Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Skellchock, Schneider stepping up for Post 295

Tuesday, June 30, 2009
by James Peters Staff Writer for GAZZETTE.NET

Gaithersburg Post 295 has played with numerous key personnel absences for most of the American Legion baseball season. There has been "Beach Week," other vacations and the inclusion of players at both the Brooks Robinson High School All-Star game and on Team Maryland.

On top of that, left-handed pitcher Mike Ryan has come down with arm troubles that will keep him off the mound for a while.

Despite those losses, Post 295 continued to collect victories and remained in first place in the Montgomery Division with a 14-2 record through the weekend.

Post 295 manager Rick Price credits his team's depth for the sustained success, including a solid performance by Zach Skellchock, who has filled in just about everywhere, including behind the plate and on the mound.

"We have a lot of good people to step in," Price said. "That's the key. I think guys like Skellchock, he's played a lot of positions and pitched for us. He's hit for us. He's thrown a runner out at the plate [from the outfield] and Gary Schneider has pitched two games for us."

Skellchock, through Sunday, had produced a 2-0 record and a 1.70 earned-run average on the mound and was batting .333 with six runs batted in. Schneider, the team's top catcher, has dominated on the mound, going 1-0 with a 0.78 ERA and 18 strikeouts in nine innings. Schneider did not pitch for Georgetown Prep this past spring.

Gaithersburg has also been helped by the play of mainstays Nick Karis (.391, 14 RBI), Spencer Pearman (.370, 14 RBI) and Matt Civetti (.333, 11 RBI).

Post 295 will make its annual trip to New York this week for three games.

- If the playoffs started this week, the other three postseason squads would be Gaithersburg Post 104 (12-4), Sandy Spring Post 68 (8-4) and Cissel Saxon Post 41 (10-4, 8-4 Montgomery Division). Sandy Spring and Post 104 did not qualify for the playoffs last summer, while Damascus Post 171 (6-10) and Wheaton Post 268 (1-10) did.

Damascus and Wheaton resided in the cellar of the league through Sunday while Laurel Post 60, which has a strong offensive crew, was three games behind Cissel Saxon and Sandy Spring in the loss column at 9-7 in league play.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

08-09 End of Year Run Down

Post 295 has completed another Legion Year. We have ended the year with 553 Members in the American Legion Members and 67 Members of the Sons of the American Legion. The 2010 Membership card are in and the renewals have begun. Renew before the 28th of July for $25, after the 24th dues will be $30.

Post Commander Bob Ouellette has competed the year as County Commander. He was selected as the Southern Maryland District County Commander of the Year. Bob has also been elected 2nd Vice Commander, Southern Maryland District.

There are many programs available for Legionnaires, from the electric Coop and Sears Commercial services.

With all of these members we really could use more help. So if you are available, please consider helping out. You do not need to make a long term commitment.

Please come out to the American Legion Baseball Tournament. Post 295 is the host post. The games will begin at 9 am, on July 24th at Shipley Field, University of Maryland. We need volunteers for most games but especially the 7 pm game on the 24th, Post 295 will play our opening game against another team from Montgomery County.

See you all next year.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Continuing VA endoscope contamination problem unacceptable, says The American Legion

WASHINGTON (June 17, 2009) – The national commander of the nation’s largest veterans service organization is expressing outrage at continuing instances of VA medical personnel exposing their patients to infectious diseases.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General (IG) released a report Tuesday detailing a pattern of failure to adhere to cleaning and sterilization procedures involving endoscopic equipment, despite an earlier campaign to rectify the problem. The report, entitled “Healthcare Inspection – Use and Reprocessing of Flexible Fiber optic Endoscopes at VA Medical Facilities” was aired during a House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation hearing. It documented the results of recent, unannounced inspections at 42 Veterans Health Administration facilities nationwide.

“The report is very disturbing,” said David K. Rehbein, national commander of The American Legion. “It demonstrates a pattern of failure among medical personnel within veterans health facilities to acquire simple knowledge and follow uncomplicated procedures, thus possibly exposing vulnerable veterans to serious health risks.

House Subcommittee members have directed the IG to conduct re-inspections of VA health facilities in 90 days. “But these three months should not be construed as a period of time to work on these deficiencies,” said Rehbein. “Veterans are being treated at these facilities every single hour of every single day. No matter what the reasons for this laxness in patient safety may be -- inadequate training, poor supervision or lack of accountability -- the problems must be rectified immediately – not tomorrow, but today!

“Traditionally,” he continued, “the VA’s healthcare system has been lauded as the best in the world, and I believe it still is. It is imperative that this issue not be allowed to compromise that standard,” said the commander.

The latest IG report is the result of a nationwide review requested by U.S. Representative Steve Buyer (R-IN) after he learned in March that more than three thousand veterans at the VA Medical Center in Miami, Fla. had been potentially exposed to HIV as well as Hepatitis B and C during endoscopic procedures.

Even before the Miami revelation, inspections had revealed faulty reprocessing of endoscopic equipment at VA medical centers in Murfreesboro , Tenn. and Augusta, Ga. Among the Fla. , Tenn. and Ga. Facilities, it is reported, approximately 10-thousand patients were exposed to the inadequately prepared medical implements. In February of this year, the VA instituted an education program to implement what they called “stronger procedures and better accountability at VA health care facilities.”

“Apparently, the so-called stronger procedures and better accountability were not strong and better enough,” Rehbein said.

With 2.6 million members, The American Legion is the nation’s largest veterans service organization. The Legion traditionally works hand-in-hand with members of Congress, leadership of the Department of Veterans Affairs and other key stakeholders to assure appropriate funding and policy making on measures and issues affecting the military’s active duty, National Guard and Reserve personnel, veterans, and their families.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

DCoE Outreach Center

Do you have questions about traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other psychological health issues involving yourself or a loved one?

Then you NEED to visit the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Injury (DCoE) Outreach Center.

The Outreach Center answers questions about psychological health and traumatic brain injury, 24 hours / 7 Days a week / 365 Days a year, from members of all the military services (including the National Guard and Reserve), veterans, families, healthcare providers, military leaders, and employers.

Call in your questions to the Outreach Center at 866-966-1020 toll-free or send an e-mail inquiry to resources@dcoeoutreach.org. There are more resources available at www.realwarriors.net

The Outreach Center provides valuable tools, tips, and resources. It is staffed by health consultants and nurses with advanced degrees and expertise in psychological health and traumatic brain injury issues.

In addition to answering questions, thier consultants refer callers to centers in other parts of the Department of Defense, other federal agencies and outside organizations when appropriate.
DCoE, which is part of the Department of Defense Military Health System, promotes resilience, recovery and reintegration of service members facing psychological health and traumatic brain injury issues. DCoE also works to advance research, education, diagnosis and treatment of these conditions.

You’ll never find answers if you don’t ask questions. Remember, seeking support is an act of courage and strength. You are not alone.

Friday, June 5, 2009

American Legion leader urges strength, not apologies, in overtures to Muslim world

WASHINGTON (June 5, 2009) -- The head of The American Legion is stressing the need for strength as well as conciliation in President Obama’s current campaign to improve relations with Muslim countries.
“Although The American Legion does not believe that the United States has anything to apologize for, we appreciate the spirit of President Obama’s call for what he termed a ‘new beginning’ in our relationship with the followers of Islam,” said David K. Rehbein, national commander of the nation’s largest veterans service organization.
“We must demand reciprocity of both spirit and deed,” he said. “When the president pronounces, as he did in his conciliatory address in Egypt, that the events of September 11, 2001, in his words, ‘ led us to act contrary to our traditions and our ideals’, he must, in our opinion, demand equally public admission from the Muslim world that elements within its community have been responsible for egregious acts of terrorism including mass killings, torture and public beheadings – acts that must be contrary to their traditions and ideals.
“When the President announces that, to quote him, ‘we are taking concrete actions to change course,’ with reference to the exercise of certain interrogation techniques and the very controversial order to close detainee housing at Guantanamo Bay, then it is incumbent upon him to demand that the Muslim community take concrete and demonstrable action to suppress and eliminate those within their own ranks who are responsible for uncounted, unprovoked acts of terrorism.
“The extension of the hand of friendship and its return are hopeful signs, but the United States of America is not willing to accept total blame for the conditions that have led to the present state of affairs,” he said.
On a related topic, Rehbein said the recent killing of a young soldier at a recruiting center in Arkansas by an ideologically radicalized murderer further demonstrates the risks inherit in housing Guantanamo Bay terror suspects on American soil. “Even if these detainees were to be housed in the most secure premises possible,” said Rehbein, “they might still be free to communicate their radical beliefs to fellow prisoners, thus converting already known criminals to their murderous points of view – much as the Arkansas killer was persuaded to commit his act of terror.
“Even greater danger would be imposed upon our citizens if radicalized detainees were ever set free in this country,” Rehbein said. “President Obama claims that it is within his power to hold the suspected terrorists indefinitely, but that argument has yet to be settled definitively in the courts. This past Tuesday, for instance, U.S. District Court Judge John Bates ruled that, by law, some detainees – potentially dangerous ones in our opinion – should not be held under current circumstances. If they are moved to domestic soil, their release could pose an immediate danger to our citizens. This is unacceptable. Beyond that, the threats of escape and the availability of outside assistance to detainees is far greater here than they are on an isolated Caribbean island.
“The overwhelming majority of both lawmakers and ordinary citizens are strongly opposed to housing terrorist suspects within our borders,” Rehbein concluded. “It is our hope that the President, even as he reiterates his intention to close the Guantanamo Bay facility, will keep this mandate, and the emotional comfort and physical welfare of our citizens, in mind.”