We sincerely hope the Holiday Season brought everyone good health and happiness. The Lunar New Year is right around the corner and we wish you and your families a happy, healthy, safe, and prosperous New Year, the year of the Monkey.
The Post has been busy the last few months with many activities. In October, post members participated in the Republic of China Double Ten Parade in Chinatown. In November, the post hosted the annual Veteran’s Day Parade on November 8th instead of the traditional November 11th to accommodate members who wished to participate in “America’s Parade” hosted by the United War Veterans on Fifth Avenue. The Thanksgiving Party was held on November 22nd in the newly dedicated Chairman Peter Woo Auditorium and 3rd floor where close to 300 Legion, Auxiliary and Sons of American Legion members, family and friends attended and enjoyed the holiday meal. Many thanks to Past Commander Mimi Wang for helping to purchase the goodies for a gift package sent to two of our members serving in Afghanistan. The individual packages included handwritten cards by school children.
Good news for veterans who are seeking help on various veterans’ benefits. New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, with strong support from members of the City Council and veterans’ communities, has signed into law the creation of a new agency, the Department of Veterans’ Services. This took place aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. The Department of Veterans’ Services is charged with helping veterans sign up for benefits, find jobs, locate housing, avoid homelessness, access scholarship and more. The new Department will replace the current veterans’ agency, the Mayor’s Office of Veteran’s 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.
We once again would like to remind you of the importance of the DD214 “Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty”; what is commonly known as the discharge paper among veterans. The DD214 is the capstone military service document as it represents the complete, verified record for service members’ time in the military, awards and medals, and all other pertinent service information. You need the DD214 to prove your service in order to join the American Legion. It is also required by funeral directors to immediately prove eligibility for interment in a VA cemetery and provide military honors to a deceased veteran. Most importantly, you need the DD214 to secure veterans benefits such as using VA doctors and hospitals and obtaining property tax reductions from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Over the last few months, the Post has received quite a few urgent requests for DD214 from our member’s families. Unfortunately, we were not able to help with these urgent needs because we did not have our member’s discharge papers. Approximately a dozen years ago, our Post initiated a program to safe keep the discharge papers for all of our members. We had appealed to everyone to bring in a copy of their DD214 (or we would make a copy of your original DD214) and keep it in a locked cabinet. Anyone who wishes to take advantage of this program, please contact Post Headquarters or bring in a copy at your convenience during the office hours of 2:00 to 4:00 pm daily. The Post already has copies of the DD214 for most members who joined after 1997 (except for those members who were still in active duty when they joined). We have been safe keeping your copy of the DD214 that you provided with your membership application. If you cannot locate your original DD214, you should think about applying for a replacement. You can find more information about how to obtain a replacement online by visiting the government website www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/about-service-records.html. We will do our best to help if you need a replacement but don’t have Internet access or if you need help filling out the application.
We were pleased to hand out Post Scholarship awards to ten well deserving recipients during the recent Post annual Christmas party, with each winner receiving $500. We would like to congratulate them on their outstanding achievement and wish them continued success in their future endeavors. We also handed out five Robert S. Wong Chinese Study Scholarship Awards. All award recipients completed a certified course in Chinese Study. Please note that the post has revised the scholarship application period to allow students to submit their scholarship applications from January 1st to August 31st.