From The VA
During National Volunteer Week, VA salutes the thousands of citizens, ordinary and famous, who serve Veterans as VA volunteers. Celebrities often visit patients in VA hospitals, but just one visit convinced Bill Daily to become a regular volunteer at the Albuquerque VA Medical Center. Daily starred as Major Roger Healey on television’s “I Dream of Jeannie.” The series about two astronauts and a beautiful genie in a bottle began in 1965 and ended in 1970, after which Healy was a regular on “The Bob Newhart Show” from 1972 to 1978. These days, the 82-year-old actor makes Albuquerque his home and continues to make his fans laugh every Wednesday when he visits Veterans at the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center. Daily’s warm heart and gift of gab keep patients laughing and making patients laugh was just what Daily said he needed at this point in his life. “In my time, people died at age 50, and 60 was considered old,” Daily said. “So, all of a sudden I’m 75 and I thought I could live another 15 years and I’ve got to do something. This year was the best Christmas I’ve ever had because I felt like I’m finally doing something.” He’s been a hospital volunteer for nearly one year, and the room-to-room visits with Veterans fills a void in his life, he said. A Korean War Army Veteran, Daily said he can’t remember jokes, but he loves to talk. “I have story about everything,” he said, “and the Veterans all want to hear about ‘Jeannie’.”
Top Veterans Stories in Today’s News
- Eighteen U.S. Veterans Commit Suicide Daily The terrible cost of fighting wars The cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are becoming clearer with the announcement that 18 veterans commit suicide. Many more attempts are unsuccessful, Army Times reported. It said there are an average of 950 suicide attempts monthly by veterans who are under treatment at Veterans Affairs centers.
- Senators attempt to fund concurrent receipt Washington, DC – The Senate Budget Committee resorted to the previously failed idea of creating a deficit-neutral reserve fund to pay for improvements in National Guard and reserve transition programs for veterans, and to continue eliminating offsets in benefits for military retirees and survivors who also receive veterans benefits.
- Shinseki Awards 18 Solar Energy Projects Washington,DC – The Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded $20.2 million to install solar energy systems at 18 VA medical centers. “Using renewable energy sources by installing solar panels at our Veterans’ medical centers is the future of our department,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said. “These improvements will help transform VA and enhance our high quality of patient care.”
- VA opens heart care unit Columbia, South Carolina – A new center to diagnose and treat military veterans with all types of vascular and heart diseases is opening in South Carolina. A new cardiology center is opening Friday at the Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia. The center has a cardiology division, a unit for exercise stress testing and echocardiography and vascular ultrasound laboratories.
- VA Conducts Renewable Energy Studies Washington, DC – In support of ongoing renewable energy initiatives, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has conducted studies evaluating the potential use of renewable fuels in energy plants supplying 38 VA medical centers around the country. “We expect this to lead to exciting opportunities for VA to reduce its environmental footprint,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said. “These feasibility studies will help our efforts in VA’s transition to clean, renewable energy sources.”
- Few VA claims examiners working on new program to process GI benefits Washington, DC – The Veterans Affairs Department has deployed the first part of a system designed to speed processing of new GI payments to only one of its four claims processing centers nationwide, despite past assurances the system would be fully installed by March, a top agency official told a Senate panel on Wednesday.
- Helping families and marriages impacted by TBI Caring for service members and veterans impacted by traumatic brain injury has become an increasingly urgent national priority. A new publication from the Defense and Brain Injury Center and innovative programs offered through VA Hospitals in collaboration with PAIRS Foundation help caregivers and families address the impact of TBI, promote healing, and strengthen marital resilience.
- Vietnamese sister city a hard sell in NC Army town Fayetteville, North Carolina – The mayor of one of America’s most well-known Army cities wants to establish cultural ties to a rural Vietnamese town. That plan has angered some veterans who served in Southeast Asia generations ago.
- One VA office to close Brewton, Alabama – Depending on which end of the county you live in, if you are a veteran, getting to services may soon require some travel. Escambia County Commissioner Brandon Smith said officials with the Veterans Administration informed county officials of a proposed closure of one of Escambia County’s two offices serving area veterans.
- VA Marks 85 Years of “Discovery, Innovation and Advancement” Washington, DC – Eighty-five years of enriching the lives of Veterans and all Americans through top-notch medical research will be spotlighted April 26-30 when the Department of Veterans Affairs celebrates National VA Research Week. On April 22, Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs W. Scott Gould was joined by disability advocate Lee Woodruff and country music star – and Iraq and Afghanistan vet – Stephen Cochran at VA’s Central Office in Washington to kick off the official 85th birthday party for the Department’s research program.