Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – September 19, 2011

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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.   Prisoner of War recaps service, life after war.  Dothan Eagle  On a good day, Arthur “Ozzie” Osepchook can recap from beginning to end the 14 months he endured as a prisoner of war in World War II.  His hands shake a little when he gets ahead of himself and misses some of the details about his 21st mission, when the B-17 “Silver Dollar” in which he was flying was shot down over Berlin.
2.   Afghanistan’s most peaceful province is now a test case for the security handoff. The soldiers stood on the old Russian gun platform high in the mountains and tried to imagine the other war. They were Americans and New Zealanders, all of them young, all of them dressed casually for soldiers. No body armor or helmets, no gloves, goggles or grenades. Their rifles slung easily across their backs. It was Bamiyan, after all, the most peaceful province in Afghanistan.
3.   Lehman rocks Navy with complaints about political correctness.  The Navy’s former top civilian has rocked the service in a military journal article by accusing officials of sinking the storied naval air branch into a sea of political correctness.
4.   From Springfield, with love: A day for WWII veterans. The State Journal-Register “These veterans bring me to tears every time,” Bortolon said. “They are so unassuming, and they are so patriotic. They just don’t feel like they did anything special when they truly just saved the world for us.” The US Department of Veterans Affairs ..
5.   Facility near Fort Campbell to serve homeless vets.  CanadianBusiness.com The $250000 facility was funded in part by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the Tennessee Housing Development Agency and the Clarksville Office of Housing and Community Development. Hillin said a counselor would be assigned to guide veterans and …
6.   Wounded Warrior Prepared To Dance With The Stars. Stars And Stripes  “Combat veteran J.R. Martinez wants you to know that professional dancing is much harder than it looks.” Martinez will be “showing off those new soft-shoe skills as one of the celebrity competitors on ABC’s upcoming season of ‘Dancing With the Stars,'” which premieres Monday in the US. The 28-year-old Martinez “served in the Army less than two years when he was seriously injured in a 2003 roadside bomb attack in Karbala, Iraq.” In 2008, Martinez was “cast on the daytime soap opera ‘All My Children’ to play a wounded Iraq veteran.” Martinez said he “jumped at the chance to compete on the dancing show. … ‘I have a following of military men and women I’m counting on to pull me through each week,'” he said.
7.   Veterans Face Uphill Battle With US Job Market. CNN  “In President Obama’s new proposed jobs bill, in fact, there’s a tax credit for employers ranging as high as over $9,000 if they hire veterans. … There’s job-training benefits for them through the VA, through a lot of veterans’ organizations. But still a lot of these young veterans coming back say right now, especially when they go back to maybe the small towns that they have come from; the job market just isn’t there…so it is going to be a long haul for a lot of these young people.”
8.   Healing The Wounds: Guam’s Female Veterans Find Help In Colorado. Pacific (Guam) Daily News  In June 2011, the Women’s Wilderness Institute began a “program that targeted America’s female veterans.” Known as “Women Veterans Retreats, the program, which is funded by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, helps women adjust to life after war and teaches them ways to let their voices be heard. ‘We are so honored because it is such a needed service that aligns with our mission so well,'” said TWWI Director Laura Tyson. She said the Women Veterans Retreats will “help 72 women” this year and an “additional 72” in 2012. Afghanistan veterans Angelina Quinene and Christine Torres “were the first female veterans from Guam to attend a retreat.”
9.   Wounded Warrior Adds Female Focus.  Fredericksburg.com An “ongoing effort to expand its offerings” in Fredericksburg, the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program has “started a support group just for women.” Women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan “suffer the same types of problems–traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder–as men, so the issues are the same. But women may find it easier to talk, and to seek help, in a group of only women, officials say.” The women’s group held their “first monthly meeting last week.”
10. Armed Forces Veterans: New Service.  Youngstown (OH) Vindicator  “The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a telephone service, Coaching into Care, to provide assistance to family members and friends trying to encourage their veteran to seek healthcare for possible readjustment and mental-health issues. ‘Those closest to veterans are often the first to recognize when [they] are having difficulties,'” said VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. To help veterans “address problems and support them in making decisions about getting care, the Coaching into Care program offers unlimited, free coaching with family members or friends over a series of telephone calls.”

Have You Heard?

Yesterday, 100 recently injured Veterans from around the country gathered in San Diego for the 4th National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic held through Sept. 23.  Hosted by the San Diego Healthcare System, the Clinic introduces recently injured Veterans to adventure sports and recreational activities such as sailing, surfing, kayaking, cycling, and track and field events. The program provides a week-long journey of exploration and accomplishment in summer sports. The goal is to provide early intervention for Veterans battling back from an array of injuries ranging from brain trauma and spinal cord injuries, to neurological problems and loss of limbs. The Clinic is presented by the Department of Veterans Affairs with continued support from Help Hospitalized Veterans and the Veterans Canteen Service. For more information on how to get involved or would like to follow daily Clinic video highlights this week go to www.summersportsclinic.va.go.

More Veteran News

 

  •  Summit On Women Veterans 2011.  Disabled American Veterans  “Hundreds of women veterans converged on the National Training Summit on Women Veterans in July determined to form a partnership with the VA to make needed changes in historically male-oriented programs and healthcare. ‘I think this summit is going to help us go in the direction to collectively solve the problems for female veterans,’ said Ginger Miller, a member of the DAV National At-Large Chapter.” Miller, who is “president and CEO of the homeless veterans service group John 14:2, Inc., and commissioner for the Maryland Commission on Women, overcame homelessness herself.” VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki invited the summit participants to tell him “what VA needs to do. ‘I want us to make a difference,'” he said.
  •  R.I. Veterans With Hardships Offered A Hand At Operation Stand Down.  Providence (RI) Journal  District Court Chief Judge Jeanne LaFazia attended the 18th annual Operation Stand Down in Providence, which ends today. She said courts across the nation have “created programs specifically for veterans and Rhode Island has recently entered a pilot program. ‘There are a number of issues and challenges unique to people who served this country in combat,'” LaFazia noted. In hearing her “first Stand Down case” on Friday, LaFazia recognized Rafael Ortiz of Pawtucket, “a Rhode Island Army National Guard soldier who served in Iraq and Kuwait.” Noting that Ortiz had a “clean record since the offense and that sufficient time had passed,” LaFazia granted his request to expunge the offense from his record.
  •   VA Offers Homecoming To Tell Afghanistan, Iraq War Veterans About Benefits.  Fayetteville (NC) Observer  The Fayetteville Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Saturday “sponsored a welcome home event aimed at Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. More than 40 organizations set up tables on the front lawn to explain services and benefits for veterans, from pharmacy services, to education, to mental health counseling. … ‘It’s an opportunity for Fayetteville to come together with the VA and community partners to acquaint veterans with the services that are available to them,'” said Fayetteville VAMC Director Elizabeth Goolsby. Notably, the Fayetteville center presently serves “about 10,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans”; and the numbers keep rising as “more men and women return home from war.”
  •   Universities Work To Meet The Needs Of Veterans. AP  Iraq veteran Matt King now “works for the University of Texas Office of the Dean of Students, helping that he hopes will consolidate information and resources and help ease the way for veterans at UT.” Although the university “doesn’t track how many students are veterans,” the Office of the Registrar reports “that 510 veterans or their dependents have claimed education benefits this semester.” But King says “information from admissions and other offices” indicates that the “actual number of veterans on campus is closer to 700.” According to the Veterans Affairs Department, Texas has the second-highest number of veterans “claiming education aid for themselves or their dependents” (67,015) after California.
  •   Vet-Owned Corona Company On A Roll. Riverside (CA) Press Enterprise Veteran-owned Team West Contracting. “Buoyed by winning its first out-of-state contract $550,000 for realigning headstones at a military cemetery” in Saratoga, New York, the “executives at the 2009 startup Team West Contracting in Corona like to boast that the company’s combined construction experience exceeds 175 years. But in a sense their story starts 40 years ago, June 12, 1971, on the Central Highlands of Vietnam.” Team West subcontracted “20 projects last year and expects about that many in 2011, with bids out for several cemetery rehabs.” Military-related projects include “Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery at Point Loma, and work for the Army National Guard in Escondido and Fullerton.”
  •   French Officials Honor WWII Veterans In Tampa. AP  “A Florida man has been honored by the French government and military for his service during the Allied invasion of Normandy in World War II. Jack Anderson of Cape Coral received the Legion of Honor medal last week in Tampa, along with eight other Normandy veterans.” Anderson was a “paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division.”  Ft. Meyers (FL) News-Press  “On June 6, 1944,” Anderson was “almost killed before he was able to jump from his plane. … ‘I got blown out of the plane at about 400 feet and hit’ a thatched roof,” he said. Anderson fought with the “101st in Normandy, in Operation Market-Garden (made famous by the book and movie ‘A Bridge Too Far’) and the Battle of the Bulge.” He has several WWII medals, including a “Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts.”
  •  Veterans, Others Visit Travel Vietnam War Memorial In Logan. Logan (UT) Herald Journal  The “surroundings don’t look like they do in Washington, D.C., but a sense of reverence at the traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Logan is as authentic as the real thing.” A scaled-down replica of the “stark black monument is on the main lawn of the Cache County Fairgrounds through this weekend and is attracting visitors from around the region.” Members of the “Cpl. Gerald Max Rich Detachment of the Marine Corps League organized the event.”
  •  Sentinels Of Freedom Provides “Life” Scholarships To Veterans With Disabilities. WTTG-TV  “What is this group called Sentinels of Freedom?” Terry Mahoney from Walking for Those Who Can’t explained, “Sentinels of Freedom helps thousands and thousands of veterans. The director goes into places like Walter Reid and he meets with these people that have 100% disabilities. … These people have potential and the VA does a great job fixing them up…but Sentinels of Freedom is a ‘life’ scholarship. They buy them a vehicle that they can drive, or that their caregiver can drive; they build a community around them. They give them whatever they need to succeed to become…the leaders that they had the potential to be, that’s what the Sentinels of Freedom scholarship does.”
  • Assistance Offered To Veterans. Salem (OR) Statesman Journal Murray Mitchell, a homeless veteran “said he can barely feed himself, so normally he couldn’t take” his dog Toby to the “veterinarian for vaccinations. But he could Friday during a Stand Down at First Free Methodist Church in Salem.” The two-day event offered veterans and their families “free pet care, medical attention and dental care.” The Stand Down was organized by the Oregon Paralyzed Veterans of America and Serving Our Veterans at Home “for the second year in a row.” According to Oregon PVA Director Byron Loosli, there are “340,000 veterans and eight Stand Down events in Oregon.”
  •  West Michigan Effort Seeks To Help Veterans Land Civilian Jobs. Grand Rapids (MI) Press  “A new initiative aims to get more vets hired locally by increasing employers’ access to military-trained labor.”
  •    Officer X: Post DADT Stress. Time  “Battleland” blog, Officer X a “young, gay military officer who is currently serving on active duty despite the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ ban on open service” writes, “Recently I caught wind of an independent study being conducted by the University of Maryland about the effects of DADT on the mental health of those who have been directly affected by the policy. After contacting the man responsible for the project directly, I was able to learn a thing or two about this ground-breaking research which, barely scratches the surface of what needs to be done.”
  •  Letter: VA Staff Rose To The Occasion. Memphis (TN) Commercial Appeal Letter-to-the editor, Kristi Reeves Bauer writes, “The medical staff at the VA hospital in Memphis…truly took their oath to heart and do a tremendous service to families while they are at their greatest need.”
  •  Editorial: VA Honors Real Vets By Eliminating Fraud. Albuquerque (NM) Journal Since the VA “began requiring vendors to prove they’re actually owned by veterans to qualify for billions of dollars in contracts under a Veterans First program, almost 19,000, or 70 percent, of companies are off the list. … It is somewhat startling that the department didn’t snap to the problem and its obvious solution years ago. But give the department kudos for doing it now.”
  • Camano Author’s Book Helping Veterans With Memory Loss Reconnect. Everett (WA) Herald  “Dan Koffman, 61, an artist, designer and marketer who lives on Camano Island, was featured in a story by Gale Fiege Aug. 24, ‘Picture book can jog veterans’ memories.'” Koffman spoke about his to “help veterans suffering from dementia” in San Antonio, Texas, recently “where he met an audience of VFW auxiliary members at the national Veterans of Foreign Wars convention.”

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