- The Washington Times - Monday, February 11, 2008

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

The veterans homes community recently established a joint office near Andrews Air Force Base. The National Association of State Veterans Homes and the Armed Forces Veterans Homes Foundation have forged a partnership to strengthen and advance veterans long-term health care.

The war on terrorism has turned veterans” health care topsy-turvy — and our homes are proud to be part of America”s answer to the veteran health care questions that arise daily, as more and more of our wounded GIs return home. Currently, our 140 homes provide for the well-being of 30,000 disabled and injured veterans in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. We meet 55 percent of the Department of Veterans Affairs” (VA) long-term care need, in a partnership with them that now dates back 100 years.

However, the VA provides state veterans homes with just 30 percent of its required operating money. As a result, the budgets of our homes are always stretched tight — and one thing that our VetHome partnership tries to do is fill the gaps in public funding, which happen all too often nowadays.

Last month, American Legion Past National Commander Paul Morin (superintendent of the veterans home in Holyoke, Mass.) and I initiated a project to bring an advance in technology to our homes for the benefit of veterans therapy and rehabilitation. There are important benefits being derived by patients in long-term care from Nintendo”s new video-game console, Wii. Paul and I think highly of Wii, so we asked our home administrators nationwide what they thought. Our administrators confirmed that Nintendo Wii indeed contributes significantly to veterans” quality of care and the quality of life.

Paul and I put together a proposal to Nintendo of North America, asking the corporation to donate two Wii gaming units to each of America”s veterans homes. Nintendo has just flat-out refused to help.

Perhaps, one of your readers will be able to help us in our quest for this new technology for our veterans homes. It is very painful for us to learn that a door has been slammed in our face. A “special someone” in the “Sgt. Shaft” community just may know how to reopen it. Our veterans deserve so very much more.

Thank you for all you do to help veterans everywhere!

Best Regards,

Kenneth A. Fulmer


Armed Forces Veterans Homes Foundation

Shaft Notes

The U.S. Chamber”s Institute for 21st Century Energy welcomed President Bush”s focus on promising energy technologies in his 2008 State of the Union address.

“In his State of the Union message, President Bush recognized that the United States must set an example for other countries by leading the development of technologies such as carbon capture and storage,” said retired Marine Corps Gen. James L. Jones, president and CEO of the institute.

“The United States must provide global leadership by advancing technologies and policies to diversify our energy sources and solutions while improving the environment,” Gen. Jones added.

Mr. Bush also focused on the U.S. record of technological innovation, which Gen. Jones said must continue to help satisfy growing energy demand.

• The Sarge joins American Legion National Commander Marty Conatser in expressing his outrage to the Berkeley, Calif., City Council, which recently passed a resolution telling the U.S. Marine Corps that one of its recruiting stations, is “not welcome in the city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do as uninvited and unwelcome intruders.” This measure passed by an 8-1 vote.

The City Council marched in complete lock step with radical antiwar group Code Pink in attempting to drive out Marine recruiters from its San Francisco suburb. The City Council also voted 8-1 to give Code Pink a free parking space in front of a recruiting station, along with a free sound permit for weekly protests. Marine recruiters at Berkeley have faced harassment from protesters who regularly block nearby sidewalks, generate excessive noise and disrupt business.

“I have been a recruiter in the National Guard and I know that it”s tough duty, with long hours,” Mr. Conatser said. “What these recruiters do is essential to our national security. Without recruiters, we have no military. And I don”t think we can count on the flower children from Berkeley to protect this nation when it comes under attack. They have to remember that Marines are not the enemy; the terrorists are.”

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.

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