SGT. SHAFT: VA comes through for veteran, who can now pay off loan

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Dear Sgt. Shaft:

I had great news this week. The VA paid me retro back to July 2004. Amen! I want to thank you for everything. I am able to pay off my home equity loan. May God richly bless you. You will have many stars in your crown.

Sincerely,
Sandy
Via the Internet

Dear Sandy:

Thanks for sharing the good news. Kudos to the powers that be at the VA who came through like gangbusters when they received my referral.

Shaft notes

• The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation is accepting submissions for its annual awards program honoring the outstanding, creative work of individuals in preserving and promulgating the Marine Corps’ history, traditions and culture. Marines and civilians may submit their own entries or the distinguished work of others for award consideration. Awards will be presented at the foundation’s annual ceremony on April 20, 2013. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 9, 2013.

For a detailed list of the awards as well as the submission requirements, visit http://www.marineheritage.org/Awards.asp.

“Our annual awards ceremony spotlights the creative achievements of civilians and Marines alike,” said Lt. Gen Robert R. Blackman Jr., president and CEO of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. “The foundation applauds all those who have created work that depicts, advances and preserves Marine Corps history, traditions, and culture. We strongly encourage individuals to submit their own work or submit work on behalf of others. It is important for these works to be celebrated.”

• It won’t be long before we once again will be voting for the president and members of the U.S. Congress. I urge the president and the Congress to ensure that those serving in our military and their families have every opportunity to cast their votes.

• The Sarge joins Sen. Patty Murray, chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, in her support of the Veterans Jobs Corps Act of 2012, which she is co-sponsoring.

At a time when more than 720,000 veterans are unemployed, this bill would increase training and hiring opportunities for our nation’s veterans, especially those from the post-9/11 era.

The Veterans Jobs Corps Act would help put veterans back to work as police officers, firefighters and other first-responders, positions that our communities are in sore need of after 85 percent of law enforcement agencies were forced to reduce their budget in the past year.

In addition, this bill would also help train and hire veterans to help restore and protect our national, state and tribal forests, our parks, our coastal areas, wildlife refuges and VA cemeteries. Mrs. Murray said the bill contains ideas from both sides of the aisle, is fully paid for with bipartisan spending offsets and should not be controversial at a time when veterans continue to struggle.

“I urge my colleagues to build on the successes we have had in passing bipartisan veterans employment legislation. Veterans returning home all across the country are watching us and they certainly don’t have time to let politics block their path to a job that will help serve their community,” Mrs. Murray said. “Surely, this is something that we can show them that we can come together on, no matter how close or far away we are from an election.”

“Our veterans have what it takes to not only find work, but to excel in the workforce of the 21st century,” she said.

“We cannot and should not let that training — or the millions of dollars we have invested in these men and women — go to waste. But in far too many instances, that’s what has happened. Too often, on the day our service members are discharged, we as a nation pat them on their back for their service, without also giving them a helping hand into the job market. This has to end.”

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