Dear Sgt. Shaft:
My name is Rochelle, my husband was rated 100 percent about eight years ago, which made me eligible for the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA). At the time, we were living in N.J., and I was able to receive my care at the VAMC in nearby Philadelphia.
We are now living in Savannah Ga., which seems to me to be a military town. We live up the road from Hunter Army Air force and just a few miles from Fort Stewart, yet I can find no provider willing to accept CHAMPVA. The one provider I did find hasn't accepted new patients in four years. Please help. I really don't think they understand the concept of the program and somehow feel the military should be treating me directly.
Via the Internet
Other than though the VA, I might recommend connecting with the local VFW or DAV to find a VA point of contact for further information. Additionally, you may want to connect with the VA provider you had in Philadelphia for recommendations. I think the local veteran's organizations could be helpful. I am also contacting the top doc at the VA Department of Veterans Affairs to see if he can be of assistance.
* Rep. Mike Michaud, Maine Democrat and the ranking member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, has named Nancy Dolan to be the new Staff Director for the minority committee office. Ms. Dolan will begin her service on the committee at the end of the month.
"Nancy is an experienced professional and a dedicated public servant who cares deeply about our committee's bipartisan mission," Mr. Michaud said. "She is results-orientated and will help lead our efforts with a steady hand. I'd like to enthusiastically welcome her to the committee, and I look forward to our work together on behalf of our nation's veterans."
Ms. Dolan has more than 15 years of public service. She is currently the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Veterans Affairs. In this role, she identifies long-range veteran issues, analyzes current strategies and advises the Secretary, Deputy Secretary and senior VA leaders of required changes to policies, priorities and resources.
Prior to working with the VA, Ms. Dolan served with the Department of Navy in various positions responsible for planning, policy and resourcing relative to national security and naval operations. In 2008, she was one of only two civilian DoD Congressional Legislative Fellows, serving on Mr. Michaud's personal staff as the Military Legislative Aide handling the defense, veterans and foreign affairs portfolios.
Ms. Dolan is a member of the Senior Executive Service. She is known for her proactive, innovative and collaborative leadership style. She has been repeatedly recognized for resource stewardship and leading superior performing teams with high morale.
A native of New York, Ms. Dolan graduated from Cornell University. She has pursued graduate-level studies at the University of Dayton, and executive training at the University of North Carolina and the Federal Executive Institute. She is a graduate of the MIT Seminar XXI Program. She is a member of the DoD Acquisition Professional Community, certified at Level III in Program Management and Systems Engineering. Ms. Dolan received the Meritorious Civilian Service Award for her exceptional performance and contributions.
* As part of its mission to bring the enlisted voice to Capitol Hill, the Fleet Reserve Association's (FRA) is conducting an online survey to determine which military and veterans benefits are most important to active duty and Reserve personnel, retirees, veterans and their families. The brief survey, available at www.fra.org/survey, asks current and former members of the uniformed services and their spouses to rate a variety of benefits and quality-of-life programs associated with their service to our nation.
"As Congress explores ways to cut federal spending, many hard-earned benefits are in the budgetary crosshairs," said Joe Barnes, FRA's national executive director. "FRA is asking all current and former military personnel and their spouses to share their opinions about the programs they value most. Survey responses and comments from participants provide important reference information when we testify before Congress or meet one-on-one with lawmakers and their staff."
FRA will share the survey results with elected officials on Capitol Hill and leaders within the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security — ensuring these key decision-makers understand the military perspective.
"Participating in this survey really helps FRA help you," Mr. Barnes said.
* Employers who support the National Guard and Reserves should be publicly honored through nominations from America's military men and women for the Department of Defense Freedom Award, said Rep. John Carter, Texas Republican.
"When employers go above and beyond in supporting members of the National Guard and Reserve, we need to make sure the entire community knows of that support," Mr. Carter said. "This is a great opportunity for our Texas Guard and Reservists to make known the employers in our state that back our military, by nominating them for the Freedom Award. But the January 21 deadline is just 14 days away, so they need to do so immediately."
The Freedom Award is DoD's highest honor for civilian employers supporting Guard and Reserve members. The award highlights those employers going to extraordinary lengths to encourage their military employees' service and provides Guard and Reserve members a way to show their appreciation for their employers' tremendous support.
Employers of every size and industry are eligible. The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) organization will accept nominations at www.FreedomAward.mil through Jan. 21.
The 2013 recipients will be announced in early summer and honored in Washington, D.C., during a ceremony next fall. Recipients of the 2012 Freedom Award included diverse employers such as a telecommunications company, department of public safety, Midwest law firm and small-town church.
For questions or interviews regarding the Freedom Award, contact Beth Sherman, ESGR Public Affairs, at 571/372-0705 or by email at ESGR-PA@osd.mil.
* Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330, call 202/257-5446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sgt. Shaft was hatched in April of 1982 at the home of the veterans' newspaper, Stars & Stripes, in Washington, D.C. This moniker combines the name of its creator, John Fales, Marine MOS in Vietnam and "Scout Sgt.," with the military expression when wronged, "Shafted."
Sgt. Shaft's wry sense of humor, empathy for the underdog, and strong love of country and fellow veterans closely mirror the nature of its creator.
In addition to writing the column, John Fales is President of the Blinded American Veterans Foundation. His decorations include Purple Heart, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal, New York State Conspicuous Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Action Ribbon, and South Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Sgt. Shaft has no twin.