FODPAL SPRING MEETING
FODPAL President Milo Vuckovich has called for the spring FODPAL meeting to be held on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, at 0730 in Room 301, National Headquarters, Indianapolis.
All FODPAL officers and NECmen are expected to attend. All other FODPAL members who will be in the Indianapolis area are also invited to attend.
Past National Vice Commander
Past Department of France Commander
“Still Serving America’s Veterans…Around the World”
MEMBERSHIP DUES UPDATE
Puerto Rico 2018
China Post #1 2024
Montreal Post #1 0
Toronto Post #5 2020
Fort Pepperrell Post #9 0
Tony Matthews Post #18 0
Canada Post #20 2018
Canada Post #21 0
Canada Post #75 2018
If you owe FODPAL dues, please mail them to
5712 Riva Ridge Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46237
$40 for a department
$15 for a post
For the seventh straight year, Fairfax, Va., American Legion Post 177 will be the center of activities for Legion Riders taking part in the annual Rolling Thunder Ride to Freedom. Registration for the May 25-27 event closes May 24.
This year’s event will include a May 25 dinner, POW ceremony and escorted ride to the Vietnam Wall for a candlelight vigil, a wreath-laying ceremony on May 26 and the Legion Riders’ Ride to the Thunder at the Pentagon on May 27.
The voluntary registration fee for the event is $10 per motorcycle and will be used to help cover expenses associated with the organization and execution of this event; any funds left over will be donated directly to The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund.
Content provided courtesy of USAA.
By J.J. Montanaro
You’ve probably heard the adage, “opposites attract.” Well, when it comes to decision-making my wife and I are living proof there’s at least a grain of truth to that saying. She’s a gunslinger. I’m, she would say, a bit of a waffler. Although, I’d characterize it differently. I’d say I like to carefully weigh all the variables, options and second-order effects before making a thoroughly researched judgment.
How do you and your spouse make big financial decisions? Here are four tips that might help you better navigate the next big one you face:
Do it together. In marriage, communication is key. Financial decisions are the same. If something big is under consideration – a job change, house purchase, major investment, etc. – the process should be collaborative. Nothing can stir up hard feelings, resentment and ignite the blame game like one spouse taking matters into his or her own hands.
Keep the big picture in mind. You should already have your own set of short, medium and long-term financial goals. If you don’t, get to work. On our last anniversary, my wife bought me a little notebook that was titled, “Our Bucket List.” That was a cool approach to making our goals tangible (and a clear tip of that to my deliberate decision-making style). Plus, when it comes to evaluating options, your goals can be just the ammunition you need to combat a poor financial decision. All you must do is ask yourself a simple question: Will this move jeopardize the attainment of our goals?
Delineate your autonomy. Not every decision is big, right? But at what point does it make sense to consult your spouse? Is it $50? $500? $5,000? Depending on where you are in your relationship and your financial life, the number can be very different. Clearly defining the “big threshold” as a couple will give you guard rails and freedom to act independently without worrying about repercussions. Early in your marriage, there may be lots of conversations. With marital and monetary maturity, the thresholds will likely be much different.
Take emotion out of the mix. Emotion is a salesperson’s friend. Find a way to tap the buyer’s emotion, and you’re just a bit closer to the sale. As a couple, emotional decisions are your enemy. Establish a strategy that will blunt the emotional impact of a big decision. It could be a week-long cooling off period before a big purchase, a meticulous look at your budget, or any technique that helps you to focus clearly on the benefits and drawbacks of the decision at hand. If we do this, what will things look like in six months or six years?
Over the years, my wife and I have been able to mesh our two styles to find a sweet spot in our decision making. Following these tips, I feel confident you are your partner will be able to work together to hit your stride, too.
Saturday’s plan, Josh Hayes said, was to cook pancakes and sausage outside Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, Colo. The meal was a fundraiser to help pay for the high school baseball team’s American Legion Baseball jerseys.
Mother Nature had other ideas.
“We get here and it’s snowing, so we start setting up in (the high school’s student store) and the first thing we do is hook five griddles up and we blow the breaker,” said Hayes, the adjutant of Post 1879 in Fort Collins, which is sponsoring Rocky Mountain’s Legion Baseball team this summer.
“You’ve got to be able to adapt and overcome.”
That’s an appropriate motto of sorts for Post 1879, which has grown from a student veteran post at Colorado State University (CSU) when first chartered two years ago to a community post.
Post 1879’s roots can be traced to CSU’s Student Veterans Organization and Adult Learner and Veterans Services.
Hayes had seen firsthand how important an active American Legion post can be at his original post, Post 209 in Colorado Springs. “I saw the good that they were doing in the community, and I really respected that post for that, and that’s what I wanted to bring to Fort Collins,” he said.
“He asked if I would contemplate being the (post) commander, (I said) OK,” said Oren Vance, Post 1879 commander.
The charter members of Post 1879 turned to members of existing posts — among them past department commander and past commander of Post 209 Jay Bowen, current Department Junior Vice Commander Tony DuMosch, and current Department Senior Vice Commander Robb Smith — to guide them in getting the new post up and running.
It soon became evident, however, that remaining a student post wasn’t going to work.
“We kind of recognized early on that this is going to be a problem when we all graduate, where are we going to be at?” Hayes said.
“We were having problems getting a stable place to meet,” Vance said. “Meeting posts kept shifting, locations and times. So we went out to one of the local churches, Christ United Methodist Church, and they were very kind about taking us in. They really love us, they’ve been super with us. We have our monthly meetings there, we have our dinners there, we’ll be hosting the national commander in May there. We’ve got an Auxiliary chapter going, we have Sons, Riders, we’re sponsoring the Rocky Mountain High Lobos baseball team, so we’re really excited about what we’re doing and where things are going.”
Duane Hansen, SAL Squadron 1879 commander, helps link the post to the community.
“I ran for (city council) here in Fort Collins, I know lots of leadership both in the city and for the state, and so the ability to kind of leverage some of that for post benefit, which allows us to benefit veterans and their families, that’s kind of been my unspoken role,” Hansen said.
“We’re trying to do programs in our community like, there aren’t many places in Fort Collins for us to dispose of distressed American flags. There’s actually one place, it’s a VFW post, it’s little advertised. So one of the initiatives that we have started is trying to create a network of retired mailboxes that are painted a different color, clearly labeled as distressed American flags, so there’s a drop off, and we will go around on a regular basis, collect those flags and properly dispose of them. We’re trying to work with our city leadership on ways to create a board for veterans to address community needs, we’re looking at a couple different avenues for that."
“It’s been really important to us to be involved in the community,” Vance said. “(Meeting at the church) saves us on the rent, the utilities. We give the church 10 percent of what we make on the dinners. …
“One of the issues with being on campus, they would help us find a place for meetings, but we had to show that we were able to pay for the utilities, which was an issue, because we needed a place to have dinners so we can fundraise so we could pay for the utilities. So it was a catch-22.”
Department Commander Terri Clinton noted Post 1879’s growth from a student post to a community post is a positive.
“The fact that we have some students who live up here and will remain up here in the area is actually a huge asset, one of the main reasons the post is surviving and thriving. Also, the mentorship within the post. They’re a pretty tight-knit group, and they want to see this succeed, obviously, for a lot of reasons. The transition from military to civilian life doesn’t always go as smooth for everybody,” Clinton said.
And while Post 1879 isn’t just for student veterans, it remains a resource for them.
“We’re all dealing with readjustment issues, trying to reintegrate into society,” Vance said. “(Post 1879 is) where the resources are, and a buddy you can hang out with, someone you can go to when you’re struggling a little bit. A lot of times they’re new to the area. It’s been really good in that regard to do those sorts of things. …
“I would definitely encourage (other student veterans to start a post). I think it’s a great way to build a good support network. I am myself retired 20 years, had some struggles, and it’s been really helpful for me. I got tired of isolating and just trying to keep things together on my own, and I finally decided I needed to do something. It’s been really, really good for me and these guys as well."
“I think for us here at the post one of the most important things is community,” Hayes said. “The generation gap is one thing, but the veteran community has always been plagued by stigmas. Whether it’s we’ve got bad attitudes, we don’t like civilians, PTSD of all things, the generation gap’s a big one, all that, plagued with stigmas, right? We want to work with the community, be an active part of the community, and show that that’s not the case. Perception is not always reality. We’ve all got beards and tattoos but we don’t got bad attitudes.”
And as for that pancake breakfast fundraiser?
“Preliminary numbers, today we were able to raise over $1,000, which covered the costs of the jerseys and definitely gave them a bit extra to help supplement the cost of the boys to play,” Hayes said.
Chad Adamson served in the Army from 1994-1998 and the Army reserve from 1998-2000. He’s got back pain as a result of that service and repeatedly went to the Marion campus of the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System (VANIHCS).
Adamson said he got “X-ray after X-ray” before going to an outside doctor for treatment. When the doctor asked for his MRI results, Adamson told her he’d never been provided one by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“For eight years they were telling me I have no issue,” Adamson said of his VA providers. “I was starting to think I’m delusional – do I really have pain? They were trying to convince me I don’t have this pain I truly have.”
Adamson was able to voice his frustration with his VA care during an April 23 American Legion town hall at American Legion Post 241 in Fort Wayne, Ind. VA employees, including VANIHCS Chief of Staff Dr. Wayne McBride, were on hand to listen to those concerns and try to offer solutions.
The town hall was part of the Legion’s System Worth Saving visit to VANIHCS, which has facilities in both Marion and Fort Wayne. The visit brings American Legion national staff together with Department of Indiana Legionnaires to meet with VA staff and discuss both progress made and concerns the Legion and the veterans in the area still have.
McBride apologized to Adamson for the difficulty in getting the MRI, telling Adamson “I do believe that that is not the norm. It happens occasionally.”
Dan Martin, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1985-1991, and is a member of American Legion Post 10 in Marion, said he’s been treated in “probably 10 different” VA facilities across the country. “I’ve seen the best and the worst of VA,” he said. “I will say that Northern Indiana has some of the best doctors (and) nurses. Dedicated folks.”
But Martin said he’s frustrated because he’s been trying to get an epidural administration for his back for three weeks. He said an outside doctor he was using through VA’s Choice Program referred him to a pain doctor.
“Somebody (at VANIHCS) told me, ‘You can’t go there. You’re going to have to drive up to Fort Wayne and get a shot in your back,’” Martin said. “I’m still waiting for that. I sure would like to get this pain shot squared away. The Choice doctor did approve it. I got to the doctor on Monday, and he thought it was serious enough (to get the shot) on a Tuesday. (VANIHCS) said, ‘No, you can pay for it yourself or you can drive to Fort Wayne VA and have a VA doctor do it.' That doesn’t seem right, especially when I’m down in Marion.”
Frustration aside, Martin still said he preferred VA care over the private sector experience. “When I’m in that (private sector) waiting room, I’m just like everybody else,” he said. “It’s uncomfortable. But in that time I’m at the VA … I get to wear the uniform again. I get to be around my brothers and my sisters.”
One veteran with a background in health care asked how VANIHCS was keeping up with new modalities and innovations being used in the civilian world. “The VA, over the years, has really led in a lot of ways with innovations and with a lot of new techniques and medical approaches,” McBride said, citing examples such as prosthetic limbs and genomics. “Many of these things are happening in the VA. Most of the time these have been partnerships with large medical schools. It does occur frequently.”
Another veteran expressed concern over the turnover rate among VANIHCS providers, saying he has one meeting with the provider and then the provider leaves the system for another job. “Like many organizations, we have a certain measure of turnover,” McBride said. “In the last year or two we’ve had a greater measure of stability. We recognize the importance of having a stable primary-care provider.”
McBride was asked what his health-care system was doing to combat the opioid crisis that the nation faces and said VANIHCS was following VA’s Opioid Safety Initiative. He said the initiative is designed to help taper veterans off opioids while VA provides other forms of pain management that could include seeing a chiropractor or physical therapist.
“Have we been perfect? No,” McBride said. “Have we been doing a lot better in the last few years? Of course.”
Another veteran said that VA does care about its patients, rather than just bottom-line numbers, while Grant County Service Officer and Legionnaire Allen Connelly said he also makes it a point to ask veterans how their VA experience has gone. “I can tell you that at least 95 percent of them are very positive,” he said. “So you are doing something right.”
Edwin Thomas, assistant director for Health Policy in the Legion’s Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Division in Washington, D.C., promised that when he and other Legionnaires would meet with McBride and other VA staff the day after the town hall, “We will be advocating on your behalf. There are a whole lot of things that the VA does – good things – but we also know there are some things that they can approve on. We provide an extra set of eyes.”
Jorge Ortiz, Sen. Joe Donnelly’s Northeast Regional Director and a second lieutenant in the Indiana National Guard, said town halls such as the one the Legion facilitated are critical in advancing veterans’ issues.
“I think it’s really important for veterans to be able to speak up on issues, especially regarding their care,” Ortiz said. “I know over the past few years we’ve worked legislatively on issues like Choice and just expanding more access to health care for veterans, and none of those (would be accomplished) without veterans speaking up.”
American Legion National Commander Denise H. Rohan will be making the radio interview rounds Tuesday morning to discuss Memorial Day, the need for the U.S. government to provide a strong veterans health care system, and other concerns of The American Legion.
A handful of the interviews will be broadcasted live (All Eastern Time):
7:35-7:45 WOCA-AM-FM ORLANDO
7:50-8:00 KLTF-AM MINNEAPOLIS
10:10-10:20 WCBC-AM WASHINGTON DC
10:30-10:40 GLOBAL AMERICAN BROADCASTING NETWORK NATIONAL
The national commander also will be interviewed on several stations/networks that will be taping the segments and playing them at a later time or date. If you are in the listening area of one of the taped appearances, you may wish to contact the station or visit its website to find out the planned broadcast time if it has been scheduled. After the broadcasts, most or all of the interviews will be posted on www.legion.org/commander/radio.
7:10-7:20 NBC NEWS NETWORK NATIONAL
7:20-7:35 TALK WITH AUDREY SYNDICATED
8:00-8:10 PATCH ONLINE MICHIGAN STATEWIDE
8:10-8:20 WATD-AM / WMEX-AM BOSTON
8:20-8:30 WYYZ-AM/FM ATLANTA
8:30-8:40 WMBS-AM/FM PITTSBURGH
8:40-8:45 NORTHERN NEWS NETWORK MONTANA STATEWIDE
9:05-9:15 LET’S JUST TALK SYNDICATED
9:20-9:30 THE ANGIE AUSTIN SHOW SYNDICATED
9:50-10:00 WAMD-AM / WHGM-AM / WKHZ-AM / WYRE-AM BALTIMORE
10:20-10:30 WFIN-AM TOLEDO
10:40-10:50 WSRB-FM WYCA-FM CHICAGO
10:50-11:00 CRN DIGITAL TALK SYNDICATED
11:00-11:15 TENNESSEE RADIO NETWORK STATEWIDE
American Legion national staff and Department of California Legionnaires are teaming up for a veterans outreach and district revitalization effort May 3-5 in the Northwest Los Angeles County area. All wartime veterans in this area are invited to the effort to learn more about The American Legion and veterans benefits.
The effort will take place from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. May 3-4 and from 9 a.m.-noon May 5 at Newhall-Saugus American Legion Post 507, 24527 Spruce St., Newhall.
A veterans service officer will be available all three days to assist with Department of Veterans Affairs-related issues and other veterans benefits.
Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Trump’s nominee for VA secretary, was scheduled to answer lawmakers’ questions during his Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday afternoon. But that hearing has been postponed so lawmakers can further vet his record. The postponenment comes, according to Fox News, "amid growing questions about nominee Dr. Ronny Jackson’s past conduct and ability to manage the agency."
Jackson is Trump’s pick to replace former VA Secretary David Shulkin, who was fired in March.
American Legion National Vice Commander Bobby Bryant and Department of Puerto Rico Adjutant Juan Cruz-Rodriguez handed $30,000 in Home Depot and Walmart gift cards to Caribbean VA Healthcare System Acting Director Dr. Antonio Sanchez on April 18. The American Legion's Operation Comfort Warriors grant is helping VA patients in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands continue their recovery efforts following Hurricanes Irma and Maria last year.
The gift cards are in the amount of $50 each. VA enrolled veterans can inquire about the gift cards through volunteer services at the VA in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
On March 12, Legionnaire Hector Caballero put his company – Junk Vets – and The American Legion in the public eye. Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, hosts of the hit reality television show “American Pickers” on the History Channel, visited Caballero and the Junk Vets warehouse during episode 13 of the show, titled “Slam Dunk Junk.”
Caballero started the veteran-owned Junk Vets in Chicago as a way to provide a cost-efficient and convenient alternative to dumpster rentals. The junk removal company either donates, recycles or disposes of what it collects after cleaning out people’s homes. Caballero said that while a lot of what they find is junk, there’s always a percentage of items that are good “so I try to find a home for it.” Until those items find a home, they are stored in a 4,000-square-foot warehouse that Wolfe and Fritz sifted through and found some treasures to buy – a Janis Joplin poster, gas can, old tin signs, a seat from the old Comiskey Park baseball stadium, and more. Their purchases totaled over $1,000, which Caballero donated to his American Legion Edward Schultz Post 697 in Lansing, Ill. Photos of Post 697 and its members are featured in the episode.
The idea of donating back to The American Legion was easy for Caballero. “I thought of what am I most involved in and what means something to me,” he said. “(Post 697) is my spot; I go there all the time. It’s a very tight-knit group here in Lansing. When I got out of the Marines in 1998, I remember how welcoming they were. I went down to the post one day and they were like, ‘Hey, come to a meeting.’ They asked me to be a member; they were very welcoming. I’ll never forget that.”
Junk Vets prides itself on giving back to the community and offers discounts to veterans, active-duty military personnel and seniors. For example, a local woman’s house burnt down and Junk Vets was able to refurbish her new residence from items they had in the warehouse. “We get so much stuff it’s unbelievable,” Caballero said. “It’s a pretty neat business.”
A few of his favorite discoveries have been World War II memorabilia, such as rifles; family photos from the 1900s,;and one-of-a-kind memorabilia of Miami Heat basketball star Dwyane Wade.
Following the airing of Junk Vets on “American Pickers,” Caballero said his phone was ringing nonstop and his email inbox was filling up. People wanted to buy items that the show aired, especially the Dwyane Wade ones; however, those will all go back to Wade. Caballero was contacted by Wade’s management team as the basketball star thought the memorabilia – which dates back to his college years – was long gone.
Junk Vets is only a four-person team, with two veterans on staff as Caballero focuses on hiring veterans first. He is thankful for the publicity that “American Pickers” has given to his company and to The American Legion.
“I’ve lived in Lansing for 40 years. I believe in this town, and I just love The American Legion, I love this town,” he said. “And I just wanted to throw some greatness and publicity at (the Legion). It worked out great. (Junk Vets) is on the show and Post 697 is on the show. And they appreciate it.”