DA Germany VMF


DA Germany Veterans and Military Families Caucus

"Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it." — Unknown

Democrats Abroad Germany (DAG) honors the men and women of our armed forces, and is committed to representing their best interests in the democratic process. Government policy must reflect the interests of those who serve or have served honorably, those who support them overseas and their families. In order to support these efforts, DAG established the Veterans and Military Families Caucus (VMFC) in 2018 at the AGM in Hamburg. This caucus works with the leadership of Democrats Abroad Germany and the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) to achieve mutual goals, and to assure caucus members that the Democratic Party is fully supportive of their needs while serving (and after service) on behalf of their country.

 

Join the DAG VMF caucus—https://www.democratsabroad.org/vmf_signup

Looking for 25 new members!  All DAG members are eligible to join.

Send us an email after you join! [email protected]

Ask a friend to join today. Help us reach our goal!


Read Beyond the Beaten Path

 

Read Beyond the Beaten Path is the theme for the DoD-MWR Libraries 2022 summer reading program.  https://www.ila.org/dodsummerreading

 

To register for summer reading, go here https://www.beanstack.com/dod and search for the link to your installation library.

 


Blue Star Museum offer!

Going back to the U.S. this summer? Take advantage of the Blue Star Museum offer! The Arts are for everyone! https://youtu.be/bOgsiofqdsw

Blue Star Museums will again offer free admission to our nation’s active duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, all summer from May 21 through Labor Day, September 5.

Participating museums: https://www.arts.gov/blue-star-museum-map


Seventh Annual National Caregivers Convening

Convening Graphic

On Wednesday, May 18th, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. EST, VA, in collaboration with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation (EDF), will host the Seventh Annual National Caregiver Convening. This partnership with EDF reflects VA’s beliefs that caregivers are essential to Veterans’ care and that caregivers have earned our nation’s gratitude and support. 

We are proud to join EDF at this year’s event as we continue to put caregivers front and center by giving them the recognition and attention they so rightfully deserve.

This year’s convening, titled Bold Steps for the Future: Action, Policy, & Priorities, will lay out steps for the future of caregiving, address policy, and establish priorities through which we can create a better environment for caregivers and Veterans alike. The Convening will feature speakers from EDF, VA, other experts, caregivers, and keynote remarks.

Remarks will be given by Senator Elizabeth Dole and Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Donald Remy. Learn more: 7th Annual National Caregiver Convening

Agenda

Opening Remarks

  • Steve Schwab, CEO, Elizabeth Dole Foundation
  • Kim Mingo, VP Government Sales and Business Strategy, Philips

State of the Caregiver ConversationSteve Schwab, CEO, The Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Moderator

  • The Honorable Donald M. Remy, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Meg Kabat, Senior Advisor for Families, Caregivers, and Survivors, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

A Message from General Mike Linnington, CEO, Wounded Warrior Project

Understanding the Experiences and Challenges of America’s Military and Veteran Caregiver Survivors

  • Melissa Comeau, Director of the American Red Cross Military and Veteran Caregiver Network (MVCN) Red Cross

Panel: Support in the Journey from Caregiver to Survivor – A Roadmap for the Future

  • Bonnie Caroll, President and Founder, TAPS
  • Ann Duff, Director, Office of Survivor Assistance, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Chad Maxey, Chaplain Program Manager for Family Care and Bereavement, Office of Chaplain Services, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Laura Taylor, National Program Manager for Advance Care Planning via Group Visits, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Qwynn Galloway-Salazar, Founder, In Their Honor, LLC

I Am a Caregiver

  • Dole Caregiver Fellows

Special Address by Senator Elizabeth Dole

A Message from Dr. Kevin Vigilante, Chief Medical Officer, Booz Allen Hamilton

Panel: Prioritizing Healthy Caregivers: A Vital Component of Aging in Place

  • Dr. Colleen Richardson, Executive Director, Caregiver Support Program, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Daniel Schoeps, Director, Purchased Long-Term Care Policy Group in the Office of Geriatrics & Extended Care, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Prince Taylor, Deputy Director, Center for Development and Civic Engagement, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Bob Stephen, Vice President, Caregiving and Health Programs, AARP
  • Angelena Taylor, 2021 Michigan Dole Caregiver Fellow
  • Leah Christensen, National Program Manager, Caregiver Support Program, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

A Message from Jo Ann Jenkins, AARP

Campaign for Inclusive Care Presentation and Champion Awards Announcement


Visit www.caregiver.va.gov or connect with the Caregiver Support Program team at
your local VA facility to learn about the support that is available to you.


Watchdog Alert Handbook

Protect the benefits you've earned. Learn how to spot, avoid, and report evolving scams with the Watchdog Alert Handbook: Veterans Edition: https://www.aarp.org/.../watchdog-alert-fraud-handbook...


Veterans Benefits Updates

Click the following link to go to the webpage on VMF Health: hereTo find out if you are eligible for VA health care as a veteran, click here.

Here are two links to VAntage Point, an official website of the U.S. Department of Veterans AffairsHere and hereAnd you can click here for 5 ways to access VA care virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic @ VAntage Point. There is also a mobile app that offers Veterans convenient access to VA health and benefits; to access it, click here.

Changes to Earned Income Tax Credit

This year’s tax law changes in qualifications for the Earned Income Tax Credit could lessen your tax burden or increase your refund, especially if you are a service member with children thanks to two major child tax credits. To access information, click here.

Transitioning and Jobs

Click the following link for the webpage on Transitioning and Veterans Jobshere.

Help Us Spread the Word

Encourage Veterans and their families residing abroad to join our Caucus and get news tailored for them! They can subscribe here.

Veterans residing abroad can also  subscribe to the US Department of Veterans Affairs newsletter, “Veterans Abroad” to receive bulletins and information specific to Veterans residing abroad. You can subscribe here.

Veterans Crisis Line (VCL)

Toll-free confidential support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year through the Military Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 and Press 1), and online chat and text (838255). Veterans, Service members or their loved ones can reach VCL from Europe (00800 1273 8255 or DSN 118 (toll-free service may not be available through all carriers or in all countries) and Korea (0808 555 118 or DSN 118).

Update: Overseas Military Service Coordinators

Due to COVID, Overseas Military Service Coordinators (OMSCs) will be extending virtual support operations to overseas Veterans, Service members, and their dependents through October 1, 2022. OMSCs will be responding to emails and arranging phone calls for those seeking assistance with all VA benefits. Simply send your contact information to the email address listed for your location to set up a virtual meeting with an OMSC:

For veterans residing in European countries, email: [email protected]

For veterans residing in Asian countries, email: [email protected]

Free Things For Veterans—all year round! For the 31 Best Free Products and Services for Veterans, click here. For info on free checked bags for flights, listen to this: Many of the major airlines are taking care of our veterans by offering free checked bags, even up to 100 pounds, or for personal travel. Delta Airlines, for example, allows vets to check up to five bags, up to 100 pounds each, on military travel. To get a breakdown of what each airline provides, you can read more here

Military Spouse Scholarship: To access information on the National Military Family Association’s scholarship program, along with FAQS + eligibility details, click here.

The Journey of the Military ChildThe MCEC (Military Child Education Coalition) will continue to serve military-connected students with their 24th annual signature event. They will welcome in-person attendees to Washington, DC for a refreshed, reinvigorated, and revitalized professional learning event, the 2022 MCEC Global Summit. It will focus on supporting and nurturing all areas of development and learning while incorporating a broader view of the skills and knowledge military-connected children need for long-term success. The Global Summit will be July 18-20 at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Washington, DC. For information, click here.

The Posse Veterans Program: The Posse Veterans Program identifies, trains, and supports groups of ten veterans (in a cohort or “posse”) who will pursue their bachelor's degrees together. Learn how the Posse Program identifies post-9/11 Veterans for its program, how Posse’s partner colleges select Veterans for the program and guarantee that tuition is covered for all four years, and how Posse’s 200+ Corporate partners support Posse alumni. Nominations will remain open through September 15, 2022 for the 2023 Scholarship Cohort. For more information go here or here. 

 

                                SERVICE CONNECTED DISABILITIES

On April 26, VA announced the addition of nine rare respiratory cancers <https://blogs.va.gov/VAntage/?s=cancer >  to the list of presumed service-connected disabilities due to exposure to fine particulate matter for Veterans who served any amount of time in
*       Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria or Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War, from September 19, 2001, to the present, or
*       The Southwest Asia theater of operations from August 2, 1990, to the present.

VA is taking a new approach to making decisions on presumptives, one that takes all available science into account, with one goal in mind - getting today's Veterans, and Vets in the decades ahead - the benefits they deserve, as fast as possible.
VA identified, through a focused review of scientific and medical evidence, a biological plausibility between airborne hazards, specifically particulate matter, and carcinogensis of the respiratory tract; the unique circumstances of these rare cancers warrant a presumption of service connection.


Veterans and survivors who had claims previously denied for any of the below respiratory cancers are encouraged to file a supplemental claim.<https://www.va.gov/decision-reviews/supplemental-claim/ >  for benefits;
*       Squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx;
*       Squamous cell carcinoma of the trachea;
*       Adenocarcinoma of the trachea;
*       Salivary gland-type tumors of the trachea;
*       Adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung;
*       Large cell carcinoma of the lung;
*       Salivary gland-type tumors of the lung;
*       Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung and;
*       Typical and atypical carcinoid of the lung.
VA will contact impacted Veterans and survivors to inform them about their eligibility and it will provide information on how to apply.
To apply for benefits, Veterans and survivors may visit  
https://www.va.gov//


DAG VMF May Events

MAY is National Military Appreciation Month and Month of the Military Caregiver

May 1 Loyalty DaySilver Star Service Banner Day 

May 3 “Giving Tuesday” To donate to a veteran or military charity, you can click here.

May 5  National Day of Prayer

May 6  Military Spouse Appreciation Day

May 7 VMF Meeting (All DA Members are welcome.)

 

May 8  Victory in Europe Day (VE Day)

May 8  Mother’s Day

May 13  Children of Fallen Patriots Day 

May 15  Peace Officers Memorial Day

May 21  Armed Forces Day 

May 22  National Maritime Day 

May 28 Luxembourg American Cemetery Memorial Day Commemoration       

(Please join us for the wreath laying ceremony.)

May 30  Memorial Day

 
The Germany VMF Caucus and DA Luxembourg will again lay wreaths at the Luxembourg American Cemetery on May 28th at the Memorial Day Commemoration Event. We hope you will join us! 
Please contact us for details:  [email protected]
Please join our caucus to show your support of the U.S. military!  https://www.democratsabroad.org/vmf_signup

Last year the DA Germany Veterans and Military Families (VMF Caucus) and DA Luxembourg honored SSgt. George Peddle, from the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, aka Ghost Army, buried at the Luxembourg American Cemetery. At that time efforts were underway to convince Congress to award a Congressional Gold Medal to SSgt. Peddle and the other soldiers of The Ghost Army. We are happy to announce that the bill finally passed in the Senate and President Biden signed S.1404 the Ghost Army Congressional Gold Medal Act into law on February 1, 2022.

Sonnet for Memorial Day

by Nancy Harb Almendras
(DA Germany)

“Sweet and fitting to die for one’s country,”
Says Horace, ironically echoed 
By Owen, who so much did disagree.
Even Ernest Hemingway plainly showed
Futility of war and its great toll
Gathered in Flanders Fields where many lay.
Remarque’s teacher his students did cajole
To take up duty, arms, instead of play.
 
Dulce et decorum est, pro patria 
Mori; as if we’ve learned nothing yet
Denizens repeat the old, old story…
As widows cry we express regret
As once again on Memorial Day
We come around to barbecue and pray.


Memorial Day Wreath Laying

The Germany VMF Caucus and DA Luxembourg will again lay wreaths at the Luxembourg American Cemetery on May 28th at the Memorial Day Commemoration Event. We hope you will join us! 
Please contact us for details:  [email protected]
Please join our caucus to show your support of the U.S. military!  https://www.democratsabroad.org/vmf_signup
Last year the DA Germany Veterans and Military Families (VMF Caucus) and DA Luxembourg honored SSgt. George Peddle, from the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, aka Ghost Army, buried at the Luxembourg American Cemetery. At that time efforts were underway to convince Congress to award a Congressional Gold Medal to SSgt. Peddle and the other soldiers of The Ghost Army. We are happy to announce that the bill finally passed in the Senate and President Biden signed S.1404 the Ghost Army Congressional Gold Medal Act into law on February 1, 2022.

DAG VMF Summer Election Calendar

Request your absentee ballot at https://www.votefromabroad.org/ 
Don’t delay!

Upcoming elections for federal office 

May 2022:

May 3: Primary Elections - Ohio and Indiana

May 10: Primary Elections - West Virginia and Nebraska

May 17: Primary Elections - Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, and Pennsylvania

May 24: Primary Elections - Alabama, Arkansas, and Georgia

May 24: Special Primary Election - Minnesota CD 1

May 24: Runoff Primary Election (if necessary) - Texas

June 2022 – 30 Day Notice:

June 7: Primary Elections- California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota

June 7: Special Primary Election- California US Senate

June 7: Special General Election- California CD 22

June 11: Alaska Special Primary Election- Congress At-Large

June 14: Primary Elections- Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, and South Dakota

June 14: Special General Election – Texas CD 34

June 21: Runoff Primary Elections: Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia

June 21: Primary Elections- District of Columbia and Virginia

June 28: Primary Elections- Colorado, Illinois, New York, Oklahoma and Utah

June 28: Runoff Primary Elections- Mississippi and South Carolina (if necessary)

July 2022 – 60 Day Notice:

July 19: Primary Election- Maryland*

July 26: Runoff Primary Election- North Carolina

* The Maryland Primary Election was rescheduled from June 28 to July 19.

August 2022 – 90 Day Notice:

August 2: Primary Elections- Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington

August 4: Primary Election- Tennessee

August 6: Territory Primary- Virgin Islands

August 9: Primary Elections- Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin

August 9: Special General- Minnesota CD 1

August 13: Primary Election- Hawaii

August 16: Primary Elections- Alaska and Wyoming

August 16: Special General- Alaska U.S. House

August 23: Primary Elections- Florida and Oklahoma

August 27: Territory Primary- Guam