August 23, 2016

Sgt. Shaft caricatureDear Sgt Shaft
I received a missive regarding a dying Marine veteran. I hope you can help this dying leatherneck and his wife.

George S
Via the Internet

Dear George

I referred the information you sent about him to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. I am sure that he will see that this veteran gets the best resolution for him and his family.

Blue military style mailbag with BAVF red letters stenciled on it. Below the BAVF is a tag that says SGT. SHAFTShaft Notes
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin has welcomed support from veterans’ organizations in Wisconsin for her bipartisan legislation to support job creation for America’s veterans. Senator Baldwin introduced the Boosting Rates of American Veterans Employment Act (BRAVE Act) with Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) last month. The legislation will reform the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) contracting process to give preference to businesses that actively employ veterans.

“Wisconsin’s veterans have earned every opportunity to be productive and successful after they have completed their military service and returned to civilian life,” said Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Saul Newton. “The BRAVE Act is vital to ensuring veterans can have a career and support their families. Wisconsin’s veteran business community applauds Senator Baldwin for her leadership and support of businesses who hire military veterans.”

“The Veterans of Foreign Wars – Department of Wisconsin supports the BRAVE ACT and believe that this bill will increase veteran employment nationwide,” said Veterans of Foreign Wars – Department of Wisconsin Commander Michael B. Eggleston. Providing gainful employment to our nation’s veterans is the most productive way this country can thank them for their service. This nation will also realize the benefit of having these disciplined and innovative men and women fully integrated into its workforce. We hope to see this bill continue to move through congress and signed into law.

“The VA spends $19 billion on procurement and contracting. The American Legion wants to ensure that our fellow veterans are given due consideration in the awarding of federal contracts, both those employed by contractors and the many who own their own businesses,” said American Legion Department of Wisconsin’s Commander Dan Seehafer of Horicon Post No. 157. “This bill expands veterans preference to companies who go out of their way to employ veterans, as well as punishes companies who knowingly misrepresent their percentage of veteran employees in an attempt to gain an unearned advantage. The Wisconsin American Legion supports this bill and applauds Senator Baldwin for her efforts on behalf of our fellow veterans.”

“The Military Order of the Purple Heart-Department of Wisconsin is proud to support Senator Baldwin’s BRAVE ACT as it is an important bill that will help incentivize the hiring of our nation’s veterans,” said Military Order of the Purple Heart – Department of Wisconsin Legislative Officer Jason Johns. “After giving so much in service to our country abroad and within, the least we can do is to help these brave men and women find gainful employment when they get back home. I hope to see this bill continue to move through the Congress and be signed into law.”

The Boosting Rates of American Veterans Employment Act (BRAVE Act) is also supported by The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Specifically, the BRAVE Act would allow the VA to consider the proportion of veterans employed by a prospective business when awarding federal contracts. The VA Secretary would have the authority to give preference to businesses that employ veterans based on its percentage of full-time veteran employees. The bipartisan legislation would encourage and incentivize VA contractors to employ veterans, and hold contractors responsible by requiring temporary debarment from contracting for businesses who knowingly misrepresent their proportion of veteran employees.

The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) a 2016 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest recognition given by the Department to employers for their support of employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve.

CHS was one of just 15 employers nationally to be recognized with this top honor, from more than 2,400 employers nominated.

“These 15 employers have distinguished themselves through their outstanding support of our Guard and Reserve members and their families,” said Defense Secretary Ash Carter. “Without the unfaltering support of employers like them, the men and women of the National Guard and Reserve would not be able to fulfill their vital roles in our National Security Strategy. It is a great honor for me to recognize these employers, and I congratulate them on their receipt of the Employer Support Freedom Award.”

The nomination for CHS was submitted by Sylvia Wray, RN, nurse manager at Carolinas HealthCare System Kings Mountain and a flight nurse for the North Carolina Air National Guard.

Wray wrote, in part, “In the National Guard we talk quite a bit about how the guard functions as one big family. We take care of each other. That same feeling pretty much sums up the way that Carolinas HealthCare System takes care of their employees. Two main themes that are always present in the System are ‘one team’ and ‘caring.'”

Aaron Harper, CHS manager of military and veterans affairs, knows firsthand the work being done on behalf of CHS’ military teammates. “CHS, like all employers, is required to comply with USERRA (the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act) but we don’t just comply, we go above and beyond,” Harper said. “We aren’t doing this to win awards. We are engaged internally and externally because we truly care about our military, veterans and their families.”

CHS and the other 2016 award recipients will be honored at a ceremony in the Pentagon on Aug. 26.


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