Wednesday, May 24, 2017

POTUS Budget Builds Defense Contractors, Whacks Troops and Veterans?

Are these reports what you expected out of POTUS?

Proposed Food Stamp Cuts Would Hit Military FamiliesThe report found that about 23,000 active duty service members received food stamps in 2013, according to U.S. Census data. In addition, information from the Department of Defense Education Activity showed that in September 2015, 24 percent of 23,000 children in U.S. DoDEA schools were eligible for free meals, while 21 percent were eligible for reduced-price meals.

Budget Calls for Cuts to VA Programs as Tradeoff for Extending Choice

Listed as one of the offsets for the extra cost is a new restriction on compensation for veterans through the VA's "individual unemployability" program.
Currently, veterans eligible for the program have a 60 to 100 percent disability rating through the VA and are unable to secure a job because of their service-connected disability. The program allows them to get paid at the highest compensation rate. For 2017, the monthly rate for a 100 percent disabled veteran living alone is $2,915 per month.
And while that happened...

"Shulkin said at a congressional hearing earlier this month that he would not be seeking a budget increase for the VA in future years, but needed one in fiscal 2018 for modernization efforts." 
No shocker there! Why would he ever want to increase the budget after they kill off the VA? POTUS is increasing money to send veterans away from the VA instead of honoring the fact that Veterans paid for their healthcare with their service...but then again, when it was his time to go, he decided to sit it out.

And then we have this, as if suddenly they will really do anything meaningful. It seems that either the reporter did a massive misquote, didn't know how to read or, the Secretary of the VA did but while quoting the "number" of veterans committing suicide there was this blunder
The Department of Veterans Affairs says the suicide rate for veterans has surged in recent years, and VA Secretary David Shulkin is looking for ways to stop it.
According to VA research, veterans have been taking their own lives at a rate of around 20 per day. He statistics show most are younger than 50.
Wrong, wrong and hell ya, wrong! 
VA Releases Report on Nation’s Largest Analysis of Veteran Suicide More than 55 Million Veterans’ Records Reviewed From 1979 to 2014 From Every State in the Nation

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today released its findings from the nation’s most comprehensive analysis of Veteran suicide rates in the United States in which VA examined more than 55 million Veterans’ records from 1979 to 2014 from every state in the nation. The effort advances VA’s knowledge from the previous report in 2012, which was primarily limited to information on Veterans who used VHA health services or from mortality records obtained directly from 20 states and approximately 3 million records..

Compared to the data from the 2012 report, which estimated the number of Veteran deaths by suicide to be 22 per day, the current analysis indicates that in 2014, an average of 20 Veterans a day died from suicide. A link to the report may be found here.

THE REPORT CONCLUDES: Approximately 65 percent of all Veterans who died from suicide in 2014 were 50 years of age or older.

Veterans accounted for 18 percent of all deaths from suicide among U.S. adults. This is a decrease from 22 percent in 2010. Since 2001, U.S. adult civilian suicides increased 23 percent, while Veteran suicides increased 32 percent in the same time period.

After controlling for age and gender, this makes the risk of suicide 21 percent greater for Veterans. Since 2001, the rate of suicide among U.S. Veterans who use VA services increased by 8.8 percent, while the rate of suicide among Veterans who do not use VA services increased by 38.6 percent.

In the same time period, the rate of suicide among male Veterans who use VA services increased 11 percent, while the rate of suicide increased 35 percent among male Veterans who do not use VA services.

In the same time period, the rate of suicide among female Veterans who use VA services increased 4.6 percent while the rate of suicide increased 98 percent among female Veterans who do not use VA services.

Elderly Veteran With PTSD Shot and Killed

Neighbor: South Knox County man killed by deputies suffered from PTSD
Hayes Hickman
May 24, 2017

A South Knox County man shot and killed in an armed confrontation with sheriff's deputies Tuesday night has been identified by his neighbor as an elderly veteran who was known to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.

Albert Gagnier, 74, fired several shots from his house and while standing in the street, then fired at deputies as they responded to the scene in the Woodhaven subdivision, according to his neighbor Amanda Moore.

It was common knowledge among the neighborhood that Gagnier suffered from mental illness, she said. She did not know the details of his military service.

"Everybody just knows Mr. Al loses his mind sometimes, but he's never done anything like this," Moore told the USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee on Wednesday. "He usually just yells at kids in the neighborhood."
read more here

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

How much do you really care about veterans committing suicide?

Can You Prove You Really Care?
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 23, 2017

How much do you really care about veterans committing suicide if all you do is pass on links to stunts and bypass what actually works? Do you have a clue you are actually part of the problem?

The first time I read anything on PTSD, it was almost 35 years ago. I didn't just start thinking I should be the one to do something about it. After all, the only veteran I was concerned about was the one I fell in love with. It was entered into selfishly, as if my life depended on what I could learn about it.

I didn't write about it until after two years of research and that was back in 1984. The steps I took is what is missing in all of this easy bullshitter claims of raising awareness and frankly, Social Media is to blame for being deaf, dumb and blind, yet somehow got the impression no one was doing anything before they came along.

All these years later, it is oh so clear that if it isn't on Facebook or any other social media site, it must not exist. With every resource in the palms of their hands, hardly none actually know how to use what they have. We had to actually go to the library. But then again, the effort was worth it because we cared enough to do it.

There are some involved with groups publicizing veterans committing suicide, yet for whatever reason, did not get the help they needed to fight one more day.
Man who fought suicide among veterans loses fight with PTSD
By KSLA Staff
Friday, May 12th 2017

Patriot Motorcycle Groups led the funeral procession of Sgt. Benjamin Michael Adams through three states to lay the Army veteran to rest in Caddo Parish.

The graduate of Southwood High School in Shreveport was injured in 2005 while serving in Iraq.

After his release from the military, he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Adams then became an advocate for 22Kill.

But last week he lost his battle with PTSD.
read more here
So much for a decade of raising awareness of something veterans already know how to do...die, but not tell them how they can heal or the simple fact why they deserve to give themselves a fighting chance.

Sorry but as you know, I ran out of patience a long time ago for all this crap. Most of us falls at the keystrokes of social media users doing nothing more than using these veterans for their own self-gratification. Do they really think they accomplished anything for our veterans? Evidence is in and they haven't. 

Then we have Congress writing Bill after Bill and using our tax dollars to fund stuff that doesn't work, or in too many cases, actually makes it worse. Who do Congressional hacks blame? Themselves? No, they blame the VA even though they have jurisdiction over the VA.

And then there are those who do seek help, but expect it to be ready for them when they want it to be. In a prefect world, we would value veterans enough to make sure the VA was ready for all of them, or at least, a substitute place for them to turn to.
'It shouldn't be this hard to get help': Army vet sought mental health care before murder-suicide
May 22, 2017
"They said they would send him some paperwork to fill out," Johnson said. "They said if he was feeling suicidal he should go to the emergency room. At that moment, he wasn't feeling suicidal. He just knew he was struggling with PTSD and depression."
Just days before Joshua Stiles fatally shot his wife and took his own life, the 30-year-old Army veteran from Alabama sought mental health treatment, only to be turned away.

"It shouldn't be this hard to get help," said Stiles' sister Jennifer Johnson. "He was trying to get help to be a better person, a better husband, a better man, a better father."

Stiles had been suffering with PTSD, depression and anxiety for years before he shot his 22-year-old wife, Brittney Stiles, in front of her sister and their 2-year-old daughter, Mary Jane, in Russellville. Josh Stiles fled the scene and killed himself after a police chase this past Tuesday, according to authorities.

Johnson said her brother contacted a mental health treatment facility in Russellville several days before the murder-suicide but was told he would have to make an appointment.
read more here
Affidavit details armed standoff with police, allegations of gunshots, threats, animal abuse
Lawrence Journal
By Conrad Swanson
May 21, 2017
Lawrence police officers were familiar with Kewley, according to a recently released arrest affidavit. They were aware that he is a veteran who reportedly served time in special forces and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, night terrors and blackouts.
When Michael Kewley surrendered himself to officers, police say they found several loose rounds of .45-caliber ammunition in his pocket.
Across the street, Kewley's neighbor found another bullet on his kitchen floor and several bullet holes in his home. read more here
But it isn't just veterans...
Suicide: Cops’ silent hazard brought home
May 22, 2017
“There’s a lot of people, myself included, wondering what we could have done for him,” said Zaro, the Lakewood chief, “but I don’t have that answer.”
The badge may be small, but the weight is heavy.

When in the span of three weeks, two local law enforcement officers take their own lives, it gets our attention. We also hope it sparks conversation about how psychological strain places our men and women in uniform at risk of damage that no bullet-proof vest can guard against.

Lakewood police Officer Arron Grant committed suicide last month. According to Lakewood Police Chief Mike Zaro, Grant never hid the fact that he sought and received treatment for mental health issues.
read more here

Increasing suicide rates among first responders spark concernTribLiveWES VENTEICHER
But not even his parents saw how deeply his work affected him until he took his life seven years later.
"My son was a classic case of 'I'm never going to tell anybody; if I tell them, they'll think I'm weak,'" said Redner's mother, Jacqui Redner, 48, of Levittown, outside Philadelphia.
Like many first responders dedicated to saving lives, Redner, who was 27, never talked about his struggles, she said.
Her son, who went by "Georgie," threw himself in front of an Amtrak Acela train the morning of Aug. 1, 2015, at a station near the family's home.
Suicides among first responders, often driven by emotional strain in a culture that long has discouraged showing weakness, are too common, according to organizations that track the deaths. read more here 
If you aren't sufficiently pissed off yet, then you haven't been paying attention. The most overlooked thing in all of this is, all of them decided the lives of others mattered so much, they were willing to die to do their jobs...but didn't know how to fight for themselves when it was their lives on the line. Top that off with the ones they worked with, were also risking their lives on their own jobs.

Monday, May 22, 2017

New Army Second LT Murdered in Maryland

Death of graduating college student killed at U of Maryland investigated as hate crime
by Ryan Hughes, John Gonzalez and Anna-Lysa Gayle
Sunday, May 21st 2017

Collins’ pastor Darryl Godlock says not only was he days away from graduation, but he was recently commissioned into the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (ABC7) — Bowie State University’s vice president for student affairs, Dr. Artie Lee Travis, expressed outrage Sunday night.
“Hate has no place in America. Hate has no place on a college campus,” said Travis. “We have no doubt that Sean Urbanski, with a knife, stabbed Richard W. Collins III,” said UMPD Chief David Mitchell. “He said to the victim ‘step left if you know what’s good for you’.”

Officials are now investigating Collins’ murder as a possible hate crime.

The FBI was brought in to assist with the investigation after detectives learned that Urbanski is a member of a racist Facebook group page.
read more here

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Vandalized in Chicago

Chicago police are looking for whomever who wrote their own names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

Vietnam veteran David Goddard said he saw two women writing their names on the wall near State Street and Wacker Drive Sunday afternoon.

Vietnam Veteran's 67 Corvette Sold for $675K?

Vietnam War hero's dream Corvette fetches $675K at auction
The Indianapolis Star
John Tuohy
May 21, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS — A marina blue 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe bought by a Vietnam War hero and maintained by his son sold for $675,000 at an Indianapolis auction Saturday.

The unrestored sports car, with 8,553 miles on it, was bought by Carmel, Ind., resident Gary Runyon at Dana Mecum’s 30th Spring Classic at the State Fairgrounds.

"It was very exciting but also very, very difficult," to part with the car, said its owner, Matt Litavsky. "It was all kind of a haze."
read more here

SCAM ALERT on Veterans Choice Program

Telephone scam targets veterans looking for healthcare

May 22, 2017

A new telephone scam is targeting veterans who are making some decisions on healthcare.
The Veterans Choice Program allows certain vets to use health care providers outside of the Veterans Affairs System.
If eligible, veterans or families can call a toll-free number to get started on the program.
But here's the problem: scammers have set up a phony telephone line that closely resembles the real program number and they're sending out letters to veterans with this fake number on it.
When you call the fake number, you'll hear an automated message that says you're entitled to a rebate if you give a credit card number.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

WWII Veteran Finally Receives Bronze Star 73 Years Late

WW II vet receives Bronze Star 73 years after it was awarded
The State
May 20, 2017

AIKEN During World War II, Pfc. James R. “Boots” Beatty of Barney, Ga., served in the 1st Special Service Force, also called The Devil's Brigade, an elite American-Canadian commando unit.
The 1,800 “Force Men,” as they were the called, were the first commando unit, trained in special tactics from mountaineering to skiing to amphibious operations. They were the predecessors of today’s Army Rangers, Green Berets and Navy Seals.

They fought the Japanese in the Aleutian Islands, then the Germans in Italy and southern France, conducting night raids behind enemy lines, killing as many enemy soldiers as possible and capturing the rest. In Italy they would leave cards on the bodies of dead German soldiers with the ominous warning: “Das Dike Ende Kommt Noch!” which translates as “The Worst Is Yet To Come.”
read more here

Vietnam Veteran Message on PTSD "There’s no need to suffer alone anymore.”

Iowa veterans speak out about getting service members the help they need
The DesMoines Register
Molly Longman
May 20, 2017

Vietnam veteran Larry Clayton approached a podium under the Iowa State Capitol Rotunda Saturday with a message for Iowans.

He wanted veterans, their families and their friends to realize the physical and mental health problems veterans face during and after their service — and to understand that there’s help.

“I am proud of the part I played in the Vietnam conflict, and I pray for all those soldiers who did not come home and those who came home physically or emotionally broken,” Clayton said. “And I thank God every day that he has seen fit to grant me peace during my life.

"Others haven't been nearly as fortunate."

Clayton talked about the effects of Agent Orange, a defoliant chemical sprayed over South Vietnam to eliminate forests and militia crops used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. The chemical is linked to diseases such as B-cell leukemia and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

He talked about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the high rate of veteran suicides.

He wanted veterans to know this: “Admit to yourself that you or a family member might benefit from some medical attention.

"There’s no need to suffer alone anymore.”
read more here

Dying Vietnam Veteran's Bucket List Had Marry Wife Again--So They Did

Terminally ill veteran surprises wife with wedding: 'It was on my bucket list'
KVAL 13 News
Ashley Force
Nay 20, 2017

ALBANY, Ore. – A wedding 50 years in the making has finally happened, and it was a surprise to the bride.

A terminally ill Vietnam veteran made it his goal to give his wife the wedding she never had.

The KVAL news team was first introduced to Charles Upton during our recent coverage of Honor Flights.

Upton was one of the local veterans traveling to Washington DC.

The trip was something on his bucket list he made during his battle with cancer. A surprise wedding for his wife was another check off the list.
read more here