New York Vets/RockVets E-Newsletter: March 2016 Edition
Veterans Service Agency of Rockland County, New York 
Jerry Donnellan, Director      Telephone: 845-638-5244 
Website: www:
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RockVets Newsletter

March 2016         845-638-5244
Volume 7
Issue 3

DVA Phoenix VA Hospital - Barry Coates

Barry Coates died on January 23rd, 2016.  He was 46.  Barry had become the face of the Department of Veterans Affairs 2014 Scandal that had centered at the Phoenix VA Hospital.  Dozens of veterans died while waiting for treatment.  An investigation turned up a “lack of leadership” and a disregard for the veterans without whom these people wouldn't have a job. 

The then-Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Erik Shinseki, stepped down because nobody gets fired in Washington - it could be bad for their career. 

A new Secretary, Robert MacDonald was appointed in July of 2014.  He is a West Point graduate and CEO of a major corporation.  It was said of him that if he can't do it, no one can.  That statement might be truer than anyone thought.  By August of 2014 he had instituted the Veterans Choice Program.  Simply put, the veterans were to be able to go for private care if they couldn't get an appointment in a reasonable time at a VA facility or lived at too great a distance.  But first they would have to get the VA's approval to do so and the private doctor would have to agree to accept whatever the VA paid.  So the reality is, if you can't get an appointment with the VA, are you then going to try and get their permission to set up an appointment with somebody else?  It's kind of like losing an argument with your wife and going to your mother-in-law for a second opinion.

After the VA made it very difficult for the veteran to go elsewhere, they concluded a year later that the VA care wasn't that bad based on the fact that not many veterans opted to go for private care.  Nothing like insuring an outcome. 

On the benefit side of the aisle, the VA Disability Appeals are backed up to 400,000 and a veteran beginning the process today is told he/she can expect a 5-year wait.  If a veteran is going to apply for compensation, as the VA calls it, the veteran must prove that a disability exists (a diagnosis,), then prove that it was caused or aggravated by military service.  Seems simple enough.  Regular insurance companies handle claims like this every day and settle them in days.

Many times, even after a long wait, the VA will deny a claim simply out of hand.  In my line of work I have helped thousands of veterans over the years apply for compensation - many of whom have been denied for things that are undeniable. 

Further, I know from my own experience when I applied to the VA for help in the 80's.  I lost a leg in Vietnam.  I had been dealing with the VA since 1970 for prosthetics.  After many months I received an answer to my application.  The answer said that I would have to go to a VA Hospital for an exam to verify the fact that I was still disabled.  Believe me, it can be like trying to put socks on an octopus.  I think that may be one of the reasons that led me to do what I'm doing today.

What if the VA could simply enlist the aid of a private insurance company?  Simply to clear up the 400,000 veterans who are currently backlogged.  I'm sure even the Aflac Duck or the Geico Gecko could handle it.

On the health care side, why not simply issue veterans credit cards?  The average veteran in the System would get a green card.  The disabled veteran, a gold card, the totally disabled veteran, a platinum card, and let them seek service where they think it is best for them. 

According to VA stats, only 42% of veterans actually use the VA Medical System and it seems they can't handle that.  So perhaps if we lowered the numbers they could come back on track.  In any case, let's get an honest look at this. Give the veterans the opportunity to vote.  After all, they gave it to us.        
Jerry Donnellan, Director, Veterans Service Agency of Rockland
20 Squadron Blvd., Suite 480, New City, New York 10956
e-mail:, phone:  845-638-5244

Dinner and a Play - Veterans Are Their Guests

North Rockland High School invites veterans to a celebration of your courage, honor, and sacrifice with a dinner and exclusive preview of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" presented by the North Rockland High School Drama Society.  This will be held on Thursday, March 10th, 2016.  

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will be served from 6:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m. and the entertainment begins at 7:30 p.m. Veterans will attend for free and one guest can accompanying them as well.

The program is sponsored by the North Rockland Drama Society, ROTC, Key Club, and North Rockland High School Clubs and Honor Societies. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Kathleen Sangen at 845-942-3304 or Patty O'Sullivan at 845-942-3321. This event is free for veterans. North Rockland High School is located on Hammond Road, Thiells, New York 10984.  

20th Anniversary of VA Medical Clinic in Rockland

March will mark the 20th Anniversary of the opening of the Veterans Clinic here in Rockland County. The Clinic came together at the County Health Complex in Pomona as a joint project of the County of Rockland and the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA).  I approached the VA with the idea of getting health care into the community making it easier for our aging veteran population to get health care services without having to travel for an hour to the VA Hospital.  

Some years before, with following the same outline, we had opened a Clinic specifically about Agent Orange, when Ed Gamache was the Director of the Montrose VA Hospital.  Based on the successful operation of the Agent Orange Clinic in the early 90's and with the aid of Jim Farsetta, the then VISN Director for the VA of the NY Metropolitan area, in March of 1996 we opened a full-service VA Clinic - one of, if not the first of such clinics in the country.  Allowing the VA to operate rent free in the County Complex was just the necessary push to get the Clinic started.  

This blueprint has been replicated more than 1000 times across the country now and the Clinic that was birthed in Pomona now has its own office based at 345 North Main Street in New City.  Prior to the opening of the Clinic, roughly 250 veterans in Rockland County used the out-patient services of the DVA. Since the Clinic opened that number has gone to over 6,500 - and those are real numbers that continue to grow. 

For further information about veterans accessing the VA clinic in Rockland, call our office at 845-638-5244 or call the VA Clinic directly at:  845-634-8942.  They are located at 345 North Main Street, Upper Level, New City, New York 10956.  View their website here: 

Betrayal: Left Behind - POW and Military Veterans

"Betrayal: Left Behind - Prisoners of War and Military Veterans" by Jerry Kiley, recounts the 30-year saga of one man's journey fighting to gain freedom for US prisoners of the Vietnam War, who were still in captivity for decades after the war's end. That fight led him to work as an advocate for all US veterans against the injustices suffered by those who had honorably served.  For further information on the book or to purchase a copy, go to and key in the author's name:  Jerry Kiley.  

Women in the Military - Presentation by AAUW

The AAUW – The American Association of University Women in conjunction with the Valley Cottage Library presents: “Women in the Military” Saturday, March 12th, 2016 from 2:00 to 4:00 PM Valley Cottage Library, 110 Route 303 North, Valley Cottage, NY 10989 In celebration of Women’s History Month, the AAUW program for March will focus on U.S. Military Women and Veterans. Major Shauna Hann of West Point will give a historical perspective of women in the military. Captain Jessica Dawson, an instructor in the Sociology Department at West Point will also speak. She is an author and served in Iraq. 

Captain Susan Branan, an apache helicopter pilot and Deputy Director of the Rockland County Veterans Service Agency, will also speak about her experiences. Join us for this exciting and informative program. Refreshments will be served. For information, call 845-358-8240.

Vietnam Veterans - Handcycle Program

Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter #333 in Rockland County has been raising funds on behalf of their hand cycle program to benefit wounded veterans.  These veterans, some with spinal cord injuries or leg amputation, or other injuries, can make good use of these hand cycles, or perhaps even a kayak if they'd like.  There are veterans in the community who are eligible for the program and the Vietnam Vets are asking for help in reaching out to the wounded veterans.  If you are a wounded veteran who might be eligible to receive a hand cycle or kayak, or a family member or friend of a wounded veteran, please contact Roy Tschudy via e-mail at:  

 New APP For Veterans

There is a new app for veterans. It is by the NYS Division of Veterans Affairs. It shows the nearest VA facility and County Veterans Service Agency. The app is still a work in progress.  We'll keep you posted as we hear more about it.

NYS VVA and FDNY Veterans

New York Vietnam Veterans of America is looking for any Vietnam Veteran who might have served with the New York Fire Department between 1955-1975.  The state VVA is planning to do something special for them in May of 2016.  For further information, please contact  service officer Margaret Wojciechowicz at 973-297-3227 or Ned Foote, President, New York State VVA at: or phone: 
(518) 338-8147.  View their website at:

Women's History Month - Freedom Award

Rockland County Executive Ed Day and the County's Veterans Service Agency Director Jerry Donnellan presented New City resident Elisabeth M. Gessel with the fourth annual Rockland County Freedom Award for her outstanding service to our nation as a Sergeant in the United States Army.

"When our nation called upon Lis, she stood up, raised her hand and served," said County Executive Day. "We're all grateful for the challenges she endured and overcame and the sacrifices she made that men simply didn't have to make. Sergeant Gessel is a trailblazer and her service will inspire many generations of women."  Gessel's enlistment in August, 1997 led to boot camp in Fort McClellan, Alabama, including Military Police school. The enlistment called for six years of active reserve duty, followed by two years of inactive reserve duty. Gessel ultimately retired after eight years as an active reservist.  

After spending time at various posts throughout the United States, Gessel was activated in January, 2003 for a mission to Iraq. She was deployed to Kuwait from Fort Dix, New Jersey in April, 2003. Her unit arrived in Iraq two months later.  While in Iraq, Gessel was assigned to a "Crimes Against Iraqi" prison in Ad Diwaniyah. Her duties included training Iraqi civilians to become correction officers. Other duties involved the processing of prisoners, including their feeding and health care.  While working in Ad Diwaniyah, Gessel was requested to take part in a private security detail, which allowed her the unique experience of functioning as a decoy.  Upon completion of the mission, Gessel attended leadership training in Germany.

Sergeant Gessel returned to Iraq for a second tour, where she served as a correction officer at a large "Crimes Against Coalition" prison. She served as a non-commissioned officer, (NCO) overseeing more than 500 prisoners. Gessel returned to American soil in March, 2004. Her daughter, Victoria, was seven-months at deployment, growing to 18 months while her mother served in the Middle East. Victoria did not recognize Lis when she arrived home. Sergeant Gessel separated from the Army with an Honorable Discharge in August, 2005. During her military tenure, she received numerous medals and commendations for exemplary service, including the War on Terrorism medal and the Operation Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom campaign medal.  She is employed today as the Senior Director of Merchandise Sales for Active International in Pearl River.

Said County Executive Day, "The courage and sacrifice Sergeant Gessel displayed while serving our nation has contributed to the freedoms and opportunities we benefit from every day in America. She didn't sign up to shatter glass ceilings; she came to serve with distinction. The Rockland County Freedom Award serves as a testament of thanks from all of our residents."

The prestigious Freedom Award is given in honor of Women's History Month in March.

Buffalo Soldiers Award

Kenneth Mercer of Rockland County recently was the recipient of a special honor - the Buffalo Soldiers Award.

Mr. Mercer served in Vietnam with the U.S. Marines.  He enlisted right out of high school and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment. He survived fierce fighting during the Tet Offensive where his unit was so shot up so badly they were nicknamed the “Walking Dead.”

When Kenneth left the Marines in 1970 he did not dwell on the past and went to work in the mean streets of the Bronx working as the executive director at  Edenwald Houses, a crime-plagued project. Now a grandfather of five, he works on many projects to improve his community. They include the Human Rights Commission to improve relations between blacks and Jews; the Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center in Spring Valley and Holocaust Museum & Center for Tolerance and Education and visiting elementary schools in East Ramapo to read to students.

On February 4, 2016, in recognition of his life time of service, Kenneth Mercer was presented the 2016 Buffalo Service Award. Starting in 1993, the Buffalo Soldier Award is presented annually to a black veteran from Rockland County (directly across the Hudson River from Sleepy Hollow) who is active in the community. It’s named after the brave soldiers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment, organized as an all-black unit in 1866, who earned fame fighting the American Indians on the Kansas frontier.

Kenneth Mercer is a wonderful example of the Americans who went to Vietnam and served their country in a challenging and unpopular war and then came home to continue serving their country at home helping to keep it great.

By-line Alex Taylor - Journal News
Contact Alex Taylor here:

DoD Health Benefit Changes for Retirees 

The Pentagon’s 2017 budget calls for changes to the Defense Department’s health benefit that would require all working-age retirees to pay annual enrollment fees regardless of which Tricare program they use or forfeit their health care for a year, according to Pentagon budget documents. The budget calls for reorganizing the current system into two Tricare programs, with cost-savings for patients who use military hospitals and higher fees for those who choose civilian care.

The $48.8 billion health budget request, which includes $33.5 billion for health care programs, would revamp Tricare’s structure into two plans: Tricare Select, a health maintenance organization-type program similar to Tricare Prime that is limited to areas around military hospitals and clinics; and Tricare Choice, a Tricare Extra and Standard hybrid that covers care by civilian doctors with incentives to seek network care.

The new system would require all military retirees and their family members to pay annual participation fees, regardless of which program they choose. Currently, this group of beneficiaries pays cost-shares but no annual enrollment fees to use Tricare Standard. According to budget documents, the changes are designed to entice more beneficiaries to use military hospitals and clinics by continuing to offer care at these facilities at no cost to patients and curb the rising costs to DoD of private care.  In the past several years, the Pentagon has proposed changes to the Tricare health benefit to include program consolidation but much of the reform has been focused on increasing co-payments and cost-shares for beneficiaries.

Health officials say this year’s proposal will help curb health care costs but also will improve performance, especially at military treatment facilities.  “Simply revising the cost-sharing structure of Tricare will not meet beneficiaries' concerns or resolve access to care issues. Instead, the department must commit to institutional health care reform,” Pentagon officials wrote in the fiscal 2017 budget request overview.

Under the new plans, co-payments would depend on beneficiary category and place of care.
Military retirees and family members who are not Medicare eligible — those referred to as "working-age retirees — would see the biggest changes. They would be required to choose between the MTF-based Tricare Select and Tricare Choice civilian care program, paying an annual participation fee of $350 for an individual or $700 for a family for Tricare Select, or $450 for an individual or $900 for a family under Tricare.

Visits to military hospitals or clinics for retirees would continue to be offered at no cost but beneficiaries would pay $20 for a primary care visit in-network with a referral or $25 co-payment for primary care at a network doctor without a referral. They also would pay $30 or $35 for a specialty care visit, depending on whether they had a referral. A visit to a network emergency room would cost $75 for those in Select and $90 for those in Choice. Active-duty troops and their families would not be required to pay annual fees for health care. They would also be able to continue using military hospitals or clinics for free, and those in Select would have no network co-payment with a referral. For those in Choice, they would pay a $15 co-payment for primary care at a network physician, $25 for specialty care or $25 for urgent care visits. An ambulance ride would cost $15 and a network emergency room visit would require a $50 co-payment.
All Choice beneficiaries would still be able to see out-of-network providers, with active-duty families paying cost shares of 20 percent of the Tricare allowable charge and retirees and their family members paying 25 percent.

Also new this year, and similar to civilian health plans, Tricare would implement open-season enrollment for working age retirees — all would be required to enroll and pay the annual participation fee or forfeit coverage for the plan year. The budget also proposes increases to catastrophic caps for beneficiaries. Active-duty families would see theirs rise to $1,500 for network care, up from $1,000, while retirees would see theirs increase from $3,000 to $4,000. Participation fees would not count toward the caps.
Medically retired members and their families, as well as survivors of those who died on active duty would be treated the same as active-duty family members, with no participation fees and lower cost shares.
The budget also proposes significant changes for future users of Tricare for Life, the military health system’s wrap-around program to Medicare. Users would begin paying an enrollment fee for the program based on a percentage of gross retired pay — 0.5 percent in 2017 — and capped at $150 a year for a family and $200 for retired flag and general officers. By 2021, TFL enrollees would pay a fee amounting to 2 percent of gross retired pay, up to a maximum of $632. Retired flag officers would pay up to $842 by 2021. One proposal that would touch all Tricare users would be future hikes in co-pays for generic prescriptions purchased through retail pharmacies and increases in brand name drugs, both at retail pharmacies and by mail.

Prescriptions would continue to be filled free at military treatment facilities and generic drugs also would be available at no charge through Tricare's mail-order system until 2020, when a 90-day generic prescription cost would rise to $11. Generics would cost $10 at a retail pharmacy in 2017 and would remain at that level through fiscal 2019, when they would rise to $11. Brand name medications at retail and mail order would cost $28 and would rise incrementally through 2026, when they could be higher than $45 per prescription. According to Pentagon estimates, the average active-duty family of three averages $13,965 in medical costs per year, with the military bearing $13,778 of the expense while the family picks up $189, or about 1.4 percent. Under the new plan, active-duty families would pay an average $30 more a year, or roughly 1.6 percent of their overall health costs.

A working-age retiree's family of three accrues $16,982 in medical costs per year, according to DoD, and pays $1,360, or 8 percent of the cost. Under the plan, they would pay an average of $1,768, or 10.5 percent, of their estimated annual costs. DoD officials say that when Tricare was implemented in 1996, retirees paid 27 percent of their total health care expenses. With them now paying less than 9 percent of their costs, the DoD health budget is unsustainable, officials argue. "The internal savings initiatives and modest congressional fee increases are helpful but are not enough to curb the projected increase in health care costs, for the department,” officials wrote in the budget documents.

In the past three years, DoD has proposed various iterations of Tricare consolidation and new fees designed change beneficiary behavior and trim costs. Congress has largely rejected the Pentagon's reform proposals and currently is reviewing the entire military health system to determine what changes should be made. In early 2015, the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission proposed moving all beneficiaries who are not on active-duty to private health care plans.

Warrior Games To Be Hosted at USMA West Point  

The Department of Defense announced today that the 2016 DoD Warrior Games will be hosted at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, June 14-22, 2016. This is the first year the United States Army is hosting the Warrior Games, which is an annual sporting competition bringing together wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from across the country.

"The United States Military Academy and the entire West Point Community are honored to host the 2016 DoD Warrior Games," said Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, Superintendent. "These warrior-athletes competing in the games, who at one time answered their nation's call to service, exemplify the very best of America. They embody the resiliency, discipline, mental and physical toughness to overcome adversity and achieve their goals - all traits we aspire to instill in our graduates, who will lead America's sons and daughters as Army officers."

DoD Warrior Games 2016 will feature eight sporting events: archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, and wheelchair basketball in a paralympic-style competition. Approximately 200 athletes representing teams from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and U.S. Special Operations Command will compete. Each military service hosts trials in the months leading up to the games to determine their teams.

"The 2016 DoD Warrior Games will showcase the enduring strength of our service men and women who have overcome adversity and are using adapted reconditioning to become resilient warrior athletes. They represent the strength and resiliency of this great country," said Col. Chris Toner, Commander, U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command and Assistant Surgeon General for Warrior Care and Transition. "Warrior Games is an opportunity for the services to communicate their sacred obligation and enduring commitment to their wounded, ill and injured service members, their families and caregivers."

Adaptive sports and athletic reconditioning activities play a fundamental role in recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration of service members back to their units or as they transition into the civilian sector.
Follow the DoD Warrior Games Facebook page for up to date information:
For further information, contact Crystal Arriaga, Volunteer Coordinator - Outreach Joint Task Force, 
2016 DoD Warrior Games XCorp Solutions Contractor at:
or Mobile phone: 571-239-4063.

50 Years Ago Column - Rockland Review News 

Originally taken from Week of February 1st - 7th, 1966 from "The Journal News"
Rockland Review - February 5, 2016 issue


One thing that a lot of people have suspected as positives:  The citizens of Rockland are a gabby lot.
The Switchboard in the county courthouse at New City often gets so jammed up that no one can get a word in edgewise. The switchboard also serves the nearby county office building, and no one can get a word in edgewise there either.

Orangetown Supervisor John Lovett told the Board of Supervisors yesterday that he has heard of individuals and firms having business with the county and failing to get a telephone call through after a whole day of trying. Lovett suggested a survey of county telephone facilities.

After a meeting yesterday, sure enough, a reporter was unable to get through to the county switchboard on the main New City number.  He did get through on a Nyack number - a Nyack number that rings through to the courthouse at New City. 

Francis Estabrook, clerk to the board of supervisors, said he had already been in touch with the telephone company and five more telephone trunk lines for the New City numbers are needed.

The operators at the switchboard at the courthouse said it was all lit up, and tending it was murder.  The public and county employees were yakking up a storm.

Under these circumstances a citizen wanting quick communication with county of Rockland has to send a telegram - or use a carrier pigeon.

Veteran Owned Businesses in Rockland

As we mentioned in the January 2016 newsletter, if you are a vet with a business in Rockland County, you can send us some information about what you do and we'll promote it in an upcoming newsletter.  Send us a copy of your DD214, a photo of you with your business, and a photo of you from your time in service. No need to be a combat veteran.  Hopefully, many of our readers will use your business.  You can e-mail the photos and details to:

JWV Annual Convention Breakfast

The Rockland / Orange District Council of The Jewish War Veterans of The United States
Is both pleased and honored to invite you to their Annual Convention Breakfast on Sunday, March 20th, 2016 at 10:30 a.m.  It will be held at the New City Jewish Center -  47 Old Schoolhouse Road New City, New York 10956.  They would greatly appreciate your presence at this event ($5.00 per person.)

Key Note Speaker: Honorable George Hoehmann, Newly Elected Clarkstown Town Supervisor
Special Guest Speakers: Carol Berne, Senior VP Alzheimer’s Association and Debra Kagan-Birkeland, Director of Support Group Services, Hudson Valley Chapter.  Please send your name, telephone number, e-mail address, mailing address, city, state, and zip code to: R/O District Council JWV, P.O .Box 38, New City, New York 10956.  Or, for further information e-mail: or to, or by phone to 914-582-7561.

Upcoming Events

Friday, March 4th, 2016:  Jerry Donnellan will host the monthly RockVets radio show on WRCR 1700 on the AM dial.  It is just after the 10:00 a.m. news break. You can call in and ask Jerry questions or share information about issues concerning veterans or our military community. The show also airs live online at: It is also a great opportunity to tell the community about upcoming events your organization may be hosting.  The call-in phone number is 845-362-0013.

Sunday, March 6th, 2016:  PFC Fred Hecht Post 425 Jewish War Veterans of the USA will hold a General Meeting on Sunday, March 6th, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. at Congregation Shaarey Israel 18 Montebello Road, Montebello NY. This meeting is open to the public and will feature a New York State Tax Forum, moderated by State Senator David Carlucci and featuring John Wolham, Supervisor with NYS Dept of Taxation and Finance.  The forum will explain the changes and enhanced benefits relating to property taxes for veterans and other homeowners as well as the latest developments in other NYS tax issues. Free light breakfast – Free admission – No solicitation - Question and answer period. For those attending, please email your attendance with the number of attendees to or alternatively text same to 845 596-4911. 

Sunday, March 20th, 2016:  The Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade will be held in Pearl River.  Veterans will muster at 12:00 noon in the Lederle Parking Lot.  The parade states at 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 20th, 2016:  The Rockland / Orange District Council Of The Jewish War Veterans Of The United States Is both pleased and honored to invite you to their Annual Convention Breakfast on Sunday, March 20 at 10:30 am at the New City Jewish Center, 47 Old Schoolhouse Road New City, New York 10956. They would greatly appreciate your presence at this event ($5.00 per person.) 

Saturday, March 26th, 2016:  The Bob Hope Division will turn the Veterans Nursing Home into a Casino with 6 table games and horse racing. They need dealers, pit bosses, cashiers and people to help the disabled veterans with their bets. Muster times 12:00 p.m. in the lobby. The VA Nursing Home is located at 2090 Albany Post Road, (Route 9) Montrose, NY 10548. For further information contact Chip via e-mail:

Friday, April 1st, 2016:  Save The Date! The Hi Tor Animal Shelter will be holding their 2nd Annual Black Tails Gala on Friday, April 1, 2016, at the New York Country Club,103 Brick Church Road, New Hempstead, New York, from 6:00 p.m. until 11:00 pm. This year's Honorees are NYS Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski and Mr. John Murphy and Homes for Heros.  There will be dinner, dancing, raffles and a silent auction. All funds raised will support Hi Tor's general daily operations. Mistress of Ceremonies is Maria Milito of Q104.3 FM. For further information and to order tickets please go to and click on Events.  Hi-Tor Animal Care Center Inc. - Rockland County animal shelter and pet adoptions. 

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016:  Hudson Valley Honor Flight has announced two upcoming flights.  They are looking for veterans who would want to go to Washington, D.C. to see the Memorials.  The first one is out of Stewart Airport on April 2nd, 2016 and the second flight will be on May 14th, 2016 from Westchester Airport.  For further information, contact Executive Director Beth Vought at 845-391-0076.  Hudson Valley Honor Flight (HVHF) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization which “Honors American Veterans” for all their sacrifices. They transport these heroes to Washington, D.C. to visit their memorials at no cost to them. They are a local hub of the National Honor Flight Network (which consists of over 100 independent non-profit “hubs” across America). Hudson Valley Honor Flight flies multiple times a year out of Stewart International Airport & Westchester County Airport. HVHF serves veterans from the following counties: Orange (NY), Ulster (NY), Dutchess (NY), Westchester (NY), Rockland (NY), Sullivan (NY), Putnam (NY), Pike (PA), Bergen (NJ), and Fairfield (CT). Veterans from other surrounding counties will be considered as well. Top priority is given to those of the Greatest Generation, that of World War II, and terminally ill veterans from other wars. They plan to take ALL veterans from other wars on future flights. Applications will be kept on file.

Wednesday, April 14th, 2016:  Rockland Community College, in partnership with State Senator David Carlucci, are inviting you to attend RCC's 18th Annual Job Fair on Wednesday, April 14th, 2016, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Eugene Levy Field House, RCC, Suffern, New York 10901.  For further information, contact Stephanie Siddi via e-mail: or telephone: 845-574-4369. The event is open to the public. 

Saturday, April 16th, 2016:  The Kearsing-Edwards American Legion Post 1600 will conduct a Bus Trip to Atlantic City. The cost is $35.00 with a $15 give back from the Taj Mahal Casino. First come, first served. For further information, or to make reservations for the trip, send an e-mail to:

Saturday, April 16th, 2016:  Spring Valley Rotary Club honors Edward J. Frank at Casa Mia Manor House, 577 Route 303, Blauvelt, New York 10913.  Reception starts at 6:00 p.m. - cocktails, dinner, entertainment follows.  Fee is $65.00 per person.  Please RSVP by March 21st, 2016.  Send reply to Spring Valley Rotary, P.O. Box 59, Spring Valley, New York 10977.  For further information, contact Howard Goldin at 845-352-6797 or Bob Rosenzweig at 845-357-5902 or send an e-mail to:  Journal ads are also available.

Saturday, April 30th, 2016:  The Nam Knights of the Hudson Valley will sponsor their Make-A-Wish Foundation fundraiser on Saturday, April 30th, 2016.  The event will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Hillcrest Fire Company, Thiells-Mt. Ivy Road, Pomona, New York 10970.  The $25.00 fee includes food and beverage.  To register for the event or for further information, contact Charlie Maushardt at 845-359-4005.

A Purple Heart Evening With Gen. David Petraeus 

On April 28th, 2016, spend an evening with General David Petraeus, U.S. Army (Ret.) as he joins Congressmen Chris Gibson and Sean Patrick Maloney in a discussion of national and international issues.  The event will be held at Anthony's Pier 9 in New Windsor, New York.  Cocktails start at 5:00 p.m., Dinner at 6:00 p.m., Program at 7:00 p.m.  Individual tickets are $150.00 and a table of 10 is $1500.00. 

RSVP to Debbie Sanford at or call her at 845-561-6602. Proceeds will benefit the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, Inc.  The program is presented by Construction Contractors Association of the Hudson Valley. Journal Ads and Sponsorship Opportunities are available.

BOCES - New Vocational Class Offered
BOCES has introduced a new vocational class – it is in HOSPITALITY ! The class is 180 hours – it meets 3 nights a week – Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday 5:30-9:30 p.m.  Students learn to work the front desk reception, room attendant, maintenance and food server. They would get certified in these areas!  BOCES also offers job placement assistance with the class.  The course description is below.  For further information, please contact  Jennifer Zuppe, Rockland BOCES, Job Training Specialist at 845-348-3500 ext. 3583 or via e-mail:

Course Description:  Hospitality is a high-growth career with great potential for qualified workers; it offers great diversity in its career opportunities and is known for promoting skilled workers quickly through the ranks to supervisory and management positions.  The START (Skills, Tasks, and Results Training) is a premier workforce training curriculum designed by the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute.  Throughout this course students will explore, gain knowledge and training of 12 hospitality positions with the opportunity earn at least one professional certification.  Certification demonstrates proficiency to employers and gives employees a competitive edge.  

Front line certification designations available for START students include:
Front Desk Representative
Guestroom Attendant
Maintenance Employee
Restaurant Server

Location: BOCES Main Campus, 65 Parrot Road, West Nyack
Length of Course: 180 hours
Tuition: $1599
Minimum Reading Level: 7.0
Anticipated Start Date: Mid-April

Contact:  Jennifer Zuppe at (845) 348-3500 ext. 3583 or e-mail:

Association for the Visually Impaired

The Association for the Visually Impaired, Inc. (AVI), a private, non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, founded in 1973, serves blind and severely visually impaired residents of Rockland and Orange Counties in New York. Services are provided on a one-to-one basis in the consumers’ homes and communities. Their goal is to enable our consumers to function independently and to maximize their potential. Most significantly, AVI provides the services FREE OF CHARGE.

On April 14th they will host their annual Distinguished Citizens’ Awards Dinner Dance at The View on the Hudson.  The event will celebrate the contributions of several local citizens who have championed the cause of disability awareness and raise necessary funds to enable us to continue to serve children and adults with blindness. This year’s honorees are: Harry Brill-Edwards Memorial Award—Alan Moskin
Employer of the Year Award—The Rockland Boulders, Community Service Award— Inserra Shop Rite, and the AVI Lion Legacy Award— Dr. Joseph Fontana.

For further information about services that AVI offers, or their upcoming annual dinner dance, please contact:  Beth A. Bate-Du Boff, Executive Director at (845) 574-4950 or view their website here: 

Employment Opportunities

McDonald's Sloatsburg, New York:  Sloatsburg (Ramapo Travel Plaza 10974) McDonald's, Pizza Uno/Lavazza Espresso Shop and Carvel are actively seeking the best Management Trainees and/or experienced managers they can hire in the coming weeks to help us do just that. They hope to hire veterans.  They need some key individuals who will take the keys to the store and help to drive us to success - learn the McDonald's System, set a blazing fast pace, being friendly and accurate all the while. If you think you can do this, apply today!  Apply Online at:
They also operate stores in Middletown, Wallkill, Ellenville and Chester (NeXXt Enterprises)
Please see this link to one of their full ads:

Salca Trucking, Inc.  There is an immediate need for two delivery truck drivers, for Salca Trucking, located in Blauvelt, New York.  This is a privately owned, local trucking company, in business for 60 years.  Their deliveries include delivering products (medical gases) to all four boroughs, as well as Rockland and Westchester.  Their trucks are Mitsubishi Fuso - Box Trucks.  Hours would be Monday - Friday.  There are medical/life insurance benefits, paid vacation, sick time, personal time, and a competitive salary.  For further information or to apply for the job, contact Olivia Coop via e-mail at: or Erica Gadler, Human Resources Manager, or phone:  845-398-1370.

Auto Mechanic - Letizia Brothers of Rockland:  Experienced Auto Mechanic wanted for Letizia Brothers of Rockland, located at 150 Route 304, Bardonia, New York 10954.  This is a local business for 30 years.
Foreign, Domestic and Classic Automobiles
- Mechanic should be able to perform all aspects of diagnostic and repairs.
- NYS Inspections, Tune ups, Brakes, Shocks and Struts, Exhaust systems,
- Wheel Alignments, A/C Service, Welding, Electrical Diagnostics
Looking for Mechanic with a passion for Automobiles, Salary based on experience and knowledge. 
Range of $18.00 to $25.00 per hour, Hours Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. through 6:00 p.m.
For further information or to apply, call Tom Letizia 845 623-0019.

Homegrown For Good is a company located in New Rochelle, New York who are committed to hiring veterans.  Tim and Tommy Gibb own the company.  For further information you can contact Tim at: or Brad McNiff via email

Smooth Ride Limousine Service in New City, are hiring chauffeurs and are interested in veterans to contact them. For further information, contact Nathan Zisser at Smooth Ride Limousine Service New City, New York 845-638-9110 or via e-mail:

Plumbing and Heating Company:  This local plumbing and heating company is looking for service technicians.  Candidates must have clear driver's license, and be able to work full-time, as well as overtime; must be in good physical condition as heavy lifting is required at times.  Salary is based on experience.  For further information, contact Joey via email:

RJ Staffing:  If you are looking for work, I can help!  My name is Jennifer and I work for RJ-Staffing in Rockland County, New York.  We have many job opportunities available and would love to speak with you if you're looking for work!  Please contact Jennifer directly via e-mail: or call Jennifer at 845-624-0400.

Scholarships Available

The Rockland Community Foundation is pleased to announce that applications are available for the scholarships listed below.  Application deadline is April 1st, 2016. For further information on applying for these scholarships, contact The Rockland Community Foundation, P.O. Box 323, New City, NY 10956 Phone: 845-947-2868  or via e-mail: - or visit their website at: You can download the scholarship application from their website.
Auerbach/Goldberg Memorial Scholarship Fund was established to foster a spirit of respect, tolerance and compassion in response to lessons learned from the Holocaust, and will award $1,000 to each of one or more selected recipients.
Chazen Spirit of Rockland Scholarship: Awarded to a promising high school senior in need of financial aid to assist with college costs, the scholarship is granted in increments of $1,000 per year, with renewal of up to four years for qualifying recipients, for a total grant of $4,000
Christine Gallagher Scholarship will award $1,000 to a Rockland County high school senior who has shown a demonstrated commitment towards the education and treatment of those with disabilities.
ML by Maria Luisa Scholarship will award $1,000 to a female graduating HS student in Rockland, who has demonstrated a desire to learn and foster principals of civic and community involvement, issues around Social Justice, Inequality, and related interests supporting Fair Trade and Eco-friendly principles. 
Viking Spirit Memorial Scholarship will award $1,000 to a deserving Clarkstown South HS senior who demonstrates true Viking Spirit exemplified through community service and scholastic achievement.
Welles Remy Crowther Red Bandana Memorial Scholarship: Honoring the memory of a young man who courageously saved the lives of many on 9/11, the $1,000 scholarship is awarded for continuing education of a graduating senior who has been active in volunteering and is pursuing a career in emergency services.
Applicants must be residents of Rockland County and meet specific criteria set forth by the individual scholarships. To learn more, or to download an application, visit

Military Photos of 2015

Check out this link to see some interesting military photos of 2015:

R.C. Department of Health Programs

Be A Healthier You!  Sign up for free and low-cost programs offered by the Rockland County Department of Health – call 364-2500 for more information and to register

A Matter of Balance (free 8-session workshop): Learn to improve your balance and reduce falls. The next workshop series begin April 4 from 10 AM to 12 PM in Valley Cottage, and April 19 from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM in New City. 

Better Choices, Better Health (free 6-session workshop): Learn ways to manage your ongoing health conditions. The next workshop series begin March 9 from 9:30 AM to 12 PM in New City, and May 4 from 10 AM to 12:30 PM in Nanuet.

Diabetes Prevention Program (free 16-session workshop): Learn how you can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes if you are at risk for diabetes or have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. The next workshop series begin March 1 from 2:15 PM to 3:15 PM in Garnerville, and June 15 from 5:15 PM to 6:15 PM in Pomona.

Living Well With Diabetes (free 6-session workshop):  Learn how to better self-manage your type 2 diabetes and reduce the risk of complications. The next workshop series begins April 5 from 9:30 AM to 12 PM in Spring Valley. 

Put It Out Rockland: Get help to successfully quit smoking. Call the Health Department’s Put It Out Rockland Quit Smoking Program at 364-2651 for one-on-one, or group, help with quitting and low-cost nicotine patches that can double your chances of being successful, or call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866- NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) for help with quitting. 

Local Veterans' Organizations

For your information, here are the addresses for some of our local veterans' organizations:
  • Rockland County Marine Corps League, P.O. Box 191, Haverstraw, New York 10927
  • 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 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:
  • 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:

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


RockVets - A Project of New York Vets  

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

On the first Friday of each month, just after the 10:00 a.m. news-break, RockVets has a live call-in talk show on Rockland County's local radio station - WRCR 1700 AM dial.  This live show is hosted by Jerry Donnellan.  We encourage you to call-in and ask any questions you  may have relating to veterans or the military.  This is also a good opportunity to promote any upcoming events for your organization that would be of interest to the veteran/military community.  
The call-in number is 845-362-0013. Please note, WRCR is now on 1700 AM dial.   
The show is also live on the internet at: 

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 20th of each month so we can get the information in the following issue. Send information to

Veterans Service Agency of Rockland

If you plan to come to the Veterans Service Agency office, please call to make an appointment so we can give you the time you need:  845-638-5244.   

Jerry Donnellan, Director 

Veterans Service Agency of Rockland County

20 Squadron Blvd., - Suite 480

New City, New York  10956   


RockVets website:

RockVets newsletters:



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