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1. N.D. butcher shop gives Marine a second career. Former Marine Mark Haegele, 21, of Bismarck lost both legs when he stepped on an IED while deployed in Afghanistan in April 2011. While he was in rehabilitation, he thought a lot about what he wanted to do with his life. Though he couldn’t exactly tell you why — he’d never done it before — Haegele decided he wanted to be a butcher.
2. Alleged SEAL poseur again accused of lying about service. In 2002, Robert Anthony Nolan was sentenced to two years in federal prison for lying to the FBI after being accused of posing as a Navy SEAL. At sentencing, he promised to turn his life around once he was released; a decade later, he says he has been as good as his word. Curt Ruggles begs to differ.
3. World War II submariners share stories that never grow old. Dallas-Fort Worth remains home to a handful of World War II submariners whose sea stories hold an irreplaceable spot in U.S military history. “It’s only a pretty small group of us left,” said Joe H. Allison, 89, of Fort Worth, who served two years on the USS Silversides.
4. NATO: Decision on Patriot missiles to Turkey expected this week. The potential deployment of Patriot missiles on Turkey’s border with Syria will have a deterrent effect and not be seen as an indicator that NATO is being drawn into the conflict, the alliance’s secretary general said Monday.
5. Pentagon: discussion of troop numbers remaining in Afghanistan ‘premature’. The Pentagon says it plans to tell the White House within weeks how many American troops military leaders believe will be needed in Afghanistan after 2014 to train local forces and continue to target al-Qaida.
6. On Day of Listening, veterans share tales. The National Day of Listening started four years ago as a way to preserve the stories of friends, loved ones and members of the community on the day after Thanksgiving as a alternative to shopping. This year’s focus was on veterans.
7. Soldiers from the world over mix at Sergeants Major Academy. The United States has often been described as a melting pot because of its rich diversity. At Fort Bliss, the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy could be called a mini-melting pot.
8. Va. veteran still ‘gung-ho’ about Marine Corps at 96. Everett Grob last served in the military 59 years ago, but the values the Marine Corps instilled have stuck with him every day of his life. In recent months, the 96-year-old has had to draw on the principles of courage and inner strength more than ever before.
9. Mum’s not the word. Military spouses are not afraid to confront and speak out about the challenges faced by military marriages.
10. Agent Orange Remains Big Health Concern. St. Joseph (MI) Herald Palladium “A vestige of the Vietnam War is present front and center at the Berrien County Veterans Service Office. Dozens of veterans of the war, which ended in 1975, call or visit to get help in filing claims for illnesses and conditions attributed to Agent Orange exposure or post-traumatic stress disorder.” And “with the number of World War II veterans rapidly declining, Vietnam-era veterans make up the largest number of people seeking assistance from the county office.” Also, “over the years the VA has added to the list of presumptive diseases recognized as service- connected from Agent Orange exposure.”
Have You Heard?
One of VA’s most important missions is also among its most challenging: ending Veteran homelessness once and for all. The goal has been set for the end of 2015, and the numbers seem to be heading in the right direction; last year, Veteran homelessness fell by 12 percent, thanks to an infusion of prevention services.
This isn’t an initiative that will succeed at just the federal level, but locally as well. Two recent stories highlight what can happen when all levels begin to meet mission.
The first, from the Rapid City Journal, details a VA program that intakes homeless Veterans and puts them to work at VA national cemeteries. The paid positions don’t just offer steady income, but something worth holding onto as Veterans work to lift themselves back up, as an Iraq Vet in the program described:
“It’s given me a sense of pride,” he said. “I was kind of blowing in the wind.” He also plans to continue to use the skill set at a job after the year is up, even if it means leaving the Black Hills.
“I love this program; I’m intent on doing this job,” Kurttila said.
The second article from The Washington Post helps illustrate how local organizations are making an impact despite challenges that can delay assistance, like proper identification for homeless Veterans:
This is a common problem for homeless people. “You need ID to get ID,” said Jan-Michael Sacharko, director of development for A-SPAN. “You have to establish you’re a resident of Arlington, which is a bit of an oxymoron — how do you establish you’re a homeless resident of Arlington?”
After many months, enough paperwork was collected to get Maas’s birth certificate from California.
Taken together, these articles show progress is hard fought and can be won, but challenges are still ahead to roll that counter down to zero.
If you’re a homeless Veteran or family member, or at risk of becoming homeless, please give our help line a call at 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838), and visit our homeless Veteran site for more information on housing assistance, health care options, and more.