December 2010 Call to aCtion: Volunteer & help our Vets today! Volume 34 No. 12
In this issue: Illinois AMVETS completes pledge
Charities to St. Leo Campus for Veterans
Completion of This year marks
Pledge the completion of
the $2.5 million
Marion updates pledge the Illinois
AMVETS made to
the St. Leo Campus
Spotlight on for Veterans in Chi-
Post 52 cago. The comple-
tion of the pledge
was presented on
Suicide Veterans Day, as
Prevention Commander William
Lifeline Buckner, Service
dent Rudy Spauld-
ing and Healthcare
Lincoln Tamraz pre-
with the final check
Front: Charles W. Mulaney, Jr. , chair of Catholic Charities Board of Advisors, Monsignor
PERMIT NO. 174
Michael M. Boland, Service Foundation President Rudy Spaulding, PNC and Healthcare
The campus, created
by Catholic Charities Facility President Lincoln Tamraz. Back: Senior Vice Commander Raleigh Showens, Com-
of Chicago, was the mander William Buckner and William D’Arcy, Vice President of Housing Management and
result of collabora-
tion with the Veterans and supportive services simultaneously. The benefit to
Administration following the Homeless Veterans Com- this is three-fold: first, homelessness for those residents
prehensive Act of 2001. In 2006, the Illinois AMVETS is eliminated; secondly, health issues, both physical and
pledged $2.5 million to this project after identifying a mental, can be addressed, as well as support for substance
growing number of homeless or near-homeless veter- abuse; finally, employment assistance is available.
ans needed assistance. In the six-county Chicago-area,
approximately 18,000 veterans are homeless. Chronic Hundreds of veterans have been served by this program
illnesses, mental instability and substance abuse problems thus far. Currently there are 122 individuals living at the
are often intensified by unstable living conditions and lack St. Leo Residence. Just this year (FY2010), 146 men and
of proper healthcare. The St. Leo Campus for Veterans 10 women have received 46,660 safe nights provided
was created to help veterans dealing with these types of from living at the residence. The majority of these vet-
AMVETS State Headquarters
setbacks. erans were over the age of 50, which reflects the aging
The St. Leo Residence is the central component of the
Springfield, IL 62703
2200 South 6th Street
campus, providing supportive housing for 141 veterans.
The residence provides safe housing with employment Continued on page 10.
w w w. i l a m v e t s . o r g
DEC2010.indd 1 11/12/2010 3:14:47 PM
AMVETS C o m m a n d e r ’s C o r n e r
Department of Illinois
State Officers: My fellow AMVETS,
Commander: William Buckner
Senior Vice Cmdr.: Raleigh Showens
With 2010 coming to a close I want to thank every one of you for all
Junior Vice Cmdr.: Cheryl Weglewski
of your hard work for veterans. In this bad economy with limited
Headquarters Staff: funds you have all stepped up to the plate to help our less fortunate
Executive Director: Len Baumgartner veterans. We are doing more with less and should be very pleased
Membership Director: Keith Wetherell with ourselves.
Programs Director: Crystal Blakeman
Public Relations Director/Editor: Ashley Murphy I have been in every division this past year and seen first hand the
Executive Assistant: Katie Van Dyke work you are doing. I hear and understand your concerns for the
present and our future.
AMVETS Veterans Service Department:
Regional Director: Richard Miller
Our Marion Project should be completed by the end of December.
NSO: Jose Garcia
Accredited VSO: Connie Deleonardis
This new structure will house mental health, physical rehabilitation,
Located at the Chicago VA Regional Office and prosthetics component facilities, as well as an aerobic therapy
312.980.4256 pool and an employment research center. This project is just a part
of our bright future.
Illinois Veteran Service Department:
Mary Ann White The grant program from the Service Foundation is still available for our less affluent posts to help with
Hines VA Hospital their individual ongoing projects. Remember, our objective is to have veterans serving veterans.
On a personal note, I want to thank Wheeling Post 66 for buying a table at the USO Gala held at Navy
Auburn Greshem Clinic
Pier in Chicago. This generous gift enabled our Department Auxiliary President and her husband to
attend this wonderful event, as well as the NEC Women’s Liaison Officer and her son, PNC Lincoln
Bob Dartt Tamraz and his wife and members of Post 66. I also attended this affair representing the Department of
Danville VAMC Illinois AMVETS with our Service Foundation President and our significant others.
A special thanks also to Post 18 for their generous donation to our scholarship program for this coming
Harold Dukala year.
VAMC North Chicago
847.688.1900 ext. 84138 May God bless each and every one of you, and God bless America! Remember to pray for our troops
who are serving to preserve our freedoms.
618.997.5311 ext. 54743
In closing, I wish everyone a most joyous holiday season, and a healthy and prosperous new year.
Michael Ragusa Yours In AMVETS Service
Scott Air Force Base
Department Commander Of Illinois
VA Outpatient Clinic Peoria
217.494.1454 Veterans, we appreciate all you have done,
and We Care.
Support AMVETS today!
Donate to our troops today!
If you or some you know needs help now, please call:
We to AMVETS
1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press “1”
makes it easy! http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/Veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has founded
a national suicide prevention hotline to ensure veterans in emotional crisis have free, 24/7 ac-
cess to trained counselors.
AMVETS State Headquarters
2200 South Sixth Street
Springfield, IL 62703 Or call one of Veterans Service Officers listed to the left.
www.ilamvets.org We can help.
Page 2 Illinois AMVETS December 2010
DEC2010.indd 2 11/12/2010 3:14:49 PM
Membership Programs Upcoming
Dear AMVETS, Dear AMVETS, Events
Now that it’s renewal Happy Holidays! I December 3-5, 2010
time, let us concentrate am sure each of you Hilton Washington Dulles Airport
on getting renewals in are busy with family 13869 Park Center Rd., Herndon, VA 20171
early. activities and shopping. 800.445.8667
I do hope that you are $99-109/night
There are over 900,00 remembering those in Statehouse Wreath Ceremony
veterans and over need around you. Fam- December 7, 2010, 11:00 AM
65,000 National Guard ily and friends usually Contact Rose Connolly at 217.891.8719 for
veterans, either home come first for all of us, more information.
or returning home from but it is important that
the Iraq and Afghanistan we remember those who Wreaths Across America
December 11, 2010, 11:00 AM
wars. This is a vast number of eligible men and are in need, not only financially, but just needing Various locations throughout Illinois
woman to join our organization. Let them know some sort of help. If the snow is falling, shovel- Visit www.ilamvets.org for more info.
as a member of AMVETS they can make a dif- ing is needed. I know if it wasn’t for my neigh-
ference in the lives of veterans, their families and bor, my driveway would only have a tunnel for Bob Michel VA CBOC moving
their community. my car to get in and out. Going over and having January 2011
a cup of coffee or inviting a neighbor over for an The CBOC will be moving in mid-January to the
following new location:
Not only are new members important, but keep- afternoon of conversation will help with those
7717 N. Orange Prairie Rd.
ing our current members that have built this lonely days. Questions? Call Julie McLamb
organization are important. You are the strength 309.497.0790, ext. 4797
of AMVETS. As you are renewing or signing up Veterans in local nursing homes are many times
new members this would be a good time to con- forgotten by some of us. I strongly suggest Division V Meeting
sider going life before January 1, 2011. At that checking out nursing homes in your town and February 13, 2011, 1:00 PM
time life membership will go up to $200.00 see if there are any veterans living there. Check Post 51 in Granite City, Illinois
to see if they need anything or anyone to visit. Division IV Meeting
Let’s all work together to get membership to There is nothing sadder than sitting around and February 20, 2011, 1:00 PM
100% by the end of this year. having no one to talk to. Take your checkerboard Post 276 in Elliot, Illinois
along; who doesn’t like to play? Drop off Christ-
With the holidays quickly approaching, I would mas cards and watch those smiles grow. Department SEC Meeting
like to wish everyone a joyous holiday season, February 25 - 27, 2011
President Abe Lincoln Hotel & Conference Center
followed by a healthy and prosperous new year. Each of these activities is considered program Springfield, IL
activities. I ask that all posts and all members For more information, please contact Crystal
Yours in service, report these activities to National. If a computer Blakeman at 217.528.4713
is not available or you are not sure as to how to $70/night
Raleigh Showens report your activities, please contact Crystal at
Honors & Awards Applications Due
Senior Vice Commander of Membership State Headquarters. You can also contact me if
March 1, 2011
Applications can be found at:
There are so many activities available true to my
heart in regards to working with our young peo- Division IV Scholarship Judging
ple in schools or scouting. National AMVETS March 12, 2001, 9:00 AM
has an excellent Americanism program. There Post 3 in Champaign, IL
are programs available for children of all ages.
It would behoove us to contact our local schools March 15-19, 2011
and see if they would be willing to be a part of Hilton Washington Dulles Airport
the program. There is a Flag Drawing Contest Herndon, VA
for grades kindergarten to first. Second grade to For reservations, call 703.478.2900
5th grades can enter the poster contest. An essay $99-109/night
contest is for seventh through twelfth graders.
AMVETS Nat’l Scholarship Program Deadline
The theme this year is “Why is it important to April 15, 2011
vote?”. Visit www.amvets.org for more information.
If this program is not what you would like to get Welcome Home 2011 Parade
involved in there is the Coloring Book program, June 17-19-2011
where the Post is able to order “I Pledge Alle- This is the 25th Anniversary of the Chicago Viet-
nam Veterans Welcome Home Parade.
giance” Comic/Coloring Books and present them
to students in the lower grades. (See page 5) For more information or to register for this
event, visit: www.serviceandhonor.org
Continued on page 5
December 2010 Illinois AMVETS Page 3
DEC2010.indd 3 11/12/2010 3:14:49 PM
Diabetes Information to
Keep You In The Know Spotlight on
with Dr. Chapman-Novakofski
Most everyone knows that hypertension,
or high blood pressure, can be dangerous
to health. But it doesn’t hurt like a broken
On September 25th, Fisher Post 52 AMVETS and Ladies Auxiliary members
hip. Sometimes people with hypertension
traveled to Marseilles to hand out the AMVETS tactical shirts for the 708
feel just fine and skip their medication.
This isn’t good. Blood pressure medica-
tion needs to be taken every day, even
Top: Shown is Captain Andrews, Chaplain with Post 52, and AMVETS mem-
when you are feeling really good.
ber and Ladies Auxiliary members Kelly Bauer, Vicki Johnson, Scott Lucas,
Your veins don’t burst with high blood
pressure the way water pipes might under
Bottom: Scott Lucas is shown with two members of the 708 Medical Unit.
a lot of pressure. What does happen is
that the veins and arteries become less
“stretchy.” They become stiffer and less
flexible when blood flows through. This
causes the pressure in the veins and arter-
ies to increase. If the pressure gets very
high, some of the pressure will be relieved
University of Illinois by “backing up” to the heart or kidneys.
Illinois AMVETS Diabetes This causes damages to these organs, and
Education Research Program then they don’t work well. Sometimes
the damage is permanent, and sometimes
it can be reversed. However, sometimes
these organs–the heart and kidneys–quit working altogether.
Having uncontrolled or poorly managed hypertension will increase your
risk for heart attacks and strokes. Have your blood pressure checked at
every doctor’s visit. If you have diabetes, it is especially important to
have your blood pressure checked.
Remember that your blood pressure can vary from day to day, and even
according to the time of day. Several blood pressure readings per year are
recommended - more often if your blood pressure tends to be high, you
have a couple of high readings, or you have recently begun treatment for
If you have high blood pressure, there are two nutrition-related goals you
and your health care team may set: maintaining or achieving a desirable
weight; and reducing the amount of sodium (salt) in your diet. However,
a more comprehensive dietary plan is called DASH, which stands for
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
The DASH diet can be used with any meal plan for those with diabetes. It
emphasizes a meal plan that is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total
fat and higher in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods. It also is
lower in sodium than many dietary patterns.
Talk to your dietitian or health care provider about ways to use the DASH
diet with your diabetes meal plan. Remember that maintaining or achiev-
ing a healthy weight is very important for both your blood pressure and
Remember to check out more information
about diabetes care at:
Page 4 Illinois AMVETS December 2010
DEC2010.indd 4 11/12/2010 3:14:51 PM
Programs Report continued AMVETS
There is also a Flag Etiquette Coloring Page that
can be found on the national website. Included
I again wish each of you and your families a very
happy and safe holiday season.
on the national website under Americanism are
websites for teachers and non-teachers to use when Yours in service,
teaching about the US Flag and Government. I Veterans’ Service Officer
Print Form strongly recommend taking a look at these web-
Cheryl Weglewski Danville, Illinois
sites. I use them when teaching American Govern- Senior Vice Commander of Programs
ment myself. The Illinois AMVETS Service Foundation, with its
great working atmosphere, is looking to fill a full
time position in the Danville, Illinois area. Good
managerial, communication skills and past experi-
ence required. One must have working knowledge
of Windows XP and related computer skills. Hours
are 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM, M-F, with minimum
weekend work. Base Salary is $25,000.00 plus
great benefits. Qualified applicants must be honor-
ably discharged veterans. Submit resume to Illinois
AMVETS Service Foundation, State Headquarters,
and Attn: Personnel Committee, 2200 South Sixth
Street, Springfield, Illinois 62703. Or email resume
to email@example.com (No Phone Calls) An Equal
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE /
AMERICANISM CONTEST PROMOTION BOOKLET Legislative Director
ORDER FORM Lanham, MD
Nature of work:
Booklets are (.75) each, which includes shipping and handling. Send a check Serves as the primary individual responsible
payable to AMVETS National Department, or payment can be made by to promote AMVETS legislative, national security,
MasterCard, Visa or AMEX. Mailing is by UPS, so please allow up to 5 business and foreign affairs goals by representing our views
days for delivery. A minimum of 50 booklets must be ordered. before the Congress of the United States, federal
departments and agencies, and policy makers.
Analyzes and interprets veterans issues,
Complete the form below and mail to: AMVETS National Headquarters
national security and foreign affairs information with
Attn: Programs Dept. intent to design, promote and administer AMVETS
4647 Forbes Blvd legislative programs responsible for supporting con-
Lanham, MD 20706 stituent AND all veterans interests.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Position requires significant public relations
and interpersonal skills to promote AMVETS poli-
Pledge of Allegiance / Americanism Contest Booklet cies and positions. Exceptional analytical ability is
required to design and present the AMVETS position
The _____________________would like to purchase ________ Booklets. and policy to concerned agencies through written and
(Individual/Dept Name or Post Number) Total Number) oral communications.
Your name (please print):___________________________________________ Knowledge, Skills & Abilities Required:
Position requires significant knowledge of
veterans affairs and the Congress to the degree that
Telephone number:________________________ it makes the incumbent authoritative in these areas.
Typically includes public speaking on various related
Your title within the post/dept:_________________________________________ subjects. Incumbent may be frequently called upon
for his or her views.
Your address:_____________________________________________________ Position requires 5-10 years related experi-
ence. A combination of advanced education and ex-
perience may be substituted for experience require-
_____________________________________________________ ment. However, 5 years experience unwaiverable.
Must have superior ability to establish,
Your signature:_____________________________________ Date:__________ maintain and expand a readily assessable network
of key policy makers and their professional staffs.
Method of Payment: Must possess the interpersonal skills to motivate and
___ Check enclosed (Made payable to AMVETS Nat. Dept.) persuade others concerning AMVETS positions/poli-
___ Visa ___ M/C ___ AMEX Card No. _______________________ Exp. Date _____ cies.
Must have exceptionally strong written and
Signature: _____________________________________ verbal presentation skills. Effective knowledge of
management information and data processing sys-
Form Available at: http://amvets.org/pdfs/programs_pdfs/ Contact AMVETS National Headquarters for more
information. (877) 726-8387
December 2010 Illinois AMVETS Page 5
DEC2010.indd 5 11/12/2010 3:14:51 PM
Donate Today! Winter Driving Safety Tips
Illinois AMVETS Service Foundation offers a
Winter brings out two distinct on black ice can
great opportunity for you to help support our na-
types of drivers; those who mean disaster;
tion’s servicemen and women. Within the Chi-
treat the ice and snow with
cago-area AMVETS offers specific locations to
gentleness and care, and those • Remembers
drop off donations of household goods and cloth-
who don’t seem to distinguish that ice forms
ing. Attendants will assist you with your dona-
between winter and summer first and melts
tions at each location, so please see the list below
driving! There is really no last on bridges
for the drop-off site near you. Each site location
trick to being a good winter and overpasses,
is open Monday-Saturday 8-5, Sunday 9-5 unless
driver if you and your car are where cold air
noted. You can also go to www.amvetspickup.
prepared. Consider the fol- gets underneath,
com to email your pickup requests directly from
lowing: causing the
home or call 708-388-7800. The pickup service
operates on a routing system allowing for pickups
• Make sure your car is ready drop faster than
every few days or weeks depending upon your
for winter by having the anywhere else;
location. We greatly appreciate your generous
engine tuned and proper tires
donations and continued support of AMVETS.
mounted before the snow • Keep your
Tax receipts are available, which means that you
arrives; car’s windshield
can get a tax deduction for next year’s tax return.
washer fluid tank
• Carry emergency equipment full. Winter slush
Site in your vehicle, including a can temporar-
Location Host Site
Name snow shovel, battery jumper ily blind you,
Bridegview 7325 W. 79th St. Kmart Lot cables, a bag of sand, cat lit- especially when
Bridgeview 10260 S. Harlem Ave. Walmart ter or traction pads, a towing you are following
(Site is open everyday Parking Lot cable, flares, a complete set vehicles.
from 9-5) of warm clothing, gloves and
Darien 1 blk. west of 75th & Walmart boots, blanket, and a chemical Support
Fairview Parking Lot hand warmers to help keep AMVETS simply
Des Plaines Oakton/Lee Rd. West side of you warm if the engine will by paying your
parking lot in not start; insurance bill.
front of KMart
No hidden fees
Forest Park DesPlaines & Roos- Walmart
• To get your vehicle moving or special costs.
if it is stuck in snow or on ice, Just pay your bill
Joliet 1401 Illinois Rte. 59 Walmart
(Theodore & Rte 59) turn the wheels from side to like you already
Lombard 345 W. Roosevelt Rd. Kmart lot
side to help push snow out of do – only feel a
the way. Keep a light touch little better about
Minooka 855 S. Ridge Rd. (Site Ace Hardware
open everyday 9-5) on the gas and rock the vehicle back and forth it. In many cases you can use your existing policy.
Naperville 776 S. Rte. 59 (Site Walmart
gently. Shift from forward to reverse, and back If not, we can shop you with some of the nation’s
open everyday 9-5) again. Don’t spin the wheels – you’ll likely just dig top carriers.
Oak Lawn 111th/Cicero Ave. Kmart (By Gar- yourself in deeper;
den Center) Contact the AMVETS Insurance program to learn
Plainfield 127th St. & Rte. 59 Walmart • Ice is a major hazard during winter driving, more. Call 888-215-0613 or go online to www.
(Site open everyday (Southside of particularly “black ice,” a thin layer of ice that is SupportAmVets.org. Insurance services provided
10-4) Lot) often invisible. Any sudden turns or acceleration by CONSUMERS FIRST.
Tinley Park 159th St. (Just east of Burlington
Harlem Ave.) Coat Factory
Wheeling 700 McHenry Rd. (Site AMVETS Post
open everyday 10-4) 66 PDC Rudy Spaulding and
Willowbrook Plainfield Rd./ Rte 83 Kmart
members from Post 120
presented a new bingo
machine and large num-
ber vision impaired cards
to the La Salle Veterans
Page 6 Illinois AMVETS December 2010
DEC2010.indd 6 11/12/2010 3:14:54 PM
Important AMVETS Mike’s Mic on Veterans’ Issues
Are you using our website? We’re continuing a series of guest columns by our Illinois AMVETS Veterans Service Officers. This
Please remember to visit our website, www.ilamvets. month, Rob Hookham will be our columnist. Mr. Hookham can be found during business hours at
org, and update or add your email to our mailing Marion VAMC.
list. You’ll be notified automatically of upcoming
AMVETS events. AMVETS & fellow veterans,
New Regulations for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
What are the deadlines?
Turn in your events to Ashley Murphy at least 30 days
What are the effective dates and who does the new Regulation affect?
in advance. The newspaper deadline is the 5th of the
1. The new rules will apply to claims…
month, a month in advance. (Example, for August’s
A. Received by the VA on or after July 13, 2010;
newspaper, I need the information by July 5th.) Ash-
B. Received before July 13, 2010 but not yet decided by a VA Regional Office;
ley’s email is: firstname.lastname@example.org. C. Appealed to the BVA on or after July 13, 2010;
D. Appealed to the BVA before July 13, 2010, but not yet decided by the Board;
Need to change your address? E. Pending before the VA on or after July 13, 2010, because the Court of Appeals for
Let us know eight weeks before you go. Please Veterans Claims vacated a Board decision & remanded for re-adjudication.
contact the AMVETS Headquarters at 217/528-4713 2. The new rules will affect any Veteran of any era.
to change your address. Don’t miss any issues of the A. The rule has NO geographic requirement;
newspaper! B. Is NOT limited to service in a combat zone or on land.
a. It applies to all persons who served in Active Military, Naval or Air service as
Do you know an AMVET not defined in 38 U.S.C. 101(24) and
getting the newspaper? b. Were discharged or
Have them contact State Headquarters at c. Released from such service under conditions other than Dishonorable.
217.528.4713 to get added to the mailing list!
What are the new requirements of this change?
1. To be Service Connected for PTSD, the following are required;
Would you like the Department
A. The veteran must have…
Commander to visit your post? a. experienced,
Contact Crystal Blakeman at 217/528.4713 or by
email at email@example.com. c. or have been confronted by an event or circumstance that involved…
1. Actual or threatened death or serious injury,
Headquarters can help YOU! 2. Or a threat to the physical integrity of the veteran or others,
Please let us know if you need any assistance with 3. And the Veterans response to the event or circumstance involved a
advertising events or contacting the media. We’re here state of fear, helplessness or horror.
to help! B. The veteran has been Diagnosed (DX) with PTSD;
C. A VA Psychiatrist or Psychologist, or contract equivalent, confirms that the claimed
Getting valuable AMVETS stressor is adequate to support a DX of PTSD.
Department of Illinois info is EASY! D. The veteran’s symptoms are related to the claimed stressor, and
Our Membership, Programs and Public Relations E. The claimed stressor is consistent with;
Manual, as well as our Parliamentary Procedures a. The places,
handbook are available online at www.ilamvets.org in b. Types,
the “membership” section. c. and Circumstances of the veteran’s service & the record provides no clear and
convincing evidence to the contrary.
Our Constitution & By-Laws handbook and our State
Directory can be emailed to you directly. Please call How does this help veterans?
AMVETS headquarters to request your emailed copy 1. The new regulation simplifies & streamlines the processing of PTSD claims resulting in
today. timelier decisions.
2. The new regulation will provide a fair evaluation for Veterans whose military records…
Monthly mailers are available on our website and by A. Have been damaged or destroyed, (i.e.: the 1973 fire at NPRC in St. Louis)
email. B. For whom no definitive report of combat action appears in their military records,
(administrative and support personnel pulling guard duty or patrols).
C. Women Veterans whose records do not specify that they had combat assignments even
though their roles place them at risk of hostile military or terrorist activity.
In the October issue on Page 6, a photo incorrectly
stated National Provost Marshall Eugene Meyer
accompanied PDP Elsie Flerlage and Commander
Buckner. The correct officer is Past National Sons
Commander Mike Mrzlak. Rob Hookham
VSO, Marion VAMC
December 2010 Illinois AMVETS Page 7
DEC2010.indd 7 11/12/2010 3:14:54 PM
VA Announces Expansion of VetSuccess More Than 32,800 Veterans Hired During
proximately a 3.5 percentage point change. That is
on Campus Pilots New Program Eases First Half of FY2010 2,600 more veterans hired into the Federal Govern-
Veterans’ Transition to College Life ment in the first half of FY 2009.
Washington, D.C. - Today, the President’s Interagency * The establishment of Veteran Employment
WASHINGTON (Oct. 5, 2010) -- “Two commu- Council on Veterans Employment was briefed by U.S. Program Offices in 24 Federal agencies in March
nity colleges and three other four-year colleges and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director 2010.
universities are being added to the Department of John Berry, Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs * The development of a Government-wide
Veterans Affairs (VA) VetSuccess on Campus pilot Scott Gould, and Department of Labor’s Assistant Strategic Plan on Veteran recruitment and employ-
program. VA counselors are being assigned to assist Secretary for Veteran’s Employment and Training, ment which was released in January 2010.
Veterans attending school under the Post-9/11 GI Bill Ray Jefferson, to inform them that thousands more * The creation of a Government-wide mar-
make the most of their educational opportunities at veterans have been hired by federal agencies since keting campaign on the value of veterans, which
Salt Lake City Community College, the Community last November when President Barack Obama signed launched in November 2009, and launching the
College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, Ari- Executive Order 13518, Employment of Veterans in www.FedsHireVets.gov website in January 2010,
zona State University and Texas A&M University. the Federal Government, and established the Veter- which established an information gateway on Federal
ans Employment Initiative. Also at the briefing, the employment for veterans.
“A growing number of the eight million students in council adopted a more aggressive new benchmark * The Veterans Employment Symposium in
America’s community colleges are Veterans,” said for veteran hiring among federal agencies. July 2010 which provided training to HR and hiring
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “VA managers.
will do all it can to make Veterans’ experiences in our More than 32,800 veterans have already been hired
community colleges and universities fulfilling and in the first six months by federal agencies, exceeding While the Government is experiencing a strong
productive for them, their schools and the Nation.” last years’ number at this time. During the briefing increase across the board in the first six months of
at the Department of Labor, which was attended by 2010, there are some notable increases. The federal
The pilot program is designed to ensure Veterans’ representatives from Veterans’ Service Organizations, agencies that have already indicated a positive in-
health, educational, and benefits needs are met as they veterans and those currently serving in the military, crease in veterans in the first six months as compared
make the transition from active-duty military service Gould, Jefferson, and Director Berry joined agency to FY 2009 include the Department of Treasury, the
to college life. officials from throughout the federal government to Department of Agriculture, the Department of Justice
announce a new benchmark and discuss the progress hired, and the Department of Interior.
The announcement comes as the White House holds made.
the first-ever community college summit chaired “These employment outcomes show how seriously
by Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden “Our mission is simple: hire more veterans,” said agencies are taking this initiative,” said Assistant
and adjunct English professor at Northern Virginia Director Berry. “The strong sense of patriotism and Secretary Jefferson. “There is still much work to do,
Community College. The meeting of top school and public service held by members of our armed forces but it’s clear that the federal government is up to the
federal education officials will focus on ways that does not leave them when they exit from active duty. task.” •
community colleges can help meet education and It benefits our government to utilize their skills and
dedication to service.”
Secretary Shinseki Announces $41.9 Mil-
“I am thrilled to see the expansion of the VetSuccess Council members adopted a new benchmark for lion to Help the Homeless
program” said Dr. Biden. “I know the transition from veteran hiring among federal agencies at today’s
military to student life can be challenging and we owe meeting. The Hiring Percentage Model will guide an WASHINGTON - Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric
it to those who have served our country to make their agency’s goal setting based on the current percentage K. Shinseki has announced that 40 states will share
transitions as easy and successful as possible.” of veterans hired, to include disabled veterans. Those more than $41.9 million in grants to community
agencies with lower hiring percentages will have groups to provide 2,568 beds for homeless Veterans
Under the pilot program already underway at the more aggressive goals, but will soon graduate to other this year.
University of South Florida, Cleveland State Uni- tiers based on their performance.
versity, and San Diego State University, experienced “These grants wouldn’t have happened without the
VA vocational rehabilitation counselors and outreach “The jobless rate among Veterans returning from Iraq extraordinary partnerships forged with community or-
coordinators from VA’s Vet Centers are assigned to and Afghanistan is unacceptably high,” said Deputy ganizers,” said VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. “These
campuses to provide vocational testing, career and Secretary Gould. “The Federal government wants investments will provide transitional beds to Veterans
academic counseling, and readjustment counseling to hire Veterans because of their experience, leader- who have served honorably, but for various reasons
services to ensure Veterans receive the support and ship skills and commitment to our Country. Working now find themselves in a downward spiral toward
assistance needed to successfully pursue their educa- together, we can do a lot of good for our Veterans and despair and homelessness.”
tional and employment goals. for our Nation.”
The Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Pro-
VA counselors work directly with school officials to The goal of the President’s Veteran Employment gram provides grants and per diem payments to help
establish effective communications channels with Initiative is to help Federal agencies identify quali- public and nonprofit organizations establish and oper-
Veteran students and coordinate the delivery of VA fied veterans, clarify the hiring process for veterans ate new supportive housing and service centers for
benefits and services. seeking employment with the Federal government, homeless Veterans.
and help veterans adjust to civilian life once they
Peer-to-peer counseling and referral services are also are hired. Much has been accomplished in the first The $41.9 million is broken into two categories.
available to help resolve any problems that could 10 months since the signing of the Executive Order About $26.9 million will help renovate, rehabilitate
potentially interfere with a Veteran’s educational which points directly to the uptick in the number of or acquire space for 1,352 transitional housing beds.
program, including referrals for more intensive health veterans hired, including: A second group of awards, valued at $15 million, will
services through VA Medical Centers, Community- immediately fund 1,216 beds at existing transitional
Based Outpatient Clinics, or Vet Centers, as needed. • * Veterans were 30.2% of total new hires housing for homeless Veterans this year. The awards
during the first six months of FY 2010 compared to will cover daily living costs based upon the number
26.8% in the same period in FY 2009. This is ap- of homeless Veterans being served in transitional
Page 8 Illinois AMVETS December 2010
DEC2010.indd 8 11/12/2010 3:14:54 PM
VA Announces $22.9 Million Expansion
housing. Afghanistan and nine diseases and includes informa-
tion about the long-term health effects potentially of Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery
A key component of VA’s plan to eliminate homeless- associated with these diseases: Brucellosis, Campy-
ness among Veterans within five years, the grants lobacter jejuni, Coxiella Burnetii (Q fever), Malaria, WASHINGTON – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric
and per diem payments helped reduce the number of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Nontyphoid Salmonella, K. Shinseki has announced a $22.9 million construc-
Veterans who were homeless on a typical night last Shigella, Visceral leishmaniasis and West Nile virus. tion contract to develop another section of Abraham
year by 18 percent to about 107,000 Veterans within Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Ill. for local
one year. With the final rule, a Veteran will only have to show Veterans.
service in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan and that he
VA’s strategy to eliminate homelessness among Vet- or she had one of the nine diseases within a certain “Expanding this cemetery ensures Illinois Veterans
erans is to implement a “no wrong door” approach, time after service and has a current disability as a will continue to receive the benefits they earned,”
meaning Veterans who seek assistance should find it result of that disease, subject to certain time limits for said Secretary Shinseki. “With this expansion we are
in any number of VA’s programs, from community seven of the diseases. Most of these diseases would honoring our commitment to maintain this national
partners or through contract services. be diagnosed within one year of return from service, shrine as a lasting tribute to the men and women who
through some conditions may manifest at a later time. served our nation.”
Under the Secretary’s action plan to end homeless-
ness among Veterans, VA will continue to offer a full For non-presumptive conditions, a Veteran is re- VA awarded the contract to Kepa Services, Inc., a
range of support necessary to end the cycle of home- quired to provide medical evidence to establish an ac- service-disabled Veteran-owned small business from
lessness by providing education, jobs, health care and tual connection between military service in Southwest Milwaukee, Wis., in the amount of $22,978,000. The
counseling, in addition to housing. VA will increase Asia or Afghanistan and a specific disease. project is scheduled for completion in summer 2012.
the number and variety of housing options available The expansion will develop 20 acres and support
to homeless Veterans and those at risk, including per- The decision to add these presumptives was made 10 years of projected burials. The project includes
manent, transitional, contracted, community-operated after reviewing the 2006 report of the National Acad- approximately 12,122 pre-placed crypts, 325 con-
and VA-operated housing. Most importantly, VA will emy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (NASIOM), ventional gravesites, 2,577 cremains burial sites and
target at-risk Veteran populations with aggressive titled, “Gulf War and Health Volume 5: Infectious 6,584 columbarium niches for cremains.
support intervention to try to prevent homelessness Diseases.”
before it starts. Other improvements to the cemetery will include the
The 2006 report differed from the four prior reports main entrance gate, new roadways, parking, signage,
For more information, visit VA’s Web page for VA’s by looking at the long-term health effects of certain an assembly area, committal shelters and accessibility
National Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem diseases determined to be pertinent to Gulf War Veter- and handicap access. The project also will include
Office at www.va.gov/homeless. Additionally, VA has ans. Secretary Shinseki decided to include Afghani- walkways, site furnishings, grading, drainage, fenc-
a National Call Center for Homeless Veterans, 1-877- stan Veterans in these presumptions because NAS ing, landscaping, a utility distribution system and
4AID VET (1-877-424-3838), www1.va.gov/HOME- found that the nine diseases are also prevalent in that environmental preservation and mitigation.
LESS/NationalCallCenter.asp. • country.
The public information center and other buildings
The 1998 Persian Gulf War Veterans Act requires the
VA Publishes Final Regulation on “Pre- will receive upgrades to incorporate improvements
Secretary to review NAS reports that study scientific in energy conservation and environmental design.
sumptive” Illnesses for Gulf War and information and possible associations between ill- The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans nesses and exposure to toxic agents by Veterans who (LEED) Green Building Rating System, developed by
served in the Persian Gulf War. the U.S. Green Building Council, provides a suite of
WASHINGTON - Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric standards for environmentally sustainable construc-
K. Shinseki today announced the publication of a While the decision to add the nine new presumptives tion, which this cemetery will meet.
final regulation in the Federal Register that makes it predates VA’s Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses Task Force
easier for Veterans to obtain Department of Veterans (GWVI-TF), the overarching responsibility of the Veterans with a discharge issued under conditions
Affairs (VA) health care and disability compensation GWVI-TF is to regain Gulf War Veterans’ confidence other than dishonorable, their spouses and eligible
for certain diseases associated with service in South- in VA’s health care, benefits, and services and recon- dependent children can be buried in a VA national
west Asia (including firm VA is 100 percent committed to Veterans of all cemetery. Also eligible are military personnel who
Iraq) or Afghanistan. eras. die on active duty, their spouses and eligible depen-
dents. Other burial benefits available for all eligible
“This is part of historic changes in how VA considers For information about health problems associated Veterans, regardless of whether they are buried in a
Gulf War Veterans’ illnesses,” said Secretary Shinse- with military service in Southwest Asia and Afghani- national cemetery or a private cemetery, include a
ki. “By setting up scientifically based presumptions of stan, and related VA programs, go to www.publi- burial flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate and a
service connection, we give these deserving Veterans chealth.va.gov/exposures/gulfwar/ and http://www. government headstone or marker, or service medal-
a simple way to obtain the medical and compensation publichealth.va.gov/exposures/oefoif/index.asp. • lion for a private marker. Families of eligible dece-
benefits they earned in service to our country.” dents may also order a memorial headstone or marker
when remains are not available for interment.
The final regulation establishes new presumptions For Daily Updates,
of service connection for nine specific infectious visit: In the midst of the largest expansion since the Civil
diseases associated with military service in Southwest War, VA operates 131 national cemeteries in 39 states
Asia beginning on or after the start of the first Gulf and Puerto Rico and 33 soldiers’ lots and monument
War on Aug. 2, 1990, through the conflict in Iraq and sites. More than 3.5 million Americans, including
on or after Sept. 19, 2001, in Afghanistan. Veterans of every war and conflict, are buried in VA’s
or national cemeteries on more than 19,000 acres of
The final regulation reflects a determination of a posi- land. •
tive association between service in Southwest Asia or
December 2010 Illinois AMVETS Page 9
DEC2010.indd 9 11/12/2010 3:14:55 PM
CVA Dinner Catholic Charities continued
The program has been successful! There were a total of 130 tenants who re-
ceived case management services in FY2010, and, of those, 92% maintained
stable housing. Of those exiting the program, 57% had positive exits, obtaining
more permanent housing.
The Illinois AMVETS Career Center was an important part of the Illinois
AMVETS commitment to the campus. It is vitally important to the AMVETS
to not only provide immediate assistance for those veterans in need, but to also
provide them with the skills and resources necessary to become self-sufficient.
A computer lab and career center at the Auburn-Greshem VA clinic provides
tools for veterans to gain job skills and seek employment. Employment can
indeed be one of the most powerful rehabilitative tools, providing income,
purpose and dignity.
The Veterans Employment Project is a pilot project funded by the Department
of Labor that provides in-depth career counseling, as well as sessions to focus
on job skills and interviewing. After completing the workshop, participants then
have access to employment services in the clinic.
Of those 110 that were successfully enrolled this year, 83 were initially placed
in jobs. Six months later, 68 of the 83 had retained their jobs. Thirty percent of
the tenants were involved with the veterans’ employment program, resulting is
88% of the total population maintaining their income and 9% experiencing and
increased in their income/benefits.
In addition, an AMVETS Veterans Service Office has been placed at the Au-
burn-Greshem clinic since its completion. AMVETS VSO Mary White, who
works on the St. Leo’s campus, has processed hundreds of claims providing
veterans and their families with the benefits they deserve and need.
Homelessness continues to take its toll on veterans both young and old, but the
St. Leo Campus for Veterans is helping relieve the burden from some of our na-
tion’s heroes in need. For more information about AMVETS role in this project,
please visit www.ilamvets.org. •
Support our troops today!
Donate to AMVETS today!
We to AMVETS
makes it easy!
Several AMVETS attended the annual CVA dinner.
Top: Commander Bill Buckner and Ladies Auxiliary President
Ruthann Sanders; Center: PNC and CVA Delegate Lincoln
Tamraz and wife Grace; Bottom: Senior Vice Commander
and Alternate CVA Delegate Raleigh Showens and wife
Page 10 Illinois AMVETS December 2010
DEC2010.indd 10 11/12/2010 3:14:59 PM
From President Sanders
Dear Ladies Auxiliary members: or doing the deliveries. The packing boxes to send to those overseas. Share
food pantries always need their addresses with me so I can pass them on to
Thanksgiving is over, and I contributions, especially in the auxiliaries who have requested them or make
imagine most of us ended the November and December. a contribution to the contents. Last but not least,
day feeling as stuffed as the Add some things for the remember to send those cards and letters. No mat-
traditional turkey that graced needy to your basket every ter what you do, you can be sure your efforts are
many tables. December is here time you shop. Every little bit greatly appreciated by one and all.
and the holidays of the month adds up and is a great help.
are knocking at the door. The Go through your closets and Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy
shopping that comes with them donate those many coats you Holidays for whichever holiday you celebrate.
surely is in full swing besides may no longer need or want. May the spirit of the season be with all no mat-
the decorating, the baking and Mittens, hats and scarves ter which religion you practice as you continue to
annual correspondence too. And will be in big demand as the “Make a Difference When You Answer the Call of
let’s not forget those holiday weather gets colder and the Those In Need”. I thank you for all you do. Have a
parties; what fun they are. How real winter sets in. Also, the blessed holiday.
will we have time to get it all colder the weather, the more
done and still have time for our the homeless shelters are in Yours in Service,
volunteer work too? But isn’t use. They are always in need
it strange how we manage to get it all in. Your of toiletries, blankets and other items.
special efforts during this season are appreciated
tremendously by all – especially those hospitalized The Marine Corp Reserves has started its annual 2010-2011
veterans, those in nursing homes, and the homeless. Toys for Tots drive and contributions (financial, Department of
as well as toys) are desperately needed. Look for Illinois President
I realize all of you are very generous throughout the their collection boxes or check on line for a drop 708-946-610
year and even more so during this season of giv- off site. Nursing homes and veterans’ homes have RSRN4@aol.com
ing; however, I want to remind you of some of the residents without family or friends; gifts there are
many ways we can participate. If your auxiliary is always welcome. Taking time to visit is another
not preparing and distributing baskets for the needy, way to show them you care. Send a little Christmas
perhaps there is an organization in your area that is cheer to our troops. Being away from home may
doing so. Lend your help, whether it be volunteer- be a first for them as well as their families. As I
ing to help put things together, making purchases mentioned last month several of our auxiliaries are
Learn more about the
Visit our websites at:
Beecher Post 67 & Ladies Auxiliary held a pizza and bingo
party for veterans at Manteno Veterans Home earlier this year. www.ilamvets.org
Shown left to right are: Rich Whitmon, Charlene Whitmon, www.amvetsaux.org
Commander Roy Segert, Lonnie Segert, Department President
Ruthann Sanders, President Pat Burdick, Hank Martin, Helen
Teske, Rodney Burdick and PDC Lawrence Sanders.
December 2010 Illinois AMVETS Page 11
DEC2010.indd 11 11/12/2010 3:15:01 PM
Marion Progress: November 2010
Work continues inside the new AMVETS-donated center for veterans at the Marion VA Hospital. The new facility will house mental health,
physical rehab and prosthetics components, as well as an aqua therapy pool and employment resource center.
Mail to: AMVETS Department of Illinois
2200 South Sixth Street, Springfield, Illinois 62703
Date: Membership: 0Annual 0Life
Would you like more info about Riders? 0Yes 0No
Name: Date of Birth: / / Sex: 0Male 0Female
Street: City: State & Zip:
Phone Number: E-mail:
Branch of Service: Month/Year Entered: Month/Year Discharged:
I verify that I am serving, or have served, honorably in the US Armed Forces (Active, Guard or Reserves) after September 15, 1940. DD-214 is required.
Your Signature: Sponsor/Post Officer:
DEC2010.indd 12 11/12/2010 3:15:04 PM