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By Edward Paul Greiff

Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund and the Support Task Force have joined together to make the nation aware of the plight of veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. The message is simple and direct. It lets the American people know that one of today’s toughest issues is the plight of our returning Afghanistan and Iraq veterans and helping them get the assistance they need. This challenge is vividly depicted in Barry Blitt’s cover illustration, “Uphill Battle,” for the March 26, 2007, edition of The New Yorker magazine. The picture shows a disabled veteran sitting bewildered in a wheelchair at the foot of a long flight of steps that climb to the entrance of a medical center. The veteran is clearly pondering how to maneuver this seemingly impossible obstacle while doctors and others pass him by as if he is not there.

A cardiologist, after learning about the STF fund-raising programs, said, “Isn’t it sad that the money has to come from private citizens?”

A Girl Scout leader, learning that her Scout troop will be able to meet, greet, and thank sixty disabled veterans participating in the Achilles running club’s “Hope and Possibility” race in June 2007, lost it for a moment as tears welled up in her eyes and she said, “Thanks for the opportunity.”

The Iron Workers Union in New Jersey read the STF press release and voted to donate the proceeds from their “Sports Place” event on June 16 to VVA.

These stories are repeated constantly. As private citizens, business leaders, and organizations learn of the STF mission, they all want to help.

The Support Task Force mission is to heighten public and corporate awareness of the physical, mental, and emotional needs of our returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, and to raise funds for programs designed to help our returning veterans re-enter the society they left behind. Along with Vietnam Veterans of America, STF is working with the Wounded Warriors Project, Veterans of Modern Warfare, and the Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund.

What makes the distribution of over 500,000 Coin Donation Cans such an effective fund-raiser is that it’s based on the simple concept that “loose change adds up.” It enables the average American to participate without enduring any hardship. Commerce Bank has agreed to be one of the sponsors of the program and process all of the coins collected through coin-counting machines available in every branch.

Amy Mosebach is one of the top 25 volunteers and fund-raisers in the San Francisco area. She is heading up the STF West Coast division and will launch the Coin Can collection program in California. Amy is not wasting any time and has already begun outreach to Vietnam Veterans of America in the Bay Area, banks, the movie and television industries, local government officials, night spots, and others who have expressed interest in supporting this fund-raising initiative.

Jeanette Pousada is the New York State Elks Association Vice President. She spearheads many of the Elks National Veterans Service Commission programs in New York. Along with Adopt A Veteran, another program is the Medal of Valor, which pays tribute to men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our nation. Pousada represents the Elks’ National Veterans Service Commission at the VA Medical Center in Castle Point, New York. The Elks has long been a supporter of programs to help veterans. Now, through the efforts of Jeanette Pousada, they will be assisting the Support Task Force in veterans assistance efforts.

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