Tuesday, July 30, 2013

House Minority Leader Pelosi Calls for Bipartisanship in Meeting Challenge of Sequester

In East Hampton, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
praises Bishop's stand against cuts in Federal programs
for Veterans. At the home of Liz Robbins. Photo by JTMarlin.
On Sunday at a brunch in East Hampton, the House shadow speaker (and former Speaker in prior Congresses) Nancy Pelosi praised Rep. Tim Bishop for his work on behalf of Veterans and their families. Bishop is a member of the Congressional caucus on veterans.

She noted that the Sequester was forcing cuts on the Defense budget and this was squeezing programs for Veterans.

She called for a new Bipartisan initiative to tackle the budget issues forced on the Congress by the Sequester, which requires that domestic and military programs share equally in the mandatory deficit-reducing cuts. She noted that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have created one million new Veterans.

L to R: Sarah Anker, Suffolk County legislator; Diego
Ferrer, Veterans for Bishop; John Tepper Marlin. 
Attending the brunch for Bishop was Diego Ferrer of Veterans for Bishop, who spoke on behalf of his members in appreciation for Bishop's constituent services for Veterans.

Diego has about 200 Veterans in his database and is organizing them by tour of duty and location of service. We promised to stay in touch this summer.

Monday, July 22, 2013

VETS 5 | Soldier Ride The Hamptons

Left: Tony Ganga, "Boss", Past Commander of the Sons of
the American Legion, Post #419, East Hampton, NY. Right:
The Wounded Warrior Project's Ride and Walk event was on Saturday, July 20, 2014. It started at Ocean View Farm, 551 Montauk Highway, Amagansett, NY 11930, which is also the address of the ride and the Amagansett walk. There was also a walk in Sag Harbor.

The Hamptons ride and walk is dedicated to Marine Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter, killed in action April 22, 2008 in Ramadi, Iraq at 19. He and 21-year-old Corporal Jonathan T. Yale are credited with saving the lives of more than 33 Marines and Iraqi police and were posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for Extraordinary Heroism, the second-highest military award. Jordan Haerter was born July 30, 1988 in Southampton, New York to JoAnn Lyles and Christian Haerter. He became a U.S Marine on December 1, 2006 and became a member of the 1st Battalion, 9thMarines, known proudly as the “Walking Dead.”
Left: JT Marlin. Right: Nick Kraus, who organized the "Rock
the Farm" event.

The schedule of events on July 20 was  as follows:
7 am - Registration ($50 cyclists, 30-60 miles, $25 young cyclists or walkers or BBQ only). Sign up at www.soldierride.org/TheHamptons.
8:30 am - Kickoff celebration followed at 9 am by the departure of the cyclists. The walkers leave after the cyclists.
12-4 pm - As cyclists and walkers return, community BBQ and picnic at Ocean View Farm.
6 pm - Rock the Farm - separate event (tickets at www.rockthehamptons.org).The Soldiers Ride Hamptons of the Wounded Warriors Project continued its successful fund-raising program based on 30-mile and 60-mile bicycle rides, two walking options, and a picnic following the ride.

Luckily, the weather was perfect. Rain would have made the parking lot muddy.

In all, I was told that the total number of riders and walkers showing up at the Ocean View Farm in Amagansett between the car wash and Vicki's on Montauk Highway was 1,050. If they each paid $25, that would be about $25,000.

I wondered how such a huge undertaking could be run by volunteers so I went backstage. Tony Ganga (with "Boss" printed on the back of his shirt, just in case there was any question) was a key player in keeping the volunteers working effectively. He was in charge of the set up from 7 to 11 am, the breakfast-picnic until 4 pm, and then the breakdown of the tents and tables and chairs until 5 pm. He had 11 volunteers signed up to work with him and his two lieutenants in the morning. His two deputies were Jill Helm, Past President of the Ladies Auxiliary of Post #419, and Clint Bennett, past member. In the afternoon they had nine volunteers.. Special committees were formed for registration, parking and music.
Start of ride in Amagansett. The long ride was east to Montauk.
The short ride was to East Hampton and Sag Harbor.

Many of the same people continued to volunteer for the evening "Rock the Farm" event. Tony was again on the set up and maintenance. The registration and parking committees had the same leadership but the number of volunteer was larger, since the entry fee was $130. With 600 tickets sold, that means about $78,000. A good event for a good cause.

The sixth annual ride, on July 20, offered bicyclists the option of riding to East Hampton and Sag Harbor and back, 30 miles, or of riding to the Montauk Lighthouse and back, 60 miles.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Soldier Ride (Superseded)

Superseded by

This post is kept up to preserve links

VETS 4 | Suffolk County Offers Weekly Service to Vets

This is Mark and he is dressed up as an American
 militiaman, circa 1754-1763, during the French
 and Indian War. This reenactment was June 30,
2013, at the Sulgrave Manor in England.
Photo by JT Marlin.
As we Americans celebrate Independence Day, it is worth reflecting on what made Independence possible, namely the voluntary services of American militiamen in the French and Indian War, which drove out the French and their Indian allies from the colonies and made it possible for the colonies to declare their independence from Britain.

In England last week I stumbled upon a reenactment of the French and Indian War at the Sulgrave Manor, near Bambury, in Northamptonshire, which is generous of these Brits. After all, it was the costly debts incurred during the French and Indian War that drove George III foolishly to seek to pay them off by taxing on the colonies.

We should remember our debt to these militiamen (and to the British soldiers who fought next to us for a time). But these soldiers are long gone. We can do something more practical to remember our debt to more recent veterans.

The recent Gulf Wars have killed fewer Americans but have generated more injuries among the survivors, including mental trauma.

Suffolk County, New York, has a very practical way of showing respect to veterans. It supports a one-day-a-week counselor for Vets in each community.The county assigns a trained Veterans Service Officer who shows up at a local town hall office from 10 am to 4 pm to answer questions.

The town must provide the space and must also pay $8,000 a year towards the cost of the VSO. Southampton Town has approved the expenditure. The VSO will provide the following services:

  • Facilitate access to counseling and other services to which the Veteran is entitled.
  • Advise the families of Veterans of the services available to them - the spouses of Veterans, their dependents, and their survivors.
  • Determine qualification for benefits.
  • Help prepare applications for benefits.
  • Track applications.
  • Answer any other questions about Veteran educational, loan and other programs.
These VSO services could be leveraged by local Veterans organizations to provide assistance to Veterans who are too disabled to visit the VSO's office. Two Post Commanders - Martin Knab of Post 388 in Sag Harbor and Rich Steiber of Post 924 in Hampton Bays - welcomed the program. 

Thanks to Emily Toy of the Independent for her story on this subject.