Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Vietnam Veterans Day Officially Declared Today

It’s Official: March 29th to be permanently recognized as National Vietnam War Veterans Day

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Bipartisan legislation authored by Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Senator Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) permanently designating March 29th as National Vietnam War Veterans Day has been signed into law by President Trump.

The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act represents the first federal statute recognizing the bravery and sacrifice of veterans who served during the Vietnam War.

“In many cases, Vietnam veterans did not receive the warm welcome they earned when they came home,” said Sen. Toomey. 

Utah Veteran Created A Flag Out of Metal...And the Flag Tool

Military veteran making steel US flags shows his mettle
Alicia Acuna
March 29, 2017
That was more than 18 months ago. Today, his company, Iron Mountain Designs, has an 8,000-square-foot production facility in Salt Lake City, where he has a team, and an expanded business, making custom ironwork and furniture for other businesses.
Military veterans can have a tough time re-entering the workforce after serving in war. The special skills honed on the battlefield don't always translate to the civilian world.

Such was the case for retired Air Force pararescueman Josh Vandenbrink. After 14 years of service and 21 deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, his life back home came with some readjusting.

The Utah man tried multiple jobs in a variety of industries, when one day he, somewhat accidentally, launched his own business. A fellow veteran in the Salt Lake City area who owned a coffee company called Black Rifle Coffee let him set up a work room in the back of his warehouse.

The first thing he did was buy a flag.
On each flag, he puts a reminder from the past. A quote by President George Washington is engraved on a wood plaque, hidden on the back. It reads: "I hope I shall possess the firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles. The character of an honest man."
read more here

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Soldier Stands in Pouring Rain to Salute Veteran's Funeral Procession

Killeen: Soldier salutes fallen veteran in pouring rain 
KWTX 10 News 
By Kathleen Serie 
Mar 28, 2017 

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) A Fort Hood soldier is receiving positive recognition for saluting a fallen veteran’s funeral procession in the pouring rain.
Kenneth Varnes said he was driving northbound on Highway 195 in Killeen on Friday when he noticed a funeral procession on the other side of the highway. 

When he pulled over, he recognized that the procession was for a fallen veteran, so he got out of his truck and saluted until the last patrol car passed.
read more here

DOD and VA Trying to Understand Active Duty and Veterans? Duh!

DoD-VA Research Partnership to Improve Understanding of Active Duty and Veteran Health
Courtesy Story
Naval Health Research Center
“The current study shows the course of PTSD is similar between separated and continuously serving active duty personnel, supporting the use of common treatment methods within the VA and DoD, which will facilitate the transition of patients from one system to the other,” said Faix.
A new partnership between DoD and VA medical researchers achieves a milestone with its first joint publication, which examines post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in veteran and active duty populations. The study will be published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, June 2017.

The new study, the first to compare PTSD symptom trajectories of current and former service members, was authored by researchers from the VA and the DoD’s Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), a longitudinal study to evaluate the health of military personnel throughout their careers and after, launched in 2001 and led by the Naval Health Research Center.

“The Millennium Cohort Study is one of the largest sources of self-reported health information of current and former service members,” said Cmdr. Dennis Faix, director of the Millennium Cohort Study and preventive medicine physician. “Many DoD studies only examine current service members and many VA studies begin examining veterans after they have separated from the military. The Millennium Cohort Study is one of the few studies that straddle this line.”

In the joint study, DoD and VA researchers found similar PTSD symptom trajectories in active duty personnel and veterans, suggesting consistency in how both groups experience PTSD over time. Of the four trajectories found in both groups, the most common was the resilient trajectory with low PTSD symptom levels. Veterans, however, were less likely to be classified in the resilient category than those on active duty.
read more here

South Texas Sends Mental Health Teams to Veterans Homes

Some South Texas veterans suffering from mental illness get in-home treatment
FOX 29 San Antonio
March 28, 2017
The team works at the Audie Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital. Social workers, doctors and some veterans drive to a vet's home to help them cope with illnesses like Schizophrenia or Bi-polar disorder.
SAN ANTONIO - Mental illness is a topic many people are afraid to talk about and it may even discourage some military veterans from seeking help.

That's why the Veterans Affairs administration has been providing a special option for some vets suffering from severe mental illness.

According to the VA, a growing number of military vets in our area need help dealing with mental illness.

For more than 10 years, the Intensive Community Mental Health Recovery team has been providing home visits to vets as far away as Kerrville.
read more here

Budget POTUS Wants Can Hurt Homeless Veterans?

Trump's budget could hurt efforts to curb veteran homelessness
Associated Press
Jennifer McDermott
March 28, 2017
Navy veteran Stephen Matthews sits for a photograph in the bedroom of a relatives home, in Warwick, R.I., on Dec. 11, 2016. STEVEN SENNE/AP
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The push to end homelessness among veterans would suffer without the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which is up for elimination under President Donald Trump's proposed budget, nonprofits and local officials say.

The council coordinates the efforts of 19 federal agencies that play a role in preventing and ending homelessness among all Americans. But the strides made with veterans — for whom homelessness has been effectively ended in three states and dozens of communities amid a concerted effort — make the proposed cuts particularly upsetting to advocates.

Homeless advocates in any given state consult the council, whose annual budget is about $3.5 million, on which strategies are working elsewhere as they seek to house veterans. They worry momentum will slow.

"We've learned how to end homelessness," said Nonie Brennan, chief executive of the nonprofit All Chicago. "It would be a tremendous shame if we were not able to continue to implement these strategies in our communities across the country."
read more here

Monday, March 27, 2017

2016 Employment Situation of Veterans

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Releases 2016 Employment Situation of Veterans 
Report – Finds Almost 36 Percent of Gulf War-Era II Veterans Had a Service-Connected Disability Last Updated: Sunday, 26 March 2017
In 2016, 5.2 million veterans had served on active duty during "other service periods," mainly between the Korean War and the Vietnam era and between the Vietnam era and Gulf War era I. All veterans from this period of service were 40 years or older at the time of the survey. Twenty-six percent of these veterans were age 45 to 54 in 2016, another 34 percent were age 55 to 64, and another 39 percent were age 65 and over. In 2016, 1 in 10 veterans of other service periods were women. Among veterans of other service periods, the unemployment rate for men was 4.1 percent, little different than the rate for women (4.9 percent).
March 26, 2017 - The unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time since September 2001--a group referred to as Gulf War-era II bureau of labor statistics edged down to 5.1 percent in 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported. 

The jobless rate for all veterans also edged down over the year to 4.3 percent. About 36 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans had a service-connected disability in August 2016, compared with 22 percent of all veterans. This information was obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 households that provides data on employment and unemployment in the United States. Data about veterans are collected monthly in the CPS; these monthly data are the source of the 2016 annual averages presented in this news release. 

In August 2016, a supplement to the CPS collected additional information about veterans on topics such as service-connected disability and veterans' current or past Reserve or National Guard membership. Information from the supplement is also presented in this release. The supplement was co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and by the U.S. Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service. For more information, see the Technical Note, which provides definitions of terms used in this release. read more here

Suicide? Don't Give Up On LIfe--Fight Back

Mental Health: Suicide ... giving up on life
Valley Star
By Ralph E. Jones
 Mental Health
Posted: Sunday, March 26, 2017
“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe, American Author, 1811-1896
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 45,000 individuals commit suicide each year in the United States; that is about 121 suicides per day.

It is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. For every suicide there are 25 failed attempts, and the number of admissions to hospitals for suicidal attempts is close to 500,000 per year.

Contrary to popular belief, the rates of suicide are highest in age groups among adults ages 45-64; the majority, 7 out of 10, being males (although females have the highest numbers of suicide attempts).

Of primary concern, and the reason behind writing this article, is the growing numbers of suicides among our young people and military veterans, ages 15 to 24 in particular. The Veterans Administration reports that approximately 22 veterans commit suicide every day. These are the highest rates since the VA began keeping record of such, and is a much higher number than in the general population.

In the general population of civilians, there is a growing number of youth committing suicide as well, primarily as a result of increase use of opioids, and the resultant overdose on opioids; which has blossomed into a national crisis.

In a report released this month by the Veterans Administration, a study of veterans use of drugs and alcohol as related to suicide, it was found that Veterans who have drug and/or alcohol problems are more than twice as likely to die by suicide as their comrades; and women Veterans with substance use disorders have an even higher rate of suicide — more than five times that of their peers.
read more here