- The Washington Times - Monday, April 18, 2005

Dear Sgt. Shaft,

On behalf of the Hispanic War Veterans of America, the first Hispanic all-veterans organization, we would like to thank you for your untiring efforts to improve the lives of our men and women in the military and our nation’s veterans and their families. Sgt. Shaft, we salute you!

The HWVA, in partnership with the [National] Puerto Rican Coalition, Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association, is presently involved in the “Welcome Home” project, which will provide no-cost training for military personnel for private jobs in the mortgage banking industry and then will provide a mechanism to help those newly trained individuals to look for jobs. For those interested in a banking career, please visit our Web site (www.hwva.org).

The [HWVA ] also welcomes the appointment of Ambassador Jim Nicholson as secretary of veterans affairs. I had the honor to work military and veterans coalitions for Ambassador Nicholson when he was the chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC). In working for Jim Nicholson in the late 90s, I know that he was very proud of his military career, proud to be a West Point graduate and U.S. Army veteran. Very few people know that he was the first RNC chairman to start regular round-table meetings with the leadership of veterans organizations and to listen to their concerns and issues. President Bush made a perfect choice in appointing the right person for the job, someone who cares about the well-being of our veterans. It should also be mentioned here that in 1998 Secretary Nicholson was the first RNC chairman to fly the POW/MIA flag, along with “Old Glory,” outside the RNC building, thus showing his concern for our nation’s missing [in action] and prisoners of war.

E. “Swede” Huelsewede

National executive director

Hispanic War Veterans of America

Dear Swede,

I hope that the Department of Veterans Affairs joins with your organization on your outreach to our vets. The VA has resources such as Vocational Rehabilitation and other educational programs that could prove very helpful in your outreach efforts. I wish Secretary Nicholson the very best in his efforts to serve our nation’s veterans.

Shaft Notes

On April 28, the Sarge is looking forward to joining press club members, guests and the public at the 12:30 p.m. National Press Club luncheon featuring a good friend, Sen. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska Republican. Mr. Hagel sits on the Foreign Relations Committee; the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee; and the Select Committee on Intelligence. He is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations international economic policy, export and trade promotion subcommittee and the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs international trade and finance subcommittee. He also serves as co-chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

A graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Mr. Hagel and his wife, Lilibet, have two children.

Before his election to the Senate, Mr. Hagel was president of McCarthy & Co., an investment banking firm in Omaha, Neb. He is a Vietnam vet and former deputy administrator of the Veterans Administration.

He served in Vietnam with brother Tom in 1968. They served side by side as infantry squad leaders with the U.S. Army’s 9th Infantry Division. Mr. Hagel earned many military decorations and honors, including two Purple Hearts. Mr. Hagel has received many honors for his contributions to civic life, including the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, an honorary doctorate in commerce from Bellevue University, the secretary of defense’s Medal for Outstanding Civic Achievement, the first World USO Leadership Award, the Small Business Administration’s Nebraska Veterans Advocate of the Year Award and an honorary doctor of law degree from Creighton University.

(For information about and reservations for the luncheon, contact Pat Nelson at 202-662-7539 or e-mail: [email protected])

The Sarge is also looking forward to celebrating his nutty buddy Jim Mayer’s Alive Day next Monday from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Fran O’Brien’s Stadium Steakhouse, Touchdown Room, 1001 16th Street NW.

Some of the wounded patients from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and their families also are invited to attend and celebrate the 36th anniversary of the day Jim lost his legs in Vietnam.

Anyone able to attend is asked to do the following:

1. Please RSVP by tomorrow. Call 202-565-4495. (We need to turn in an advance head count for food.)

2. Please bring a $10 cover charge (per person). The $10 covers snacks (pasta, pizza and wings) setup fees, tax and tips for the food staff. Bar prices for the evening: domestic beer $2, imported beer $3.50, house wine $4, rail drinks $3 and call drinks $4.

3. Please consider bringing a personal check to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic. Checks should be made payable to General Post Fund 379. The fund’s purpose is to help pay for the first-time attendance of disabled service members and veterans.

By tradition, some folks like to roast Jim Mayer on Alive Day. If you’d like to be a presenter, please contact Michael P. Hughes via e-mail at [email protected]

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 [email protected]bavf.org.

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