Paul Revere Post 623 Delivers on Promise to Support the Community and Develop New Leaders

Americanism

Today marks the first day of two new beginnings in the ongoing revitalization of Paul Revere American Legion Post 623:  Boys State and Baseball .

Boys StateThis morning the first of many, many more young men boarded a bus headed for Eastern Illinois University to attend the 78th annual session of the Illinois Boys State.  Boys State is open to young men in the summer of their junior year of high school.  This year’s attendee, the first sent by Paul Revere Post in recent memory, has promised to go and make the most of this opportunity to meet new friends, build lasting relationships and learn about the principles of civics in a fun, collaborative and fast paced environment.

ALB PatchAlso started today is the inaugural season of Paul Revere Post 623’s second American Legion Baseball (ALB) team, the Legion Patriots. The Patriots joined ALB for the 2013 season after several years playing together out of Elmwood Park.  The team is primarily comprised of players from Elmwood Park HS and St. Patrick HS along with a few other young men from three other schools.  The Patriots opened their season today in a non-conference double header against the Norwood Blues at Veterans Memorial Park, in Maywood, IL.  The Blues will be joining the 1st Division Cook County ALB Program in the 2014 season.  Conference play begins tomorrow with a 1pm home start against the Northbrook Braves.

Paul Revere Post 623’s first team, the Chicago Indians opens their second season with ALB with a 6pm Tuesday evening game at Veterans Memorial Park against the the Norwood Blues, with conference play beginning Thursday at home against Elk Grove Village.

For complete schedules for both teams visit us at Paul Revere Baseball.  And to learn more information about our Post programs, send an email to paul_revere@att.net.

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Your Illinois Department of Employment Security Invites You to a Seminar for Veterans

 

What: Seminar for Veterans.
When: 1:00-2:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 13
Where: Cindy Pritzker Auditorium, Lower Level
Harold Washington Library Center
400 S State Street, Chicago

This event is sponsored by the IDES and Retired Brains

Finding Employment & Working at Home  

How to find a job
How to find a federal job
Resume writing
Interviewing tips
Job search tips
Work at home opportunities
Translating your military experience

Hand outs will be available on topics covered.

 

Make Sure Your Resume is on Illinoisjoblink.com
Illinois businesses are hiring. And they are looking for workers on Illinoisjoblink.com The state’s hiring board features more than 100,000 help-wanted ads. Job seekers can build multiple resumes to emphasize different skills and experiences. Business owners can use keyword matching technology to search resumes and find the best candidate. Illinoisjoblink.com is free for workers and employers. It compares favorably to private efforts that cost hundreds of dollars. No-cost HR recruitment services are available at the website and at(877) 342-7533.
       

Illinoisjoblink.com

Find a job/Find an Employee

News from Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs – May 2013

While the month of May includes a wide range of military appreciation events and activities, we at the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) value and appreciate our veterans year round. Celebrating the accomplishments – and enabling the continued contributions – of our veterans is our daily mission.

Congress designated May as National Military Appreciation Month in 1999 to ensure the nation was given the opportunity to publically demonstrate their appreciation. For citizens across Illinois, it’s a great time to pause and thank those who have served.  In the calendar listings at the bottom of this newsletter, you can find (and share) information about a wide range of events, ceremonies and programs to honor and celebrate our veterans.

Even as you help us spread this word, we also hope you’ll encourage your fellow veterans to “Stand Up & Be Counted”  This easy online tool has helped us serve more than 5,000 veterans.  Please share this newsletter and encourage veterans to Stand Up and Be Counted.  SUBC registration is free, easy and helps us gain and maintain contact with the veterans we serve.

Please spread the word!

 

Launched in November 2012, Illinois Joining Forces (IJF) is a public-private network of organizations committed to collaborating toward better, more navigable services and support for our service members, veterans, and their families.

In six short months since being formed, IJF has:

–  grown to include 189 provisional member organizations or agencies

–  gained momentum in key IJF Working Groups, with the Education Working Group having hosted seminars on transfer of military training credit, and the Behavioral Health Working Group having hosted several additional “Military and Veteran 101” seminars for community providers.

– established and improved an interactive website (www.illinoisjoiningforce.org) that member organizations, veterans, and their families can use to seek or refer individuals to the right resource.

IJF’s next challenge lies in transitioning provisional member organizations to full membership and in assisting them in updating their IJF member profiles before Provisional Membership expires on May 9.  More than 70 organizations have already made the move.  Whether you’re new to IJF or simply have yet to sign on for full membership, please check out the membership documents here.

As always, the IJF support team stands by to assist at info@illinoisjoiningforces.org.

Thanks to great support from Excel Foundry & Machine and representatives from other State agencies and organizations, IDVA’s Mission: Military 2 Manufacturing Fair was a great success.

Over 40 veterans participated in this half-day event at Excel’s Pekin facility, learning about the jobs, salaries and career paths available in advanced manufacturing and logistics. With Illinois’ manufacturing sector in dire need of skilled workers — experts estimate that Illinois manufacturers currently have over 30,000 jobs open for trained workers – this event served as an exceptional opportunity to help veterans identify how they can leverage their previous military training to jump-start a career in advanced manufacturing.

IDVA is already preparing our next Mission: Military 2 Manufacturing event – stay tuned!

 

On behalf of Governor Pat Quinn, IDVA recognized Jonathan J. Lehuta, a prominent veteran leader in DeKalb County with over 30 years of service to his community, county and fellow veterans, as the Illinois Veteran of the Month for April 2013.  The ceremony took place at the DeKalb County Veterans Assistance Commission’s offices.  IDVA leaders joined the citizens of DeKalb County in their gratitude for Mr. Lehuta’s contributions and accomplishments, presenting him with his framed a signed Governor’s proclamation, as well as a state flag which was flown over the state Capitol in his honor.

Maj. Gen. James H. Mukoyama, Jr., a Chicago native, served for over thirty years of total active and reserve component service, including two combat tours in Vietnam.  As the first Asian-American in the history of the United States to command an Army division, he was also one of the youngest general officers in modern time. Since retiring, he has championed veteran issues and answered a calling to devote his  life to ministry.  He founded the Military Outreach Greater Chicago (MOGC), a faith-based non-profit organization serving our military — Active, Guard, Reserve, Veterans — and their families, to cope with the visible and invisible wounds associated with military service. He will be honored at a ceremony at the Pritzker Military Library on Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 2 p.m.

About Veteran of the Month

The Illinois Veteran of the Month Award is presented to veterans who continue to serve their communities after leaving the military and make a real difference in the lives of others. To nominate a veteran for consideration, please visit veterans.illinois.gov.

IDVA’s Veteran Service Officers (VSO’s) are veterans themselves and are committed to serving their fellow Illinois veterans.  Each month, our VSO’s serve on average over 5,000 veterans and family members on a wide range of topics, issues and challenges.  Many of these encounters are requests for information or brief meetings to sign and file claims.  Our VSO’s are passionate about serving and are now employing CyberVet, an IDVA-developed software system which is streamlining our ability to access, organize, file and track veterans’ claims and correspondence within IDVA and with the federal VA.   Our goal?  To improve services for the nearly 800,000 veterans in Illinois, speed benefit claims, and help our veterans get the support they deserve.

Part of our continued improvement is in the regular training and certification of our VSO’s. To ensure our VSO’s our up-to-date on new federal and state programs and developments, IDVA will be providing all our VSO’s with annual training on June 4-7, 2013.  During that time our local, regional and state VSO offices will be closed, as all the VSO’s will be coming to Decatur for a training event.

During this time, veterans and family members should call (800) 437-9824 for assistance.

 

Your IDVA Calendar  

May 8       Victory in Europe Day – Thank You, WWII Veterans!

May 8       Media Workshop – “Covering the New Veterans”      9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m

                 Illinois Press Association,  900 Community Drive, Springfield 

May 10     Military Spouse Appreciation Day

May 10     Media Workshop – “Covering the New Veterans”      9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m

                 The Daily Herald, 155 E. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights

May 18     Armed Forces Day

May 24     Memorial Day Observance – Illinois Veteran Home – Quincy

May 27     Memorial Day Observance – Paul Revere Post 623 – Chicago

May 24     Memorial Day Observance – Illinois Veteran Home – Anna

                Pritzker Military Library, 104 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago IL  2 p.m.

May 30     Memorial Day Program – Illinois Veteran Home – LaSalle    2:00 p.m.

May 30     Memorial Day Program – Illinois Veteran Home – Manteno    2:00 p.m.

June 4-7   Illinois Veteran Service Officer Training – Decatur, Illinois

 VSO Offices will be closed.  Please call (800) 437-9824 for assistance.

VA Launches Hotline to Answer Questions on VA Health Care and Benefits for Women Veterans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 23, 2013

VA Launches Hotline to Answer Questions on VA Health Care and Benefits for Women Veterans

1-855-VA-WOMEN (1-855-829-6636)

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a new hotline — 1-855-VA-WOMEN — to receive and respond to questions from Veterans, their families and caregivers about the many VA services and resources available to women Veterans. The service began accepting calls on April 23, 2013.

“Some women Veterans may not know about high-quality VA care and services available to them,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “The hotline will allow us to field their questions and provide critical information about the latest enhancements in VA services.”

The hotline is staffed by knowledgeable VA employees who can provide information about benefits including health care services for women. Callers can be linked to information on claims, education or health care appointments as well as information about VA cemeteries and memorial benefits. Staff can answer urgent questions and provide referrals to homeless and mental health services as well as provide Vet Center information.

Women make up nearly 15 percent of today’s active duty military and 18 percent of National Guard and Reserve forces. The population of women Veterans using VA benefits including health care is growing rapidly. Since 2000, the number of women using VA health care more than doubled, from nearly 160,000 in 2000 to more than 354,000 in 2012. Based on the upward trend of women in all branches of service, the number of women Veterans— and female VA users—will keep climbing.

VA is committed to making improvements for the growing population of women Veterans, including the way it communicates with them. In 2010, VA established an outbound call center to contact women Veterans and encourage them to enroll in VA health care.

“In VA health care alone, women constitute only 6 percent of VA patients, but those Veterans have a high perception of the quality care they are receiving,” said Irene Trowell-Harris, director of VA’s Center for Women Veterans. “Many women who served don’t self-identify as Veterans and therefore don’t think they qualify for VA benefits. We need to correct existing misinformation and misperceptions so we can serve more women Veterans with the benefits they’ve earned.”

Women Veterans are entitled to apply for the same benefits as their male counterparts, which include health care and pharmacy benefits as well as education benefits, disability compensation, home loans, employment assistance and more.

The hotline (1-855-VA-WOMEN) joins numerous other VA hotlines that provide critical information and assistance to Veterans, such as those for Veterans in crisis and in danger of becoming homeless. Veterans can also receive information and apply for benefits online at VA’s www.eBenefits.va.gov and manage their health care at MyHealtheVet.va.gov.

Helping Homeless Veterans – One at a Time

An effective Veteran Homelessness Program requires knowledge of the Veterans Advocacy Network and a commitment to a hands-on approach.  Recently, when two opportunities were presented, members of the Paul Revere Post 623 Community were able to meet the needs of two homeless Veterans.  At our last Post Meeting Commander Byron Watson made two positive reports of how our Post contributed to the support of two homeless Veterans.

On January 27th, 2013, the Post was able to connect a homeless “The Marine Veteran” with the resources and support he needed.  Post Adjutant Paul Knudtson, while on his way to O’Hare Airport, noticed John walking the the line of cars near the intersection of Harlem and Grand Ave. After stopping and getting out of his car to talk to him, Paul discovered that the “The Marine Veteran” was living in the forest preserve nearby after recently losing his job. “The Marine Veteran” had a prepaid cell phone and Paul took his number and immediately sent an email to several post members and others in the Veterans Advocacy Network. Soon, Sons of the American Legion Squadron 623 Commander, Tom Vacala, replied with information about Interfaith House emergency shelter that would get him in a warm place to stay on a night that would turn out to filled with freezing rain.  That information was shared with Paul Bezazian, Director of the VFW State of Illinois Homeless Veterans Program.  Paul was out in his mobile homeless Veterans truck delivering over 1000 meals, as he does every Sunday, when he contacted “The Marine Veteran” on his cell phone. Paul was able to connect him with temporary housing for a week and provided him with two coats, pants, shirts, sweats, long johns, underwear, socks and some food, snacks, and drinks.  A few days later “The Marine Veteran” was able to move in with a friend and was connected with the state service officer to provide him with additional support and resources.

A month later, on February 28th, 2013, a second opportunity to serve a homeless veteran was presented.  After meeting with SAL Squadron 623 member, Cris DePhilips, earlier in the day discussing the prospects for establishing a viable homeless Veterans program, Paul Knudtson was again contacted;  this time by Cris who was looking for assistance in placing a homeless Veterans who was threatening suicide.  Earlier that day, “The Veteran” came to National Able Network offices upset because he found out that he had to vacate the place where he had been staying.  Clearly distraught, as he was explaining his situation to his case manager, he mentioned suicide: A HUGE RED FLAG.  His case manager immediately began looking for a place for this Veteran to stay and stabilize, and frustrated by her contacts, the case manager reached out to Cris for help, which is when he reached out to Paul Revere Post 623.  Once again, our comrade Paul Bezazian came through with the connection to Featherfist.  Unable to get placed right away, but Cris was able to find a place for “The Veteran” to stay for the weekend, yet he continued to follow up on the lead at Featherfist that Paul had given.  On March 5th, 2013, we received word that “The Veteran” was actually placed in one of Featherfist’s forts!  This was GREAT news because “The Veteran” is now off the street with a roof over his head, and he is now able to focus on getting squared away, both mentally and financially.

Solving the problem of Veteran homelessness requires passion, persistence and a commitment to extend a hand to our brothers and sisters-in-arms who need our support.  You can make a difference.  To find out come out to our next Post Meeting and tell us you want to get involved.

American Legion Paul Revere Post 623 Community Update

Brothers and Sisters,

As we move into the full swing of things in 2013, here are just a few of the exciting opportunities happening at the post:
1. Homeless Veterans Project.  Paul Revere is proud to have joined forces with VFW Post 8322 in an effort to bring together government, corporate, and civic leaders to comprehensively address the endemic issue of homelessness among our Veterans in the Chicagoland area.  Working in collaboration with the Northwestern University Veterans Association, this effort looks to become a cornerstone of our Post’s legacy.  For more information on how you can get involved send an email to veterans@northwestern.edu with the subject: Homeless Veterans.
2. American Legion Baseball.  First: Post Adjutant, Paul Knudtson has been appointed as the 1st Division Cook County American Legion Baseball Chairman.  Please congratulate and support him as he works to put American Legion Baseball back on the map in Chicago!  Second: We are very proud to announce our Post is Now Sponsoring Two Legion Baseball Teams.  In addition to our relationship with Lane Tech High School, we are proud to now be sponsoring the Legion Patriots, formerly of Elmwood Park.  The team features young men from Elmwood Park H.S., St. Patrick’s H.S. and a few others. A TEAM FUNDRAISER is happening tonight 5pm-8pm dinner and 8pm-11pm dance and drinks at the Forest Park Legion Hall, 500 Circle Ave, Forest Park, IL 60130.  Click the link for more info.
3. Renew Your Membership Dues Online.  If you have not paid your dues for the 2013 membership year (July 2012 – June 2013), you can RENEW ONLINE.  All you need is your membership number found on your membership card.  If you can’t find it, just reply to this email and we’ll send you your number so you can get your dues paid.  Dues are only $25 (lowest in the State of Illinois!) and the benefits of membership are worth so much more than that!
4. Memorial Day.  A committee is being formed to plan, prepare and execute our annual Memorial Day Observance.  Anyone interested in ensuring the successful continuation of this long running program can reply to this email and we’ll get you set up for success.  first and foremost we need a Committee Chairman.  Volunteers are key to success!
All the best in 2013!
Post 623 Leadership
Aside

By Robert Satloff

New Republic

October 19, 2012

To view this article on our website, go to: 
http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/a-middle-east-cheat-sheet-for-mondays-foreign-policy-debate1

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Of the six segments in Monday night’s presidential debate on foreign policy, two will be focused on the Middle East. Here are a dozen Middle East-related questions I hope CBS newsman Bob Schieffer considers posing — four to President Obama, four to Governor Romney and four for both candidates. 

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TO PRESIDENT OBAMA:

On Syria: In August 2011, you called on Bashar al-Assad to step aside but fourteen months later, you still have not authorized direct military support to the people trying to oust him, with administration officials citing uncertainty about who in the Syrian opposition should receive U.S. weaponry. If the United States wasn’t going to do anything to help Assad’s opponents, did we have the right to urge them to rise up against Assad in the first place? And with the billions of dollars we spend on intelligence, why has it taken more than fourteen months to differentiate between good guys and bad guys in the Syrian opposition?

On Egypt: You have said that Egypt — which recently elected Mohammed Morsi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, as president — is neither ally nor enemy. If Egypt is not an ally, why has your administration proposed hundreds of millions of dollars of direct aid to Egypt and supported billions of dollars of additional international loans to Egypt? What sort of conditions should be attached to this massive level of assistance?

On Middle East peace: On your second day in office, you promised a major push to advance the Middle East peace process. Yet over the past four years, Arabs and Israelis met for just two weeks of formal negotiation, less than under any president since Lyndon Johnson, and there has been zero progress toward a final peace agreement. Who is responsible for this failure? Did we misjudge what was possible? Was it a mistake to call for a freeze on Israeli settlements? Do you think peace is still possible, and what would you do differently in a second term to achieve it? 

On Iran: Israel and the United States appear to have different triggers for military action to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program. In his UN address, Israel’s prime minister said that accumulation by Iran of enough enriched uranium to fuel a nuclear weapon is the appropriate “red line.” In contrast, Vice President Biden, in his debate with Congressman Ryan, offered a different view. He said “weaponization,” not enrichment, was the key and he said U.S. intelligence would be certain to identify Iran’s bomb-making progress long before they achieved their objective. Who is right — the Prime Minister of Israel or Vice President Biden?

TO GOVERNOR ROMNEY:

On Syria: You have said that U.S. strategic interests are at stake in Syria, not just humanitarian concerns. If that is true, why don’t you support the call by Senators McCain, Graham and Lieberman to establish “no fly zones” to support the military opposition to Bashar al-Assad? And if you don’t endorse “no fly zones,” what specifically do you propose that the United States do to hasten the demise of the Assad regime? Would you agree to provide arms directly to the opposition, not through cut-outs or third parties?

On Egypt: Some experts believe that without speedy U.S. and international financial support, there is a chance that Egypt may become a failed state of 80-plus million people, astride the Suez Canal and across the Sinai from Israel. Do you support the efforts of some Republicans in Congress to place holds on U.S. economic support to Egypt and thereby risk this potentially dangerous outcome?

On Middle East peace: When you look around the Middle East and the broader Muslim world, how important to U.S. interests is the pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian peace? Where do you rank it among U.S. priorities? Should the U.S. act to help preserve the Palestinian Authority? Is a two-state outcome still possible? If not, what is the alternative?

On Iran: Given Iran’s decades-long commitment to develop a nuclear weapon, some experts believe that it will require “regime change” to ensure that the ayatollahs never succeed in this effort. Do you agree? If yes, how would you achieve it? If not, what specific steps are you prepared to take that President Obama has not already done to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapons capability?

TO BOTH CANDIDATES:

On the war on terror: In light of the Benghazi attack, how would you characterize the level of threat posed to U.S. interests by Sunni jihadist extremism, especially al-Qaeda and its affiliate groups? Are we still fighting a “war on terror”? What additional steps would you recommend that would help us finally to prevail in this conflict? Is “victory” achievable?

On the next war in the Middle East: After fighting a series of wars in the Middle East over the last two decades, what should the United States be willing to send our armed forces to fight for in this region today?

On the implications of energy self-sufficiency: Both candidates have called for U.S. energy self-sufficiency in the not-too-distant future. Once we achieve that objective, should the United States continue to invest billions of dollars — and potentially thousands of American lives — in protecting Saudi Arabia and the other oil exporters of the Persian Gulf? Should the United States really be the principal line of defense for China’s main source of energy?

On stopping Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon: U.S. defense officials have stated that the most Israel could do militarily is to delay Iran’s march toward a nuclear weapon and, in the process, Israeli action could trigger a catastrophic regional conflict. Do you agree? And in you view, which is more damaging to U.S. interests — Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon or the repercussions of a possible Israeli preventive action to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?

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Robert Satloff is the executive director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

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The Washington Institute for Near East Policy 
1828 L Street NW, Suite 1050
Washington, DC 20036
PHONE             202-452-0650      
FAX 202-223-5364
www.washingtoninstitute.org
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.