The U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee legislative team had a front-row seat at the House Veterans Affairs’ Committee hearing on the effects of the government shutdown, with testimony from Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki earlier this month.
After the hearing, Legislative Director Sean Ferritor had the opportunity to personally thank the Secretary for his thoughtful testimony and exchange a few face-to-face remarks.
As we mentioned briefly in the last month, the U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee is con¬cerned about remarks made by Allison Hickey, Under Secretary for Benefits at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"Of course we don't dispute that the VA needs to change the way it does business in order to reduce — and eventually eliminate — the backlog of disability claims," said U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee Executive Director Gerald B. Johnson. "But adding another, complicated hurdle for a disabled, injured, or mentally-ill veteran is not the way to go about that change."
Although Capitol Hill offices are shuttered for the August recess, things are anything but quiet at the U.S. Veterans Hos¬pice Committee headquarters.
Executive Director Gerald B. Johnson, Legislative Director Sean Ferritor, and Assistant Di¬rector Owen Thomas were hard at work tracking legislation, reviewing lists of co-sponsors on vital bills, and making stra¬tegic decisions about key staff members in the House and Senate on both sides of the aisle that need follow-up at-tention when Congress returns in September.
"Having surveys and petitions in hand makes our visits to Capi¬tol Hill much more persuasive," said Ferritor. "When you have the power of constituent names behind your lobbying efforts, officeholders pay attention," he continued.
September is Suicide Prevention Month. As such the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is getting the message out about the Veterans Crisis Line. This resource exists to provide veterans, their families, and their friends with a place to turn and a person to talk to in moments of crisis.
Every hour of the day, every day of the week, and every week of the year, trained and caring responders are waiting to talk to anyone who calls for support. Many of these responders are veterans themselves.
The U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee has received notification that a donation left in the form of a bequest was included in the will of Elisabeth Bell, a long-time supporter of our cause, who died in December 2012.
Mrs. Bell lived a fascinating and inspiring life. Her giving spirit is evidenced through her act of leaving a financial bequest to the U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee as a way to honor the sacrifice of our veterans and to help advocate for the hospice care so many homeless and terminally ill veterans need. Born in 1926 as Elisabeth Ehrig in Ellefeld, Germany, a relatively small town outside of Berlin, her early childhood was a happy, carefree one – one that ended suddenly with the rise to power of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi party.