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Absentee Voting Week

September 28, 2010

The Department of Defense (DoD) announced today Absentee Voting Week from Sept. 27 to Oct. 4.  The week will encourage all citizens voting under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act who have not received their absentee ballot to go to http://www.FVAP.gov  to fill it out as soon as possible.

Commanders and voting assistance officers will use this week to emphasize the importance of filling out and returning the absentee ballot.  They will also educate eligible personnel on how to use the new online tools to fill out their absentee ballot, plus encourage the use of emailing and faxing as an alternative to sending the voted ballot to local election officials where allowed.

“We encourage all military personnel, their family members, and overseas citizens to exercise their right to vote,” said Clifford Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.  “We strongly recommend they complete and mail their absentee ballots immediately, so they are received by local election officials in time to be counted for the November general election.  Make your vote count.”

The Federal Assistance Voting Program is responsible for making the absentee voting process easier and more efficient.  One of their new initiatives is to provide military members, their families and overseas voters electronic alternatives to requesting, receiving or returning their ballots.  If someone has not received their state absentee ballot, it is not too late.

“This year, the states and FVAP launched new online products that make completing absentees ballots much easier.  In many cases voters can request their ballot, fill it out and mail or fax it back in 10 to 15 minutes,” said Stanley.  “When I was a junior officer, this process could take 30 to 40 days.  The new online tools have remarkably reduced the wait time.  Go to FVAP.gov to fill out your state ballot or the federal write-in absentee ballot online and send it, today.”


NCOA’s Salute to Heroes the Perfect Setting to Honor Vietnam Veteran with iBOT

September 24, 2010

The NCOA Journal has published the amazing story of our friend: Cpl Eddie Beesley, USMC (Ret.). We encourage everyone to take a few minutes and read through his incredible story to see how he received his new – state of the art iBOT wheelchair which was recently presented to Eddie during the NCOA Vanguard Banquet by Tony Orlando.

Eddie Beesley embraces the spirit of a Marine — tough, disciplined, compassionate and always faithful to the Corps. If offered dessert after a meal, he will tell you he doesn’t eat “Pogey Bait”, this explains why he still looks sharp in his Marine Blues.

It is those attributes that have defined a life devoted and shared with his bride of nearly 45 years, Connie. The daughter of a career Navy man, Connie was a volunteer with the USO and met Ed at the hospital where he was recovering from his injuries — they have been inseparable ever since.

Click here to download the full story.

Original Source: http://www.ncoausa.org/Magazine/NCOA_Journal2010Vol3.pdf


VA Honors Veterans on POW/MIA National Recognition Day

September 24, 2010

Special Benefits Available to Former POWs

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki wants former American prisoners of war (POWs) to be aware of the benefits and services available to them as Americans across the nation show respect and appreciation for this special group of men and women during POW/MIA National Recognition Day.

“These Veterans made great sacrifices for their country in time of war, and it is our Nation’s turn to honor them by reinforcing to them the full range of compensation, health care and benefits they have earned,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has expanded policies to cover increasing numbers of former prisoners of war.

Special benefits for former POWs include enrollment in medical care for treatment at VA hospitals and clinics without copayments, as well as disability compensation for injuries and diseases that are associated with internment.

Former POWs are also generally entitled to a presumption of service-connection for certain diseases, based on the length of captivity and the severity of their conditions.

Free dental treatment for any dental condition is also available to former POWs. These benefits are in addition to regular Veterans’ benefits and services to which they are already entitled.

A major benefit for survivors of former POWs include Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), which is a monthly benefit which may be payable to the surviving spouse, children and, in some cases, parents.

Currently, more than 15,000 POWs are receiving VA benefits for service-connected injuries, diseases, or illnesses. VA is asking former POWs not currently utilizing VA benefits to contact the agency at 1-800-827-1000 to find out if they may be eligible for disability compensation and other services.

Veterans can also apply online at http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp or contact their coordinator for former POWs located at each VA regional office.

More information about VA services for former POWs is available at http://www.vba.va.gov/VBA/benefits/factsheets/misc/formerpow.doc.


Inspiration

September 21, 2010

On September 10, with the help of Branson.com, The Tyler Project presented Sgt. Maj. Tony Rose as the 2010 Branson Junior High Character Day guest speaker. Sgt. Maj. Tony Rose is a 9/11 Pentagon attack survivor who received the Medal of Heroism for going back into the Pentagon FIVE times to save the lives of fellow citizens and to gather human body parts so that people could be identified. In his speech, he talked about patriotism and told his 9/11 story. He also included why America is such a great country to live in, using comparisons to other countries. Sgt. Maj. Tony Rose is an awesome person with an incredible story to tell. The whole gym was silent and not a peep came out of the students as Sgt. Maj. Tony Rose spoke. One piece of information he touched base on was that when he was exiting the Pentagon with two arms full of human remains, he saw a little girl’s hand float by, and he kneeled down to pick it up with his pinky because that is all he had open, and stuck the hand in his pocket. He told us how at that moment, he suddenly became angry. At that point of his story, I was speechless and deeply affected. I wish I could remember where I was when the planes hit, but I was only four. I guess what matters is that I know where I am now, and I know the devastation and results of the attacks. He told us a reason why America was attacked; because those terrorists didn’t like what our flag represented: freedom. That just gives you another reason to love your flag. I know it makes me want to put our flag on an even higher pedestal. To know that people fight to protect our flag and what it means is so mind boggling, but true. I feel like I connected with him throughout his speech, even though I wasn’t at the Pentagon and can’t relate to being in a 9/11 attack or anything like that. Maybe, the connection was through our love of patriotism.

Sgt. Maj. Tony Rose is an amazing speaker and person. If you ever have the chance to hear to him, take the opportunity.

Front of custom guitar, Back of custom guitar

Over this past 9/11 weekend, I went back to Kansas where Tyler was from for the first annual Sgt. Tyler Juden Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser. The fundraiser included a poker run, door prizes, and a raffle for a custom painted guitar in memory of Tyler.

The fundraiser was put on by a member of the Patriot Guard who was the ride captain at Tyler’s funeral. He told me that The Tyler Project and I are what inspired him to do this event after he heard my interview on a local radio station in Kansas. I cold not believe it! All I could say to him was “Wow, thanks for doing this.” It just goes to show that one person’s actions CAN inspire others to do something, which is one goal of The Tyler Project, to see patriotism spread. This event raised about $5,000. It was fun, but also very emotional. I started crying when a man sang a song called “Coming Home”. It is about a fallen soldier telling his family goodbye and that he is okay at home with the Lord. It was so hard not to start bawling, because, when I heard that song, I couldn’t help but think of Tyler. They then presented the guitar to the raffle winner who in turn gave it back to Tyler’s parents and sister. As I was leaving the poker run, the man who put on this wonderful event gave me a Patriot Guard patch and made me an official member of the Patriot Guard…what an honor! On Sunday, September 12, the one year anniversary of Tyler’s ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan, we stopped by the cemetery where Tyler is buried. It was a beautiful sight. There were flowers, letters, flags, and other items left by Tyler’s friends and other family members surrounding his headstone. I couldn’t help myself and cried.

Overall, it was an amazing three days overflowing with patriotism and inspiration. To have Sgt. Maj. Tony Rose come and talk at my school was just so breathtaking. For him to be a survivor of the attacks, and then share his story and feelings with us is an irreplaceable experience. Then, I saw everyone from Tyler’s hometown and surrounding areas come together to support a fallen hero and his family. It was all patriotism. Isn’t it ironic, that I was inspired by the words of Sgt. Tony Rose at the same time another event was about to take place that I had inspired without even realizing it? Anything you say can affect someone. If we speak more about patriotism, then maybe it will start to spread a bit faster.

Until my next blog,
Young Patriot

Number of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by US Central Command as of 9-20: 5,671


Living Afghan War Vet to Receive Medal of Honor

September 16, 2010

WASHINGTON — Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, a Soldier who risked his life to stop Taliban fighters from kidnapping a fallen comrade, will be the first living U.S. servicemember from either Iraq or Afghanistan to receive the Medal of Honor, White House officials announced Friday.

Please visit the URL below to read this incredible story.

http://www.military.com/news/article/living-afghan-war-vet-to-receive-medal-of-honor.html


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