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Veteran’s March Gains Steady Momentum


By Staff Writer: Rick Townsend

February 24, 2006

A grassroots group of former military personnel and their families are on a mission to bring much needed attention to problems facing this country’s veterans.

Operation Firing For Effect - The Veteran’s March 2006 is the collaboration of two combat tested U.S. military veterans, Gene Simes and James North. Simes is a Vietnam Marine veteran who served 2 tours in country. North is a combat Marine veteran from Gulf War One, who retired after 21 years of distinguished service. Last year Simes and North teamed up on a project to unite veterans nationwide in a common cause.

On April 25th of this year, veterans from many points across the country will be traveling to Washington, DC to attend The Veteran’s March 2006 and Rally to be held on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol.

Operation Firing For Effect has a simple objective; provide veterans and their families a voice in Washington, DC. Gene Simes and James North set out to do just that. North went to work on setting up a web site, while Simes applied for the necessary permits and drummed up support for their idea. It wasn’t long before veteran’s advocates took notice and jumped in to help. Committees were formed, artwork donated and a logo created.


That was last year. Now, the project has gained steady momentum and many volunteers have gotten involved in Operation Firing For Effect. In a recent telephone interview, Gene Simes said he was extremely pleased with the response the project has stimulated. “Most of the veterans I have spoken with agree the timing of this March is crucial to the future of veteran’s affairs in this country. We are going to take our message straight to the steps of the U.S. Capitol,” Simes said.

James North agrees with Simes. “The problems facing this country’s former military personnel are many and vast in scope. From retired military health care, to VA health care, to homeless veterans, to returning disabled soldiers, we are creating a program that will address many issues under one banner,” North stated.

Veteran’s rights advocate and Vietnam combat veteran [Name Omitted] of Jefferson, Ohio joined the team last month as Public Affairs Officer. [Name Omitted] served with the U.S. Navy during 5 military campaigns in Vietnam. [Name Omitted] is also a noted crusader for veterans’ rights and benefits. “After talking to Simes and North several times, I was convinced their objectives were achievable. I am very secure in Gene Simes and James North’s ability to provide an all-inclusive and dignified event,” [Name Omitted] said. “I’m extremely proud to be a part of this project, and I am very confident it will be a huge success,” he added.

Operation Firing For Effect – The Veteran’s March has sent invitations to all national veterans’ service organizations to attend this event and help unite this country’s former military personnel and their families. In addition, the Department of Defense has received and acknowledged the receipt of a formal request for a guest speaker for the event. “We asked the DOD to provide a guest speaker to explain the proposed increases in TriCare, and address the adverse affects BRAC has had on retired military families,” [Name Omitted] said.  According to [Name Omitted] the request is pending approval.

James North is confident also. “We are providing an opportunity for all veterans to meet on neutral ground to discuss the future of veterans’ affairs in this country. Now, it’s up to the American people to take advantage of the opportunity we are creating,” North said.

To give everyone some idea how big this event will be, 4000 chairs will be setup, 80 portable toilets are planned, and emergency medical services will be on site. “On April 25th, many Shadow Rallies will occur simultaneously with our primary Rally in DC. This project is merely the starting-point of the much bigger nationwide movement to protect the benefits, compensation, and services earned by our troops,” Gene Simes stated.

For a list of State Coordinators and Financial Report, visit the main link at > WWW.VetMarch2006.COM 

Operation Firing For Effect provided the follow list of contacts:

Gene Simes (Chairman) -, James North (Co-Chairman) -, Russ Scarvelli (Master at Arms) - , Barbara Wright (Research) -, Barb Cragnotti (Communications) –


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