Petition to U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate
Don't Deny Compensation to 9/11 First Responders
My name is John Feal and I’ve been to 181 funerals since September 11, 2001, for first-responders who joined me at Ground Zero after the attacks on the World Trade Center. They are now dying from cancer due to exposure to asbestos, burning jet fuel, burning computer parts, pulverized concrete and other toxic substances. By 2021, it’s expected that more people will have died from toxic exposure than were killed in the attacks. And Congress could break their promise to provide them with compensation. I went to Ground Zero hoping that my experience as a US Army veteran and demolition supervisor could save lives. Seventeen years later, many of my fellow responders have died or are dying from cancer, respiratory illness, and other health problems caused by their exposure to debris and toxic chemicals. In 2015, we successfully fought to reauthorize the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act, which ensures victims could receive health screenings and medical benefits for 70 years, and compensation through 2020. In less than two years, that Victim Compensation Fund will close — and it’s already running out of money. After 9/11, the EPA assured the responders and residents that "the air is safe," and hundreds of thousands of residents and workers returned. Today over 10,000 people have been diagnosed with WTC-linked cancers and more than 2,000 of those people have died, including 184 NYC firefighters. I live with the memory of the lives lost that day, but also the sadness of knowing survivors are still dying. It’s tragic that our elected officials won’t come together to guarantee support for these victims, who inhaled cancer causing chemicals as they searched for survivors and recovered bodies. Now, thousands of families face steep medical bills and struggle every day just to survive. This is no way to treat human beings who sacrificed so much that day. Please sign my petition to make sure 9/11 responders and victims are supported by the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund after they sacrificed everything.
Petition to me
Add Scott Wirtz to the St. Louis Walk of Fame
Each year the St. Louis Walk of Fame honors prominent St. Louisans who distinguish themselves in their fields. I nominate Scott Wirtz to be considered for a Star in the Walk of Fame. Most of the recipients are in the world of sports, arts, culture, etc. but without the sacrifices of men and women like Scott, none of those things are available to be appreciated. One can’t exist without the other. Scott A. Wirtz served eight years in the Navy and as a Navy SEAL, leaving the service as a petty officer second class in 2005, and then worked with the Defense Intelligence Agency in February 2017. A St. Louis native, Wirtz attended All Souls School in Overland and graduated from De Smet Jesuit High School in St. Louis in 1995. Scott grew up in Bridgeton, After graduating from De Smet, where was as a running back on the football team, Wirtz went straight into the Navy. Scott was killed recently serving his country in Syria. Join me as we petition for Scott Wirtz to be considered for a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
Petition to Donald J. Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Jackie Speier, John A. Yarmuth, Doug Jones, Nita M. Lowey, Adam Smith
Stop denying earned survivor benefits to military surviving spouses
I am requesting support for over 65,000 military widows/ers whose spouses died on active duty, killed in action or in the line of duty or post retirement of a service caused disability or illness. We are the only widow/er in the entire federal government to be denied our full survivor benefits. Most of us are robbed of over $1,000 a month by the Dept of Defense as a result of an archaic law dating back to 1972. Congress over 20 years has failed to take care of those who sacrificed all. My husband was serving his 30th year in the Navy when the F-18 he was riding in malfunctioned and crashed. He was killed, and in a moment, my life changed forever. My three children, our families, and I were devastated and overcome with grief. Then I was horrified to discover that after they handed me the folded flag "on behalf of the President of the US and a grateful nation", that the Dept. of Defense was not very grateful in the least. I sacrificed my husband, my best friend, and the father of our 3 children, our sole provider, and now we were expected to also sacrifice financially! We impacted surviving spouses need to change the law in order to receive our survivor benefits in full. It would be illegal for an insurance company to deny paying an insurance policy just because the beneficiary had another policy. But our government does this and Congress has failed for 20 years to fix this. I need your help. 65,255 impacted military widows/ers need your help. Call your Congressman/woman and ask him/her to co-sponsor HR 553, the bill that will eliminate this unjust offset. My husband’s earned survivor benefit insurance, the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), a insurance annuity, a benefit of employment that he earned, was not paid to me in full. When he died, I was informed that I would only be getting a fraction of the benefit I should have received. When I asked why, it was explained to me that those spouses who also were eligible to receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), an entitlement paid from the Veterans Administration to indemnify or hold the government harmless for causing my husband's death, over 65,000 of us, will have their SBP survivor annuity insurance benefits offset dollar for dollar by DIC. Full SBP payment is unfairly denied to those surviving spouses. This is known as the SBP-DIC offset, and we must fight to end it. This is a purchased insurance. It is not the norm for one insurance to not be paid just because the beneficiary has another policy. "This is the only insurance one purchases and then is legally prohibited from collecting." Senator Bill Nelson, former insurance commissioner for the state of Florida. When I lost my husband, I lost 78% of our household income. His pay stopped the day of his death. With 3 children, a mortgage, and no job, after moving 26 times, life was difficult. I don't want this to happen to anymore widows. Every widow of every new fallen hero is subject to this same denial of survivor benefits. The Dept. of Defense reduces the Survivor Benefit Plan, a form of insurance that pays a portion of retired pay to the surviving spouse and/or children by the amount I would receive in DIC, which holds the government harmless for causing my husband's death. DoD claims these are duplicative benefits, yet 100% disabled military retirees may receive all their military retired pay plus VA disability compensation. But when they die, their widow is "double dipping". Disability compensation ends with the death. DIC is currently $1319.04 per month. That is what DoD deducts from SBP, leaving most surviving spouses left with zero in SBP and only DIC. This is wrong. Today, most SBP-DIC offset surviving spouses receive DIC and zero in the earned and purchased SBP. These surviving spouses deserve better from their country. I’m calling on Congress to provide surviving spouses with 100% of the Survivor Benefit Plan promised. Our government is reneging on a voluntarily PURCHASED insurance plan whose entire purpose is to ensure that surviving spouses are taken care of financially should the sponsor pre-decease her/him. When a servicemember makes the ultimate sacrifice, their family shouldn’t have to worry about how they will survive. As a Navy spouse, I was there for countless others who experienced loss. When I lost my husband, I realized how negligent the government bureaucracy is towards families who have paid the ultimate price. I want to be there for those families again. Hopefully, if we can gather enough petition support, the government will not ignore us. Congress will change the law. DoD will be prevented from making a windfall profit off of our spouse's deaths by not paying in full their survivor benefits. Please sign the petition to end SBP-DIC offset for military surviving spouses and ask Congress to pass House Resolution HR 553, (Rep Joe Wilson, SC) and Senate bill S.622 (Senators Doug Jones, AL introduced with 28 original co-sponsors, the two bills to change the law and end this unjust forfeiture of what our spouses paid for with blood and income. Use the Capital Switchboard number to be connected to your Representative and both Senators and ask them to co-sponsor these bills. toll free: 866-272-6622
Petition to MSA Security, Glen Kucera, Perella Weinberg Partners, Mike Wynn, Justin Kelley, Erin Eizenstat, MSA K9, Paul D’Antonio, Chip Baird, David Ferguson, John Mckee, Santiago Nunez, Selene Ortega
Please Return K9 Mattie to her military family
I have tried to sit down to write this message several times but have failed as my family and I have been overcome with tremendous sorrow. My husband, combat veteran SSG Séamus Fennessy has been a K9 handler with MSA Security (Owned by Perella Weinberg Partners “PWP”) for the past five years. During this time Seamus and his K9 partner Mattie have worked exclusively with each other — Mattie has never had another handler nor has Seamus had another dog. Last month my husband informed MSA that he was going to serve his country on active military duty but would be local and still able to keep up with Mattie’s training. Since MSA has previously allowed handlers to keep their dogs in similar circumstances we had no reason to believe this would be different. Except it was. At the 11th hour only 2 days before my husband went on orders we were abruptly informed that Mattie would need to be returned and someone “would pick her up in the morning”. Mattie is just 1 month shy of her 7th birthday and only one year from her retirement. MSA & PWP have callously torn our family member, our beloved “Mattie Cakes” from her family who loves and adores her. While our daughters and myself can hardly contain our tears, my husband remains strong despite a barrage of phone calls and texts from MSA which include threats of destroying his military career. My husband is a veteran and decorated war hero — and in the words of MSA themselves a “great employee”. Mattie is a goofy, lovable pooch who adores playing with the kids in our backyard and napping on the sofa. Neither deserve this treatment. MSA & PWP have taken Mattie from her loving home and ripped our family apart. This is devastating to everyone involved. Including our sweet Mattie, our lovable goofball who doesn’t understand any of this but will wonder what she did wrong to end up in a kennel torn from her family and everything she knows. It’s this image that haunts me. Mattie is innocent and in true MSA/PWP fashion they are using her as leverage as they routinely do with their dogs. Please sign our petition to urge MSA Security/ Parella Weinberg Partners to return Mattie to the family who loves her. Please let MSA & PWP know how you feel about this! PERELLA WEINBERG PATNERS (PWP) CONTACT INFO: 767 Fifth Ave NY NY 10153 PHONE NUMBER: 212.287.3341 MSA SECURITY CONTACT INFO: 9 MURRAY STREET, 3RD FLOOR NY NY 10007 PHONE NUMBER: 212.509.1336 https://www.facebook.com/SaveK9Mattie/
Petition to Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Secretary, U.S. House of Representatives
Permanently Stop Abusive VA Dog Experiments
UPDATE (September 2018): U.S. Congress and the President enacted a law extending restrictions on VA's dog experiments through 2019. Read more here. --- UPDATE (March 2018): Following your efforts, U.S. Congress enacted a law to de-fund the VA's dog experiments for 2018 and placed dramatic restrictions on the practice. Read more here. We're still working to end this waste and abuse for good! --- As U.S. military veterans, family members, and active duty members, we’re sickened that the Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) has been using taxpayers’ money to purchase, breed, abuse and kill dogs in wasteful experiments. The VA’s painful and deadly experiments on dogs are a betrayal of these loyal animals who literally save soldiers’ lives on and off the battlefield. These projects also waste resources desperately needed to provide veterans with care and services. According to news reports and the non-profit White Coat Waste Project, some of the V.A.’s current projects involve: giving mixed-breed puppies heart attacks (Richmond V.A.) cutting into beagle puppies’ brains (Milwaukee V.A.) damaging dogs’ spinal cords (Cleveland V.A.) With the support of 75% of taxpayers and a coalition of influential Democratic and Republican lawmakers, in March 2018 Congress enacted legislation that cuts funding for and drastically restricts future dog testing at the VA. Now, please join us in urging the VA Secretary to PERMANENTLY end this waste and abuse. William Barko, US Army Ret.John Blaha, USAF Ret.Stan Benton, USN Ret. and USAF Ret.Bruce Bryant, US Army Ret.Chris Burand, US Army Ret.Gary Cantara, USAF separated, honorable dischargeWilliam Coll, US Army Ret.Michael Donahue, USNWayne Hair, US Army Ret.Ed Hernandez, USMCWill HubbardJennifer Johnson, USN Ret.Dr. Isis Johnson-Brown, US Army Ret.Ken Phillips, US Army Ret.Robert Reed, USAF Ret.Diane Solomon, USN SpouseTyler Spires, US ArmyVirginia Joy Stovall, USN Ret.Lyn StrangstadDanell Tomasella, US Army Ret.Nancy Warner-BrownJennifer Wilsbacher, US Army Ret.Merrie Wilson, USAF Ret.
Petition to Chris Lytle Executive Director of the Port of Oakland and the Board of the Port of Oakland
Rename Oakland Airport After Trailblazing Asian American Woman Pilot
Did you know that not a single major airport in the United States is named for a woman? Fortunately, the East Bay produced a trailblazing female pilot who would be a great namesake for the Oakland International Airport! Her name is Maggie Gee. Maggie Gee (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9M3Y6OBs5jc) was a member of a pioneering group of women in WWII who aided in the war effort by enlisting in the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). She was also one of only two Chinese-American women to serve as a WASP. These women pilots worked stateside ferrying planes, towing targets for gunnery training, and serving as instruments instructors for male pilots. Over 25,000 women applied to the WASP but only 1,074 were accepted and made it through the rigorous training program. Thirty-eight of these pilots died in service to their country. As a child, Maggie Gee’s family would spend Sundays watching planes take off from the Oakland Airport. This is what first inspired her to fly. At the start of WWII, Maggie passed a drafting test and left her first year of college to work at the Mare Island Naval Shipyards in Vallejo, California. There, she worked as a draftsman for the engineers who were working on classified projects on US Naval ships needing repair. Once Maggie saved up enough money, she traveled to Nevada and paid $800 for six months of flight training and fifty hours of flying time. After she soloed and flew the required hours, Maggie applied for the WASP flying training program at Avenger Field, Texas and was accepted into class 44-W-9. After graduation from WASP training, Maggie was sent to Las Vegas Army Air Field, where she served as a tow target pilot for flexible gunnery training for male cadets until the WASP were deactivated on December 20, 1944. Maggie spent the remainder of her life serving her country and her community. She finished putting herself through school at UC Berkeley and spent the bulk of her career working as a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In 2010, Maggie and her fellow WASP received the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of their significant service. The individuals we, as a society, choose to memorialize publicly create a statement about whose contributions are worthy of recognition. Representation matters. Currently women, and especially women of color, are woefully underrepresented among icons, memorials, and airports. It’s time to change that! We can make it happen. The Oakland Airport is the City’s front door. The City has always prided itself on its unique and rich cultural heritage. Oakland’s history is one of activism and the fight for social justice by marginalized communities. Like so many of the East Bay’s native sons and daughters, Maggie Gee was a groundbreaker. She was one of the first American women trained to fly military aircraft. She answered her country’s call at a time of dire need. She dedicated her life to her country and her community. The Maggie Gee Oakland International Airport would provide the perfect welcome for visitors to the Bay Area. We, the family and friends of Maggie Gee, are initiating this petition to demonstrate public support for renaming the Oakland Airport after this extraordinary woman. Please sign this petition to show your support for Maggie Gee and all monument-worthy women! In the words of Maggie Gee, “Women can do anything, everything! I’m proud to be a woman!”
Petition to U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives
Grant Military Burial Honors to Women WWII Pilots
During World War II, a brave group of women joined the war effort by enlisting in the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). These 1,074 women pilots -- including my grandmother, Elaine Danforth Harmon -- worked stateside ferrying planes, towing targets for gunnery training, and serving as instruments instructors for male pilots. Thirty-eight of these pilots died in service to their country. After decades of lobbying, the WASP finally earned veteran status in 1977 under public law 95-202. And in 2009, President Obama signed a bill awarding the WASP the Congressional Gold Medal. But Arlington National Cemetery and other military cemeteries are managed by the Department of the Army -- and the Army says that, despite their service, these brave women don’t qualify for military burial honors. The WASP answered their country’s call at a time of dire need. The service and hard work of my grandmother and other WASP should afford them the right to be buried alongside other veterans. I and my sisters Erin and Whitney started this petition to secure inurnment of the ashes of our grandmother, Elaine Danforth Harmon, at Arlington National Cemetery. She was incredibly proud of her service as a WASP, and she loved her country. It was her wish to be inurned at Arlington alongside her sister WASP and other veterans who proudly served this country. Sign our petition, and urge the Secretary of the Army to recognize the WASP as eligible for inurnment in the Arlington columbarium. Arlington National Cemetery states, "Service to country is the common thread that binds all who are remembered and honored at Arlington." Our grandmother, and the other WASP, certainly embodied that ideal. Please sign this petition to show your support for Elaine Harmon and for all of the WASP and the other groups included under law 95-202, who deserve burial honors in Arlington Cemetery.
Petition to Scott DesJarlais
Name VA mental health building in honor of vet who was turned away- Sgt. John Toombs
Sgt. John Toombs served for 6 years in the Army National Guard and deployed to Afghanistan in 2011-12. He came home with PTSD and struggled with substance abuse. He entered the 90-day treatment program at the Murfreesboro, Tennessee V.A. On November 22, 2016, he was kicked out of the inpatient treatment program. He had been sober for 70 days when he was abruptly discharged for being late to get his medications. When he was also turned away at the V.A. E.R., he uploaded a video to Facebook saying he had been kicked out "like a stray dog in the rain." Then, in the future mental health building across from the E.R. that turned him away, he hung himself. On May 24, 2017, Tenn. Rep. Scott DesJarlais introduced bill H.R. 2634 that would name the building where John took his life the "Sgt. John Toombs Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Facility". While the bill passed the House unanimously on Sept. 25, 2018, it unfortunately died in the Senate and needs to be reintroduced in the new congress. By signing this petition, we respectfully ask Rep. Scott DesJarlais to reintroduce the bill, and we also ask each and every member of the House and Senate to vote in favor of renaming the Murfreesboro building in memory of Sgt. John Toombs, the veteran who was turned away when he needed help the most. May it stand as a promise to our veterans that we are listening and we will do better to prevent veteran suicide.