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Veterans Benefits Information

Legion comic book supports National Bullying Prevention Month

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October is National Bullying Prevention Month and The American Legion supports efforts to end bullying through its comic book, "Bridging the Gap."

Children and youth face many challenges in today’s society, but one constantly remains in the media spotlight — bullying. "Bridging the Gap" is an educational comic book to help middle school age children recognize, prevent and stop bullying. The comic book features six main characters and includes two stories that are interwoven throughout the book. One story focuses on physical bullying and the other on cyberbulling. Each story focuses on how to:

  • Define and recognize bullying behavior

  • Understand and protect the rights of others

  • Prevent and stop bullying of yourself

  • Prevent and stop bullying of others

  • Stop cyberbulling

American Legion Family members are encouraged to raise awareness about bullying in their community by distributing copies of "Bridging the Gap" to local schools. The comic book can be purchased online here for 75 cents apiece, or 59 cents apiece for the purchase of 100 or more.


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Legionnaires to gather in Indy for annual Fall Meetings

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American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad and Legionnaires representing every American Legion department will convene in Indianapolis Oct. 13-18 for the organization's annual Fall Meetings.

The American Legion's various commissions and committees will meet at the Sheraton City Centre Hotel in downtown Indianapolis to discuss updates on the Legion's youth and veterans programs, review resolutions, and prepare reports that will be delivered to the National Executive Committee (NEC). The NEC will meet Oct. 17-18 in the NEC Room at National Headquarters to review the reports and vote on resolutions.

Opening remarks from Reistad at 9:15 a.m. on Oct. 17 will be streamed on Facebook Live here.

During Fall Meetings, the 2018 Child Welfare Foundation grant recipients will be announced, as well as the Samsung American Legion Scholarship recipients.


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Kansas Legionnaires to honor Ike for 37th straight year

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The Department of Kansas American Legion will hold its 37th annual Eisenhower Pilgrimage Oct. 13, honoring the former president, general and Legionnaire.

The American Legion Riders chapter from Post 240 in Chapman, Kan., will provide a rifle salute for the ceremony starting at 10 a.m. at the Eisenhower Museum and Library in front of General Eisenhower’s statue in Abilene.

A wreath-laying will precede the ceremony. Navy Capt. Mark Oberley, a native of Dodge City, will be the featured speaker.

Each year, the pilgrimage is held on the Saturday closest to Eisenhower's birthday, which was Oct. 14. Dwight Eisenhower, a member of the Abilene post, received The American Legion's Distinguished Service Medal in 1946.

After the ceremony, a vice commander homecoming luncheon will be held at the Greyhound Hall of Fame. American Legion Department Vice Commander Chuck Shoemaker, Department Auxiliary Vice President Paula Sellens and Sons of The American Legion Detachment Vice Commander Tom Wallsmith will be honored.


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New Medicare initiative aims to modernize access to personal health data

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Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a new, online initiative that modernizes how beneficiaries get information about Medicare. The multi-year eMedicare initiative is designed to empower patients and improve access to personal health care data. The goal, CMS says, is to provide a seamless online health care experience to meet the growing expectations for this generation of Medicare beneficiaries.

Some of the new eMedicare initiatives CMS is launching ahead of Medicare Open Enrollment are:

  • An improved coverage wizard to help beneficiaries compare options to decide if Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage is right for them;

  • A mobile optimized out of pocket cost calculator that will provide information on both overall costs and prescription drug costs;

  • A simplified log in for the Medicare Plan Finder tool;

  • A webchat option, which will be available within the Medicare Plan Finder; and

  • New easy-to-use surveys available across Medicare.gov so beneficiaries can continue to share what they want.

“Our intent is not to replace traditional channels that beneficiaries trust and depend on,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said, “but to improve and enhance them with the emerging digital options to create a user-centered, seamless consumer experience.”

CMS released a video and blog where beneficiaries can learn more about the new initiative.


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Slain South Carolina police officer was a Boys State alum

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A South Carolina police officer killed in the line of duty last week had ties to The American Legion Boys State program.

Florence (S.C.) Police Sgt. Terrence Carraway, 52, was killed Oct. 3 as he and other city police officers tried to rescue three wounded Florence County deputies who had been shot by Frederick Hopkins, 74. Hopkins faces charges of murder and attempted murder after shooting Carraway and six other officers in the incident, which stemmed from deputies coming to the Hopkins home for a prearranged interview with Hopkins’ son, Seth, 28, who has been charged with second-degree sexual misconduct with a minor.

Carraway attended Palmetto Boys State in 1983 and was remembered for wearing a Boys State T-shirt under his uniform. Palmetto Boys State staff said Carraway would show the shirt to kids he worked with in local schools as something for them to strive for.

Carraway’s son, Rashad, attended Palmetto Boys State in 2010 and served as a junior counselor in 2011.

Hundreds attended Carraway’s funeral Monday in Florence, where he was remembered as having “the heart of a giant.”

In a story about the funeral in the Charleston Post and Courier, Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela said, “In a world where it seems sometimes that everyone is angry, Sgt. Terrence Carraway was a peacemaker. To be sure, he was tough. He had a spirit of determination and courage that was on display Wednesday afternoon.”

Carraway had recently been honored for 30 years of service with the Florence Police Department.


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Did you know?

A veteran’s family must request a United States flag.

A flag is provided at no cost to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran. Generally, the flag is given to the next of kin. Only one flag may be provided per veteran. Upon the request of the family, an “Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes” (VA Form 21-2008) must be submitted along with a copy of the veteran’s discharge papers. Flags may be obtained from VA regional offices and most U.S. Post Offices.