Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – September 12, 2011


Veterans! Here’s your Top 10 News stories of the day compiled from the latest sources


We encourage you to browse our list so that you can take what you want and keep what you need


1.   With boom of student veterans, colleges race to provide services.  Austin American-Statesman  … return from Iraq and Afghanistan and tap into GI Bill benefits, the number claiming education aid for themselves or their dependents grew by 57 percent, from 523344 in 2007 to 819281 in 2010, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs. …
2.   WW II veterans say 9/11 brings Pearl Harbor-like emotions.  Northwest Herald  Of the more than 16 million US service members in World War II, the US Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that there are 2079000 still living. The last living World War I veteran died in February. Gabel, who is 89 years old, said Pearl Harbor …
3.   9/11 Brings New Generation to Lake Washington VFW Post #2995.  Many had returned with injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and they struggled to deal with the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The VFW was established to help returning veterans with those issues, with direct assistance and policy advocacy. …
4.   For Montana National Guard soldiers, practice becomes reality after 9/11.  The Missoulian  And he said the US Department of Veterans Affairs will help if someone is having major symptoms. “A lot of kids won’t talk about it. It’s a macho thing,” Flint said. “They gotta talk.” When they finally do talk, Kettenring will be there to listen. …
5.   Events Across the Sioux Empire to Remember 9/11.  KDLT News  The Sioux Falls Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) invites area residents to a 9/11 ceremony of remembrance and hope on Sunday, September 11, 2011, at 12N. This ceremony commemorates the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks …
6.   Vets valued at Stand Down.  Norwich Bulletin  state Department of Veterans’ Affairs Commissioner Linda Schwartz said. Schwartz said some of the needier veterans lack transportation, so many groups were bused to the day’s event. Vietnam veteran Dominik S. Cortese, 62, of Norwich, said aa big part …
7.   Formerly homeless vets show off apartments. Las Vegas Review-Journal  Nationally, the number of homeless veterans has decreased from 150000 to 75000, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs. “A man or woman who has sacrificed so much for our country should never find themselves homeless,” said Shalimar Cabrera …
8.   Amos: Marines Should Complete Health Survey.  Gen. James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, “encourages anyone who receives an Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Health Survey to complete and return it.” ATSDR is seeking to learn “the dates and locations of when and where” people who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune or Camp Pendleton, “as well as their work history and health.”
9.   Faster Way For Veterans To Renew Health Benefits. WHSV-TV  The VA “made it one step easier for veteran’s to renew their health benefits” by automating “its online renewal form, 10-10 EZR, as part of its ongoing effort to streamline veteran’s acces to benefits.” With the online submission, insurance and financial updates no longer have to be mailed in.
10. Several Programs Offered By Veterans Affairs. Cleburne (AL) News  Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said “that more than $2.2 billion in retroactive benefits has been paid to approximately 89,000 Vietnam Veterans and their survivors who filed claims related to one of the three new Agent Orange presumptive conditions.” The VA’s Suicide Prevention Campaign “expanded its outreach to all veterans by adding an online, one-to-one ‘chat service.'” The VA also furnishes eligible veterans with prosthetic devices and appliances.


Have You Heard?

This month, Dr. Kathryn Magruder, a VA researcher at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, S.C., begins a nine-month Fulbright Scholarship in Ankara, Turkey.  Drawing from her career-long work studying post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military Veterans, she will focus on PTSD in civilians living near war zones (such as displaced Iraqi civilians from Mosul). The scholarship will afford her the opportunity to obtain “a more complete picture of PTSD,” and further her ongoing VA research.  By working with civilians, Magruder will have the chance to see what it’s like for those with PTSD symptoms to be temporarily removed from their stressful environments; something that up until now has been difficult to study.  Working out of the psychiatry department at the Hacettepe University Medical School in Ankara, Magruder will also conduct lectures and seminars about her VA research and continue several VA studies currently underway.  Among those projects are “A Twin Study of The Course and Consequences of PTSD in Vietnam Era Veterans” and “Long Term Health Outcomes of Women’s Service during the Vietnam Era”) and a comparison of Web-based vs. in-person methods of training mental health providers in suicide prevention.

More Veteran News


  • VA Launches Its Open Source EHR Custodian. FierceEMR  VA, “on a joint path with the Department of Defense, has gone live with its open source electronic health record agent (OSEHRA) to create a single EHR for veterans and service members.” The seed is the VA’s VistA EHR system. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said in a statement that “engage[ing] the public and private sectors in the rapid advancement of our EHR software, which is central to the care we deliver to Veterans and service members and to our joint EHR collaboration with the Department of Defense.
  • VA Announces Expansion Of Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record. Lake County (CA) News The VA said “it will expand its pilot for the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER), which enables sharing of veterans’ health records.” VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said this “will allow more veterans and facilities to participate in this exciting new technology,” adding, “I invite veterans to sign up for the program.” The agency “is on track to implement health information exchange at 11 VA medical centers and to partner with both DoD and private health care entities by fall 2011.”
  • Writing the Book On Military Mental Health.  Time the book “Combat and Operational Behavioral Health.” The product of six years of work it contains “the latest medical science on the mental challenges associated with combat,” including “post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide, drug dependency,” as well as “the important role played by chaplains in keeping military minds healthy, for example, and the need to develop ways of improving troops’ mental resilience.” Former top Army psychiatrist Dr. Elspeth Ritchie, who contributed to the book, said, “I felt that we needed a volume which would cover the psychological effects of asymmetrical warfare.” She added, “All the different disciplines are represented in the 47 chapters, along with all the services — Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force — and the Public Health Service.” Chapters also cover “the effects of the deployment cycle and support to families of the wounded and deceased.”
  • 9/11: VA Attends To Returning Vets. Lebanon (PA) Daily News  Dr. Piro Rjepaj, associate chief of staff behavior health and sciences at the Lebanon VA Medical Center, said, “We have seen a steady increase in the number of veterans, including veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, whom we treat or care for each year, mainly for PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, Adjustment Disorders, and Traumatic Brain Injury.” He added, “each war produces a unique set of stressors that must be considered when treating veteran patients” for PTSD. According to Rjepaj, “The Department of Veterans Affairs has worked closely with the National Center for PTSD to develop new and state-of-the-art treatments for PTSD,” including “Prolonged Exposure Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.”
  •  Classes To Recognize Suicidal Tendencies Offered. Grand Junction (CO) Free Press  “Sonja Encke, suicide prevention coordinator at the VA Medical Center, will teach ‘Operation Save’ classes” that “are designed to help people recognize warning signs of suicidal tendencies in loved ones and how to get help for them.” Dr. Dave Hildebrandt, team leader at the Vet Center, said, “We see vets primarily who suffer from PTSD or depression, or any combat-related problems, (as well as) their families.”
  • Montana VA Stresses Suicide Prevention, Awareness. KXLH-TV Veterans’ suicide rate is “two times higher than the civilian population.” Registered nurse Kellie LaFave of the Montana VA in Helena said, “Veterans are at greater risk because they’re exposed to such extremes and where they do their service.” Recently, “VA Montana system recently added the 24,000 square foot mental health facility that will house up to 24 veterans” and a “PTSD program, which opened in July, is set up in six week outpatient sessions.”
  •  First Veteran Goes Through Serious Brain Injury Rehab At MI Center.  WLNS-TV The Origami clinic in Mason, Michigan, “is one of just 21 in the country and four statewide to help disabled veterans with traumatic brain injuries.” The article focuses on the first veterans in the program, Bill Fenn, a retired air force Lt. Colonel and physician assistant who “suffered massive brain bleeding after falling 8 feet and hitting his head on a concrete cellar floor.” He came to Origami in February. Living there, he “undergoes intensive therapy daily.”
  • VA Provides Help For Women Veterans. St. Petersburg (FL) Times  “I’m living proof that the VA is working for me,” said veteran Kim Silas on “Saturday at the Stand Up for Women Veterans event in Al Lopez Park. Sponsored by Tampa Crossroads and funded by the Labor Department’s Women’s Bureau, the event aimed to connect women veterans” with needed services. It was the first Stand Up for Women Veterans held in Florida. Tampa Crossroads CEO Sara Romeo noted that in “the past, there really was not a large female military population” but today, about “20 percent of the military is female.” Women veterans “often need help obtaining healthcare for dependents, child care, job training and affordable housing,” Romeo said. Moreover, she said that presently, there are about “300 women veterans” homeless in the Tampa Bay area.
  •  On Campus, Studying The Needs Of Veterans. New York Times According to “university officials across” Texas, incoming veteran students have “needs and experiences that are not universally understood.” Hence, Professors Hanli Liu and Alexa Smith-Osborne have “teamed up in an effort to help veterans.” In addition to evaluating and conducting “programs that provide veterans with free services — like counseling and assistance with financial aid applications,” Smith-Osborne formed an “interdisciplinary partnership” with Liu, whose “research has focused on a portable, optical brain-imaging device.” They hope the tool can replace the “cumbersome and expensive” MRI imaging process for “diagnosing and monitoring” treatment for TBIs and PTSD, as well as for “pre-existing learning disorders that might impede veterans’ progress.” Notably, preliminary trial results have “shown differences between the brain scans of veterans and nonveterans.”
  • VA Hospital Systems Could MergeJamaica Plain (MA) Gazette  “Veteran Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System and Bedford VA Medical Center are investigating the possibility of unifying their programs into one large regional system.” The change “would mostly be clerical and organizational.” Kathleen Makela, spokesperson for VA New England, said, “The feedback we’ve received has been largely positive.” The merger would streamline referrals and transfers “due a single electronic medical record for each patient. Patients would also be able to use services wherever they are offered instead of being limited by which system offers it.”
  • Revealed: The Best (And Worst) Agencies For Launching A Career.  Federal Computer Week  “The Partnership for Public Service’s ‘Best Places to Work in the Federal Government ‘ analysis, based on the Office of Personnel Management 2010 employee survey, found that the VA, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and NASA received highest overall satisfaction ratings from federal employees under age 30.” The Army, Education Department, and HUD got the lowest scores. Additionally, “federal employees who have been on the job for three years or more tend to be much less satisfied with their jobs than those who have served for a shorter time.” According to the survey, “the most notable satisfaction discrepancies are related to effective leadership and what employees think of their supervisors.” The VA was one of the top agencies for younger employees’ satisfaction with their agency leaders and their supervisors.
  • Judge Strikes Down Part Of Michigan Funeral Protest Law. Detroit Free Press  US District Judge Thomas Ludington ruled that a “ban on conduct that would ‘adversely affect’ a funeral, memorial service, viewing or procession is too vague for police to enforce,” although he “left intact provisions of the law that prohibit loud and raucous noise and statements and gestures that would cause a reasonable person to feel intimidated, threatened or harassed.” Army veteran Lewis Lowden and his late wife, Jean, had been removed form the funeral procession for a fallen soldier they had helped raise “because they had anti-government protest signs in the windows of their van.”
  • Veteran’s Track Connects Recovering Addicts To VA Medical Services. Fort Lauderdale (FL) Westside Gazette  “Miami-Dade County has launched a new Veterans Track” for its courts “to better facilitate the needs of vets that’s in a personal war combating substance abuse and other health related issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” Dr. Giovanna Delgado, a psychologist and outreach coordinator with the Miami VA, “connects the vets to the VA services.”
  • Veteran Stand Down. Coos Bay (OR) World  “The second annual Veteran Stand Down is coming Friday.” It “brings a host of services together that could help homeless vets get back on their feet,” such as “career and other counseling, housing programs, medical services and veteran organizations.”
  •  Free Transportation To “Stand Down” Available For Veterans. Norwich Bulletin “Free transportation is available for Veterans who want to attend the annual “Stand Down” event Friday at the Veterans Home in Rocky Hill.” Connecticut’s “Department of Veterans Affairs expects more than 1,000 veterans from across Connecticut to attend” the event, which features “o free services, assistance and information from federal and state agencies as well as local businesses and corporations for Connecticut Veterans.”  Montville (CT) Patch Linda Schwartz, commissioner of the states’ Department of Veterans Affairs, said, “We are number one in the nation for veterans attending Stand Down,” adding, “We do a very large outreach and our outreach gets better every year.”
  •  Honolulu Stands Down For Homeless Veterans. Honolulu (HI) Civil Beat  “About 150 men and women who served in military uniform but are now in civilian clothes attended the” Honolulu Stand Down “to seek help for job placement, permanent housing and legal advice.” They received “a bag of clothes, flu shots and brochures.”
  • Party Gives Soldiers A Warm Welcome Home. Billings (MT) Gazette “Sgt. Michael Dunn’s wish came true Saturday. Back in June, Dunn, a member of the US Army 592nd Ordnance Company, wrote a letter to The Big Sky Chapter Blue Star Mothers of America,” asking if the group “would be willing to make the company’s return home a memorable one.” On Saturday, the volunteer civilian group arranged for a “five-hour ‘Welcome Home’ celebration.” Notably, the “111 members of the ammunition supply platoon deployed to Afghanistan on Sept. 11, 2010.”
  • Sports: 61-Year-Old Vietnam Veteran Plays In College Football Game. AP  A “61-year-old Vietnam veteran and grandfather of five became the oldest player ever to get in a college football game. Alan Moore kicked an extra point for NAIA Faulkner in its season-opener on Saturday.” Moore, who wore a “square-toe shoe and kicked old-school style, not soccer style,” gave Faulkner a “25-0 lead early in the second half Saturday en route to a 41-19 win over Ave Maria, located in southwest Florida and playing its first game ever.” Players who were “one-third his age swarmed Moore as he jogged off the field smiling. … ‘It’s not about me, and it’s not about being old, it’s about the team,’ Moore said before hugging his grandkids” after the game.
  • Veteran’s Spotlight: World War II Vet Lied About Age To Enlist. Treasure Coast Palm  Vero Beach, Florida, resident “Walter Brown, 84, was too young to serve in the military during World War II, but he wanted in. ‘I deliberately messed up two baptismal certificates to make me look older,’ he said. ‘It worked; the man at the Navy recruiting office thought I was 21 but I was really just 15 (in 1942).'” When the Korean War began, Brown was “called back to duty and assigned to the aircraft carrier, USS Tarawa.” In Vero Beach, Brown serves on the “Indian River County Veterans Council, has been a member of the VFW Honor Guard and is current commander of Post 3918” of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
  •  “Heart Of A Soldier”: An Opera At The Heart Of Sept 11. NPR  A “new opera, premiering Saturday in San Francisco” is based on journalist James Stewart’s book “Heart of a Soldier.” When the twin towers fell on 9/11, Stewart who working as reporter for The New Yorker, and “learned that Morgan Stanley, one of the firms with offices in the towers, had almost no casualties.” His book recounts how Vietnam veteran Rick Rescorla, on duty as “head of security at Morgan Stanley” that day, “evacuated some 2,700 employees from the south tower and then went back up to make sure no one was left behind.”
  • Marines, The Tip Of The Spear In War On Terror, Suffer Heavy Losses. North County Times  For “more than 60,000 troops stationed at the region’s military bases,” the last decade has been marked by “sacrifice and grief.” Many area Marine troops “have had multiple war assignments, some as many as six or more”; and presently, at Camp Pendleton, “several thousand Marines” are in training for an “early 2012 deployment” to Afghanistan. Meanwhile, nearly all US troops are “scheduled to come home from Iraq at the end of this year,” and President Obama has “said American troops will be out of Afghanistan” by the end of 2014. However, health experts “warn that the costs of the two wars” — caring “for the wounded,” those who have suffered TBIs and those with “severe emotional scars” — will go on “for years.”
  •  Combat Vets Get Help Making Transition To College. Los Angeles Times  “Twenty-six combat veterans launched academic careers Saturday with a weekend excursion to the San Jacinto Mountains. They were members of the Veterans’ Learning Collaborative at Pasadena City College, a new program designed to help veterans adjust to the challenges of higher education and overcome the physical injuries and lingering anxieties of battlefield service.” later this week, the students will “return to school” equipped with a “new social structure that they can count on for support in everything from completing assignments to coping with the bureaucracy of the Veterans Administration and ongoing medical issues,” said Harold Martin, an associate psychology professor and member of the learning collaborative.
  •  Vets Valued At Stand Down. Norwich (CT) Bulletin  60-year-old US Navy veteran Ron Ganong who is “living in a converted van in the Montville area,” said veterans events are among the few outlets where he and other veterans “can turn for support with legal, financial and other problems.” On Friday, Ganong was “among an estimated 1,000 veterans, many needy or homeless, taking advantage of a mix of services” provided at the annual Stand Down in Rocky Hill, which was sponsored by the state Department of Veterans Affairs.


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