- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 16, 2005

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

I’m trying to think of words to express my appreciation as well as Ed’s and the rest of our family for the special effort you put forth to get our brother, Ed, 100 percent as a disabled vet — something we have been fighting for but kept running into false hope or wall too high to climb after about 20 years.

It wasn’t easy trying to compile the letter you received on Ed’s behalf, which my brother Bill and I sent you, along with photos of Ed. Apparently, you got others involved. In a matter of a few weeks, the VA finally took notice of Ed and his record.

He has since received some back pay and able to enjoy some of the finer things in life. A few years back, he was using Elmer’s glue to hold some of his teeth in place. He is one happy person again — now that someone was finally interested in him. We only wish we had known about you sooner. You made the Vincent family (all 6 of us) very happy during the holidays.

Our thoughts go out to other vets out there who have no one to fight for them. They can’t do it on their own without family and other vets. We have two nephews in the service at present; one in the Air Force and another in the Air National Guard. So far they have not been sent to Iraq.

What a wonderful gift you are.

Ed’s sister, Kathy R., and family

Wisconsin

Dear Kathy:

I am glad that I was able to help your brother. Also thanks to the folks at the VA who were able to straighten out his claim for compensation.

Shaft notes

Kudos to a special organization Angel Flight America (www.angelflightamerica.org). This is a nonprofit organization that provides free flights to patients who may live in a rural area and can’t afford to get to a larger medical facility for treatment. The expenses are paid for by donations and volunteers. You can contact them at 800/446-1231. You still have the issue of getting the patient from the airport to the medical facility.

They also have compassionate flights for family members.

They also want to extend this service to immediate family members of injured soldiers who can’t afford to visit their loved one. They have also flown veterans to the blind rehab centers.

• The Sarge is looking forward to joining other members at the National Press Club and the public at a luncheon featuring Hank McKinnell, president and chief executive officer at Pfizer Inc.

He is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Pfizer Inc., the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company, according to the company’s Web site.

He joined Pfizer in 1971 in Tokyo. Over the years, he held positions for Pfizer subsidiaries around the world, including service as president of Pfizer Asia, based in Hong Kong. He also has served as Pfizer’s president and chief operating officer, executive vice president, chief financial officer and president of Pfizer’s Global Pharmaceuticals group, the site says.

Mr. McKinnell is a member of the boards of directors of Pfizer Inc., Moody’s Corp., ExxonMobil Corp. and John Wiley & Sons Inc. He was appointed by President Bush to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). Mr. McKinnell is chairman of the Business Roundtable and a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Corp.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of British Columbia, and master’s and doctoral degrees from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

According to the site, his honors include the United Nations Association of the United States of America’s Global Leadership Award, the Woodrow Wilson Institute for International Scholars Corporate Service Award, Columbia University’s Teachers College Cleveland E. Dodge Medal for Distinguished Service to Education, Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business Excellence in Leadership Award, and an honorary doctorate in engineering from Polytechnic University.

Pfizer recently announced plans to commit medicines, funds and logistical support to the relief effort after the tsunami in Asia and Africa. Pfizer will donate $10 million to local and international relief organizations operating in the region. These will include the American Red Cross/International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; International Rescue Committee; Catholic Relief Services; CARE; UNICEF and Save the Children as well as local relief organizations.

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, PO Box 65900, Washington, D.C., 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330; call 202/257-5446; or e-mail sgtshaft@bavf.org.

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