Column by Jesse Church
Hello veterans, old Jesse here with all the veterans’ news and upcoming events. The 2011 Creative Arts Competition was held in Honolulu the week of March 13-18. The competition is open to disabled veterans from the state of Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa. One of the entrants was Army veteran and Molokai Veterans Caring for Veterans member John G. Torres. John’s entry was a painting which he calls Chinese Lion Dance, and was awarded first place. John deserves a big mahalo for a job very well done; congratulations John, your fellow veterans and the people of Molokai are very proud of you, keep up the good work.
In the May 30 issue of the Marine Times, there was an article by Rick Maze about veteran-owned businesses. Federal criminal investigators are hot on the trial of thieves who steal from veterans – not their property or money, but their jobs. Investigators are chasing small businesses, mostly in construction and service industries, which falsely claim to be veteran-owned or disabled-veteran owned, to qualify for work set aside by the federal government solely for veterans. One Brooklyn man has already been convicted, and is awaiting sentencing. Eighty-five other businesses are under investigation by the VAD’s inspector general, said James O’Neill, VA’s assistant inspector general for investigations. In some cases, a company’s owner falsely claims to be a veteran. In others, an employee who is a veteran is falsely identified as owning 51 percent of the company. In still others, a veteran-owned business is used a front for a larger company that ends up doing most or all of the work, and making most or all of the profit, after a small payment to veteran-owned business. Since January, VA and the Small Business Administration have new procedures for business registration, including requiring business owners to submit DD214 military discharge forms, and veteran disability adjudication records. Companies were notified of the new requirements in December, said VA spokesman Josh Taylor.
I’d like to remind everybody that there are some Molokai Veterans Caring for Veterans shirts left, T-shirts $15 and polo $25; stop by the veterans center or call 553-8387. John Candello, the VA’s veterans advocate, will be on Molokai the first two Thursdays in July, the 7th and 14th. John will be able to help you file or check a claim, and answer your questions. He will be available from 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. by appointment, call 553-3611. Commander George Harada of Molokai VFW Post 3870 has announced that there will be no regular monthly meetings for the months of July and August, meetings will resume again on Sept. 13, 2011 at 12:30 p.m. If anyone has any news, stories, or just wants to talk about their experiences while in service of this great country, give old Jesse a call at 553-3323, I’d love to hear from you. A big mahalo to all our veterans, and the people of Molokai, you’re the best, I love you all.