Wounded Times


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Texas Veterans With Service Dogs Still Not Welcomed?

Woman says company refused to allow service dog
Killeen Daily Herald
Clay Thorp | Herald staff writer
February 8, 2016

When Kimberly Pearson retired from the Army in 2012 after serving in Iraq as a combat medic, she said she made the decision to enlist the help of a large breed of service dog to help her with balance and pain in her legs after suffering injuries in a 2004 ambush.
Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Kimberly Pearson gives her service dog Zakhar, a Caucasian Ovcharka, a kiss Monday at Mickey's Dog Park on W.S. Young Drive in Killeen. Pearson was denied entry into Palm Harbor because of her service dog.
“Basically, there was an ambush and lots of explosions,” Pearson said. “My feet and legs received injuries that needed six surgeries so far. And they’re not quite done with the surgeries, so I still have a lot of issues with pain and imbalance. It was just a mess. I was the medic. Instead of running away, I ran in and I kind of paid for it.”

Soon after, Pearson special ordered her new Russian Bear dog from Romania, as she said breeders there are known for raising mild-mannered giants.

But on Monday, Pearson said she and her service dog, Zakhar — who weighs 150 pounds — were denied access to Palm Harbor Homes, a local home store where Pearson wanted to look at model homes.

“It’s a very large dog because I use him for balance,” Pearson said of her 1-year-old dog.

“So, he’s large and he scares people, even though he’s a teddy bear. People just look at him and he scares them.”

Pearson said the employees at Palm Harbor simply wouldn’t allow them inside any model homes.

A similar incident in July occurred at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Harker Heights.

Dave Alvarado, 39, went to the retail store to buy a few items July 10, right after he finished a counseling session for his PTSD, which he said he developed during two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.
read more here

Fort Hood Soldier Survived Lightning Strike Needs Help

Wounded warrior needs community's help 
FOX San Antonio 
"At Fort Hood, they were doing a live round training mission for combat. A storm came out of nowhere and he was struck by lightning right in the forehead," Laura says. "He took a direct hit to the head and it went all the way through his body, grounding out as he was running."
SAN ANTONIO - A veteran who served our country hopes you'll open your heart to him. First Lieutenant Garrett Spears was seriously injured in a lightning strike at Fort Hood. His family showed us his journey, and what you can do to help. "Ready? Let's see what you got," mother Laura Spears says as she shows Garrett a deck of cards. 

Life is a lot like poker: you play the hand you're dealt. It's a lesson the Spears family learned all too well. "My Harry Potter over here," Laura jokes as they play. Humor has helped the family persevere through a struggle that began a little more than two years ago when Garrett was a chemical corps officer in the U.S. Army. read more here

VA Still Denies Navy Veterans Agent Orange Claims

Veterans Affairs again denies Agent Orange benefits to Navy vets
Virginia Pilot
By By Charles Ornstein and Terry Parris Jr.
22 hrs ago
“Rather than siding with veterans, VA is doubling down on an irrational and inconsistent policy,” Senator Richard Blumenthal
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has once again turned down an effort by Navy veterans to get compensation for possible exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

In a document released Friday, the VA said it would continue to limit benefits related to Agent Orange exposure to only those veterans who set foot in Vietnam, where the herbicide was sprayed, and to those who were on boats in inland rivers.

The VA compensates these veterans for a litany of associated illnesses, including diabetes, various cancers, Parkinson’s disease, peripheral neuropathy and a type of heart disease.

Advocates for some 90,000 so-called Blue Water Navy veterans who served off the coast of Vietnam have been asking the VA for more than a decade to broaden the policy to include them. They say they were exposed to Agent Orange because their ships sucked in potentially contaminated water and distilled it for showering, drinking, laundry and cooking. Experts have said the distillation process could have actually concentrated the Agent Orange, which contained the toxic chemical dioxin and was used to kill vegetation and deny enemy cover.
read more here
Share your story

ProPublica and the Virginian-Pilot are interested in hearing from veterans and family members for our ongoing investigation into the effects of Agent Orange on veterans and their children.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Camp Lejeune Marine Missing Since Saturday

Wife of missing Marine pleads for help finding husband
PIX 11 News
FEBRUARY 8, 2016

The wife of a Marine took to Facebook to plead with her followers to help find her husband.
According to the missing veteran's website, 26-year-old Alec Seager is a U.S. Marine who went missing from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina on Saturday, Feb. 6.

His wife posted his photo saying he "suffers from ptsd,depression, and ;anxiety. He also has mentioned suicidal idealizations."
read more here

Veterans Charities At War Leave Veterans Out

Veterans Charities At War Leave Veterans Out
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 8, 2016

We've all read the reports and seen the news broadcasts about Wounded Warrior Project but there is a lot left out of the discussion as more and more charities come out to publicize the fact they are not part of that group. Seems it was a different story when they used the name to gain publicity for themselves when Wounded Warrior Project was spending huge sums of money for advertising.

There is Augusta Wounded Warrior Project saying they are not them.

Montana Wounded Warriors wants folks to know they are not them.
Montana Wounded Warriors was started six years ago by Rotarian Neil Baumann and Army Maj. Jesse Mann. Both men are from Columbia Falls. Mann served as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot in Iraq. They started Montana Wounded Warriors six years ago.
Seems it was a different story when the publicity was good and working for them. It happened in 2011,
Appeals Court Upholds Judgment For Wounded Warrior Project
Non Profit Times
By Mark Hrywna
January 12, 2011

In a 19-page decision filed today (Jan. 12), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit in Nebraska knocked down six alleged key errors in the original case raised in the appeal by Wounded Warrior Family Support (WWFS). A jury in September 2009 awarded $1.7 million to Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) of Jacksonville, Fla., and entered a permanent injunction against WWFS. The $1.7 million included $1.295 million for deceptive trade practices and $400,000 for unjust enrichment as a result of confusion. Wounded Warrior Project originally filed suit in 2007 against Wounded Warriors, Inc., of Omaha, Neb., which changed its name to Wounded Warrior Family Support.

Following oral arguments in November, the appeal was dismissed on Jan. 12. “It’s probably the largest verdict of its kind on the issue of using a confusingly similar name,” said Errol Copilevitz of the Kansas City, Mo., firm of Copilevitz and Canter, which represented WWP. Based in Jacksonville, Fla., WWP also has offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City. “We found all kinds of evidence of people who had donated to them thinking that they had seen the Wounded Warrior Project featured on national TV and sent money,” he said.

About $429,000 of the judgment has been collected so far, according to Copilevitz, and foreclosure is moving ahead on condominiums and property acquired by WWFS, which it offered to wounded veterans and their families for vacations.

A key issue in the litigation was the website, woundedwarriors.org, which WWFS launched in 2004. WWP registered two websites, woundedwarrior.org and woundedwarriorproject.org, in January 2003 and March 2004, respectively. In 2005, the organization registered its trademark logo depicting one soldier carrying another soldier on his back.

The Wounded Warriors in Nebraska only had a passive website that generated about $1,400 a month in donations, and did little or no advertising, fundraising or marketing, said Copilevitz, until WWP was featured on Fox television and it started getting upward of $90,000 or more in donations each month. After WWFS was ordered by the court to shut down its website in July 2008 donations immediately decreased 56 percent while WWP’s donations jumped 29 percent, according to court documents.
read more here

I would love to take the easy way out on this and just ignore it but it shows that fame comes with a price.  In this case, I actually agree with the lawsuit.  (I know, shocking for me to say that.) But when you consider the fact that while both groups did start around the same time in different parts of the country, one was not successful until the other one went onto fame and fortune.

Non-Profit Quarterly was a bit more harsh in their assessment of the reports from CBS and New York Times. "Wounded Warrior Project: The Fundraising Factory Issue" Why wouldn't they when the CEO Steve Nardizzi says this?
“I look at companies like Starbucks — that’s the model,” Mr. Nardizzi said.
In the article from New York Times there was this,
Mr. Millette said the charity encouraged him to highlight its role in helping him recover from PTSD and traumatic brain injury. “They wanted me to say W.W.P. saved my life,” he said. “Well, they didn’t. They just took me to a Red Sox game and on a weekend retreat.”

In all the reports the thing that is really missing is how veterans are still being left out of the reporting.  Not just the Afghanistan and Iraq veterans all these new groups seem oh so interested in, but the older veterans none of the new charities are helping.

Why? Anyone care to ask them how they feel to look at their own lives and wonder why they don't matter enough when they waited even longer? Anyone bother to ask them how they feel struggling to keep a roof over their heads when keys are handed to a new disabled veteran to a new home they'll never have to worry about being foreclosed on?

Has anyone asked a Gulf War veteran about their disabilities, missing limbs, burns or whatever the illness ravaging their bodies no one seems to be able to figure out? Anyone bother to ask Vietnam veterans what it is like to be left behind and forgotten about as well? What about Korean War veterans and the remaining WWII veterans? What about the "lesser combat veterans" within this long, long list of combat operations?

When you see a commercial on TV for WWP asking you to donate, you see one thing but I see what is missing. I see the veterans I spend most of my free time with. Older veterans disabled by bombs and bullets, along with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. Above all I see veterans over the age of 50 representing the majority of veterans in this nation as well as the majority of the suicides being left out of all the publicity. 

National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics
"The VA study found that the percentage of older veterans with a history of VA healthcare who committed suicide actually was higher than that of veterans not associated with VA care. Veterans over the age of 50 who had entered the VA healthcare system made up about 78 percent of the total number of veterans who committed suicide - 9 percentage points higher than the general pool."
While the press is focusing on the scandal, as they usually do, they are missing the big story behind all of this.  Again it would be very easy for me to just stay out of all this and avoid mentioning the facts but it wouldn't be right for me to do. I've been doing this for far too long to take the easy way out of anything.

As for the charities fighting among themselves, veterans end up losing because no one is talking about all of them.

Above all else I see the stunning fact that each and every one of the veterans I know live up to the slogan of the Vietnam veterans to never leave another generation of veterans behind.

Older veterans are glad to see the citizens stepping up to help the newer veterans but that does not mean they are not sadden to remember they have been forgotten.

Lady Gaga National Anthem Stunning

Simply amazing grace from Gaga~
Watch Lady Gaga Perform the National Anthem at Super Bowl 50
Nolan Feeney
Feb. 7, 2016

Lady Gaga kicked off Super Bowl 50 with a performance of the national anthem dressed in a custom sparkling red Gucci suit and matching eyeshadow.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Navy Veteran Lives in Storage Unit

Hope and Honor: U.S. Navy veteran calls storage unit his home (VIDEO)
The Daily Courier
Nanci Hutson
February 7, 2016
"I've tried to talk to him about a lot of things, but he's done this for years," declared homeless advocate Jean Lutz, the founder and director of Everybody's Place, an art-related program for the homeless. Findlay relies on Lutz for rides to the VA and other appointments, describing her as one of his "best pals."
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier A U.S. Navy veteran, Richard Findlay lives in a large storage unit in the Prescott area.
PRESCOTT - Richard Findlay's motorized walker crunches on the snow-covered driveway as he slowly glides toward his hillside storage unit, the metal door squawking as he steps inside out of the frigid air.

He maneuvers through a narrow passageway lined with wood-framed photographs and old calendars. He turns left, and heads down a wider aisle between a maze of wood-making tools, a metal-frame bunk bed, and a row of rocking horses he designed and crafted in this very space.

On the rear wall is a dorm-sized refrigerator, a microwave, crock pot and coffee pot. He brews fresh coffee with bottled water. Across from where he stands is a lime green sofa turned on its side, blocking off a less cluttered space where he has mounted copies of his bachelor's and master's degrees from Northern Arizona University and a portrait taken in his U.S. Navy uniform during the Vietnam War.

The drafty space is warmed by a small, propane heater located next to a tray table covered with Findlay's daily medications and wine bottle bird-feeders he hopes to sell at local craft fairs.
read more here

Vietnam Veteran Memorial's In Memory Program

Veteran 'carried the sorrow; he carried the pain' 
Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky. (Tribune News Service)
By Don Wilkins
Published: February 6, 2016
For Vietnam veterans who died later, the criteria are post traumatic stress disorder, exposure to Agent Orange and similar chemicals, diabetes, cancer, heart attack and cholangiocarcinoma. An application can be found at Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and inclusion is free.
Sharon Westerfield didn't see her late husband, Larry Westerfied, receive the honor he deserved for serving his country in Vietnam.

But she will see it in June when her husband, who died in 2012 at age 63, becomes part of the Vietnam Veteran Memorial's In Memory program in Washington, D.C.

Westerfield will be going to the nation's capital to participate in the 18th annual ceremony June 18.

"I feel like he carried Vietnam with him emotionally and physically all of those years," Westerfield said about why she applied to be part of the program. "He carried the sorrow; he carried the pain. I feel like he deserves the recognition as much as those on The Wall because they died quickly."

Larry Westerfield served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970 as a member of the Army's 14th Engineer Battalion. The Westerfields, of Owensboro, were married in March 1971.

Westerfield said her husband experienced the backlash that came from being a Vietnam soldier.
read more here
Linked from Stars and Stripes

More Central Texas Veterans Seeking Help for PTSD

VA stats show increase in number of Central Texas veterans receiving mental health treatment for PTSD
Killeen Daily Herald
Jacob Brooks
Herald staff writer
February 7, 2016

Statistics from the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System show an increasing number of veterans are seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

In five years, the number grew 38 percent to 5,780 at the system’s three Department of Veterans Affairs medical locations in Temple, Waco and Austin.

A similar increase was seen in the overall number of mental health patients, whose afflictions can range from anxiety to depression to severe PTSD.

In 2015, the three VA locations treated 30,336 patients for mental health, up from 22,411, a 35 percent increase in five years.

The numbers were given to the Herald after a request to the VA.

The Temple VA hospital saw the biggest increases: 3,877 PTSD patients last year, compared to 2,485 in 2010. In 2015, the hospital had 15,827 mental health patients, up from 11,853 in 2010, according to the VA.
read more here

Veterans Widow Shocked "Candy Man" Doctor Starting Practice

Fired 'Candy Man' Tomah VA chief of staff to start own practice
WTMJ Exclusive
Michelle Richards
Feb 3, 2016

TOMAH - The wife of a veteran who died from an overdose at the Tomah VA was shocked to learn the former chief of staff, whom veterans nicknamed "Candy Man," may soon be prescribing drugs to others.

Dr. David Houlihan was fired last fall after an investigation into over-prescribing painkillers at the VA Medical Center.

WTMJ has learned Houlihan is soliciting new patients in LaCrosse while also being considered for a job at a practice in Minnesota.

"I am shocked," Heather Simcakoski told WTMJ. Simcakoski's husband, Jason, died from an overdose in 2014. "I am just shocked to know he would be able to open a practice."

Houlihan has not been charged. Calls to his practice were redirected to another practice in Minnesota.
read more here

UK Veteran Sleeps In Car, Syrian Refugees Get Housing?

War veteran homeless and sleeping in car 
Coventry Telegraph
By Mike Lockley
7 FEB 2016
The father of three, who joined the Irish Guards at the tender age of 16, has served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosova, twice in Iraq – and three times in Afghanistan.
Veteran of two wars Richard Storer who says he is homeless and being forced to sleep in his car
A veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has been living in his car for six weeks after being made homeless.

Richard Storer, from Solihull , tormented by the horrors he witnessed during a 21-year army career, burrows deep into a sleeping bag on the back seat of his battered VW Golf each night.

Occasionally, if he is lucky, he is able to doss down on a friend’s sofa but that is the exception to the rule.

The 41-year-old, wrapped tight against winter’s bite, has become a familiar sight in Lea Village, on the outskirts of Chelmsley Wood.

The ex-corporal, invalided out of the Army with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder last June, says his country has forgotten him.
“I don’t expect special treatment,” he said. “I don’t expect special treatment because I fought for this country, I just want what’s right.

“But I recently saw a programme about Syrian refugees, and it said 80 per cent of those shown had been given homes.
read more here

Give Disabled Veterans Power To Change

Give Disabled Veterans Power To Change

The truth only has power when it is known. Support the facts and give them the ability to fight for their lives.

http://www.combatptsdwoundedtimes.org/ Covers the real news and government reports to arm veterans with information they need to know. Congress has jurisdiction over how our veterans are treated yet have failed for decades. National news used to consider what was happening to our veterans as important yet somehow managed to forget that awesome responsibility replacing their stories with politicians using them for votes. 

Since 2007 Wounded Times has covered over 25,000 stories, filmed over 200 videos and broke over 2.5 million page views.  

This proved veterans and families like mine have a hunger to know what is going on all over the country. No politics, no popular claims without facts to back them up but above all, dedicated to defeating PTSD.  I've been doing this work since 1982 when I had to go to the library to understand what combat does to our veterans beyond the wounds you can see with your own eyes.

Another fundraise for a disabled veteran coming up for Orlando Rocks and another escort for the Wall in Wickham Park. Camera is wearing out but I'm not.
Orlando Rocks 2015 Orlando Rocks 2014 Orlando Rocks 2013

Veteran Suicides, The Stories of Their Lives Lost

Reporting on Veteran Suicides Easier Than Living With The Stories
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 7, 2016

The reporters at San Diego Union Tribune did a fabulous job reporting on suicides. You really should read their stories and of those from the families left behind.

This report is on the simple fact it is hard to cover these stories for reporters but even harder if you have a personal connection to them. Families talk about their suffering, not for someone to feel sorry for them, but more for the sake they don't want others to know that level of pain they wished someone had stopped them from feeling.

Going on 34 years of doing this I remember what that felt like.  First I wanted to understand my husband.  He's a Vietnam veteran.  After growing up surrounded by veterans, I needed to know why he as so different and experiencing what my Dad called "shell shock." After all these years, he's living a good quality of life and we proved that no one is stuck suffering. Marriages don't have to end.  

I started to research it to understand him, then to help save him and his friends. Along the years I understood myself as well.  What I didn't understand was I couldn't save everyone.  I couldn't save my husband's nephew, who was also a Vietnam veteran.

I knew it all! I knew what he needed to know and how to explain it so that he wouldn't think it was his fault anymore than what happened to him after service was his fault alone.  The trouble is, I didn't know how to get him to listen.  He committed suicide and ever since then, every time I read about another suicide, it is like a dagger to my heart and I run through all the "what if" questions that never seem to be answered.

Back then, no one was talking about veterans surviving combat only to lose their lives by their own hands years afterwards.  I hoped someday they would stop suffering in silence and families would no longer feel shame for something that was not their fault.

Now they are talking and to me, these families are heroes.  Reporters finding value in telling their stories are vital in all of this.  With that said, there is still a lot of misinformation out there that never really seems to get corrected.

First is the number "22 a day" when that number is wrong. It freaks me out to hear it repeated by a charity taking care of the families as much as it nauseates me to read a politician using that number. They should know better.  As long as reporters do not learn the facts ahead of time, veterans will go on questioning the other information in the report. If they can't get that number right, what else are they getting wrong?

The CDC reports over 40,000 Americans commit suicide every year.  Every state has reported veteran suicides double the civilian population rate. That means there are over 26,000 a year ending the lives that survived military service.

Reporters do not remind folks that the vast majority of these veterans are over the age of 50 any more than they cover the simple fact that those are the veterans all the new charities won't care about.

Are all veterans equal? Our generation thought so but that was only after Vietnam veterans decided to fight for all generations despite how they were treated by older veterans.

Reporting on suicides is hard but telling the truth is harder when the majority are taking the easy way out repeating a number that is just easy to remember.

None of this is easy for the veterans and nothing is easy on the families they leave behind. PTSD does not have to win or defeat survivors of combat.

The San Diego Union-Tribune
By Jeanette Steele
Feb. 5, 2016

For journalists, writing about suicide is walking a knife’s edge.

On one hand, it’s a major issue that deserves attention.

“We have an ethical commitment to tell the truth about a public health problem,” said Bruce Shapiro, executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University.

If you don’t report on suicides, he said, “You might as well not cover the dangers of smoking.”

On the other hand, he and other experts said news coverage that makes suicide seem inevitable, or like a legitimate solution, could lead to more people taking their lives.

News stories also should not disclose information that might prompt people in despair to copycat the event, such as writing about a particular train platform where people have jumped to their deaths.

For this project about younger U.S. military veterans, perhaps the biggest issue is whether the life challenges they face are presented as hopeless and unsolvable.

But the hurdles can certainly be overcome, according to those who specialize in the topic.

“There’s no need to suffer, there’s no need to end a life by suicide. It’s a health problem that has solutions,” said Kim Ruocco, a spokeswoman for Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, or TAPS, a nonprofit group that helps military families deal with grief.

“You can show that, yes, we have some cracks in our system that need to be repaired, but there are lots of places where you can get hope,” said Ruocco, whose late husband, a Marine Corps officer, died by suicide in 2005.
read more here

Veteran Suicide Triple Crisis Counting Congress

Coffman: The twin crisis of veterans' mental health and suicide
Denver Post
By Mike Coffman
Guest Commentary

In April 1991, I returned home from serving as a light armored infantry officer with the U.S. Marine Corps in the first Gulf War. The unit was the first battalion to engage Iraqi forces inside of Kuwait. We did so for three days prior to the main ground attack on Feb. 24, 1991.
Mike Coffman Denver Post

For us, the stress of being on the front lines waiting for combat turned out to be worse than the actual combat phase itself because the Iraqi army had been severely degraded in a punishing bombing campaign that preceded the ground attack.

While preparing to go home after the war ended, I attended an out-briefing by Navy psychologists about some of the psychological challenges that we would likely face. What I remember most was his warning that we had become members of a highly interdependent ground combat team that had been together for months and that after we were separated and alone for the first time, we were likely to experience depression.

Many troops used to the stresses of combat and the interdependent bonds of their fellow soldiers have a difficult time adjusting to civilian life and come home feeling isolated and alone. 

In fact, many find themselves needing help that too often just isn't there.

It is absolutely vital that we as a nation address the twin crisis of veteran suicide and mental health issues.

Today, thousands of servicemen and women and recent military veterans have seen combat. Many have seen their buddies killed or witnessed death up close. Many have also been wounded and had to endure extended and frequently painful and difficult recoveries. These are types of events that can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other types of mental illness.
read more here

I left this comment.
While I applaud you talking about all this, it is troubling to see the "22 a day" used when it is not true. Sorry, but you are on the Committee and should know better. The CDC reports there are more than 40,000 suicides in America. At the same time, states are reporting veterans are committing suicide double the civilian population rate. That means there are over 26,000 veterans ending their lives after risking them for the sake of others. The VA study was an average from 21 states with limited data.

Gulf War veterans have been forgotten about but so have Vietnam veterans. They are the majority of the suicide demographic yet no one is talking about that fact. They are not talking about families like mine even though Vietnam veterans are the ones who came home and fought for all the research done on PTSD. Had Congress asked any of us, we could have helped these young veterans everyone is talking about.

By the way, all the Bills Congress passed did not work. OEF and OIF veteran suicides are triple their peer rate after they had been trained to be "resilient" even though researchers knew it would make the problem worse. All the Bills coming out of Congress are repeats of "doing something" instead of doing the right thing.
Looks more like there is a triple crisis for veterans when members of Congress haven't even taken the time to find out what is true and what is false.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

PTSD 90 Year Old WWII Veteran Forced From Home By VA?

Veterans Administration forces 90-year-old chaplain from home
Portland Tribune
Written by Molalla Pioneer
Friday, 05 February 2016
Baker was also a prolific writer. He wrote eighteen (18) books addressing depression, pain, forgiveness and many other issues.
COURTESY OF BAKER FAMILY - Don and Martha Baker in 2011
The Veterans Administration has ordered a 90-year-old chaplain, who once preached before President Gerald Ford, to move from his home of five years. Don Baker will be forced to relocate from the Molalla Manor Care Center, to the nearest VA sanctioned facility in Woodburn, 15 miles away.

“This move will be very difficult for him, because his health is tenuous,” said Baker’s daughter, Kathryn Thomas Barram. Baker suffers from Post-Tramautic Stress Disorder stemming from his service in the Air Corps during World War II, said Barram.

Last month, the Veterans Administration notified Baker’s family that it was pulling its contract with Molalla Manor.

Baker was ordered to move within six weeks.

Armed with more than 200 pages of testimony supporting the chaplain, his physicians and family appealed to the VA to reconsider its decision. The VA denied the formal appeal, but extended the relocation date by 12 days to Feb. 12, 2016.

"This is a shame - not ethical treatment of a family and a patient," wrote Baker's physician, Ray E. Smucker, M.D. in his letter to the VA. "Is this the care the VA expects for their patients? I would understand if his care was at risk. His care at Molalla Manor has been great over the years."
read more here

Remains of SPC Brian Orolin Identified

Remains Identified as Missing Army Veteran Brian Orolin
NBC News
FEB 4 2016

Remains found in Harris County, Texas have been positively identified as those of missing Army veteran Brian Orolin, who disappeared in November 2014.
According to officials with the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, the remains were discovered the day after Christmas 2015 and took several weeks to identify.

The cause and manner of death are still pending.

Donna Orolin, Brian's wife, confirmed the news late Wednesday on the 'Help Find Brian Orolin' Facebook page.

"The search for missing Army Veteran, SPC Brian Orolin, has come to an end," she posted. "I would appreciate your continued prayers for my 2 young daughters and I, as we begin our journey to mourn from his loss and for my 2 girls to grow up without their Dad. We would appreciate your respect for our privacy at this time."
read more here
From 2015
Family Searching For Missing Texas Afghanistan Veteran

BOHICA Suicide Prevention Bill

I'm going to keep this short but far from sweet. There is yet another suicide prevention bill out of congress. Yep, those guys who did such marvelous work on all the others they decided to just do more of them.  As if that makes sense to anyone.

"According to Brown's office, an average of 18 to 22 veterans take their lives each day — a statistic that has largely remained unchanged for more than a decade."

If he's quoting those numbers while writing a bill for female veteran suicide prevention, we're all screwed! This one is out of Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown on the Veterans Affairs Committee. If he doesn't know where those numbers came from or what the real ones are, pretty much sums up lack of attention to all the hearings they've held IN THE LAST DECADE!

Wounded Warriors United Worried About Name?

Small veterans group concerned they may get shut down
By: Gloria Balding
Feb 04, 2016

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KAKE) — A small non-profit group helping servicemen and women in Kansas fears they may be shut down.
Tom Tavtigian returned home a broken man after being wounded in combat.

He founded the group Wounded Warriors United as a way to help veterans like himself who were struggling.

"While I was still stationed at Fort Riley in the warrior transition unit, where all the wounded guys go, I started to take a few guys out here and there and the response was pretty good. So, I started a non-profit." explains Tavtigian.

Wounded Warriors United focuses on taking veterans on hunting and fishing trips. Tavtigian hopes to expand.

"What we are doing next year is the guys that need the grab bars, or need to widen their doors for their wheelchairs, we are going to do it for them," says Tavtigian.

Tavtigian is concerned that Wounded Warrior Project could come after him for using the term 'wounded warriors." because they have done it before. A search of federal court records show the Wounded Warrior Project has sued three non-profits for trademark infringement in the past. In one complaint WWP noted that "defendant's infringement of WWP's trademark rights has caused defendant monetary harm." It is wording like this from such a large non-profit that concerns Tavtigian.
WWP does not make money solely from donations or investments. According to tax filings they have made more than 3 million dollars since 2009 by renting their mailing list.
read more here

This all leaves me wondering how much money I'd have right now if I was ever in any of this for the money? Good Lord!

I was using the term "wounded warriors" long before this group became a famous name.  The truth is I was simply tired of using wounded Soldier, Marine, Airmen and Sailor.  The Native Americans used it long before I did. But it goes to show that just because someone makes something famous, it isn't as if they invented it or can claim ownership of it against all others.

This is from my site December 2005
When they are warriors no more, who will hear their cries? When they are warriors no more, who will help them find peace?Who will lift their voice to be heard above their whispers and suffering silence?

The men and women of our military should never have to go to war, but they do.

They should never have to heal wounds, but they do. They should never have to watch a comrade die, but they do. They should never have to worry about a place to call home when they are warriors no more, but they do. On any given night in America, thousands of those who answered the call of this nation, walk the streets because they are homeless.

Our nation has forgotten them when their duty is done and we as a people refuse to see them. The people who run the New England Shelter For Homeless Veterans in Boston, MA refuse to let them remain alone. They are there when the rest of us forget them. They are there to give them a bed to sleep in, a meal to feed them, comfort and support when we have all forgotten them. There are homeless veterans in this nation with half a million at one time or another become homeless during any given year and over a quarter of a million of them are homeless every night. Men who made a choice to protect and serve this nation, walk the streets while we still remain safe in our beds. As bad as that is that one veteran would be homeless, there are also women who served and are homeless. Even more, there are women veterans of this nation with children and no place to call home.

Check out your state and see how many there are in your state alone. Go to The National homeless veterans site. Check out the shelter's site in Boston MA. If you are not moved to help them, then may God have mercy on this nation that asked so much of them yet was willing to do so little for them in return.
This one really sums up what this is all about. It is from January 2006. Long before I ever heard of this famous group but far too many years after I knew what it was like living with a Wounded Warrior.
'Marlboro Man' in Iraq War Photo Suffers from PTSD So whatever happened to Lance Cpl. Blake Miller -- the U.S. Marine pictured as a kind of war-weary "Marlboro Man" in one of the most widely published iconic images of the Iraq war? The 2004 photograph by Luis Sinco of the Los Angeles Times showing Miller, face dirty under a helmet, a cigarette dangling from his lips, went around the world and back again, hitting front pages everywhere. Now Miller, of Jonancy, Ky., is a civilian "and is having trouble adjusting to civilian life," CBS News reports.

Why is it so hard for other veterans to accept that PTSD is real? Is it because somewhere deep inside they see the possibility of it existing within themselves? I must have heard it a thousand times in the last twenty years. Veterans attacking other veterans because of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They will claim PTSD is not real and label those with it as frauds. No about of scientific evidence, no amount of clinical studies and no amount of suicides resulting from PTSD will ever be enough to penetrate their brains. They are the kind of people who live in a state of disgust toward anyone, civilian or military, living with what they fear the most. It could have been them.

When you look at the pictures of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, among the carved names, there are many more names which Vietnam claimed the lives of. Forty years after the official start of America's entry into the conflict in 1964, Vietnam is still taking lives from PTSD and suicides as well as Agent Orange. Yet this is the timeline of death.
This is the list of the years the troops died in Vietnam. Look at the years and then remember the attitude of those who failed to see the futility of staying the course.
1957 1
1958 0
1959 2
1960 5
1961 16
1962 53
1963 118
1964 206
1965 1863
1966 6,144
1697 11,153
1968 16,589
1969 11,614
1970 6,083
1971 2,357
1972 640
1973 168 The last two Marines were killed in April of this year.

Numbers were added after as follows
1974 178
1975 160 The last two Marines died in Vietnam in April.
1976 77
1977 96
1978 447
1979 148
1980-1995 66
The total is 58,178

The Wall is finding more names added to it. One count put the figure at 58,249, although I do not know the exact numbers as of today. Within the reflection of the Wall there are faces to each name of the lives lost. There are also many more who paid with their lives who will never be known. Men like my husband's nephew who took his own life because of PTSD are not there.

Too many are gone and the connection to Vietnam were never made in the minds of the families these men left behind. Yet to some veterans these of the fallen are not to be honored for the price they paid to serve the nation in Vietnam.

The faces of the homeless veterans are a reminder of the suffering in silence and isolation. Are they too unworthy of honor because Vietnam so changed their state of being they are unable to stop the invasion of their mind and remove the traumatic results?

This Wall should be a reminder to the nation that the price paid for war by those sent to fight it, do not end when the pieces of paper are signed and they get to go home. It does not end for the families when their son or daughter, husband or wife, parent or child, are no longer there to be held. It does not end for the veterans with wounds of their body or unseen wounds of the mind or for the families of those left wondering when the war will ever end for them.

In 2002 when I finished my book the sub title was, His War/My Battle for this very reason. He is the one who put his life on the line, as all others did, by choice of volunteering as my husband did, or by draft as so many others did. The war has yet to be finished for him. This is the battle he fights on a daily basis to try to keep up with his medication and treatment. Vietnam became my battle when I had to fight for him because he couldn't fight for himself.

War reaches out to total strangers years after. I didn't know him when he was in Vietnam. We didn't meet until ten years after he returned home. Yet my life changed because of Vietnam when I lost my best friend because of it. 500,000 other families are just like mine. The truly sickening part is that the number is even higher because too many other families never knew what was wrong with their family member, were never diagnosed and never had their claim approved to be recorded within the VA system.

Today there is a chance to stop the procession of suffering in silence for this new generation of veterans and wounded warriors. The chance is for the rest of us to stand up and tell the others who want to dismiss PTSD to either start supporting other wounded warriors or shut up and get out of their way. The time for needlessly adding to the death count of Vietnam is over. This new generation needs to see an example of what true support really means. Until we take a stand for the dignity of all veterans, too many of them will end up never really being supported or honored for their sacrifices.

How can anyone stand and say they support the troops when any of them have to go without treatment from the Veterans Administration because the funding is not there? How can anyone claim it when any veteran has to go homeless? Can it be claimed if any veteran has to spend their days drinking and doing drugs to kill off the effects of war because they have been so stigmatized by the term mental illness they would rather be labeled an alcoholic or drugged up? How pathetic is that? Are there some who actually are alcoholics or drug addicts? Sure, but for the most part these people are self medicating because they cannot turn to the VA for legal medication and treatment.

Congressman Murtha put the figure of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan at 50,000 already. How many of them are we willing to let slip through the cracks in the system designed to help them heal and cope with their service to this nation? How many are we willing to let go homeless because they served in the military? Is any of this proving they are supported? What made us think that supported ended when they were no longer doing our bidding?

The time to take the steps to insure we prove what we say was yesterday when the funding was not put into place for the veterans we already had. Tomorrow will be too late for too many. How many names are you willing to look at when they erect a monument to the fallen of Iraq and Afghanistan? How many names are you willing to acknowledge still paying the price for Vietnam? If you care nothing about being part of the solution to their problems, then shut up and get out of the way. The rest of us are willing to prove what we say when we say we honor them. Isn't it time you did the same thing?

Kathie Costos
From New York Times
The Wounded Warrior Project’s roots are more humble. Its founder, John Melia, was a Marine veteran who had been injured in a helicopter crash off the coast of Somalia in 1992. When wounded troops began returning from Iraq in 2003, Mr. Melia remembered how he had arrived in a stateside hospital with only his thin hospital gown, and began visiting military hospitals to distribute backpacks stuffed with socks, CD players, toothpaste and other items.

As the backpack project grew, Mr. Melia hired a few employees, including Mr. Nardizzi, a lawyer who had never served in the military but was an executive for a small nonprofit, the United Spinal Association, which served disabled veterans.

They began raising millions of dollars and broadening their services to include adaptive sports for disabled veterans, employment and benefits help, and retreats to teach veterans to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.

By 2009, the group had grown to about 50 employees and $21 million in revenue. But by then, Mr. Melia and Mr. Nardizzi were fighting over the charity’s future, with Mr. Nardizzi pushing for more aggressive expansion than Mr. Melia, former employees said.

In January 2009, Mr. Melia resigned.
I've been doing this for so long now that lost count on how many different websites I've had over the years, but emails, well they're very important to me, so I save a lot of them.

This is from 2004 about the book I wrote in 2002.

This one is about another charity using "Wounded Minds" but I leave them alone even though my first video on PTSD was "Wounded Minds." This email is from 2006.



From my book 2002
500,000 Vietnam Veterans continue to pay because of Post Traumatic Stress and have been joined by veterans of all the other actions that followed. Hundreds of thousands continue to pay with wounds and broken bodies as well as wounded spirits. I pray that if President Bush is re-elected he learns this lesson as well. War is something that should always be the last attempt to have peace. The peace of a nation is paid by the turmoil of those who defend it.

Bronze Star for Valor Honors Two Fallen Airmen

Two airmen killed in Afghanistan receive Bronze Stars with Valor 
Air Force Times
By Oriana Pawlyk
February 5, 2016

Bonacasa, left, and Lemm, right, have been posthumously honored with the Bronze Star with Valor (Photo: Air Force photos)
Two airmen killed in Afghanistan in December have been posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal with “V,” the Air National Guard announced Thursday.

Staff Sgt. Louis M. Bonacasa and Tech Sgt. Joseph G. Lemm, both with the 105th Security Forces Squadron at Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York, have been honored with the nation's fourth highest military decoration for valor “for saving the lives of other airmen at the cost of their own,” the Guard said.

Lemm, 45, and Bonacasa, 31, and four other airmen were killed when a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden motorcycle into a joint patrol with Afghan security forces on Dec. 21, 2015, outside of Bargram Air Field.
read more here

VA Says "Veterans suicide must be a top priority"

VA: Veterans suicide must be a top priority
Military Times
By Patricia Kime
February 4, 2016
“In recent years, the suicide rate has risen steadily for the general population, but not veterans in the VA system. For veterans in our care, rates have remained stable, maybe even declined slightly, which tells us that treatment works," McDonald said.
Susan Selke, mother of Marine veteran Clay Hunt who committed suicide due to PTSD, testifies as Jean Somers, whose son Daniel took his own life, listens at a Capitol Hill hearing in 2014. Selke and Summers spoke at a Washington conference on the issue of veterans suicides on Feb. 3, 2016.
(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
The Veterans Affairs Department is ratcheting up efforts to address the high rate of suicide among veterans, bringing in mental health experts, advocates and affected families to formulate an “action plan” in the coming months to reduce these preventable deaths.

VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. David Shulkin said Tuesday that suicide reduction is one of his top priorities, and he called on experts to help the department establish prevention initiatives aimed at getting veterans into treatment.

“This is really one of our top priority issues for VA,” Shulkin said. “Seeing the number of suicides that occur every day is simply not acceptable.”

The VA hosted a Veterans Suicide Summit in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to jump-start the effort, drawing behavioral health providers, veterans service organizations, Defense Department personnel and veterans who have attempted suicide, as well as parents of troops who have died.
The VA estimated in 2012 that 22 veterans die each day by suicide, but the number is an extrapolation derived from 1999-2011 data from 21 states, and both the VA and advocacy groups say it should be interpreted with caution.
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