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Veterans' News

Some like to scam; others to support

The other day I received two letters, one containing a crisp new dollar bill, the other a nickel. They were both from an outfit calling itself “The Coalition to Support America’s Heroes.” Their stated goal is to provide assistance to those veterans awaiting VA action on their disability claims. They say they want donations to ensure that these veterans get a good Thanksgiving Dinner. Now I’m very much in favor of our veterans getting everything that they are entitled to—and more—but I am suspicious of these solicitations that give me money to encourage me to send them more money. 

I did my due diligence and found that CSAH (and an affiliated organization called ‘Help Hospitalized Veterans’—HHV) received an ‘F’ on the website “Military-Money-Matters.com”. They were very suspicious of any organization that pays its founder—and his wife—almost three-quarters of a million dollars per year. CSAH also ‘gifted’ several hundred thousand pre-paid phone cards to our troops, ostensibly to call home. The problem: these cards could only be used to call a service that provided sports scores! What would be my recommendation? Keep the dollar and donate it to a local veteran’s organization. By doing this you will accomplish two things. It will deny this bunch of con men a lot of money and do good for local veterans—a ‘two-fer’ that does good all the way around.

The above web search made me curious. How many other questionable ‘charities’ are there that prey on people’s patriotism and generosity towards our service people and veterans to line their own pockets? The same site [military-matters.com/charities-ratings.html] that blew the whistle on CSAH/HHV also gave an ‘F’ to an astounding (to me) eleven other ‘charities’ that ostensibly are helping our veterans through your donations. On the other hand there were several that received an ‘A’ grade. One these was Fisher House that got an A+ rating. So—word to the wise—check out just what percentage of your dollars are going to veterans before your slip them into that envelope and line some chiseler’s pockets.

Here’s some excellent news for all you Jarheads out there. The new Commandant of the United States Marine Corps is a Vandal!  Gen. James Amos, a 1970 graduate of the U of Idaho is now the 35th Commandant of the USMC—Semper Fi!  And—‘Go Vandals!’

Since this will appear just prior to Veterans Day (we hope) it is appropriate to mention that the Applebee’s chain of restaurants (Coeur d’Alene and Spokane) will have a free dinner from a select menu on Wednesday the November 10 (the day before Veterans Day) between 11 am and midnight with appropriate ID. The Golden Corral chain (the nearest one is just south of Costco on Division in Spokane) will again be providing veterans with a free buffet for veterans and current military on Monday, November 16 from 5 to 9 pm. Krispy Krème Donuts in the Spokane Valley has free donuts. Also, for the second year (and closer to home), The Sub Shoppe on Hwy 200 in Kootenai is offering free meals and coffee to all veterans whocome in. They will be making this offer on Veterans Day as well as on Friday, November 12 and Saturday, November 13. The good people there—LeAnne and Barb Porath, Jim and Marti Ashford and Dave and Laurie Well—will be open from 8 am to 4 pm Thursday and Friday and 8 am to 3 pm on Saturday. Drop in and thank them even if you are not hungry.

Another local business that needs to be mentioned is Papa Murphy’s in Ponderay. They will give every service member and veteran that shows proof of service a substantial discount on any pizza purchased. And, Papa Murphy’s doesn’t just do this for Veterans Day —it is all year around. 

Both Lowe’s and Home Depot always offer a 10 percent discount to veterans and the Texas Roadhouse in CDA always will give veterans a 15 percent discount on any meal. The Sandpoint Elk’s Lodge is hosting a free dinner for all area seniors and veterans from 5 to 6:30 pm on Sunday, November 16.

As has become the custom there will be program at the Sandpoint High School honoring local veterans. Any veteran desiring to attend should arrive at SHS between 8:30 and 9:15 am on Tuesday, November 9 for a ‘Meet and Greet’ in the school Library. The program will start at 9:22 am in the gymnasium. 

There will also be the annual Veterans Day Ceremony at Memorial Field, 11 am with Honor Guard and Rifle Squad. All area veterans are encouraged to attend both of these events.

This just in—the Iraqi/Afghanistan Veterans Association has just issued its legislative scorecard for actions and bills that effect veterans. Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick received an ‘A’ for his work in support of veterans in this session. Both of Montana’s Senators received ‘B’s as did Montana Representative Dennis Rehberg. Idaho’s other Representative and both Senators received ‘D’s. If you want to check out the way these grades were arrived at go to http://iavaaction.org/report-card.

By the time this article sees the light of day the 2010 mid-term elections will have come and gone. If the pundits and talking heads are even close to being correct it will mean the demise of participatory democracy and “Big Money” will once again control a branch of government. I will be saddened to learn that the majority of voters have once again allowed the GOP to buy an election. We had an expression while I was in the Navy, “BOHICA.” The literal translation of this acronym is, “Bend Over—Here it Comes Again.” That exactly and precisely defines what will happen to 97 percent of Americans—IMHO—if the GOP again takes control of Congress. Until next month take care and be good to each other.

In closing I received another email recently. This was a fundraiser for a county Democratic Party in New Hampshire. I didn’t send them any money but I was much impressed by their insightful and innovative marketing. They were selling bumper stickers that pretty much said it all. They all ended with the same tag line—‘Thank Democrats.’ The opening lines differed. They said things like, “Got Vet’s Benefits,” “Got Social Security,” “Got Medicare,” “Got GI Bill” – you get the idea. Basically what they were saying is, “Have you ever gotten anything from the GOP?”

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Author info

Gil  Beyer Gil Beyer A 21 year Navy veteran, lived in Bonner County for over 30 years, Past Commander of the Priest River DAV Chapter and admitted news junkie.

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veterans, scams

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