Veterans and active duty military honored in Greene County programs

The Town of Boligee held Veterans Day commemorative programs on November 11, 2019 honoring all veterans and other active duty military personnel. Shown above are the Town of Boligee Mayor Hattie Samuels with Council Members Michael Gipson, James E. Morrow, Halee Vogt, Earnestine Wade and Teresa Head-Mack, Town Clerk, Sharon Washington. Others shown are Veterans from Greene County who attended the program. Special honors were given to Boligee Mayor Samuels and Councilman Gipson, who are also Veterans.
The Town of Boligee Veterans Day Program commenced with opening remarks by Town Councilman Michael Gipson. Boligee Mayor, Hattie Samuels served as Mistress of Order and shared remarks on the importance of Veterans Day. Councilman James E. Morrow gave the opening prayer, followed by a welcome by Town Clerk Sharon Washington. A history of Veterans Day/Armistice Day was given by Councilperson Teresa Head-Mack. A moment of silence commemorating fallen military personnel was led by Councilperson Earnestine Wade. The Poem: A Fallen Soldier’s Table was rendered by Councilperson Halee Vogt. The items at the Fallen Soldier’s Table held a soldier’s uniform and other items representing everyday matters of life the fallen soldier once shared in and never again would share.

Alabama Arise on Medicaid Expansion benefiting Veterans
Veterans Day gives Alabama a chance to shine. Our cities and towns hold parades and ceremonies each Nov. 11 to honor service members and to burnish the state’s reputation as a great place for veterans to retire.
This year, as we celebrate those who have risked and sacrificed to defend our country, let’s remember a group too often overlooked: veterans who have low incomes and no health insurance. And let’s commit to expanding Medicaid to help them meet their health needs.
Medicaid expansion would help Alabama veterans meet their health care needs
Medicaid expansion would help Alabama veterans. Thousands of Alabama veterans are living without health coverage for themselves or their family members. They don’t qualify for Medicaid or VA care, and they can’t afford employer-based coverage or private insurance. 5,062 Alabama veterans with low incomes have no health insurance. (1,812 women and 3,250 men.) 7,934 low-income adults who live with Alabama veterans have no health insurance. (4,703 women and 3,231 men.) Medicaid expansion would give Alabama veterans and their families the health security they need.
It’s a common misconception that people who serve in the U.S. military automatically receive lifetime eligibility for health coverage and other benefits. In reality, though, veterans’ health benefits depend on their length of service, military classification, type of discharge and other factors. Treatment for service-connected conditions has no time-of-service requirement, but other health benefits do.
Active-duty service members and their families receive health coverage through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Most also receive “bridge” health insurance coverage in the 180 days before and after their active-duty service.
But many veterans — including many National Guard and Reserve members — return home without military health care for the long term. For the 13,000 Alabama veterans and adult family members who have no military health insurance and can’t afford private plans, the consequences can be dire.
A lasting commitment to Alabama’s uninsured veterans returning to civilian life can be challenging enough without the added burden of being uninsured. Injuries sustained from combat, environmental hazards or physical stress can cause chronic disability or loss of function. And the mental stress of combat and separation from family also puts some veterans at risk for mental health problems and substance use disorders. The rising rate of veteran suicides is stark evidence of this troubling toll.
There’s something Alabama can do to help. If we expanded Medicaid to adults earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level ($29,435 a year for a family of three), nearly 13,000 uninsured veterans and family members could get the health coverage they need. Medicaid expansion would be a meaningful and lasting commitment to make life better for veterans across Alabama.

Town of Union constructs first community storm shelter

L to R: Town Council members Helen Sanford, Louise Harkness, Gene Colvin and Mayor James Gaines; Town Council members Rosie Davis and Alonzo Thompson.

The Town of Union, Greene County, cut the ribbon on its completed storm shelter at a special program held Tuesday, October 17, 2017 on the town’s municipal complex. Mayor James Gaines and the Town Council welcomed the residents and friends who gathered to witness the grand event.
“This is truly a great moment for us. We got passed over the first time the Town of Union was designated to receive funds for our community storm shelter, so we took matters into our own hands and not only made plans to construct the shelter, but we carried it out those plans,” Mayor Gaines stated.

“ We are proud of ourselves and very appreciative of those who did assist us,” he said.
According to Ms. Marilyn Sanford, town clerk, “It took just about one year to complete our project, from the time the specs were let in October 2016 to this grand occasion in 2017.”
At a cost of approximately $83, 000, coming from Bingo resources, the Union Storm Shelter is 48 ft. in length, 10 ft. Wide and 8ft. in height. The structure is designed to hold about 100 individuals, but can really contain many more.
Mayor Gaines and the Town Council emphasized that the Union Storm Shelter is not just for the Union community. “This shelter will be open to all who are in need of a safe haven when a severe storm hits. We will not turn away anyone,” they stated.
Greene County officials attending the ceremony included County Commissioners Lester Brown, Tennyson Smith and Allen Turner; Greene County Sheriff Jonathan Benison; Hodges Smith, President of the Association of VFD; Iris Sermon, Director of E911; Boligee Town Council Member Teresa Mack; Kinya Turner represented Forkland Mayor Charlie McCalpine; and Carol Zippert, Vice-President, Greene County Board of Education.