Congressman Eric Massa to Champion Veterans’ Disability Compensation Protection

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congressmanmassa2Congressman Eric Massa may be a new Congressman from the great state of New York, but he is no new comer to military and veteran issues. 

Eric Massa graduated from the US Naval Academy at Annapolis Maryland and he was commissioned as a Naval Officer. Massa then spent a total of 24 years on active duty serving in every operational area that the Navy sailed into during the 1980s and 1990s.

One deployment saw Massa spending many months off the coast of Beirut in direct support of Marines ashore. During another cruise to the Middle East Massa’s ship served on station during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and throughout the opening of Desert Storm. The capstone to Massa’s military career was as Special Assistant to General Wes Clark, both in Panama and then when he became Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces. Massa served with General Clark in Washington DC, Panama, and in the European Theater of Operations. (See Eric’s military records.)

During Massa’s campaign for the 29th District Congressional seat, Eric voiced a strong support for full mandatory funding of the VA, and many other veteran related issues. Many New Yorkers feel that his stance on veterans’ issues was greatly responsible for his modest victory. Whatever the reason, Massa held true to his campaign pledge by conducting his first face-to-face meeting with veteran leaders at Canandaigua Veteran’s Medical Center last Saturday morning.

     

Subjects covered ranged from veteran’s transportation, to the President’s stimulus proposal, to the development of a veteran’s advisory committee for Congressman Massa’s office.

Among the 20 or so veterans to attend the meeting were Operation Firing For Effect, National Chairman, Gene Simes, and OFFE Public Relations Director, Jere Beery.

offelogoEveryone that attended the meeting was given a chance to ask questions of the junior Congressman, and Massa fielded questions on a number of subjects. However, it was a report given by Jere Beery from Operation Firing For Effect that shocked and stunned Congressman Massa.

Beery provided the Congressman with a 30 page prepared report which revealed state divorce courts are routinely calculating veterans’ disability compensation into divorce settlements as a divisible asset. At one point, Congressman Massa stated ‘they cannot do that’. Beery then handed Massa a certified court document provided by a veteran by the name of Mr. Edward Gray of Michigan which clearly proved that ‘they were indeed doing just that’. Beery followed up with a statement that Operation Firing For Effect is monitoring 38 similar cases nationwide.

Beery then provided the Congressman with suggested wording to amend USC, Title 38 to improve Federal protection of veteran’s disability benefits from future attacks. To say Congressman Massa was impressed by Jere Beery’s report is an understatement. Congressman Massa asked Beery for second copy of his report to share with Congressman Bob Filner, Chairman of the Committee on Veterans Affairs.

Congressman Massa stated several times before adjourning the meeting that he would personally review Beery’s report and that he would also explore possible remedies to this obvious misinterpretation and apparent violation of USC, Title 38, section 5301 by civil courts. Massa thanked Jere Beery for bring this issue to his attention. In fact, after the meeting a number of veteran attendees came up to Beery and commended him on a very informative and focused report.

In a humorous gesture, prior to Massa’s departure, the Congressman offered Jere Beery a job in his Congressional office.   

For more information on this issue, visit; http://jerebeery.com/5301%20Club.htm

Meeting attendees included; Canandaigua Mayor, Ellen Polimeni, John Polimeni, Gene Simes (OFFE), Jere Beery (OFFE), Jerry Lasum, Alan Nerkwger, Ralph Kahle, Georgia Delaney, Robert Fink (OFFE), Milton Hanas (OFFE), Sam Cosella, Ted Fafinski, Earl Gleason, Dan Ryan, and Ralph Calabrese. 

 

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