Idaho Veterans And Auxiliary News Department of Idaho, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and Its Ladies Auxiliary Official Publication August 2013
Commander’s Corner My theme for this 2013-2014 is HONOR. I will do my best for the Department and with your help, we will succeed. Communication will be a priority and that communication line runs both ways. My email address is: Commander@vfwidaho. org. Please email me with suggestions, problems and GLENN NIELSEN possible solutions. I am COMMANDER here for our membership. Congratulations to the Department of Idaho for a job well done on membership and community activities. Membership is vital for this organization to remain alive and to prosper. If you have a friend and/or family member and you know that they are eligible for membership, sign them up. If every member did this, we would double our size. Bottom line is we need new blood in our organization. Please support our Ladies Auxiliary. They are here to help us and they do a great job. Thank you, ladies, for a job well done. The National President’s Visit is October 2-4 In Pocatello. I hope you will plan on attending this event. I urge you to visit our website on a monthly basis. You will find a great deal of information. State Junior Vice Commander Rick Johnson does a fantastic job as he is also the Department Webmaster. In order to maintain our nonprofit status, we must do community service and report those services. Please send your Community Activity Reports in on a monthly basis. The report can be emailed to jr.vice. firstname.lastname@example.org Again, I would like to thank all of you for your continued support and remember “NO ONE DOES MORE FOR VETERANS THAN THE VFW.”
DEADLINE FOR THE NEXT VFW NEWSPAPER IS November, 1 2013 PLEASE GET YOUR ARTICLES TO ME BY THAT DATE! SUSAN THOMPSON EDITOR IDAHO VETERANS AND AUXILIARY NEWS 3317 WAGON WHEEL ROAD BOISE, ID 83702-1424 E-MAIL: email@example.com
Volume 7, Issue 2
From the Ladies Auxiliary Department President Denise Munsee I would like to thank Past State Commander Rich Cesler and Past Department President Sherry Camphouse for the great Convention in Worley. It was nice to see all who came; I hope that those that didn’t make it are safe and well, and I hope to see you in a meeting DENISE MUNSEE at your District. Our Past National President AUXILIARY Mary Sears and National DEPARTMENT Senior Vice President PRESIDENT Armithea ‘Sissy’ Borel were guests that you missed seeing and both were very informative and a joy to see. At the Convention, Commander Rich Cesler had been giving out so many of his Idaho Angel Awards that he couldn’t keep up. To him we all are Idaho Angels so he made a donation of $200.00 to our Officers Travel Fund. What a great guy!
Our National Convention is July 20-25 – hope to see you there. Newly Installed National President Armithea ‘Sissy’ Borel will be in Pocatello, October 2-4, 2013. It will be an interesting experience for Sissy to see the north in the spring and in the south of Idaho for our fall colors. It will be a great time and lots of fun. Hopefully the weather will cooperate. Some of you already met Sissy, so let everyone know how informative she is and you will be prepared for a hug or two. Our Ladies Auxiliary website will still be updated and maintained this year, so you can look for it at www. ladiesauxliary.vfwidaho. There will be information for all the Auxiliaries on the site and the General Orders will be there, too. This year Idaho will shine the brightest it ever has and meet the goals set for it. We have so many hard working volunteers and they deserve recognition from National for their efforts and yours – so let’s meet or surpass those goals in every program. Please send your reports to the following people each month: President Denise Munsee and Program Coordinator Angel Adams. Please continue to report your Community Service to Vickie Smith. It all matters!!
From Your State Senior Vice Commander
From Your State Junior Vice Commander
We are starting a new year and we all need to work together for our veterans. Last year as your Junior Vice Commander and CAR chairman, we all worked really hard for our veterans and this year will be even better. We need to work together to get our younger veterans signed BOB WAYMENT up as members and also get the whole family SENIOR VICE COMMANDER involved by signing up the spouses with the Auxiliary. Working together we will have our best year yet. Again, I want to thank you all for electing me as your Senior Vice Commander and will try and work as hard as I am able to help you anyway possible. Feel free to contact any of us at the state level if we can help you with anything or if you have any questions. See you all down the road.
I would first like to thank the members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of Idaho for electing me as your Jr. Vice Commander. It will be my great honor and privilege to serve you for the ensuing year. I wish to congratulate Commander Cesler and all the members in the great state of Idaho for achieving RICH JOHNSON over 100% in membership. JUNIOR We may be slow to start, VICE COMMANDER but Team Idaho always finishes strong. I look forward to working with Membership Chairman Croner this year in getting Idaho out of the gate…first and fast. I have no doubt that Commander Nielsen will also be an All-American Commander. As some of you are aware, I have assumed the duties of Community Activities Chairman. For those of you JR. VICE COMMANDER, continued on page 2
JR. VICE COMMANDER, continued from page 1 who use email, keep sending your reports to jr.vice. firstname.lastname@example.org. If you use the USPS, the address is P.O. Box 61, Cottonwood, ID 83522 and my telephone number is 208-962-7241. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. More information about Community Activity Reports will be in future General Orders. All Posts are encouraged to submit entries for Public Servant Award Citations. Information about these awards can be found at vfw.org under “Chairman’s Guides”. You must have an OMS account and be logged in to access them. Posts may submit entries for Law Enforcement Personnel, Emergency Medical Technicians and Firefighters. PLEASE follow the entry criteria for all of your candidates. The deadline for entries is January 1, 2014 and they will be judged at Mid-Winter. Send them to the address above. Also, the VFW honors individuals who have saved a life and these requests for citations can be submitted at any time. The SOP’s are now online at the Department website, www.vfwidaho.org. All personnel must familiarize themselves with these documents to ensure we are all operating from the same guidelines. If you have any questions about anything on the website, contact me at your convenience and I’ll do my best to answer you or find someone who can. The Veterans of Foreign Wars has many worthy programs and benefits, but we all should remember why this great organization was founded. We are a group of Veterans and it is our duty and obligation to help other Veterans. Everything we do must be with this core principle in mind. So my challenge to you is to find a Veteran in need and help them out however you or your Post can. Finally, I would ask that everyone keep District 7 Commander, Gary Ray and his family, in your prayers. I’m sure I speak on behalf of the entire Department when I say we all wish him a speedy recovery. I look forward to serving you – “One Team, One Mission. VETERANS”
IDAHO VETERANS AND AUXILIARY NEWS IDAHO VFW HEADQUARTERS 1425 SOUTH ROOSEVELT STREET BOISE, ID 83705 (208) 342-2438 The Official Publication of the Idaho VFW published in April, August and December by the Department of Idaho, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, in conjunction with American Graphics & Design, Inc. Address all articles for publication to Susan Thompson, 3317 Wagon Wheel Road, Boise, ID 83702-1424. E-mail: email@example.com Graphic Design and Layout: American Graphics & Design, Inc. 700 W. Virginia Street, Suite 700 Milwaukee, WI 53204 President: Jenny DeBack Graphic Designer: Emily McKenna Composition Specialist: Ellen Imp www.agad.com
2013-2014 Officers Editor Susan Thompson Commander Glenn M. Nielsen Senior Vice Commander Robert A. Wayment Junior Vice Commander Rick W. Johnson Adjutant/Quartermaster Mel Stokes
Administrative Assistant Susan Thompson Chief of Staff PSC George Peacock Inspector Dale Smith Auxiliary Department President Denise Munsee
From the Ladies Aux. Jr. Vice President Carmelita Jones I would like to thank all of my Ladies Auxiliary Sisters for electing me your Department Jr. Vice President during our recent 81st State Convention in Worley, Idaho. I am deeply honored and humbled for the privilege of serving you in this capacity. I will do my very best to represent you in a manner that will bring CARMELITA honor to our organization. JONES With Ladies Auxiliary AUX. JR. VICE President Denise Munsee’s PRESIDENT leadership, we will be a beacon of hope to our veterans. They have given us so much in serving our country, protecting and preserving the precious freedoms and liberties we enjoy. It is now our turn to show our heroes, through our support, how much we appreciate them!! ONE MISSION: SERVING OUR VETERANS ONE TEAM: TEAM IDAHO WORKING TOGETHER, WE CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!
From Your Chief
From Your State Inspector First of all, I would like to thank Alan Roach for the outstanding job that he did for the 2012-2013 year. He really worked hard and discovered some problems toward the end of his tour with Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation. All District and Post Commanders that had these problems have been given the write ups. DALE SMITH District Commanders were STATE INSPECTOR briefed at the State Convention and I will be looking for all the corrective actions on their fall inspections. Post inspections should begin in September and be completed by 31 December 2013. As I have stated in the past, District Commanders have the hardest job. If we have good inspections, then most of the hard work for everyone else is done. For anyone that has any questions or problems, please call or email me and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Finally: STATE HEADQUARTERS NEEDS A COPY OF YOUR BYLAWS AND ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION. State Headquarters keeps records on each Post and District to include your Bylaws, AOI, audits, last inspections and any other important paperwork.
I would like to thank Commander Glenn Nielsen for the opportunity to serve as his Chief of Staff. I will do my best to advise Glenn of items needing his attention and working with him to continue the flow of information to each District and Post this year. We both feel that this flow PSC GEORGE of information is vital. The Department has a lot of work PEACOCK to accomplish this year. We are CHIEF OF STAFF again pushing for membership to increase up to 10,000. I know that this Department can reach this lofty goal. It will take a lot of hard work from everyone. Our new membership chairman Denny Croner has already begun sending mail out to our continuous and unpaid members. Remember that in January 2014 the new subscription membership
system will begin. After this takes effect we should see our members stepping up and paying their dues. The unpaid list should also begin to go away. I am looking forward to working with each and every member of the VFW and our Ladies Auxiliary. Remember when you sign up a new member, make sure that you ask the new member about his wife and family members to see if they would consider joining the Auxiliary. The National President’s visit is the October 2-4 in Pocatello, Idaho. We want to have as many comrades and ladies as possible attending this visit by our National Auxiliary President Armithea “Sissy” Borel. The challenges that face our Department this year will be met head on and we will solve them as they come up. We have a great team of officers in the Department and across this great state that are willing and able to bring this Department to greatness with honor. What a vision for this 2013-2014 year. Glenn’s theme: HONOR.
Greetings From Your Membership Chairman Comrades & Sisters: With questionable wisdom, Commander Nielsen appointed me to chair our Department’s Membership Program this year. I take this challenge seriously and will fulfill this responsibility to the best of my ability. We all know how important it is to maintain and increase our DENNY CRONER ability to live up to the VFW’s motto “No One Does More MEMBERSHIP For Veterans!” Our voice CHAIRMAN on Capitol Hill and ability to fulfill our missions to our local communities depends on the manpower of our VFW and Auxiliaries’ active membership rosters! Like most fraternal organizations, we are facing rapid depletion of our senior members. However, we are blessed with many new younger veterans returning home with combat experience. Recruiting them – and more importantly, recognizing that they have work, families
and educational needs that must be addressed – will determine our future. “Out of the Box” thinking and action will provide the key to retaining the leaders of tomorrow’s VFW and Auxiliaries. Sharing these ideas with each other is essential! Our Department Membership Team (DMT) is structured to help those that may need a helping hand in recruiting, electronically processing members and assistance in retention. We have a Chief Recruiter/Trainer available in our north, south and eastern areas. We have also staffed a State Woman Veterans Chairperson, Elizabeth Weaver. She can be reached at 208-860-7941 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to enhance our effectiveness in managing our women’s specific programs and provide a better insight into women’s issues. Each District will have a Membership Chairman trained to assist their respective Posts as necessary. Bottom line – what will determine the success of our membership program is having every member of our respective organizations working together and meeting the needs of our current and new members. We need your help!!! If everyone refers one new member, the MEMBERSHIP CHAIRMAN, continued on page 3
IDAHO VETERANS AND
AUXILIARY NEWS MEMBERSHIP CHAIRMAN, continued from page 2 Department of Idaho will have done our part for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. As our State Membership Chairman and Certified National Recruiter I can, and will, gladly assist any new member interested in joining any Post nationwide. Contact me anytime! Denny Croner Certified National Recruiter 208-642-9696 Email: email@example.com NEWS FLASH: The Commander has announced an “Early Bird” special incentive for all members renewing, joining or recruiting new/reinstated members on or before Veterans Day, November 11, 2013! Names of new/ renewed/recovered members and their recruiters will be drawn for prizes donated by members or merchants. Prizes include: guns, gift certificates, etc. For more information, contact me by phone or email listed above.
Judge Advocate’s Notes I am honored to have been re-elected as your State Judge Advocate and sincerely appreciate the support given this office this past year. The bulk of my efforts this past year were directed toward advising our membership on matters relating to infractions, interpretation and resolving issues governed by our National DENNY CRONER and Department regulations. I would encourage every Post JUDGE ADVOCATE and District Officer to either retain or have easy access to a current copy of the National VFW’s Podium Edition, of the National Congressional Charter Bylaws Manual of Procedure Ritual. The new 2014 edition will be revised after this year’s National Convention and available for purchase in September. Our current State Standard Operating Procedures are always available for viewing or downloading on our Department Website at www.vfwidaho.org There will always be issues that may need further clarification. That is why the position of Judge Advocate exists. Have a question? There is never a dumb one. Don’t hesitate to ask – if I don’t know the answer – I sure know who to ask! Contact me anytime at: 208-642-9696 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Post 5407 and its Auxiliary Present Quilt of Valor
Jim Lewis (on right) was awarded a Quilt of Valor made by Auxiliary 5407 President Cathie Orr. Post member Jaxon Caren is on left. The Quilt of Valor Foundation was started in 2009 and its mission is to cover all combat service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor. To date, approximately 35 members of Post 5407 have received Quilts of Valor. In total, over 87,000 handmade quilts have been awarded through this Foundation. For more information about the Foundation go to http://www.qovf.org/
State Service Officer
It was great seeing many of you at the Department’s Convention in Worley and I appreciate all of you passing along Veteran’s Benefit Information, which can be measured by the amount of phone calls and emails that I have received since the Convention. I would like to pass along a couple of administrative notes BILL HEYOB before submitting some more STATE SERVICE OFFICER information: I would like to wish one of our Veterans Service Officers well – Jacques “Fair Winds and Following Seas” Chung Hee – as he has decided to retire from our office effective the first week of July. Jacques served our Great Nation in the Air Force for twenty years and has served as a Service Officer for the last 13 years. We wish him and his family the best of luck in the future. We would also like to welcome aboard our new Service Officer – James Earp – who retired from the Army as a Sergeant Major after 20 years of active service. On June 26th, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs General Eric Shinseki visited the Regional Office here in Boise and met with all of our local Veteran Service Officers. General Shinseki discussed the backlog of claims within the VA and took full responsibility for them. Much of this was due to his decision for VA Regional Offices to reopen claims based on Agent Orange Exposure to see if an earlier effective date was warranted. He reiterated that this was the right thing to do for our Vietnam Veterans and if he had to make the decision all over again, he would. Along the same lines, he is currently working closely with the Department of Defense to obtain as much information possible on burn pits that were located throughout the countries of Iraq and Afghanistan and to compile a list of all service members that were potentially exposed to those burn pits. Though there are currently no established presumptive conditions or diseases associated with exposure to the burn pits, he wants to ensure that if, in the future, it is determined that they have caused permanent medical conditions, the VA can react quicker for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans than it did for Vietnam Veterans with Agent Orange Exposure. The General also discussed the improvements being made to the paperless Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS) and discussed how the transformation to VBMS is greatly improving the overall quality and accuracy of Rating Decisions which will decrease the amount of subsequent claims and potentially reduce the amount of future Appeals. Lastly, the General discussed how proud he is of the current employees of the VA and is satisfied with the work that they are achieving in ending the claim backlog. He stated that the VA employees are not responsible for creating the backlog, are working many hours of mandatory overtime and that they are completing a lot of claims accurately. During the month of May alone, the VA nationally completed over 109,000 pending claims. Here at the Boise Regional Office, the VA Staff has almost completely adjudicated all of the 2-year-old
and older claims that were brokered in from Oakland, California and Reno, Nevada and are now focused on working the nearly 1,500 claims that are all over a year old from Reno, Nevada. All of these claims were part of the VA’s initiative to complete claims that have been pending for over one year. Our Regional Office is still developing and completing claims from Idaho Veterans with the highest priority being assigned to claims for Veterans over 70 years old, Homeless Veterans, Terminally Ill Veterans, Very Seriously Injured and Seriously Injured Veterans, those currently experiencing Financial Hardship, Medal of Honor Recipients, Former Prisoners of War and Fully Developed Claims. Fully Developed Claims are those that are submitted to the VA that contain all of the information required for the VA to quickly verify and complete a claim. With the Veteran submitting all of the pertinent medical records from civilian doctors to prove the continuity and chronicity of a claimed condition, the VA is then only required to request your original Service Treatment Records and Personnel Records from the Records Management Center/National Personnel Records Center to verify connection of the claimed condition with military service. There is no need to provide treatment from VA Medical Centers as the VA Regional Office can access those medical records online. Also concerning Fully Developed Claims is a new initiative covered under Section 506 of Public Law 112-154. This initiative states that any Fully Developed Claim submitted between 6 August 2013 and 6 August 2015 can be granted a one year retroactive effective date if the claimed condition existed one year prior to the date of submission of the claim. Again, this is for Fully Developed Claims only and will not apply to Veterans who are submitting their claims within one year of separation/retirement from the military (claims submitted within one of year separation/retirement have an effective date following the date of separation). Claims for Guardsmen and Reservists – Many of you are aware, but I wanted to reiterate that you can only claim conditions that occurred during periods of active duty or when there is proof that your injury was incurred during a Drill/Training period. If you fall into this category, there must be a Line of Duty report showing that the Guard/Reserve Unit acknowledges the fact that you were injured while performing your Drill/Annual Training. The VA will also acquire from the Unit a Retirement Report that shows every date that you performed Drill/Training so that they can compare the dates to verify that you had Drill/Training on that date. All of this is required to ensure that you did not become injured at your civilian employment and then report to medical personnel on a drill weekend that you are injured. I will see many of you at our IDVS-hosted County and Post Veteran Service Officer Training being held 7-9 August at the Riverside Hotel in Boise and do not forget about the Idaho Women Veterans Conference being held on 10 August, also at the Riverside Hotel. Information for the Women Veterans Conference can be found at the Idaho Division of Veteran Services Website.
UNIQUE MEMBERSHIP Post 3646 Commander and PSC Dale Smith submitted this photo with the notation that Post 3646 has just 160 members but, uniquely has SIX couples who are members. Pictured, L-R: Jim and Geraldine Sterling (Korean War); Christy Acord, missing her husband Phil (Desert Storm), who two years ago was our State Middle School Teacher of the Year; Ernest and Terri Todd (Desert Storm); Mark and Kim Wing (Desert Storm); Albert and Jeaneen Crawshaw (Iraq and Afghanistan); and Darryl and Cindy Glenn (Iraq and Afghanistan).
Lewiston Post 10043
On Sunday, June 23rd, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Mighty and Awesome Power Post of the Palouse 10300, dedicated a new flag and flag pole for the Eden Valley cemetery. This is the last of eight cemeteries for which the Post takes responsibility. Post Commander Les Pixley and PSC Ken Alsterlund installed the pole a week prior to the ceremony. Member Tim Dobler assisted in the ceremony. This cemetery was established in 1879 and contains remains and military markers from the Civil War to the present. Potlatch Post 10300 would like to thank Ben and Janet Barstow for the acquisition of this pole. We would also like to thank Jerry and Terry Blair and the Palouse Boy Scouts for maintenance of the cemetery and custody of the flag.
Comrade Dale Grebe (L) and Commander Ron Gray (R) are pictured here at the flag disposal on Flag Day, June 14th, at VFW Post 10043.
Pictured, L-R: District Trustee Howard Osterberg, District 2 Commander Carl (Les) Pixley, District 2 Quartermaster John Crotinger and (seated) Past Post 10043 Commander David Jacks at the State Veterans Home in Lewiston for the annual District 2 BBQ on June 22, 2013.
Potlatch Post 10300 Raises Flag at Cemetery
Post 10043 assisted with flag raising ceremony at the newly opened Sportsman’s Warehouse in Lewiston on April 27, 2013.
Ken Alsterlund digs the hole for the flag pole.
Commander Pixley and PSC Alsterlund attaching the flag before turning it over to Ben and Janet Barstow. Comrade Rick Fairley and his wife, Judy, along with Commander Ron Gray with his wife “VJ” at the Veterans Appreciation Day at the Lewiston State Veterans Home.
BBQ crew Rockey Davis and Dale Town, both of Post 10043.
Ron Gray and other officers being sworn in by District 2 Commander Rick Johnson.
Commander Pixley, PSC Alsterlund and Ben and Janet Barstow raising the flag for the first time.
IDAHO VETERANS AND
Memorial Day Ceremonies at Idaho State Veterans Cemetery
Jim Vance Retires Boise VA Regional Office Director Jim Vance retired after a long and successful stint at the Regional Office. He spoke at a retirement dinner, which was held for him on June 3, 2013 at VFW Post 63 with Commander Rich Cesler presenting him with a Certificate of Appreciation. At the Department State Convention, he was also presented with a plaque from the Department as a thank you for his dedicated work for Idaho veterans and their families.
Memorial Day Picnic at Post 63 after the Ceremonies Golf in Glenns Ferry
Idaho Angels Pictured, L-R: Bill Reed, Glenns Ferry Post 3646; Robert Wayment, Idaho State Junior Vice Commander; George Peacock, Past State Commander; Glenn Nielsen Department Commander; and Dale Smith, Past State Commander gathered to play golf in the Bob Mullen Memorial Golf Tournament held in Glenns Ferry at the Carmela Golf Course on June 30th. Bob Mullen was a member of Post 3646. His family hosts the annual charity golf tournament and funds raised go to a scholarship awarded yearly to a Glenns Ferry high school graduate.
On July 8th Past State Commander Rich Cesler presented his final Idaho Angel Pins to Susan Thompson and Past Department Presidents Alice Stewart and Edna Sigglekow at Auxiliary 63â€™s monthly meeting. Alice and Edna have given countless hours to the Auxiliary, the Department, the Boise VA Medical Center and the Boise State Veterans Home.
Memorial Legacy Passes to the Next Generation Submitted by Cottonwood Post 4902, Joe Riener, Post Commander At this year’s Memorial Day services in Greencreek and Cottonwood, there was a noticeable difference in the combined VFW and American Legion Honor Guard. After many decades of faithful service, Lee Rehder, former Post Chaplain and Honor Guard Commander, Frank Enneking were absent from the ranks. They both stepped down from their positions this year. Frank VFW Post 4902 Honor Guard members Frank commanded the Honor Enneking (L) and Lee Rehder (R) performing at Guard for many decades the 2012 Memorial Day Service. Photo by Lauretta and his professionalism, Poxleitner. reliability and leadership set the standard for his successor, American Legion Post member Bob Ross. Ross, who like the other Post members, spent many years on the receiving end of Enneking’s commands, performed well at this year’s Memorial Day services. For decades Rehder, like Enneking, recited the names of the deceased veterans and proudly recited “In Flander’s Field” with a booming voice for all to hear. Lee Rehder is succeeded by the current Post 4902 Chaplain, Jim Steinke, who now carries this proud tradition, living up to the honorable standard set by Rehder. Look for Ross and Steinke to execute their duties at the Idaho County Fair parade in Cottonwood, August 24, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. on Main Street. We invite all veterans to join our Honor Guard and Post members for a cold beverage at the VFW Beer Garden, adjacent to the Fair Grounds following the parade or anytime during the August 21-24 Idaho County Fair.
Post 3012 Supports Scouting Our National VFW Organization is encouraging each VFW Department to expand their statewide support of the VFW’s longstanding commitment to scouting. Rexburg Idaho Post 3012 has gotten the word. They are currently sponsoring three separate scouting units: a Tiger Cubs Unit for the young boys, a Girl Scout Unit and a Venturing Unit. The VFW Scouting Program is a perfect fit for the young veteran looking for a way to spend quality time with their children. For many years scouting has been a cornerstone in building patriotic values and developing rich, fulfilling family relationships that endure for generations. The teaching, learning and sharing aspects of scouting are ideal for nurturing today’s young veterans, as well as bringing families closer together. VFW’s commitment to supporting scouting programs also provides a sense of belonging and an opportunity for community involvement for the young veteran. Giving today’s young veterans an opportunity to spend quality time with their children will leave an everlasting impression on the entire family and provide an appeal to the younger veteran that the VFW is a caring partner in their life and an organization worth their involvement and membership. Another immediate benefit to the VFW Post sponsoring a scout troop is the scout involvement in Post activities, such as placing flags on the graves of veterans for Memorial Day and helping distribute Buddy Poppies on Veterans Day, as well as any other patriotic events. Girl Scout Cadette Troop 80, recently visited a Post 3012 meeting to thank the members for their service and share several boxes of their Girl Scout cookies with them.
NOTICE Effective July 2013, Priest River Post 2909 will be conducting monthly outreach from the State Veterans Service Officer’s office on the first Wednesday of each month from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. by appointment only. All interested should call Lisa McCraken at 208-446-1092 for an appointment. Joe English Post Commander
Donating 6 Quarts to the Blood Bank! Post 4902-Cottonwood – Many of the Post 4902 veterans cannot donate blood because of serving in too many countries where there is a possibility of exposure to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human variant of Mad Cow disease. In the best tradition of veteran dedication, instead of donating a pint of blood, these veterans donate six quarts…of soup! For the past five years, the Cottonwood-based Post provided meals to the blood drive workers. Cheri Holthaus, American Red Cross blood drive coordinator at St. Mary’s Hospital in Cottonwood said, “The Red Cross blood drive Bill Farmer, Post 4902, prepared workers love coming to Cottonwood because the meal for the workers at the June of how well the community, and especially the 11 blood drive in Cottonwood. VFW, supports them.” A different VFW volunteer member provides the meal at the quarterly blood drives. This gives the Post community service credit and gives all Post members a chance to individually serve their community.
Canyon County Recognizes Medal of Honor Recipient Reported by KVTB.com Posted on April 22, 2013 CALDWELL – Canyon County leaders are devoting the day to a Nampa Marine whose actions saved lives in the Korean War, but cost him his own. County officials will issue a proclamation on April 7, 2013, making it Herbert A. Littleton Day all across the county. Littleton was just 20 years old when he jumped on top of a hand grenade and saved the life of his fellow service members exactly 62 years ago. For his heroics, Littleton was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart. In 2009, the Nampa post office was renamed in his honor. LITTLETON, HERBERT A. Buried in Kohlerlawn Cemetery, Nampa, Idaho Rank and Organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, Company C, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.) Place and Date: Chungchon, Korea, April 22, 1951 Entered Service At: Blackhawk, South Dakota Born: July 1, 1930, Mena, Arkansas. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a radio operator with an artillery forward observation team of Company C, in action against enemy aggressor forces. Standing watch when a well-concealed and numerically superior enemy force launched a violent night attack from nearby positions against his company, Pfc. Littleton quickly alerted the forward observation team and immediately moved into an advantageous position to assist in calling down artillery fire on the hostile force. When an enemy hand grenade was thrown into his vantage point shortly after the arrival of the remainder of the team, he unhesitatingly hurled himself on the deadly missile, absorbing its full, shattering impact in his body. By his prompt action and heroic spirit of self-sacrifice, he saved the other members of his team from serious injury or death and enabled them to carry on the vital mission which culminated in the repulse of the hostile attack. His indomitable valor in the face of almost certain death reflects the highest credit upon Pfc. Littleton and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
IDAHO VETERANS AND
National President’s Visit to the Department of Idaho National President Armithea “SISSY” Borel will be in Pocatello, Idaho October 2-4, 2013 National President Armithea “Sissy” Borel will make her official visit to the Department of Idaho arriving on October 2, 2013 and departing on October 4, 2013. Please note the following agenda: October 2, 2013 Time (TBA): President Armithea Sissy Borel arrives in Pocatello. 4:30-5:30 p.m. Social Visit with Armithea Sissy Borel at the Bannock County Memorial Building. Address: 300 North Johnson, Pocatello, Idaho. 6:00 p.m. Dutch oven Dinner at the Bannock County Memorial Building. October 3, 2013 8:00 a.m. 10:00 a.m. 12 Noon 6:30-7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.
Breakfast Buffet: Clarion Inn. Address: 1399 Bench Rd. Pocatello. Council of Administration meeting at the Clarion Inn. Lunch – (DUTCH) at Buddys followed by a tour of the ISU Military Sanctuary followed by an Ice Cream Social at the Idaho Veterans Home at 1957 Alvin Ricken Drive, Pocatello. If time permits, we may visit the ISU Museum. Social Hour at Clarion Inn. Dinner at the Clarion Inn with a presentation of Love Gifts after dinner.
October 4, 2013 Time (TBA) Time (TBA)
Coffee and Breakfast at Clarion Inn (DUTCH) President Borel departs from Pocatello.
Note: If you are presenting a Love Gift to the National President make the check payable to Armithea Borel. For those of you not attending this event, but would like to present her with a Love Gift, please send your check to: Department Treasurer Betty Ann Custis, 408 W. Brown Avenue, Kellogg, ID 83837. Make your checks payable to Department of Idaho. The Department Treasurer will see that your checks are forwarded to the National President. (Please Print) Auxiliary Name/Number:���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Address: ________________________________________________________City, State and Zip: _____________________________________________________ Amount ($) or Description of Gift:�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Auxiliary President’s Name: �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������
National President’s Visit to the Department of Idaho Hotel Accommodations Form Rooms are at the Clarion Inn, 1399 Bench Road, Pocatello, ID 83201. Telephone: 208-237-1400, Fax : 208- 238-0225 Room rates are $69.00 per night for two queens or a king room. When calling for reservations, mention that it is for the VFW Ladies Auxiliary. Registrations for meals will be required for a table count. Please print clearly. Name: _________________________________________________________________________________ Post/District: __________________________________________Office Held:_______________________ Name:_________________________________________________________________________________ Auxiliary/District: ______________________________________Office Held:_______________________
Make checks payable to: National President’s Visit
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 Dutch Oven Dinner: Beef stew, vegetable tray, cornbread and dinner rolls with honey butter and dessert. ______ x $10.00 per person Total: $__________ ______ x $15.00 per couple Total: $__________ ______ x $20.00 per family Total: $__________ Total Enclosed:__________
Mail to: Dorene Ray Nelda Morrison 401 Kurtwood Drive 749 Bonanza Pocatello, ID 83204-3556 Chubbuck, ID 83202 208-478-2126 208-237-0128
Thursday, October 3, 2013 Breakfast Buffet: Assorted muffins, fresh fruit medley, scrambled eggs with cheese, bacon and Tropicana orange juice. ______ x $12.00 per person Total: $__________ Buffet Dinner: Carved roast beef and chicken, roasted red potatoes, tossed green salad with dressing, glazed carrots and fresh baked soft rolls. Dessert: Carrot Cake and Raspberry Cheesecake. ______ x $25.00 per person Total: $__________
IDAHO VETERANS AND
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 142 in Idaho City Ranks High Worldwide
News from Post 142
Reprinted from KTVB website IDAHO CITY – June 19, 2013 – The Idaho City Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 142 received national and state honors this week. Awards were given for the Post’s direct involvement with local youth and their communities, in various programs that are geared towards patriotism and good citizenship. Each member from Post 142 was given an “AllAmerican” achievement award pin to hook on their VFW caps, along with an “All-State” award. This is the first time the Idaho City Post has received both awards, while also ranking in the top 25 VFW Posts around the world. The VFW is set up to benefit many veterans, their families and communities. The Idaho City Post meets regularly the second Saturday of every month, at 10 a.m. at the Boise County Sheriff’’s Office.
Pictured, L-R: Jim Wuehler, new JVC; Dale Rutter, new SVC; John Williams, new PC; Jim White, Past PC; and Bob Peck, re-elected QM.
Post member and District 5 Commander Terry Thomas awarding Jim White a plaque of appreciation for serving 4 years as PC.
Photo Credit: Eileen Capson
Retired State Service Officer Tom Ressler
Idaho Falls Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2146 July 4, 2013 – Independence Day Parade
District 5 Cmdr Terry Thomas placing flags at the Idaho City Cemetery on Memorial Day weekend.
Department of Idaho State Service Officer Tom Ressler was honored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States on April 22, 2013. He was inducted into the VFW Service Officers Association Hall of Fame in Annapolis, Maryland and was presented a plaque by National Commander-in-Chief John Hamilton at the Department State Convention in June. Tom retired as Program Manager for the Idaho Division of Veterans Services Office of Veterans Advocacy in December 2012. L-R QM Bob Peck, JVC Jim Wuehler, SVC Dale Rutter, and PC John Williams taking oath of office.
This July 4, 2013 Independence Day Parade was a great event. It enabled the Idaho Falls VFW Post 2146 to participate with two floats representing veterans. Kerry McCullough, Programs & Events Coordinator for the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce, helped in providing information on the parade and instructions. The theme of the parade was “Stay True to the Red, White & Blue”. Our first float was a 20 by 30 foot American Flag that was carried by our local military recruiters (Army, Marine Corps, Navy & Air Force) their family members, Boy Scouts and volunteers. Walter Hinds, Technical Sergeant , USAF Air Force Recruiter, organized and provided the personnel to carry the 20 by 30 foot American Flag. The second float was a pickup truck with a trailer and both were fully decorated. Doug Burns and Erik Akins were volunteers that provided great help in decorating the second float. All branches of the Military Service Flags, National and State, that were displayed were provided by Bill Parker, US Marine Corps Veteran/ VFW Member. Ken Collins, Army Veteran/VFW Life Member assisted in providing the trailer. Bob Skinner, Navy Veteran/VFW Member provided Red, White & Blue patriotic decoration material for the pickup truck and trailer sidewalls. A few military veterans were able to ride in the back of the pickup truck. They were greatly applauded by the general public along the parade route for their military service. VFW Post 2146 wants to thank all the military veterans, their family personnel, Boy Scouts and volunteers. We appreciated everyone that supported our participation in this 2013 Independence Day Parade. Thank you! Bob Akins USAF Veteran/VFW Life Member Post Commander Idaho Falls VFW Post 2146
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4th of July in Rexburg Members of VFW Post 3012 in Rexburg and their Ladies Auxiliary, played a big part in Madison County’s annual 4th of July Independence Day celebrations. The first order of business was an early morning wake up to put out American Flags throughout the town. Following this, they gathered at the Five County Veteran’s Freedom Memorial in Smith Park for a formal flag raising. The flag raising preceded the start of the parade and was the official kick-off of a full day of Independence Day celebrations. After the flag was raised and the Pledge of Allegiance recited, Past State Commander Bob Jones introduced this year’s parade Grand Marshal. Eldred Stephensen is a 100-year-old WWII Veteran and a Lifetime Member of Post 3012. At the conclusion of the Flag Raising Ceremony, members of Post 3012 led the parade, proudly carrying the colors down Main Street to the applause of thousands of adults and children lining the street. Post 3012 members at 4th of July flag raising at the Veteran’s Freedom Memorial. Pictured, L-R: Gary Rogers, Richard Pingry, Brian Sheetz, Joe Law, Burch Drake, Byron Meader, Bob Judy and Bob Jones. The rest of the flag detail. Pictured, L-R: Steve Peters, Dick Camphouse, Bill Parker and our Parade Grand Marshal – WWII Veteran Eldred Stephensen, who is 100 years old.
News from Caribou Post 9141
U.S. flag retirement ceremony held on June 20th by VFW Caribou Post 9141. Pictured, L-R: Brandon Jackson, Lew Toomer, Gary Petersen, John Thielman, Charlie Gentry, Duff Woolsey and Dusty Moore. Flags that are no longer able to be flown can be turned into the VFW Post and they will be properly retired. There will be a container for flags outside the VFW building on Thursdays from 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Group photo prior to hitting the road for the 5th annual Caribou County Fire Department Proud American Ride. Participants were from all over Southeastern Idaho with several members of the POW/MIA group from Pocatello. The group visited the Veteran’s Memorials in Lava, Malad, Preston, Georgetown and Soda. At each Memorial they were met by a Veteran who told them about that city’s memorial. In Lava they were met by Gene Fagnant, Malad-Gene Caldwell, Preston-Vern Rogers and Doug Beuhler; in Georgetown, Garth Glenn and Soda-Gary Petersen. The group sold pins and T-shirts and those participating paid to ride with all money raised split among the cities they visited to assist with the upkeep for the Memorials.
Ride to the Wall KTVB, May 12, 2013, MERIDIAN – Sunday morning, Wes “Topper” Garvin stood by his Stars and Stripes-covered trike, a little nervous. “There are knots in the stomach…anticipation.” That’s saying something for a man who served in Vietnam. Garvin was about to start a journey across the country unlike any other. “I can’t tell you how I’m going to feel when I get there.” It’s called the Run For The Wall. He, along with about a dozen riders from the Boise area, are heading to California, where they’ll meet up with hundreds more. They’ll ride all the way to Washington, D.C., and number in the thousands when they arrive at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, right before Memorial Day. “We ride for all those who can’t,” said Garvin. “Our brothers who have fallen, our brothers who are in harm’s way today, our brothers who are here on active duty, even our veterans who have come home, but haven’t come home, that’s who we’re riding for.” For Garvin, the trip is personal. “I have a brother whose name is on The Wall. This is going to give me a chance to have some closure with him. I haven’t seen him since high school in ’64.”
But really, the trip is personal to many of these riders, like Ron Cleveland, a Vietnam vet himself. He’s done the Run before, and says the greetings they get as they ride through towns is amazing. “You’ll drive for a mile down the main street of town, with everyone from little kids to people in wheelchairs waving the American flag,” said Cleveland. “The Vietnam vet never got his parade, never got his due. When we go back to The Wall, we get that. We get our due. We finally get our parade.” Garvin says the thousands of riders are scheduled to arrive at The Wall on May 24th, when there will be a candlelight vigil. After that, riders will participate in the Rolling Thunder Memorial Ride through Washington, D.C., which culminates on Monday the 27th, Memorial Day.
In Memoriam Clifford Mitchell Past State Commander Clifford Mitchell passed away on June 13, 2013. A celebration of life was held at the Glenns Ferry Post 3646 hall, followed by burial at Glenn Rest Cemetery. PSC Mitchell was born February 4, 1929. He joined the military in 1945 at the age of 16. He served as a flight engineer during the Korean War and Cold War eras. After retiring from the military, he attended Boise Junior College, graduating Magna Cum Laude in the early 70s and became a teacher at Glenns Ferry Elementary for a 20-year teaching career. PSC Mitchell was Commander of the Glenns Ferry Post for several years and was State Commander in 1968-1969.
Clarise Hollingsworth Past Department President Clarise Hollingsworth passed away March 23, 2013 in Lewiston. Clarise and her husband, Ralph, were very active in the VFW with Ralph being a Past State Commander and Clarise holding many positions in her Auxiliary, including being Department President in 1996. She loved to travel to the Conventions and volunteered at the State Veterans Home in Lewiston.
POW/MIA Recognition Day Contributed by Bill Reed, MIA/ POW Program Chairman Observations of national POW/MIA Recognition Day are held across the country on military installations, ships at sea, state capitals, schools and veteran facilities. That day is traditionally on the third Friday in September each year. This observance is one of six days throughout the year that congress has mandated the flying of the National League of families POW/MIA flag. The others are Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day. The flag is flown at major military installations, national cemeteries, all post offices, VA medical facilities, the World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the official offices of the Secretaries of State, Defense and Veterans Affairs, the Director of the Selective Service System and the White House.
Idaho VFW Raffle Comrades and Sisters, The Department Raffle Committee is proud to announce the winners and the amount of monies raised for the Voice of Democracy, Patriot’s Pen and Teacher of the Year Programs. Winners Are As Follows: $1,000 VISA Card – Mike Benstrom, Colbert, WA $750 VISA Card – Steve Moczulski, Priest River, ID $500 VISA Card – Jayson Mcguire, Emmett, ID The Raffle raised $10,450.00 for the Programs. The Raffle Committee would like to thank all who bought tickets and especially those who helped sell the tickets. We are in the early stages of getting a new Raffle started and will soon announce the prizes and date we plan to have tickets available.
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VFW Scholarship Programs The Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen themes have been announced for the 2013-2014 program year. The Voice of Democracy theme is: “Why I Am Optimistic About Our Nation’s Future.” The Patriot’s Pen theme is: “What Patriotism Means to Me.” Each District and Post and their respective Ladies Auxiliary should have appointed Chairpersons for these programs. Please start promoting both programs now. A story in the local media will be a great help. Contact the Principals and Teachers as soon as school is back in session, so they can advise their respective students of the themes and rules for this program year. If you visit with teachers early enough, they may be able to incorporate the programs into their classroom assignments. Important information regarding the programs, including forms and deadlines, can be found on our Department website. Complete details can be found by clicking on a link on our Department website which will connect you to the “VFW Scholarship Programs Chairman’s Manual,” on the National VFW web site. Our youth are our future. VFW youth programs are a wonderful opportunity for them to increase their knowledge and express their feelings about our Nation’s freedoms and liberties, through written and spoken communications. The experience they gain in increasing their ability to effectively communicate in writing and speaking will help prepare them for the future. In addition, there are some nice monetary prizes, scholarships and recognition for their participation and success. Let’s all help to make this year’s programs our very best yet. Our Department Program Chairpersons for the VFW and its Ladies Auxiliary (Bob and Carmelita Jones) are available to assist you and answer any questions you may have.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki Visits the Boise VA Regional Office Veterans Will Have Disability Claims Answered Faster With New System By Scott Evans KTVB.COM – Posted on June 26, 2013 BOISE – The U.S. Secretary of Veteran Affairs was in Boise for a big announcement for veterans looking to file for a disability claim. It surrounds processing claims faster. The big announcement changes the way veterans will file a disability claim. Since the claims began, everything was done on paper. Now, claims will be digital, cutting the time it takes to get a decision in half. It’s called Veterans Benefits Management System. It essentially takes the claims process from paper to digital. U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki said veterans in Idaho and across the country wait too long to receive the benefits they’ve earned. “This has never been acceptable and that’s why we’re executing a robust plan that we’ve put in place over the last several years,” said Shinseki. That plan is twofold: process the backlog of unprocessed claims and develop a new system to process claims faster. In April, Shinseki said there were claims filed over two years ago, and that was unacceptable. Josh Callihan is a veteran who was injured in the line of duty. He’s been through the claims process. “When you leave the Department of Defense you’re really not sure how it’s going to work, they just tell you go to where ever you’re from and get in touch with the VA and file a claim, and that’s really about the most ERIC SHINSEKI, continued on page 12
Scholarships Program By Carmelita Jones, Chairman A sincere thank you to everyone for making this 2012-13 Program Year a very successful and rewarding year for the Department of Idaho. It was because of your concerted efforts that we were able to achieve success in all of the five areas of the Scholarships Program. Twenty-Four Ladies Auxiliaries participated in all five areas by visiting schools, contacting home-school students and their families, assisting the Posts with judging, preparing food for the award banquets and open houses and publishing their local winners in the newspaper or online community news bulletin. This represented a 96% participation effort for the Department of Idaho! Following are the results of our Young American Creative Patriotic Art Contest that were announced at our Mid-Winter Conference. Young American Creative Patriotic Art Contest The Department of Idaho Ladies Auxiliary contributed a total of $1,407 for prizes and awards. Eighteen Ladies Auxiliaries participated in the promotion of the program. A total of forty-two entries were submitted throughout the Department of Idaho. Seven entries were judged at the Department Level. The judges selected 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place winners and recognized the other four entries as Honorable Mentions. The top three winners were awarded monetary prizes. All entries were awarded Special Recognition Certificates and Patriotic Art Pins. • 1st Place was awarded to Becky Young, sponsored by Glenns Ferry Aux 3466, District 6. Becky received a check in the amount of $125.
• 2nd Place was awarded to Sydney Croteau, sponsored by Coeur d’Alene Aux 889, District 1. Sydney received a check in the amount of $75. • 3rd Place was awarded to Morgan Rae Vaughn, sponsored by Little Woods River Aux 3001, District 6. Morgan received a check in the amount of $50. The following individuals received Honorable Mentions: • Reanna Vanacore, sponsored by Colonel Stotsenberg Aux 3465, District 5. • Tanisha Emory Henderson, sponsored by Mini Cassia Aux 3043, District 6. • Megan Tripp, sponsored by Pocatello Aux 735, District 7. • Katie Josephson, sponsored by Hans Jensen Aux 3012, District 8. I would like to express my gratitude to President Sherry Camphouse for her trust in appointing me this year’s Scholarships Chairman. It has been an honor and privilege to have worked with everyone throughout the State. We have performed a valuable service, promoting patriotism in our youth by providing them the opportunity to express their feelings about our Nation’s freedoms, through written and spoken communication and artwork. I look forward to once again serving you as the Scholarships Chairman for 2013-2014, under the leadership of President Denise Munsee! With your help, we will achieve 100% participation this coming program year to match the 100th year celebration of the Ladies Auxiliary!!
Speech Given by Past State Commander Bob Jones On the occasion of Flag Raising at the Veteran’s Freedom Memorial in Rexburg on July 4, 2013. Today we are celebrating the most important beginning in American history. A beginning that for the first time, consisted of freedoms, liberty and righteousness. A beginning inspired by a revolutionary idea thought up by a group of men who believed they should stand up against tyranny. These men held an idea that would forever change the lives of everyone in this great nation. Today we celebrate the birth of America. Let us consider the price that has been paid for us to breathe the fresh air of this beautiful new morning and to dream new dreams without limitations. Approximately 25,000 Americans lost their lives in their fight for freedom. In addition, 8,000 more were injured. However, these losses, though tragic as they were, were not in vain. It is said that where one story ends another begins. These brave men were the first to unselfishly sacrifice themselves for the creation of something better – Freedom – a state of mind, a way of life. So today, we are not only celebrating the birth of America and our independence, we are also celebrating the courage and bravery that our men and women of the armed forces display on a daily basis to protect the core
values of America and keep us free from tyranny. As we celebrate our independence with our families, friends and communities today, I would ask that we remember and honor all American patriots – from the countryside of the New England States, to the Beaches of Normandy, to the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir in Korea, to the jungles of Vietnam, to the streets of Kandahar, Afghanistan. They are those who have cultivated our land of freedom and preserved our precious liberties with their tears, their courage, their blood and their very lives. Were it not for their sacrifice, we would not be gathered here today. In closing, I would say: Our thoughts are with those brave men and women in uniform, who even at this very hour, guard the gates of freedom. Their personal sacrifices and willingness to pay the ultimate price to defeat the enemies of democracy are an eternal tribute to the goodness of mankind. For we know that they are not in the land of brutal heat and blowing sand because they enjoy the terror of war. May God bless them, watch over them and bring them home safely to their loved ones. “Happy birthday, America, and may God Bless.”
New Resource Available Online Note: The Resource Guide mentioned below is a comprehensive one and useful to all service officers and those who have veterans asking about various services. Kudos to Geoffrey Hall for compiling it! Please go to the website and download the guide. – Susan Thompson, Editor The Valleywide Veterans Resource Network has been meeting for about three years, bringing groups as diverse as the Boise Police Department, Valley Regional Transit, the Boise Rescue Mission and the Ada and Canyon County veterans courts together to coordinate services for veterans and figure out where the greatest needs lie.
Geoffrey Hall from the Boise VA Medical Center compiled a free guide to services available for veterans in the Treasure Valley. The guide includes listings for veterans’ children’s services, such as the Airman and Family Readiness Program; housing services, such as the Boise VA Medical Center Homeless Veterans Program; and transportation services, such as the Valley Regional Transit GoRide Volunteer Transportation Program that provides low-cost transportation for seniors, veterans and those with disabilities. The guide is available for download from the Boise police website at http://police.cityofboise.org/ media/5675/VeteransResource%20Manual.pdf
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State Convention Our National Representatives to State Convention were Commander-in-Chief John Hamilton and Armithea “Sissy” Borel. Both were informative in their presentations on behalf of the National Organization, as well as such fun and a joy to have participating with us. At the Joint Opening, along with greetings from individuals representing other service organizations, the VA and Idaho’s political branches, presentations were made to Brig. General Alan Gayhart for his service in Idaho to newly retired VA Regional Office Director Jim Vance for his 37 years of outstanding service to veterans and to Tom Ressler on the occasion of his induction into the VFW Service Officers Hall of Fame.
The annual Western BBQ and Cancer Auction was a great success. “Hot Sox” was missed and will be difficult, if not impossible, to replace during the auction! At the Awards Banquet, the following awards were made. Congratulations to the recipients and thank you for all of your contributions to the VFW! Mr. VFW: PSC Donald G. Riegel, Post 889, Coeur d’Alene Mrs. VFW: Ione Spalding, District 1 President Female Veteran of the Year: Melanie Foster, Post 3604, Buhl Lifetime Achievement: Henry E. Bergdorf, Post 2909, Priest River Robert T. Spalding, Post 3622, Bonners Ferry Vincent M. Poxleitner, Post 4902, Cottonwood
STATE CONVENTION, continued on page 12
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Potlatch Post Member Retires from Army Col. Johnson is the newly elected Post 10300 Junior Vice Commander In a military ceremony at Potlatch, Col. Barry Johnson retired from active duty in the U.S. Army after more than 26 years of service on May 31. Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, the Deputy Commanding General of I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, presided over the ceremony. “It was important to me to do this in Potlatch, where I am making my home near family and friends,” Johnson said. He is a Life Member of the VFW and joined Potlatch Post 10300. “As a native of northern Idaho, there are so many people dear to me that I wanted to thank. They wouldn’t have been able to attend if I held the ceremony on a military base, far from home,” Johnson said. “I also wanted people from the community to take part, so I was quite happy to see Col. Barry Johnson (left) talks my friends from the VFW Post there, as with his brother Richard Johnson well. Service to the community through (seated) at his retirement ceremony organizations like the VFW will no doubt be in Potlatch on May 31st. Richard, an important part of my future.” a Vietnam veteran who served in Maj. Gen. Buchanan served with Johnson the U.S. Navy, commissioned his in Iraq, where they were part of the effort to brother Barry as a second lieutenant withdraw troops from the country in 2011. in the Army over 26 years ago. “It was an honor for me to be able to attend,” Maj. Gen. Buchanan said. “We need to take the time to not only recognize the service of leaders like Barry, but also all the family and friends who helped make a long career like his so successful.”
“What a great community he has chosen to make his home,” he added. Maj. Gen. Buchanan recently moved to Washington, D.C., where he is taking command of the Military District of Washington. Johnson served over 52 months in Iraq during four combat tours of duty there between 2004 to 2011, as both a public affairs officer and a military advisor. He also served a combat tour as a senior military advisor in Afghanistan in 2012. In retirement, Johnson plans to focus on his family, his small farm and serving the community. “With over 26 years of serving our nation, I simply want to be a part now in helping our community as best I can while building a permanent home close to family and friends,” he said. “I have been around the world, and there isn’t anyplace better than northern Idaho and my adopted town of Potlatch to do this. I feel truly blessed.” Col. Barry Johnson (second from right) is joined by his sons Sam and Jack, along with his mother Irene Johnson, at a U.S. Army retirement ceremony in Potlatch on May 31st. Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan (far right), the Deputy Commanding General of I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, presided over the ceremony.
ERIC SHINSEKI, continued from page 10 information they give you,” said Callihan. (Editor’s Note: Josh Callihan works for Boise VA Medical Center.) Nationwide, it currently takes an average of 290 days to process a claim. Callihan’s claim took a year for the first decision, and another year for the appeal. That long process coupled with the government now recognizing long overdue benefits created a backlog. “It was the right thing to do, but it also added to the inventory of claims to be processed and the backlog deepened,” said Shinseki. Processing staff began working overtime in April and has since processed just about every claim older than two years. Couple that hard work with a new paperless program called Veterans Benefits Management System, and veterans should see their claims answered in four months.
“I think what veterans can expect now is a little bit more of a 21st century process,” said Callihan. In terms of processing claims faster, this new system appears to be working. In February there were 80,000 claims processed. In May, the number of claims processed jumped to over 108,000. That increase comes as staff is becoming more familiar with this new system. And really the bottom line is veterans will know faster if their disability claims are accepted or rejected. The Department of Veterans Affairs hopes to have all claims older than 125 days old processed by 2015. That’s around the same time the transition from paper to digital will be complete.
STATE CONVENTION, continued from page 11