Sunday, April 23, 2017

How much news are you missing on our veterans?

If you don't get your news from Combat PTSD Wounded Times, then you're missing a lot. If you don't follow on Google+, you are missing even more!

A Fort Riley solider who was reported missing Wednesday was arrested on a Fort Riley warrant after being found “safe and in good health,” Riley County authorities said Thursday. Staff Sgt. Garett Michael Swift was originally sought to ensure his welfare.

"Kohne and his wife, Wren, were worried they would have to get rid of Kona, an adopted greyhound boxer mix, for safety reasons after developing a close bond with him. The dog has helped Kohne, who was a medic in Afghanistan, by keeping him calm in public situations with crowds and other factors that can trigger anxiety." #combatptsd
"Veterans in Windsor no longer face a two hour journey to voice their concerns and access services. After three years, a new Veterans Affairs office officially opened Friday to meet the needs of about 2,700 men and women who served as soldiers."
Unlike the older Montgomery GI Bill benefit, the post-9/11 GI Bill does not require any fees or pay reductions for eligibility. The new proposal would change that, taking up to $100 a month from new enlistees’ paychecks for the right to access the benefit after they leave the ranks. 
"Titan, the service dog that made national news for accompanying an army veteran to his classes at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, is recovering after he was found lying in a pool of blood." #ptsdservicedog
"I've been in the profession a very long time,” Pedersen said. “There was a time when these types of things were not only unrecognized, but were hidden. There was a stigma associated with mental illness that suggested there was a weakness of character."

The chief was speaking after a police services board meeting this week, in which the force outlined its policies for helping front-line workers with #PTSD  
"Toronto police officers who die by suicide will now be allowed to have their names included on the force's memorial wall honouring officers who died in the line of duty, if certain conditions are met."
"Police said the suspect poured liquid onto the victim, a 69-year old man who is now in critical condition, and then lobbed a burning object at him. The suspect then fled the scene."
Chief Master Sgt. Fredrick Gantzer will have a B-52 hanger named after him at Minot Air Force Base in Minot, North Dakota, reports the Weirton Daily Times.
Gantzer was stationed in Savannah, Georgia, Fairbanks, Alaska, Japan and Minot, North Dakota. He also did two tours in Vietnam."
"Philadelphia Police Department forensic graphic artist Jonny Castro created a digital painting of the Cleveland, Ohio, victim on Tuesday. The department shared the portrait of a smiling Godwin on its Facebook page, along with an eye-opening message..."
"The outreach event is a collaboration between the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System and Let’s Promote Hope. The program will include remarks from Rachel Patterson, whose husband, Travis, died Jan. 27. Other speakers include Megan Jackson, widow of veteran Greg Jackson; VA Eastern Kansas suicide prevention coordinator Stephanie Davis; and spokesman Joseph Burks." #combatptsd
Another quote on the number got me thinking about dialing a wrong number. "The number you have reached has been disconnected or is no longer in service. Please check the number and try again." But that would require someone to actually be willing to do whatever it takes to reach the other end of the line.
Its beyond time for someone to actually stop talking about a false number and start talking about how to change the outcome for the number of veterans they acknowledge as well as those who never even come into the conversation.
"The walk is a collaborative effort created by Marine Jason Stavely, and sponsored by Fratres Custodis, My Brother's Keeper, a veteran- owned and-operated company. If you would like to donate or request a mile dedication, see the event page for details and availability."

And you'd know even more if you follow on Google+

USA still selling out veterans as if it is good for them?

It is about time that reporters actually took all of this as seriously as veterans deserve from them...and this "grateful nation" when it comes to how we repay them.

First, if you heard that veterans want to be able to go to private providers of their healthcare, there are two sides to that. One is, if they live in a rural area, they have to travel for hours to go to a VA Hospital. The other factor is that Congress never fixed the problems that have been plaguing veterans since the Revolutionary War. Congress? Yes, because they write the rules and the checks to pay for what veterans get after they were willing to pay with their lives for what Congress asked them to do.

Secondly, if you think putting veterans into the mess the rest of us deal with in the private sector is a good thing, then you are part of the reason they never got what they deserved from us. When was any of this acceptable to us?
Veterans Affairs secretary: "No way" administration will privatize VA
CBS News
April 22, 2017

Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin reiterated that President Donald Trump’s administration is “in no way” trying to privatize the VA, after Mr. Trump earlier this week signed a law extending private care options for veterans.

“In no way are we seeking to privatize the VA,” Shulkin said Saturday on “CBS This Morning,” adding that the VA needs to work “closer” with the private sector to use an “integrated” approach to veteran care.

Shulkin said when he took office that he was against privatizing the VA, a stance that stirred fears from some conservatives that the Obama-era holdover would continue the status quo at the VA.

Shulkin’s latest remarks came two days after the president signed a law eliminating the August expiration date of a program born out of the 2014 VA wait time scandal. The new law allows enrolled veterans to see doctors in their communities instead of waiting for a VA appointment.

Shulkin wouldn’t reveal any details about a press conference Mr. Trump will hold next week about veterans issues, but said the news conference will cover the “tremendous progress” the VA has made.
read more here
Members of Congress have been pushing to sell them out to the private sector for decades. Look it up beginning with Senator John McCain and how he ran for the Presidency in 2008.

POLITICS-US: McCain’s Plan to Privatise Veterans’ Health CareAnalysis by Aaron Glantz*SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 21 2008 (IPS) 

If John McCain is elected the next U.S. president, wounded veterans could be in for a world of hurt.
On the campaign trail, the Republican’s presumptive nominee has talked of a new mission for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and argued that veterans with non-combat medical problems should be given vouchers to receive care at private, for-profit hospitals – in other words, an end to the kind of universal health care the government has guaranteed veterans for generations.“We need to relieve the burden on the VA from routine health care,” McCain told the National Forum on Disability Issues last month. “If you have a routine health care need, take it wherever you want, whatever doctor or health care provider and get the treatment you need, while we at the VA focus our attention, our care, our love, on these grievous wounds of war.”The Republican senator argues that giving veterans a VA card that they can use at private doctors would shorten the long wait times many veterans face in seeing government doctors, who are nearly universally viewed as among the best in the world.
This is blowing smoke! The fact is only 20% of the veterans in this country use the VA for all their healthcare needs. If a veteran is 100% disabled, then the VA treats them for everything! They will bill another insurer if they have another plan for non-service connected care, like Medicare and Medicaid, but they still do it all.
"While about 40 percent of veterans get some health care from the VA, only about 20 percent of all veterans rely totally on the VA, according to a 2015 government survey of health and health care use."
But in the same article there was this, 
A recent study by the RAND Corporation found that “VA patients were more likely to receive recommended care” and “received consistently better care across the board, including screening, diagnosis, treatment and follow up” than that delivered by other U.S. health care providers.Virtually all veterans groups oppose McCain’s plan. The Veterans of Foreign Wars’ national legislative director has said the VA card would “undermine the entire system”. 
Veterans pre-paid for their healthcare when they joined the military! Anything less than understanding that fact and honoring it is reprehensible. Taking credit for something that had nothing to do with who is on the job today is disgusting, almost as much as not holding any of them accountable!

None of the problems veterans face fighting for that commitment to be delivered on is new. For Heaven's sake! When members of Congress decided to reward private providers for donations to them, they started to kill off the VA. Hell, if the VA worked properly then every deserving veteran would want to go to the VA and they'd never be able to sell veterans out.

Congress controls all of it and they've been owing veterans an apology since 1946!

Almost a Victim of Murder-Suicide, Soldier Sees How Far He's Come

Life shouldn't be like this. But all too often it is. When this Mom came home one day, her life changed. She took that pain and then tried to make life different for others suffering from domestic violence. When her child grew up, he joined the Army and now has a family of his own. 

The lesson here is that while you cannot control what some do to you, what you do for others in in your control and there is the miracle of life.
Mother of hanged baby speaks out to raise awareness of domestic abuse signs
Tulsa World
By Paighten Harkins
Apr 23, 2017
Hindsight • Mother of hanged toddler speaks out to raise awareness of domestic abuse signs
Early one morning, Vera Jane “Janie” Birdwell (then Huddleston) went home from her job at a diner on North Sheridan Road. It was just before 4:30 a.m. She’d left a half-hour early because she felt sick.

When she arrived at home that day, March 1, 1997, she couldn’t get inside. She soon learned why.

Her then-husband had locked himself in with their 22-month-old son. He’d been trying to hang himself and their child using electrical cords and shoestrings — all of which had snapped — before she arrived.

Although neither died, Birdwell said she’s been living with the trauma of that night — and the repercussions of the abuse leading to it — for the past two decades. Now in counseling and diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, Birdwell wanted to share her story as a cautionary tale for other victims of domestic abuse.

“I went home, opened the door, and there it was,” Birdwell said. “My life’s been a living hell ever since.”
Dakota said he considers himself successful. He graduated from high school and joined the Army. He lives in California with his wife, who he says is his rock. They had a baby girl in October.

He doesn’t remember the night he almost died, but he can’t ignore it. It won’t go away. He said he used to be embarrassed to talk about it but now uses it as a way to see how far he’s come.

“You can’t let stuff hold you down, because if you let stuff hold you down, it keeps you from growing,” he said.
read more here

End of April and May Veterans Events--Including Escorting the Wall Ride

April and May Veterans Events-Because everyday is Veteran's Day

List of events from Cathy Haynes

Army Reserve Birthday – April 23, 1908 – Happy Birthday!  

The RAFMAN Club has their annual chicken and fish fry TODAY!  RAFMAN stands for Retired Air Force, Marines, Army, and Navy and provide scholarships.  And in past years they have served up some fried fish that makes Mrs. Paul's, Gorton's and many fish restaurants envious!  12noon to 5pm at the L. Claudia Allen Center, 1840 Mable Butler Blvd., Orlando, 32805.  Dinners are $12 each - Eat in or take out.  Info: 407-467-9635 or 407-492-1266

Rifle / Pistol Range Benefit - Sun. April 23 - Come out for the purposes of fun and to benefit Larry E. Smedley Marine Corps League Det. 064.  12noon - 3pm at Danville Bed and Breakfast, 232 N. Jungle Rd.  Geneva, 32732.  Arrive NLT 1pm if you plan on shooting, shooting to start promptly at 1:15pm.  Fun and friendly competition with awards for Marine, Veteran, Civilian top guns.  B&B facility that was featured on HGTV, includes the range. Info: Jr. Vice Commandant - 407-415-1504   

Veteran Hiring Event – Mon. April 24 - The Orlando VA Medical Center is hosting an employment hiring event for Orange County Corrections - 10am-2pm interviews at Orlando VA Medical Center at Lake Nona, 13800 Veterans Way, Crescent Room, Orlando, 32827.  Positions to be filled include: Certified Correctional Officers, Detention Service Officers, Community Corrections Officers, and Inmate Programs Employees.  Info:  Annie Artis, Veteran Employment Community Coordinator, at 407-646-5500 x27246 or new Mobile #: 407-750-0350  EllaMay.Artis@ va .gov    

Aerospace and Defense Industries hiring event – Mon. April 24 – Industries (including Kratos, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman) are looking for veterans to hire.  This was an invitation only event that was coordinated with Mission United, CareerSource Central Florida, and Goodwill Industries of Central Florida. Missed the resume’ submission deadline or want ‘heads-up’ for a next one?  Contact Priscila Kalagian, Mission United Director, at MissionUnited@ hfuw .org            

Passports Week - April 24-29 – Are you leaving the country to take a vacation?  Be sure the County Clerk’s Office is at the top of that list. Whether you live in Orange, Seminole or any surrounding county, join us for Passport Week.  The offices in Apopka, Ocoee and Winter Park locations will have extended hours, staying open until 5:30 p.m. Those same branch locations will also be open on Saturday, April 29, from 9am to 12noon to process your passport applications. Some passport requirements have changed so visit www. myorangeclerk .com/passportweek to review the details.  

Clothesline Project displays – Tues. April 25 and Fri. April 28 – Displays at VA locations will be set up to help bring awareness of sexual trauma and to “break the silence” that often surrounds the experience.  The VA provides free and confidential treatment services to males and females veterans for mental and physical health conditions related to experiences of military sexual trauma.  Info:  Dr. Ashley Arens, 407-646-5500 x28442.  Ashley.Arens@ va .gov
Displays on Tues. April 25 at Viera VA Clinic lobby, Orange City VA Clinic; Fri. April 28 at Kissimmee Clinic.  

FAVOB Lunch and Learn – Wed. April 26 – The Florida Association of Veteran Owned Businesses (FAVOB) hosts this lunch with a guest speaker at the Heritage Country Club (in The Heritage Room). $20 pp, 12noon – 1:30pm at 1200 Bridgewater Drive, Heathrow, 32746.  RSVP’s requested.  19 states offer contract preferences to veteran owned businesses.  Florida is NOT one of them.  FAVOB’s goal is to change that in big business, and with our state, our cities, and counties too. Info:  Website, Facebook or marketing@ favob .org  (863) 899-3703  

Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall  - April 27 - May 1 - City of Eustis is the site of this touching memorial.  Volunteers, sponsors, vendors for this event are welcomed.  Also yearly music Fest event April 28-30th.  Info:  Erin Bailey  352-483-5491    

Orlando VA Family Resource Fair – Thurs. April 27 – All are welcome to come and connect with some VA resources and local organizations that provide services to Veterans and their families.  Couple & Family Therapy services, Family Groups, Women’s Health, Vet Center, and more.  10am – 2pm at Orlando VA Medical Center at Lake Nona, 13800 Veterans Way, Orlando, 32827.  Info:  Melissa at 407-621-2681.  

MacDill AFB Career Fair – Thurs. April 27 - This military focused career fair allows service members, contractors, civilians, veterans and family members (essentially anyone who lives, works or has access to a military installation) to meet 70+ different employers.  Hosted by MacDill AFB, Airman & Family Readiness Center (A&FRC).  11am – 2pm at Surf’s Edge Club, 7315 Bayshore Blvd, MacDill AFB,  33621  (This event is in Tampa area.)  Thank you, David St. John!  

Sailing Into Your Senior Years -  Thurs. April 27 - Free educational event from 5:30pm – 7pm.  Learn about veteran Aid and Attendance and how to get your affairs in order to control how you age.  An attorney will talk about veteran benefits and assets. A VSO (veterans service officer) cannot tell people how to manage their assets in order to get funding but an attorney can. An array of healthcare options available can be discussed.   4:30-5:30 Complimentary Happy Hour; 5:30-6:30 Presentations (20 minutes each panelist); 6:30-7:00 Panel Q & A.  Space is limited. Watercrest of Lake Nona, Assisted Living and Memory Care Community, 9682 Lake Nona Village Place Orlando, 32827.  Info and to RSVP: 407-226-3113   jphillips @watercrestseniorliving .com  

U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Foundation Golf Tournament – Fri. April 28 – The Florida Chapter of this group (USMCCCA) use all the proceeds of this 13th Annual event to benefit America's wounded Marines in charitable, educational and patriotic programs.  Sherman Hills Golf Club - considered one of Central Florida’s better venues - at 31200 Eagle Falls Drive, Brooksville, 34602.    12:30pm sharp, shotgun start, usual tournament benefits, and meal, awards following tournament.     Corporate sponsorships still welcomed!  Donations VERY welcomed!  Info:  James “Red” Carpenter at jcar1@ tampabay.rr. com or (352) 688-6720.  

“Invisible Wounds Memorial” fund raising breakfast - Sat. April 29 – Pancake breakfast to raise funds for memorial dedicated to veterans and service members who suffer with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.  $10pp – pancakes, bacon, sausage, home fries, eggs, doughnuts, coffee, tea, OJ, fruit salad. (WHAT? No cheese grits?!?!)  9am – 12noon at Disabled American Veterans #84 (DAV) 605 8th St., Daytona Beach, 32117.  Contact Post at (386) 252-4551 or Cathy Heighter, cathy.remembering.vets@ gmail .com  386-931-8323   

Veteran Revamp Service Project - Sat. April 29 – Join Hands On Orlando in this project for veterans in transition at the William R Just Center for Drug Free Living in Orlando.  10am – 2pm at 1405 West Michigan Street, Orlando, 32805.  Working together to plant trees and shrubs to create a hedge, paint apartments, lay concrete and erect a shade structure.  Info: Brittany - Brittany@ handsonorlando .com - 407-375-9389  

Ocoee Fire Department Open House – Sat. April 29 - Annual Open House from 10am – 2pm at Fire Station 25 located at 563 South Bluford Avenue, Ocoee, 34761.  The Fire Station will be open to the public, giving the opportunity to meet their firefighters and tour the station. With the storm season just around the corner, the open house will offer hurricane preparedness information. Residents can register to win first aid supply kits and weather radios.   A full day of fun activities will include blood pressure checks, complimentary hot dogs, sodas and popcorn. Many First Responders (fire, police, EMT’s, etc.) are veterans.  Info:  407-905-3140 or thoover@  

(A note from me on this one--here's a video from last year on how large this ride is.)

Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall – Sun. April 30, Mon. May 1 – This replica tribute arrives on Sunday April 30 for a week at the Vietnam and All Veterans Reunion.  

Large motorcycle and first responder vehicle escort leaving Eastern Florida State College, Clearlake Rd, Cocoa at 10am.  Proceeding down the highway to Wickham Park, 2500 Parkway Dr, Melbourne, 32935.  It will remain at Wickham Park thru Sun. May 7.  The cortege is a sight to behold going down the highway!  12pm:  Covered dish picnic and wall set up.
Mon. May 1 – 6pm: Presentation of Wreaths from organizations.  7pm – Opening ceremonies.
Mon. May 8 – 9am Wall take down and clean up.  

HBI (Home Builders Institute) Classes – Mon. May 1 – May 26– HBI offers 3 certifications in 4 Weeks and job placement at No Cost to Military Members, Past or Present.  OSHA 10, First Aid/CPR/AED, Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate, Training, and Job Placement Promotion Class. 9am – 2:30pm - Mon-Thurs.  9200 Southpark Center Loop, Orlando FL 32819 (Inside Everest University off John Young Parkway.) Info or to secure your seat:  Jamacan Penney-Vassey   407-259-5069  jvassey@ hbi .org A current OSHA 10 card is a valuable asset in any industry. Safety training enhances your professional marketability.  

Primary Cares Day – Mon. May 1 –The Orlando VA Medical Center hosts this day to provide Veterans an opportunity to learn about all the different services primary care offers.  This provides some basics explanation time to clear up some confusions that you may have. This is an open house so people may come and go as they choose or come for only the topic they are interested in or to speak to a subject matter expert.  9am to 4:30pm in the Auditorium “A” on the 4th Floor.  Presentations are:  0900 - Acting Director Remarks; 0915 – My Healthe Vet; 0950 – Minority Program/Homeless Program/Special Events; 1040 – Enrollment; 1130 – Primary Care/Womens Health/Resident Clinic;  1220 – My VA Access; 1310 – Choice; 1400 – National Cemetery Administration; 1450 – Traveling Veteran Coordinator.  Tables with displayed info: 2018 Wheel Chair Games; LGBT, Veteran Affairs Pharmacy, Enrollment, Infectious Disease; My VA Access, and many others.  Info: vhaorlpublicaffairs@ va .gov  407-631-4436  

World Aviation Training Conference and Tradeshow – Tues-Thurs. May 2 – 4 – The 20th annual gathering of aviation training professionals is at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando.  The Conference streams to Cabin Crew, Helicopter, Maintenance, Regional Pilot and World Pilot positions, and over 70 exhibitors from around the world will be showcasing on the Tradeshow Floor the latest training and technology surrounding the simulation industry.  Info:  www.  

Coast Guard Auxiliary meeting – Wed. May 3 – The Osceola Flotilla 17-10 meets on the 1st Wed. of each month, 7pm, at American Legion Post 10, 205 Lakeview Dr., Kissimmee, 34741. Auxiliary members are volunteers who support the Coast Guard in all its non-military, and non-law-enforcement missions. Members help to provide maritime safety, security and stewardship; to secure the homeland, save lives and property; and to protect the environment. There are several Flotillas (groups) in Central Florida and membership in the Auxiliary is open to persons 17 years of age and older – some are much older! Info: Jim Nickles at jimnickles2@ gmail .com  407-390-9611  

City of Orlando Mayors’ Veterans Advisory Council – Thurs. May 4 – 1:30pm Monthly meeting of numerous organizations and individuals for the benefit of local veterans and active duty personnel.  Planning of functions (ie:  Veterans Day parade) and awareness of events is shared.  Designated representatives allow groups to coordinate efforts.  If your Orlando area vet/military associated group isn’t attending, it should plan to get involved.  Networking before and after the meeting.  See website at, Office of the Mayor, Mayor’s Committees, Veterans.   Contact Chairman Michael Waldrop for attendance and location information.  mwaldrop@ blue-cord .com or Emily Bonvini  emily.bonvini@ cityoforlando .net  407.246.2728  

Vietnam and All Veterans Reunion – Thurs. May 4 – Sun. May 7 – This is the 30th Annual Reunion - the nation’s largest veterans reunion is very well attended; military displays, reenactments and ceremonies, music, old and new friends.  All eras, all branches.  Military vendors have almost every patch or pin that you could ever need.  Last year brought 87k+ persons.  Wickham Park, 2500 Parkway Dr., Melbourne, 32935.   Additionally, the Vietnam Veterans Traveling Memorial Wall will be onsite from Sun. Apr. 30 to May 7.  Definitely check the website for the schedule of numerous and varied events at   floridaveteransreunion .com – VERY busy and interesting each day.  Free parking, free admission.  Info:  321-408-2698. Vendors call: 321-652-4185 or vet.reunion.vendor@ gmail .com    

Family Fun Day 2017 – Sat. Or Sun. May 6 or 7 -  A Day at the Circus - The BAHIA Shrine Circus has invited Camaraderie Foundation's Military Service Members, Post- 9/11 Veterans and their family members to enjoy a free day at the circus.  Silver Spurs Arena at 1875 Silver Spur Lane, Kissimmee, 34744.  Shows are at 10am, 2pm or 6:30pm on either day.  To participate, register by emailing or calling:  Anna Tanzilla at programs@ camaraderiefoundation .org or 407 841 0071 with your name, email, phone number, # of tickets, and which performance on which day.  Tickets are limited to 6 per family.  Tickets will be available for pick-up the week of May 1st at Camaraderie Foundation (2488 East Michigan Street, Orlando, 32806)  

Honor Flight “Welcome Home” – Sat. May 6 – See information listed in the April 22 event paragraph.  

VE Day – Victory in Europe – May 8, 1945 – Thank a WW2 veteran for his/her service!  

“The Vietnam War” special screening – Mon. May 8 – PBS channels will begin a special 18-hour documentary series on the Vietnam War from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick in September.  This is a special screening of selected previews that will be attended by Lynn Novick and Col. Hal Kushner (ret.) of Daytona beginning 7pm-9pm at the Orange County Regional History Center, 65 E. Central Blvd., Orlando, 32801.  WUCF hosts this and moderates a discussion, Q&A after the screening.  Registration is requested at their website.  Info: WUCF TV   407-823-2947  jennifer.cook@ wucftv .org   

Central Florida Navy League social – Tues. May 9 – Join those who support the Sea Services at this Social sponsored by Envision Innovative Solutions.  5pm-7pm at Cooper’s Hawk in Waterford Lakes, 529 N. Alafaya Trail, Orlando, 32828.  You don’t have to have served in the military in order to join the Navy League – just support the Sea Services: US Navy, US Coast Guard, US Marine Corps or Merchant Marines.  Info: navleaguecenfl@ juno .com  

Marine Corps League Orlando - Tues, May 9 - Cpl. Larry E. Smedley, Detachment 064 Monthly Meeting, 7pm – 8pm at the at American Legion Florida Department bldg., 1912A Lee Road, Orlando, FL 32810. Info:  mclcfl @gmail. com   or  Sr.Vice Cdr at 407-963-9388. (Cpl. Larry Smedley was an Orange County resident and enlisted in the Marine Corps.  He was killed in Vietnam on December 21, 1967 after heroic actions were seen in battle.  He earned the Medal of Honor, awarded posthumously; he was 18 yrs old.)  

Central Florida Navy League luncheon and meeting – Wed. May 10 – All persons who support the sea services, whether civilian or military, are welcomed to attend this gathering on the 2nd Wed. of each month.  11:30 – 1pm at the Holiday Inn – UCF, 1724 N. Alafaya Trail, Orlando, 32826.  Interesting speakers and networking potential includes the simulation technology businesses.  $20 with credit card payment on website (cfnavyleague .org) or $25 at the door.  3rd largest Navy League in FL with diverse membership including nearby technology industries.  Contact Bob K. (Membership Chair.) at navleaguecenfl@ juno .com   407-977-7575
(NEW!  The Navy League offers national E-Membership for only $25 per year! Prior military service is NOT required.  Support the sea services – Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines – with membership.)  

Military Spouse Appreciation Day – May 12 – Thank a Military Spouse for their oftentimes overlooked and unrecognized support of their loved one.  

Army Aviation Association of America, Networking Social – Fri May 12 – Join the Central Florida Chapter of 4A’s (aka Quad A) during Happy Hour for some fun and friendship at Froggers, Alafaya Square, 27 Alafaya Woods Blvd, Oviedo, 32765.  Info:   sean.c.osmond@ gmail .com  

Packaging for the Troops – Sat. May 15 – Join Kids in Support of Soldiers (K.I.S.S.) to pack special care packages that will be sent to troops.  10am – 11am this month at Progressive Insurance, 1050 West Town Parkway, Altamonte Springs, 32714.  If you have a loved one overseas or know of someone who has a loved one overseas, let K.I.S.S. know and they will add them to the mailing list to receive a package every month they are gone. Donations and items always welcomed!  Info:  321-279-6092  akissfromhome@ yahoo .com  

Marine Corps League fundraising – Sat. May 13 – The Cpl. Larry Smedley Detachment will be collecting donations at the Navy Exchange (NEX).  9am – 3pm, 8717 Avenue C, Orlando, 32827.  The NEX is south of the Beachline on Tradeport Drive, just bordering the west side of Orlando Int’l Airport.  The funds raised help support the Young Marines Orlando Devil Dogs  (boys and girls ages 8 – 18), and Scholarship programs.  (Cpl. Larry Smedley was an Orange County resident and enlisted in the Marine Corps.  He was killed in Vietnam on December 21, 1967 after heroic actions were seen in battle.  He earned the Medal of Honor, awarded posthumously; he was 18 yrs old.) sgtmajgna@ earthlink .net  

NEX - Haven’t been to the NEX (Navy Exchange) recently?  You will be pleasantly surprised!  There are great new products – non-gluten, fresh produce, popular brands of groceries and products, electronics, liquor and clothing at extremely competitive pricing!  And no sales tax!  To be eligible to shop, you need to be active military, reserve or guard, military retired, or 100% service disabled – at least until mid-November when shopping all the Exchanges online will open up to ALL veterans!  The site also has a barber shop and an MWR for tickets to local attractions at competitive, even incredibly reduced prices!  You must be eligible - military cards ARE checked.  Think ahead to summertime for visiting relatives!  

Joggin for Frogmen – Sat. May 13 - 5K supporting Navy Seals Foundation in Fernandina Beach FL. www. jogginforfrogmen. com  

Florida Association of Veteran Owned Businesses mtg (FAVOB) – Tues May 16 - Meeting at 10am, a “Chamber of Commerce” of sorts open to all veteran owned businesses, at American Legion Florida Department bldg., 1912A Lee Road, Orlando, FL 32810.  19 states offer contract preferences to veteran owned businesses.  Florida is NOT one of them.  Our goal is to change that in big business, and with our state, our cities, and counties too.  See FAVOB Facebook site.  Info:  chairman@ favob .org or marketing@ favob .org  

Orange County Mayors’ Veterans Advisory Council –Wed. May 17 – 1:30pmmonthly meeting of numerous  organizations and individuals for the benefit of Central FL veterans and active duty personnel.  Planning of events and awareness is shared.  Designated representatives allow groups to coordinate efforts and unite for the common cause.  If your Orange County /Central FL vet/military associated group isn’t attending, it should plan to get involved.  Mayor Teresa Jacobs is very supportive of a veteran-friendly community.  Contact Chairman Col. Edwin Marrero for attendance and location information.  emarrero81 @cfl.rr .com   

Armed Forces Appreciation Day – May 20 – The unified recognition of all presently servicing persons in the armed forces rather than separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard and Air Force Days.  

Coast Guard Auxiliary meeting – Sat. May 20 – The Orlando-Winter Park Flotilla 17-11 meets on the 3rd Sat. of each month, 9am, at the Lake Baldwin VA Clinic, 5201 Raymond St., Orlando, 32803.  Auxiliary members are volunteers who support the Coast Guard in all its non-military, and non-law-enforcement missions. Members help to provide maritime safety, security and stewardship; to secure the homeland, save lives and property; and to protect the environment. There are several Flotillas (groups) in Central Florida and membership in the Auxiliary is open to persons 17 years of age and older – some are much older! Info: Joseph Bonaccorse  407.222.9681.  

Armed Forces Appreciation Night – Thurs. May 25 – A combined gathering of Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard personnel, veterans, and groups at the Citrus Club in downtown Orlando.  (Dag-gone-it, Air Force!  Ain’t we good ‘nough for ya?!?!  But you are still welcomed to join us for fellowship and networking!!!  Maybe next year? – My words. )


Coast Guard Cutter Eagle visit to Port Canaveral: May 31- June 3.  This is a tall ship – one with real masts and sails.  The Coast Guard Cutter EAGLE, provides USCG Academy cadets and officer candidates with their first taste of sea and salt air. Built in Germany in 1936 and recommissioned by the United States at the close of World War II, the EAGLE is the largest tall ship flying the Stars and Stripes.  This will be a unique opportunity.  


Army Birthday Ball – June 17 – Commemoration of the 242nd Birthday with “Over There! A Celebration of the WWI Soldier”  A grand event and gathering. Discounted advance tickets and hotel bookings.  Info: Dee at (407) 924-0810  www. ausa-sunshine .org


First time Veteran home buying workshops - Veteran homes being built in Apopka, Orlando & Winter Garden. Must attend one First-time buyer class. Classes are on the 1st Saturday of the month.  Winter Park Community Center, 721 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, 32789.  Registration required in order to receive a Certificate of Completion for HUD.  Info and to register:  407-599-0057 tasiah.malofsky@ consumerdebtcounselors .com   

Research Project - Active military, reservists, guardsmen and veterans needed – If you or someone you know has experience overseas, a research project is ongoing at the UCF RESTORES lab at the University of Central Florida.  The project determines if smells influence their experience in virtual environments similar to those we use in the treatment of combat-related PTSD. Participation takes approximately one hour, and those who volunteer will be compensated for their time.  You can help others who suffer from PTS by your participation.  Call UCF RESTORES:  407-823-3910.  

Navy Yearbooks and Photos - a volunteer Navy historian is amassing the largest collection of pictures/articles and RUDDERS - which are yearbooks of graduating recruits.  Especially wanted are the Yearbooks from our past Orlando Navy Training Base – the “boot camp” that changed over 650,000 lives.  If you can’t part with your yearbook or photos, a scanned copy would be ideal!  Info:  usnwaveret7495@ gmail .com  

USTA Program for Veterans - Every Monday from Now – May 22 – United States Tennis Association (USTA) shares that tennis is an excellent way to stay physically fit and mentally sharp. Disabled Veterans and wounded, ill and injured Service Members are invited to participate in a 7-week program designed to help Veterans and Service Men and Women reconnect with everyday activities.  All Veterans are welcome at no cost. Please bring valid military ID, VA ID or DD 214 on the first day of program.  USTA National Campus, 10000 USTA Blvd., Orlando, 32827   Info: Jason Allen at jason.allen@ usta .com  844-872-8667  (Remember:  Tennis is an included event in the Paralympics and the National Veterans Wheelchair Games (being held in Orlando in 2018!)  

Veterans Bowling League – Now for 7 weeks - 6p-8:30p – Veterans, R.O.T.C.’s, Service Organizations and Families.  Come put together a team to represent your Favorite Branch or Organization.  Hosted by Boardwalk Bowl, 10749 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, 32817.  Info:  407-384-0003. Thank you, Roger D. Sack of PVA!  

April – Month of the Military Child - The Museum of Military History recognizes the important role military children play in the armed forces community. Sponsored by the Department of Defense Military Community and Family Policy, the Month of the Military Child is a time to applaud military families and their children for the daily sacrifices they make and the challenges they overcome.  This overlooked treasure has exhibits that offer learning for all ages.  Regular hrs: 10am-6pm Tues-Sun.  5210 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy, Kissimmee, 34746.  (407) 507-3894    

Fantasy of Flight Museum is currently OPEN on weekends!!  It has a large collection of military aircraft.  Friday - Sunday 11am - 3pm.  Fantasy of Flight Museum, 1400 Broadway Blvd SE, Polk City, 33868 (Take exit 44 from I-4)  Ph: 863-984-3500  or check their website for more info.  

Burial Schedules -  VA is now providing online daily burial schedules for its national cemeteries, per VAntage Point, Official Blog of the Department of Veterans Affairs, March 24, 2017.  The online schedule for all VA national cemeteries that will allow families, friends and community members to find time and location information for those being interred.  Thank you, Ed Burford, Seminole Co. VSO. (Locally:  This effects the grounds at Bushnell and Cape Canaveral – Some people and groups don’t want ANY veteran to be buried or interred alone and forgotten.  This will allow a tribute to the deceased veteran.)   

Drivers’ Licenses, TSA, federal facilities and military bases – If you are a snowbird or have snowbird family, residents of eight states will no longer be able to use their state-issued ID for domestic air travel [or to enter a federal facility or military base].  Beginning January 22, 2018, residents of Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina or Washington, will no longer be valid to pass TSA-checkpoints with their state IDs [driver’s license]. This means they'll have to bring a passport, military ID or permanent resident card next time they go to the airport, even if they're just traveling within the United States.  (Jan. 2017 resources, including Why?  These states don't meet the federal government's minimum security standards, which requires verifying every ID applicant's identity, putting anti-counterfeit technology into the production of the card and conducting background checks on the people issuing the driver's licenses.  

Puerto Rican birth certificates - All certified copies of birth certificates issued prior to July 1, 2010, have  become invalid.  The government of Puerto Rico has invalidated every birth certificate issued on the island before July 1, 2010, in an attempt to curb rampant fraud and identity theft that officials say has ruined lives, strained social service programs and compromised national security.  

Veterans in crisis – For you or someone you know. 
Suicide is a medical emergency.  If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, know that you are not alone and care should be sought immediately by calling 911.  Free, confidential resources are instantly available through the Military Crisis Line to aid you if you are in crisis. 
Call 800-273-8255 and press 1,  
OR chat online now for 24/7 access to trained counselors who understand what service members and military families are coping with.  Website at  veteranscrisisline 
OR:  text 838255  for 24/7 confidential assistance.  They are there because they care….  

Camaraderie Foundation in Central Florida provides resources for private and confidential Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) counseling for Post 9/11 veterans/warriors and their families.  They also have connections in other areas, other states.  It works.  It HAS saved lives, saved marriages and saved families.  camaraderiefoundation .org   Contact 407-841-0071      

Caring and sharing,  

Cathy Haynes Member/supporter of numerous veteran and military organizations in Central FL
chaynes11629@ yahoo .com