12/24 Letters to the Editor

*Salvation Army needs your help*Reporter makes unfair judgement*Veterans pension may be available*Reporter comment way out of line

Salvation Army

needs your help

You can bring a smile to a child's face by helping the Salvation Army this Christmas.

The Red Kettle in our community signifies a special time of year, and you can share in ringing in good tidings. This Christmas, in particular, we have many local families needing your help that have never needed it before.

The well-established Christmas Kettle program that has traditionally provided needy families with food, clothing, shelter, and toys for children is stressed this year. The Salvation Army is asking for your help by donating a small amount of your time, your enthusiastic spirit, and ringing the bells to help fill the Red Kettle, so that those in need can be reached through our program.

It is with your support that we are able to meet the needs of those less fortunate throughout Polk County. Please help make a difference in our community this Christmas season.

Tom Simpson


Reporter makes

unfair judgement

I have been enjoying reading Jillian Beaudry's firsthand experiences as a volunteer during the holiday season.

However, in her last installment she singled out an elected official as having walked by her without donating to the Salvation Army kettle. That is an unfair judgment. You don't know if they donated going into the store or if they already donated earlier somewhere else.

I, myself, passed at least eight kettles while shopping in Salem last week. I gave to the first one but passed by the others. I felt terrible just walking by, but feel I can't possibly give every time I see someone ringing the bell.

So please, don't judge us if we pass you by. We wish we could do more. Just wish us a Merry Christmas and we'll do the same.

Susan Dirks


Veterans pension

may be available

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) is looking for wartime veterans, as well as spouses of deceased wartime veterans, in order to let them know of a pension program that might be available to them.

Persons in the above category who are over 65 and on a limited income may be eligible for a monthly pension payment.

This program is directed toward wartime veterans and surviving spouses regardless of whether the veteran served in combat.

One problem in notifying the eligible persons of the benefit is that the benefit is misidentified as a disability pension, when in fact one need not be disabled to qualify.

Veterans Administration brochures and the USDVA web site -- www.va.gov -- give examples of eligibility limits.

Very generally speaking, in order to get the definitive decision on eligibility, the veteran/spouse should submit VA Form 21-526 (Veterans Application for Compensation and/or Pension). This form can be obtained from the USDVA web site, one of the various Veterans service organizations, or the Oregon State Department of Veterans Affairs in Salem.

The application is a bit complicated and requires income information. In many cases an applicant should use the help of one of the various Veterans service organizations or the Oregon DVA. Counties outside of Marion and Polk counties, also have County Veterans Service Officers who can help with the process. In addition, there are weekly Veterans service meetings in the local area which would be a good source for help.

It is well worth the investment in time to apply for this benefit. This is a program that tries to insure that those who served, but are struggling on a limited income, can receive some help through a monthly payment.

Fred Brown


Reporter comment

was out of line

This is in regards to Jillian Beaudry's article (Dec. 17, "Cold feet, warm heart") regarding her recent volunteer experience as a bell ringer.

She wrote that it was "disheartening to be completely ignored when an elected county official rushed off with a beautiful wreath and a cart full of groceries without donating to a local cause."

She's a reporter? How does she know what this "individual" has done or not done.

She has made an observation of a particular opportunity for this person to donate, but does not have full knowledge as to whether or not they have donated to any local causes this season.

Perhaps a two-hour stint volunteering in bad weather has affected her journalism skills. A good reporter gets the full story before writing defamatory statements about anyone.

Had this reporter done her homework, she would have found out that the county recently canceled its annual holiday luncheon for county staff and is working on donating the food purchased for the luncheon to a local charity.

She would also know that our county officials, at least in my experience, go out of their way to help our community. And, that each of our elected officials individually do their part -- based on personal knowledge -- to help our community.

Someone with a warm heart doesn't defame another person in order to "get the story."

A recent web search found the following: "Journalist's first obligation is to the truth." Next time, Ms. Beaudry, do your homework, and your job, before writing about something you may not have no actual knowledge of. Go back to Journalism 101 and get the facts first.

Dana M. Gibson



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