Important Updates from NYMetroVets Group…

December 14, 2010 | Other News, Programs & Services, Things to Do

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This Newsletter Includes the Following Articles:
· 2011 COLA
· VA Launches New Blog
· Disability Evaluation Streamlined
· VA Testing Quicker Ways to Access Medical Records
· VA Assigns Officer to Verify Claims Involving Secret Missions
· VA Launching New Personalized Vet Health Benefits Handbook
· Supportive Services for Veteran Families
· PTSD Resources for Veterans
· Veterans Hiring Toolkit
· New National Legal Website for Vets, Military Families
· When a Veteran Passes Away
· 2010 Holiday Shipping Cut-Off Dates
· Holiday Mail for Heroes Program
· Toys For Tots Campaign Begins
· Fewer Veterans to Honor in NYC
· Events/Resources/Information
· Veterans Events in NYC
· My Final Thoughts

2011 COLA: The government officially announced that the 2011 cost-of-living adjustment for
military retirees, disabled veterans and social security recipients will be zero for the second year
in a row. Each year Military Retirement pay, VA Compensation and Pensions, and Social
Security benefits are adjusted for the rate of inflation. This annual Cost of Living Adjustment is
determined by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous year. In a normal cycle the CPI
for a given year is compared to the previous year to determine the actual rate of inflation.
However, since 2008 was the last year the rate of inflation was positive, it is the baseline for
determining the 2010 rate of inflation. For example, the 2011 COLA will be based on the 2010
rate of inflation. The 2010 rate of inflation was -0.1% when compared to 2008, therefore there
will be no COLA for Fiscal Year 2011. [Source: Military.com, 30 Oct 2010]

VA LAUNCHES NEW BLOG: The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched its first
official blog, opening a new line of communication between the department and its stakeholders.
The debut marks the VA’s latest outreach effort aimed at improving the way the VA and veterans
engage online.

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The blog, called VAntage Point, will be edited by the VA’s Director of New Media Brandon
Friedman. The blog will launch with two primary features: a main column of articles written
each day by VA staff and a section comprised of guest pieces submitted by other stakeholders
including employees and the public. Readers will be able to comment and participate on all
The main column will initially be authored by two VA employees. VA staff writer Alex Horton,
former infantryman who began his writing career blogging from Iraq, will address Veterans
issues, while Lauren Bailey, special assistant to the Chief Technology Officer, will provide
readers with the latest on VA’s information technology initiatives meant to modernize the
department. Both writers will interact frequently with readers.
VAntage Point’s guest pieces will function as “letters to the editor.” Whether from a VA
physician, a student going to school on the Post 9/11 GI Bill or a presentation from a Veterans
Services Organization (VSO), all pieces will be considered for publication based on their
rationale and reasoned points – not on how closely their views align with those of the VA.
VAntage Point is just the latest expansion of the VA’s outreach efforts to increase transparency,
participation and collaboration via social media. Since creating an Office of New Media in late
2009, the VA has launched a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. Each major
component of VA (Health, Benefits and National Cemeteries) has its own Facebook page and
Twitter feed, while the VA has simultaneously begun to roll out these platforms to all 153 VA
Medical Centers. Currently, 55 VA Medical Centers maintain a presence on Facebook and 30 are
operating Twitter feeds. The VA currently has the largest Facebook subscriber base among
cabinet-level agencies with over 70,000 subscribers. To view the blog, please visit:

www.blogs.va.gov. [Source: VA PR, 8 Nov 2010]

DISABILITY EVALUATION STREAMLINED: A pilot program that eases medical
separation and speeds benefit payments for service members too wounded, sick or injured to stay
in the military will expand to all military medical sites across the services by October 2011. The
new program brings together VA and military medical separation processes while service
members receive medical evaluations by VA certified doctors using VA guidelines, while DoD
officials use these exams to determine if a service member is able to continue in uniform. For
service members, the process is faster with only one set of examinations to complete. The pilot
program has been operating in 27 sites. For more information visit the Streamlined Disability
Evaluation System webpage at: http://www.army.mil/standto/archive/2010/03/05/. [Source:
Military.com, 29 Nov 10]

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is working to significantly reduce the average time needed
to obtain health-care records from private physicians with the help of a private contractor and the
Internet to speed claims decisions.
One innovation is using a private contractor to assist VA in collecting health-care records. When
private medical records support a Veteran’s application for benefits, a contractor will quickly
retrieve the records from the health-care provider, scan them into a digital format and send the
material to VA through a secure transmission.

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This pilot project hopes to validate initial estimates that a specialized contract can yield records
required to process Veterans’ disability compensation claims in seven to 10 days instead of VA’s
average 40 days. In addition, the additional contract frees VA staff to focus on core duties to
process claims more quickly.
Exploring economical contract support for time savings is one of more than three dozen
initiatives supporting VA’s claims transformation plan, which aims to ensure that by 2015,
Veterans’ claims are decided within 125 days.
VA officials emphasize that in all cases Veterans must sign documents approving the release of
their medical records to the department from private health-care providers.
The test is expected to involve about 60,000 records requests among regional benefits offices in
Phoenix; New York City; St. Louis; Portland, Ore.; Chicago; Anchorage, Alaska; Indianapolis,
and Jackson, Miss. At the conclusion of the test, VA officials will decide whether to cancel,
modify, or expand any changes in procedures nationwide. [Source: VA PR, 29, Nov 10]

MISSIONS: For veterans claiming they can’t prove a service connection for their disability
because it resulted from a secret operation, the Veterans Affairs Department has assigned a
liaison officer to the U.S. Special Operations Command with direct access to classified files.
The little-known program has a VA employee work closely with the command historian at the
command’s headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., to review files on classified missions
for special operations units in all services.
Befitting the nature of the missions involved, the program, quietly launched a year ago has
received scant attention. Joe Davis, spokesman for Veterans of Foreign Wars, was unaware of the
initiative. “But it does make perfect sense, given the clandestine nature of their business,” he said.
The liaison was established in December 2009 under an agreement between the Pentagon and
VA. The current VA liaison to the Special Operations Command is an Army veteran who was
not part of a special operations unit but has the appropriate security clearances to review files,
according to VA sources.
Lack of records access has been seen by many spec ops veterans as a roadblock to filing claims,
especially for disabilities such as post-traumatic stress, for which there may be nothing in military
health or personnel records to verify any treatment while the veteran was in uniform.
If a veteran says his claim is based on involvement in a secret mission, VA claims examiners turn
files over to the liaison, who can verify the veteran’s involvement, VA sources said. If more
information is needed, the claims examiner requests that the liaison search for the information by
requesting it from either U.S. Special Forces Command or one of its subordinate commands.
The liaison officer then prepares sanitized information for use by the regional VA office handling
the claim. Veterans have direct contact with the liaison only if more information is needed to
track down records, VA sources said.

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Claims from veterans who say they took part in an intelligence operation run by the Defense
Intelligence Agency, Central Intelligence Agency or other government organization also can be
researched by the VA liaison officer if a classified mission is involved, VA sources said.
The liaison officer is a full-time employee of the Veterans Benefits Administration and has access
to records involving special operations units including Army Rangers, Army Special Forces, the
Army’s 160th Aviation Regiment, Navy SEALs, Air Force Special Operations and Marine Corps
Special Operations and Reconnaissance units. [Source: Army Times, 17 Nov 10]

HANDBOOK: The VA is piloting new, personalized Veterans Health Benefits
Handbooks. The handbooks are tailored to provide enrolled Veterans with the most relevant
health benefits information based on their own specific eligibility. In essence, each handbook
will be written for the individual Veteran.
In addition to highlighting each Veteran’s specific health benefits, the handbook also provides
contact information for the Veteran’s preferred local facility, ways to schedule personal
appointments, guidelines for communicating treatment needs and an explanation of the Veteran’s
responsibilities, such as copayments when applicable.
The new handbooks will initially be available only to certain Veterans in Cleveland and
Washington, D.C., areas. Following the pilot phase, full implementation is scheduled to begin in
the fall of 2011 for across the county. [Source: VA PR, 18 Nov 10]

Veterans Families (SSVF) program is a new VA program that will provide supportive services to
very low-income veterans and their families who are in or transitioning to permanent housing.
The VA will award grants to private non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives who
will assist low income veterans and their families by providing a range of supportive services
designed to promote housing stability. For more information about this program, please visit the
VA’s website at: http://www1.va.gov/HOMELESS/SSVF.asp. [Source: Military.com, 29 Nov

PTSD RESOURCES FOR VETERANS: For those who bear the burden of Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorder (PTSD), whether Veteran or family member, the VA has a wide range of
resources that you can find at its National Center for PTSD website, which is located at:

http://www.ptsd.va.gov/. Additionally, the Veteran Combat Call Center is available 24/7 at 1-

877-927-8387. [Source: Military.com, 22 Nov 10]

VETERANS HIRING TOOLKIT: The Department of Labor has launched a new online
toolkit to guide employers through the process of hiring veterans. The free toolkit is designed to
assist and educate employers who have made the proactive decision to include veterans wounded
warriors in their recruitment and hiring initiatives. The Veterans Hiring Toolkit features a
straightforward six-step process pinpointing helpful tools for a business to design a veterans
hiring initiative. The final section of the toolkit features a quick reference list of reputable online
resources to help users find and welcome talented and skilled veterans into their companies. The
toolkit is available at: http://www.americasheroesatwork.gov/forEmployers/HiringToolkit.
[Source: Military.com, 15 Nov 10]

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At a White House conference on access to justice on November 19th, officials announced the
launch of a new website for military and veteran families with legal programs. The website:

http://statesidelegal.org/ is the first site in the country to focus exclusively on the unique legal

needs and rights of military and veteran families around the country. The site includes user-
friendly legal information and self-help tools (including videos and interactive documents) related
to common legal problems, including divorce, foreclosure, and disability benefits. The website
also identifies legal referral resources available through the military, State veteran services, and
legal aid programs funded by the Legal Services Corporation. Information on the website is
organized and searchable according to legal problem, military status and state of residence.
Developed with funding from the Legal Services Corporation and other sources, the site has been
in development since the fall of 2009. Pine Tree was chosen to serve as the lead agency for this
project, based on its national reputation in developing other websites with high quality legal
information written in plain English. Arkansas Legal Services Partnership and legal experts in
Maine and around the country have also contributed content to the website. A special website
advisory group includes nationally recognized experts in military and VA legal issues, as well
as key leaders from the military and veteran communities in Maine. [Source: Stateside Legal PR,
22 Nov 10]

WHEN A VETERAN PASSES AWAY: One of the most difficult tasks a survivor may face
after the death of a loved one is identifying, securing and completing the numerous claim forms
to obtain VA Survivors benefits. The anxiety and fear of the unknown – What to do, Who to call,
or Where to go for help can be a daunting experience. To help with this, the VVA New York
State Council and the New York State Funeral Directors Association have created a free planning
guide for veterans and their family members entitled: “When A Veteran Passes Away: A
Planning Guide for the Surviving Family.” This is an important pamphlet that every Veteran
should read and keep available in their records. For a copy of this pamphlet in PDF format, go to:

http://nyvietnamvets.org/mainfiles/pdf/w-a-v-p-a.pdf. [Source: VVA NYSC] (Joe’s Note: This

guide will also be in the Flies section of NYMetroVets.)

2010 HOLIDAY SHIPPING CUT-OFF DATES: Sending a care package to a service
member this holiday season? Want a package delivered by December 25th? Find shipping and
mailing deadlines for your military and international cards and packages here:

http://www.usps.com/holiday/shippingcalendar.htm?from=home_ftpromo&page=Holid. To

better help understand the abbreviations used in the chart, please note:
AA = Armed Forces (the) Americas
AE = Armed Forces Europe
AP = Armed Forces Pacific
APO = Army Post Office
FPO = Fleet Post Office

HOLIDAY MAIL FOR HEROES PROGRAM: It’s that time of year again! The
American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes have teamed up for the 4th Annual Holiday Mail for

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Heroes program. From now until December 10th you are invited to send holiday cards to our
American service members, their families and veterans all over the world. Anyone can send a
card and you can send as many as you would like. Please send all cards to:
Holiday Mail for Heroes
PO Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD
The deadline for this year is December 10th. Unfortunately, if your cards are not postmarked by
December 10th they cannot be delivered. After Pitney Bowes collects and screens the mail
received in the PO Box, Red Cross workers deliver holiday greetings to service men and women
in their communities. Check out how our uniformed men and women and their families expressed
their gratitude for the Holiday Mail program when it delivered cards to Walter Reed Army
Medical Center. [Source: American Red Cross, 20 Nov 10]

TOYS FOR TOTS CAMPAIGN BEGINS: The U.S. Marine Corps recently began its 2010
Toys For Tots program. Since 1947, Toys For Tots has helped underprivileged children
throughout the United States by collecting new, unwrapped toys and distributing them as
Christmas gifts. The Toys For Tots program is the largest outreach program in the Department of
Defense. For more information, or to find a local Toys For Tots drop-off location near you, visit
the Toys For Tots website at: http://www.toysfortots.org/. (Joe’s Note: The NYC Toys For Tots
Coordinator is SSgt Ivan Lebron and the website is at: http://brooklyn-ny.toysfortots.org/local-

coordinator-sites/lco-sites/default.asp. [Source: Military.com, 15 Nov 10]

FEWER VETERANS TO HONOR IN NYC: The number of military veterans living in
New York City has shrunk by one-third since 2000, according to the U.S. Census. They now
constitute just 3.6 percent of the population over 18 years old, compared with 5.7 percent a
decade ago. Census figures show that there were 348,000 veterans in 2000 and 233,000 last year.
The number and percentage keep declining as veterans of World War II and Korea retire and
leave the state, or die. New York State, meanwhile, has the smallest percentage of veterans in the
nation – 6.6 percent, compared with 14.1 percent in Alaska. A decade ago, veterans accounted
for 9.5 percent of the state’s population. [Source: NY Times, 11 Nov 10]
Joe’s Note: Taken from a rebuttal to the above article:
“New York State, meanwhile, has the smallest percentage of veterans in the nation — 6.6
percent, compared with 14.1 percent in Alaska. A decade ago, veterans accounted for 9.5 percent
of the state’s population.” This is an absolutely meaningless statistical comparison. In the first
instance, it’s misleading because you only qualify that you are talking of each state percentage as
a relative proportion to its own total in-state population in the last sentence.
Further, the population base of these two states is so different that such a measure has no
comparative merit. A more meaningful comparison would be by states of similar population
sizes. In other words, compare your apples to other apples — not oranges.
Additionally, many veterans remain in states where they were based. Since NYS has relatively
few such bases compared to say Texas or California — it stands to reason it will subsequently
have a lower proportion of veterans. Finally, since veterans, like many non-vets tend to retire to

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warm weather states it stands to reason that NY would have a lower proportion than those warm
weather locales.



Writing Program is pleased to continue The Veterans Writing Workshop, a free, non-partisan
outreach program offered to the veterans’ community in and around New York City.
Resuming in January 2011, two experienced and dedicated NYU Creative Writing Fellows will
lead a weekly writing workshop for veterans of the Gulf War and the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan in a wheelchair accessible classroom at NYU. This workshop will be free of charge,
small in size (limited to fifteen writers), and will offer participants the opportunity to express
themselves on paper, to bear witness to their experiences, and to explore the basics of the craft of
writing in a welcoming community of fellow veteran writers.
Visiting guest writers include: E.L. Doctorow, Column McCann, Bryan Turner, David Lipsky,
Meghan O’Rourke, and Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa.
The Veterans Writing Workshop is held on Saturday afternoons from 2:00- 4:00 pm. If you are
interested in joining, or to find out more, please contact Zachary Sussman, Program Coordinator,
at (212) 992-9809 or e-mail him at: Zachary.sussman@nyu.edu. (Joe’s Note: Flyer posted in the
NYMetroVets Files section.)


Back Home from Iraq/Afghanistan? How’s it going? We are here for you! The Brooklyn Vet
Center is offering an OIF/OEF Walk-In/Fellowship/Networking group every Thursday from 2
PM – 3:30 PM. The therapeutic aspects of the group include narrative discussion of war zone
experience, networking, stress management, and readjustment issues. For more information,
please contact Michael J. Kim, GWOT Outreach/Readjustment Counseling Therapist at the
Brooklyn Vet Center: (718) 624-2765.
Yoga 4 Vets is a free class at the Brooklyn Vet Center open to all veterans, their family members,
and caregivers. It’s every Friday from 1 PM to 2 PM – except for the last Friday of the month.
For more information, please call (718) 624-2765.
The Brooklyn Vet Center hosts a Writers Workshop every Saturday from 10 AM – 12 PM. This
creative writing workshop is sponsored by the New York Writers Coalition. The workshop is
open to all veterans interested in creative writing, and members are free to write about any topic,
not necessarily those related to their military experience. The group is facilitated by writer
Yvonne Garrett, who teaches at the New School. For more information, contact the Brooklyn Vet
Center: (718) 624-2765.

FAMILIES DEPLOYED COUNSELING: Do you have a member of your family deployed to

war? Recently returned from Deployment? Join us at Families Deployed, a group program for
the family members of deployed service members and veterans. Moderated by counselors and
social workers from the Staten Island Vet Center, confidential meetings are held every Tuesday at
6:00 PM at the North Shore Veterans of Foreign Wars Post located at 49 The Boulevard, Staten

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Island, NY 10314. For more information, please call (718) 816-4499 or visit:


FREE COLLEGE PREP CLASSES: Many Veterans avoid going to college because it has

been years since they have been to school. Thanks to the Veterans Upward Bound (VUB)
Program, Veterans don’t have to let rusty academic skills keep them from getting a degree and
pursuing a dream career. The Veterans Upward Bound program is a free program designed to
help you refresh your academic skills in reading, writing and math and give you the confidence to
get on the road to a college degree and better pay. The next class starts on Monday, January
10th, 2011, takes place at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, Queens and runs
for six (6) weeks. For additional information on the Veterans Upward Bound program, please
call: (718) 482-5231/5386 or visit: www.lagcc.cuny.edu/veterans.

VETERAN PAID VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Did you serve in Iraq or Afghanistan? A

research team at the NYU Medical Center needs OEF/OIF veterans to participate in a research
study. Veterans or active duty service members who served in Iraq or Afghanistan can earn up to
$450 dollars for participating in this study. If you’re interested and would like more information,
please call (877) 698-3299. We will require proof of military services, such as a military ID or
DD-214. All branches of the military, including National Guard, Coast Guard and Reservists are

SWAN YOGA AND MEDITATION FOR VETS: The Yoga for Vets program offers a

Meditation and Relaxation class and a Yoga class, taught by a veteran for veterans. The classes
are for both men and women, will focus on meditation and relaxation, and is ideal for anyone
with limited physical ability. All three classes are for FREE for veterans, their families, and
veterans’ service providers. Come get some well deserved relaxation! The complete weekly
schedule follows:
INSTITUTE (IYI), 227 W 13th ST, between 7th and 8th Ave, NYC.
13th ST, between 7th and 8th Ave, NYC.
For more information, please visit: www.yogaforvetsnyc.org or call the Service Women’s Action
Network at 212-683-0015, ext 324.

SVA WOMEN VETS ART PROGRAM: The School of Visual Arts (SVA) invites all women

(veterans, active duty, national guard, reservists) to its free Art Therapy Program at the MPS Art
Therapy Department located at 132 West 21st Street, 3rd Floor (Between 6th and 7th Avenue)
from 6:00 – 7:30 PM every Thursday. The program runs in 5-week cycles but anyone can jump
in at any time. Art Therapy uses the creative process to help individuals create meaning and
insight from emotions or trauma. It can be particularly effective with post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD) since it is a form of non-verbal communication and an effective way to
externalize symptoms. Art experience is NOT necessary and a board certified, licensed art
therapist will be facilitating the program. We are also offering scholarships to workshop
participants who become students enrolled in the MPS Art Therapy Program at the School of
Visual Arts. For more information or to sign up, please contact Val Sereno, Special Projects at
(212) 592-2419 or by e-mail: vsereno@sva.edu.

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HELP VETS TRANSITION HOME AFTER COMBAT: Veterans and their families are

invited to give feedback on the development of an online training course which will help ease the
transition home after return from combat. The course will assist families and veterans by sharing
common stories, describing signs of post-deployment stress and giving tips on how to ease the
adjustment period.
If you participate, you’ll get up to 10 e-mails by June 2011 requesting comments on the course’s
virtual characters, story lines, scripts and interactions which will have a significant impact on its
development. To sign up, go to: www.surveymonkey.com/s/visn3. Please pass along to any
veteran and family members who might be interested. This project is managed by the VA NY/NJ
Veterans Healthcare Network with assistance from Kognito Interactive, a NYC developer of
online training.

VETERANS EVENTS IN NYC: The following is a list of veteran events that are taking
place during the month of December. This list is not all inclusive and other events may be taking
place throughout the city. Please pass this on to others.
December 3, 2010 – Please join us for our next Veteran-Civilian Dialogue

TM at Intersections on Friday evening, December 3rd, 2010 from 6-9 PM. The dialogues are intentional conversations
between equal numbers of veterans and civilians revolving around the shared impact of war upon
both groups. Given the structure and space an RSVP is mandatory. You will be contacted for
further information, confirmation and conversation. Please RSVP by email to:

RSVP@intersectionsinternational.org. For more information, please call Scott Thompson at (646)

December 3, 2010 – The Dyker Height Civic Association is co-sponsoring a Christmas Tree
Lighting Ceremony on 13th Avenue and Bay Ridge Parkway in Brooklyn. This event will start at 7 PM and a 20 foot tree will be lit in honor of all the troops serving and defending our country.
All are invited.
December 5, 2010 – NYMAS Talk: The U.S. Army on the Eve of the Civil War. This evening
talk will be conducted by Samuel Watson, United States Military Academy. NYMAS talks are
free and open to the public. This talk will be held at the Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’, Coast
Guard and Airmen’s Club, 283 Lexington Avenue (Between 36th & 37th Street). Topics and
speakers may be subject to change without notice. A current updated schedule is always available
at: www.nymas.org.
December 5 – 6, 2010 Poetic Responses to War at the Guggenheim Museum. Starting at 7:30
PM, Poets Brian Turner and Bruce Weigl, who respectively served in the Iraq and Vietnam Wars,
will read selected works and join a discussion moderated by pianist Sarah Rothenberg. Musical
selections from composer George Flynn’s Songs of Destruction will be performed by soprano
Elizabeth Farnum and pianist Alan Feinberg. Special ticket offer for AITAF – Mention code
“VET” for $15 dollar tickets. For more information and tickets, visit:


December 7, 2010 – Pearl Harbor Day

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December 7, 2010 – Curtis High School in Staten Island will be holding a Pearl Harbor
Remembrance Day ceremony at noon at the Pearl Harbor Monument located in front of the
school. All veterans are invited. Cake and Coffee will follow the ceremony.
December 10, 2010 – Battery Park Holiday Memorial – The Heroes Tree. Join us at 55 Water
Street at 5:30 PM as we hold a tree illumination ceremony in honor of our service members this
holiday season. The Blue Stars on the tree represent those currently serving; Silver Stars
represent those who returned permanently disabled and our eternally remembered Gold Stars.
Ceremony includes the Children’s Choir from the Blue Ribbon Richard H. Hungerford School of
Staten Island who will be signing patriotic songs. All are welcome.
December 10, 2010 – NYMAS Talk: Japan’s War Plans: Preparing for Armageddon. This
evening talk will be conducted by Theodore F. Cook, Jr., William Paterson University of New
Jersey/NYMAS Board. NYMAS talks are free and open to the public. This talk will be held at
the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, 12th Avenue and 46th Street, NYC. Topics and
speakers may be subject to change without notice. A current updated schedule is always available
at: www.nymas.org.
December 13, 2010 – The New York City Council’s Veteran’s Committee is scheduled to have a
hearing at 1 PM at 250 Broadway, 16th Floor hearing room. The meeting agenda is not set at this
December 18, 2010 – The Brooklyn Vet Center invites all to its Christmas Open House (a
gathering of veterans, family members and friends) and “Toy Run” – a toy giveaway for the
children and custodial grandchildren of veterans and service members on Saturday, December 18,
2010 from 12 – 4 PM at the Brooklyn Vet Center. Please spread the word and join us. If your
interesting in attending, would like more information or to pre-register (by no later than
December 10), please call (718) 624-2765 and ask either Doug or Victor. We look forward to
seeing you.
January 13, 2011 – The City Bar Justice Center is hosting a FREE legal clinic for low-income
veterans with VA benefits issues at the NYC Bar, 42 West 44th Street (between 5th and 6th
Avenue) from 2 – 4 PM. Volunteer lawyers will be available to meet with you to evaluate and
help you fill out your disability benefits application. Appointments are required. To make an
appointment, call (877) 564-3383 or e-mail: KNystedt@nycbar.org. Certain income restrictions
apply, which we will discuss with you when you call to make an appointment. (Joe’s Note: Flyer
will be posted in the Files section of NYMetroVets.)

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Well, November has once again come and gone. I’d like to
congratulate anyone and everyone who received an award or recognition this past month (and I’m
sure there were many of you). I’d also like to once again congratulate the United War Veterans
Council (and Pat Gualtieri) for putting together another outstanding veteran’s day parade this
I hope that you and yours had a wonderful Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving. I wish you all a
Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas and a very happy and fruitful New Year. I
was looking at what I wrote last year and (once again) this year has been a roller coaster with
some highs and some lows. As I continue to say, it’s WAY past time for the community to
become more pro-active in what we want and expect from our local leaders. With our country

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still at war, our servicemen and women are coming home looking for help and there are many
issues that need to be addressed. It’s easy to give a speech and say the right things to the
community – it’s a lot harder to actually do it.
As always, if you receive this newsletter, please pass it on to others. Also, if you have any
comments, questions or suggestions, please feel free to e-mail me at: bjoe7@hotmail.com.
Lastly, as I’ve said before, I have a FACEBOOK account. If you’re interested in being a friend,
look me up (Joe Bello), drop me a line and let me know who you are. Lastly, the Army-Navy
Game is next Saturday, December 11th. As I say every year – GO NAVY, BEAT ARMY! So
that’s it for now. Take care, have a safe and wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year!
Until next month…
Joseph Bello, NYC Veterans Advocate