by Jere Beery, Staff Writer
Last Wednesday, nineteen members of Operation Firing For Effect (OFFE) began a three day quest to visit all 535 Congressional offices in Washington, DC. Each OFFE volunteer carried a cover letter from Operation Firing For Effect and a resolution for full mandatory funding of veteran’s healthcare – which was signed by then Senator Barack Obama in 2008. Their intent was to lobby Congress and the Senate on behalf of the full funding concept. By Friday afternoon the OFFE group had visited over 400 offices with their message.
Operation Firing For Effect is a veterans’ advocacy group devoted to the improvement and protection of benefits and entitlements earned by our men and women in uniform. OFFE is a subsidiary of Veterans For Veteran Connection, Inc., a registered non-profit organization headquartered in Walworth, New York.
OFFE has been at the forefront of the nationwide movement to secure healthcare funding for our veterans for the past 5 years. In that time, OFFE has received the endorsements of such celebrities as; Willie Nelson, Charlie Daniels, and Bill Cosby. Both Nelson and Daniels have recorded public service announcements supporting fully funding veterans’ healthcare.
Last week’s visit to DC was merely the latest attempt by OFFE to gain support for the mandated full funding concept. OFFE’s plan was to attend pre-scheduled meetings and knock on doors of every member of Congress and the Senate. Although they were unable to visit all 535 offices, the OFFE team did accomplish more than anyone thought they could by visiting well over 400 Congressional offices.
The all volunteer OFFE team came from many points across the United States. Veterans advocates from Oregon, New Mexico, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio were all in attendance. The OFFE team was motivated and focused on getting their message to as many Congressional representatives as possible, and by late Friday afternoon they had done just that. It would be safe to say that many Congressional representatives, their aides and staff are very aware of Operation Firing For Effect and our objectives.
OFFE Washington, DC delegation; OFFE National Chairman, Gene Simes, OFFE Public Relations Director, Jere Beery, OFFE National Secretary, Barbara Wright, OFFE Security Chief, Russ Scarvelli, OFFE Treasurer, Milt Hanas, OFFE Historian, Bob Fink, OFFE Indiana Director of Operations, Lisa Wilken, OFFE Illinois Director of Operations, Millicent Bess, OFFE New Mexico Director of Operations, Ted Roybal, OFFE Texas Director of Operations, Simon Alvarado, OFFE Michigan Director of Operations, Calvin Murphy, OFFE Iowa Director of Operations, Jerry Bohr, OFFE Special Assignment Correspondents, Fred Gewjiski and John Monahan, Veterans Advocates, Thomas Were, Michael Silcox, Jacqueline Silcox, and Mike Johnson.