June 23, 2015

Sgt. Shaft caricatureDear Sgt. Shaft,
On behalf of all our blinded veterans of the Greater Los Angeles area we thank you for your assistance with the soon to arrive ScripTalk printers.

Jim Hogan
Los Angeles

Dear Jim
Thanks should go to VA Secretary Bob McDonald who acted quickly when I aware him aware of this critical need.

Shaft Notes
In 1965, with much pomp and circumstance, U.S. Vice President Hurbert Humphrey dedicated the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center, ushering in a new era of caring for DC area Veterans. He called the medical center one the “most automated in the world”, with the most modern equipment known to medical science of the day.

Fifty years later, the multi-disciplinary medical center staff is proudly upholding its tradition of providing quality health care to Veterans in the nation’s capitol using the most technically advanced techniques and equipment available. From 3D mammography to Mohs surgery to more than 300 current research studies, the Washington DC VA Medical Center has made a huge impact in health care in the nation’s capital over the past 50 years.

Tomorrow at 6 p.m. Veterans Affairs will commemorate its 50 years of service with a formal ceremony and reception. The milestone event will be held at the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 50 Irving Street, NW, Washington, DC 20422.  The main event will replicate the original ground-breaking ceremony and will be held at the outdoor flagpole at the entrance of the medical center.  Major General Jeffrey B. Clark, Director, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center will be the keynote speaker and music will be provided by the U.S. Navy Band.  Medical center staff, Veterans, federal, state and local officials along with community members will be in attendance.  A reception will immediately follow in the atrium.

While much has changed since the historical grand opening in 1965, health technology, the Veteran population, and even patient room configurations, but some things have remained constant.  The medical center staff’s commitment to caring for Veterans and providing them with world-class health care remains unchanged.

Throughout the year, the medical center’s 50th Anniversary Committee has been busy organizing a number of activities and events to commemorate “50 Years of Caring on 50 Irving Street”.  From concerts featuring Aun J, the traditional Japanese Orchestra, and a float in the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, to “Music in the Park” at the Washington Monument, the anniversary has been a year-long celebration.

The public is invited to attend this high point of the year-long celebration. For more information, media interviews with the medical center director or to cover the event, please contact the Office of Public Affairs, 202-745-4037.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today published a new regulation that expands eligibility for some benefits for a select group of Air Force Veterans and Air Force Reserve personnel who were exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange through regular and repeated contact with contaminated C-123 aircraft that had been used in Vietnam as part of Operation Ranch Hand (ORH).

VA published this regulation as an interim final rule so that it could immediately begin providing benefits to eligible Air Force veterans and Air Force Reserve personnel who submit a disability compensation claim for any of the 14 medical conditions that have been determined by VA to be related to exposure to Agent Orange.

More than 600 of America’s best wheelchair athletes, all disabled U.S. military Veterans, are arriving in Dallas, Texas, for the 35th National Veterans Wheelchair Games being held there June 21–26, 2015. The Wheelchair Games is occurring this year during the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) “Summer of Service,” an initiative designed to build upon existing partnerships to grow the number of individuals and organizations serving Veterans in their communities.

“The Wheelchair Games is a great example of courage and athleticism,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “If you want to see grit, determination and some of the finest athletes on the planet, this week in Dallas is the place to do it.  These Veterans have overcome obstacles, they’ve trained, they’ve persevered, and now they’re ready to compete on the world’s stage.”

VA and Paralyzed Veterans of America present the Games each year. The multi-event sports rehabilitation program is open to U.S. military Veterans who use wheelchairs for sports competition due to spinal cord injuries, amputations or certain neurological problems, and who receive care at VA medical facilities or military treatment centers.

“For 35 years now the National Veterans Wheelchair Games have provided a venue for veterans to experience the life-changing power of adaptive sports,” said Al Kovach Jr., national president of Paralyzed Veterans of America. “We’re proud to partner with the Department of Veterans Affairs each year to present the Games, and encourage the Dallas community to come out and support our veteran athletes.”

VA research and clinical experience verify that physical activity is important to maintaining good health, speeding recovery and improving overall quality of life. For many injured Veterans, the Games provide their first exposure to wheelchair athletics. Veterans competing in the Games come from nearly every state, as well as Puerto Rico and Great Britain.

Opening ceremonies will be held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Main Arena, 650 S. Griffin St., where many of the week’s competitive events will be held. The closing ceremonies will be held at the Sheraton Downtown Dallas Ballroom, 400 N. Olive St.  Other events will be held at Southern Methodist University, Victory Plaza, Fair Park, McKinnish Park, Ellis County Sportsman Club and many more venues around the Dallas metroplex.

For a complete schedule of events and additional information about the National Veterans Wheelchair Games visit www.wheelchairgames.org. For more information about the Summer of Service initiative, visit www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2706.




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