Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – December 30, 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.    Nicole Brodeur ‘Be patient with us’: Iraq vets need time to heal.  The Seattle Times
An associate professor at the University of Washington, he has been working at the US Department of Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System since 1997. He’s also a veteran who served as the mental-health department head in Kuwait and Iraq. …
2.    Help Available For Disabled Veterans.  State and federal departments are teaming up to help wounded veterans. The Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the US Department of Veterans Affairs have put out something called a “memorandum of understanding”, pledging to give disabled …
3.    2 Memphis men sentenced to jail for scheme to embezzle money from disabled.  The Republic  The US Attorney’s Office in Memphis said in a statement Thursday that 75-year-old Jack Perry, a former court-appointed fiduciary, and 67-year-old Robert Tabbutt, a former US Department of Veterans Affairs Field Examiner, were accused of stealing …
4.    Nutrients May Stop Brain Shrinkage Linked To Alzheimer’s.  Medical News Today
Funds from the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Aging and National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the US Department of Veteran Affairs, Portland VA Medical Center, helped pay for the research.
5.    8-month investigation turns up no Agent Orange at S. Korean baseAn eight-month investigation has found no evidence that Agent Orange was buried at a small U.S. Army base in South Korea more than three decades ago as alleged by several former U.S. soldiers , according to a joint U.S.-South Korean team that announced its final report at a press conference Thursday.
6.    Victim advocates want radical overhaul in handling of military sex assaults.  Just a day after the Defense Department announced a sharp rise in the number of sexual assault reports at military academies, a pair of victims advocacy groups say the military needs a radical overhaul in how those cases are handled in order to end its problems with sexual violence.
7.    Once-homeless Army sergeant launches effort to provide for needy.  Six years ago, Sgt. Joshua Evans was homeless, jobless and unable to support his wife and daughter in Long Beach, Calif. He called his car home. With his earlier tough times in mind, Evans launched a nonprofit charitable effort, Operation: Santa’s Soldiers, which aims to provide winter coats and boots for the homeless.
8.    WWII Veterans luncheon to be held on February 24th.  Best of Times  The average age of the veteran still living is 87 so for many it may be the last time they will be able to attend a WW II event. The US Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 740 WW II veterans are dying every day, and that of the 16.1 million …
9.    Recession Takes Bloom Off St. Clair County’s Economic Boom But Its Leaders Sense A Rebound.  Birmingham (AL) News  “By late spring 2012, a new Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs’ seniors facility will open across from the new” St. Vincent’s St. Clair Hospital, which opened Dec. 11th. The new seniors facility “is a $48 million project that…will create between 250 and 300 jobs and is being used as a prototype to be copied by other VA homes across the country,” according to Don Smith, the executive director of the St. Clair County Economic Development Council.
10.  Brain Injury Linked To Violent Acts.   MedPage Today “Individuals who’ve had a severe traumatic brain injury are at subsequent risk for violent behavior, but the same association was not seen for patients with epilepsy, Swedish researchers found.” According to Seena Fazel, of Oxford University and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, “adults with traumatic brain injury had an adjusted odds ratio for a later conviction for a violent offense of 3.3 (95% CI 3.1 to 3.5), which was a 5.8% absolute increase in risk,” when “compared with the general population.” The results were published online “in PLoS Medicine.”


Have You Heard?

Rules Liberalized for Veterans with Undiagnosed Illnesses

Veterans of the Gulf War with undiagnosed illnesses have an additional five years to qualify for VA disability benefits. The eligibility window has been extended to December 31, 2016. Learn more


More Veteran News


  •  Army Changes TBI Treatment.  CBS Evening News The Army is changing treatment for troops that suffer from traumatic brain injury. Previously, soldiers that suffered mild concussions during battle continued fighting, which “sometimes” caused “serious long-term health issues.” Now, all concussions are treated. Army Capt. Amy Gray, an occupational therapist, said, “What we found is within the first 24 hours, if we can get them down, get them a good night’s sleep, the symptoms usually go away.” Since Gray arrived in Afghanistan last May, she’s treated nearly 200 soldiers for TBI and under her care, most have returned to battle within a week.
  • Troops Worry About Retirement.  The Street  According to a new survey from First Command Financial Services, “Military families are more concerned about their retirement prospects than economic conditions, inflation, debt and health insurance.” The survey “It found that 71% of middle-class military families (those with household incomes of at least $50,000) cited government cuts to military retirement benefits as the financial issue that concerns them the most. The economy came in second at 54%, followed by the cost of gas at 51%.”
  •    Some Things The Government Got Right In 2011.  Washington Post  “Federal Eye” blog, reviews “some of the things” he “thinks the government did well” in 2011. According to O’Keefe, “technology is helping agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration, cut significant lag times. It’s nowhere near perfect, but backlogs are shrinking across the government.” The reduction in backlogs ranks third in O’Keefe list.
  •  Hundreds Of Vets Facing Tuition Increase Or Postponing College.  AP  “Hundreds of military veterans in North Carolina are facing a stark choice, thanks to a recent change in the GI Bill: put off college for a year, or take on thousands of dollars more in tuition costs.” In August, “the federal program intended to help veterans get college educations stopped paying out-of-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities.” The changes mean that roughly “420 veterans in” North Carolina’s “16-school university system” are “suddenly facing the prospect of far larger bills than they had anticipated, according to Mark Waple, an attorney representing the recently formed Student Veterans Advocacy Group of North Carolina.” Two North Carolina congressmen have introduced legislation to undo the changes.
  •   VA Strives To End Homelessness Among Vets.  USA Today  “Halfway into an ambitious five-year campaign to end homelessness among veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs says it has made enough progress that the goal is within reach, even as a new generation of veterans returns from Iraq and Afghanistan.” Over the past two and a half years, the VA has aggressively used a “voucher program” to house “more than 33,000 veterans.” The VA “did so by changing its longtime policy of requiring homeless veterans to be successfully treated for substance abuse and mental ailments before being given apartments.” To curb homelessness among returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, the VA has allocated $160 million in grants to non-profit community agencies to prevent low-income from falling into homelessness. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said, “We’ve learned we can’t end homelessness by street rescues alone.”
  • Partnership For The Homeless’ CEO Calls For Robust Funding Of Community Programs.  New York Times The CEO of the Partnership for the Homeless, Arnold Cohen, writes about a December 19th New York Times editorial entitled “Help for Homeless Veterans.” Cohen contends, “to really declare success,” on the campaign to end veteran homelessness, “we need to focus on homelessness prevention strategies, not simply waiting to leap into action once we find a veteran struggling on the street.” Cohen calls for “robustly financing community infrastructures that can support veterans about to fall over the precipice is key.”
  •   Program Pairs Homeless Vets With Green Jobs.  St. Louis Post-Dispatch Vietnam Vetran Eddie Williams Jr., 55, is a participant in “The St. Patrick Center program, formally called Veterans GO! Green, works with 40 companies to provide hands-on training” to unemployed veterans in the “green” field. Williams works “at the Missouri Botanical Garden for winter,” under a program managed by the St. Patrick Center and funded through the Department of Labor that places homeless or near-homeless veterans in jobs in the green field. “The program is in its second year, and 44 of the 78 vets who went through training have been placed in jobs.” According to national statistics released earlier this month, 12% fewer veterans are homeless compared to last year. Agencies that work with homeless veterans “are often dealing with men who have been in prison, have a history of substance abuse, are mentally ill, or a combination of the three.”
  •   Iraq And Afghanistan War Veterans Aren’t Using VA Benefits, Study Concludes.  Huffington Post  “Though thousands of injured troops in need of medical care have recently come home, they’re not taking advantage of the Department of Veterans Affairs services, a soon-to-be-published study reports.” A Center for Disease Control and Prevention study to be published next month found that “since the Iraq and Afghanistan wars began, only 51 percent of eligible veterans have sought care through the VA.” Recently, the VA announced it would create individual Facebook pages for each of its medical centers as a way reach recently returned veterans. In a statement, Brandon Friedman, the VA’s director of online communications, said, “With more troops returning home, we also have a responsibility to connect with the thousands of servicemembers who have been — and will be — entering our system. They’re using social media, so that’s where we need to be.”
  • VA Wants To Collect Clinical Laboratory Blood Specimens From One Million Veterans To Create World’s Largest Medical Database And Gene Repository.  DARK Daily  “The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced what it calls the ‘Million Veteran Program (MVP).'” The program “is actively recruiting one million veterans who are willing to provide a blood specimen. These specimens will become part of a database that contains the full electronic health records (EHR) of millions of veterans.” So far, over 10,000 veterans have signed up for the program since it was announced last June.
  •  Showers For New Mothers, Expecting Veterans.  Killeen (TX) Daily News  “Sarah Hessil and her 8-week-old baby, Elliott, were the first to benefit from a new partnership between the Department of Veterans Affairs and various nonprofit organizations in the community to host quarterly baby showers for pregnant veterans and new moms.” To assist with the shower “the VA Women’s Health Department teamed up with the Betty Martin Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Temple.” Hessil, who left the Army four years ago commended the VA’s maternity care. “Jana O’Leary, women veterans’ program manager, said female veterans who have their baby at the VA hospital are now eligible for the baby shower on top of the benefits they already receive from the VA, including a breast pump, nursing bras, seven days of newborn care and two followup appointments.”
  •  Soldiers Lose Home To Fire.  WOIO-TV  “Two soldiers, who had just returned home from active duty, lost everything when their house went up in flames.” Longtime “friends Johnny Leyba and Frank Ortega woke up Tuesday morning to flames devouring their home in Belen, NM.” The only salvageable item “was a Purple Heart medal that was kept in a keepsakes box.”
  •  Parents Seek Purple Heart For Son Who Fell In Kosovo.  Lake City (FL) Reporter  “Pfc. Ben McGill died” of electrocution “Aug. 1, 1999” while “trying to save fellow soldiers who were under fire by a sniper in Kosovo.” McGill “was given the Soldier’s Medal posthumously and his family received all the obligatory letters of sympathy and thanks for his service.” His family wants McGill to awarded a Purple Heart. McGill’s parents have written to Sen. Bill Nelson requesting his assistance in the mater. Edie McGill, Ben’s mother, said that “VA counseling and his faith in God helped her husband deal with the loss, but a Purple Heart would help him and family members know Ben McGill’s sacrifice was recognized by the government and military.”
  • AF Civilian Receives Overdue War Honor.  “For Air Force veteran John, it was an award ceremony over four decades in the making.” On December 22, “the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment chief financial officer received the Distinguished Flying Cross during his retirement ceremony Dec. 22 for extraordinary achievement while serving as a sergeant and C-47 airborne Morse system operator in Vietnam in 1970.” Though “LaHue was officially awarded the medal 41 years ago,” the award was given to him “without any formal presentation — a common occurrence during a war that was unpopular in the United States.”
  •   Helping Other Vets Along Road She Trod.  Washington Post  The work of John 14:2, Inc., which was started by a female Navy veteran and “helps veterans and their families who are experiencing the challenges that lead to homelessness.”
  •    Pit Bull Ban Sends Beloved Service Dog Packing.  Chicago Tribune
  •   Veterans Group Seeks To Help Returning And Local Military.  New Jersey Herald
  •    Military Wives Turn To Bible For Marriage Advice.  AP
  •  Time Has Come To Shine Light On Veterans’ PTSD.  Wilmington (DE) News Journal
  •   Property Tax Exemption For Veterans To Include Surviving Spouses.  Atlanta (TX) Citizens Journal


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