SEPTEMBER 2002 TO SEPTEMBER 2003
"Together We Can Make Things Happen"
The 2002 convention was held in San Diego, CA, during the week of August 28, 2002. We were honored to have Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Anthony Principi, address the delegates at the Installation Banquet. The following were elected, appointed to the Board of Directors:
President - David Washington
1st VP - Preston Hale
2nd VP - LeRoy Riddell
3rd VP - Larry Hyland
Treasurer - Richard Brogan
Director - Lonnie Vessell
Director - Mel Payne
Director - Pat Corbett
Director - Ken Adams
Memorial Foundation - David Summarell
TSCL Chair - George Smith
VSO - C. D. Rice
Parliamentarian - Charlie Flowers
Past National President - Vince Niski
Auxiliary President - Jan Jungemann
At the end of 2002, we saw Limited Concurrent Receipt. Although much less than we had been hoping for, it was definitely a step in the right direction. Purple Heart recipients and those with a disability of 60% or more, were allowed to receive their disability and retiree pay. This was known as "Special Compensation for the Combat Disabled." TREA will continue to work for FULL Concurrent Receipt.
President Washington, Co-Founder Sorell, and Chapter 24 participated in the Veterans Day celebrations at Arlington National Cemetery.
Other issues that TREA lobbied for on Capitol Hill included: Change Age for Reserve and National Guard Retirees, Improvements in the Survivor Benefit Plan, Waiver of Part B Penalty for Tricare For Life Eligibles, Burial in Arlington National Cemetary Rules, Health Care, Retention of DIC for spouses who remarry after age 55, the Flag Amendment, Improvement in the Former Spouse Protection Act, Repealing the SBP/DIC Offset "Widows Concurrent Receipt", and Pay for Healthcare with Pretax dollars.
Col. Bud Day, and the Class Act Group had been fighting for health care for retired veterans, primarily those who entered prior to June 6, 1956. They had taken the case all the way to the Supreme Court. The Federal Court of Appeals ruled against the military retiree. They agreed that recruiters and commanders had made the promise of lifetime healthcare, but they were made without authority. The Court urged Congress to do the "moral" thing.
TREA again was given the opportunity to testify before the Joint Veterans Affairs Committee. Several members and the Board of Directors watched as President David Washington presented his testimony, prior to a Congressional Reception, where TREA gave out Congressional Awards.
Legislative Director Deirdre Holleman was invited to the White House to meet with President George Bush, along with 21 veterans organizations, to attend a briefing on the war in Iraq.
President Washington, Legislative Director Deirdre Holleman, and members of Chapter 24, represented TREA at the Memorial Day celebration in Washington D.C. Ms Holleman and Mr. Washington were invited to a Breakfast at the White House with President and Mrs. Bush.
In May Legislative Director Deirdre Holleman and TREA's Deputy Legislative Director testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. Their testimony focused on SBP, healthcare, and concurrent receipt.
Rep Jim Marshall (D-GA) presented a Discharge Petition to force HR303 (full Concurrent Receipt) out of committee. The Discharge Petition required 218 signatures, but the signers were mainly along Party lines, and never received the 218 signatures.
The Memorial Foundation gave out 45 scholarships for the 2002-2003 school year.
Bob Hope, beloved entertainer to the troops, died in January at the age of 100. "Thanks For the Memories."