Passing of Darlene Almeda

Also, I received information from the Almeda family about Darlene’s services:
Darlene’s internment will be at Tahoma National Cemetery on Friday, 16 October at 1015hrs
Services to follow at All Saints Catholic Church at 1230hrs
A “wake” will then be held at Carlos’ house after the service (pot luck) so remember your funniest Darlene stories……and there’s plenty of them!
I’m sure Carlos would love to hear/see any VFW member, as he feels we’re all family.  If you would like to go to any part of this service, or to his house, or even just send a card, his address is:
Carlos Almeda
10606 32nd St. E
Edgewood, WA  98372
Feel free to share this information.
Thank you all for a great day of remembrance and comradeship.
Traci Williams
District 11

VFW Report: Veterans Prefer VA Care

WASHINGTON (September 25, 2015) — One of the greatest ongoing debates in the aftermath of last year’s allegations of patients dying on secret waiting lists is where America’s veterans should get their care. According to a new report released this week by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, America’s veterans prefer that their care be provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

image003Entitled “Our Care,” the VFW report revealed that where veterans choose to receive their care depends on the number of options they have available. Still, the majority of the 1,847 veterans surveyed prefer to use the VA because they receive high quality care, they regard VA health care as an earned benefit, and they consider VA’s ability to treat service-connected conditions to be unmatched anywhere in the private sector.

“While some may believe the actions taken so far to fix the VA may not be thorough enough or fast enough, our latest report validates that 82 percent, an overwhelming majority of eligible veterans, choose to use their local VA for their medical needs,” said VFW National Commander John A. Biedrzycki Jr. “That’s significant, because it means veterans want to use their VA even though they may have other options ranging from private health insurance to the military’s Tricare program or Medicare or Medicaid.”

The VFW report does reveal that the VA continues to experience problems in the consistency of care, which affects all veterans, but was most recognized by the 101 women and 277 Post-9/11 respondents. Negative press reporting was also noted because it hides the great care provided daily by the vast majority of VA personnel and facilities. The top five factors that survey respondents reported as the main drivers of individual health care decisions were quality of care (92 percent), appointment availability (43 percent), distance to care (33 percent), cost of care (25 percent), and provider reputation or expertise (22 percent).

“The VFW has been at the forefront of helping all veterans to obtain the timely and quality care they earned and deserve,” said Biedrzycki, “and we will continue to work to ensure veterans have a voice when reforming a VA that was created to serve them.”

Read more details about the VFW’s “Our Care” report at

Sequestration, Budget, Veterans Top VFW Legislative Agenda

image003WASHINGTON (September 25, 2015) — More than 70 members of the national legislative committee of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States met with their members of Congress this week to end sequestration, to pass a new budget, and to ensure that a nation that creates veterans properly takes care of them when they return home.

“Sequestration is the most significant threat to military readiness and national security of the 21st century,” exclaimed VFW National Commander John A. Biedrzycki Jr., “and despite almost universal congressional opposition to it, no member of the House or Senate has yet introduced any legislation to end it, which makes zero sense to veterans, service members or their families. The return of mandatory sequestration in fiscal year 2016 has to be dealt with by a Congress that created it,” he said, “just as Congress must continue to properly care and treat generations of wounded, ill and injured veterans that our government created.”

Along with sequestration, the VFW national commander is very concerned that Congress has yet to pass any funding bills for the government’s new fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1, which could trigger another government shutdown similar to last year. “Congress must fund the government and remove the forced sequester provision of the Budget Control Act to ensure that the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and other agencies that support veterans have the resources needed to defend our nation and to care for those who do the defending,” said Biedrzycki.

Also high on the week’s VFW legislative agenda was ensuring the effective implementation of the Veterans Choice Act to ease access to care issues by VA and non-VA providers, employee accountability, the claims backlog, and eliminating the one-percent Cost-of-Living Adjustment penalty, which jeopardizes the success of every proposal to modernize the current military retirement system.

VFW legislative committee members also delivered advance copies of the organization’s latest report regarding veterans’ options, preferences and expectations when seeking health care. Entitled “Our Care,” the nationwide survey of 1,847 members revealed that where veterans choose to receive their care depends on the number of options they have available, but with all factors being equal, they prefer to use the VA because the continuity and continuum of care they receive is unmatched anywhere in the private sector. Read more about “Our Care” at

While in Washington the VFW national commander had the opportunity to discuss veterans’ issues with VA Secretary Bob McDonald and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, as well as receive update briefings by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, and meet with Acting Undersecretary of Defense, the Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy, the Senior Enlisted Advisors of the Joint Chiefs and Navy, and the directors of the Marine Corps and Joint Staffs.

Secretary Carter Participates in Lean In Circle

Today Secretary of Defense Ash Carter participated in a Lean In Circle at the Pentagon alongside LeanIn.Org Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg. Lean In Circles are designed as a peer-to-peer mentoring network. This circle included 15 military women of all ranks and services who were able to freely and confidentially speak about the professional challenges they have faced being women in the military. After the hour long circle, Secretary Carter announced that he will be encouraging circles to take place throughout Department of Defense, saying the program is a positive addition to his ongoing efforts to enhance workforce culture and collaboration within the department.

“DoD is a learning organization, and Lean In Circles give our people a way to do what they do best: learn through mentorship, peer to peer and bottom up, by brainstorming with colleagues and by being able to let their guard down,” Secretary Carter said.

Lean In Circles provide all women, including women in the military, an opportunity to learn and grow from each other. Sheryl welcomed the secretary’s support for expanding Lean In Circles within the Defense Department.

“The Department of Defense is the largest employer in the country, and I’m thrilled it is expanding Lean In Circles across all branches and with civilian personnel. My thanks to Secretary Carter and the DoD for taking this important step for equality.”

Lean in Circles are free to join and lead, and can be held online or in physical settings. With the secretary’s support, circles will be allowed within DoD facilities and can be held before, during and after normal work hours.

Free educational materials, chapters, and specific information for military circles can be found online at

The Deadline for VFW’s Youth Scholarship Competitions is Fast Approaching Student entries must be submitted by November 1

image003KANSAS CITY, Mo. (September 22, 2015) – The VFW is still accepting entries for the 2015-16 VFW Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen scholarship competitions. The deadline for student entries in both contests is Nov. 1.

The VFW’s scholarship competitions are dedicated to promoting patriotism among America’s youth. Students are asked to submit an essay in response to a question or statement on a subject that encourages them to consider how democratic ideals and principles apply to their lives. Each year the VFW awards more than $3 million in scholarships and awards to middle and high school students who participate in the two competitions.

This year’s Voice of Democracy theme encourages students to describe, “My Vision for America.” The Voice of Democracy scholarship competition is an audio-essay competition open to students in grades 9-12. The national winner will receive a $30,000 scholarship. Click here to learn more.

The Patriot’s Pen competition is open to students in grades 6-8. This year, students are asked to reflect on the statement, “What Freedom Means to Me.” The national winner will receive a $5,000 award. Click here for the details.

Students should submit their entry (along with a completed entry form) to their participating local VFW Post 2713.

*State of Washington Residents Only: Youth Essay Scholarship competition deadline is Nov. 1st as well.

Free 2 year Training for Veteran & Service Member Entrepreneurs via the Washington Diversity and Veterans Foundation

This message is to introduce the Washington Diversity and Veterans Foundation and invite your organization to become a partner in the fulfillment of our Veterans’ Objective Mission Program.

The Washington Diversity and Veterans Foundation (WDVF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which offers entrepreneurial resources, education, contacts, and tools to veterans and other individuals in the community to help them start or grow their own businesses.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of veterans leave the military to begin careers in the civilian community. Many have the skills, training, and experience to start their own businesses, but lack the entrepreneurial expertise to make those businesses successful. WDVF is committed to helping these veterans utilize their skills to build companies which achieve growth and prosperity and make positive contributions to the community.

In January, 2016, the Veterans’ Objective Mission Program starts, a two-year course designed to help veterans returned to civilian life and in-service military separating within a year to establish and develop businesses. This will increase the number of veteran owned businesses in our communities, fueling economic diversification, creating jobs, and developing sustainable entrepreneurial resources.

This program will serve 90 veterans and in-service members separating within a year. It is free to participants, an important component, since most veterans seeking to start businesses don’t have the financial resources to attend fee-based educational institutions while they start their companies.

We are taking applications now. Selected participants will have to pass a panel interview to start the program in January 2016. For more information, please visit:

WDVF is seeking sponsors, and/or partnership to support this program. We hope we can count on you to help support our cause. Please find attached a copy of the program’s brochure for your information.

If you have further questions contact me at 253-298-2546 or via email at and share this information to whom might benefit from this program.

Best Regards,

Silvia Reyes

No One Does More For Veterans


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