Sgt. Shaft KUDOS

Sgt. Shaft Kudos badgeIn Sgt. Shaft’s columns he often gives individuals or organizations Kudos – for a job well done, to support a cause, or just to praise a stand someone may take on an issue. The Blinded American Veterans Foundation is furthering the Sarge’s reach by enabling him to give electronic Kudos to individuals, organizations and web sites that he would like to praise.

For a definition of the word Kudos, click here.

Kudos to Rep. Bob Filner, California Democrat and chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee for his letter urging VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki to improve the VA Medical Facility in Washington.

Mr. Filner stated: “I have learned of an internal proposal to further upgrade their services and to make this medical facility the showcase of the VA health care system to which others look for inspiration, which the one located in the nation’s capital should be. To that end, I am writing in support of a major project proposal that will address critical portions of the Washington, D.C. CARES study and will bridge the gaps in CARES for mental health care, primary care, specialty care, medical and surgical services.” For the complete details regarding this Kudos, please visit the Sgt. Shaft article linked above.
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Kudos to Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, Hawaii Democrat and chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, for introducing the Veterans’ Emergency Fairness Act of 2009. This bill would enable the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to reimburse veterans enrolled with VA for the remaining costs of emergency treatment received outside of VA’s health care system if the veteran has outside insurance that covers just part of the cost. Under current law, VA can reimburse veterans or pay outside hospitals directly only if a veteran has no outside health insurance.

“Because insurance may not cover all costs, a trip to the ER can leave insured veterans financially crippled. My bill would enable VA to fill the gap for veterans whose outside insurance does not meet their needs,” Mr. Akaka said.

In addition to reimbursing veterans for future costs of emergency care, the bill would allow the secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide retroactive reimbursements back to May 2000, when the VA was first authorized generally to cover the cost of outside emergency care for veterans enrolled with VA for their care.
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To retired Army Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, who recently took the oath of office as the nation’s seventh secretary of Veterans Affairs, assuming the leadership of the Department of Veterans Affairs following confirmation by the Senate.

“The overriding challenge I am addressing from my first day in office is to make the Department of Veterans Affairs a 21st-century organization focused on the nation’s veterans as its clients,” Mr. Shinseki said.

Mr. Shinseki plans to develop a 2010 budget within his first 90 days that realizes President Obama’s vision to transform the VA into an organization that is people-centric, results-driven and forward-looking.

Rep. Bob Filner, California Democrat and chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, offered his congratulations: “I believe the confirmation of General Eric Shinseki as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs goes a long way in restoring confidence in the VA.
“Confidence in an agency must be earned, and will only come when there is accountability, transparency and results. Over the years, little by little, veterans have lost faith in the VA. Now, we need to reinvest in our veterans and prove to them that we will fight for them just like they fought for us.
“Throughout Secretary Shinseki’s long and distinguished career in the Army, he produced real results and proved that his character is of the highest caliber. I am certain that he understands the hard work and dedication necessary to make VA stand for ‘Veterans Advocate,’ instead of what many believe the VA has become – ‘Veterans Adversary.’ ”

Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, Hawaii Democrat and chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, stated in a recent hearing on the Shinseki nomination: “General Shinseki is an honest, distinguished and capable veteran, who is well-equipped to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. He has a daunting task ahead of him, and I look forward to working with him and the… president to help veterans receive the care and services they have earned through their service.
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To Rep. Steve Buyer, Indiana Republican and ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, for recently urging House leaders and President Obama to include more than $2 billion for initiatives to assist veterans in any new stimulus package considered by Congress.

“We should not say we want to stimulate the economy and fail to include investments in programs that improve the lives of veterans,” Mr. Buyer said in a letter to Mr. Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader John A. Boehner.

To put stimulus funding where it would help both veterans and the economy the most, Mr. Buyer’s letter proposed $1 billion per year to reauthorize an expired Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) program to guarantee loans to veteran-owned small businesses.

Mr. Buyer also proposed over $357 million for a broad set of initiatives that would increase job training and placement programs for veterans, especially homeless women veterans.

Additionally, he proposed $927 million above current funding to accelerate construction programs to upgrade VA’s aging health care infrastructure and cemetery system.

The committee’s deputy ranking member, Rep. Cliff Stearns, joined Mr. Buyer in the stimulus package letter.

“Investing in our veterans not only helps those who served our nation, it also promotes economic growth through new construction projects, and by increasing educational opportunities and access to health care,” said Mr. Stearns, Florida Republican. “I join in urging the leadership to provide additional funding for veterans’ programs in any new economic stimulus package.”
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Amherst College for its creation of a permanently endowed scholarship fund for veterans of the U.S. armed forces who are accepted by and enroll at the liberal-arts school. The Veterans Scholarship Fund, as it is called, will provide enough financial aid to cover the full demonstrated need of qualified former U.S. servicemen and servicewomen starting in the fall of 2009.

Former members of the armed forces who apply to and are accepted at Amherst must still complete the college’s financial-aid application process to determine their eligibility and need for federal, state and institutional funding. The hope is that those funds, combined with G.I. Bill benefits, will cover most – if not all – of the expenses for the veterans to attend the college, explained admissions dean Tom Parker.

“We are fully committed to providing the best education possible to those who are so worthy of it,” he said.

To find the most promising applicants, Amherst will tap into its extensive recruiting networks and develop new avenues as needed. The college will extend its efforts into areas of the country with large concentrations of veterans, including California, Florida, Virginia and the District. Well-qualified veterans who wish to transfer into Amherst from community colleges and other institutions also will receive strong consideration. Also, to welcome the veterans who ultimately enroll, Amherst will make an added variety of services and programs available to the students to assist them in their transition to life at college, Mr. Parker said.

The creation of the new fund builds on Amherst’s leadership in the areas of accessibility and affordability. The college was one of the first in the country to adopt a need-blind admission policy, and in April this year, the policy was extended to international students. Amherst also was the first college in the nation to eliminate loans for low-income students and one of the first to eliminate loans for every undergraduate – a program that was enacted this academic year.
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Congressman Joseph Moakley, D-Massachusetts. Sarge is proud to honor this man for his uncompromising life of public service who has built a lasting legacy for generations to come.

At the time this Kudos was awarded Congressman Moakley had just announced that had leukemia and would not seek re-election in 2002. Click here for full text of a USA Today article about this outstanding public servant and his announcement.

Sadly Congressman Moakley passed away on May 28, 2001. Click here for a Wikipedia article about his life and accomplishments.

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Pitney Bowes – Business Solutions creators of the Universal Access Copier and long time supporters of the Blinded American Veterans Foundation.

An excerpt from the Pitney Bowes Corporate Citizenship page clearly shows why they were chosen by Sgt. Shaft for this honor.

“Pitney Bowes seeks to improve the quality of life in its communities and encourages employee service to those communities”.

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Freedom Scientific – creators of JAWS and other great computer software solutions for the sensory disabled. As they state on their web site:

Using JAWS for Windows Screen Reader and MAGic Screen Magnification software developed by Henter-Joyce, blind or visually impaired computer users access a wide variety of information, education and job-related applications. With our products, blind or visually-impaired people browse the web, read or write e-mail messages, re-calculate spread sheets or access information in a data base.

Freedom Scientific Logo
Empowering Independence ™

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(kdz, -ds, -ds, ky-) n.

a) Acclaim or praise for exceptional achievement.
b) Glory; fame; renown; praise.
c) To praise; to extol; to glorify.
d) An expression of approval and commendation.

[Greek magical glory.]

Usage Note: Kudos is one of those words like congeries that look like plurals but are etymologically singular: correctness requires Kudos is (not are) due her for her brilliant work on the score. Some writers have tried to defend the use of kudos with a plural verb, or even the introduction of a new singular form of kudo, on the grounds that these innovations follow the pattern whereby the English words pea and cherry were re-formed from nouns ending in -s that were thought to be plural. Perhaps the singular kudo would have to be acknowledged as a legitimate formation if it came to be widely adopted in the popular language in the way that cherry and pea have. But at present kudos is still regarded as a slightly pretentious variant for praise and can scarcely claim to be part of the linguistic folkways of the community. When writers reach for an unfamiliar Greek word for the sake of elegance, it is fair to ask that they get it right. Still, it is worth noting that even people who are careful to treat the word syntactically as a singular often pronounce it as if it were a plural: etymology would require that the final consonant be pronounced as a voiceless (s), rather than as a voiced (z).

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