- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 19, 2006

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

It is my distinct privilege to inform you of your nomination to receive the American Legion’s 2006 National Commander’s Public Relations Award. The award honors distinguished public service that contributes to the preservation of the American way of life.

You were selected to receive this honor because of your outreach to our nation’s veterans and their families through your weekly column, Sgt. Shaft, in The Washington Times. Thanks to your efforts, veterans receive important and timely information about issues affecting their lives including the rights and benefits they earned, and so richly deserve, through service to America as members of the armed forces.

Additionally, you have significantly raised public awareness of the need to protect the United States flag from desecration and provided information regarding pertinent legislation.

The presentation of the award and your acceptance remarks will highlight the National Commander’s Luncheon for distinguished guests at the close of our 46th annual Washington Conference, March 1, at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. You will be honored at a private reception that begins at 11:30 a.m. with the luncheon to immediately follow.

Approximately 500 leaders of the American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion from across the nation attend, as well as many distinguished guests from the Washington, D.C., area.

On behalf of the 2.7 million men and women of the American Legion, I look forward to your acceptance and to personally presenting this prestigious award to you.


Thomas L. Bock

National Commander

Dear Commander:

As a proud lifetime member of the American Legion National Press Club Post 20, I am looking forward to receiving this prestigious public relations award. I will proudly accept this award on behalf of The Washington Times and all who have contributed to making this column an informative voice for our military and veterans community.

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

For every service member in Iraq, there are roughly one to two children serving their own tour of duty back at home. These little heroes and the parent that stayed behind also make tremendous sacrifices for our country. Without daily support from a mother or father, their lives change dramatically. Locating quality, affordable child care to help them through these times can be a financial and emotional burden.

Operation: Military Child Care (OMCC), a joint National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) and Department of Defense program, wishes to recognize these heroes and remind them of two programs that can help. OMCC and Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood both provide assistance in finding quality child care as well as financial assistance to families of deployed military with child care costs. A simple call to 800/424-2246 or visit to www.naccrra.org can get the process started.

Thanks for your help.

Anika Jackson, on behalf of Operation: Military Child Care and Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood

Dear Anika:

Thanks for the heads-up on this important and wonderful initiative. These families are certainly worthy of this recognition of their great sacrifice.

Shaft notes

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) has announced that House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Steve Buyer, Indiana Republican, has reversed his decision and extended from three minutes to 10 minutes the amount of time groups may have to present testimony centering on their legislative priorities. Testimony from veterans’ service organizations on the president’s budget request and proposed policy initiatives, however, still will be limited to three minutes, a restriction which the DAV considers totally inadequate and counterproductive.

The DAV reacted angrily in November when Mr. Buyer decided to do away with a decades-long tradition in which veterans’ groups presented their legislative agenda to a joint meeting of the House and Senate veterans’ affairs committees.

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 [email protected]

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