Veterans Affairs – December 2011

Hopefully those of you who have planned to send packages and cards to our GIs overseas already have them in the mail. There is nothing like receiving a package from home. If you do not know anyone overseas I suggest that you make a Christmas contribution to the Wounded Warrior Project. You can mail a check to Wounded Warrior Project, National Processing Center, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, Ks 66675-8516. You can also make a do-nation to Fisher House at Strat-ton VA Medical Center, 113 Holland Ave., Albany, N.Y. 12208.

Within the next few weeks many of our G.I.’s will be re-turning home from overseas. This will surely be a Merry Christmas for them and their families.

FYI: For those on active duty and either wounded or injured in the line of duty and because of your condition, are no longer able to perform your assigned duties and now have other du-ties not prescribed by your MOS, you are entitled to re-ceive Social Security Disability in addition your pay. Social Security Disability is retroactive to your date of injury. You will need all your military health records that reflect the wound or injury along with a letter of documentation from your doc-tor. The application is on line disability or call 1-800-772-1213.

If you know anyone transition-ing from the military to civilian life there is a useful website at Adecco. It is managed by for-mer military and can assist with career services, employer ser-vices, and associated needs. They are at In addi-tion, the Small Business Ad-ministration provides services to Veterans who are looking to open their own businesses. They provide counseling and training services. You can reach the New York State Program Coordinator, John Narciso, at www.NYVETBIZ.COM. They are located at Farmingdale State College, 2350 Broadhollow Rd., Farmingdale, N.Y. 11735 or at 631 370-8891.

Have a very happy and Holy Christmas and a healthy New Year.

God Bless our troops and God Bless America.

Convention Report


Donations to programs supporting our Service Men and Women have been going very well. Many Counties and Divisions have run fundraisers to support the Wounded Warrior Project and, just prior to the holidays, Project Christmas tree. If you or your County and Division have not done so, I strongly urge you to give them your support. The WWP Backpack costs $99 each and contains essential care and comfort items including clothing, toiletries, calling card, CD player and playing cards, all designed to make their hospital stay more comfortable. Checks and other donations can be made to:

Wounded Warrior Project, National Processing Center, P.O. Box 758516,
Topeka, KS 66675-8516

The next project that we suggest you lend your support to is the Fisher House Program. The Fisher House Foundation donates comfortable lodging near-by or on the grounds of major Military medical centers. They enable families to visit loved ones during their time of hospitalization. So far they have provided lodging to some 145,000 families in their time of need. The nearest Fisher House is located at:

Fisher House, Stratton VA Medical Center, 113 Holland Ave., Albany, N.Y.

Information for Veterans

There is a new addition of “Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependants” by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs available. It updates the rates for certain federal payments and outlines a variety of programs and benefits for American Veterans. The booklet is 153 pages and can be downloaded at It can be ordered by mail from the US Government Printing Office for a fee of $5. Call 866 512-1800. They accept credit cards.


VA healthcare eligibility rules changed on Monday, June 15, 2009, making it easier for more veterans to enroll in VA’s health care system. This expansion opens VA health care to an additional 266,000 veterans who were previously barred from access to veteran’s facilities. When you visit the new web page yo u will find a calculator to enter your income information, number of dependants, and zip code to determine if your income falls within the new income threshold adjustments.

To check and see if you qualify under the new rules go to the website: You are also encouraged to contact the Health Resources Center at 1-877-222.VETS (8387) if you have further questions.

Freedom Team Salute

Say “Thank You” with a Freedom Team Salute Commendation. Freedom Team Salute is sponsored by the Secretary of the Army and the Army Chief of Staff. There is no cost to participate. Anyone can honor a discharged U.S. Army Veteran and those individuals who support Soldiers and the Army missio n. Active Duty Soldiers can honor their parents, spouses, and other supporters. Guard and Reserve Soldiers can honor their parents, spouses, employers and other supporters. Register on line at or by mail at U.S.

Army Freedom Salute, P.O. Box 529, Shawnee Mission, KS 66201-9706.

An Interesting Publication for Veterans

Vetjobs Vetern Eagle is a recent publication that contains a great deal of information on benefits for veterans , transitioning military, and their family members. It contains information on free SAT & ACT test prep software, unemployment benefits, the VA Data Theft Class Action Suit, Camp Lejune Water Study, how to re-open claims using the VA’s Missing Document Program, Military related Job- fairs and a brochure on Veteran’s Benefits. You can access this newsletter at:

History of the Pledge of Allegiance

The original Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy. It was first given wide publicity through the official program of the National Public Schools Celebration on Columbus Day which was printed in The Youth’s Companion of Sept. 8, 1892, and at the same time sent out in leaflet form to schools throughout the country. School children first recited the Pledge of Allegiance this way: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.” “The flag of the United States replaced the words “my flag” in 1923 because some foreign born people might have in mind the flag of the country of their birth instead of the U. S. flag. A year later, “of America” was added after “United States”.

No form of Pledge received official recognition by Congress until June 22, 1942, when the Pledge was formally included in the U.S. Flag Code. The official name of The Pledge of Allegiance was adopted in 1945. The last change in language came on Flag Day 1954, when Congress passed a law, which added the words ”under God” after “one Nation”. (from an American Legion publication)

Please keep all our Veterans in your prayers. God Bless America. I am yours in our motto,

Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity,
John M. Ryan
Chairman of Veteran’s Affairs