.  Our donated equipment is available for free to military veterans and their families.  The items include the following:
  • Handicap-Accessible van
  • Motorized Wheelchairs
  • Manual Wheelchairs
  • Lifts
  • Walkers
  • Bath Chairs
  • Transfer Benches
  • Braces
  • Crutches
  • Canes 
If you have need of any of this equipment, contact the folks at the Rockland County Marine Corps League - 845-323-8774 or via e-mail:

RockVets Newsletter  

You can find information, useful links, and view our webpage at Previous copies of our newsletters are also available on our website at

Jerry Donnellan has now officially retired from his position as Director of the Veterans Service Agency of Rockland.  The County of Rockland has no responsibility for any information, articles, events, or comments posted in our newsletters. The volunteers at New York Vets / RockVets will continue to publish the e-newsletter.  We welcome your thoughts, questions, and feedback.  Please pass this along to other veterans who can benefit from some of the information in the newsletters.

At the discretion of the editor, we'd be happy to add your upcoming events to our newsletter.  Please submit the details to us as soon as possible, but no later than the 25th of each month so we can get the information in the following issue. Send information to

RockVets website:

RockVets newsletters:




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