New Jersey hosts 13th job fair

The Department of New Jersey conducted its 13th Hiring Our Heroes job fair on Nov. 5 at the 3rd/112th Field Artillery National Guard Armory in Morristown. The opening ceremony was preceded by the playing of the national anthem and the colors were posted by the Legion Post 155’s color guard from Whippany.

More than 100 employers and veterans service organizations were in attendance. There were more than 250 veterans and spouses looking for jobs. Special thanks goes to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for its role in planning this event, along with The American Legion Department of New Jersey Employment Chairman Bob Looby, Employment Vice Chairman Ron Davie and the New Jersey National Guard.

Meanwhile, planning continues for job fairs in Illinois, Kansas City, New York and Virginia.

In other news:

Disabilities Treaty: Legislative Division staff members attended the Nov. 5 congressional hearing on the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD), an international disability treaty that was inspired by U.S. leadership in recognizing the rights of people with disabilities. The treaty was negotiated by the Bush administration, and the U.S. signed it in 2009. On Dec. 4, 2012, the Senate considered the ratification of the CRPD but fell five votes short of the 67 super-majority vote required.

The legislation has the support of more than 700 groups advocating for people with disabilities and 20 veterans’ groups, including The American Legion.

On Nov. 1, American Legion National Commander Dan Dellinger sent a letter of support to Sens. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Bob Corker of Tennessee – the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It is available here.

A Legislative Action Alert was issued on Nov. 6 encouraging the Legion family to urge their senators to support the treaty. The alert is available here. The Legislative Division encourages Legion family members to communicate with the senators and the leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Support messages are most critical from Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

System Worth Saving: The American Legion’s System Worth Saving Task Force conducted a site visit Nov. 6-7 to the Department of Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System’s Oakland Campus. During the visit, the task force focused on VA’s accomplishments and progress over the past 10 years, current issues and concerns, as well as VA’s five-year strategic plan for several program areas such as: VA’s budget, staffing, enrollment/outreach, hospital programs, information technology and construction programs. The SWS task force also addressed the medical center’s issue of Legionella.

The previous day, the task force conducted a town hall meeting at American Legion Squirrel Post 577 in Pittsburgh. Veterans and the family members of those veterans who use the Pittsburgh VA Healthcare System were in attendance, as well as leadership from the medical center, and Congressman Mike Doyle.

Claims: During the week ending Nov. 1, 2013, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals reached dispositions on 230 American Legion represented appeals. Of those dispositions, 57.4 percent of the denials were overturned with outcomes favorable to the veteran. In 50 cases, the board granted benefits outright after considering The American Legion’s arguments. In 82 cases, The American Legion was able to point out errors in the development of the veteran’s claims which mandated corrective action under the law. Of the total number of dispositions, 90 (39.1 percent) were outright denied.

POW/MIA Update: Marine Corps Captain Henry S. White, 23, of Kansas, MO. and Staff Sergeant Thomas L. Meek, 19, of Lisbon, LA., were buried on Oct. 18, in Arlington National Cemetery. On July 21, 1943, White and Meek were crew members of an SBD-4 Dauntless dive-bomber that departed Turtle Bay Airfield on Espiritu Santo Island, New Hebrides, on a night training mission and failed to return. During the training mission, the aircraft was reported as crashed on a coral cliff on nearby Mavea Island.