TITUSVILLE — May is Military Caregiver and National Military Appreciation Month. Here are some important days on the calendar:
• May 1: Silver Star Service Banner Day and Loyalty Day
• First Thursday in May: National Day of Prayer
• May 7: Military Spouses Appreciation Day
• May 8: V-E Day (Victory in Europe on May 8, 1945, Germany unconditionally surrendered)
• May 8-16: Armed Forces Week
• May 9: Mother's Day
• May 13: Children of Fallen Patriots Day
• May 15: Armed Forces Day
• May 15: Peace Officers Memorial Day
• May 31: Memorial Day
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Leaders of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) have written an op-ed calling for comprehensive toxic exposure legislation.
There are currently multiple bills that address the issue of toxic exposure, and the VFW’s recommendation is to combine all these bills into a large comprehensive package.
“The time to pass toxic exposure legislation is now,” said Hal Roesch, VFW national commander. “Veterans have waited long enough for our elected officials to act on their behalf. If Congress waits until the next conflict to address this issue, they are already too late.”
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The VFW announced on Thursday that it has joined forces with Team Red, White & Blue (Team RWB).
Focused on increasing veterans’ access to a combined health and wellness network, Team RWB offers camaraderie and support from fellow service members, veterans and their families.
The organization is comprised of nearly 200 chapters and communities, made up of over 217,000 members, called Eagles, the majority of whom are post-9/11 veterans.
“Camaraderie, commitment and service are core values to both our organizations, and together, we’ll be unstoppable in our quest to ensure a better quality of life for every American veteran,” Roesch said.
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Need help with your U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) claim? The claims process can be confusing and one that you should not try to navigate alone. The VFW's National Veterans Service is a nationwide network of VA-accredited service officers and pre-discharge representatives who are experts in dealing with VA and are the key to your success.
As skilled professionals, they assist in filing for disability compensation, rehabilitation and education programs; pension and death benefits; and employment and training programs.
This is a service the VFW is proud to offer free of charge to anyone seeking assistance with the claims process.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many VFW service offices are operating via telework, and the VFW's network of service officers have the capability to assist veterans virtually.
The VFW service representative for northwestern Pennsylvania is Julie Hutchison. She can be reached at (814) 835-8494.
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Here is this week’s prisoner of war and missing in action update:
• Navy Radioman 3rd Class Theodore Q. Jensen, 22, of Delta, Utah, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. He will be buried on June 2, 2021, in his hometown.
• Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. William H. Melville, 20, of Minneapolis, was a pilot assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron, 8th Fighter Group. On Oct. 28, 1943, he was on a combat mission over the island of New Guinea, Australia. Melville will be buried July 16 in his hometown.
• Army Pfc. Philip T. Hoogacker, 23, was a member of Company D, 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment. He was reported missing in action on July 27, 1950, after his unit was attacked near Anui, South Korea. He died as a prisoner of war. Interment services are pending.
• Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Ernest N. Vienneau, 25, was a pilot assigned to the 340th Bombardment Squadron, 97th Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force, based out of Amendola, Italy. On Nov. 6, 1944, the bomber on which he was serving as co-pilot came under heavy anti-aircraft fire while on a mission over Maribor, Yugoslavia. Interment services are pending.
• Navy Water Tender 1st Class Charles E. Hudson, 39, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Interment services are pending.
• Navy Seaman 1st Class Walter C. Stein, 20, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Interment services are pending.
• Navy Fireman 1st Class Kenneth E. Doernenburg, 23, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Interment services are pending.
Charlie Castelluccio, a Titusville resident, is chaplain of northwest Pennsylvania’s 28th District of Veterans of Foreign Wars and is a member of Titusville Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5958.