Granbury Tornado Relief Fund
Posted on May 23rd, 2013
On Wednesday, 15 May 2013, an EF4 Tornado hit the area of Granbury, TX immediately adjacent to Post 491 destroying or damaging over 110 homes. It also caused major damage to the American Legion Post 491 building that has forced us to cease all in-house Post activities until further notice.
On the night of the tornado, there were approximately a half dozen or so AL members present at the Post, who, with the grace of Good escaped injury. However, immediately following the tornado, they went to work. As first responders began to arrive, they determined that the Post was structurally sound and they began setting up a triage center inside the Post and their Mobile Command Center in the Post parking lot. Unfortunately, there were a number of fatalities and an out building at the post left standing was designated as a temporary morgue until the Medical Examiner could perform his duties on the deceased and they could be moved to the local mortuary.
Other post officers arrived on scene as quickly as possible prior to the area being closed to the public and together with those already on sight, worked through the night providing aid and support where ever needed to both those injured in the storm as well as those in the area who’s homes had been destroyed.
Since that night Post 491 has been working closely with the Granbury County, City and other local government organizations to insure the needs of those requiring assistance are being met. Specifically, the Post has been working with Veterans Services, state and other veteran organizations to insure that information is provided to assist them in what will be a very long road to recovery.
The American Legion is the nation’s oldest and largest wartime veteran’s service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans. Together with the American Legion Auxiliary and Sons of
American Legion, our focus at this time is to provide support for all Veterans in our area but especially to those who have been so tragically affected by last week’s tornado. Tax free contributions can be made to:
American Legion Disaster Relief Fund
P.O. Box 6963
Granbury, TX 76049
These men and women, these Veterans have given so much in support of our country …. Now, it’s our opportunity to give something back. Please, help us provide them with the things they need right now. Please.
Oklahoma Tornado Relief
Posted on May 23rd, 2013
We have received several calls from Posts, Units and Squadrons wanting to help out our Legion Family Members in Oklahoma. We have contacted the Department of Oklahoma and they have asked that anyone wishing to help out can make monetary donation to going to the National Website and click on the Oklahoma Tornado Assistance button or the can send check to their Department Headquarters earmarked Tornado Relief Fund.
The American Legion, Dept of Oklahoma
PO Box 53037
Oklahoma, City, OK. 73152-3037
Due to the lack of storage area at the current time they are asking that you not send any material items, canned food or clothing, they just have nowhere to put it at this time.
American Legion praises Congress for passage of new Stolen Valor Act
Posted on May 23rd, 2013
WASHINGTON (May 23, 2013) – The American Legion is praising Congress for passing the new Stolen Valor Act, which addresses areas that were previously ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
The new Stolen Valor Act would make it a crime to profit from lies about military awards and decorations, as opposed to the previous law which criminalized the wearing of unearned medals. If signed into law by President Obama as expected, this act will cover issues ranging from lying to receive veteran or health care benefits, to obtaining a government contract only eligible for a veteran- or service-disabled veteran owned business, or getting a job reserved for a veteran.
“Last night the United States Senate voted to pass the House version of the Stolen Valor Act by unanimous consent,” said James E. Koutz, national commander of The American Legion. “Within days it will be the law of the land once again. The American Legion is proud to have aided in its passage, and would like to especially thank Senators (Dean) Heller and (Jon)Tester for sponsoring and shepherding the bill through the Senate, and Representative (Joe) Heck for doing the same in the House.”
Noting that only three of the 535 Members of Congress voted in opposition, Koutz praised Congress for the overwhelming bipartisanship displayed.
“It is appropriate that Congress would work together to pass this important legislation as Americans prepare to celebrate their cherished fallen heroes on this Memorial Day. Both Majority Leader (Harry) Reid and Speaker (John) Boehner ensured that it received a quick vote, and for that we are very appreciative. We are confident that the concerns of the Supreme Court have been addressed and that this bill will pass constitutional muster.”
Delegates to The American Legion’s National Convention last August unanimously passed Resolution No. 27, which called for passage of this legislation.
With a current membership of 2.4-million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 14,000 posts across the nation.
Posted on May 22nd, 2013
The Department of Texas has several training events coming up in the next couple of months, please checkout the Training Page for more details. Hotel information is posted for the July training in Killeen.
VA and Veterans Service Organizations Announce Claims Initiative to Reduce Claims Backlog Joint Effort Aimed at Promoting Use of Fully Developed Claims
Posted on May 21st, 2013
WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and The American Legion announced a new partnership to help reduce the compensation claims backlog for Veterans. The effort—the Fully Developed Claims (FDC) Community of Practice—is a key part of VA’s overall transformation plan to end the backlog in 2015 and process claims within 125 days at 98% accuracy. VA can process FDCs in half the time it takes for a traditionally filed claim.
“VA prides itself on our ongoing partnership with organizations that represent Veterans throughout the claims process,” said Undersecretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey. “A Fully Developed Claim is the most effective way to ensure a Veteran’s claim never reaches the backlog—and is the basis for this new initiative between VA and what we expect will be an ever-increasing number of Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) and others who represent Veterans at various points of the claims process. ”
“This new initiative takes a common-sense approach to working smarter to better serve our injured and ill Veterans,” said DAV Washington Headquarters Executive Director Barry Jesinoski “DAV is pleased to be working with the VA to help improve the disability compensation system.”
“We have been working with VA since last December on its fully developed claims process,” said James E. Koutz, national commander of The American Legion. “Teams of our experts have already gone to VA regional offices in Denver, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and other cities to help identify best practices for FDCs, and to further train our own service officers.” Koutz said the Legion’s next visit in support of the FDC program is planned for June at the VA regional office in Reno, Nev.
Claims are considered to be “fully developed” when Veterans submit all available supporting evidence, like private treatment records and notice of federal treatment records, to VA at the time they first file a formal claim and certify they have no more evidence to submit. This is the information that VA needs to make a determination on a disability claim. The FDC program supports the sharing of best practices across Veterans Service Organizations, who help thousands of Veterans each year with their compensation claims, to identify up front all evidence necessary to support a Veteran’s claim. Veterans then certify that they have no additional evidence to submit, and VA can process the claim in half the time it takes for a traditionally filed claim.
VSOs have long played an integral role in submitting Veterans claims – often with representatives working within VA regional offices. VA has consulted with them throughout the development and implementation of VA’s plan to end the backlog in 2015 to ensure best practices and their unique insights were incorporated. The American Legion and DAV are the first to step forward to work with VA on the FDC program, and that program has led to a much more efficient process. Meaningful progress will be felt by increasing numbers of Veterans as more VSOs participate with VA in the FDC program. This initiative is just the latest example of the collaboration between VA and VSOs. In July, VA held a workshop to obtain the views of VSO representatives and to provide them with information on the effort to eliminate the claims backlog. The main focus of the workshop was VA’s emphasis on the shared goal of better serving Veterans and positive impact of filing Fully Developed Claims. These workshops will be replicated in VBA regional offices across the country.
“VA will continue to work with our VSO partners to provide the world-class health care and benefits that Veterans have earned through their service,” said Undersecretary Hickey.
This is the latest effort in support of the Secretary’s plan to reduce the backlog. Last month, VA announced an initiative to expedite compensation claims decisions for Veterans who have waited one year or longer. On April 19, VA began prioritizing claims decisions for Veterans who have been waiting the longest, by providing provisional decisions that allow eligible Veterans to begin collecting compensation benefits quickly. With a provisional decision, a Veteran has a year to submit additional information to support a claim before the decision becomes final.
On May 15, VA announced that it is mandating overtime for claims processors in its 56 regional benefits offices through the end of fiscal year 2013 to help eliminate the backlog, with continued emphasis on high-priority claims for homeless Veterans and those claiming financial hardship, the terminally ill, former Prisoners of War, Medal of Honor recipients, and Veterans filing Fully Developed Claims. As of May 17, the paperless claims processing system known as the Veterans Benefits Management System, or VBMS, has been deployed to 46 out of 56 regional office locations, and about 18% of VA’s current claim inventory is in an electronic format.
Claims for Wounded Warriors separating from the military for medical reasons will continue to be handled separately and on a priority basis with the Department of Defense through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES). On average, Wounded Warriors separating through IDES currently receive VA compensation benefits in 2 months following their separation from service.
Veterans can learn more about disability benefits on the joint Department of Defense-VA web portal eBenefits at http://www.ebenefits.va.gov and find information about filing Fully Developed Claims here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/transformation/fastclaims/. Servicemembers returning from active duty in combat theatres are eligible for five years of VA medical care – regardless of the status of any disability claim submitted. Medical care is not withheld while disability claims are under review. For more information on enrolling in VA health benefits, please visit http://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/.
Department Achieves 100% in Membership.
Posted on May 20th, 2013
Congratulations to State Commander Dan Corbin, State Vice Commander Lynn Sparks, the Division and District Commanders, but most importantly all the Posts Leaders and their members for achieving 100% in membership as of Friday May 17th. Thank You all for your hard work, your efforts paid off.
This is the first time since 2003 – 2004 Membership Year that we have achieved 100%.
The American Legion unveils web page dedicated to military honor and remembrance
Posted on April 18th, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS (April 17, 2013) — Throughout the United States and around the world, honor for our nation’s military heroes can be found guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, at museums, cemeteries and memorial sites dedicated to the great wars, in monuments recognizing any local community’s wartime sacrifices, and in the obituaries of veterans.
These are just some of the ways in which our U.S. military personnel and veterans are remembered. The American Legion – the nation’s largest veterans service organization – now provides a way for anyone to visit these sacred sites and keep the memories of military sacrifice alive. A new American Legion web page packed with stories, photos and videos, along with the ability for visitors to add their own words and images, is now available at www.legion.org/honor
“Legionnaires are encouraged to share stories of their time in uniform, their family’s military legacy and what their posts are doing to recognize the servicemen and women, past and present, who keep America safe,” said James Hall of New Jersey, chairman of The American Legion Magazine Commission, which oversees the organization’s website.
Already, dozens of stories have been submitted for publication and many of those have already been posted. Those wanting to share their stories can go to www.legiontown.org to submit text and photos online. Once approved by an administrator, those stories will appear on the honor and remembrance web page.
Other features of the web page include:
• A collection of articles and photos about honor and remembrance that have appeared in The American Legion Magazine, and other media.
• A special “In Memoriam” module for those who want to honor veterans who have passed on by providing their own tributes. Families are encouraged to submit obituaries of veterans by going to www.legion.org/honor and clicking on “In Memoriam.” Once you fill in the deceased’s name, the obituary and upload a photo (optional), just hit the save button. There is no charge.
• A database of more than 1,200 museums, memorials or cemeteries that can help you plan a visit or an opportunity to explore online. These sacred places are compiled in a database, searchable by state and category. To suggest an addition to the database, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (317) 630-1298.
• Photo galleries of prominent places of remembrance, including Arlington National Cemetery and U.S. memorials, monuments and cemeteries in Europe.
About the Legion: The American Legion is the nation’s largest veterans service organization with 2.4 million members in 14,000 posts nationwide. For more information about the Honor and Remembrance web page, please visit www.legion.org/honor. To contribute a story to the page, go to www.legiontown.org. Those without access to a computer may mail their information to Honor & Remembrance, c/o The American Legion, 700 N. Pennsylvania St., Indianapolis, IN 46204.
Questions may be emailed to email@example.com
New Texas Pin Available
Posted on April 15th, 2013
New Texas pin now available! Pin is: 1.125” X 1”
Please send orders and check to:
6428 Indian Path
San Angelo, TX 76901
• One pin: $2.25
• Five pins: $11.00 ($2.20 each)
• Ten Pins: $21.50 ($2.15 each)
I do not know what my status (health issues) will be for the Department Convention in Arlington or the National Convention in Houston so a mail order will be the easiest way to get these Convention Trading Pins to you.
Post 572 thanks you for your continued support.
Department Training at Beaumont Post 33
Posted on March 22nd, 2013
The American Legion, Department of Texas will be conducting training at Beaumont Post 33 on June 22, 2013 at 9am.
Post 33 is located at 1320 Pennsylvania St in Beaumont.
Some of the topics to be covered during this session include:
• Post Operations
• Department Programs
• Membership Growth
• Post Fundraising
• Public Relations
The training is open to all Legion Family Members wishing to learn more about The American Legion, training will begin at 9:00 am.
Anyone wishing to attend is encouraged to complete the American Legion Extension Institute Course (ALEI) prior to attending as it will provide you with basic information about The American Legion.
All attendee are asked to fill out and submit the registration form or go to http://guestli.st/152481 to register online. We need this information for the Post that is hosting the training for setup, materials and lunch.
The American Legion Claims Coach App
Posted on November 20th, 2012
The American Legion has launched The American Legion Claims Coach App to assist Veterans with step by step guidance to help you and your service office through the process of filing VA benefits. The App can be downloaded from the Apple or Google Play stores or go to www.legion.org/mobileapps