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SGT. SHAFT: Veteran’s widow seeks citizenship information

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

May you please help me find information on my status. I am from Lithuania and a resident of the United States since July 9, 2010.

My husband, a U.S. citizen and veteran, died recently.

We had been married for 10 years. Do you have any information on when and how I might apply for U.S citizenship and how is this impacted by my husband's death.

I will be very, very thankful for your help.

Sincerely,
R.G.
Via the Internet

Dear R.G.:

I don't have any insight as to exactly how to help you. My suggestion would be that you contact an immigration attorney or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at www.uscis.gov. Their National Customer Service Center can be reached at 800/375-5283. I hope this helps.

Shaft notes

• In 2011, the Newman's Own foundation, through a partnership with Fisher House Foundation, awarded the Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) based in Alexandria, Va., a $300,000 grant to serve military families through 2012.

The grant provides family support for military families nationwide and has already impacted thousands of military and their families. ASYMCA has distributed program grants ranging from $30,000 to $50,000 to support programs at its locations serving Marine and Army families, including:

* Camp Pendleton, Calif.
* 29 Palms, Calif.
* Camp Lejeune and Fort Bragg, N.C.
* Wheeler Army Air Field and Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
* Fort Richardson and Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
* Fort Campbell, Ky.
* Fort Hood, Texas.
* Fort Sill, Okla.

Free ASYMCA programs target junior enlisted and their families, who are typically younger and have more financial and emotional burdens without nearby family to assist. As of March 2012, more than $200,000 has been provided in support of thousands of military and their families. Direct support has included: emergency assistance, respite for medical issues, summer camp opportunities for low-income families, diapers, groceries, car repairs, emergency housing, house fires, and support for travel and respite for families of wounded warriors.

Armed Services YMCA CEO Mike Landers is thrilled with the impact that the Newman's Own donation continues to make for military families.

"We thank our friends at Newman's Own for their generous donation, as well as the Fisher House for facilitating the Newman's Own award. We are proud to partner to make military life easier and help our junior enlisted military and their families 'pay it forward' by eliminating problems today or ensuring they don't become greater ones tomorrow," he said.

For one Marine father from 29 Palms, California, the grant " brought peace of mind to know (his) family would be taken care of when he deployed " and know his " family would not be alone with no one to turn to."

The Armed Services YMCA was rated in the top 3 percent of charities nationwide by Charity Navigator in 2011, receiving its sixth consecutive 4-star rating. The ASYMCA makes military life easier with free and low-cost programs for nearly 500,000 junior enlisted and their families each year at 33 branches and affiliates nationwide. Visit www.asymca.org to learn more.

The Fisher House Foundation is a unique private-public partnership that supports America's military in their time of need. The program recognizes the special sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and the hardships of military service by meeting a humanitarian need beyond that normally provided by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. Visit www.fisherhouse.org to learn more.

The Newman's Own Foundation donates all net royalties and profits after taxes it receives from the sale of Newman's Own products to charity. To date, Paul Newman and Newman's Own Foundation have given more than $300 million to thousands of charities around the world. Visit www.newmansownfoundation.org to learn more.

For more information, contact Brittany Catton at bcatton@asymca.org or 858/751-5755.

• The Department of Veterans Affairs has expanded its mental health services to include professionals from two additional health care fields: marriage and family therapists (MFT) and licensed professional mental health counselors (LPMHC).

"The addition of these two mental health professions is an important part of VA's mission to expand access to mental health services," Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said. "Veterans and their families can face unique challenges. By providing a complete range of services, we can help them address those challenges and help keep more families together."

The two fields will be included in the hiring of an additional 1,900 mental health staff nationwide that VA announced last week. Recruitment and hiring will be done at the local level. The new professionals will provide mental health diagnostic and psychosocial treatment services for veterans and their families in coordination with existing mental health professionals at VA's medical centers, community-based outpatient clinics and vet centers.

VA has developed qualification standards for employment as LPMHCs and MFTs and has announced the appointments of mental health and health science professionals to serve on professional standards boards. The boards will review applicants for LPMHC and MFT positions in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to determine eligibility for employment and the government grade level appropriate for the individual in the selected position. The boards will also review promotions in these positions.

• Rep. Harold Rogers, Kentucky Republican, and Bernadette Budde, were named as recipients of the 2012 Adam Smith Award given by the Friends of Adam Smith and Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC) organizations. Washington's most powerful and influential leaders will gather to honor the recipients' achievements and to witness their receiving this prestigious award at the 2012 Adam Smith Awards Dinner on Wednesday, June 6, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Rogers and Ms. Budde will be recognized for their outstanding records of achievement in supporting and advancing the principles of free enterprise: free markets, low taxes, limited government, respect for private property and stable economy. The Adam Smith Awards Dinner emphasizes the pivotal role that free enterprise plays in America.

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 email sgtshaft@bavf.org.

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