Monday, November 20, 2017

Vietnam Veterans Need You Clued In on PTSD

What Do Vietnam Veterans Need You to Learn?
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 20, 2017

When the Greeks announced the earth was actually round, instead of flat, it shocked a lot of people. 

Some people still don't believe it. After all, all the pictures they see of maps are flat like this one.

Considering all those ancient people believed they'd fall off the earth if they went too far, it was not a pretty conversation to have with those who made them believe something that wasn't true at all.

For some reason, the same type of thing is happening with our veterans. Someone thought that the only veterans committing suicide are "post 9 11" veterans. Heck, they even thought there were 22 of them a day deciding surviving home was harder than combat. Guess they never bothered to see what other people actually knew. They were just too busy assuming something, then thought they were the one to do something about this new affliction. After all, it was all new to them.

Don't worry, this isn't another rant against the "awareness" raisers. I think I have it out of my system...for a while anyway. Besides, I can't write anything new that won't get me in more trouble. 

It needs to be said, that the majority of the veterans committing suicide, in need of the most help, waited the longest, are the ones no one knows are even still there. The veterans of The Gulf War, Vietnam, Korea and WWII. All of those generations came home with the same wounds but not the same attention.

They still don't have it because most of them are not on social media. They are not doing Snapchat or Instagram. As for Linkedin, they joined the VFW, American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans, plus the Vietnam Veterans of America, motorcycle clubs and linked in face to face instead of going on Facebook to do more than look at pictures of their Grandkids.

The research the VA did on suicides stated clearly...among other things, that the majority of the veterans committing suicide are over the age of 50. Guess it was easier to figure it is too late for them to get help. Guess they were wrong and you'd be right.

In 2007 148,000 of Vietnam veterans showed up for help for the first time. That should send two clear messages. Once they know why they are suffering, they want to help, and the other, should be a warning of what is to come if we get nothing right, right now.

The truth is, the bulk of research started in the 70's and expanded in the 80's because Vietnam veterans came home and fought for it. The VA has a history of PTSD "The DSM-III criteria for PTSD were revised in DSM-III-R (1987), DSM-IV (1994), DSM-IV-TR (2000), and DSM-5 (2013) to reflect continuing research. One important finding, which was not clear at first, is that PTSD is relatively common. Recent data shows about 4 of every 100 American men (or 4%) and 10 out every 100 American women (or 10%) will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime."

So, if you have PTSD, thank them for knowing that it isn't your fault. It is whatever IT was that threatened your life on this planet.

The other truth is that regular people also noticed. This song from Poison came out in 1990. 

Well I see him on the TV
Preachin' 'bout the promised lands
He tells me to believe in Jesus
And steals the money from my hand
Some say he was a good man
But Lord I think he sinned, yeah
Twenty-two years of mental tears
Cries a suicidal Vietnam vet
Who fought a losing war on a foreign shore
To find his country didn't want him back
Their bullets took his best friend in Saigon
Our lawyers took his wife and kids,
No regrets
In a time I don't remember
In a war he can't forget
He cried forgive me for
What I've done there
'Cause I never meant the things I did"

And give me something to believe in
If there's a Lord above
And give me something to believe in

Oh, Lord arise
My best friend died a lonely man
In some Palm Springs hotel room
I got the call last Christmas Eve

And they told me the news
I tried all night not to break down and cry
As the tears rolled down my face
I felt so cold and empty
Like a lost soul out of place
And the mirror, mirror on the wall
Sees my smile it fades again 
I drive by the homeless sleeping on
A cold dark street
Like bodies in an open grave
Underneath the broken old neon sign
That used to read
Jesus Saves
A mile away live the rich folks
And I see how they're living it up
While the poor they eat from hand to mouth
The rich is drinkin' from a golden cup
And it just makes me wonder
Why so many lose, so few win
read the rest of the lyrics here

"And it just makes me wonder why so many lose, so few win" when the truth is, they already won the battles for the rest of the world. 

The question is, "When do we help them fight for the right to matter to the rest of us?"

Dispatchers Deal With High Stress

Volusia, Flagler emergency dispatchers cope with long hours, low pay, high turnover

News Journal Online
Matt Bruce
November 19, 2017
“They have to be the voice that re-introduces some level of calmness and assurance into what is often a very difficult situation for the people who are calling,” said John Balloni, director of the Communications Center in Volusia County. “People are screaming at them, they’re swearing at them, and they’re upset. We teach them, yes, that’s all going to happen to you, but your job is still to be that voice of calm and reason, assure them that help is on the way.”
About half of Volusia County’s new dispatchers quit during their first year on the job, while nearly a third of Flagler’s recruits resign.
They serve as a bridge between crisis and intervention in a job that often requires them to hear the worst of humanity. Each day a legion of 9-1-1 dispatchers in Flagler and Volusia counties handle thousands of calls that can range in urgency from routine to catastrophic.
“They are the unsung heroes of all law enforcement and first responders,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Not only are they the voice of the Sheriff’s Office, but they also help protect our deputies.”
The U.S. Bureau of Labor rates emergency dispatching as one of the country’s most stressful professions, a fact that plays a role both near and far. About half of Volusia County’s new dispatchers quit during their first year on the job while nearly a third of Flagler’s recruits resign, officials said.
High turnover rates and staffing shortages at dispatch centers are a nationwide issue as agencies across the country struggle to find qualified call takers who can maintain their composure through intense trauma.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

PTSD Suicide Squealers vs Healers

The Numbers They Are Not Aware Of
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 19, 2017

It doesn't take a crystal ball to see right through them! All of these stunts the "22 a day" squealers keep shouting, are in fact all about them, and not the veterans they failed to do anything for. It is all so easy for them to have an event to raise funds when they don't have to lift up a single veteran. 

Why should they? Gullible, well meaning folks, simply trust them. After all Everyone claims to care, few actually care enough to take the time to make lives better while paying a price with their own.
If you are a healer, this rips all of us apart. We go through it all the time. We are the ones standing by their side until they can walk away to a happier life that is being lived. We give them a better understanding of what PTSD is, what it does to them, but then, then we help them see what is still within them. That love, compassion and truly amazing courage they had to be willing to risk their lives for someone else.

We listen to the pain in their voice, hold their trembling hands and spend hours in silence when the words just won't come out of their mouth. All too often that is when we learn the most from them.

We make them aware of why they should continue as a survivor when squealers remind them of how many they think don't make it. 

We do it in privacy, without T-shirts or banners of how many lives we saved, when they have reporters surrounding then, writing down whatever they claim without asking for any proof or accountability.

They get away with claiming to help "veterans and families" but when you look up their site, it turns out they only have a "mission" toward the OEF and OIF veterans, not the older ones needing help the most and waiting the longest.

We only need to know they are a veteran in need and give them what we can.  Most of the time, it is a lot more than our time. They take a piece of our soul with them as they leave to continue to work at what we told them they needed to do and going where we told them they needed to go.

Squealers get to enjoy the glory without having to learn anything about the story of their lives or invest any time making sure they had the resources and knowledge to actually change the outcome.

They talk about numbers that are not real, we remember the names of every single one of them who came into our hearts for the one thing we do best, but we cannot tell anyone what we are doing. We made them a promise understanding that their stories are not ours to tell.

So, yes Healer, I understand exactly what you are going through. Take my advice on this one, since I've been in this for over 3 decades. 

If you stop what you're doing because they get in the way, veterans will continue to lose their battles. 

If you give up because this is too hard, better think of all the times when it was a lot harder to help veterans and that blessing you felt when they got out of that dark place they've been in for so long.

If you do not find enough comfort in that, then think of this. When their time of judgement comes, they may come face to face with all the ones they used for their own gain, while you will come face to face with those you saved long enough until their own lives have come to a natural end.

As they squeal about numbers without reading the reports they came from, we'll keep doing the work to make sure the one we work with does not become one of those they are unaware of.

Veterans face off with law enforcement at least once a week in this country. I found 49 of their stories. How many more do you think it is happening to?

All veterans should matter everyday. They did to their families and friends but not to the people running around the country ignoring what can't fit on a bumper sticker.

New Freedom Medal Award Celebrates Service After Service

New Freedom Medal Award winners feted at gala

Delaware County News Network
Leslie Krowchenko
November 18, 2017

Kinney, of Middletown, delayed his college education to enlist in the Marine Corps, serving in Vietnam in 1966-1967. Upon his return he joined the VFW, American Legion and Disabled American Veterans and has assisted in performing more than 1,000 military funerals. He was inducted into the Chapel of the Four Chaplains Legion of Honor in 2016.

Seated from left, Freedom Medal Award winners Sean Sweeney, Marty Costello, Jennifer Jones, Dr. Tina Kane, Jerry Sweeley and Bill Kinney Jr. are flanked by members of Delaware County Council and the Delaware County Veterans Memorial Association board.
SPRINGFIELD  Honoring America’s veterans should not be limited to the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
The Delaware County Veterans Memorial Association and Delaware County Council insure that respect is year-round.
More than 500 local residents joined Thursday night for the fourth annual Freedom Medal Award dinner. The event at Springfield Country Club provided an Olympic-style podium to congratulate dedication to country recipients Marty Costello, Jennifer Jones, Bill Kinney Jr., Jerry Sweeley and Sean Sweeney, Dr. Tina Kane (dedication to education), the Videon family (dedication to community) and Delaware County Councilman David White (president’s award).
“This is an opportunity to honor our heroes for their service and sacrifice,” said Army veteran and association board President Guy Fizzano. “It is also a chance to thank our donors, who support the memorial’s upkeep and its educational programs.”
This year’s honorees represent the best of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps. Costello, of Radnor, enlisted in the Navy in 1976 and served as an aircraft mechanic with Attack Squadron 82. He has dedicated numerous hours to local veterans’ organizations and their causes, including as commander of the Delaware County American Legion committee, and worked to rebuild and rededicate the war memorial in his home town.

Dad Keeping Promise After Army Son's Suicide

Veteran suicides: Father of late third-generation soldier takes on new mission in his memory 
Tulsa World
Tim Stanley
November 19, 2017

War at home
After 10 years of distinguished military service — including tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf, and various decorations as a squad leader — Army Staff Sgt. Michael Keith Coon took his own life in 2015.

Michael D. Coon holds the flag of his son, Staff Sgt. Michael K. Coon, who committed suicide after 10 years of service in the Army and multiple deployments to the Middle East. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World 

At a veterans appreciation event a few years ago, Michael K. Coon made his grandfather a promise.
Pointing to the combat infantryman badge on Phillip Coon’s uniform, he said, "Grandpa, I'm going to have one of those, too — just like the one on your chest,” recalled Michael’s father, Michael D. Coon.
He said it was the first time that his son, then 23, had indicated he planned to go into the military.

Phillip — a decorated World War II veteran who survived the infamous Bataan Death March — couldn’t have been more proud of the young man he still referred to as “my baby grandson.”
Going on to enlist in the Army, Michael K. Coon would represent the third generation of his family to serve, carrying on a tradition that, as a source of pride to the Coons, ranked second only to their Muscogee (Creek) heritage.
Recently, during a visit to Fort Gibson National Cemetery on Veterans Day, the memory of Michael K. Coon's promise was again on his father’s mind.
For Michael D. Coon, Fort Gibson will, from now on, be the site of an annual pilgrimage.
What more appropriate way to observe Veterans Day, Coon said, than by visiting the graves of his father, Phillip, and son, Michael.

UK: Suicide Days Apart, Two Soldiers From Same Unit

Military chiefs launch urgent investigation after two war veterans from same unit kill themselves just days apart

Mirror UK
By Dan Warburton and Sean Rayment
November 18, 2017

The probe is set against a growing crisis in the Armed Forces over fears of a lack of support for troops battling demons

Military chiefs have launched an urgent probe after two war veterans from the same unit killed themselves within days of each other.
Royal Military Police officers are quizzing colleagues of the two men over fears they were suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Sunday People can reveal married dad-of-one Paul Sparks was found dead at an Army base in Germany as he was about to end his 27-year military career.

Nathan Shimwell's death came just days later after Paul Sparks took his own life 
And Sergeant Nathan Shimwell, 33, died just days later at a base in England, sparking an MoDinvestigation.
The probe is set against a growing crisis in the Armed Forces over fears of a lack of support for troops battling demons.

Holiday's Harder For PTSD Soldiers to Survive Alone

Holidays a difficult time for some veterans, soldiers

Killeen Daily Herald
David A. Bryant
November 18, 2017
“People tend to do stupid things when they isolate themselves,” he said. “As a first sergeant in the Army, I always encouraged people, especially my (noncommissioned officers), to take a soldier home for the holidays.”
The holiday season can be a difficult time for soldiers and veterans dealing with post traumatic stress, and difficult for young troops dealing with the loneliness of being away from family during the holidays for the first time in their lives.
While there is no correlation between the number of suicides going up and the season, the number of attempts does tend to increase around Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to local organizations that assist in suicide prevention.
And the ones most likely to go through with a suicide attempt are the ones who don’t talk about it, said Tony Smith, Coryell County veterans service officer.
“I’ve found in the past that those who talk about committing suicide are less likely to actually follow through,” Smith said. “Those who don’t talk tend to just do it.”
Smith said the holidays increase the number of calls he receives from people who are struggling with suicidal thoughts, regardless of the holiday.
“I’ve been to a lot of calls and a lot of suicides,” he said. “I get 3 a.m. phone calls, calls at 4 a.m. or 1:30 a.m. They get to drinking, start thinking about stupid things.” 
read more here

PTSD Veteran From 2 Wars Life Changed by Bike

Helping veterans get motivated, and moving, goal of fund founder

Arkansas Online
Ginny Monk
November 19, 2017
"In Iraq, you know who your friends were and who your enemies were," (Paul Bunn) said, crossing his arms over his chest. "When I came back here, it got hard to tell."

PHOTO BY GINNY MONKMark Leonard is one of the founders and organizers for Arkansas Freedom Fund, a nonprofit aimed at getting veterans moving. The Arkansas Challenge Ride is its biggest event. 
Mark Leonard approached a veteran wearing an American flag T-shirt and paused on his way to set up more registration signs for his organization's biggest event of the year.
"I want you to sit on this one here or that one there because I want you to have a new bike," Leonard said, pointing to two recumbent bikes sitting under a tent. "I want you to go faster."
Paul Bunn, a veteran who is getting ready to participate in a 24-mile bike ride, hugs Leonard and starts adjusting his new bike -- an eight speed instead of a three speed.
Leonard, 59, is one of the founders and organizers for Arkansas Freedom Fund, a nonprofit that works to get veterans active. The Arkansas Challenge Ride last month is its biggest event, Leonard said.
This year's ride was Bunn's second time to participate. He is an Army veteran who served one tour during the Persian Gulf War and one in Iraq. He returned with post-traumatic stress disorder that made venturing out into crowds difficult. 
read more here

Villagers For Veterans Helping Hope Come Home

Villagers for Veterans salute quadruple amputee veteran of Afghanistan and Iraqi wars

Villages News
Larry Lentz
November 19, 2017
"Since its formation in 2014, Villagers for Veterans has raised more than $500,000. The organization has presented 19 all-terrain wheelchairs to paraplegic and quadriplegic veterans who had served in Afghanistan and Iraq. Besides the many fund raising activities, it sponsors educational initiatives such as PTSD seminars and provides respite services for care-giving families."

Marie Bogdonoff and John Peck, center, Saturday night at SeaBreeze Recreation Center. Also with them, from left, are Joe Bogdonoff, John Woodall, president of Camp4Heroes, Jennifer Peck and Shanda Taylor Boyce with Timber. 

With its goal of $10,000, a Villagers For Veterans fundraiser, Saturday evening, will help a military hero continue his incredible battle to return to a life of self-independence.
John Peck, then a 24-year-old Marine, had lost both arms and legs stemming from an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan, May 24, 2010.  He then spent two years in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center undergoing 27 surgeries, months of daily medical procedures, and endured countless hours of intensive rehabilitation. 

Peck became the third quadruple amputee of the Afghan and Iraq wars, and the first Marine to receive a double-arm transplant.  He also has the distinction of being only one of two people to ever survive blood contamination by the flesh-eating fungus, Aspergillosis.
Some 250 Villagers gathered at the SeaBreeze Recreation Center to honor his wartime service and financially support Peck’s on-going recuperation. The evening was spearheaded by Marie Bogdonoff, Villages for Veterans founder and president.
read more here 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Majority of Veterans Are Not Republican?

If you control a Veterans Charity or group, think about this before you allow any of your members to put politics over other veterans.

It clearly shows the majority are not Republicans, as many would have you believe. It clearly shows that the majority are not Democrats and many would like you to believe. 

The truth is, MOST ARE INDEPENDENTS and all of them are veterans!

29% are Republican, 20% are Democrats but 49% are Independents! 

The divide is even wider when taken by age group.

Younger veterans, you know the ones you want to join your group, between the ages of 19-49 show 25% are Republicans, 16% are Democrats but 59% are Independents. 

When they walk into a group and hear political talk, imagine being one of the ones who do not agree with your political view and you just made them feel uncomfortable. Do you think they'll want to hear how much you care about them afterwards?