People Still Think The VA Stands for Veterans Administration
The Veterans Administration ended more than a quarter of a century ago. The first President Bush appointed Edward Derwinsky as the first Secretary of the new Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA.) The new VA was given a seat at the table. This was going to give the VA a voice as part of the President's Cabinet.
I had the opportunity to meet with the then-new Secretary of Veterans Affairs shortly after he was appointed in 1989. Then, as now, one of the concerns that veterans had was the amount of time it took to process their claims. Claims for wounds they received during active service.
Secretary Derwinsky in 1989 told me that the biggest log-jam was the Department of Defense (DOD) and their failure to timely release veterans records to the VA. I asked him why in this age of computers, the records could not simply be transferred from one computer to another with just the push of a button. I was told by the Secretary that the computers did not line up, or interface. I asked if, when we got new computers, could DOD and the VA get the same computer, or could we get some 15 year old kid to show us how to do it, half joking. He said there was a further problem, which was the privacy issue -- that some members of the military might not want their records transferred to the DVA.
I countered with, then maybe we could have a release that the veteran could sign and the records could be transferred. If the veteran chose not to sign it, so be it. Subsequently, I've either gotten similar answers to the same question or no answers at all when the Secretaries have failed to respond.
Here's a thought. So today, like it has been for a very long time when someone processes out of the military, the records are sent to Military Records in St. Louis, Missouri, where they sit until the veteran makes a request or a claim to the VA for disability or other benefits. Then the veteran, in order to be sure the records are there, has to sign a written request to Military records which can take months. But if the DOD when the veteran was processing out simply handed him or her a thumb drive with their records on it on a small dogtag chain that they could even hang around their neck, then they would have their records and could do what they want. If for some reason the records were lost, then they could go back to the old procedure. But at least in most cases it would certainly shorten the time period.
Military records have been a problem for some time. After the Civil War when a veteran filed for benefits or pension, he would travel to Washington for his records. At the time the records were kept in a scroll that was tied with a red ribbon. That's where the term "red tape" comes from. Nice to know there's a long tradition of making things difficult for veterans.
Jerry Donnellan, Director
Veterans Service Agency of Rockland
20 Squadron Blvd., Suite 480
New City, New York 10956
Wounded Warrior Project
We've been getting a lot of calls on the Wounded Warrior Project.
Ten years ago I got involved with them when they were just starting out. At the time I was living on the Hudson. We brought some wounded vets up from Bethesda and Walter Reed. We leaned on some of our friends who had boats and fishing gear and developed a fishing contest on the Hudson. A bunch of the folks threw some money in a hat and the kid that caught the biggest fish won the money. They stayed overnight on my houseboat and we had dinner, and a good time was had by all.
I realized the importance of what these folks were doing. Having spent a year in an Army Hospital myself, I know that time can be mind-numbing. The most important lesson here is even though you've been wounded, you have to concentrate on the things that you can still do and not focus on the things that, because of the injury, you can't do anymore.
After that, I pretty much lost touch with them, other than people calling to ask if they were a legitimate organization and should they donate money to them.
A couple of years ago I began to take issue with them because of the unending television advertisements - where each night they'd parade crippled veterans across the screen and then cut away towards the end of the spot to the mother or wife sitting and crying in the corner just about to break down.
Being one of those wounded people, I personally resent them being used as an object of pity. Just once I would like to see in one of those ads, a guy with a hard hat or tie on who's gotten back to work and back in the mainstream - but that didn't seem to fit. These ads seem to capitalize on guilt in what I would call "Plastic Patriotism."
I raised this issue with people I knew in the organization and basically, they didn't want to hear it.
But now that I find that so much money is being spent in ways that are questionable, and that the executives are making somewhere in the neighborhood of half a million dollars, maybe it's time to take another look.
One of the difficulties is that all the air-time the WWP is taking up is forcing other veterans' groups to do the same in order to compete for the finite number of dollars that would be given to veteran's charities.
In the final analysis, all the money that's being churned to buy air-time raises questions. That and another concern I have is more recently there seems to be a shift from the physical injuries to the Post Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injuries side of the aisle. Maybe that's because the wars are over and there aren't any more physical injuries. But maybe it's time they took stock. That's not to say that anyone's personally profiting from this....
However, for the moment I would like to suggest that if you wish to give to a veterans organization and I certainly hope you do, to give locally to the folks you know. If there are any questions as to who or where, we would be glad to supply a list of local veterans organizations. We post a list of local veterans' organizations in our newsletter each month. Donating locally, you're assured that there are no highly paid executives, and the folks you're working with are volunteers, and all the dollars that you contribute go to the cause locally. Jerry Donnellan - 845-638-5244 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Iwo Jima Luncheon - Krucker's in Pomona
On Friday, February 19th, 2016 The Rockland County Detachment of the Marine Corps League will hold its annual Iwo Jima Commemoration luncheon at Krucker's Catering and Picnic Grove - 81 Call Hollow Road, Pomona, New York 10970. This is right next to Platzl Brauhaus, which is closing its doors.
The Marine Corps League will be honoring all World War II veterans during the cake-cutting ceremony.
All are welcome - bring a friend! There is a cash bar starting at 11:30 a.m. and luncheon will begin at 12:30 p.m. Advance payment of $38.00 (includes door prize eligibility) must be received no later than February 12th, 2016, or you can pay $45.00 at the door. Please try to respond early. Please send your name and check to the R.C. Detachment Marine Corps League, P.O. Box 191, Haverstraw, New York 10927. Include your choice of one of these entrees: Roast Prime Rib of Beef; Baked Salmon with Lemon; or Chicken Marsala. If you would like to include a donation to sponsor a Marine at this year's luncheon, please include that also. Sponsoring one Marine for the luncheon is $32.00. They appreciate your consideration.
JWV Post 425 to Host NY State Tax Forum
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, in order to plan properly, please email your attendance with the number of attendees to email@example.com or alternatively text same to 845 596-4911. Thank you.
Nyack School Board Approved Exemption
On Tuesday, January 19th, 2016, the Nyack School Board approved the Veterans' Exemption for Veteran Homeowners within the district. Nyack now joins with South Orangetown, Clarkstown, and North Rockland School Districts in approving the Veteran's Exemption for Veteran Homeowners. We appreciate their support of the veteran community in Rockland. Below is a note of thanks from Nick DelPizzo to the Nyack School Board:
Dear Dr. Montesano,
I am extremely proud this morning to be an alumnus of Nyack High School! I thank you and the members of the Nyack School Board for approving the Veteran’s Exemption for Veteran Homeowners within the district at last night’s Board meeting. Please know also that I speak for many of the Veterans who attended last night’s meeting and who expressed their pride and gratitude to me after the meeting.
If convenient for you, please convey this note of thanks and gratitude to all members of the Board by forwarding this e mail to all.
Nick Del Pizzo
Nyack High School Class of ‘61
Judge Advocate-Rockland County American Legion
Adjutant -Post 310, American Legion Nyack
Judge Advocate-Post 1195 VFW Upper Nyack
Member-Vietnam Veterans Rockland Chapter 333
Veteran's Appreciation Day
On Friday, February 5th, 2016, West Point MWR is inviting veterans to join them as they show their appreciation to the veterans for their sacrifice and dedication to our county. On this date, they will offer half-price snow passes and rentals for veterans and their immediate families (with valid ID.) Veterans Appreciation Day rates will be $10.00 for a snow pass; $10.00 for a ski package; $12.00 for snowboard package; $13.00 for a lesson; and $30.00 for a Lesson Package. Season passes are also available for purchase. This will be held at the Victor Constant Ski Area at 732 Victor Constant Road, West Point, New York 10996.
Camp LeJeune Past Water Contamination
From the 1950s through the 1980s, people serving or living at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, were potentially exposed to drinking water contaminated with industrial solvents, benzene, and other chemicals. This chemical exposure may have led to adverse health conditions.
You may be eligible for VA Health Benefits if you served on active duty (veterans) or resided (family members) at Camp LeJeune for 30 days or more between August 1, 1953 and December 31st, 1987.
Qualifying Health Conditions include: Bladder cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, lung cancer, multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, female infertility, hepatic steatosis, miscarriage, neurobehavioral effects, renal toxicity, and scleroderma.
A Camp LeJeune veteran does not need to have one of the 15 health conditions to be eligible to receive VA health care, nor do they need a service connected disability to be eligible as a Camp LeJeune veteran for VA health care. Contact us at R.C. Veterans Service Agency at 845-638-5244 for further information and to follow-up on this.
50 Years Ago Column - Rockland Review News
Originally taken from Week of January 3 - 9, 1966 from "The Journal News"
Spring Valley Tops Rockland List - Dun & Bradstreet Report
Spring Valley, Rockland County's self-proclaimed business center, is just that according to the recently released 1966 Dun & Bradstreet Commercial Reference Book. Topping all Rockland Communities with 292 listing enterprises was Spring Valley In a distant second place was Nyack with 216, New City 154, and Nanuet 146. http://www.rocklandreviewnews.com.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is a photo of Charlie Maushardt, President of the Nam Knights in Rockland, taken on the day before he left for Vietnam....obviously he wasn't a happy guy!
Charlie (and his brother-in-law John) run Modern Automotive at 1 Western Highway in Tappan, New York. They do all sorts of automotive repairs (foreign and domestic,) wheel alignment, lube/oil changes, Motor Vehicle inspections, tune-ups, tires, whatever you need to keep your car running well! You can call Charlie at 845-359-4005.
Another veteran-owned business featured in this month's newsletter is Greg Timmins, an Air Force veteran who served from 1988 - 1992. His hot dog truck is located in West Nyack. I'm sure the hot dogs are very good, but we also hear he has a killer wine-list!
Donald Trump Donation?
As for the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans' group who turned down Donald Trump's donation before he offered it, I can only comment that if Donald Trump offered me the money to help veterans, I'd take it in a heart-beat, and send him a very nice thank you note!
Then I'd write to Hillary to ask what she plans on doing? That way we remain apolitical!
Leadership Rockland - Recruiting Veterans
Leadership Rockland, Inc. is accepting applications for the next Class of 2017 which runs from September, 2016 through June, 2017. Deadline for submitting applications is April 1, 2016. Applications are available online at http://www.leadershiprockland.org/.
Leadership Rockland offers existing and emerging leaders an educational experience focused on the infrastructure of Rockland County, New York – presented by leaders in government, business and non-profit sectors.
The organization, which celebrated its 25th anniversary with the June 2015 graduating class, has 600 alumni including Sheriff Lou Falco, Chris Jensen, hazardous materials coordinator at the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, both active and retired members of Rockland police departments and many others engaged in service to their community.
Leadership Rockland hopes to tap into the leadership potential of veterans of all ages, but especially those who have served in the post-9/11 era who are returning to the community with experience, insights and energy to share.
The program, which consists of 11 daylong sessions over a 10-month period, engages and challenges its participants to examine issues and seek solutions. Topics include Leadership Skills; Historical Rockland; Environment; Multicultural Communities; Education & Developing Human Capital; Economic Development; Criminal Justice & Public Safety; Healthcare & Emergency Services; Art, Culture, Media and Communications; Politics & Public Policy; and Making an Impact.
Acceptance into the class is competitive. The $1,200 tuition for the ten seminar classes includes all materials, continental breakfasts, lunches and bus transportation when necessary.
Please contact the Program Administrator at 845.598.7006 for information on scholarship opportunities.
A photo of the first "selfie!"
Thursday, February 4th, 2016; The Buffalo Soldiers Award Presentation will be held on February 4th, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. in Rockland County Executive Ed Day's Office.
Thursday, February 4th, 2016: Nyack Manor Nursing Home is holding a Veteran Heart Ceremony and invite the public to join them in this effort. They are making handcrafted hearts to send to the soldiers thanking active and returning soldiers for sacrificing for us. Each handcrafted heart will have a note, and a prayer, to show the soldiers how much we appreciate them. You are invited to join them on February 4th, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. in the Main Lobby of the Nyack Manor Nursing Home, 476 Christian Herald Road, Valley Cottage, New York 10989. For further information, contact Josa Andaloro, Director of Therapeutic Recreation at 845-268-6861
Friday, February 5th, 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: www.wrcr.com. 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.
Friday, February 5th, 2016: Veterans Appreciation Day at West Point. West Point MWR is inviting veterans to join them as they show their appreciation to the veterans for their sacrifice and dedication to our county. On this date, they will offer half-price snow passes and rentals for veterans and their immediate families (with valid ID.) Veterans Appreciation Day rates will be $10.00 for a snow pass; $10.00 for a ski package; $12.00 for snowboard package; $13.00 for a lesson; and $30.00 for a Lesson Package. Season passes are also available for purchase. This will be held at the Victor Constant Ski Area at 732 Victor Constant Road, West Point, New York 10996. For more information, call 845- 938-8810; e-mail ODRWPMWR@usma.edu, or visit their webpage at: http://www.westpointmwr.comski/index.html
Saturday, February 6th, 2016: The American Legion will have it's Zone Oratorical on Saturday, February 6, 2016 at 12:00 noon at the Rho Building 5 Club House Dr Stony Point NY. (Patriots Golf Course.) There are two students participating from Rockland County one from Spring Valley and one home schooled student. For further information, contact Maureen Morgan, RCAL Commander via e-mail: email@example.com.
Sunday, February 7th, 2016: The Rockland County Four Chaplains Service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, February 7th, 2016 at the Dutch Tappan Reformed Church, 32 Old Tappan Road in Tappan, New York 10983. For further information, contact Maureen Morgan, RCAL Commander via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, February 13th, 2016: On Saturday, February 13th, 2016 cheese and other food items will be distributed at the Sloatsburg Municipal Building between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. The Municipal Building is located at 96 Route 17 across from the United Methodist Church. This is being offered by Richard Jarcho, a veteran and businessman, who has in the past provided turkeys and food baskets to veterans in various communities. For further information, contact: email@example.com.
Friday, February 19th, 2016: The Rockland County Detachment of the Marine Corps League will hold its annual Iwo Jima Commemoration luncheon at Krucker's Catering and Picnic Grove - 81 Call Hollow Road, Pomona, New York 10970. There is a cash bar starting at 11:30 a.m. and luncheon will begin at 12:30 p.m. Advance payment of $38.00 (includes door prize eligibility) must be received no later than February 12th, 2016, or you can pay $45.00 at the door. Please send your name and check to the R.C. Detachment Marine Corps League, P.O. Box 191, Haverstraw, New York 10927.
Saturday, February 20th, 2016: The Town of Ramapo presents the 1st Annual Winter Classic at Provident Bank Park-Boulder Stadium in Pomona, New York. This will be a Hockey Game between New York Police Department and the U.S. Marines on Saturday, February 20th, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. Boulder Stadium Ice Rink. Gates open at 3:30 p.m. and tickets are on sale now. Ages 18 and over: $15.00; Seniors, Veterans, and Youth under 18 years: $10.00. Save $5.00 if you purchase prior to game day. Tickets can be purchased at the Provident Bank Park Box Office or by calling and paying over the phone at 845-364-0009, Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Proceeds of the game will benefit Semper FI Fund (U.S.M.C.) and NYC Widows and Children's Fund/NYC PBA (NYPD.) BOGO Offer: For each ticket purchased prior to February 20th, 2016, The Rockland Boulders will give you a ticket to the NYPD V. Boulders on Saturday, May 14th, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 27th, 2016: A group of Hudson Valley Veterans, known as The Bob Hope Division will gather at the Veteran’s Nursing Home, 2090 Albany Post Road, (Route 9) Montrose, NY 10548. As always, they will meet in the lobby at 1230 hrs. For further information, contact Chip Hayes at: Chip1440@lawyer.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively text same to 845 596-4911.
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: email@example.com.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is an Equal Opportunity Employer that welcomes all veterans to consider employment throughout our Eastern Territory. Locally, The Salvation Army has its Territorial Headquarters in West Nyack and the College for Officer Trainining is in Suffern. Job postings may be viewed through our website at: https://careers-usesalvationarmy.icims.com/. For further information, please contact Sharon Reynolds, PHR, Human Resources Specialist at 845-620-7483, extension: 20483.
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: email@example.com or call Jennifer at 845-624-0400.
Greyhound - Now Hiring Motorcoach Operators in New York City
Free training (and money while you learn!)
Free travel passes
Comprehensive benefits including 401 (k)
United States Postal Service: The US Postal Service is looking to hire veterans as well as other qualified candidates. Please check out their website for positions of interest to you: http://www.usps.com/employment.
Homegrown For Good is a company located in New Rochelle, New York who are committed to hiring veterans. http://www.tidalnewyork.com/pages/the-mission. Tim and Tommy Gibb own the company. For further information you can contact Tim at: Tim@homegrownforgood.com or Brad McNiff via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
RockVets - A Project of New York Vets
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
- Bath Chairs
- Transfer Benches
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: email@example.com.
Useful Telephone Numbers for Veterans
Rockland County Veterans Service Agency...............845-638-5244
Rockland County Sheriff's Office................................845-638-5400
Veterans Peer-to-Peer (Counseling)...........................845-521-5361
People to People (Food).............................................845-623-4900
Montrose VA Hospital..................................................914-737-4400
New City VA Clinic.......................................................845-634-8995
Rape Crisis Services (Main)........................................845-634-3391
Rape Crisis Services (24/7).........................................845-634-3344
Home Health Care.......................................................845-358-2002
Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency..........................845-368-5029
Nyack Hospital Emergency..........................................845-348-2345
Mental Health Association of Rockland County...........845-267-2172
Mobile Mental Health...................................................845-364-2378
West Point (Nearest Military Base)..............................845-938-4011
New York National Guard (Orangeburg)......................845-340-7167
Army Reserve (Orangeburg)........................................845-359-6903
Rockland County Housing Action Coalition..................845-708-5799
You can find information, useful links, and view our webpage at www.rockvets.com. 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: http://www.wrcr.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: http://www.rockvets.com
RockVets newsletters: http://www.rockvets.com/newsletters