- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dear Sgt Shaft:

As we approach Memorial Day, please remind your readers of the VetSignia group, a small group of retired veterans who make 36 special metalized film window stickers and magnetic vehicle plaques that provide a neat, attractive way for all U.S. veterans to show their service. They are called VetSignias and feature black print on bright silver metallic with a stars and stripes background. The VetSignia stickers and plaques honor veterans from WWII to today’s War on Terror.

Veterans of WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Persian Gulf can display the war served and their branch of service. VetSignias for those who served in overseas expeditionary campaigns such as Panama, Bosnia, Somalia, etc., can show branch of service and expeditionary. There are three VetSignias for veterans of the War on Terror. Non-conflict veterans can get VetSignias that show veterans and their branch of service.

VetSignias show combinations like; VET/KOREA/U.S. AIR FORCE, VET/VIETNAM/U.S. ARMY, VET/IRAQ/EXPEDITIONARY, or VET/U.S.NAVY. Everyone who sees one of the bright silver VetSignias will immediately know the bearer did something good for our country.

All VetSignias can be viewed on the Internet at www.vetsignia.org.

The metalized film window stickers (2”X4’) are 3/$12, magnetic vehicle plaques (2.5”X5.75”) are 2/$12 (S&H Incl.). Requests for VetSignias should be sent to: Bob Kline, Box 382, Blue Bell PA 19422.

Be sure to include your branch of service; and war served, expeditionary, or non-conflict. For additional information, call 610/277-1171, or send email to bobk.ww2usmc@vetsignia.org.

Bob Kline, WWII/U.S. Marines,
For the VetSignia group 1993-2011.

Dear Bob:

As per your request, Semper Fi.

Shaft Notes

The FRA (Fleet Reserve Association) presented its 2011 Pinnacle Award to New Jersey Congressman Frank LoBiondo during a recent Capitol Hill reception in his honor. The lawmaker was recognized for his efforts to improve the quality of life for military personnel and veterans.

FRA annually presents its Pinnacle Award to a member of Congress who has championed legislative initiatives that advance the association’s agenda of preserving and enhancing pay and benefits for current and former members of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Mr. LoBiondo was selected to receive FRA’s highest honor in recognition of his leadership in improving access to health care and other services for veterans, efforts to expand benefit eligibility for Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange, and advancing housing and child care improvements for Coast Guard personnel.

“As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, LoBiondo is a fierce advocate for military personnel, veterans and their families,” said Joe Barnes, FRA’s national executive director. “He has been instrumental in establishing and expanding outpatient clinics for veterans in his state. He also worked to improve retirement benefits for career Reserve personnel, and eliminate the benefit offset experienced by survivors who are eligible for Survivor Benefit Plan annuities and Dependency Indemnity Compensation. FRA is particularly grateful for Representative LoBiondo’s efforts to support Coast Guard personnel and ‘blue water’ Vietnam veterans.”

During the awards ceremony Mr. LoBiondo also thanked his staff and congressional colleagues for their work in supporting military personnel and veterans, but reserved his “biggest thanks [for] those who are serving now and veterans who’ve served in the past. We owe you a debt we can never repay, so the least we can do is work to make sure you and your family have the best quality of life possible and do our best to be as strong a partner as you deserve.”

The Home Depot Foundation announced a pledge of $30 million over three years to address veterans’ housing issues. The foundation’s financial commitment will be amplified by associates from the Home Depot, who will volunteer their time and home improvement know-how skills to projects across the country.

“Our nation’s veterans have made great sacrifices for our country, yet the statistics show that many of them face severe housing needs due to disability, lack of affordable housing and unemployment,” said Frank Blake, chairman and CEO of the Home Depot. “Their plight is very personal to all Home Depot associates because we have more than 35,000 veterans who work for us and an estimated 1,500 associates serving on active duty at any given time.”

The foundation’s initiative will kick off immediately by providing a total of $3.1 million to Fisher House Foundation, The Mission Continues and Volunteers of America to repair and rehabilitate facilities and homes serving veterans of all ages. In addition to funding, each of these partnerships will be supported by Team Depot, the company’s associate-led volunteer force.

Fisher House Foundation provides comfort houses for the families of veteran and active duty military patients receiving medical care at major military and Veterans Affairs medical centers. The Home Depot Foundation is providing a one-year $500,000 grant to repair and enhance many of the organization’s 54 existing houses. Where possible, Team Depot volunteers will complete the work, ranging from making bathrooms handicapped accessible, to painting and landscaping.

Volunteers of America is one of the largest nonprofit providers of affordable housing in the U.S., with a focus specifically on veterans, low-income families with children, the disabled and senior citizens. The Home Depot Foundation is providing a three-year $1.8 million grant to repair and rehab properties where veterans and their families live. First-year projects include the rehabilitation of residential facilities in Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami, serving approximately 275 disabled and/or homeless veterans and their families at any given time. Each project will include numerous opportunities for Team Depot volunteers to get involved as well.

The Mission Continues provides opportunities for returning veterans to serve as citizen leaders by leading volunteer projects in their communities or by completing fellowships with nonprofit organizations. Along with a $1.05 million grant from the Home Depot Foundation, Team Depot will work with volunteers from The Mission Continues to complete more than 150 community projects during 2011. In addition, a disabled veteran will be placed at the Home Depot Foundation for a six-month fellowship to assist with project management for all volunteer projects.

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