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Badger Legionnaire Digital Extra February 2018

  DIGITAL EXTRA                                      THE BADGER LEGIONNAIRE                              FEBRUARY 2018

ALR perform MIA/POW Table Ceremony

On November 9, 201, several District 1 American Legion Riders were privileged to perform the honors for the MIA/POW Table ceremony (led by Rider Chaplain Rickard “Ricoh” Oberst) in advance of the Union Grove, Post 171 Auxiliary’s Veterans Day Luncheon for veterans from the Union Grove Veterans Home. The veterans were bused from the Home to the Post for this annual event.



 

Post 143 Recognition Night

American Legion Post 143, St. Croix Falls, recently hosted a recognition night for the city police department, firemen and first responders.  A $300 donation was also given to the Fire Department.  The dinner was served by Boy Scout Troup 160. – submitted by Jim Chapin

 

 

New veteran benefits and new ways to access them
James Fialkowski, Department Service Officer

President Trump signed the 2017 Appeals Modernization Act at our National Convention in August.  This Act has yet to be written into Regulation for use by the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA).  The VBA has started Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP), a pilot program under the auspice of this Act without the official regulations.  If you receive a letter to participate in RAMP, please consult your Veteran Service Representative before making changes to how your appeal is to be handled.

Through several added internet sites and programs, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has enhanced access to veteran benefits.    The recent Vets.Gov website was put in place in response to veterans request to have; “one easy-to-use place to:  Check your disability claim and appeal status, Find out how much money you have left to pay for school or training, Refill your prescriptions and communicate with your health care team, and more.”  One new item available on this new site (once you register) is the ability to apply for a veteran ID Card.  “The new Veterans Identification Card provides a safer and more convenient and efficient way for most Veterans to show proof of service,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “With the card, Veterans with honorable service to our nation will no longer need to carry around their paper DD-214s to obtain Veteran discounts and other services.”  To request a Veterans ID Card, visit vets.gov, click on “Apply for Printed Veteran ID Card” on the bottom of the page, register or log in to your account, and follow the instructions.  Veteran applicants should receive their new card within 60 days and can check delivery status at vets.gov.  As you can see the new site is more veteran friendly (if you use a computer) and provides a one stop shop for benefits. 

This being said, there is a caveat to the use of this or any automated site when submitting claims.  You may miss an important aspect when submitting your claim or miss claiming something entirely if not versed in veteran benefits.  Examples would be a little understood Chapter 35 dependent education benefit for a child turning 18 years old; the Nehmer court case for “in country” Vietnam veterans and their surviving families; and The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA).  Not many know that their VBA Chapter 35 approved 18 year old has access to an added benefit if they turn 18 while in high school that does not impact the number of months available for college.  Due to the Nehmer court case, previously denied compensation for disabilities later added to the Regulation may be due the veteran, their surviving relatives, or their estate.  RECA (administered through the Department of Justice) provides a lump sum payment to Onsite participants at atmospheric nuclear weapons, Uranium workers (Uranium miners, millers, and ore transporters), and Individuals who lived downwind of the Nevada Test Site, that were diagnosed certain cancers.  For these, and many more tidbits of knowledge, see your local Veteran Service Representative to get help with your VBA claims.  Your CVSO administers Federal, State, and County benefits, let them guide you and you may find more than you thought was available.

 

 

Badgers of Boys State Featured Counselor

By: Chad Plenge, Badger Boys State Public Relations

Every year, American Legion members see the impact Badger Boys State has on nearly 900 boys from across the state.  Many alumni finish Badger Boys State and go on to make a difference in their communities, build successful careers, run for political office, and serve in the military or other public services.  Alumni often credit Badger Boys State as a key component of their development. 

The Badger Boys State program is only possible because of the generous donations from American Legion posts, community civic organizations, and individuals who sponsor each citizen. The cost for sponsoring a boy for the weeklong program is $300. 

Charles Workinger, a 2005 Boys Stater and former Badger Boys State counselor, is our reatured counselor for this month: 

“I will always have a job that is consequential and Badger Boys State planted that seed.  In 2010, I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree and I completed a Masters in Music Performance from the University of North Texas in 2012. 

After school, I did freelance work and also worked for Indiana public radio.  There I used Google Analytics to track online streaming and promote corporate development.  Interestingly, the radio station had a large population following in Germany. 

I will never be satisfied where I am not making the world a better place.  This is one reason my wife and I joined the United States Marine Corps after talking with a recruiter.  I became a member of the Marine Corps band at Quantico, Virginia.  This spring I plan to audition for the Marine Corps’ premier bands.  The premier bands play at important events, including events for the President.  It would be a prestigious opportunity. 

Music in the military has a long and storied history.  I am able to carry those transitions forward every day.  The Marine Corps allows me to serve my country and live a meaningful life.”

Waukesha County Technical College Veteran Center

The Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC)
enjoys helping their veteran community. 
It became such a mission for one faculty
member and two veterans that they decided to push
for their own on-campus center. 

Veterans Catherine Habron and Mitchell Woytych began
making a name at WCTC by advocating for for other veterans. 
This caught the eye of board members, the president
of the college and most importantly the “Mama” of
the veterans Sue Schroeder. Schroeder, along with
two other colleagues, wrote a grant and obtained
the funding necessary for the center.  In January of 2016
the center was open to all veterans.  The center is now
staffed with three part-time employees and one
full-time Sue Schroeder.

One of the employees, David John Brown, is very
well known in the veteran community as a mentor
and a veteran advocate.  Since Brown took lead as
student veteran and partnered with Schroeder on
center projects, the center has an increased air of
excitement and activity.  This is an active veteran’s
club providing one-on-one financial aid assistance,
veterans support, emergency funds, networks
for jobs and benefits, school participation, a private
computer room, and emotional support counseling. 
The center is used regularly by veteran students
for actives as well as by family members.  It is the
conduit allowing Veteran Service Representative
Mitchell Woytych to perform out-reach to the
younger veteran community on behalf of the American Legion. 

This center, along with others, is becoming the
future gateway to connecting with the younger
veteran community.  This has led to a growing
active collaboration between the Veteran Service
Organizations (VSOs) in Milwaukee and WCTC. 
One such collaboration is that the veteran center
staff is creating an open group to participate in
the September 15th, 2018 Briggs & Al’s Run &
Walk for the Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee. 
This will help put veterans on the frontlines
again, to show our community we support them
as much as they support us.

Mitchell Woytych

Department VSR

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