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This new page will feature monthly reports from the Lars and the GRC Committee.

  • 8 Dec 2021 7:04 PM | Nancy Menagh (Administrator)

    For the first time ever, a GSW member has been selected to be one of the Grand Marshalls of the Wreaths Across America caravan from Maine to Washington, DC.  The caravan has 57 vehicles this year participating in what is known as the longest Veterans Parade in the Nation.   The honor has gone to President Emeritus, Nancy Menagh, who will be accompanied by our GSW Wreaths Across America liaison, Deborah Skeldon.  

    The caravan will be stopping at communities all along the way distributing wreaths and telling the story of Wreaths Across America. Nancy and Deb will have the opportunity to share the story of GSW as they speak with community volunteers and reporters at the many stops along the way.

    On December 18, they will arrive at Arlington Cemetery to place wreaths, just like so many of our GSW members will be doing at their local National Cemeteries that day.

    REMEMBER  HONOR TEACH

     

  • 8 Dec 2021 6:59 PM | Nancy Menagh (Administrator)

    Your GSW Government Relations Committee met November 16th.  If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to contact your GRC Region Liaison.  Not sure who it is?  Check the tab on the website that lists the GRC Committee, and underneath there is a tab that reads “Legislation”.

    Lars Report:   While the current emphasis has been on the Infrastructure Bill, the Toxic Exposure Omnibus Bills in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives are still being discussed.  The “CBO” Congressional Budget Office score (cost) for The Cost of War and the Honoring our Pact Act of 2021 are over $400 Billion. 

    We are still waiting for a comprehensive Remarriage Bill to drop.  While there are a couple of bills out there right now, they are not inclusive of everyone.   Once there is a bill we can support, we will let you know.

    Of course, our main objective is the passage of the Caring for Survivors Act of 2021  - S. 976 and HR. 3402, which will give us a long overdue increase in the DIC.  We submitted written testimony at the House Legislative Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs hearing on October 20th.  The good news is that there is a lot of support for this bill.  MOAA -Military Officer Association of America has announced that the Caring For Survivors Act of 2021 is their main goal this year.  As we know, DAV is also very supportive of the bills.  The estimated score/cost for this bill is $14 Billion.  

    GRC Report: The GRC created a packet of letters asking for support which you may mail or email, the Fact Sheet for the bill, and a suggested message you may use by telephone.  Your Region Liaison and Region President will work to get this out to you, plus we have sent out information in a recent eblast.   Contacting YOUR Senator and Representative and letting them know you are a constituent is so important.  Please tell them about your spouse, and why this increase is so important to you.

    Please reach out to your Region Liaison/representative with questions you may have; and let them know if you have met with your Senator or Representative.

    Veterans Day:  Donna gave a report of the events in DC.  We had GSW members at the Amphitheatre at Arlington Cemetery, where National President, Tamra Sipes, and Capital View Chapter President, Raina Taylor, placed the wreath.  Board Chair, Crystal Wenum, placed the wreath at the Korean Memorial, and  at the Wall, all the GSW members placed the wreath together.  This was followed by a wreath laying at WIMSA--Women in Military Service of America Memorial at Arlington, by Tamra and Deb Skeldon.  It was a very full and long day for everyone.  As you know, Veterans Day was the 100th Anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  What an honor to be part of this Centennial.  

    Judy Woodall gave us a report of Veterans Day in Birmingham, AL.  Although our Vice President was unable to attend due to COVID concerns, we had a three GSW members plus guests in attendance this year.  Next year will be the 75th Anniversary for Veterans Day.  The first celebration using the term “Veterans Day” occurred in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1947. Raymond Weeks, a World War II Veteran, organized "National Veterans Day," which included a parade and other festivities, to honor all Veterans.  Each year, we join members of the Weeks family at a special remembrance of Raymond Weeks. Please consider coming to Birmingham next year for the 75th Anniversary. 

    If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.  We do not have a scheduled GRC meeting in December so that our members may spend more time with family and friends as we enjoy the holiday season.  May everyone enjoy a wonderful Holiday Season.


  • 8 Dec 2021 5:37 PM | Nancy Menagh (Administrator)

    Your GSW Government Relations Committee met October 19th.  If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to contact your GRC Region Liaison.  Not sure who it is?  Check the tab on the website that lists the GRC Committee, underneath the tab that reads “Legislation”.

    Lars Report:   Things are starting to happen on the Hill, and there is much going on.  The Toxic Exposure Omnibus Bills in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives combine the many bills regarding toxic exposure into one.  As you know GSW has been working with the Toxic Exposure in the American Military (TEAM) Coalition of over 30 organizations to get passage of this important legislation.  The Omnibus Bills are now awaiting the Congressional Budget Office “score” which is the cost of the bills. Once the scores are developed, the legislation will then be up for further discussions among lawmakers. There is still great interest in getting these bills passed this session of Congress.

    Of course, our main objective is the passage of the Caring for Survivors Act of 2021  - S. 976 and HR. 3402, which will give us a long overdue increase in the DIC.  The bill will be discussed at the House Legislative Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs hearing on October 20th. We were able to submit written testimony; and appreciate the input we received from members telling “what an increase will mean to you”.  Telling your personal story is an important part of getting this bill passed.  Of course, we still need your help to reach out to your Senators and Representatives to gain more co-sponsors.   Please meet with YOUR Senator and Representative and tell YOUR story.  

    We have sample letters and a GSW fact sheet in the legislative area.  The link to your Senators and Representatives is handy for you on the front page of our website.

    There are a number of other bills which are being discussed at this House subcommittee on October 20, including two different bills that would allow “some” surviving spouses who have remarried to retain part or all of their benefits.  Neither bill is inclusive of all surviving spouses, but we expect a more comprehensive bill to come soon.

    GRC Report:  We discussed how each of the Region GRC Liaison/representatives can better work with their Region President to get the information out to both Chapter members and Members at Large.  Please reach out to your Liaison/representative with questions you may have; and let them know if you have met with your Senator or Representative.

    Veterans Day:  If you will be in the DC area on Veterans Day, please let Donna donnaleldridge@gmail.com know ASAP.  There are a number of events for which we have tickets for GSW members.   The Veterans Day Event sponsor this year is the Jewish War Veterans of the USA.

    Veterans Day Events as we know as of October 19 (subject to change):

    November 7th WIMSA is sponsoring an afternoon tea where you will learn the history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  This tea will include a private tour of the Tomb.  The cost for this tea is $125 and you will need to go to the https://womensmemorial.org/ site to register.

    November 9th -10th, the general public is invited to place a flower at the Tomb of the Unknown to celebrate the Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown.  You MUST have a government ID, and you MUST pre-register at www.arlingtoncemetery.mil 

    November 11th  

    10:00 AM WWII Memorial Wreath Laying Ceremony.

    11:00 AM Ceremony at Amphitheater and laying of wreath at the Tomb.  40 different VSO’s will place a wreath.  We will be represented by the GSW President, Tamra Sipes.   We have a limited number of tickets.

    1:00 PM Ceremony at The Wall.  GSW members will be at the Wall to place our wreath. 

    3:00 PM Wreath laying at the Korean Memorial.  We will be represented by the GSW Board Chair, Crystal Wenum. 

    3:00 PM Wreath laying at the Women in Military Service of America (WIMSA) Memorial.  

    If you have questions or comments, please let us know.


  • 14 Oct 2021 3:07 PM | Nancy Menagh (Administrator)

    Your GSW Government Relations Committee met September 21st.  If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to contact your GRC Region Liaison.  Not sure who it is?  Check the tab on the website that lists the GRC Committee, underneath the tab that reads “Legislation”.

    At Convention we voted to accept our GRC goals, which can be found on the tab that reads “Legislation”.  Of course, our biggest goal is the increase in DIC.  You will be able to find the fact sheet and sample letters on the website by clicking on the tab that reads “Fact Sheets and White Pages”.

    On the front page of our website, you may click on how to contact your Senators and Representatives to find out where to send your letter or email.  You will want to use the template and add a little about you and your story.  Make it personal!  

    Your DC Advocate, Lars Anderson, is continuing to work with Senator Testor’s staff regarding Bill S. 976 the Caring for Survivors Act of 2021 and with Representative Hayes regarding the companion Bill HR .   3402.  While the offices are still closed to the public, Lars continues to reach out by phone and email to staffers to encourage more co-sponsors.

    Currently in the Senate the co-sponsors are Senators Boozman, AR, Collins, ME, Coons, DE, Bloomenthal, CT, Peters, MI, and Bennet, CO. Currently in the House, the co-sponsors are Representatives Frankel, FL, Grijalva, AZ, Carson, IN, Norton, DC, Maloney, NY, Cohen, TN, Lowenthal, CA, Lawson, FL, Newman, IL, and Jackson Lee, TX.

    If you don’t see your Senator or Representative on this list, please take the time to reach out today.

    As you may know, GSW, is a long standing member of (TMC) The Military Coalition.  Donna Eldridge  has recently been elected to serve as Co-Chair of the Membership Committee, which is an honor for GSW to be recognized as part of the leadership of TMC.   

    Lars reports:   While things are still slow to return to normal on the Hill, there is still much going on.  Currently, the big push is for the Infrastructure Bill, and there is now a Toxic Exposure Omnibus Bills in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.  These Omnibus Bills combine the many bills regarding toxic exposure into one.  These bills need to pass the House and Senate; then they will work out compromises for the bills which may differ in the House and Senate versions.  GSW has been working with the Toxic Exposure in the American Military (TEAM) Coalition of over 30 organizations to get passage of this important legislation. 

    Of course, our main objective is the passage of the Caring for Survivors Act of 2021, which will give us a long overdue increase in the DIC.  We need your help to reach out to your Senators and Representatives to gain more co-sponsors.  Currently this is a bi-partisan bill in the Senate, but in the House, it has only been Democrats who have signed on.  One of our members, Sharri Briley, met with Senator Boozman’s staff and provided her personal story and testimony, which was used in the introduction of the bill.  Please meet with YOUR Senator and Representative and tell YOUR story.  

    We are also looking at bills aimed at allowing surviving spouses who have remarried to retain part or all of their benefits.  More to come on that!

    If you have questions or comments, please let us know.


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