January 2016 Newsletter

Michael O'Day
By Michael O'Day February 25, 2016 22:46

Next Meeting: January 25, 2016 at 7:00 P.M.                                                              __     Issue: January 2016

Published Monthly – Distributed to all members of VVA and AVVA

Chapter 885*

801 Princess Street

Wilmington, North Carolina

Tel: 910-762-4288

Editor: Mike O’Day (email: mod199th@yahoo.com)

Publisher: Mack Mitchell

“Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

President: Mack Mitchell

1st Vice president: Tony Mortillaro

2nd Vice President: Charlie Garner Jr.

Treasurer: Bob Doleman

Secretary: Michael O’Day

Sergeant at Arms: John Mitchell

Service Officer: Tony Musolino

Chaplain: Abdul Shareef

AVVA Chapter Representative: Deborah Musolino

               *Chapter 885 is a member of the New Hanover County Veterans Council.



I wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year.

As the new year begins it is time for new ideas. We have had an increasing number of members turn out for our fund raisers, and thank you very much to all of you, however, it would be really great if we could get a bigger bang for our efforts. If anyone has any ideas about how to increase our revenue from fund raisers it will be greatly appreciated. It is time to think “out of the box” when it comes to fund raisers.


The year 2015 is closed and 2016 opens with great opportunities for continued success, growth, and prosperity for VVA 885. We give thanks to Almighty God for all the good we have experienced. We ask that our Chapter will be a light that shows a dynamic example of Veterans in action real time doing what we can to help Veterans and their families and also doing our best to help and strengthen each other.


If you know of a death or illness of a chapter member or their family, please notify our Chaplain, Abdul Shareef, and/or the office so that we may provide support to the family and get the information to Chapter members in a timely manner.



I wish all of you a Happy and Healthy New Year. I also have a request – those of you that are interested is assisting me as service officers please get in touch with either Tiney or me as soon as possible. I would like to see at least four or five people step up who are willing to help us; if you have stopped by the office on a Tuesday or Thursday morning and seen the line of people waiting for help you can understand why I am making this request.


House Starts Hearings on Military Health Care Reform

On Thursday, the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel held a hearing to review the current state of TRICARE and the Military Health System and to identify areas that need improvement. Witnesses during the hearing described both what works and what needs to be fixed in the Military Health System from the beneficiaries’ perspective.


As for what works, witnesses praised battlefield care and related combat casualty care and gave high marks for the quality of care beneficiaries currently receive from military and civilian providers, once access to care is available.  In addition, strong approval was given for TRICARE for Life and TRICARE Standard.


Regarding areas that need a fix, witnesses spoke specifically about difficulties in beneficiary access to care under the TRICARE Prime system.  Witnesses told the panel that “too many Prime beneficiaries” find delays in the opportunity or right to receive care.  The process of obtaining timely appointments for specialty care, they said, represents the most significant area of beneficiary dissatisfaction.  Comments were also highly critical of the medical record system that too often does not reflect specialty care, once secured, from outside the military treatment facility.


As the year advances we should all press lawmakers to ensure proposed reforms assure the health-readiness of the armed forces, while remaining consistent with the promises made for career service.


VA Makes Changes to Veterans Choice Program

An additional 160,000 veterans became eligible December 1 to receive VA-paid medical care from civilian health care providers, the result of changes to the Choice Act of 2014 voted several months ago as Congress seeks to ease the flood of complaints still swirling around that poorly designed law.


Sloan Gibson, deputy secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, appeared before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Tuesday to explain the ambitious New Veterans Choice Program to be phased in over several years as well as changes made Dec. 1 to the current Choice program.  


­I have said that eventually the Choice program will replace the current VA Medical care program and this is the beginning.


Before December, enrolled veterans gained automatic eligibility for Choice if they resided more than 40 miles from any VA medical facility.  The Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Act, now implemented through VA regulation, makes the eligible pool deeper.  Vets now have access to Choice if they reside more than 40 miles from a VA facility staffed by a primary care physician at least 36 hours a week. NOTE the size of the facility and the staff. This opens Choice to 160,500 more veterans enrolled in VA care.


Another Dec. 1 change lifts a requirement that to qualify for Choice a veteran must have enrolled in VA health care by Aug. 1, 2014.  That date is removed, making 26,000 recent enrollees eligible for Choice automatically because they live more than 40 miles from VA primary care.




January 18, 2016 – Martin Luther King Day Parade

March 2016 (exact date will be added later) – St. Patrick’s Day Parade



April 8, 9, &10, 2016 – Azalea Festival

June 2016 (exact date will be added later) – Blueberry Festival



The following is curtesy of Debbie Musolino, welcome back Debbie.


We hope everyone enjoyed the holidays. We must never forget how blessed we are to live in this great country. Not everyone is so fortunate to have food, clothing, family and friends that we often take for granted.


In November we learned of a younger veteran and family who were struggling because of job loss and medical issues. Their holidays were brighter because of our Chapter’s and individual members help.


In a recent meeting which I attended the comment was made that our VVA does outstanding community service and veterans outreach. If you want something accomplished ask the VVA.


We want to thank our President Mack and Althea Mitchell as well as all those who helped make our Chapter’s annual Christmas/holiday dinner such a lovely affair.


The next week at the Phoenix Mission Veterans Christmas dinner Beverly Lowden presented our Chapter a beautiful plaque of appreciation for supporting their efforts to assist the homeless veterans in our area.


We hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year!



The teacher gave her fifth grade class an assignment: get their parents to tell them a story with a moral at the end of it. The next day the kids came back and one by one began to tell their stories.

Kathy said, “My father’s a farmer and we have a lot of egg-laying hens. One time we were taking our eggs to market in a basket on the front seat of the pickup when we hit a bump in the road and all the eggs went flying and broke and made a mess”

“And what’s the moral of the story?” asked the teacher.

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!”

“Very good,” said the teacher. “Now, Lucy?”

“My family are farmers too. But we raise chickens for the meat market. We had a dozen eggs one time, but when they hatched we only had ten live chicks. And the moral to this story is, don’t count your chickens until they’re hatched.”

“That was a fine story Lucy. Johnny, do you have a story to share?”

“Yes, ma’am, my daddy told me this story about my uncle Bob. Uncle Bob was a Green Beret in Vietnam and his helicopter got hit. He had to crash land in enemy territory and all he had was a bottle of whiskey, a machine gun and a machete. He drank the whiskey on the way down so it wouldn’t break and then he landed right in the middle of 100 enemy troops. He killed seventy of them with the machine gun until he ran out of bullets, then he killed twenty more with the machete till the blade broke and then he killed the last ten with his bare hands.”

“Good heavens,” said the horrified teacher, “What kind of moral did your daddy tell you from that horrible story?”

“Don’t mess with Uncle Bob when he’s been drinking.”


I hope everyone had wonderful holidays and I wish you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year.

With the new year upon us there will be some changes coming at the Chapter, among them election of new officers. Some of our officers are stepping down this year: Mack Mitchell, Tony Mortillaro and Charlie Garner; and others will be up for re-election. If you are interested in taking a more active role at the Chapter please consider running for one of the spots.

If anyone has any suggestions for fund raisers, projects that the Chapter should be involved with or on how we could improve the Chapter please let it be known to the Chapter’s officers, all suggestions will be appreciated.


Happy Birthday to all

Tiney Corbett                    2nd                                                    William A Baker                10th

Donald Wofford               10th                                                  Norman Melton                14th

Debbie Musolino              18th                                                  Gerald Excell                      19th

Mary Craddock                 23rd                                      Robert Pavlik                     26th


If you do not see your birthday mentioned here please get in touch with the Chapter Secretary, Mike O’Day.



Office Space


Some of you might not be aware of it but the Chapter has acquired additional space in our current building as one of the other tenants moved out in the middle of last month. Come on by and take a peek at the new space.




Last month the Chapter purchased a used enclosed trailer in great condition. The trailer will have the VVA logo on it. The trailer will be used to haul all of our merchandise and equipment to our various fund raisers. It will also allow us to store the merchandise and equipment in the trailer thereby eliminating the need to haul everything in and out of the office each time we have a fund raiser.





Homeless Veterans


The Chapter filled 25 backpacks that we requested from Phoenix Mission. The backpacks were filled with socks, hats, gloves, toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, deodorant, etc. The backpacks were given to the New Hanover County Sherriff’s Department and the deputies will distribute the backpacks as they encounter homeless Veterans in need. Thank you Chapter members for your generosity. If you think this is a worthy cause and we should continue to do this throughout the year (we can always get more backpacks) please make your thoughts known to the officers of the Chapter.


Toys for Tots


The Chapter participated in the Marine Corps 2015 Toys for Tots program. We had a big box in the lobby and when it was picked up by the Marines, it was overflowing. Thank you Chapter members for your generosity. The Toys for Tot program in the Wilmington area exceeded its goals. Thank you for helping make some children happy during the holidays.


All Military Jobs Open for Women

On Thursday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that every job in the U.S. military will be open for women to try for and serve in — including in the elite special operations forces.  This change will begin in 2016. “There will be no exceptions,” Carter said, ending months of speculation that some combat units, especially in the Marine Corps, would continue to bar women from their ranks. The 21st-century military must draw on “the broadest possible pool of talent,” he said.  “This includes women, because they make up over 50 percent of the American population.  To succeed in our mission of national defense, we cannot afford to cut ourselves off from half the country’s talents and skills.”NFL take note.”


If this doesn’t get you mad nothing will.


VA Pays Out $142M in Bonuses

In recent public statements, VA Secretary Bob McDonald defended granting more than $142 million in bonuses to officials last year, despite the system-wide scandals in 2014 involving the deaths of veterans waiting for care and fake patient wait lists at more than 100 VA healthcare facilities. According to the Secretary, the performance awards were doled out to help “retain top talent” at VA.  McDonald said cutting back on bonuses “would be a mistake, negatively impacting veterans and our ability to attract top talent.”


Despite a pay freeze for top-level officials, the agency continued to pay performance-based bonuses to nearly half of its employees nationwide, according to published data. Among the payouts were bonuses of $4,000 to $8,000 for officials who managed the construction of a Denver facility that is more than $1 billion over budget. An executive who was the subject of a report detailing mismanagement at a facility in St. Cloud, Minn., also took in a performance bonus of $4,000. Roughly 156,000 executives, managers, and employees received bonuses for their work in 2014. The average bonus was more than $900.

It is clear that McDonald’s lack of accountability over the excessive bonuses, simply adds to the pervasive lack of accountability that is continuously on display at VA.





Facebook Page


The Chapter has a new Facebook page. To follow us on Facebook go to VVA Chapter 885, hit like and continue to check in to see what is going on at the Chapter. The Facebook page is linked to the website as well as the website being linked to Facebook.



The Chapter has purchased a grill for our future use. The grill is the same one that was used for the cook-out, in April, as part of the 50th anniversary commemorating the start of the Vietnam War and was also used for the May cook-out for the nurses at the VA facility. The grill will also be available for rental by individuals or groups at a cost of $55 per day or $75 for two days. Please contact the office (910-762-4288) for availability.

Veterans Discount Program

Tammy Beasley, the New Hanover County (NHC) Register of Deeds, recently announced her office is launching a new Veterans Discount Program and needs local businesses to help.

The registrar for NHC said they will be giving veterans who have recorded their DD 214 (original or certified copy) in NHC a “Thank you for your service” photo ID card. The card will allow veterans to get discounts at participating businesses in NHC. “They will be able to go into a business and show them the card and the business will recognize it right away and give them their discount,” said Beasley. She said the goal is to make it simple and easy for veterans to get the discounts they deserve.

The new program is intended to both honor veterans and encourage them to record their DD 214 (discharge papers) in New Hanover County. Veterans won’t be able to get the discount card until their DD 214 is recorded in New Hanover County. If they have lost it, the Register of Deeds office will work with Veterans Services to help them find the documentation and record it. If they already recorded their DD 214, they will be able to come in and get their photo ID made.

Once the DD 214 is recorded, Beasley said no one except for immediate family will be able to look at it for 80 years. It has important information, including a veteran’s social security number, branch and how many years they served. “History for New Hanover County is here. Birth, marriage, death, the military and so much more,” Beasley explained. “Two hundred years down the line, if you want to search your family, you will be able to come and search and find out where they served our country.”

Participating businesses will be given a sign they can display if they want. The participating businesses will also be listed on the Register of Deeds website, and a list will be given to all veterans who come into the Register of Deeds office to get their photo ID made.

On the website businesses will be able to sign up themselves. Anyone encountering difficulties with the website and who wishes to participate should call Tammy Beasley, Registrar, at 910-798-7736 or email her at tbeasley@nhcgov.com.

Veterans were able to start using the cards on Veterans Day, November 11, 2015.

www.veterans.newhanoverdeeds.com is the source of info for the participating businesses in the New Hanover County veterans ID program.



Michael O'Day
By Michael O'Day February 25, 2016 22:46
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