Saturday, September 29, 2012

No wonder guys can't get what they need at the Clothing Room.

I have written about this new clothing room and how it looks nice, like a department store, but functionally, it is a failure. It fails to keep sizes on hand that members need.  While it is a bit easier to get around in, the fact is, the older clothing room had more stuff and more sizes available to you, and was open more often too.

This new location and new management, doesn't seem to be putting as much out, as the last one did. And it looks like they are not rotating stock as much either. I have seen the same pairs of shoes on the she now for 4 years, and none  is taking them. Time to rotate them out and bring in some new.

The old store had metal cabinets for shirts, jeans, sweats, and were packed to the top. his new store has a small shelf where they keep a few sizes on hand., and some wall hanging areas for shirts.

Lack of any thing over 3x is a real problem and we have a lot of guys that ARE 4x and bigger that are in wheelchairs.

If the purpose of the clothing room is to provide needed clothing, then this clothing room is a failure. It has too much open space in it and not enough exposed inventory that guys can get to.

Hoarders: Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, the next group for this show.

Expired food stuff being handed out at unit functions. That is a sign of a hoarder. And there seems to be a lot of it going on at GRH4V.

I am getting reports from several units, that food stuffs being given out at unit functions, were expired.
One person reported that the chips they got were the ones donated to the home for last years carnival, (2011).

Seems no one really knows what is in storage and what is not. Nor can anyone tell us where specific donations to the home for veterans, have gone to.

Many donated items end up in storage rooms or cupboards and never seen again for years. Some items never even get to veterans.

Accusations of one group of volunteers who were storing stuff for specific functions,  having their stuff stolen by another group of volunteers, has happened.

One of the guys in Dom unit was telling me there are 2 rooms on 3rd floor, that no one ever goes into. One is located by their shower room and pantry, and is the space that on the 2nd floor, is a laundry room. Jeff told me hes never seen anyone go into that locked room and there is nothing on the door to indicate what it is being used for.

Another room is in the weight room on 3rd floor. Seems this room has a walk in closet, which is a small space the goes behind the elevator shaft. No one has ever seen anyone go into the room. 
The weight room, a converted 4 man room also has 4 closets. 2 are unlocked, 3 used to be. In one is a bunch of hardware for the 4 man room. things like shelving for the closets, and extra bulletin boards. In one of the others is a pile of interesting things.  A big tackle box, full of something. The unit's Wii box, a big banana box full of golf balls, an unused HP 34 toner cartridge for a printer not in use anywhere on Dom unit, and boxes of other useless junk. And in the 3rd locker, a stack of "yard balls" deflated of course, the kind you used to use at elementary school. About 30 of them in there, along with other things. If we are not using them, shouldn't they be given to someone who is?

And that is just on Dom unit. Tommy from the McKleish building says he knows of rooms that never get used, and Paul from Mann building reports the same thing.. but a BUNCH of guys tell me there are rooms downstairs in the basement area that extends under both buildings, that are full of horded stuff that was donated to veterans that never gets to them.

Also, when asked if there was an inventory of what is donated and a tally sheet to show where it went, I was not surprised to find out no  such system exists. No one is tracking what goes in and what goes out.. Only if they run low on something that is popular or is being used.. and if there is a sudden need for more, then the volunteers start accusing people of stealing their stock or something.

GRH4V needs an open book policy where all items donated are tracked to where they go. A book listing all donations be made available 24/7 at the visitors/help desk. And oversight by a panel of member veterans, 2 staff members and an outside neutral person, needs to be put in place to keep those volunteers honest and to get them to stop stealing from each other AND from the veterans.

GRH4V Volunteer system needs overhauled and oversight imposed.

Seems I am getting a lot of reports of Cronyism in the volunteer system here at GRH4V. A specific group from a specific Veterans of Foreign wars post appears to be trying to gain complete control over the volunteer system here.

Starting with those who volunteer to run the volunteers office, to those who volunteer to distribute items donated to the home, to those who run Kozy Korners, to those who just volunteer for specific reasons or activities.  The entire system needs to be overhauled and clear and specific policies imposed. Also an oversight board, made up of member vets, and people from the general public, and one or two staff members, needs to be set up to ensure compliance and provide overseeing of the system, and to hear complaints.

Lack of fair and equal treatment for all volunteers is an issue here. Some get special treatment, others get mistreated and leave, and at least 4 have gone thru attempts to get them permanently expelled, and several after years of service, have been forced to leave.  Don Kramer for one, and Jerry the guy who ran Kozy corners for another. He reportedly got accused of stealing by a man who is also reported as having been CAUGHT stealing.

Policy changes and lack of enforcement are a big issue. An oversight board made up of member veterans and some people from outside this administration, might be able to change the way things are being done.

Friday, September 28, 2012

GRH4V volunteers need PUBLIC and Veteran oversight.

Fair and equal treatment of Staff, is essential for the welfare of Veterans.

Many guys here are angry that a well appreciated volunteer has been forced to leave this place, never to return until the current administrator is replaced with a properly qualified individual.

I am talking about Don Kramer, a member of the Purple Heart organization that was forced to leave here, due to some incident with a nurse or a care giver. Rumor going around here, is that the care giver is a gold digger and tried to "come on" to Don, who played with her for a bit, but in the end rejected her advances.
Then 2 winters ago, in the winter of 2010-11, when the states smoking ban was enacted and veterans had no warm place to go outside to, to have their smokes, Don caught this person smoking inside, in a closed room. And that after a series of incidents, this person got caught by security.

In retaliation for his getting her into trouble, an old issue was brought up that was settled, and it was used against him, which resulted in his leaving. Even after over 300 veterans signed a petition to get him back, the will of the veterans was ignored by this administration.

Well this same care giver is still here. And many are now watching her. I am getting reports that she spends to much time outside smoking  and drinking coffee. Some times its 6 hours a day.  And that isn't right.

And she is not the only one. In Dom Unit, I have witnessed one nurse spend hours in the day room watching tv with the guys.  I have also watched the activities person do the same.

It is time to get rid of these people and bring in folks who are going to do their jobs and not sit around all day to collect a paycheck.

Staff members such as Gary Davis have told veterans that it is a privilege for them to be here. Maybe it is maybe it is not. Many of us paid for this privilege by giving our lives over to the United States union of several states, to protect it from all enemies. Many of us are combat veterans, Drafted, that is, forced to serve whether we wanted to or not. I myself am part of the volunteer military, that exists today with no Draft.
I gladly put my life on the line for 6 years to protect this country. So I believe I have earned a place here.

Not only that, but many of us, after leaving military service, became productive members of society. Working in private sector jobs, we helped to create the wealth of this nation, instead of parasiting off of it.

Public service workers do not add one penny of wealth to this nation. They don't do anything that creates wealth nor do they do "value added labor" to a product or service that increases its worth.  They live off the backs of taxpayers, which is why their jobs are a privilege.  THEY are the ones that should be worried.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT OF New Non profit organization.

I am honored to have been asked to be the first to make this announcement in public.

A new group of Veterans have created a non profit organization called "Veterans for Justice".
This group is a 501(c)(3) organization and is already helping local veterans.

This group is made up of veterans who are living at Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, and veterans that live outside the home, and family members of veterans who are at the home and some volunteers who volunteer at the home.

Trust officers are veterans that actually live at the Veterans Home.

If you would like more information about the new organization, or to inquire how you can help, feel free to write them at:

Veterans for Justice
PO Box 411
Comstock Park, Mich 49321

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Veterans Help Homeless girl with replacement bike.

Veterans at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans came to the aid of a homeless girl this past week. Seems someone stole her bike.

Charlie who runs the GRH4V bike shop and Ken, a member got together and using spare parts and borrowed paint and what ever they needed, put together a sharp looking bike which they presented as a gift to the homeless girl.

Cheers to Charlie and Ken for their generorsity and kindness.


Friday, September 14, 2012

The perception of stupid administrating.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what you will see here, will be worth at least a short story.

Over near the Rankin building on the north side of the complex, is an area that contains a horseshoe pit area, for the sport of throwing horse shoes. See pix 1. These pits get used for about 3 hours at a time, 3 times a year when the activities person Walt, has a tournament for members. The rest of the time, the pits are used as a place to hide food for the squirrels and as a dust bath for birds.
Pic 1, existing horse shoe pits.

Now these pits are separated from the building by a large flat cemented patio where there are benches, and tables for members to sit on.

3 times a year these pits get used. RARELY at any other time, do you see someone actually tossing some of those horse shoes.

Now, some Bell View Genius has decided we need 3 of them!
 Oh yeah, like we really need these. Where is the money comming from, and who is paying for these things? We do NOT NEED THEM at all!

3 new pits

And to make things worse, in Rankin 2, there is a HOLE in the ceiling over the showers, that goes up to the 3rd floor shower room. This hole has been there for over 4 years.  They have money for new horse shoe pits that will be used 3 times a year, but they cannot fix a hole in a ceiling?!!

Do we really need 3 new pits, when this room gets used DAILY by veterans?

Is it any wonder they see this as proof of stupid administrating by the current staff of this place?

The "private contractor" that is building the pits, is using State owned materials, and equipment, such as the back hoe tractor. 

Yet the home cannot get a contractor to fix the Rankin 2 shower room.