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WE ALL HAVE GIFTS TO SHARE ONLY LIGHT CAN DRIVE OUT DARKNESS
MLK’S DAY OF SERVICE REMINDS US OF THE IMPORTANCE OF ACTION
If you’ve visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in D.C., you know what a towering tribute it is. Nestled among monuments to war heroes and elected leaders is a 30-foot slab of white granite with Dr. King’s likeness chiseled out. On the side is the quote that inspired the design: “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” It’s a powerful image, bound to stay etched in your mind. The other day, as I was being bombarded by the TV news with stories of evil, hate, and destruction, I was reminded of the following quote from Dr. King’s book Strength to Love : Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.
I often bring my children along to
help. It’s important for them to know that not everyone has it good and many struggle with basics like food and shelter. Serving the needy teaches them empathy. Also, I want my kids to know what Dr. King taught: There’s no better place for you to be than in the service of your fellow man. Members of my team have also helped, and I’m truly grateful for their support. I’ve seen clients of mine stay in the PORT shelter. That’s difficult for me. These are people who are struggling, and it’s my job to help them. My heart really goes out
Brian and Jennifer’s youngest son, Aidan, last year at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
Many of Dr. King’s peers claimed that he was a man of inaction, that denouncing
“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.” –Martin Luther King Jr.
hatred and violence signaled submission. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Dr. King speaking at the Memphis Sanitation Worker Strike to assist workers in ending discrimination and obtaining higher wages, and being arrested during the Montgomery Bus Boycott were examples of doing, not just talking. Something about Martin Luther King Jr. Day we don’t often talk about is that it’s listed as a Day of Service, not a Day of Remembrance like most holidays. Coretta Scott King campaigned to give it that designation in 1994. She knew that Dr. King would have wanted to inspire real action, not just remembrance. As we seek opportunities to serve this MLK Day, I’ll talk about one I’ve had for the last decade. You might be aware that I’m a member of the Knights of Columbus. For the last 10 years, we’ve volunteered for the PORT Emergency Winter Shelter Program ( www.linkhr.org/programs/ winter-service ). Each winter, from November through March, the PORT shelter sets up shop each week at a different participating church. They need volunteers to staff the shelter, so groups who can’t host volunteer their time. It’s a privilege to be part of such a large community effort — about 5,000 people donate their time each year.
to those who struggle, and I enjoy helping in my small way. As painful as it is to see a client at the shelter, it is rewarding the next year when they are no longer at the shelter because their disability claim has been approved and they’re able to take care of themselves! Opportunities for service like PORT have changed my perspective and taught me greater love and empathy for the people around me. I’m certain that’s what Dr. King would have wanted, and why his wife fought to make his holiday dedicated to the noble work of serving others.
N e x t D o o r Bu
May we honor Dr. King’s memory by being more service-minded. After all, it’s hard to hate people when you’re helping them.
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WANT TO SEE BETTER REPORT CARDS IN 2018?
USE READING APPS Goodreads is a social network for bibliophiles. You can find recommendations, share ratings, and create lists of both completed and to-be-read books. Users also create reading lists based on topic, genre, decade, and more. With over 2 billion books added, you’ll never run out of inspiration. Biblionasium offers the same services, but it’s designed specifically for children. Talk to other parents and create a network of friends and classmates. After all, nothing is cooler to a kid than what their friends are doing. Avid readers tend to do better academically from kindergarten through college. In fact, a study from the Journal of Education and Practice found that reading comprehension predicted success in other subjects more than any other factor. If you want to see improved report cards, make a reading resolution for your entire household.
Virginia strives to be the most hospitable state for veterans. Lawmakers across the aisle have collaborated time and again to give back to families who have sacrificed so much for our country. This couldn’t have been made more clear than in January of 2011, when Section 6 of Article X of the Constitution of Virginia was amended to allow “property tax exemption for certain veterans.” This provided automatic tax relief to some of the most vulnerable, tax- burdened members of our community: disabled veterans and widowed spouses. When the measure first went into effect seven years ago, the Washington Post estimated 7,000 former service members were granted relief. So how does one qualify for this tax exemption? How extensive is it? The amendment, as it currently stands, applies to any veteran or their surviving spouse with a 100 percent service-connected, permanent and total disability who is or was alive after Jan. 1, 2011. Those persons with a rating of less than 100 percent, but who the Veterans Affairs office deems unemployable due to a permanent and total disability, also qualify. Spouses of service members who were killed in action, including those with the DOW designation, are covered as well. The exemption for all surviving spouses remains until they move or remarry. In 2017, an initial resolution to allow all surviving spouses the exemption without any restriction on moving to a new principal place of residence was offered and approved. It will be on 2nd Resolution in the 2018 Session of the General Assembly, and if it passes it will be placed before the voters in November 2018. Every parent wants to see their child do well in school, and there’s one fun activity that benefits students of all ages: reading. In a world with so much stimulation, however, it can be difficult to motivate kids to put down a screen and pick up a book. New Year’s resolutions are the perfect opportunity to make reading a priority. Here are a few tips to make 2018 the year your kids become bookworms. MAKE IT A FAMILY RESOLUTION There’s no better motivator than solidarity! Plus, we’re guessing everyone in your household could stand to read a little more. You don’t have to read the same books or set identical goals, but it’s a lot more fun when everyone participates. Schedule weekly reading discussions so everyone can share the cool stories they’ve read. Stack your completed books in your house somewhere as a monument to all the knowledge your family has gained. SET REWARD MILESTONES Positive reinforcement will propel your kids to keep reading long after the calendars have turned. For a certain number of books completed or hours spent reading, offer them a prize. You can even create a big end goal to really cement those reading habits. Better yet, set a combined goal that the entire family can work toward. Don’t be afraid to pull out all the stops. If your kids know that reading one book per week through June means an extra-special summer vacation, their enthusiasm won’t wane come spring.
DO YOU QUALIFY? PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION FOR DISABLED VETS
A veteran or spouse who qualifies are 100 percent exempt from paying property taxes on their “principal residence.” In layman’s terms, your home’s property is tax free, but not your vacation house or other properties you may own. The amendment also grants total exemption on property taxes up to one acre of land, in addition to the residence. This acreage can be extended for those who are handicapped or elderly. This amendment provides relief to those who have given to our country. If you believe you or a loved one qualify, reach out to a Department of Veterans Services office near you, or visit www.dvs.virginia.gov.
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Since 1943, Hampton’s Center for Child and Family Services Inc. has dedicated itself to quality counseling programs and support services that empower individuals and families to improve their lives. Each year, the center serves over 10,000 people of all ages through credit counseling, housing, child care, and behavioral health programs. Serving so many people is a big job, and the center can’t do it alone! The Country for Kids concert is one of the center’s main fundraisers. Over the years, the concert stage has played host to artists including Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Rodney Atkins, and Sara Evans. This year, they’ve lined up multiplatinum-selling recording artist and country star Josh Turner! Join the Center for Child and Family Services for Country for Kids 2018, featuring Josh Turner, on Saturday, March 24, 2018, at the Hampton Roads Convention Center! This event benefits a great cause, so log on to countryforkids.com and buy your tickets now! General admission tickets are available for $22.50, but you can also purchase VIP tickets for the full concert experience. VIP ticket holders have their seats reserved in the VIP-access-only section. Your ticket includes complimentary beverages, including soda or beer, for guests over age 21. You’ll also get a Country for Kids JOIN US FOR COUNTRY FOR KIDS 2018
souvenir VIP lanyard. VIP tickets are a steal at $57.50, and they will likely sell out this year!
Parking at the event is free, and with lodging nearby, you can turn a one-night event into a weekend excursion. The doors open at 6 p.m. and concession stands will be open throughout the night. All the proceeds from this event benefit the families served by the Center for Child and Family Services, Inc. Your attendance will make a difference! I’m honored again this year to serve as the chairman of the board of the Center for Child and Family Services, Inc., and I want you to have a chance to experience the Country for Kids VIP experience!
We are giving away two pairs of VIP tickets! Visit glgvip.com for a chance to win!
BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP Lauren Mowery’s (Case Manager)
Brian J. Gillette Government & Administrative Law
2½ cups (20 ounces) chicken, shredded (leftover rotisserie or canned chicken is delicious) 16 ounces cream cheese (reduced fat if you prefer) ½–¾ cup buffalo wing or pepper sauce (Frank’s Red Hot or Stubb’s Wing Sauce are my go-to)
1. Place shredded chicken and desired amount of buffalo wing sauce in a medium saucepan. (I usually use about ⅔ cup of buffalo wing sauce). Heat on medium until warm throughout.
2. Add cream cheese and stir until well-mixed.
3. Add ranch dressing and stir.
4. Add 1½ cups cheddar cheese. Stir until melted and well-blended.
1 cup ranch dressing
5. Transfer to a crockpot and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
2 cups mild cheddar cheese
Celery, green peppers, crackers, and baguette slices (for dipping)
6. Heat in a crockpot on low for 1 hour, or until cheese is melted on top.
7. After cheese on top is melted, turn crockpot from low to warm heat.
Last month, Brian was honored to be re-elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Center for Child and Family Services, Inc. (www.kidsandfamilies.com).
This recipe is perfect for the big game!
8. Serve dip warm.
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INSIDE this issue
Join Us for Country for Kids 2018 page 3 Lauren’s Buffalo Chicken Dip page 3 Finding Your Unclaimed Wealth page 4
‘Only Love Can Do That’ page 1
The Resolution That Leads to Better
Grades page 2
Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans page 2
LONG-LOST FUNDS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
Life happens. You move, get married, retire, and maybe forget to file a tax return here or there. With all the hustle and bustle we go through, it can be tough for our hard-earned money to keep up. If you’re not careful, significant sums can slip through the cracks. Your money could be sitting in an old bank account, a matured bond, or an uncashed paycheck, completely unbeknownst to you. How do you find this lost wealth? First, act quickly. While the time frame varies by state, all unclaimed wealth is turned over to state treasuries eventually. The same is true of refunds. Those who failed to file have three years to claim their money before it goes to the federal government. If you suspect you have unclaimed funds, there are fast and effective tools for tracking it down. While there are companies that offer wealth tracking services, these can be expensive. Thankfully, the modern age is full of free tools to help you find your missing funds. Websites like CreditKarma.com and MissingMoney.com allow you to easily search your state’s database for unclaimed fund reports that match your profile. Many states also
have their own websites for unclaimed property. (In Virginia, visit: vamoneysearch.org and in North Carolina: NCCash.com .)
There are also websites for tracking down money the federal government owes you. Maybe you have bonds that have matured or an unclaimed tax return. For series E or EE bonds, visit TreasuryHunt. gov. For tracking refunds, use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on the official IRS website, irs.gov , after you file your return. The best way to keep track of funds is to never lose them in the first place. Keep records of your financial accounts. If your name or address changes, be sure to notify your financial institutions and employer. That said, life is life. Mistakes happen. Funds get misplaced. But you don’t have to write off that wealth forever. You can find and claim
those funds and put them to work for you.
P.S. After I wrote this article, I followed my own advice and discovered three sources of cash!
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