Message from the President
This is the month we celebrate Veterans. There are two days that are important to me, first is November 10 which this year is the 432 Marine Corps Birthday. The Marines in Billings will celebrate this famous day at the Doubletree Inn Saturday, November 18. This celebration is Corps wide and includes a Birthday message from the Commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps (video presentation). Then there is the traditional cutting of the Birthday Cake and the sharing the first piece and the second piece with the youngest and oldest marine present. Tradition is everything to the marine corps and I think that is why the slogan “Once a Marine, Always a Marine” is truer than for any other service.
The second day is celebrated on November 11 and is the day we celebrate veterans from all times and all services. This year as a member of the Eugene Sara Detachment of the Marine Corps League I celebrated Veteran’s Day at a service at the First Presbyterian Church in Billings across from Veterans Memorial Park. We had the traditional ringing of the bell (11 times) at 11 am on November 11. Then I took part in the rifle salute followed by taps. It, as usual is a very solemn time for members of the armed services.
Serving during two wars has given me a different view of veterans and am still in contact with some I served with. I am also state president for AARP in Montana and have worked with the people who put their Fraud Prevention Programs together. AARP has joined with the U S Postal Inspection Service to begin a new program called Operation Protect veterans. It is an education campaign focused on helping veterans avoid being victims of fraud. According to a recent survey (Under Fire: Military Veterans and Consumer Fraud in the United States) conducted by the AARP Fraud Watch Network, 16 percent of US veterans have lost money to fraudsters compared to 8 percent of non veterans. Veterans also indicate that a large number of the scams are directly related to their military service of the veterans benefits they receive. Several of these common scams include:
The benefits buyout offer. This scheme takes advantage of veterans in need by offering a quick upfront buyout in exchange for future disability or pension payments.
The fake charitable giving request. Fraudulent claims about benefiting veterans or wounded service members.
Fraudulent records offer. In this scam, veterans receive a contact claiming that for a fee only the scammer can access your military records or government forms. But this information is available for free through local U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offices.
A VA pfishing scam. A scammer claiming to work for the VA calls veterans and asks for Social Security numbers and personal information.
The bogus employment scam. Scammers collect personal information or charge a fee for obtaining a job that doesn’t exist
It’s easy to see that scammers don’t care who they victimize. It’s hoped that this program will help give veterans information that will help them avoid becoming victims of these an other scams. Things provided include a veterans edition of the popular “Watchdog Alert Handbook” (specifically for Veterans) and a focused website: www.aarp.org/ProtectVeterans
It’s obvious we in the United States owe a great deal to our veterans and this is a month when remembering veterans is on every American’s list of things to do. So Semper Fi to all my marine friends. Also the Montana Crime Prevention Association appreciates the service of all veterans. Thank you all for your service!
The holidays are upon us and I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.
Alex E. Ward, CPP
MCPA in conjunction with the Yellowstone County DUI Task Force and Q2 produced these DUI PSA’s. They paint a sad picture of DUI in Montana and have been viewed on television as well as on you tube. This is one way we can educate folks as to things they need to know about crime.