From The VA
VA salutes June Valdivia during National Volunteer Week. She is the recipient of the Female Volunteer of the Year Award, given by VA Voluntary Service’s National Advisory Committee. Valdivia, who will be 89 years old in June, serves as the American Gold Star Mothers representative at the VA Medical Center of the Miami VA Healthcare System. Her first job at the hospital was filing, but she soon gravitated to the nursing home unit where she was a dedicated volunteer for years. After meeting and marrying a veteran in the unit, Valdivia became his caregiver and faithful wife, all while continuing to volunteer hours at the hospital. After his death, she returned to the unit and “adopted” a veteran that could not move or speak and had trouble swallowing. She made out his menus, fed him, washed and mended his clothes and took care of his shopping and correspondence. When he died, Valdivia transferred to the Patients Educational Library where she continues to serve today. Valdivia serves on the VAVS Executive Board as vice president and previously served on the American Gold Star Mothers National Board as the National Hospital Chairperson.
Top Veterans Stories in Today’s News
- Washington, DC – Bill would cut on-the-job training pay for vets As officials watch cash-strapped employers stop using the Montgomery GI Bill On-the-Job Training Program for veterans, it makes sense to lift the requirement that veterans in the program receive several pay increases, said Chad Shatz, vice president of the National Association of State Approving Agencies. “We’re looking to help people in the private sector who have suffered from the hurting economy” and want to use the program, Shatz said, describing the proposed change as temporary. “Hopefully the economy will turn around in three to five years.”
- Can the Peace Drug Help Clean Up the War Mess? San Jose, California – Michael Bledsoe’s story begins like that of many other Iraqi war veterans. In 2007, he was chasing insurgents through Anbar province when a roadside bomb exploded, breaking Bledsoe’s back and both his feet. A former Army Ranger working as a security contractor, Bledsoe soon knew his high-paying military career was over.
- Broad new bill would fight vet unemployment Washington, DC – Concerned that the unemployment rate for veterans is high and heading higher, a bipartisan group of senators has introduced a bill to improve job training and placement services.
Building mostly on current transition assistance, vocational training and education programs, the Veterans Employment Act of 2010 is aimed at addressing the 21 percent unemployment rate facing Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, up from 14.7 percent in 2008.
- Veterans of Wikileaks Video Incident Release “Letter of Reconciliation” Ethan Mccord and Josh Stieber, Iraq veterans, were in the Army unit responsible for the incident in the WikiLeaks “Collateral Murder” video have released an open letter to Iraqis injured in the attack.
- VA Offers Lessons For Health IT Adoption A recent study found that the Department of Veterans Affairs generated savings of about $3 billion over 10 years by using health IT systems such as electronic health records. However, the private healthcare sector can also achieve comparable quality of care improvements and cost benefits with health IT as long as adoption is mass, systems are utilized, and standards compliance is met, said a VA official.
- Mullen: More change needed to care for veterans Morgantown, West Virginia – The nation’s top military official acknowledged Tuesday the systems intended to diagnose and treat wounded American veterans are “extraordinarily difficult and extraordinarily bureaucratic,” and promised that change is coming in time. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a key military adviser to the president, also pledged to look into the case of a West Virginia guardsman who committed suicide last year after tiring of a struggle with both the Army and cancer.
- Park closed amid DADT protest with Lt. Dan Choi, 5 others Washington, DC – Lt. Dan Choi and five veterans discharged under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell handcuffed themselves to the White House fence on Tuesday demanding a repeal of the discriminatory military policy.
- Vet touts plan to boost economy Monterey, California – Want to jump-start the economy? Hire veterans. That was the message that retired Marine Corps Col. Rocky J. Chavez, undersecretary of the state Department of Veterans Affairs, brought to members and supporters of the Veterans Transition Center in Monterey on Thursday. While finding temporary homes for veterans living on the street is necessary for the short term, Chavez said, the long-term solution is to use “the strength of capitalism” and offer returning veterans opportunities to begin careers, buy homes and raise families.
- VA Targets $24 Million for Kinston, Swannanoa Veterans Homes Washington DC – The Department of Veterans Affairs has approved $24.2 million in grants for new North Carolina state Veterans homes in Kinston and Swannanoa, with funds coming from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.“Our federal-state partnership will provide comfortable and safe housing for North Carolina’s Veterans in a caring community,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.
- VA Targets $17 Million for Tucson Veterans Home Washington DC – The Department of Veterans Affairs has approved a $17.1 million grant for the new 120-bed Tucson State Veterans Home in Arizona. “Our federal-state partnership will provide comfortable and safe housing for Arizona’s Veterans in a caring community,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.