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Pennsylvania BSF Meets with Shinseki and Sestak

SestakPlease welcome guest blogger, BSF, Veterans Co-Coordinator, Jim White.

There are over 6,000 Penna guard members returning home from long tours in the Middle East.  Today in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, BSF had the opportunity to discuss the health care available to our Active Duty, Pa. National Guard and Reserve members with the Secretary of the VA., General Shinseki, and Congressman Joe Sestak.

It’s clear to this advocate their dedication to these matters are most important.   Gen. Shinseki asked BSF to send him a copy of BSF’s national survey of military families to review with his committees. And I will send it out to his office and Congressman Sestak’s office today.

ShinsekiRep. Sestak’s office handled over 2,000 cases this year alone from family members of military service members, three times the national average. Both Rep. Sestak and Gen. Shinseki leaders are in tune with the needs of family members and both want to hear from us. I believe this as both looked me direct in the eyes and made it a point to let me know I should connect with them if BSF ever needs assistance in Pennsylvania, or across the nation.

Jim WhiteBSF family also assisted with the second annual veterans transition stand down this past Saturday. Assisting over 200 plus transitions of veterans, Guard and Reserves. Pictured is the wing commander and Sr. Jag officer at the 911 air wing outside Pittsburgh who volunteered on this 90 degree day. Already today I got call from the Base MWR officer wanting to know how they can help with our Books on Bases, Smiles on Faces in Western Pa.

Building bridges, and sharing the pride of service in the BSF traditions in Pa.,

I remain, VR. Jim white-BSF-Pittsburgh, Pa.


BBQ Honoring Wounded Soldiers at the Japanese Embassy

Pam & Charles at Japanese Embassy with General and Mrs ShinsekiI attended a barbeque party with my sister and husband, hosted by Ambassador of Japan and Mrs. Ichiro this past Sunday. It was held at the Japanese Embassy; the gathering honored General Eric Shinseki, Secretary of the VA, and his wife, Mrs. Shinseki, as special guests. Other honored guests included OIF and OEF veterans and wounded warriors.

My husband and I spoke with the Shinsekis about his VA experiences (which have been very good so far), his trials and tribulations at Walter Reed, and my work with Blue Star Families. Mrs. Shinseki mentioned in our conversation that she met with Kathy Roth-Douquet, BSF Founder and Senior Advisor, several days ago and that it went well. Mrs. Shinseki mentioned that she saw Blue Star Families as the 21st century answer to military families! I told her that I thought this was a good description of what Blue Star Families stands for. We actually spoke with them for about fifteen minutes before other attendees realized who we were speaking with. Everyone was running for the food lines at the beginning (and the food was worth the running and the wait), while Charles and I decided to speak with the Secretary before he got tied up. It turns out that this was a good plan.

On Monday morning, Claire Woodward, our Executive Director, received a “very nice note” from Mrs. Shinseki mentioning that she met us. It is nice to be recognized and it is wonderful for Blue Star Families!