Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – October 07, 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.   Department of Veterans Affairs Selects HELP USA for Innovative Housing.  PR Web  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has selected the New York-based nonprofit organization HELP USA to advance its innovative initiative that will transform unused property at the Perry Point VA Medical Center—known as the “Village,” into viable …
2.   The US Must Help Veterans Through PTSD and Other Psychiatric Conditions.  The Emory Wheel  But there is some good news for the veterans: these disorders are treatable. Therapy and medications are available for the illnesses, and they have been shown to be effective in both cases. The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also has systems …
3.   Dog saved veteran from suicide.  Roseville Press Tribune  This figure comes from the US Department of Veteran Affairs, which reports that an average of 950 suicide attempts occurred monthly in 2010 by veterans receiving treatment from the department. Montalvan authored the book, “Until Tuesday,” about how his …
4.   Program offers free legal aid for Rio Grande Valley vets.  KGBT-TV  You can get free legal aid this month through Veterans Day to put your will together. The Hidalgo County Bar Foundation along with other organizations have teamed up with the US Department of Veterans Affairs to give Vets whose estates don’t exceed …
5.   Photo gallery: Ten years in AfghanistanFriday, October 7, 2011 marks ten years since the start of the war in Afghanistan. Here are some Stars and Stripes photos from life in the war zone.
6.   PA Auditor General Jack Wagner Praises New Law.  Sacramento Bee  The audit recommended that the commission take steps to require state agencies to consider veterans when filling all job vacancies. Authority for the Veterans’ Preference Program in Pennsylvania is provided by the Military Affairs Act of 1975 and the …
7.   Indy homeless military veteran agency gets $500K US grant.  The Republic  An Indianapolis-based group serving homeless military veterans and their families has received a nearly $500000 federal grant targeting chronic mental illness among its clients. The US Department of Veteran Affairs announced …
8.   Lives Altered By 10 Years Of War In Afghanistan.  AP  “Ten years after America began its war in Afghanistan, the decade can be measured” by yardsticks like dollars, deployments, and deaths. But the “real impact is measured in the widows left behind, the children who will never know fathers or mothers, the names of the fallen etched in marble memorials and a new generation of veterans with wounds, memories and lives forever changed.” The AP profiles a veteran who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq and now trains West Point Cadets. It also profiles a US soldier killed in Afghanistan, the widow of another US soldier killed in Afghanistan, and Sue Downs, a veteran who is doing well five years after losing both legs during service in Afghanistan. Another veteran, Anthony Villarreal, who was badly burned in Afghanistan, is “trying to fashion a new life, but sometimes missing his old one.”
9.   Study Finds Damage In Brain Of Ex-Sabre Rick Martin, First Non-Fighter With CTE Diagnosed.  AP  “Researchers studying the brain of seven-time” National Hockey League (NHL) “All-Star Rick Martin found damage consistent with the trauma they found in other former NHL players.” Martin, however, is the “first non-enforcer who has been diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy,” or CTE, “by researchers at a Boston University brain bank.” The AP notes that the “brain bank was founded in 2008 as a collaboration between” Boston University (BU), the “Sports Legacy Institute and the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
10. Veterans Employment Legislation Faces Delays.  Army Times  Congress is “finding it hard to pass jobs-creating legislation for veterans by Veterans’ Day. There is bipartisan support for a veterans employment package – with details to be determined – but passage has not been a top priority in Congress.” That will make it “difficult for a compromise to be signed into law by Nov. 11, the nominal deadline set by supporters of the legislation.”

Have You Heard?

In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the integral role of early detection in the prevention of breast cancer, all are encouraged to celebrate National VA Think Pink Day on Thursday, October 13th by wearing a pink ribbon and/or pink clothing.

One of the primary goals of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to “Pass the Word” regarding the importance of regular examinations for early detection of breast cancer, including:

  • mammography screenings;
  • clinical breast exams performed by health care providers; and
  • breast self-examinations (both men and women).

The pink ribbon is a widely recognized symbol of breast cancer awareness. By wearing a pink ribbon and/or pink clothing on Thursday, October 13th, you are helping to “Pass the Word” and raise awareness of breast cancer among your fellow Veterans.

More Veteran News

  •  Father’s Quest For Military Gravestone For Reservist Son Inspires Bill.  Poughkeepsie (NY) Journal   “77-year-old Charles Ricotta wants…a stone to mark his son’s decade of service as a Naval reservist. But, he says gaps in the law prevent the family of Joseph Ricotta from buying government memorial headstones and markers available to military reservists and National Guard members.” However, the Memorialize Our Guardsmen and Reservists Act, a bill waiting a hearing in the House Veterans Affairs Committee, “would make the headstones and markers available for purchase by reservists and their next of kin through” the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Major Advances In War Trauma Care.  Politico “Located 10 minutes apart in southwestern Germany,” Ramstein Air Base and the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center have “become centers for innovation in the treatment of physical and mental trauma. The first line of saving lives on the battlefield” in Iraq and Afghanistan “comes from fellow troops, who apply their first aid training.” Politico adds, “Improvements in transportation, communication and technology have reduced the lag between trauma and treatment in an extensive network” of US military medical care.
  •   Expanded GI Bill Offers Vocational Training To Veterans To Ease Unemployment.  San Diego Daily Transcript  “To respond to the dampened economy and a lasting unemployment crisis among veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs expanded the Post-9/11 GI Bill program last week to include vocational training and other nondegree job training programs, said Allison Hickey,” VA’s under secretary for benefits. Hickey added, “For returning soldiers, finding a job is not as easy as most people would think. What really matters is how well-prepared people are and what opportunities there are.” Hickey “said the VA also plans to leverage the American Jobs Act, which includes tax credits from $5,600 to $9,600 to encourage businesses to hire unemployed veterans.” In referring to the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the American Jobs Act, Hickey stated, “There’s no reason in the world we can’t connect the two. The American Jobs Act creates conditions that help us make these matches.”
  •  New VA Center Offers Fast Recovery In Comfort.  San Antonio (TX) Express-News Patients at the Audie Murphy Veterans Affairs Hospital “now have a shiny new state-of-the-art rehabilitative center to help with the healing process.” According to the Express-News, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is “expected to attend the Oct. 25 dedication of the center,” which, when it becomes fully operational “in about six weeks,” will be “one of only five VA centers in the nation specializing in injuries to more than one major system of the body.”
  • DOD, VA Recalibrate The Model For Health Records.  Federal Computer Week Federal Computer Week said it is in favor of the Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense developing an integrated electronic health record (iEHR), adding that the “jewels in the government health IT universe have long been the Defense Department’s Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application (AHLTA) and the Veterans Affairs Department’s Veterans Health Information System and Technology Architecture (VistA), both of which have decades of development behind them. They’ll eventually merge to become a single military electronic health record, by far the largest EHR in the country,” one that will have the distinction of being the “first major government health IT project to be developed as an open-source project.” When he announced the start of the integrated EHR (iEHR) program in June, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said, “Moving to an open-source model invites innovation from the public and private sectors.”
  • Veterans Treatment Courts Divert Troubled Vets From Path To Jail.  Yahoo! News “Veterans Treatment Courts are a way that men and women who served in the military can be offered treatment and rehabilitation as an alternative to jail time.” Buffalo, New York, “created the first one in 2008 and now there are more than 70 nationally.” The US Department of Veterans Affairs, “one of the key partners working with the various Veterans Courts,” has “created the Veteran Justice Outreach Initiative to provide assistance to veterans that become involved with the criminal justice system.”
  •  GAO: OMB Should Help Unify Agencies’ Siloed Efficiency Strategies.  Fierce Government  “Fueled by budget pressure, federal agencies have launched an array of efficiency initiatives that could be adapted and repurposed by other federal agencies. But the efforts–such as the Defense Department’s efficiency drive, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s transformation initiative and the Veterans Affairs Department’s project management accountability system–are so siloed they are not applied broadly in the federal government, according to a Sept. 30 report” from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report recommends that agency strategies be unified by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Fierce Government added, “According to GAO, OMB responded to the report recommendations in a Sept. 12 email, saying the report did not give sufficient weight to efficiency efforts–such as quarterly reviews of progress on priority goals and SAVE award competitions–already underway at OMB.”
  • Families, Officials Dedicate New VA Fisher House At Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center.  Augusta (GA) Chronicle  On Wednesday, a “gleaming $5.6 million Fisher House” at the Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center was dedicated to serve the families of injured veterans and the “families of personnel in the Active Duty Rehabilitation Unit, the only one housed inside a VA.” The Chronicle adds, “There is nowhere else where the VA, the military and the community have more extensive and deep collaborations, said William Schoenhard, the deputy under secretary for health operations and management at the Department of Veterans Affairs. ‘This is a very, very special mission,’ he said.”
  •  Amarillo VA Strives To Help Homeless.  KVII-TV  “The Amarillo Veterans Affairs Health Care System hosted a Homeless Summit Wednesday morning. The VA Homeless Program came together with other local agencies to discuss services the community offers to Amarillo’s homeless community and how the VA can coordinate with them to help aid homeless veterans. By working with local groups,” VA “aims to identify more homeless veterans and aid them through programs like housing support services and employment or job training.” Andrew Welch, director of the Amarillo VA Health Care System, said, “I think it’s a problem in that people may not know. I think that when people find out that there are homeless veterans, people who have served our country, people who have stepped up and defended our country that it’s important for us to know that we’re there for them and we’re taking care of them.”
  •  Fresno VA Hospital Installs Patient Lifting System.  KFSN-TV  The Veterans Affairs hospital “in Central Fresno has some new equipment to increase patient and staff safety. A fully motorized lift system was installed in each room to provide easier mobility.” The “lift system is part of the hospitals ‘Safe Patient Handling Day’ as they continue to work towards a safer hospital.”
  •  Son Of Deceased Man Angry With VA Hospital.  WTVD-TV  Arik Hayes “says his father would be alive” if the Veterans Affairs hospital in Fayetteville, North Carolina, had not “discharged his father against the family’s wishes and just hours before someone arrived at the hospital to pick him up.” Anthony Hayes’ “remains were discovered in Fayetteville Monday.” WTVD added, “Citing privacy laws, the VA only confirmed the most basic facts that Anthony was a patient and was discharged from the hospital on January 19, 2010.”
  • Military’s “Dignified Transfer” Of US Soldier’s Remains Profiled. CBS Evening News After 10 years of war in Afghanistan and in Iraq, the “number of Americans who have given their lives comes to 6,278.” CBS followed the story of one such soldier, 28-year-old Sergeant Michael Prince of the Oklahoma National Guard, who “died in Afghanistan three weeks ago.” When a US soldier dies at war, according to CBS, the military follows a process that it “calls the dignified transfer,” which “ends with a funeral.”
  • Widow Of Fallen Navy SEAL Looking For Lost Wedding Ring. ABC World News Kimberly Vaughan has “set up a Facebook page, looking for help in getting” her deceased husband’s wedding ring back, after she lost it in Texas. This “past August,” he husband Aaron, a Navy SEAL, “died in Afghanistan.” So far, thousands are “offering prayers” that Kimberly gets the ring back, one person is “promising $1,000 to whoever finds it, and a jeweler” is “promising a new ring.”
  •  Cocoa Group Gets Grant To Help Vets.  Orlando Business Journal  “Cocoa’s Volunteers of America of Florida Inc. will get $365,492 to help treat veterans with chronic mental illness. Cities in 11 states are sharing $10.3 million in grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide enhanced services” for homeless veterans. The funding is “part of the VA’s Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program, which is a component of its plan to eliminate homelessness among” veterans.
  • 6 Sacramento WWII Vets Dying Daily.  Sacramento Bee
  • Ontario Conference Focuses On Women Veterans.  Riverside (CA) Press Enterprise
  •  House Veterans Affairs Panel Adds Two Vets.  Army Times


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