Official Publication of the N.C.

Department
VFW of North Carolina PO Box 25337 Raleigh, NC 27611-5337
Non-Profit Org US Postage PAID Rermit No. 1838 Raleigh N.C.

THE VFW LEADER
W
EH

H OLD T E FUTU RE

Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
Inside: • Pg. 2 - Letters • Pg. 3 - Officers Columns • Pg 13 - Patriot Pen Winner • Pg 14 - Gold Medal Winners • Pg. 4 - Veterans Museum • Pg15 - Vander Clute Ride • Pg. 5 - Veterans Retraining • Pg16 - Tarheel Photos • Pg. 6 - GI Bill Trademark • Pg. 10 - Presidents Column • Pg. 11 - Paperless Claims • Pg. 12 - District Meetings

2013

State Convention Set for June 6th-9th in Greensboro
The Department of North Carolina's 83rd Annual State Convention is scheduled for Thursday, 6 June, through Sunday, 9 June, at the Embassy Suites in Greensboro. The hotel is located at the junction of I-40 and State Highway 68 (Exit 210). All comrades, sisters, and brothers are encouraged to attend the Convention and learn about state-level issues and decision making processes. Major issues to be discussed at the Convention include a proposed $10 annual member dues increase from VFW National, changes to the Department By-Laws, and the approval or disapproval of a Department Men's Auxiliary Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). There will be an outgoing Council of Administration meeting on Thursday afternoon, classes/meetings/seminars on Friday, the state-level elections on Saturday, and an incoming Council meeting on Sunday morning. The elections promise to be particularly exciting, as there are numerous candidates running for several offices. For the position of State Junior Vice Commander are State Chief of Staff Steve Amos, District 4 Commander Victor Letourneaut, District 8 Commander Jessie Bellflowers, and Comrade Van Raper of Wilson Post 6651. For the position of State Surgeon are current and longtime Surgeon Saundra Clagett and District 5 Commander Chris Sikes, a VA nurse. So far, the offices of Commander, Senior Vice Commander, Quartermaster, Judge Advocate, and Chaplain are unopposed. Currently running for these offices are incumbents Ernie Allis for Commander, Jack Goin for Senior Vice Commander, Bruce Edwards for Quartermaster, Dean Harris for Judge Advocate, and Steve Smith for Chaplain. However, any comrade in good standing can be nominated for any Department-level office on Saturday morning, 8 June. On the Ladies' side of the house, the following sisters are running for office so far: Penny Cacoulidis for President, Janice Holm for Senior Vice President, B. Mae Harris for Junior Vice President, Jeanne Gilbert for Treasurer, Fran Redfield for Chaplain, Joyce Preston for Conductress, and Eileen Wokosky for Guard. Also at the Convention will be VFW National representatives from the Headquarters in Kansas City. The comrades' representative has not yet been determined by National, but the Ladies are sending National Council of Administration Member #9, Helen Bell, of South Carolina. At the Convention, Ms. Bell will finish her term of office and the North Carolina Ladies will select their next 2-year Council member from their own ranks. So far, Past Department Presidents Maria Myers and Deborah Crowder have declared their intention to run for Council Member #9. The theme of the Convention will be the old Wild West. Attendees are encouraged to wear cowboy/western clothing at the Department Hospitality Room during the evenings and at the Installation Banquet on Saturday night. The cost will be $35 overall, which will pay for unlimited snacking and drinking at the Department Hospitality Room all weekend and the Saturday night banquet. If attendees wish to only visit the hospitality room, the cost is $10. If attendees wish to only attend the banquet, the cost is $25. There is no fee for attending the Convention if persons do not want to socialize at either the hospitality room or the banquet. To make reservations at the Embassy Suites hotel, call 336-668-3901 and tell them you need the VFW rate for those dates. The rate is $112 plus taxes for a suite in the Embassy Suites hotel, or $179 for a two-bedroom apartment in the Homewood Suites hotel across the parking lot. This cost includes free hot breakfasts each morning and two free hotel drinks each evening with the hotel manager for all attendees. POST SERVICE OFFICERS are particularly invited to attend because State Service Officer Cleo Summers will be providing intensive service training for all-day Friday and half a day Saturday. Because of the sensitive nature of post service officer work, all such comrades should certainly attend this training. Any comrade who attends the convention and stays for the Council meeting on Sunday morning will receive a stipend of $.20/mile transportation reimbursement, whether they drive or not. Besides Service Officer training, internet and website training will be offered. There will be many committee meetings of interest to comrades, sisters, and brothers, to include By-Laws, Resolutions, Long Range Planning, State Budget, Men's Auxiliary, and the State Golf Tournament planners. The Eastern, Central, and Western Conferences will all hold their conference meetings, to include elections for their Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Secretary Treasurer. All comrades in good standing in those conferences are eligible to run for these offices. Also of great interest to comrades, sisters, and brothers alike is the VFW Department Store. Thousands of dollars worth of excellent VFW and military items will be available for purchase at very competitive prices. The store has been one of the outstanding success stories of 2012-2013, garnering sales since the last convention in June of over $30,000. Buyers can pay with cash, check, or credit card. The store can also be found online at www.vfwnc.org.

Volume No. 75

The VFW Leader

Jan/Feb/Mar 2013

Voice of Democracy Winner Takes 5th Place Nationally
Joanna Paul, a home-schooled 11th grader of Greenville, has taken 1st place in the Department of North Carolina's Voice of Democracy oral essay competition, and 5th place in the entire nation. She will receive $3000 in scholarships from the Department and an additional $5000 in scholarships from VFW National. Joanna, the daughter of Nancy Paul, received her recognition by the state at the Department Winter Council of Administration/Conference in Greensboro on February 2, and from National at the VFW Voice of Democracy/ Legislative Conference in Washington, DC, on March 3. She was sponsored by Greenville Post 7032 and District 2. Taking 1st place in the nation was a female student from San Francisco, California, who walked away with $30,000 in National scholarships. 2nd place went to a female student from Oregon, who will receive $16,000 in scholarships. 3rd place was a female student from Montana, who secured $10,000 in scholarships. In the Department competition at the Mid-Winter Conference at the Embassy Suites in Greensboro, Christine Lloyd of Sanford won 2nd place and $1500 in scholarships. She was sponsored by Sanford Post 5631 and District 9, and is a senior at Lee County High School. In 3rd place at Department was Miranda Wronecki of Greensboro, a senior at Bishop McGuinness High School in Kernersville. Miranda was sponsored by Greensboro Post 11533 and District 10, and will receive $1000 in scholarships. Joanna's winning oral essay is as follows:

Is Our Constitution Relevant?

Still

It is the summer of 1787. Fifty-five men are crammed into a hot, stuffy room in Philadelphia. They have already risked their lives to create this independent country. But, as the sweat trickles down their faces and flies swarm all around, they know that their mission is not yet complete. These brave visionaries, from different backgrounds, are united with a common vision: to create a Constitution that will establish and secure liberty for all generations of this fledgling nation. They know that this new nation will need a timeless framework built on principles that will allow it to thrive through tumultuous times. What emerged from that convention was more than a document; it was the enshrining of the ideas that would become the blueprint for one of the greatest nations the world has ever known! Twelve years earlier, in the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers had laid the foundation for these ideas by identifying two fundamental, selfevident truths. First, that government derives its authority "from the consent of the governed" (US Declaration Ind.). Second, that all men are "endowed by their creator" with the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness " (US Declaration Ind.). Some have argued that the Constitution is no longer relevant because it is archaic and is not suited to protect all rights. A

recent New York Post article stated that our Constitution is "out of step with the rest of the world in calling to protect a right to travel... and entitlement to food, education and health care" (Liptak). Is that indeed the case? To fully evaluate this, let's take a closer look at the two enduring keys and the structural provisions built into the Constitution to ensure its application irrespective of the times. The first "key" is the idea of government accountability, implemented through a remarkable system of checks and-balances. This was critical because, as James Madison explained, "The accumulation of all powers in the same hands... may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny" (Madison). By vesting different power: in three independent branches, the Constitution ensured that each branch's power would be checked by both each other and the people. You see, the Founding Fathers realized that while culture would change, human nature would not. The Constitution is relevant because it has prevailed over the natural corruption of human nature. The second "key" is the provision and protection of liberty. The enormous importance of this was best epitomized by Patrick Henry, who said: "Give me liberty, or give me death!" (Henry) Unfortunately, each day children around the world wake up without the guarantee of this liberty. A little boy born into an "untouchable" family in India is warned that he will never be allowed to break free from the lowest rung of society. A girl in

Pakistan knows that she likely won't have the option of getting a college education. Contrast this to Americans who can live their entire lives without any such barriers or fear of punishment for thoughts, words, or actions, as guaranteed by the Constitution. The Founding Fathers also wisely realized that society's progress could bring about the need for potential changes to the Constitution. For this reason, they included an amendment process by which these changes could be included as long as a majority of the people agreed. This brilliant idea would simultaneously allow for needed changes while protecting the integrity of this profound document against minority-held opinions. Samuel Adams noted, "The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending against all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks" (Adams). This is why our President swears an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. And, why so many brave men and women in our armed forces are willing to give their lives to preserve the freedoms guaranteed by it. The Constitution is not just words on a page but rather the foundation that has preserved and protected America's most cherished value: freedom. Through this amazing document the brilliant "keys" for the success of our nation - accountability and liberty -live on. And so today, in 2012, the Constitution remains as remarkable and relevant as it was during that hot summer back in 1787.

Joanna Paul, the Department's VOD 2012-2013 First Place Winner

State Commander Urges One More Membership Push!
The Department of North Carolina is knocking on the door of 100% in membership for 20122013, and State Commander Ted Briggs urges all comrades to make one more final membership push to achieve that goal. As of 7 March, the Department stood at 95.95%, the highest percentage at this time of the competition than in several years past. The last times that the Department achieved the incredible goal of 100% in membership was in 2007-08 under John Shelander, 2005-06 under Roy Meares, and 1992-93 under William "Jim" Hendren. Currently the Department is in 17th place of 54 Departments in the nation, and 5th place out of 17 Departments in the Southern Conference. State Commander Briggs is confident that the state can reach the desired 100% with just a little more effort. Districts doing particularly well are District 11 under Pete Knight at 101.90% and District 8 under Jessie Bellflowers at 101.06. Almost to 100% are District 9 under Anthony Hall at 98.83%, District 12 under John Troutman at 98.65%, and District 17 under William "Skip" Ha at 98.33%. Top Recruiters in the state are District 17 Commander Skip Hall of Cherokee Post 8013 at 52, Certified National Recruiter Roland Rochester of Fayetteville Post 6018 at 49, State National Guard Coordinator Frances Crawford of Raeford Post 10 at 30, Perry Hair of Holly Ridge Post 9983 at 28, Enrico Dalimonte of Jacksonville Post 9133 at 22, Ron Sherwood of Jacksonville Post 9133 at 20, Thomas Person of Fayetteville Post 6018 at 18, William "Bill" Greene of Hope Mills Post 10630 at 16, Daniel Johnson of Morganton Post 5362 at 15, State Membership Chairman Jack Campbell of Indian Trail Post 2423 at 14, State Chief of Staff Steve

Joanna Paul being honored at the VFW National VOD/Legislative Conference in Washington D.C., by State Commander Ted Briggs & Ladies Auxiliary State President Ginger Amos.

Amos of Winston-Salem Post 1134 at 13, Max Morris of Southern Pines Post 7318 at 13, Mary Ann 0' Connor of Southern Pines Post 7318 at 12, Scott Vanderwerf of Swansboro Post 9960 at 12, Billy Ray Brown of Spring Lake Post 4542 at 12, Joseph Faney of Holly Ridge Post 9983 at 11, and State Quartermaster Bruce Edwards of Henderson Post 2417 at 11.

Every post in North Carolina has their own website. It takes a minute to visit your post's site. Just log in to: www.vfwwebcom.org/northcarolina

Visit Your Post's Website

Page 2 The VFW Leader
The VFW Leader is published quarterly by the Department of North Carolina Veterans of Foreign Wars at 917 New Bern Avenue, Raleigh, North Carolina. Editor.......................Bruce Edwards News stories, photographs and other matters for publication should be addressed to Editor, VFW Leader, P.O. Box 25337, Raleigh, N.C. 27611. Correspondence regarding subscription and circulation should be addressed to VFW Leader, P.O. Box 25337, Raleigh, N.C. 27611.

Jan/Feb/Mar 2013

The VFW Leader

Getting the Word Out
Chapel Hill - Lee Heavlin, blogmaster Does your post have an identity problem? Do you do a lot, but the local paper ignores you? Do your post members miss out on what is going on because they don't get to meetings? If yes, you are not getting the word out. What can a post do? Go into the publishing business and start its own newspaper to publish post stories. A post can use the VFW NC Department website that is provided to each post at no cost. Posts can use the information now flowing in emails. News coming in to the post commander, adjutant, quartermaster can be cut and pasted into a news story for the web. Stories on post websites are monitored and picked up daily for statewide distribution. When post stories are broadcast by the state, every subscriber gets to see what is going on at another post. If a post in Durham is hosting a special event or a veterans' stand down, everyone gets the information. Your event may encourage other posts to try the same thing. Local newspapers and radio stations troll the web for veterans information, people to talk to, people honor, and for participants in patriotic events. Post stories are often selected to be reprinted in local papers as letters to the editor or opinion pieces. Our views are important! Local schools have patriotic projects and students look to the internet for information on flag retirements, holidays, the history of local veterans and more. What is on the web about your veterans? Another added benefit that is millions of people have the opportunity to view what you are writing. Did you know that a short Calabash story on Tuskegee airmen gets read about 300 times a day and this has been going on for about a year! Our VFW web sites are getting read! Post web sites also put a face on a local post. This is invaluable to students seeking information on a post to submit their Voice of Democracy, Patriot's Pen, or Scouting Scholarship application. Some posts report that they get inquiries from Virginia and Tennessee from North Carolina students away at boarding school. Their home is here and they need to submit an application. VFW Post web sites were given a new look two years ago. Adding information is easier and we use WordPress as the software of choice. We load the software on a central server and give each post a template and space on the server. There is absolutely no cost to the posts. No fees for access and no monthly charges for server use. Some posts are worried about the complexity of using their website. If someone can create email, then the post has the talent needed. Also, the system is designed to be passed on to another post member to manage. We just grant access and all existing information stays on-line and just as it was before the blogmasters changed. Want more information? Just look at the state website at http://vfwnc.org and look under TOOLS for details on the post websites, how to use them, and how to add impact to your post stories. You will also find information on how to gain access and a password. Are you ready to put on your editor's visor and start your post on-line newspaper?

"Department Headquarters normal operating hours 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday. Closed for holidays: New Years Day, Martin Luther King's Birthday, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day."

Letters to the Editor
GIFTS FOR KIDS
December 29,2012 Thomas Adams Veterans of Foreign Wars 9899 2923 Archdale Rd. Archdale, NC 27263 Dear Thomas, On behalf of the more than 22,000 children who are served by The Salvation Army through FOX8 Gifts for Kids, we want to thank you for bringing a smile to each child's face on Christmas morning. We know these are tough times for many, but thanks to your generous gift totaling $1,000 we were able to help The Salvation Army in 12 Piedmont counties serve thousands of families this Christmas. This amazing task could not be accomplished without the support of individuals, families, church groups and corporations in our community. Thank you for your generosity. For the past 24 years, it has been our mission to help children in the Piedmont. We promise, with your continued support, to keep reaching out to these young people during this special time of year. Thank you again for supporting FOX8 Gifts for Kids through The Salvation Army. Sincerely Tim Taylor, Vice President of Creative Services FOX 8/WGHP Captain Jim Rickard, Salvation Army

The Wall That Heals
Wayne County Veterans & Patriots Coalition The Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial - The Wall That Heals" is scheduled to arrive in Goldsboro North Carolina under escort of the Guardian Brotherhood, Patriot Guard, VFW Motorcycle Club, American Legion Riders, and Ghost Riders at 3:00 pm on 16 April. In addition, The Wall That Heals will be met at the Wayne County line by a Wayne County Sheriff's Office escort. It is to travel east on US Hwy 70 to Wayne Memorial Drive where it will exit and turn left to continue to Wayne Community College. The Wall That Heals will be on display as you enter right onto the campus. The Wall will open to the public with formal ceremony on Thursday 18 April beginning at 10:00 am to include a B-52 flyover and a Battlefield Cross Ceremony. Gen. Dan Cherry (USAF Retired) will be Keynote speaker. A ceremony to honor our KIA is scheduled for Friday 19 April at 5:00 pm to include a Roll Call/Candlelight Ceremony, Three Volley Salute and Taps. Keynote speaker is Medal of Honor Recipient Col Walter Joseph Marm Jr.. (USA Retired). The closing ceremony scheduled for Sunday 21 April 4:00 pm is a POW/ MIA service to include a F-15E flyover in missing man formation, concluding with Taps. Col Jeanne Leavitt, Commander 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB will deliver the Keynote address. The Wall will remain open under guard 24 hours around the clock until sunrise Monday 22 April. The Greenville VA Connect Van and VAMC Fayetteville Rural Health Care Team will be on site Thursday and Friday to offer assistance to anyone in need with VA Health Care enrollment. Representatives from The Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Disabled American Veterans, The American Legion, Marine Corps League, Navy Seabee Veterans of America, Fleet Reserve Association, and others will be on hand to assist with memberships. A certified copy of an original DD-214 is required for VA enrollment and memberships. Memorial Wall T-Shirts are now available for purchase ($20.00 each) at The American Legion Wayne Post 11, or by calling Bill Graham at 919-394-2200.

Prescription Refills
Department of Veterans Affairs Fayetteville Medical Center, 2300 Ramsey Street, Fayetteville, NC 28301 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 6, 2013 Medical Center Telephone System Upgrade "Veterans have continued access to pharmacy and refills" WHAT: Last week, a new phone system
and computer software was installed at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center to expand and upgrade our phone system. However, as with many new systems, come some growing pains. VA personnel are working with contractors that managed this installation to find and fix any glitches and provide the highest quality of service. phone line, you may be transferred to the VA National Pharmacy Call Center in Waco, Texas to speak with a customer service representative and provide your prescription number. That Call Center number is 910-4882120 ext 7015. • Refills can also be ordered by mailing in the refill slip that is provided with each prescription. Mail to: Fayetteville VA Medical Center, 2300 Ramsey Street, Fayetteville, NC 28301 Attn: Pharmacy. Please note that pharmacy refills mailed to Veterans do have a refill slip to place orders. • Refills can be ordered at any time of day through the MyHealtheVet web site: www.myhealth.va.gov. Veterans must be enrolled in this program and be positively identified prior to use. Please note that you must first enroll to use this service. If you wish to enroll or have questions concerning this program please call 910-488-2120 extension 5266. • If you are visiting the Fayetteville VAMC, you can drop the refill slip in the designated in the REFILL SLIP DROP BOX located in the pharmacy waiting area on the ground floor. We will keep you informed of our system wide improvements. Thank you again for your understanding and for choosing the Fayetteville VA for your health care needs. We apologize for any difficulties Veterans may be experiencing with our new phone system at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center, Village Green Clinics, or the Fayetteville Veteran Re-adjustment and Veterans Counseling Center.

WHERE: Fayetteville VAMC, 2300

Ramsey Street, Fayetteville, NC 28301 Fayetteville VAMC Dialysis Center, Robeson Plaza, 2301 Robeson Street, Fayetteville, NC 28301 Wilmington CBOC, 736 Medical Center Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401 Jacksonville CBOC, 241 Freedom Way, Midway Park, NC 28544 Robeson CBOC, 139 Three Hunts Drive, Pembroke, NC 28372 Hamlet CBOC, 100 Jefferson Street, Hamlet, NC 28345 Brunswick Outreach Clinic, 20 Medical Campus Drive, Supply, NC 28462 Media Contact: 5991: Robin DeMark, Fayetteville VAMC Public Affairs Officer, 910-488-2120 ext. Tel: (910) 488-2120 ext. 5991 Email: Robin.DeMark@va.gov www.FayettevilleNC.VA.Gov www.Facebook.com/FayettevilleVAMC

WHO: Veterans, if your call is concern-

ing medication refills, here are a few ways to obtain your medications. Patients can order refills by calling (910) 488-2120 ext. 7045 and then enter the prescription number into the automated system. If there is a problem with this

State News Subscriptions
Local news items get published by individual posts and the state website locates new news items for broadcast as subscription news. It is All My VFW NC News. How do you subscribe? Just go to the state website and scan down to the subscription box. Visit http:// vfwnc.org and look for:
Enter your email address to receive news from the My VFW NC Website Subscribe FOR A SPOT ON THE LEADER, VISIT THE NC WEBSITE SCAN HERE

Posts throughout the state are publishing stories about local activities. Are you getting to see them? Everyone is encouraged to subscribe to the free on-line Veterans of Foreign Wars North Carolina News feed. It is easy and will ensure that you will know what is going on around the district and around the state.

The VFW Leader
Commander’s Column
took me to VFW Post 2087 Greensboro, 9134 Rockwell, 9157 Black Mountain, 10685 Glenville, 4059 Mint Hill, 1160 Charlotte, 6724 Paw Creek, and 7794 Elkin. January 17,2013 I traveled to 2423 Indian Trail to attend the Banquet honoring National President Leanne Lemley, which was a very nice event. The highlight of the month was visiting Past State Department Commander (1963-64) Jim Black, at the Assisted Living Home where he resides. Had a very enjoyable visit, and he is still a very sharp gentleman. Started the month of February, 2013, with the Council of Administration meeting in Greensboro. It was great to have all seventeen Voice of Democracy winners at the Banquet, thanks to WalMart. Many compliments were received about the entire weekend. After the Council of Administration meeting, I visited 6018 Fayetteville, 10 Raeford, 7946 Jefferson, 10403 Wadesboro, 8969 Lumberton, 2972 Gibsonville, and 12025 St. Paul. I will be attending the Washington Conference March 2- 6, 2013. Also, my plans for March are to visit 5483 Mars Hill, 2740 Durham, 2908 Albemarle, 891 Asheville, and 10349 Columbus. I will continue visiting Posts until my term ends. It is very rewarding having the opportunity to meet and get to know so many Comrades from our Department. As you know my goal for Membership is 30,000 members. With the help of each of you we will succeed. Let us all give a final push during April, May, and June. Thanks for all you do for the Veterans. Yours in Comradeship, Ted Briggs

Jan/Feb/Mar 2013

Page 3
will be welcomed.

Sr. Vice Commander Column
away with information that will be useful to your Districts and Posts. These are just a couple of examples of the increases in participation The Long Range Planning and interest demonstrated by our Committee Chairman was members. Keep it up Comrades. delighted to have so many of you Take the time to learn the Byin attendance. Your participation, Laws. Attend meetings and get and the input you provided was informed about how the Post, very helpful, and more is needed. District, and State fit together The Committee has accepted the and operate as an integral piece challenge to develop a marketing of the entire organization. The plan to increase membership and more you understand, the better improve retention. For the rest of we operate as a team in support this year and next year, any sug- of our mission at the National gestions you have or assistance leve!. you can offer in development of the marketing plan, can be for- As we finish out the year keep warded to the Chairman. in mind the men and women who still serve in Afghanistan an There were over 20 visitors in Iraq. Be diligent in our mission, the Budget Committee and we make sure their needs are met, had a lot of dialogue. I hope and their families are supported the meeting was informative for in any way we can. Reach out to the attendees and all questions them so they know that we will answered to your satisfaction. Do never fail them. not hesitate to participate in any committee meeting or training See you at the next meeting. seminar at your next C of A. You Ernie Allis

Ted H. Briggs Comrades and Sisters. First I want to thank each of you for all the fine work you have done so far this year for our Department. Keep up the good work the remainder of the year. I have received a letter from Commander-in- Chief John Hamilton, congratulating North Carolina on our membership percentage, and our Community Service programs. The first six months of the 2012-2013 year North Carolina volunteered 28,919 hours and $88,467.00 has been spent or donated to complete projects in Community Service. If we continue with this fine work, I feel sure we will place high on the National level. I am still visiting as many Posts as my schedule will allow. In December after participating in the Walkertown Parade December 1, 2012, it was a pleasure to visit 5381 Lenoir, 8989 Kannapolis, 2057 Rocky Mount, 9133 Jacksonville, 10400 Boiling Springs Lakes, 9960 Swansboro, 10346 Hamptonville, 5464 Monroe, and, 6365 Locust. December 11,2012, I had the honor of attending the dedication of the Veterans Nursing Home in Kinston. Another awesome event. January 2013, my travels

Ernie Allis Comrades, I was pleased to see so many of you at the last C of A. I hope each of you had a good time. I learned that the seminars and committee meetings had record numbers in attendance. Outstanding! That is what these weekends are all about. I hope you got involved in the discussions, and went

Jr. Vice Commander Column
Patriot Pen winners. From the response I heard and the number of comrades and sisters in attendance it was a huge success and hopefully will continue for years to come. Thank you Wal-Mart for your sponsorship. When you go to Wal-Mart and perhaps run into a store manager don't forget to tell them thank you for honoring all the students. Our business sessions were also well attended and informative. Several important subjects were discussed and voted upon, thanks to all the comrades who gave a verbal statement on motions that were brought on the floor for a vote. I also had the privilege of being the escort / guide for our National Vice Commander John Stroud who was our National Representative at the CofA. Thank you Commander Ted for the use of the department (beetle) vehicle to take John around. Congratulations to all our posts that participated in the Teacher of the Year program. Fifteen of the seventeen districts had entries with a total of (59) posts and (41) auxiliaries, nominating (77) teachers. The winners were K-5 Betty Ann Byerly submitted from Post 9110 Chapel Hill in District 6 ,Elementary level Jeff Barrett submitted from Post 5362 Morganton in District 14, High School level Kelly Cain submitted from Post 5381 Lenoir in District 15. Keep up the great work in nominating our children's teachers they deserve the recognition for shaping the mind and hearts of all children. At the CofA I gave a short presentation on The Department of Defense Office of Commemorations honoring the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War between 2013 and 2017. It is an important program which I feel all our posts should get involved in, for it is a hometown-centric community program honoring all Vietnam veterans. You can get information and guide lines by going onto the web at www. VietnamWar50th.com . This program can also be an important avenue for all posts to get the word out in your communities to honor Vietnam veterans and to sign up new members and deliver the message what the "Veterans of Foreign Wars" is all about. I encourage all my comrades to attend the Department convention in June in Greensboro. This is your opportunity to cast your vote for your future department leaders over the next few years. Commanders and Quartermasters please make sure YOU have sent in your election reports, trustee reports and delegate fees, etc. If you have questions you can call the department headquarters for any clarifications. Don't short change your post in having a voice.

Jack Goin Greetings What a rewarding winter Conference of Administration meeting we had in February in Greensboro. From the moment we all arrived we really liked our new location at Embassy Suites. The highlight of the weekend was our formal banquet on Saturday night honoring all seventeen Voice of Democracy winners and the three

Chaplains Column
your Chaplain, I didn't want to come to this position just to give opening and closing prayers when we gathered together. I wanted to also empower our Post, District and Conference Chaplains. Having served as a VFW Chaplain at each of these levels, I know that our Chaplains do great work for our VFW both inside and outside of our Posts. To this end, I started three programs. The development of a Chaplain's Resource Binder, Chaplain Leadership meetings at the CofA, and a Department Chaplain of the Year Award. There is also a Facebook Page, "VFW Department Chaplain NC". There isn't much activity, so pass the word. As with anything we do in life that is worthwhile, it takes work, passion and a bit of "hardheadedness". The binders and the meetings are still a work in progress, but I can announce that a Department Chaplain of the Year will be awarded at this year's Department Convention. For all those that took the time to nominate your Chaplain, thank you. You made the Award Committee's job a hard one and that's the way it should be! For those Chaplains nominated, you stand with impressive company. Please continue the outstanding work you do for your Veterans and their families. As I stated there is very little written about my duties, but there is much expected. In the Navy there is a term, "Shakedown Cruise". As my "freshman year" I hope that I have gotten the bugs out. Or to quote Chaplain AG Parker, "All the wrinkles will fall out of a shirt if you leave it hanging long enough". Publicly, I wish to thank our Department Commander, Sr Vice and Jr Vice for your support this year. You always made time to listen to me and supported my ideas. Madam President, thank you for your enthusiasm, it was catching and always gave me a boost. Madam Chaplain, you were a blessing to me. It may not as seemed as so, but every time to offered your assistance it was always at a point when the world was swirling around me. Your smile and light in your eyes reassured me that I could do the task at hand, thank you. The first year can be rough, mistakes will be made and I did. Bruce, thank you. The corrections that you gave were given in a way as to get it right, but not embarrass. Comrades, Sisters and Brothers, it was a pleasure to serve as your Chaplain this year and

SR Smith By the time the Leader arrives at your home, my first year as your Department Chaplain will either be at its end or very close. It is my desire to continue to serve as the Department Chaplain, but as my "freshman" year comes to a close, let's take a moment to review. The position of Chaplain is one of those few that have very little description written about the duties, both in our National and State By-laws. The duties may not be written, it is well known what the Comrades and Sisters expect from their Chaplain. I pray that I have lived up to that. As

it is my prayer that I can continue to do so. May God Bless each of you! One study demonstrated that individuals who reported relationship conflict lasting one month or longer have a greater risk of developing illness and show slower wound healing. Similarly, the effects that acute stressors have on the immune system may be increased when there is perceived stress and/or anxiety due to other events. For example, students who are taking exams show weaker immune responses if they also report stress due to daily hassles. Bottom line? Become the Fire Extinguisher and release the pressure. Make that break fit your schedule as often as you can. For me, prayer works (just saying). Looking forward to seeing all my fire extinguishers and ketchup packets in my travels. May God Bless! SR Smith

The newly renovated and painted VFW State Recruiting Trailer is available for sign out and pick up by contacting the State VFW Headquarters at 919-828-5058. It comes complete with recruiting documents & Patriotic Giveaways.

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Jan/Feb/Mar 2013

Veterans Museum Opens at VFW
ed Town Manger Bryan Edwards, Mayor John Miller and out-going County Commission Chairman Ken Richardson. Edwards said the building was used for students in the 1963-1964 school year as, the new high school was being built. "Mayor John Miller and a group of 7-8 graders came down here," he said, noting he was among them. Owens later pointed out the building had also been home to WEOK Radio Station and hosted blood drives, parties, events and more. Miller recalled that once slot machines had been put in the VFW basement, with the proceeds donated to the town to help pay for Sparta's sewer works. He congratulated the veterans and said, "We're very, very proud of it." Richardson said that he was at the fist dedication of the memorial for veterans on the lawn of the Alleghany. County Courthouse. He presented a photo of the event to the post. He said the recent plans to move forward with Veterans Park and the dedication of the Sparta Parkway as a Blue Star Highway were other recent honors for vet erans. He noted that the new Veterans Park will be envied by people all over the state and said it will later be considered the same way as other great accomplishments in the county. Following the speakers, the group was invited to view the museum and have refreshments. The museum has a program where items can be either donated to the post or loaned to the post, at the request of the donor. Items in the museum were donated by local veterans and their families,

The VFW Leader

Reprinted from the Nov. 21 issue of the Alleghany News. By Toby LaRue.

At the opening, District Commander Blevins noted that it was appropriate to have the first museum opening occurring The Alleghany Veterans Museum on the same day as Veterans Daywas unveiled on Veterans Day for Nov. 11 and the public opening the first time, with a public grand on the day Veterans Day is opening being held on Monday, observed. Nov. 12, at the Bruce Wayne Osborne Veterans of Foreign Wars Blevins oversaw the construction Post No. 7034. work and said a grant from the Home, Depot Foundation helped Attending the Nov. 11 ceremony, buy the materials. ''They contribwhich was set aside for Veterans uted an unconditional amount of and VFW members only, was money for this," he said. "Other the VFW State Commander Ted contractors also contributed." Briggs, and the State Ladies Many, local veterans gave their Auxiliary President, Ginger time to help get the museum Amos. Also attending was District ready as well, he noted. Commander Doug Blevins, who formerly was the local post com- He joked, "We started out cheermander, a position currently held fully, but we grumbled, growled by Thomas Owens, and Ladies and fought to get it all in place Auxiliary District President down there. It was done with Nancy Lecornu. The local post's sweat, tears and a little bit of Ladies Auxiliary President is elbow grease. It goes to show Vickie Todd. that money is not the answer for everything." More than 100 veterans and their family members attended the He said the museum covers hisevent on Sunday, during which tory in a way that can't be expea special meal was served by the rienced elsewhere. "We need to local post's ladies auxiliary. bring school children in here," he said. "This is what history is, not The museum, which is in the what books say it is." post's basement area, includes displays from all the country's Meanwhile, Post Commander major wars, from WWI through Owens said there were three Afghanistan, said Owens. "We young men in fatigues at the first also have individual booths for event. "It was great to see them," each branch of service, includ- he said, pointing out that recently ing the Army, Navy, Air Force wounded vet from Afghanistan, and Marines," he added. Local Jeremy Goodwin, was at the veterans built the museum them- event. selves, with the project headed up by Blevins, who still lives in He said Kathy Murphy, a local the Turkey Knob community and veteran, is working on a mural for remains a member of the local the museum entrance. post, despite serving in the district wide capacity. He said the museum will "continue to get more items in, and On Monday, Nov. 12, a public the displays will change. I'm hopgrand opening was held. All told, ing to get more of a local flavor to some 100 people visited the new it." He added, "We've got enough museum that day. stuff to fill a museum with." Other speakers at the event includ-

ALLEGHANY VETERANS Emmet Bowers and Sonny Poole (left) and (right side, from left), Billy Nilo, Thomas Ham, Neil Howell and Jeremy Goodwin, other veterans in attendance stand at attention as VFW State Commander Ted Briggs and District Commander Doug Blevins enter the ceremony marking the opening of the Veterans Museum at the local VFW Post. The men were brought in with a Navy whistle ceremony piping an officer on board that typically would be reserved for times when a high-ranking officer boards a ship. Ed Mack Wooten, a Navy veteran, blew the whistle pipe to start the ceremony. Visible in the background is Ginger Amos, the VFW Ladies Auxiliary State President.

including war relics, flags, helmets, swords, photographs andmuch more. For more information on displaying items, call Lonnie Joines at 200-0083 or. Owens at 6571484. Museum hours ate Wednesdays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Each Wednesday morning, veterans are invited to a free breakfast at the post from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Depending on the number of

people coming to visit the museum, hours could be changed in the future. However, a sign stating that the museum is open is always posted on the building's front lawn when peopIe may come and visit. There is no charge to visit the museum, but donations are accepted. "We welcome anyone to come by and view our museum," said Owens. "It's not just for those who were in the service. It's for everyone to enjoy."

American Heart Disease Member Benefits
VA Teams Up witH: tHE American Heart Association to 'Raise Awareness' of Heart Disease in Women - Health and Fitness Event will run durning Vermont Avenue Farmer's Market. relationship with VA." VA and the AHA announced their collaboration in May. By combining efforts, the organizations can maximize their resources and share Go Red For Women's messages and tools with women Veterans and VA employees. The farmer's market, which opened as a result of First Lady Michelle Obama's mission to make healthy food options more accessible to the DC population, provides an ideal venue to discuss heart disease prevention strategies, which include exercise and healthy eating. Women serve in every branch of the military, representing 15 percent of today's active duty military, and nearly 18 percent of National Guard and Reserve forces. By 2020, VA estimates women Veterans will constitute 10 percent of the Veteran population. Visit www.va.gov/womenvet and www.womenshealth.va.gov to learn more about VA programs and services for women Veterans. Activities will include healthy cooking demonstrations, fitness classes, health screenings and CPR instruction. VA's Undersecretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey and Principal Deputy Undersecretary for Health, Dr. Robert Jesse, a cardiologist, will speak during the WASHINGTON -The Department programmed portion ftom noon of Veterans Affairs will raise aware- to I:00 p.m. ness of heart disease in women, particularly women Veterans and AHA President Donna Arnett, VA employees, at a "VA Goes Ph.D., M.S.P.H., and chairRed" health expo Thursday, Sep. person of the Department of 27, outside VA's central office at Epidemiology at the University of 810 Vermont Avenue. The event Alabama at Birmingham School will run in conjunction with the of Public Health, will also speak FRESHFARM farmer's market during the event. "With the numheld at the same location ftom 11 ber of female Veterans and women a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the military rising, and Go Red For Women entering its 10th "We are proud to team with the year, now is the time to unite American Heart Association's in the fight against the number (AHA) Go Red For Women move- one killer of women and advocate men to raise awareness of heart for an increase in women-focused disease in women Veterans and VA research," said Dr. Arnett. staff," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "This "Currently, 90 percent of women event not only highlights our have one or more risk factors for commitment to care for women developing heart disease, so we're Veterans, but it's also a great thankful for the opportunity to opportunity to share information provide thousands of women with about cardiovascular disease and life-saving information about prevention." their personal risks through our What would your doctor say if he or she could actually see inside your arteries? Now it's possible with a simple ultrasound screening that can reveal 'dangerous' plaque buildup or blockage. Screenings can scan for potential health problems related to: • Blocked arteries, which can lead to stroke.. • Abdominal aortic aneurysms, which can lead to a ruptured aorta. • Irregular heartbeat, which can increase risk for a stroke. • Hardening of the arteries in the legs, which is a strong predictor of heart disease. • A bone density screening used to assess the risk of osteoporosis. risk of stroke doubles each decade after age 55. However, if you have a family history of stroke or heart disease, or if you have high-risk factors, such as being overweight, high cholesterol, smoking or lack of exercise, you may wish to be screened, even if you are in your 40s. Your risk of suffering a stroke is high. It affects 1 in 5 women and 1 in 6 men and takes a terrible toll on families. Many people who suffer from them experience no prior symptoms or warning signs.

1.7% COLA for 2013
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the official Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase for 2013 is 1.7 percent.

As a valued member, we care about the health of you and your family. If you would like additional Who needs to be screened? The information on screenings, please answer is anyone over 50 who contact the Member Benefits wants to be proactive about his or Department at 1~800-821-2606, her health. The National Stroke option 1. Association (NSA) states that your

The increase is effective on in December 31, 2012 checks.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) determines the rate of inflation This increase is less than last year's and is used to calculate the annu3.6 percent COLA and will be al COLA. The CPI is based on reflected in military retired pay, the cost of a basket of goods VA benefits for disabled veter- for the average American during ans, survivor annuities and Social the period from October 1 to Security benefits for next year. September 30 each year.

The VFW Leader
WASHINGTON The Department of Veterans Affairs has approved applications for all 45,000. slots available in fiscal year (FY) 2012 under the successful Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) and is in the process of approving applications for a total of 54,000 slots available in FY 2013. job skills that the Department of Labor (DOL), has determined are the most sought-after by employers. The joint VA/DOL program is a provision of the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, which Congress passed and President Obama signed into law in November 2011. The program allows qualifying Veterans to receive up to 12 months of education assistance equal to the cuuent full-time Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty rate of $1,473 per month. October 1st, 2012 the rate was increased to $1546 per month.

Jan/Feb/Mar 2013

Page 5

VA Fills First Phase of Veterans Retraining
the last 180 days • Not receive VA compensation at the 100 percent rate due to individual unemployability. "We're gratified that 45,000 unemployed Veterans can begin the retraining they need to compete for in-demand jobs," said VA Undersecretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey. "We're going to maintain the momentum of our outreach to make sure we get the maximum of 54,000 Veterans retrained in fiscal year 2013." Veterans approved for VRAP are encouraged to enroll as soon as possible and begin training full time in a VA-approved program of study at their local community college or technical school. The program of study must lead to an associate degree, a non-college. degree, or a certificate for a highdemand occupation as defined by DOL. Some of the high-demand job training programs Veterans pursued in FY 2012 include computer support specialist, general and operations manager, business which they may qualify. operations specialist, and heating, air conditioning and refrigeration VRAP is one of many efforts that mechanic and installer. VA and the Administration are undertaking to connect Veterans VRAP applications were received with employment. VA has held from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, major live and virtual hiring fairs, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. as well as connected Veterans with The Top 10 states for Veterans career coaching and other career approved for training in the tools through the VA for Vets iniFY 2012 phase of VRAP are: tiative. VA has also set a goal California, Florida, Georgia, to increase Veteran employment Texas, North Carolina, New York, within the Department having Michigan, Illinois, Virginia. VRAP partnered with Joining Forces and also attracted Veterans interna- the U.S. Chamber of Commerce tionally, with applications coming on Veteran hiring. from Veterans living in Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, Potential applicants can leam more the Philippines, Canada, Japan, about VRAP and apply online the Northern Mariana Islands, and at www.benefits.va.gov/VOW, or areas of Europe and the Pacific call VA toll-ftee at 1-800~827where American military units are 1000. Information about the based. Department of Labor's programs for Veterans is available at www. Undersecretary Hickey explained dol.gov/vets. Veterans can also that continued outreach on VRAP visit the nearly 3,000 One-Stop is particularly important because Career Centers across the nation, the program applies to a segment listed at www.servicelocator.org, of the Veteran population that for in-person employment assismay not have regular interaction tance. with VA or stay informed about the benefits and opportunities for

"At VA, we know first-hand that Veterans make exceptional employees, which is why this Administration has deployed a full~court press to connect veterans with good jobs," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki."The surge of Veterans applying for VRAP demonstrates this program's importance to provide unemployed Veterans the To be eligible for VRAP, a Veteran opportunity to fmd employment must: • Be 35-60 years old, unemin high-demand fields." ployed on the day of application, and not dishonorably discharged VRAP is a new training and edu- • Not be eligible for any other cation program for unemployed VA education benefit program Veterans who want to upgrade such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill, their skills for high-demand jobs. Montgomery GI Bill, or Vocational The goal of VRAP is to train a Rehabilitation and Employment • total of 99,000 Veterans over the Not be enrolled in a federal or next two years in more than 200 state job-training program within

VIPs Break Ground National Army Museum
Military brass and Washington VIPs broke ground on the Education Center at The Wall. It will tell the stories of the 58,282 service members who died in the Vietnan War or later, as a result of Vietnam service and those who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. a particular guest. It was singer Jimmy Buffett, and his appearance at the site of the center capped a morning of tributes and helped close the ceremony with a heartfelt sing-along of 'God Bless America'. ARLINGTON, VA- The Army Historical Foundation announced that Veterans groups and service organizations now have a special opportunity to forever honor their membership in the National Museum of the United States Army's Veterans' Hall through a unique sponsorship program. the wall. There will be no better place to share stories and reconnect with friends and other Army Veterans than inside the Veterans' Hall. access to the Hall for meetings and events are available to groups that offer higher levels of support. About The Army Historical Foundation Corporations, foundations and individuals from across the nation have already begun supporting the Museum. The Veterans' Hall The National Army Museum is set sponsorship, however, is an excluto open in 2017 at Fort Belvoir, sive opportunity for Veterans' Va., just outside Washington, D.C. service organizations, military The future national landmark will service associations, and other tell the stories of the 30 million reunion and service groups. men and women who have worn the Army unifonn since 1775. "Veterans organizations have long played a valuable role in celebratThe National Army Museum's ing, honoring and remembering Veterans' Hall will serve as a the contributions and sacrifices of multi-purpose space for Veterans our service men and women," said to host reunions, meetings, din- MG John P. Herding (USA - Ret.), ners, and officiaI functions in Campaign Executive Director. "It the nation's home of Army his- is only fitting that these organitory. The Hall will feature the zations have a place within the Registry of the American Soldier, National Museum of the United a searchable, electronic database States Army to call their own." of Americans who have served in the U.S. Army, and all sponsor- All sponsoring organizations will ing organizations will have their be recognized within Veterans' names permanently displayed on Hall. Additional benefits such as

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta Jan Scruggs, president and also spoke at the ceremony, as founder of the Vietnam Veterans did members of Congress, forMemorial Fund hopes to com- mer top military officials, Interior plete construction and open the Secretary Ken Salazar and Vice center's doors in 2014, in time President Biden's wife, Jill. for the return of the troops from Afghanistan. Also Vietnam veteran Michael McClung, whose daughter Marine As the VIPs arrived for the cere- Corps Maj. Megan McClung was monial groundbreaking, Scruggs, killed in Iraq, spoke for all of stood on the sidewalk looking for them.

The Army Historical Foundation establishes, assists, and promotes programs and projects which preserve the history of the American Soldier and promote public "understanding and appreciation" for the contributions by all components of the U.S. Army and its members. The Foundation serves as the Army's official fundraising entity for the Capital Campaign for the National Museum of the United States Army. The Museum will be constructed at Fort Belvoir, Va., to honor the service and sacrifice of all American Soldiers who have served since the Army's inception in 1775. For more information about the Foundation, the National Museum of the United States Army, and the Veterans' Hall, visit www.armyhistory.org.

Department Opens It's OwnVFW Store
The Department of North Carolina has opened its own Department VFW Store to cater to the wishes of the comrades, sisters, and brothers ofthe Tarheel State. It is available both at the Department Headquarters at 917 New Bern Avenue in Raleigh and online at www.vfwnc.org, then "Tools", then "VFW NC Online Store." After negotiating with VFW National Headquarters, the Department was able to advertise both VFW items and nonVFW military items on the new store. VFW State Secretary and Ladies Auxiliary Past State President Lynn Edwards was able to negotiate lower prices with the National store when the Department buys in bulk. Therefore, the prices of specialized North Carolina items are being offered at a low, competitive price. Additionally, when buying at the Department Store, the profits stay in North Carolina to help Tarheel veterans and their families, as opposed to going to other states. Comrades, sisters, and brothers may purchase items from the store by either attending the Council of Administration meeting or Annual Convention (where the store will be physically present), or by visiting the Headquarters, or by calling the Headquarters at 919-828-5058 to order over the telephone, or by visiting the Online site and using a credit card or Paypal. The physical store accepts cash, checks, debit cards, and credit cards. There are many specialty items available for purchase. For example, individuals or posts or auxiliaries may purchase shirts displaying the appropriate VFW/Auxiliary Cross of Malta symbol, the individual's name, his/her position, and the post number. Or caps can be purchased with the symbol and the post location and number.

Page 6

erans to be informed consumers in their educational pursuit." On April 26, 2012, President Obama signed Executive Order 13607, directing the VA, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Education to undertake a number of measures to "stop deceptive and misleading" promotional efforts that target the GI Bill educational benefits of service members, veterans,. and eligible family members and survivors. One of the key components of the order was for

Jan/Feb/Mar 2013

The VFW Leader
sion to better serve this nation's service members, veterans, and their families," said Allison A. Hickey , VA undersecretary for benefits. VA will issue terms of use for 'GI Bill' within the next six months. "We want to ensure the right balance with these new guidelines so that our stakeholders can still promote 'GI Bill' and we can prohibit others from using it fraudulently," said Curtis L Coy, deputy undersecretary fo economic opportunity. Since August 2009, VA has paid over $23.8 billion in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to over 866,000 veterans, service members, and dependents. VA received over 478,000 Fall 2012 enrollment for Post-9/11 GI Bill. For more information on GI Bill programs, please visit www gibill.va.gov or call 1-888GI Bill-l (1-888-442-4551) to speak with a GI Bill representative.

VA Registers 'GI Bill' as a Registered Trademark
WASHINGTON- The Department of Veterans Affairs announced that GI Bill is now a registered trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and VA is the sole owner of the mark."We will continue to support our veterans by helping them obtain the best education of their choosing, a right for which they have bravely served, and which they have truly earned" said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "We all want vetVA to register the term "GI Bill" as a trademark in order to protect individuals and ensure they are directed to the right resources to make informed decisions. In addition, VA obtained the rights to the GIBill.com website after the original owners agreed to give up the site. VA is taking a proactive approach in continuously taking action to eliminate fraudulent marketing and recruiting practices. "Trademarking 'GI Bill' is a great step forward in continuing our mis-

DISTRICT 11 SUPPORTS STEVE AMOS AS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA'S JUNIOR VICE COMMANDER.

The VFW Leader

Jan/Feb/Mar 2013

Page 9

VA Fills First Phase of Veterans Retraining
WASHINGTON The Department of Veterans Affairs has approved! applications for all 45,000. slots available in fiscal year (FY) 2012 under the successful Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) and is in the process of approving applications for a total Of 54,000 slots available in FY 2013. job skills that the Department of Labor (DOL), has detennined are the most sought-after by employers. The joint VA/DOL program is a provision of the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, which Congress passed and President Obama signed into law in November 2011. The program allows qualifying Veterans to receive up to 12 months of education assistance equal to the cuuent full-time Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty rate of $1,473 per month. October 1st, 2012 the rate was increased to $1546 per month. the last 180 days • Not receive VA compensation at the 100 percent rate due to individual unemployability (ill). "We're gratified that 45,000 unemployed Veterans can begin the retraining they need to compete for in-demand jobs," said VA Undersecretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey. "We're going to maintain the momentum of our outreach to make sure we get the maximum of 54,000 Veterans retrained in fiscal year 2013." Veterans approved for VRAP are encouraged to enroll as soon as possible and begin training full time in a VA-approved program of study at their local community college or technical school. The program of study must lead to an associate degree, a non-college. degree, or a certificate for a highdemand occupation as defined by DOL. Some of the high-demand job training programs Veterans pursued in FY 2012 include computer support specialist, general and operations manager, business which they may qualify. operations specialist, and heating, air conditioning and refrigeration VRAP is one of many efforts that mechanic and installer. VA and the Administration are undertaking to connect Veterans VRAP applications were received with employment. VA has held from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, major live and virtual hiring fairs, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. as well as connected Veterans with The Top 10 states for Veterans career coaching and other career approved for training in the tools through the VA for Vets iniFY 2012 phase of VRAP are: tiative. VA has also set a goal California, Florida, Georgia, to increase Veteran employment Texas, North Carolina, New York, within the Department having Michigan, Illinois, Virginia. VRAP partnered with Joining Forces and also attracted Veterans interna- the U.S. Chamber of Commerce tionally, with applications coming on Veteran hiring. from Veterans living in Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, Potential applicants can leam more the Philippines, Canada, Japan, about VRAP and apply online the Northern Mariana Islands, and at www.benefits.va.gov/VOW, or areas of Europe and the Pacific call VA toll-ftee at 1-800~827where American military units are 1000. Information about the based. Department of Labor's programs for Veterans is available at www. Undersecretary Hickey explained dol.gov/vets. Veterans can also that continued outreach on VRAP visit the nearly 3,000 One-Stop is particularly important because Career Centers across the nation, the program applies to a segment listed at www.servicelocator.org, of the Veteran population that for in-person employment assismay not have regular interaction tance. with VA or stay informed about the benefits and opportunities for

"At VA, we know first-hand that Veterans make exceptional employees, which is why this Administration has deployed a full~court press to connect veterans with good jobs," said Secretary of The Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki."The surge of Veterans applying for VRAP demonstrates this program's importance to provide unemployed Veterans the To be eligible for VRAP, a Veteran opportunity to fmd employment must: • Be 35-60 years old, unemin high-demand fields." ployed on the day of application, and not dishonorably discharged VRAP is a new training and edu- • Not be eligible for any other cation program for unemployed VA education benefit program Veterans who want to upgrade such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill, their skills for high-demand jobs. Montgomery GI Bill, or Vocational The goal of VRAP is to train a Rehabilitation and Employment • total of 99,000 Veterans over the Not be enrolled in a federal or next two years in more than 200 state job-training program within

VIPs Break Ground National Army Museum
Military brass and Washington VIP broke ground on the Education Center at The Wall. It will tell the stories of the 58,282 service members who died in the Vietnan War or later, as a result of Vietnam service and those who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. a particular guest. it was singer Jimmy Buffett, and his appearance at the site of the center capped a morning of tributes and helped close the ceremony with a heartfelt sing-along of 'God Bless America'. ARLINGTON, VA- The Army Historical Foundation announced that Veterans groups and service organizations now have a special opportunity to forever honor their membership in the National Museum of the United States Army's Veterans' Hall through a unique sponsorship program. the wall. There will be no better place to share stories and reconnect with friends and other Army Veterans than inside the Veterans' Hall. access to the Hall for meetings and events are available to groups that offer higher levels of support. About The Army Historical Foundation Corporations, foundations and individuals from across the nation have already begun supporting the Museum. The Veterans' Hall The National Army Museum is set sponsorship, however, is an excluto open in 2017 at Fort Belvoir, sive opportunity for Veterans' Va., just outside Washington, D.C. service organizations, military The future national landmark will service associations, and other tell the stories of the 30 million reunion and service groups. men and women who have worn the Army unifonn since 1775. "Veterans organizations have long played a valuable role in celebratThe National Army Museum's ing, honoring and remembering Veterans' Hall will serve as a the contributions and sacrifices of multi-purpose space for Veterans our service men and women," said to host reunions, meetings, din- MG John P. Herding (USA - Ret.), ners, and officiaI functions in Campaign Executive Director. "It the nation's home of Army his- is only fitting that these organitory. The Hall will feature the zations have a place within the Registry of the American Soldier, National Museum of the United a searchable, electronic database States Army to call their own." of Americans who have served in the U.S. Army, and all sponsor- All sponsoring organizations will ing organizations will have their be recognized within Veterans' names permanently displayed on Hall. Additional benefits such as

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta Jan Scruggs, president and also spoke at the ceremony, as founder of the Vietnam Veterans did members of Congress, forMemorial Fund hopes to com- mer top military officials, Interior plete construction and open the Secretary Ken Salazar and Vice center's doors in 2014, in time President Biden's wife, Jill. for the return of the troops from Afghanistan. Also Vietnam veteran Michael McClung, whose daughter Marine As the VIPs arrived for the cere- Corps Maj. Megan McClung was monial groundbreaking, Scruggs, killed in Iraq, spoke for all of stood on the sidewalk looking for them.

The Army Historical Foundation establishes, assists, and promotes programs and projects which preserve the history of the American Soldier and promote public "understanding and appreciation" for the contributions by all components of the U.S. Army and its members. The Foundation serves as the Army's official fundraising entity for the Capital Campaign for the National Museum of the United States Army. The Museum will be constructed at Fort Belvoir, Va., to honor the service and sacrifice of all American Soldiers who have served since the Army's inception in 1775. For more information about the Foundation, the National Museum of the United States Army, and the Veterans' Hall, visit www.armyhistory.org.

Department Opens It's OwnVFW Store
The Department of North Carolina has opened its own Department VFW Store to cater to the wishes of the comrades, sisters, and brothers ofthe Tarheel State. It is available both at the Department Headquarters at 917 New Bern Avenue in Raleigh and online at www.vfwnc.org, then "Tools", then "VFW NC Online Store." After negotiating with VFW National Headquarters, the Department was able to advertise both VFW items and nonVFW military items on the new store. VFW State Secretary and Ladies Auxiliary Past State President Lynn Edwards was able to negotiate lower prices with the National store when the Department buys in bulk. Therefore, the prices of specialized North Carolina items are being offered at a low, competitive price. Additionally, when buying at the Department Store, the profits stay in North Carolina to help Tarheel veterans and their families, as opposed to going to other states. Comrades, sisters, and brothers may purchase items from the store by either attending the Council of Administration meeting or Annual Convention (where the store will be physically present), or by visiting the Headquarters, or by calling the Headquarters at 919-828-5058 to order over the telephone, or by visiting the Online site and using a credit card or Paypal. The physical store accepts cash, checks, debit cards, and credit cards. There are many specialty items available for purchase. For example, individuals or posts or auxiliaries may purchase shirts displaying the appropriate VFW/Auxiliary Cross of Malta symbol, the individual's name, his/her position, and the post number. Or caps can be purchased with the symbol and the post location and number.

Page 10

We are currently still working on program reporting and membership and I'm confident that we will make our goal! It is evident that we have all worked very hard to inspire, motivate, dedicate, rejuvenate, recruit, retain and reinstate members. I appreciate and thank District 13 and the Indian Trial Post and Auxiliary for hosting our National President Leanne Lemley during the National President's visit in January. You provided great fellowship, food, entertainment and a true commitment to the project. We had a wonderful time!!! I applaud our VFW Ladies Auxiliary Hospital Representatives and Deputies who give countless' hours in the four VA Hospitals. My hospital visits just sealed what I already knew...you're wanted, needed and you "Serve from the Heart for Our Veterans". Sisters, as we close this membership year and begin another, let us all rededicate ourselves to the purpose of our organization... "Serving Veterans and Our Communities". When we lose sight of our purpose, WE ARE NOT CARRYING OUT THE WORK OF OUR ORGANIZATION'! Many thanks and much love, Ginger Amos, Dept. President

Jan/Feb/Mar 2013

The VFW Leader
Lee, who was a helicopter pilot serving in the US Army. I belong to the Azalea Chapter in Wilmington, NC. I am an MOCA member, occupied the MOCA chairs, served as President of PT 6 Sand Fiddlers in Beaufort, NC, and now I belong to MOCA PT #14 in New Bern, NC. I am also a life member of the American Legion Post 11 in Goldsboro, NC. Department President of the Year, runner up 2004-2005, District President of the year 2009-2010, Auxiliary President of the year 1997-1998, 1998 -1999 and 2006-2007, Auxiliary Member of the year 1999-2000 and 2001-2002, National Aid de Camp 1999-2000 and was many times State and Auxiliary Aid de Camp over the years. I was Chairman, National Award Junior Girls 1st place 20062007, Hospital Volunteer of the Year in 2000, Carteret/Craven County Retired Senior Volunteer of the year 2000, Caswell Center Volunteer of the year award 2001. I have a plaque recognizing my many hours given to Helpline of Carteret County 2002, and a Plaque from the Department of the Army (Adopted Unit to Post 2401) for my support in 2007. I received numerous letters and commendations over the years for my service to our veterans and other organizations for my volunteer work (too many to list all of them), but some memorable ones are from President George W. Bush, President Barrack Obama, Senator Kay Hagan, Senator Richard Burr, Governor Jim Hunt, Governor Mike Easily, and Governor Beverly Perdue. In addition to those, I also received letters from Senator Jesse Helms and Senator Lauch Faircloth when I eagerly became a US citizen in April 1981. I was so very proud to become a citizen of the United States and retain that pride of citizenship to this very day. I have several awards from the Navy/Marine Relief Society for crocheting baby blankets. I don't know how many I have made over the last 10 years. I got a lot of awards and I just got a clock and a 6,OOO-hour pin. I have also received United States Marine Corps plaques and several awards for my work at the Air Terminal at Cherry Point in the last seven years for seeing the troops off on training and deployment overseas. I serve all branches of the military and all reservists that come through Cherry Point Terminal, all of whom are all looking for something to eat or drink. For some it is the third, fourth, or even fifth time through, and they know we are there for them with all the goodies. I can count on the help of Betty Mace, past commander Joe Mlzzi, and Commander Dan Myers at all times if I cannot be there myself. They know all there is to know and take care of things. All three have several awards themselves. We serve coffee, water, Kool-Aid, lemonade, cakes, cookies, muffins, brownies, gum, crackers, candies and anything else I can get. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a favorite. I bake a lot of the items myself, and with the help of Dan I make more than 240 P&J sandwiches at a time and they all disappear in no time at all. I also send care packages overseas with homemade cookies, brownies, hard candy, and toiletry items. We exchange emails, letters, and pictures. In the last 25 years I missed two national conventions, one Southern Conference, one District Meeting, and two Auxiliary Meetings, all due to circumstances beyond by control. I have missed no Department C of A meetings and no Department Conventions. I always plan everything around my Auxiliary obligations. Thanking you in advance for your consideration of me as your National Council member # 9. I am Loyally, Maria Myers 204 South Drive Beaufort, NC 28516 Email: dmyers4@ec.rr.com Phone: 252-342-3728

President's Column

CANDIDATE FOR NATIONAL COUNCIL MEMBER # 9 MARIA MYERS My name is Maria Myers and I am running for the office of National Council Member # 9. I am a life member of VFW Ladies Auxiliary 2401 in Beaufort, NC, and I have been a very active member since 1984. I joined under my husband, Daniel T. Myers, who retired from US Air Force and is a Viet Nam Veteran. He also retired after 20 years from Cherry Point. I have served in all chairs up to and including President in the Auxiliary, District, and Department. I have served in most of the appointed Chairs and all elected offices all the way to up to President in the Auxiliary of Jones-Austin Post 2401. I have been Auxiliary president eleven times. I have gone through the District 4 Chairs up to District 4 President, served as Chairman and Trustee several times in the 4th District, and served as District 4 President two times. I have gone through the Department Chairs up to Department President and served several times on committees and chairmanships. I also have been appointed as a Page several times. I joined the Gold Star Mothers of America in 1997 after I lost my son Captain Donald J.

Sisters...

Ginger Amos

Time has quickly passed and we are coming to the end of the 20122013 Membership year and my position as Department President to the NC VFW Ladies Auxiliary. It has been an honor and privilege to serve our Department and our Veterans! I have enjoyed visiting Auxiliaries throughout the Department and hearing about all of the wonderful programs and projects that you have been doing to benefit Veterans and your communities. You have been "Creating a Recipe For Success" with each box that you fill and send to troops, by visiting VA Hospitals and Nursing homes, donating to the National Home or Military Service program as well as countless other projects.

Department Teachers of the Year Announced
10th grade World Literature, 12th grade British Literature, and 12th grade Seminar. With a Bachelor's degree trom Mars Hill College and a Master's Degree from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Mrs. Cain has been at her current school since 2007 and taught at East Burke High School for 5 years before that. The daughter of a veteran, Ms. Cain challenges her students to appreciate the American military and patriotism. For example, she assigns writing topics in which students must reflect on their ideas of patriotism, citizenship, and democracy. Topics such as "Define Freedom," "Define the American Dream," and "What is Citizenship" are a few examples. She created a grade-wide learning experience about the Holocaust and America's role in world history and World War II at that time. When the town of Hudson asked for volunteers to decorate a tree in their downtown area with the theme of "Home for the Holidays," Ms. Cain immediately had her students participate to honor veterans and military families. Students gathered names, photos, and hometown memories of the county's military men and women, and displayed them on the tree.

Betty Ann Byerly
Teachers from the Western part of the Tarheel State dominated the Citizenship Education Teacher of the Year competition this year. The middle and high school winners hail from Morganton and Lenior, while the elementary school winner is from Durham. The winners were picked from 75 entries from all over the state, the Department's best showing ever in this core VFW program. The Elementary School Teacher of the Year is Betty Ann Byerly, who teaches at the Grady Brown Elementary School is Hillsborough. She was nominated by Chapel Hill Post 9100 and won for District 6 before taking 1st place at Department. With a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and Health, Ms. Byerly is the "phys-ed" instructor at her school, as well as a member of many committees and support groups. She teaches citizenship by concentrating on the "Champion

Jeffrey Barret
Program" invented at the school. "Good Morning, Champs" is announced on the intercom each morning to begin the day.

Kelly Cain

Association Board of Directors' Educators. Member, a Summer Character Camp Founder, and a Little Heels In addition to these "civilian" Softball Camp Director. pursuits, Mr. Barrett is a combat veteran, who deployed to Bosnia in The entire student body then sings The Middle School Teacher of support of Operation Joint Forge the Champion Song. The school's the Year is Jeffrey Scott Barrett in 1997 and to Iraq with the 30th mascot, a cougar, is evened named of Morganton, who teaches at Heavy Brigade in 2004. He is a Champ. The acronym "CHAMP" East Burke Middle School in member of the Veterans of Foreign stands for Caring, Helpful, Connelly Springs. Nominated by Wars, the American Legion, the Achieving, Motivated, Problem Morganton Post 5362, Mr. Barrett 82nd Airborne Association, the 1 Solvers. Each day a class is select- represented District 14 in that st Infantry Division Association ed as the Best Champ Citizenship category of the competition. He and the Marine Corps League Class of the day, with the program has taught seventh grade math, Table Rock Detachment. He is overseen by the school Safety social studies and science, eighth currently serving as a NCO with Patrol. Champ procedures and grade social studies, and sixth Detachment 1, 1451st TC, North expectations are posted every- grade science and social studies. Carolina National Guard, in where, showing positive results His contributions to good citi- Morganton. amount the students, to include zenship behavior includes teachoffice referrals reduced to 27 in ing "Hands on Archaeology" and Rounding out the trio of out2011 compared to 73 in 2010. "Basic Survival" to academically standing teachers is the winner of gifted students, teaching "Jump the High School competition, Ms. Ms. Byerly demonstrates to her Start" to upcoming sixth grad- Kelly Cain, also of Morganton. students how a good citizen should ers, mentoring in "Dropout She was, however, nominated by participate in the local commu- Prevention," and coaching Lenoir Post 5381 and took the nity by being a State Employee wrestling and softball. He is a prize at District 15, slightly to the Credit Union Advisory Council member of the Parent Teacher north. She teaches Language Arts Member, a North Carolina Organization, the Professional at Caldwell Early College High Association of Educators School Educators of North Carolina, and School in Hudson, to include Representative, a Home Owner's the North Carolina Association of 10th grade World Literature, 12th

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offices between 2010 and 2012, with improvements and greater functionality added to system software releases throughout the testing period. In pilot programs, the new system cut the time to process claims nearly in half. The most recent version of VBMS software allows VA claims representatives to: establish veterans' Claims entirely in a digital environment as "e-folders;" receive, store, and view Veterans' submitted claim documents electronically; identify and track the evidence VA needs from beneficiaries and other outside sources; quickly direct claims electronically among regional offices to better match VA's workload with invaluable workforce capacity. The system also enables VA claims processors to access online rulesbased calculators and drop-down menus to enhance standardization md accuracy of decisions, for both electronic claims and those received by VA in paper form and uploaded into VBMS. Processors will also use VBMS to generate letters to veterans concerning their claim status and send requests to private physicians for medical records needed to evaluate claims. When VBMS is combined with VA's other transformation initiatives, including improved claims rater training, cross-functional daims handling teams, and prioritized lanes to speed processing based on type of claim, VA will be positioned to meet Secretary Eric K. Shinseki's priority goal of processing veterans' claims in 125 days or less, at 98 percent accuracy, by the end of 2015.

National Deployment of Paperless Claims
WASHINGTON - The Department of Veterans Affairs announced today the nationwide transition to paperless processing of veterans' disability claims at its regional benefits processing offices is underway. VA is aggressively guilding a strong foundation for its new electronic claims processing system, called Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS) - a lasting solution that will transform how VA eliminates the backlog in 2015. "Our approach to claims processing is being modernized to better serve veterans and address the complex claims our employees are dealing with every day," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "We continue to transform our claims system to be more responsive through new processes and technolog, because taking care of our veterans and their loved ones is our highest priority." As of December 2012, 18 VA regional offices have implemented the new system and are beginning to process newly received compensation claims in an entirely digital format. The VA is on track for full deployment of the system to the remaining 38 regional offices in 2013. "For our veterans, VBMS will mean faster, higher-quality and more consistent decisions on claims. We recognize that too many veterans are waiting too long to get the benefits they have earned, and that is unacceptable. This is a decades-old problem, and we are implementing a robust plan to address it," said Undersecretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey. "For our employees, VBMS will be a more user-friendly system that offers better access to decision-level information, rules-based calculators, and automated tools that help them process claims more consistently." This marks a major milestone in VA's transformation of the processes and systems used to deliver benefits to veterans, their families, and survivors, even while the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) has completed a recordbreaking 1 million claims per year the last three fiscal years. Critical to VA's transformation is ending the reliance on the outmoded paper intensive processes which prevent timely and accurate claims processing. VA is deploying technology solutions which improve access, drive automation, reduce variance, and enable faster and more efficient operations to eliminate the backlog. The current backlog of claims is the result of increased demand, over a decade of war with many veterans returning with severe, complex injuries, and increased outreach to veterans informing them of their benefits. Secretary Shinseki also made important decisions to recognize medical conditions related to Agent Orange service in Southeast Asia, and to simplify the process to file claims for combat PTSD. These decisions expanded access to benefits for hundreds of thousands of veterans and brought significantly more claims into the system. VBMS was pilot-tested at select regional

Sport Clips Campaign
Challenges team members and clients to make calls home possible for overseas U.S. troops through VFW's Operation UplinkTM
October 15, 2012 - Beginning today, more than 950 Sport Clips Haircuts locations will launch the company's annual "Help A Hero" fundraising campaign to support the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Operation UplinkTM in their communities across the country. Sport Clips' goal is to raise $500,000 in its sixth year of donating to Operation Uplink, a program that offers free call days to deployed and hospitalized American service members. Donations to "Help A Hero" will be collected in-store and through local fundraising events. A key part of the effort will be "The Biggest Haircut Day of the Year" on Veterans Day, Sunday, November 11, when the company will donate a dollar from every haircut service to the program. "Our generous clients and team members have helped make our Help A Hero program a true success," says Sport Clips Founder and CEO Gordon Logan, a lifetime member of the VFW and VFW Foundation board member.. "With the draw down in troops, many might think free call days aren't as important, however, the numbers tell us a different story. An average of 32,700 calls have been made by our hospitalized veterans and active-duty service members - many on their second, third or even fourth deployment, during our sponsored call days so far this year." Since it began in 2007, Sport Clips has made almost 2 million calls possible and donated more than $1.3 million to Operation Uplink, becoming the VFW's largest Free Call Day sponsor. "The 'Help a Hero' campaign has been extremely successful in terms of providing our service men and women with a free connection home throughout their deployments," says VFW National Commander John Hamilton. "In fact, Sport Clips can be largely credited with the success of the Operation Uplink Free Call Day program overall. We couldn't be more grateful to the entire Sport Clips family for their continued dedication." To find out more about Sport Clips' Help A Hero program, visit http:// www.sportclips.com/Hero About Sport Clips Haircuts Sport Clips Haircuts is headquartered in Georgetown, Texas and was established in 1995 by founder and CEO Gordon Logan. The sportsthemed salon franchise, which specializes in hair care for men and boys, ranks in Entrepreneur Magazine's top 20 "fastest growing franchises" and in the top 100 in the "Franchise 500, " and in the top 10 in Forbes' "Top 20 Franchises To Start." Sport Clips is the "Official Haircutter" of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), offers veterans preferential pricing on haircuts and franchises, and was named in the "50 Top Franchises for Military Veterans" ranking by World Franchising. Our "Help A Hero" program has donated more than one million dollars to help deployed and hospitalized U.S. service members call home thr:ough the VFW's Operation Uplink. Sport Clips is a proud sponsor of Joe Gibbs Racing's NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin and holds partnerships with several NCAA and professional sports teams. To learn more about Sport Clips, visit www.sportclips.com

Whittier VFW Post 8013 has partnered with Cherokee American Legion Post 143 to continue its efforts to supply VFW comrades with service dogs under the Canines 4 Warriors logo, after the Department Council of Administration voted to discontinue the program. Recently Mr. Gary Jennings of Mountain City Ford contacted Bryson City Post 9281 to reach out to disabled veterans. Through that post and Canines 4 Warriors, a handicap van was donated free to Comrade

Service Canines Supplied

Tony Hawkins, the recipient of trained dog RJ., seen by many comrades at the recent February MidWinter Conference. The Eastern Band of Cherokees has agreed to partner with the program through the American Legion post.

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Jan/Feb/Mar 2013

The VFW Leader

COMRADE STEVE McKINNEY OF MARS HILL POST 5483 WAS THE LUCKY WINNER OF THE STATE COMMANDER'S VACATION GIVEAWAY PACKAGE OF A 3-DAY, 2-NIGHT STAY A THE OCEAN DUNES RESORT AND VILLIAS IN MYRTLE BEACH. COMRADE McKINNEY'S NAME WAS DRAWN FROM A CONTAINER CONTAINING THE NAMES OF ALL COMRADES AND SISTERS WHO HAD RECRUITED VFW COMRADES THIS YEAR. WHILE AT THE RESORT, COMRADE McKINNEY WILL NO DOUBT VISIT THE RESORT'S FAMOUS "HALL OF HEROES" EXHIBIT, COMPLETE WITH A SCALE REPLICA OF THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL WALL.

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State Patriot Pen
STATE PATRIOT PEN WINNER SNAGS 12TH PLACE AT NATIONAL COMPETITION Victoria F. Franco of Fayetteville was announced as the first-place winner of the Patriot Pen middle school written essay competition at the Department of North Carolina's Mid-Winter Conference/ Council of Administration meeting in Greensboro in February. Department Headquarters then received word from VFW National, that she also won 12th place at their level. Victoria will receive $500 and a plaque from the Department for her win, and $1000 from National for being awarded the Golden Valley VFW Patriot Pen prize, given each year by Post 7051 of Golden Valley, Minnesota. A student at St. Patrick Catholic School in Fayetteville, she was sponsored by Hope Mills Post 10630, and won 1st place at District 8. An 8th grade student, she was given a Patriot Pen backpack, a medal, and a certificate at the conference. She will receive her monetary award and a special Patriot Pen plaque at her school in front of her peers. In second place at Department level was Frances L. Massey of Denver. She is an 8th grader at East Lincoln Middle School, was nominated by Lincolnton Post 1706, and won 1st place at District 14. She received a Patriot Pen backpack, a medal, and a certificate, and will be awarded $400 and her plaque at her school. Taking in third place at Department level was Alexis Malone SaintArnand of Kinston. An 8th grader at Woodington Middle School, she was nominated by Kinston Post 2771, and won first place at District 2. She received her Patriot Pen backpack, medal, and certificate at the conference, and will be awarded $300 and her plaque at her school. Victoria's winning essay follows: What I Would Tell America's Founding Fathers In a hot, muggy room two-hundred and thirty-six years ago sat the very men that laid down the solid foundation for a government that would go on to guide a country of 300,000,000 people. Some of these men included George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin, known as the founding fathers of the United States of America. If given the

opportunity, I would tell these prodigious men of America's progression. I would include our progress in the sciences, our social progres sion, and lastly our rise to become the most powerful country in history. America's journey to the top begins with the sciences. From linking smoking to cancer, to being the first country to send man to the moon, America has proven to be on the forefront in medicine, space exploration, and technology. The world renowned computer company Apple Inc., launched in the United States, was named as the most admired company in the world from 2008 to 2012 by Forbes magazine. The Hubble telescope and the discovery that the universe is expanding are phenomenal scientific advancements of our recent era. The USA was a tremendous contributor in the discovery of mapping of the human gene construction. Social progression has made bountiful strides. The Civil War ended in 1865, abolishing slavery. This was a turning point in our nation's history, and is a prime example of America's dedication to freedom. We continued to develop as a nation during the 1950s and '60s, the peak of the Civil Rights Movement. Now, discriminating against someone due to race or religion is agaist the law. Finally, I would tell them how America has risen to power. I would explain how the United States has a top-notch military, one of the highest standards of living, and how the American culture has spread globally. American movies are viewed all around the world, our music is listened to in almost every country, and our democratic ways are modeled in other countries. Most importantly, the dream envisioned by our founding fathers has become a reality for Americans today. I thank the wise and brave men that formed the nation I live in today. We reap the rewards of the hard work and forethought of these amazing men. They left a legacy that will forever be remembered and honored.

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The VFW Leader

Gold Medal Safety Awards

Captain Lewis
Three outstanding North Carolina public servants have been chosen by the Department of North Carolina for this year's Gold Medal Awards in the fields of Law Enforcement, Firefighting, and Emergency Medical Services. They are Lieutenant Chase Coble of the Union County Sheriff's Office, Captain Vince Lewis of the Fayetteville Fire/Emergency Management Department, and Sergeant Steven B. Keech of the Vanceboro Rescue Squad. Lieutenant Coble, the Department winner of the Law Enforcement Gold Medal, started his police career as a reserve Police Officer with the Marshville Police Department in 1997. He swiftly became a full-time Police Officer there, and transferred to the Union County Sheriff's Office in 2003. He graduated from the Law Enforcement Management Academy in 2008 and the FBI National Academy in 2012. Nominated by Monroe Post 5464, Lt. Coble was born and raised in Marshville, and graduated from Forest Hills High School, and then from Stanley County Community College. Confessing that to be a policeman was his childhood dream, he works tirelessly for public safety in Union County, to include even volunteering in the classrooms at the Unionville Elementary School. He has received the recognition of the community by being awarded several certificates of appreciation from local schools and some local homeowners' associations. In 2004 he received an award from the Sheriff's Office for

Lt. Coble
Going Above and Beyond the Call of Duty, and received the Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate from the NC Sheriff's Education and Training Standards Commission in 2006. Captain Vince Lewis has been awarded the Firefighter of the Year award in the Gold Medal competition. He was born in Indiana, but attended Hoke County High School in North Carolina. Since he joined the fire department in 1995, he has earned the following fire and rescue certifications: Firefighter I and II, Emergency Medical Technician, Hazardous Materials Responder II Technician, Fire Officer I and II, Public Fire Educator I, Fire Instructor II, Driver Operator Pumps/Aerials, Technical Rescuer GeneralNMR, Technical Rescuer Ropes, Technical Rescuer Trench, Technical Rescuer Confined Space, Technical Rescuer Agricultural Rescue, Technical Rescuer Tower Rescue, and various other instructor levels of expertise. Nominated by Fayetteville Post 6018 for this prestigious award, Captain Lewis has been a Fire Captain since 2005. He is also a National Fire Academy Instructor, and participates in the local community as the CoChairman of the Rescue Committee, member of the Fayetteville Firefighter Relief Fund Board, instructor at the Fayetteville Fire Academy, instructor at the Fayetteville Fire Department Officer Development Program, and member ofNC USAR Task Force 9. To show his versatility, he developed

Sgt. Keech
policies and procedures for animal rescue devices, and was applauded for installing children's car seats while off duty. The Emergency Medical Technician of the Year is Sergeant Steven B. Keech of Pollocksville. He is a combat veteran, with two combat tours in Iraq under his belt with theNorth Carolina National Guard. He was a U.S. Army combat medic, and completed the Health Care Specialist Program in 1993 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He then completed Hazardous Materials Technician certification at Fort Lewis, Washington in 1993, and National Registry Emergency Medical Technician Basic at Fort Bragg in 2007. Joining the Vanceboro Rescue Squad to 2010, he swiftly completed NC EMT Intermediate training at Craven Community College Sergeant Keech was nominated by Vanceboro Post 11119 and also won the District 4 competition. Among his awards are the US Army Outstanding Leadership Award in 2011 and the Vanceboro Rescue Squad Member of the Year in 2011. He also received the Army's Combat Medic Badge (CMB) in 2004. He continues to serve in the North Carolina National Guard as a medic. His service to his local community is proved by his "volunteer" duty with the Vanceboro Rescue Squad and his serving as a Den Leader for his son's Cub Scout Pack. He is employed at Coastal Carolina Health Care at New Bern Internal Medicine as a Medical Technician.

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Post Happenings Around the State

Liberty Post 8721 recently dedicated this veterans' monument in front of the library in Liberty. Names on it include 57 veterans, 8 POW's, 9 KIA's (of which one is a dog named Rinny), and 1 POW. There are stepping stones that lead to the monument

Mt. Gilead Post 10940 Commander Jim Cranford awards a Certificate of Appreciation to Comrade Harold Story. Story is the posts top ticket seller year after year for their annual Barbecue Fundraiser. He is a life member with a long record of service to the post.

Heroes on Wheels Rider Sign Up

Dunn Post 6767 combines with American Legion Post 59 to sponsor Boy Scout Troop 780, which has produced eight Eagle scouts in last several years. Shown here are new Eagle Scout Alan Agosto, mother Betty Agosto, father Alex Agosto, brother and Scouter Anthony Agosto, and Scout Chairman John "Mac" McNamara, a member of 6767.

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The VFW Leader

Happenings Around the Tarheel State

Captain Vince Lewis of the Fayetteille Fire/Emergency Management Department receives the Department of North Carolina's State Firefighter of the Year award from District 8 Commander Jessie Bellflowers and Fayettevile Post 6018 member Roland Rochester.

Officers of Gastonia Post 9337 present Christmas presents to veterans in 17 nursing homes in their area for the past 23 years. This last Christmas 156 eterans received a hand knitted red, white and blue toboggan. Here World War II veteran Joe Kenny receives his toboggan from comrade Wayne Bolding.

Gastonia Post 9337 comrades play Santa Claus and spread Christmas joy to veterans in nearby nursing homes.

The new North Carolina State Veterans Home in Black Mountain. This is an ultra modern facilty, based upon a community concept, and has a sister location in Kinston. Both are now open for occupancy, joining the existing homes in Fayetteville and Salisbury. Newton Post 5305 presents checks of $1335 each to the St. Jude's Childrens' Hospital and the Childrens' Wall of Tears. The money was aised in a Poker Run.

Brave U.S. Navy sailors celebrate receiving "goodies" from Henderson Post 2417. Post comrade Dawn Fabretti, a member of the Naval Reserve, is currently serving on active duty in the Gulf, and asked her post to contribute packages from home for her fellow sailors. The sailors, according to Dawn's comrade husband, Kevin, particularly like receiving Cracker Jack, a favorite of oer 100 years!

Wake Forest Post 8466 delivers 36 meals and fruit baskets to shut in families in their community. Left to right are Jerry Ammon, owner of the Border restaurant, who cooked the meals, and Comrades Gene Ressegiue, Alex Heroux, Daniel Brodeur, Hank Pierwola and Dennis Mecum.

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