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American Legion Lt. B. R. Kimlau Chinese Memorial Post 1291, Inc.
Legion Year 17 – 18 Newsletter No. 4
紐約華裔美國退伍軍人會會務簡訊
April 2018

Dear Legionnaires 親愛的會友:

We want to thank our members and their families for joining us at the lunar New Year Eve celebration at Delight 28 Restaurant and Joy Luck Palace Restaurant. We hope the year of the Dog brings everyone good health and prosperity. The dinner was enjoyed by over 700 members and their families. The Joy Luck Restaurant was equipped with a modern sound system and a huge screen, so members enjoyed a great night of karaoke without incurring any additional charges. On February 13th, our Post, along with Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association and Chinese Chamber of Commerce of New York were invited by U. S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to attend the Lunar New Year celebration at the Transportation Headquarters, in Washington, DC. The last time our Post was invited to attend the Lunar New Year celebration in Washington, DC was when Secretary Chao was with the Labor Department under the Bush administration. Over 300 Leaders of the Chinese-American communities from all over the United States were among the invitees to attend this year’s celebration. Secretary Chao reiterated her gratitude to our Post for hosting the parade and the memorial service at Lt. Kimlau Square while she visited New York’s Chinatown last Memorial Day weekend.

Alexis Wichowski, PhD, Press Secretary and Senior Advisor to Dr. Loree Sutton, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Veterans’ Services along with two of her deputy Secretaries kicked off their tour of visiting veterans’ organizations in New York City. Our Post was chosen to be their first stop in their New York City veterans’ group tour. The primary reason for their visit was to listen and gather information of how they can best serve veterans by knowing their concerns and issues they face every day. They also reiterated that veterans in New York City seeking help with permanent housing, mental health, education, employment and other problems can contact the Department of Veterans’ Services for assistance. They also explained the Department of Veterans’ Services can do a lot more for veterans than their predecessor, the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs (MOVA), which is mostly ineffective, under-staffed, and lacking the authority to deal with the increasing needs of the City’s 225,000 veterans.

The latest NY Department membership renewal report is at 88%. The First District has been and still is, in last place of the 10 districts in the Department. New York County which is part of the First District is also in 54th place of all 63 counties, due in large part that our Post’s renewal is at 74%. There are still 160 members that have yet to renew to date. The higher renewal rates in the past were largely due to a policy that was put in place many years ago to help members with transportation reimbursement. This policy was to be ratified by membership each year based on the financial health of the Post and other factors. The transportation reimbursement was purposely set at the same rate as the membership dues, to encourage member participation at Post functions and increase meeting attendance. Members qualified to receive the transportation reimbursement when they achieved five or more continuous membership years with our Post. We also encouraged members to substitute the transportation reimbursement for membership dues to reduce the extra steps of the back and forth mailing. At the first membership meeting of this year, the transportation reimbursement policy was modified so that qualifying members must achieve 15 continuous years instead of 5 continuous years. This good deed policy instituted by the Post for many years created some unwanted problems. When members under 15 years of continuous membership were reminded to renew their membership, to our surprise, some of the answers we have heard from members are “do we have to pay dues?”; “over five year members do not have to pay dues”; “our dues were paid the Post”; “I do not want to be a member if I have to pay dues”…

We would like to advise these members to reflect a moment and understand why you as a member of the American Legion are important. The American Legion is the largest veterans’ organization and has the most influential voice in advocating veterans’ issues and benefits on Capitol Hill. It has recorded consistent accomplishments for veterans and their families since 1919. We should also remember that “it is not the price you pay to belong, but the price you paid to be eligible to belong.” Most importantly, the biggest intangible benefit of being a member is the lifelong friendships that are created. That being said,we would like to remind our members once again to remit membership dues to the Post in a timely manner.

 

本會非常感謝各位會員及眷屬參加本年度在喜運來及彩福樓舉行的團年晚宴,祝各位狗年快樂,身 體健康。今年團年晚宴約七百多位會員及親友分別在兩家酒樓共聚一堂迎接新年,彩福樓餐廳裡配備了現代化的音響系統和大屏幕,當天晚上會員們享受免費卡拉OK 娛興,大家歡樂而歸。本會,中華公所及中華總商會在二月十三日被美國交通部趙小蘭部長邀請參加在華盛頓交通部舉辦的慶祝農曆新年宴會,與會華裔各界團體領袖遍佈美國各州超三百多人。本會上次參加由趙小蘭部長舉辦的慶祝農曆新年活動是她在小布殊總統任內當勞工部部長。趙小蘭部長仍非常感激本會在國殤日週未為她安排並舉辦華埠遊行及在華裔退伍軍人忠烈坊獻花紀念。

紐約市退伍軍人服務部高級顧問兼新聞秘書長維嘉斯基博士連同她兩位副組長在近日拜訪本會,他們選擇本會為拜訪全紐約市退伍軍人組織第一站確定本會在紐約市的影響力,他們這一次拜訪最主要目的是宣佈對退伍軍人服務部可以提供更好的服務及更深入了解退伍軍人面對的困難,解決如找尋工作,房屋支配,無家流民,就學機會及其它的服務。她強調退伍軍人們如遇上述困難可直接聯絡紐約退伍軍人服務尋求協助。紐約市退伍軍人服務部比起過去市府退伍軍人事務局的有名無實,只能提建議而無執行權力實是天淵之別,他們能真實的服務退伍軍人。

最新的紐約州退伍軍人會報告大約有百分八十八會員已經繳交會費。我們所屬的第一區今年一直是十區中棑名最後,而紐約郡亦在紐約州六十三個郡中棑名五十四,其最大原因是本會會費繳交率是百分之七十四,至目前為止,本會仍有一百六十個會員尚未繳交今年會費。往年會員繳交會費之所以能達到快速進行最重要的原因是本會在多年來通過領取車馬費議案,本會為鼓勵會員參與本會一切活動及關心會務,多年來增設車馬費,為了節省將車馬費郵寄給合格領取車馬費的會員及會員將每年會費寄到本會的郵費及手續,特別將車馬費定於二十五元與會費配合,並呼籲及鼓勵會員以車馬費替代會費。在本年六月會員大會通過更改車馬費議案,將由以往入會五年合格領取車馬費改為十五年才合格。這個多年來為會員提供的福利卻帶來一個非常驚訝的後果,就是當我們提醒未繳交會費的會員,他們的回答是「我們需要繳交會費呀?」;「會齡五年以上會員不用繳交會費。」;「我們的會費是由退伍軍人會代交。」;「如果我必須繳交會費,我不想繼續為會員。」我們建議這些會員應該去理解你為何要成為美國退伍軍人會會員,美國退伍軍人會是美國最大的退伍軍人組織,亦是在國會最受尊重及最富影響力的退伍軍人團體,自一九一九年設立到現在不停的為退伍軍人及其家屬謀取福利。我們應該感到榮幸有資格成為退伍軍人會會員,這是因為你曾付出重大的代價。我們想再次提醒大家,請及時將會費寄到本會。

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Pentagon to Open Online Exchange Shopping to Vets in 2017

A Defense Department retail board has given the green light to a plan to open online exchange shopping to all honorably discharged veterans, with hopes of starting the program on Veterans Day in 2017.

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/08/16/pentagon-to-open-online-exchange-shopping-to-vets-in-2017.html

To get started, please visit the site to register:

https://www.shopmyexchange.com/veterans

The Exchange is excited to welcome Veterans of all United States Armed Forces as part of the Veterans online shopping benefit. We will soon be able to serve you through the lifelong shopping privileges you’ve rightfully earned.