The Committee’s Newsletter for November, 2010
As we close another month, it’s really hard to believe that we are close to ending this year, and start 2011; it just seems like yesterday that we were starting a new millennium and now we are into another year in a month, time flies when you are having fun in what you do daily. The Disabled Veterans Committee on Housing has a great year so far and we will come to start again in the New Year.
This year alone we had finished a home in Chesterfield, Virginia that was started towards the end of 2009. Started another home in South Hill, Virginia and a large remodel for an ALS veteran in Staunton, Virginia and just a few weeks ago we started a home in Williamsburg, Virginia, so you can see that we are helping our veterans in obtaining all the needs they have in a home and help them in getting grants through the Department of Veterans Affairs and any organization that has grant funds available for veterans to utilize for building or improving homes.
WINCHESTER, VIRGINIA (November 1, 2010) One of the many conflicts the US participated in was the Republic of Vietnam. The Center for Public Service and Scholarship, Cooley Hall of Shenandoah University is honoring the man who developed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, Mr. Jan Scruggs and to thank him for his service to our country and received the National Public Service Award.
Vietnam veteran Jan C. Scruggs acted on an idea that would define a lifelong career in public service. “I just decided, look, I’m going to build a national Vietnam Veterans Memorial,” he said. Scruggs, the Founder and President of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, who began the push to construct the iconic memorial in Washington, was honored Monday at Shenandoah University’s 14th annual Public Service Awards Banquet.
The university’s Center for Public Service and Scholarship gives awards each year for national, state, regional and local public service.
Speaking at the banquet, Scruggs focused on defining courage. He told the crowd that to bring an idea to life, personal drive is just as important as the right company.
“Whether we succeed or fail in public service has to do a little bit with ourselves,” Scruggs said, “but it has a lot to do with the people we surround ourselves with.”
Scruggs formed a team of academics, supportive politicians and others, and with the help of former U.S. Sen. John W. Warner, legislation was introduced in 1979 to authorize the wall.
Scruggs’ idea came to fruition in black granite in 1982 at a cost of less than $9 million in privately raised dollars, but the project was not without considerable controversy.
“We fought a massive public relations battle over the memorial,” he said. “It was called ‘the black gash of shame’ and so on … but we made a compromise with the opponents and we got it done.” He left the crowd with a definition of courage.
“What courage does not mean is that you’re not afraid,” Scruggs said. “Courage gives you the strength to look your fears in the face and to do the things you have to do.”
The Center for Public Service and Scholarship also made a presentation of their award to Mrs. Kate Hanley of Reston, Virginia, a very special honor for her was being introduced by her son SGT Patrick Hanley, US Army assigned to”A” Company, 216th Battalion of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), 1st Infantry Division, while assigned in March 2008 in Baghdad, Iraq was injured by a Explosively Formed Projectile (EFP) and is still received care for his injuries that were sustained that day.
Mrs. Hanley stated that she was extremely proud that her son has served his country with great honor and that he was able to attend and to introduce her to all persons in attendance as a recipient for this great award.
Ms Daphne R. Mize, DVCH Executive Director, Veterans Outreach and her Escort, her son DeRian represented the Disabled Veterans Committee on Housing.
NEW MARKET, VIRGINIA (November 8, 2010) It started out like we were going to have a really windy day with highs in the 50’s, but I guess when you are a Senator, you can dictate the weather. Senator Mark Warner hosted a luncheon for veterans at the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park from 12 to 1:30PM and briefs all in attendance with the following:
a. Independent contractors have stepped-up to provide help on digitizing the fragile paper records still used at Arlington National Cemetery to modernize the burial management system at our nation’s most significant military burial ground. These contractors, members of the non-profit Northern Virginia Technology Council, will soon submit recommendations to the U.S. Army on developing a more accurate and permanent record of who is buried where at Arlington.
b. The Department of Veterans Affairs currently is working on an internal overhaul of its claims processing system, but Senator Warner is not happy about missed goals and broken promises by VA officials. The Senator intends to use his role as Chair of the Senate Budget Committee’s Government Performance Task Force to hold VA officials accountable for needed improvements in claims processing.
c. As a result of an amendment offered by Senator Warner, the VA is conducting a study on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) services it currently offers, with a special emphasis on helping our female military veterans.
d. The Senate is close to passing Senator Warner’s legislation that will better measure the performance of government programs and cut federal spending on outdated or ineffective programs. Final Senate passage could occur before the end of the year. This effort builds on Warner’s successful efforts while Virginia Governor (2002-06) to run state government more efficiently.
Skip Rogers, DVCH Director, Wounded Warriors and John S. Lewandowski, DVCH President was in attendance, and presented questions to the Senator that was of importance to the veterans of the State of Virginia
The questions was answered by Senator Warner, that maybe if his office could write a letter to the government agency to see what he (Senator Warner) could accomplish for getting the funds
President/CEO, DVCH asked Senator Warner if he would or can provide legislation to be for disabled veterans, especially those who cannot qualify for Special Adapted Housing (SAH) grants and require homes that will meet their medical needs. President Lewandowski stated that the “Area Median Income”, presently set as the ruler for housing funds; do not allow disabled veterans that are 100% service connected from Agent Orange, and other medical issues that need to have their homes adapted to their needs or just a home that they can feel secure that it suited for their INDEPENDENCE.
The President provided positive proof that veterans are involved in “double jeopardy” when it comes to financial program that provide down payment and closing cost grants to low income persons, as long as they meet the 80% limitation on income with no leeway for persons that have to have medical equipment in their homes or have someone come in and take care of them as their medical issues requires so, and disabled veterans who receive VA Compensation and Social Security Disability DO NOT QUALIFY for assistance from these program as they have too much income because they fought for our country, received injuries that require they can no longer work.
The President questions come down to pass legislation to provide for disabled veterans that the 80% area median income level be waived or eliminated for our veterans?? Senator Warner replied that members from his staff would address this issue and be in touch with me.
The Senator’s Staff will be contacting us on more specifics of our questions and we are awaiting that to come to light. Received contact from Lou Kadiri, Veteran’s Representative from Senator Warner’s, Roanoke, Virginia Office, we are setting up a Conference Call to the Washington DC’s Office, Veterans Representative to address the issues that are needed in the above stated matters. An update in next month Newsletter reflecting the issues discussed and what the proposals will be forthcoming
WINCHESTER, VIRGINIA (November 24, 2010) The Disabled Veterans Committee on Housing and the Knights of Columbus jointly sponsored a “Meal for the Veterans” at their weekly Wednesday night Meal for the Homeless in our Community. Knights made a home delivery to one of our veterans and I would like for all of you to hear his words of what it meant to him when he talked with the veteran and also to be assisting the DVCH:
Yesterday afternoon I drove down I-81 at 5 mph to get to one of
our veterans home in Stephens City, arriving their at 1655 hrs to
personally deliver to her and her daughter a sumptuous meal and
accompanying condiments & deserts, to include turkey, ham,
green beans, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry
sauce, olives, rum cake, and assorted cookies & pastries.
She was very appreciative of our K of C Council, you, and the DVCH,
for bringing some holiday cheer into their home, especially considering
their recent circumstances. Our gesture genuinely meant a lot to
them, and they emotionally expressed that to me.
I then returned back to the K of C Hall and immersed myself in the
task of continuing to help dish out a lot of the above dinner meals to
those who came in off the streets between 4-6pm, to be once again
treated to our weekly “soup kitchen feast,” much of which was made
available by your generous networking of the donation earlier in the
week which I picked up on our behalf from the Blue Ridge Food Bank……….
Lastly, please see the below photo of the placards that were placed
throughout our K of C hall dining room yesterday afternoon for all
the needy to see and appreciably ponder. Please stay in touch, and
let us know if you need anything else, whatsoever, from your Brother Knights.
WINCHESTER, VIRGINIA (November 19, 2010): Disabled Veterans Committee on Housing join with the Knights of Columbus, Father Robert O. Hickman Assembly #1883, Winchester, Virginia, to help make sure that the veterans in the Winchester community and their families had a great meal on Thanksgiving. John S. Lewandowski President/CEO of the Disabled Veterans Committee on Housing contacted the Lord Fairfax Area Food Bank, and asks them to help our veterans; they provided our Committee with 20 turkeys for our veteran families in the area. The Knights helped with the pickup and distribution of the food items.
The Disabled Veterans Committee on Housing started this project two years ago, with the hard times that our economy is facing, our community pulls together and help without questions. The Wal-Mart’s in the Winchester area have been their also for the veterans in donating whatever the Food Banks couldn’t and also the Giant/Martins Food Store Corporate helps with the veterans every chance they can say “Thank you” to our local veterans and their families for what they have done for all of our community. As long as we (DVCH) can help make the holidays better for our veterans, we will continue with this work, we know that each and every day there are more and more people that are being hit by the current situation will change, but we will help as much as we can.
Within the Knights of Columbus there are four degrees each degree imparts a lesson on the Order’s core virtues of Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism. Fourth Degree lesson is on the virtue of patriotism. The primary purpose of this degree is to foster the spirit of patriotism in members and the community at large and encourage active Catholic citizenship.
The one thing that makes this so very important came from one of the veteran’s families as she cried when we presented her with a 20lb turkey for her family, “I really didn’t know what our family was going to do, as it’s been three years of struggle if it wasn’t for groups like the Disabled Veterans Committee on Housing and the Knights of Columbus, we won’t make it, God Bless them”.
Our Richmond area Disabled Veterans Committee on Housing Director, Christopher Brown called and stated that they picked up and passed out to the veteran’s families in the Richmond area and will be sending an article shortly. I want to thank each and everyone that helps our veterans.
We at the Committee hopes that all of our veterans were able to be provided with a hearty turkey and fixing’s from the different areas of Virginia as our Committee has expanded to cover the Southern and Eastern areas of the great State of Virginia. May your days be filled with happiness and if you ever need a hand or get an answer to a question then just call us at the Disabled Veterans Committee on Housing or fill in the contact form on the website and we will be there to provide your answers.
John S. Lewandowski
John S. Lewandowski
Disabled Veterans Committee on Housing