A Letter to Veterans, Family Members and Friends

June 29, 2012

Dear Veterans, Family Members and Friends,

Thank you for tuning into RFDTV and watching this very unique and special Veteran Salute. It was an honor to contribute to this project.

Branson is the host to the largest week long Veteran’s Event in the United States… November 5 – 11th. Check out the Calendar of Events for this week. There are always venues being added and changes being made so keep checking back! and Hand in Hand for Veterans put on a yearly event for Purple Heart Recipients, called “Hand in Hand Branson Honors Purple Heart Recipients.” Next years dates are April 25-27, 2013.

We also produce the U.S. Marine Corps Birthday Ball. This years ball is November 6th, 2012 at the Branson Convention Center, Branson, MO.

Also, check our “Calendar of Events,” to see if your event is there? You don’t have to be from Branson to have everyone see what you are doing for veterans in your community. Check our “links”… is yours there? If you have tools to help our Veterans, please get me your link and we’ll let them know about your site. Do you have a story, a picture, or a video? Come on brag a little… veterans deserve it.

This site is full of love and information for the Veteran. We are about God, Country and Patriotism.

God Bless you

Military Order of the Purple Heart Disappointed in Supreme Court Decision to Overturn the Stolen Valor Act

June 28, 2012

Today, in a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States voted to overturn the Stolen Valor Act by upholding the decision of the 9th Circuit Court, in the case of the United States vs. Alvarez. Originally tried in a California court, Mr. Alvarez was convicted for claiming to be a retired Marine with 25 years of military service and a recipient of both the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart Medal. Alvarez, who never actually served in the military, later appealed the decision and won in the 9th Circuit Court on the basis that the 2005 Stolen Valor Act infringes upon speech protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In defending the law, the Obama administration had argued that “military awards serve as public symbols of honor and prestige, conveying the nation’s gratitude for acts of valor and sacrifice; and they foster morale… and esprit de corps within the military. False claims to have received military awards undermine the system’s ability to fulfill these purposes,” and “make the public skeptical of all claims to have received awards….” By its decision, the Supreme Court has made clear that, while “contemptible” and worthy of outrage and ridicule, the right to lie about valor, heroism, and the receipt of military decorations is protected by the 1st Amendment

Reacting to the news, MOPH National Commander Bill Hutton said, “While disappointed in this decision, The Military Order of the Purple Heart has always been and remains a staunch supporter of the U.S. Constitution and the individual citizen’s right to freedom of speech. All of our members, who proudly wear the Purple Heart Medal, regard the award as a testament of their willingness to sacrifice their lives in the defense of the freedoms that all Americans enjoy.” According to Hutton, “as the Congress originally considered the Stolen Valor Act, the MOPH was one of only two Veteran Service Organizations invited to join in a press conference to announce the legislation and wholeheartedly supported its passage.” He noted, “In their dissension with the Court’s decision, Justices Alioto, Scalia and Thomas said, “The Stolen Valor Act follows a long tradition of efforts to protect our country’s system of military honors. When George Washington, as the commander of the Continental Army, created the very first ‘honorary badges of distinc­tion’ for service in our country’s military, he established a rigorous system to ensure that these awards would be received and worn by only the truly deserving. (See Gen­eral Orders of George Washington Issued at Newburgh on the Hudson, 1782–1783, p. 35 & 36) Washington warned that anyone with the ‘insolence to assume’ a badge that had not actually been earned would be ‘severely punished’.”

In keeping with George Washington’s admonition, The MOPH recommends that the Congress not consider this a closed case. Even in its decision to overturn the Stolen Valor Act, the High Court said “I believe the statute nonetheless has substantial justification. It seeks to protect the interests of those who have sacrificed their health and life for their country. The statute serves this interest by seeking to preserve intact the country’s recog­nition of that sacrifice in the form of military honors. To permit those who have not earned those honors to claim otherwise dilutes the value of the awards. Indeed, the Nation cannot fully honor those who have sacrificed so much for their country’s honor unless those who claim to have received its military awards tell the truth.” The MOPH joins the Court in urging the Congress to draft a more restrictive bill that still preserves the intent of the Stolen Valor Act while not infringing on the individual’s right to freedom of speech.

The organization now known as the “Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. Inc.,” (MOPH) was formed in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all who have received the decoration. Chartered by the Congress, The MOPH is unique among Veteran Service Organizations in that all its members were wounded in combat. For this sacrifice, they were awarded the Purple Heart Medal. With grants from the MOPH Service Foundation, the MOPH a and its Ladies Auxiliary promote Patriotism, Fraternalism, and the Preservation of America’s military history. Most importantly, they provide comfort and assistance to all Veterans and their families, especially those requiring claims assistance with the VA, those who are homeless, and those requiring employment assistance. Through the VAVS program, MOPH volunteers provide assistance to hospitalized veterans at VA sites and State Veterans Homes.

For information contact:

National Public Relations Director, John Bircher, 352-753-5535

A Veteran’s Benefit You Should Know About

March 26, 2012

DD FORM 214 — SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFIT Please share this with anyone who had active duty service between January 1957 to December 31, 2001, and planning for retirement. In a nutshell it boils down to this: You qualify for a higher social security payment because of your Military service, for active duty any time from 1957 through 2001 (the program was done away with 1 January 2002). Up to $1200 per year of earnings credit credited at time of application – which can make a substantial difference in social security monthly payments upon your retirement. You must bring your DD-214 to the Social Security Office and you must ask for this benefit to receive it! This is something to put in your files for when you apply for Social Security down the road.. It is NOT just for retirees, BUT anyone who has served on active duty between January 1957 to December 31, 2001. FYI – this benefit is not automatic, you must ask for it!

Read More Here …

MOPH National Commander Testifies on Veteran Priorities for 2012

March 22, 2012

MOPH National Commander Testifies on Veteran Priorities for 2012

On March 21, 2011, Bill Hutton, National Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, testified before a joint hearing of the Senate and House Committees on Veteran’s Affairs on the priority veteran issues that the organization believes the Congress needs to address in the 112th Session of Congress.

National Commander Hutton Testifies Before Congress

In his opening remarks, Commander Hutton thanked the respective Committee Chairmen for their continuing efforts on behalf of America’s Veterans and the many accomplishments achieved during the 111th Legislative Session. However, Hutton made clear that much remains to be done to support of our military men and women who have served and continue to serve in harm’s way. MOPH believes, without equivocation, that upon their return home these veterans deserve the best health care available and the timely processing of claims for any benefits earned by their service.” According to Commander Hutton, “MOPH’S priorities for the Second Session of 112th Congress include:

TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY (TBI): MOPH notes that the signature wound of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan is TBI. These injuries change the lives of victims and the lives of their loved ones forever. While none of us can change this horrific episode in their lives, we can insist and ensure that they receive the best possible medical care that is available. MOPH supports S. 957 and H.R. 1855, the “Veterans Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitative Services Improvements Act Of 2011.”

POST TRAUMATIC STRESS (PTS): After ten years of war and multiple combat deployments, many military members are suffering the effects of PTS. Suicide and attempted suicide rates continue to be of concern among our military including Guard, Reserves and Veterans in spite of the many efforts by DoD, the VA and others in the medical profession. PTS also affects the member or veteran’s family as well and is one of the significant contributing causes of suicide, homelessness, substance abuse and acts of violence including domestic violence, sexual assaults and unemployment. MOPH especially urges Congress to provide necessary funding to ensure that additional medical and mental health specialists are available at DoD and VA facilities to provide service to veterans suffering from PTS.

VA CLAIMS BACKLOG: MOPH and other VSOS have testified on these issues for many years. The Veterans Committees have held many hearings concerning the delay and accuracy of processing VA benefits claims, and Secretary Shinseki has placed the reduction of the time required to process a claim as one of his top priorities. MOPH urges Congress to ensure that VA has sufficient funding to continue to update information technology systems, and to have qualified professionals process claims in a timely manner. It is also imperative that the VA concentrate on accuracy and gets it right the first time. Finally, the VA and DoD should once and for all perfect their partnership to immediately implement a truly seamless transition system.

ELIMINATION OF THE SURVIVOR BENEFIT PROGRAM (SBP) AND THE DEPENDENT INDEMINITY COMPENSATION (DIC) OFFSET: MOPH acknowledges that this issue has little visibility in Congress at this time of austere budget measures. However, all recognize that the dollar for dollar offset of SBP receipts by the amount of DIC receipts is wrong. The military member paid for SBP; just as we all do for an insurance policy to provide for the surviving spouse. DIC, which is administered by the VA, is paid when a military retiree dies of a service connected injury or a disability. MOPH was disappointed that a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012, which would have corrected this onerous situation, did not become a part of the final legislation. MOPH will keep the offset issue on the radar screen as it affects many thousands of surviving spouses and at some point we are hopeful that justice will be done.

JOINT PRISONERS OF WAR, MISSING IN ACTION ACCOUNTING COMMAND (JPAC): Although not under the purview of the Veteran Committees, MOPH addresses it to you as members of Congress and American citizens. MOPH has an unwavering commitment to obtain the fullest possible accounting of all Americans still listed as missing in action and unaccounted for. Guaranteeing the return of fallen warriors from the many battlefields is a most sacred of missions; none of our members will rest until this mission has been fulfilled. As veterans we follow the adage that “we leave no soldier behind.” The fulfillment of this sacred mission is important not only to the families who seek closure but to our country. MOPH urges Congress to provide full funding for JPAC for as many years as it takes to complete the mission.

FUNDING FOR THE VA HEALTH CARE ADMINISTRATION (VHA): MOPH urges the Congress to ensure adequate funding to care for those veterans who are enrolled in the VHA system, especially as the number of returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans requiring medical attention continues to increase. MOPH supports H.R. 3895, the “Protect VA Healthcare Act of 2012.” We agree that the healthcare of America’s veterans should not be subject to the sequestration provisions of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act. This country sends our men and women to war and we must recognize our responsibility to care for them when they return.

CONCURRENT RECEIPT: This is another one of those issues that is obviously wrong and an injustice, but given the current deficit and budget woes, may not be addressed by this congress. Nevertheless MOPH believes that all military retirees, regardless of VA disability rating, should be authorized to receive both their earned military retirement for their many years of dedicated service in uniform and the VA compensation, which is a benefit that they receive for being injured or diagnosed with an illness as a result of their military service.

VETERANS EMPLOYMENT: MOPH is pleased that Congress passed, and the President signed into law, The “Vow to Hire Heroes Act of 2011” to address the extremely high veteran unemployment rate. With the nation’s unemployment rate at 8.5 percent and the rate for veterans at 12 percent, MOPH urges Congress to ensure full implementation of this program.

TRICARE/MEDICARE: Many members of MOPH rely on these two programs for their health care. For retired military members, Tricare is an important benefit that was earned. MOPH urges Congress to take action to prevent the 27 percent cut in payments that will take effect on March 1 of this year, to medical providers who accept Tricare/Medicare patients. It is well known that many doctors are not accepting new patients or are opting out of the program altogether.

SERVICE DISABLED VETERAN OWNED SMALL BUSINESSES (SDVOSBs) AND VETERAN OWNED SMALL BUSINESSES (VOSBs): Through congressional efforts, Public Law (PL) 106-50 was signed into law in 1999 and Part 19, of the Federal Acquisition Regulations, gave Service Disabled Veterans the opportunity to be part of the Federal Government contracting arena as a designated group. As enacted, Public Law 106-50 established a SDVOSB procurement goal of 3 percent for all federal agencies and prime contractors. However, it was discovered that PL 106-50 did not allow for set aside procurements for SDVOSBs and thus, other mandates were created to establish lawful procurement vehicles to assist agencies in achieving the 3 percent goal. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) “Veterans First Program” is not operating in a manner that puts Veterans first and uses other procurement methods to bypass SDVOSBs and VOSBs. The MOPH urges that you insist that the VA adhere to Congressional intent and guarantee that veterans do come first in implementing the Veterans First Program.

The organization now known as the “Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. Inc.,” (MOPH) was formed in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all combat wounded veterans and active duty men and women who have received the decoration. Chartered by the Congress, the MOPH is unique among veteran service organizations in that all its members were wounded in combat. For this sacrifice, they were awarded the Purple Heart Medal. With grants from the MOPH Service Foundation, the MOPH and its Ladies Auxiliary promote patriotism, fraternalism, and the preservation of America’s military history. Most importantly, through veteran service, they provide comfort and assistance to all veterans and their families, especially those requiring claims assistance with the VA, those who are homeless, and those requiring employment assistance. Through the VAVS program, MOPH volunteers selflessly provide assistance to hospitalized veterans at VA medical facilities and state veterans homes.

For information contact:
MOPH National Legislative Director, Hershel Gober, (202) 550-2491,
National Public Relations Director, John Bircher, 352-753-5535

Using Technology to Help Homeless Veterans

March 21, 2012

More than 67,000 Veterans spent one night homeless, living in emergency shelters, transitional housing units or on the streets in 2011, according to last year’s “point in time” count conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in coordination with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

It’s not always easy for volunteers and outreach workers to know where to send them to get help. That’s why the VA is excited to launch a competition to provide easy access to resources that the homeless need, when they need them, and where they can get them.

Project REACH (Real-Time Electronic Access for Caregivers and the Homeless) challenges applicants to make a free, easy-to-use, and broadly accessible web- and Smartphone app to provide current and up-to-date information about housing and shelter, health clinics, food banks, and other services available to the homeless. It is designed to tap the enormous talent and deep compassion of the nation’s developer community to help us deliver vital information to the people who care for the homeless.

Continue Reading Here …

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