Click to go to September 2016 Newsletter

September, 2016

Dear Legionnaires 親愛的會友:

To encourage members to take an active role and increase participation, the Kimlau Post has been reimbursing members’ transportation expenses for attending post meetings and functions for many years. The transportation reimbursement was intentionally set at the same rate as the membership dues. Over the years, we also encouraged members to substitute the transportation reimbursement for their membership dues for efficiency and to eliminate the extra steps of back and forth mailing.

During the last membership meeting in June, it was approved to increase this year’s transportation reimbursement from five (5) continuous membership years to thirty (30) continuous membership years for eligible members. This is due to the fact that the Kimlau Post’s current year’s financial outlook is not as strong as previous years. We all realize this change will affect many long time members who have yet to achieve the thirty continuous membership years and possibly place unwanted hardship on some members. Changing the eligibility from five continuous membership years to thirty continuous membership years for receiving transportation reimbursement is by no means the policy of the future. As in previous years, we will revisit this change during next year’s membership meeting to determine whether any adjustment is necessary.

We have received numerous inquiries from some long time members concerning the change. Most of them are frustrated and confused as to why they have to pay membership dues now, when the post had paid their dues in past years. Our members have long been enjoying this special benefit that no one else other than members from Kimlau Post receive. We would like to remind our members; every member is obligated and responsible for their dues. As a matter of fact, the current membership dues for every member are set by the American Legion National Headquarters and the New York Department Headquarters at thirty-eight dollars. The Post has been absorbing membership due increases for years and continues to hold membership dues at twenty-five dollars. This means every member is receiving a substantial subsidy of thirteen dollars.

Delegates of the 98th National Convention unanimously elected Charles E. Schmidt of Burns, Oregon as National Commander to lead the nation’s largest veteran organization for a one-year term. Commander Schmidt said during the National Convention “Our time and responsibility is here for us, you and I…to ensure that the vision is passed on to the next generation of veterans to ensure those who have born the battles, and their families, will be cared for by a grateful nation, you and I must leave our footprints on today’s American Legion”. Commander Schmidt called member participation an important part of the Legion’s membership program, he challenged Legionnaires to sign up one new member and renew one of the current members. He also asked members to accentuate the positive in the coming months.

For the third year, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald addressed the convention delegates on the subject of veterans’ care. He said the problems that plagued the VA Hospitals across the country and affected millions of veterans waiting for care have improved. Even though there is still a lot more work to be done, he promised with the initiatives that were put in place in the past year, the VA Hospital is working harder and smarter to improve on providing care to veterans. He said, “We’re not perfect, but we’re better”. He disagreed when people said the VA system is broken, he recognized the VA has challenges, but the VA can be transformed. He stressed that transformation is well under way. He cited some statistics of improvement such as reduction of veterans’ homelessness and patient wait time for medical care. He urged Legionnaires to appeal to their congressional representatives not to support privatizing VA healthcare.

Both the democratic and republican presidential candidates addressed the convention delegates. Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton spoke of issues related to national security, diversity and unification on Wednesday. She also stressed that she would not allow the VA to be privatized, she would reform and strengthen the Department of Veterans Affairs and improve healthcare for veterans and their families. Republican candidate Donald Trump addressed the convention delegates on Thursday. He reiterated his campaign theme of “We will stop apologizing for America, and we will celebrate America”. He said supporting those who defend the flag is a priority. He promised to give our military the tools they need to deter violence and aggression from foreign adversaries. He also supported a total reform and cleaning up the Department of Veterans Affairs to better serve the veterans.

In July, the Post leaders also attended the 98th Department Convention in Binghamton, New York. John B. Sampson, City of Salamanca, Hughes-Skiba Post 535, Cattaraugus County, and 8th District was elected Department Commander of the Legion for 2016-2017. Also, congratulations are in order for our Adjutant Gabe Mui as he was elected 1st District Commander. For the first time in 1st District history, the leadership team of commander, vice commander and adjutant are all Chinese-American.

本會為鼓勵會員參與本會一切活動及關心會務,多年來增設車馬費以補助會員車費,為了節省將車馬費郵寄給合格領取車馬費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領取條件議案,將由以往入會五年合格領取車馬費改為三十年才合格。更改車馬費領取條件最重要原因是本會來年經濟預算未如理想,本會一切開支需要從減,我們亦非常瞭解更改車馬費議案會影響到超過五年但未逹到三十年會齡會員,但這個改變並非長期性,我們在明年六月大會再提出商討及作重新決定。

自從車馬費議案更改後,本會已經収到不少會員來電詢問及表示他們感到迷惘,並一致表達他們的會費向來由軍人會代繳,為何今年要自己繳交。我們要提醒大家, 每一個會員都有繳交會費的責任 。本會會員長期享有的福利是其它軍人會聞所未聞的,會費是由全國總會及紐約州總會規定是三十八元,過去屢次總會增收會費時本會都沒增加會費,仍維持二十五元會費,其實每個會員已經享受本會十三元的補助。

出席第九十八屈全國年會代表一致推選來自俄勒岡州查理斯、施密特為二零一六至二零一七年度全國退伍軍人總會主席。施密特主席在全國年會中致詞「我們的責任非常重大,我們一定要盡力訴求國家對後一代為國效勞的退伍軍人及其家人得到應得福利及醫療,我們要為美國退 伍軍人會做出轟烈的貢獻。」施密特主席認為參加軍人會一切活動對會務是非常重要,他祈望每一個會員能盡量去招一個新會員及保留一個舊會員。他並忠告我們應該宣揚退伍軍人的偉大貢獻。

退伍軍人事務部部長羅伯特、麥當勞與去年一樣再一次以退伍軍人因長期等待退伍軍人醫院醫療而引致在棑期致死亡仍末得到醫治為主題。他說,影響數以百計等待照顧退伍軍人的問題已稍有改善。雖然退伍軍人醫院醫療仍需繼續努力,他相信過去一年已實行的措施令到各方面有名顕的改善。他強調「我們並末達到理想,但我們會更加努力慕求更好成果」。他不認同某些人對退伍軍人事務部過份指責,他明瞭退伍軍人事務部仍有很多的挑戰,但退伍軍人事務部早已啟動改革。他指出無家可歸及長期等侍醫療的退伍軍人已經銳減,並祈求大家向國會議員訴說絕對不能將退伍軍人醫院改為私有化。

民主黨及共和黨兩個總統候選人都在全國年會發表演說。民主黨候選人希拉莉致詞有關國家安全措施、種族多元化及共同合作。她強調不會譲退伍軍人事務部變成私有化,她會加強退伍軍人事務部對醫療服務更加重視。共和黨候選人川普翌日致詞再度重覆他競選標語「美國會停止向敵人道歉,只有為美國功勞而歡呼」,他強調會支持對為國効勞的軍人為其首要的任務,並承諾給予軍人最先進武器去遏阻敵人侵犯。他亦支持退伍軍人事務部全面改革使能對退伍軍人提供更好的服務。

第九十八屆紐約州年會於七月中旬在上州冰坎頓市舉行,來自紐約州吉特拉加斯第八區的約翰、桑普森獲選為二零一六至二零一七年度紐約州美國退伍軍人總會主席。此外,本會幹事梅本立獲選為二零六至二零一七度紐約州美國退伍軍人會第一區主席。今年是有史以來紐約州美國退伍軍人會第一區主席,副主席及幹事均為華裔當任,這是值得大家向他們致賀!