- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

My daughter, Elise, a fourth-grader in Auburn Hills, Michigan, is in the Girl Scouts for the fourth year. She is the epitome of a Girl Scout. Girl Scouts (www.gssem.org) has offered her the opportunity with her friends to develop her leadership skills. Elise sets her own goals. I support her in the goals she sets, and we spend a lot of time together while she works toward them.

We would appreciate your support of her efforts this year in Girl Scouts. Even the smallest efforts to help her in her goals add up.

Elise has two big goals she has set for herself this year:

• Her first goal has been to establish a homework club for her classmates after school where up to 15 students receive FREE extra help from volunteers including parents, myself and older students in the National Honor Society. Kids stay after school for an hour and a half and work on homework and when done, they play educational games. The kids love being with their friends and by the time they leave school for the day their homework is done. In our school, there are many kids who do not have someone that is able to help them at home.

This effort is her way to give to others and work toward her Girl Scouts bronze award. This effort started the first day of this school year in fourth grade, and she intends to continue this effort through the end of the school year. We have found fourth grade as a key to learning basics that will carry into her future school years and know that Elise and all of the students involved are benefitting from it.

• She has also set a big goal for herself this year in selling a lot of Girl Scout cookies. Amazingly, last year she sold 1,001 boxes of Girl Scout cookies. We never thought this was possible. However, she did it with perseverance and determination. … She wants to surpass last year’s goal and works hard toward this every day. Our sales continue through March 17.

This is where we could use your help! Right now is our cookie selling time, and Elise would like to accept your donation on behalf of Girl Scouts for cookies to be sent to our military. We are sure that a taste of home would provide comfort to these men and women fighting for our country by reminding them of a taste of home. If you keep a copy of your check, it will be your receipt of a charitable donation to a worthy cause.

Our Girl Scout Council, Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan has a unique effort to collect donations at $4 a box in partnership with another organization, Operation Troop Aid, to send Girl Scout cookies overseas. (You can read more about this at our council website at https://www.gssem.org/products/cookies/Pages/troops-to-troops.aspx.)

I am not an employee of Girl Scouts and my daughter is simply a determined Girl Scout wanting to sell her cookies to those that appreciate them. Elise and I came up with a plan to reach out to those individuals that truly value and recognize this unique opportunity available to send cookies overseas that also help her reach her cookie sales goals. Of course, anything that you are doing to support our military troops, our veterans and even the Girl Scouts is always appreciated.

We do hope that we can accept your purchase of cookies for your own enjoyment OR if we can accept your donation of $4 per box to send to our men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our Girl Scout Council requires that I collect all monies and send them payment for the cookies. Therefore, checks would need to be made out to me, Dana Bierer. If your intention is to send a large donation, we have never been fortunate enough to have this issue, but I could follow up with our Council to determine the most appropriate way to handle such an issue, if needed.

Thank you for your consideration and your continued efforts to make the United States the greatest place to be for our families. We look forward to hearing back from you.


Elise Bierer (9 years old)
Dana Bierer

Dear Dana:

I am proud of your patriotic young daughter, Elsie. I urge all my readers to help her achieve her goal which will certainly put a smile on our troops who are serving in harm’s way.

Shaft notes

• Kudos to Chairman Jeff Miller (FL-01) and Ranking Member Mike Michaud (Maine-02) for introducing H.R. 813, the Putting Veterans Funding First Act of 2013. The bill would require Congress to fully fund the Department of Veterans Affairs’ discretionary budget a year ahead of schedule, ensuring that all VA services will have timely, predictable funding in an era where continuing resolutions and threats of government shutdowns are all too frequent.

“If there is one thing people in Washington and across America agree on, it’s that we should never let funding for veterans become a casualty of Washington gridlock. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill, which would simply enact into law the widely accepted view that America’s veterans should not be held responsible for Washington’s inability to reach an agreement on how to cut spending. Our veterans were there for us when we needed them the most, and the Putting Veterans Funding First Act of 2013 will ensure they have our support during their time of need.” Mr. Miller said.

Currently, Congress funds the medical-care portion – roughly 86 percent of VA’s discretionary budget – at the beginning of each fiscal year. Providing the remainder of the discretionary budget – roughly $8 billion – up front would make it easier for VA to plan for key investments in information technology, claims processing and construction projects.

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 [email protected].

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