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Remembering vets during the holidays

Christmas is right around the corner. It’s unknown how many current and former U.S. troops will be spending the holiday season in the hospital, but the VA serves close to 8 million veterans. These are men and women who have served on your behalf. What can you do?

A current email making the rounds suggests including just one of those soldiers on your list of Christmas card recipients. Just mail your card to: A Recovering American Soldier; c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center; 6900 Georgia Avenue, NW; Washington, D.C. 20307-5001. For a more personal touch, you can reach the VA Hospital in Spokane at 4815 N. Assembly St., Spokane, WA 99205, or the Missoula VA Vet Center at  500 N. Higgins,  Missoula, MT 59808

In the “bad news we already suspected” department, the “Army Times” reports a new study has shown a correlation between exposure to Agent Orange and the death rates of heart disease and cardiovascular disease. This is in addition to the known increased risk of cancer with exposure.

In the “bad news we’d rather not hear” department, Pvt. Ronald A. Gray, who was  convicted of multiple murders and rapes in the late 1980s when he was a specialist with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., is scheduled to be executed on December 10, the army’s first execution since 1961. Gary is currently the Army’s longest serving inmate on death row.

In the “every little bit helps” department, veterans’ travel for medical care to a Veterans Affairs facility are now entitled to a travel reimbursement of 41.5 cents per mile, up from 28.5 cents per mile. Even better, effective December 1, veterans’ disability compensation, among other benefits, will be increased by 5.8 percent, to respond to the increasingly high cost-of-living in the United States.  This increase was secured by an Act of Congress, authored by U.S. Senator Daniel K. Alaska (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

That’s it for 2008 but we’ll be back next year with more news for veterans. Until then, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em and All Homage to Xena!

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Jody Forest Jody Forest When he's not hidden behind the palatial gates of his Dover estate, Casa de Bozo, Jody is out using outdated and corny pickup lines on various gullible women.

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