Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Marine Sgt. Major Accused in Attack at Portland Resteraunt

This is a veteran of multiple deployments. He is also a veteran with valor and rank. Pretty much sums up how good the "resilience" training is working on our service members. The DOD will never get that it is the biggest part of the problem.
Marine with PTSD accused in attack at Portland Iraqi restaurant
Mike Benner and Michael Rollins and Mike Benner
April 25, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The suspect in an attack in a Portland Iraqi restaurant is an active duty Marine who has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

Sergeant Major XXXXXXX, 40, served two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a Marine Corps biography.

He told jailers of the PTSD diagnosis but did not specify a date. He is taking Ritalin and Propranolol.

XXXXXXXX was initially accused of harassment and second-degree disorderly conduct and intimidation. He was booked and released.

The charge of second-degree intimidation, a hate crime under Oregon law, has been dropped. However, Portland police told KGW that the case has been assigned to a bias crime detective. Police also said they are aware of XXXXXXX military status and that it would have no bearing on their investigation.

The owners of the DarSalam restaurant in Northeast Portland said one of their servers was the victim of a racially motivated attack Friday evening.
He earned the prestigious Sergeant Major rank in November of 2015. He now serves as the XXXXXXXX Marines Battalion Sergeant Major.

His awards include Bronze Star Medal with combat ‘V’ for valor, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with one gold stars in lieu of second award.
read more here

Man Charged with Threatening Disabled Veteran and Throwing Fire Extinguisher at Him

NEW: Florida man allegedly throws fire extinguisher at disabled veteran
Palm Beach Post
Ryan DiPentima
April 25, 2017
Hagen allegedly threw the extinguisher at his neighbor -- striking him in the abdomen and thighs -- and allegedly threatened to “dump” him from his wheelchair, according to the Gainesville Sun.
A Florida man is accused of throwing a fire extinguisher at a disabled veteran.
James M. Hagen, of Gainesville, got into an argument with his neighbor, a disabled veteran in a wheelchair, on Monday. The argument allegedly stemmed from Hagan’s belongings blocking his neighbor’s access to a fire extinguisher, according to the Gainesville Sun.
read more here

Navy Federal Credit Union to Cover Some Members in Case of Government Shutdown

Navy Federal to Cover Direct Deposit for Eligible Members Ahead of Possible Government Shutdown
Business Wire
April 24, 2017

VIENNA, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Navy Federal Credit Union today announced plans for supporting its members should Congress be unable to come to an agreement on a continuing resolution and the government shuts down as of midnight, April 28. 

Beginning April 26, eligible members can opt in to a special program and receive coverage of their direct deposit of net pay should the government shut down.

“We’re always looking for the best way to serve our members”

"Covering pay for the people protecting our country is simply the right thing to do,” said Tynika Wilson, senior vice president of debit card and fund services at Navy Federal Credit Union. “They have important work to do. We’re happy to make their paycheck one less thing they have to worry about.”

Wilson stressed that eligible members can take action before the possible shutdown by registering for the program starting Wednesday, April 26 using Navy Federal Online or by calling 1-888-842-6328, or visiting a branch. The program is available to Active Duty military, Coast Guard and DoD civilian members who have an established direct deposit with Navy Federal.

Members affected by the shutdown who don’t meet the eligibility requirements should visit a branch or call 1-888-842-6328 to discuss their situation with a Member Service Representative.
read more here

Monday, April 24, 2017

No Longer Homeless, Veteran Giving Back at Illinois VA Pantry

ABC 7 News
Judy Hsu
Sunday, April 23, 2017

HINES, Ill. (WLS) -- Sunday is the kick-off of National Volunteer Week and all week long you are encouraged to get out into your community and get involved.

We caught up with one local veteran that already spends much of his time volunteering and he is making us Chicago Proud.

Bob McMahon is counting his blessings because after serving our country he fell on hard times.

"I was actually a homeless veteran. I spent three and a half years living in a tent on the Chicago River and from there I found out that they have a program here at the Hines Hospital. First thing when I got here they asked me what they can do for me. I was quiet astonished by that question what they can do for me instead of the other way around," McMahon said.

McMahon was diagnosed with COPD which keeps him from working full time. He was one of thousands of veterans in our area in need.

"The need among veterans remains really high. In Cook County 14,000 veterans live are at or below the poverty level. You talk to people like Bob that struggle with the issue. There are so many people in our community that deal with the issues he's struggled with every single day. Now what they call on disability and on a fixed income. On a fixed income the food pantry here is a Godsend for people like myself and other veterans who are finding it hard just to be able to purchase groceries every month," said Paul Morello, senior manager of public relations for the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
read more here

Home Depot Foundation Turned Orange into Color of Gratefulness

Volunteers help renovate veteran's home
April 24, 2017
The Home Depot partnered with ServiceSource Florida to renovate the veteran’s home. Since 2011, The Home Depot Foundation has invested more than $184 million in veteran causes, and along with the help of Team Depot volunteers, has transformed more than 29,900 homes for veterans.
A team dressed in orange waved paint brushes across stucco like a group on a mission.

“I love brown. Brown is my absolute favorite color,” joked Largo Home Depot employee Lindsey Tornello as she slathered another layer of brown paint onto the garage door. “Had he picked teal, I don’t know.”

Dozens of volunteers from local Home Depot stores spent their day off sprucing up the home of Army veteran Randy Acker. The veteran, who has lived in the same home since 1985, was not able to keep up with a lot of the work that was needed on his home because of nagging injuries and fatigue.

“You could never ask for anything better than someone volunteering her time,” he said with a smile on his face. “'Grateful' isn’t the right word. 'Extraordinary' is a better word.”

Acker contacted ServiceSource Florida for help after seeing a story with a fellow veteran receiving help from Home Depot volunteers back in 2016. From high on the roof, Nancy Baraky used a pole to finish covering the chimney with brown paint.
read more here

Veteran Royal Navy Officer Run Over With Own Car After Breakin

Navy officer Mike Samwell's car theft death 'beyond criminal'

Mike SamwellImage copyrightGMP
Image captionMike Samwell served in the Royal Navy for 10 years

The death of an ex-Royal Navy officer who confronted intruders breaking into his home has been described by police as "more than criminal".
Mike Samwell, 35, is believed to have been run over by his own car in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Greater Manchester, on Sunday.
Shouting was heard in the street at about 03:00 BST and he was found badly injured. He later died in hospital.
Detectives appealed to local criminals to help in the hunt for the killer.
read more here

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