Stolen Valor Act and other bills signed into law


The Stolen Valor Act was signed into law by Governor Baker

Monday authorizing the toughest “Stolen Valor” law in the nation.

Massachusetts is cracking down on people who falsely claim military status for financial gain. Governor Charlie Baker signed “Stolen Valor” legislation into law Monday, making it a crime to impersonate a service member or veteran for money or military benefits.

The bill was filed by Westfield Democrat John Velis who served in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army Reserves. He told 22News some people have been caught wearing a fake military uniform or medals for financial gain from a free meal from a restaurant, all the way to a veteran’s home loan. The penalty for the crime is up to a year in jail, a $1,000 fine or both.

Four additional Veterans related laws was also signed:

State Rep. Aaron Vega, D-Holyoke, sponsored a law that will give Purple Heart recipients free access to Massachusetts state parks and recreation areas.

State Rep. Todd Smola, R-Warren, sponsored a law that will require anyone convicted of willfully damaging a war memorial or veteran’s gravestone or marker to pay restitution to the property owners.

The other new laws make it a crime to steal commemorative flag holders from veterans’ or first responders’ graves and to buy or sell stolen headstones or monuments from veterans’ or first responders’ graves
A great day in the Commonwealth.



“Stole Valor Bill Passes in the House”

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – House lawmakers on Wednesday passed the “Stolen Valor Act” bill, which would make it a crime to impersonate a military member or veteran for financial gain. Lead bill sponsor Westfield Democrat John Velis explains why this issue hits so close to home.

“Too many people have given too much. As a service member, as a veteran, I’ve lost friends myself. We cannot allow people to carry on this practice,” Velis told 22News.

Some people attempt to falsely claim military status by wearing a uniform or forging documents for money or military benefits. That can range anywhere from a free meal to a V.A. home loan, according to Eric Segundo, Sr. of the Massachusetts Veterans of Foreign Wars.

“Even just standing on the corner with a sign that says ‘help me I’m a veteran,’ if they’re not a veteran that’s wrong. They shouldn’t be doing that,” he said.

If the “Stolen Valor Act” is signed into law, anyone convicted of the crime would be punished by up to a year in jail or a $1,000 dollar fine, or both. We asked House Speaker Robert DeLeo whether the punishment fits the crime. He said, “I think that he found that was the most reasonable amount of time.”

The “Stolen Valor Act” now heads to the Senate. It doesn’t seem like that chamber is in much of a rush to take up the bill – at least not by Veterans’ Day next Wednesday.

If the bill reaches the Governor’s desk for his signature, Massachusetts would have the strongest Stolen Valor law in the nation.


H1641 “Stolen Valor Act” House Votes on Wednesday 11/4

H1641 “Stolen Valor Act” will be heard on the house floor for a vote on Wednesday 11/4. We are extremely pleased that our state Representatives expeditiously move this bill for a vote. We are confident by the bipartisan support that it would have a favorable outcome. We need the senate to immediately follow suit and move to take a vote as well on this important bill just in time for Veterans Day. What better way to show support for veterans in the commonwealth than to protect those very benefits in which we have earned and protect them from fraud. Contact your State Senators to bring it for a vote as well!


H1641 “Stolen Valor Act”


On 10/5/2015 Massachusetts House Bill 1641”Stolen Valor Act” was favorably passed by the Judiciary committee and has now been referred to the committee on House Steering, Policy and Scheduling. We are grateful to all the committee members for supporting this bill and our veterans. We now need your continue support to reach out to the House Steering Committee and have this bill moved favorably and expeditiously out of that committee and to the full house for a vote. Please contact Committee Chairman, Rep. Nangle at and Vice Chair, Rep. and urge them to pass this bill!


VA, Walgreens Provide Veterans Flu Shot Options

VA, Walgreens Provide Veterans Flu Shot Options

This flu season, you have options

With flu season right around the corner, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Walgreens are making it easier than ever for veterans to protect themselves against the influenza virus.

Veterans who are currently enrolled in the VA Health Care System can visit their local Walgreens or Duane Reade location to receive a free flu shot. To take advantage of this offer, simply click here to download the registration form. Then, present the completed form to your local Walgreens or Duane Reade pharmacist with your VA and photo ID cards.

With your free flu shot, Walgreens will also automatically update your VA health care records. To find a location near you, call 800-WALGREENS (800-925-4733) or visit  




VFW to Host Virtual Career Fair for Veterans

VFW to Host Virtual Career Fair for Veterans

Quality employment assistance remains a VFW priority

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) is pleased to announce it will host a virtual career fair open exclusively to service members and veterans on October 21, 2015.

The career fair will run from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. CDT and feature available opportunities within Black & Veatch, Cerner, Garmin and Overland Contracting Inc. (OCI), all companies with a demonstrated commitment to hiring America’s service members and veterans.

Participants are strongly encouraged to preregister for the event at:

“Helping service members and veterans succeed in their quest for quality employment is a VFW priority. This is a highly-employable demographic,” said John A. Biedrzycki Jr., the national commander of the VFW. “They possess ideal characteristics and traits that, in addition to their skillsets, make them valued employees, teammates and leaders. We appreciate being joined by quality businesses that understand that, and we look forward to this being a very successful event.”

The upcoming career fair will work to connect participants to a desired opportunity by offering various positions in a wide range of career fields.

Black& Veatch is an employee-owned, global leader in building Critical Human Infrastructure™ in energy, water, telecommunications and government services. Since 1915, it has helped clients improve the lives of residents in more than 100 countries through consulting, engineering, construction, operations and program management. Black & Veatch will seek candidates to fulfill roles in engineering, EHS (environmental, health & safety), procurement, material management, quality control, construction management and project controls. 

Cerner, recognized as one of the most innovative companies in the world, is at the intersection of two fast-growing industries: technology and health care. Cerner’s health information technologies connect people, information and systems at more than 18,000 facilities worldwide. Cerner’s mission is to contribute to the systemic improvement of health care delivery and the health of communities. It will seek talent with the ability to drive change through the use of information technology.

Garmin is a leading worldwide developer and provider of consumer electronics within automotive, aviation, marine, outdoor/fitness, and mobile technologies for Global Positioning System. Designing its products with the customer in mind, Garmin is committed to making superior products that are an essential part of its customers’ lives. It will seek to fill employment positions in the fields of operations, engineering, marketing and finance.

OCI is a full-service contractor, specializing in engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) projects. It believes in accountability and transparency throughout the project and work collaboratively to provide innovative solutions to difficult challenges. OCI always puts people first in a zero-incident safety culture. It works safely throughout the project, leaving behind an environment that allows end users to work safely. A Black & Veatch company, OCI delivers tailored solutions to the power, communications, and water industries through direct hire or subcontract options utilizing open or merit shop labor. It is a supporter of the Fast Track to Civilian Employment Program with Build Your Future, and will seek veterans and service members interested in skilled construction crafts, construction management, procurement, material management, quality control, EHS and project controls.

While preregistering for the event is preferred, participants may register at the time of and during the event.


VFW Appoints First Female Assistant Quartermaster General

image003KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) has appointed a 13-year Army and Desert Storm veteran as the first female Assistant Quartermaster General for the nation’s largest combat veteran service organization.

Debra Anderson was sworn in on August 23, 2015, before the VFW’s National Council of Administration. The announcement comes just days after a historical change to extend VFW Auxiliary membership eligibility to male spouses and male family members, solidifying the VFW’s commitment to membership equality for all military families.

“Since coming to the VFW in 2006, Debra has been dedicated to furthering the VFW’s mission at Post, District and National levels. I have no doubt that she will continue to ensure the VFW remains the top veterans’ service organization FOR VETERANS,” said John Biedrzycki, VFW national commander. Tired of endless custom essay writing? Let’s talk shop – place the order with professional service!

Prior to her appointment, Anderson served as director of Human Resources and Investment Coordinator where she managed all aspects of human resources for the VFW National Headquarters.

Anderson earned her VFW eligibility for service with the U.S. Army during Desert Storm and left the Army in 1993 as a Major. Among her numerous military decorations, she has been awarded the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (2), Southwest Asia Service Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal and Parachutist Badge.

She graduated cum laude with a degree in Economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia and earned a master’s degree in Systems Management from the University of Southern California.

Anderson joined the VFW in 2006 at Post 7356 in Parkville, Mo., where she currently maintains her Gold Legacy Life membership. She has served as Voice of Democracy chair, junior vice commander, senior vice commander, All-American Post Commander, trustee and district adjutant.



DOD Announces New Prescription Drug Policy

The DOD has announced a new TRICARE policy that will require military retirees and family members to obtain certain prescription drugs through the mail or at a military treatment facility (MTF). The change affects only maintenance medications. Acute medications such as antibiotics may still be obtained through retail pharmacies. Active duty military are exempt. Similar to the TRICARE for Life pharmacy mail order pilot program, generic formulary drugs will be free with home delivery and name brand formulary drugs will cost $16 for a 90 day supply. This is compared to $8 for generics and $20 for name brands currently charged at network pharmacies for a 30 day supply. There is no charge for drugs obtained at MTFs. DOD estimates this new policy will save $88 million a year for them, and $16.5 million a year for beneficiaries. Receiving a single name brand drug through home delivery rather than a retail pharmacy will save beneficiaries up to $176 per year. Affected beneficiaries will begin receiving letters on September 1 with additional information on the new policy and how to obtain waivers if necessary. For more information on TRICARE pharmacy copays, visit:


Action Alert: Veterans Choice Program and Access Survey

Background: Last year, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 (Choice Act) to improve access to health care for veterans and reduce VA appointment wait times. Since its enactment, the VFW has worked to ensure this important law serves the best interest of veterans. In the past year, the VFW has commissioned several surveys; compiled three reports; worked directly with VA officials and health care contractors; and testified before Congress multiple times on the state of the VA health care system and the implementation of the Choice Act, resulting in significant changes in the program to better serve veterans.

Action Needed: Take the VFW’s latest Veterans Choice Program and Access Survey to help the VFW hold VA accountable for delivering veterans timely access to high quality care. To take the survey, click here:


VFW Auxiliary Now Accepts Men

John A. Biedrzycki Jr., national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) [last week] added his official signature to the new congressional charter of its Auxiliary organization in a historical event solidifying the VFW’s commitment to membership equality for all military families.

The former Ladies Auxiliary VFW, founded in 1914, is the VFW’s highly regarded support organization and is considered its “Partner in Service.”

Under its former name Ladies Auxiliary VFW, membership within the organization was offered exclusively to female spouses and family members of any member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The gender-specific eligibility requirement remained for more than 100 years until July 20, 2015, when delegates to the VFW’s 116th National Convention in Pittsburgh voted to amend the dated by-law to extend the same membership opportunity to eligible males.

Appropriately, the Ladies Auxiliary VFW has changed its official name to the VFW Auxiliary.

“It’s an exciting time to be a member of the Auxiliary,” said National President Francisca Guilford. “Women comprise nearly twenty percent of our nation’s military, and this change allows all spouses, fathers, grandfathers, sons, grandsons and brothers to serve others in honor of their veteran.”

Currently, the Auxiliary has more than 465,000 members, a number that is now expected to sharply increase over the next year. Its members represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia, several foreign locations including Germany, Guam and Panama, and have made an impact in local communities around the globe.

Last year alone, its members worked to provide $4.6 million dollars in monetary aid to veterans, active duty military and their families, and volunteered nearly 800,000 hours in VA Medical Centers, hospitals, nursing and veterans’ homes. Auxiliary members also contributed greatly to cancer research, youth activities, civic patriotism and much more.

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For more information about the VFW Auxiliary, please visit


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