From the VA:
1. VA Using TV Campaign, Internet To Spread Word About Agency Service. In continuing coverage, the Newport News (VA) Daily Press (10/15, Lessig, 69K) says a “30-second ad from the Veterans Affairs Department” that “touches on health care, education and jobs” is airing in Norfolk, Virginia and five other US cities. Besides the TV campaign, which promotes the “website: va.gov/MyVa,” VA officials are “embracing the Internet in a new way, as public affairs officers are being encouraged to post on Facebook and Twitter. It’s all about improving the following ratio: The US has 23 million veterans, but only about 8 million use VA services.”
Six Military Communities Airing VA Commercial. The Watertown (NY) Daily Times (10/14, Woolfolk, 23K) reported, “Watertown is one of six military communities nationwide where the Department of Veterans Affairs started airing a commercial Monday encouraging service members to do their part in making the transition from active duty to…VA easier” by taking advantage of available VA services. After noting that last week, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and US Rep. William L. Owens (D-NY) “met with veterans in Watertown, where many of them brought up the shift from being a service member to being a veteran,” the Times said VA “launched a website earlier this month called eBenefits that consolidates information and various VA-related accounts for members.”
The WTOC-TV Savannah, GA (10/12, Kelley) website pointed out that Savannah is “one of only six cities across the country where” VA is “launching a new video campaign designed to help our returning service men and women transition” into VA services. The video, focused on Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, aims to “help inform them of what types of services the VA offers, like benefits for college, health, employment and even buying a home.”
According to the WJCL-TV Savannah, GA (10/13, Jacobs) website, when VA “officials played the ad for a select group” of veterans and “local health professionals from Fort Stewart and the local VA clinic,” the reaction was “mixed,” with veteran Curtis Nagy saying the commercial was not informative. But Fort Stewart Winn Army Community Hospital Commander Colonel Paul Cordts said he thought the ad was “very professionally done and…sends the right message.” WJCL added, “The :30 TV spot shows a Marine transitioning from the battle field to civilian life, while utilizing” VA programs.
2. Recuperative Care Center Part Of VA Campaign To End Veteran Homelessness. The Escondido, California-based North County Times (10/15, Rogers) reports, “Interfaith Community Services opened the first recuperative care center of its kind in San Diego County two weeks ago as part” of the US Department of Veterans Affair’s “five-year campaign to end veteran homelessness. The 10-bed complex will house former service members countywide recovering from acute medical conditions, including substance abuse, for up to three months following treatment and a referral from the VA medical center in La Jolla.” After noting that VA has “contracted with the Veterans Village of San Diego to provide a seven-bed facility for Iraq and
Afghanistan veterans mainly requiring treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues,” the Times adds, “In November, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki unveiled plans to end homelessness among veterans in five years that included $2.7 billion in medical services and more than $500 million in specific homeless programs.”
3. Plain Writing Act Signed By Obama Applies To VA Forms. According to the AP (10/15), US Rep. Bruce Braley “says President Barack Obama has signed a bill that the Iowa Democrat introduced requiring government documents be written in plain, understandable language.” The Plain Writing Act of 2010 “applies to documents such as tax returns, federal college aid applications and Veterans Administration forms. Braley’s office say the goal is that the simple easy-to-understand language will make government more transparent and save money.” KIMT-TV Rochester, MN (10/14, 10:08 p.m. CT) aired a similar report.
4. Commission To Consider Approving Bond For Building Housing VA Account Center. The Murfreesboro (TN) Daily News Journal (10/15, Broden) says the “Rutherford County Commission will consider approving an $11 million Industrial Development Bond for BGS, Ltd. to help pay for improvements to a Smyrna building being used” for a US Department of Veterans Affairs “outpatient account center operation.” Commissioner Will Jordan has “called for the unanimous committee vote to recommend the bond to the full commission.”
5. At Dedication Ceremony For National PTSD Clinic, Lawmakers Praise VA Care. In continuing coverage, the Brattleboro (VT) Reformer (10/15) notes that on Tuesday, US Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Bernard Sanders (I-VT) “were on hand” when the Department of Veterans Affairs “dedicated the new headquarters for the National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic,” which is located on the campus of the VA hospital in White River Junction, Vermont. The Reformer adds, “The new Headquarters Building is the hub of what has become an extensive VA-wide PTSD research and education network — parallel to the direct care that veterans receive in VA medical facilities — which acts on the nation’s long-term commitment to look after those who have served once they return home, said both Leahy and Sanders during the ceremony.”
6. San Marcos Vet Center Accommodating Hundreds. The third item in Rick Rogers’ column for the Escondido, California-based North County Times (10/15) says the “San Marcos Veteran Center at 1 Civic Center Drive —- the busiest clinic on the West Coast two months running —- is accommodating hundreds of former service members crossing its doorstep weekly seeking the succor of an unfevered mind.” Rogers adds, “Many are Iraq and Afghanistan” veterans go to “Cal State San Marcos, MiraCosta College and Palomar College. These educational hamlets are feeling the strain of war-haunted vets and are asking the San Marcos Vet Center for help.”
7. Vet Center Offers Suicide Prevention Services To Community College. In a story on suicide prevention, The College Voice (10/15, Smith), a student newspaper for the Mercer County Community College in New Jersey, says a “local program that helps” veterans can be found at the Trenton Vet Center, which has “stated they want to be involved as much as possible in any outreach” to Mercer’s student veteran population.
8. Groundbreaking Held For VA-Funded Vets Cemetery In West Virginia. In continuing coverage, the WOWK-TV Charleston, WV (10/14, Lieu) website said a “final resting place of honor for West Virginia’s veterans is now becoming a reality” in the city of Institute. Dignitaries from “around the state were on hand” Thursday for the “groundbreaking of West Virginia’s first state veterans cemetery. It was all made possible through a $14.1 million grant” from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The Charleston, West Virginia-based Metro News (10/15) publishes a similar story.
9. Arlington Reviewing Headstone Policy For Deceased Iraq, Afghanistan Vets. WJLA-TV Washington, DC (10/14, 5:45 p.m. ET) broadcast that Operation Enduring Freedom and other US government names for its two current wars are being placed on headstones at Arlington National Cemetery, which confuses widows of deceased veterans like Vivianne Wersel, who told ABC the headstones should say Afghanistan or Iraq. While Wersel “thinks operational names are confusing, others critics say they’re political propaganda” that is inappropriate for Arlington headstones. ABC, which noted that Arlington’s “management team is reviewing this issue,” said that while Arlington is “run by the Department of the Army,” Veterans Affairs “runs…3,100” other national cemeteries that put the words Iraq and Afghanistan on headstones of service members killed in the conflicts.
10. Statue Honors Pro Football Team’s Commitment To Injured Vets. The AP (10/15, Duncan) reports, “About 100 wounded soldiers mingled with Houston Texans players and coaches after practice” Thursday, as “part of the team’s week honoring the military. The local…branch” of United Service Organizations Inc. also “unveiled a statue recognizing” the National Football League team’s “commitment to veterans injured in combat. The Texans (3-2) will host about 80 wounded soldiers at Sunday’s game against Kansas City (3-1) as part of Military Appreciation Day.”