Saturday, September 23, 2017

Nurse charged with stealing pain medication

Nurse charged with stealing pain medication from Minn. VA hospital

Star Tribune
Andy Mannix
September 22, 2017

A nurse at Minnesota’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center has been charged with regularly stealing pain medications over a six-month period from the hospital last year.
Matthew Leininger, 42, who was fired from the hospital in March, stole drugs such as fentanyl, morphine and oxycodone on more than 70 occasions, according to a criminal complaint filed this week. He told investigators he needed the drugs to cope with mental health issues, according to prosecutors. He faces five counts of felony theft by swindle.
According to a criminal complaint, the medical center uses a machine called Pyxis to dispense drugs to doctors and nurses. Leininger was required to log in with his user identification and provide his fingerprint to obtain the drugs, then enter into a machine which patient will receive the drug and record the dose to be administered. Then the nurse is expected to log in how much was given to the patient or the amount that was wasted.

Mystery Marine Mario Kletzke Remembered After Suicide

Stafford County's Mystery Marine is being honored one year after his death

Fredericksburg Free Lance Star
Kristin Davis
September 22, 2017

Christian Dimaglba holds US Marine flag during Marine Cpl. Mario Kletzke's funeral procession, 
Peter Cihelka The Free Lance Star

Hundreds lined State Route 610 in Stafford County—at the busy intersection of Shelton Shop Road, in front of Sittin’ Pretty Pet Salon and Fatty’s Crab House and a bank and a car dealership. They were Marines and soldiers, wives and widows of veterans who’d fished out their service flags and American flags. They were babies in strollers and high school athletes and members of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps in crisp uniforms.
This is where they’d seen him—those who’d seen him at all—the Mystery Marine in service-issued silkies running with a POW flag on the Fourth of July.
His name was Mario Kletzke.
He died Sept. 24 at his home in Stafford, of suicide. He was 23.
His final route would be part of the one he’d run, only this time there was a police escort and a hearse and all those people standing under a gray sky before lunchtime on Thursday.
His Marine Corps record told this much of his story: Kletzke enlisted right out of high school in 2012. He’d been a rifleman and spent nearly eight months in Afghanistan. He’d last served with the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, in Camp Lejeune, N.C. When he was discharged as a corporal at the end of June after fulfilling a four-year commitment, his awards included a combat action ribbon, a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal and a National Defense Service Medal.

Real Numbers on Veteran Suicides Getting Closer to Know

California tracking suicides ending the lives of veterans will bring us closer to knowing how many, but the truth is, we will never really know for sure.

Traffic deaths, overdoses, suicide by cop, the list goes on. None of them are counted as suicides perfectly. Too often it is simply not known for sure if they did not leave behind a note to the family they left behind.

When we use numbers like "22" or "20" it paints a rosier picture of what this "grateful nation" finds acceptable. If no one knows how many and they push all the "awareness" propaganda when the veterans they miss are only missed by their families.

Veteran deaths won’t go uncounted now, thanks to bill by 2 Fresno legislators

Fresno Bee
Barbara Anderson
September 22, 2017
Once California begins counting veteran suicides, the VA’s estimate of 22 deaths a day could likely double, said Tom Donwen, state and national chairman of suicide prevention for AMVETS. “This bill is critical to suicide prevention and awareness for veterans,” he said.
A new law requiring California to track veteran suicides was applauded Friday by the two Fresno legislators who authored the bill, the brother of a fallen Marine and a Visalia assemblyman and veteran who had a personal reason to support it.
“This is the first step in the right direction,” said Assemblyman Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, a former sergeant in the Army National Guard who served two tours in Iraq.
Mathis said one of his fellow veterans, who welcomed him home after his second tour in Iraq, died by suicide a few months ago. “He was the happiest-go-luckiest guy I’d ever met,” he said.
His death can now be counted, Mathis said. “This allows us to track this so my brothers and sisters in arms and their families don’t fall through the cracks.”

UK Combat Wounded Veteran, Shot Again on Home Soil

War veteran shot in Iraq is attacked just yards from his South Shields home

Chronicle Live UK
Sophie Doughty
September 23, 2017

The dad-of-five said: “I just can’t believe I have come out of the army and been attacked on Civvy Street. I was only about 100 metres from my house.

“I have put my life on the line for my country and this is how I’ve been repaid. I have been shot at in war zones and now I feel unsafe going out here. I expected to be safe after I left the army.”

He put his life on the line for his country in some of the world’s most dangerous war zones and survived being shot.
But army veteran Micky Dennett is now afraid to go out on Tyneside after he was attacked just yards from his home.

Friday, September 22, 2017

When Will They Ever Learn a Non-Number Leaves Out Healing?

Here we go again with the non-number of veterans committing suicide. The really bad part is this report is from the VA blog!

Before you read what could have been a wonderful thing to do, catch up what you may have missed, also from the VA regarding veterans committing suicide.

A shocking finding was that California is on the list, yet California does not track veteran suicides. They are going to start doing it. For the veterans they know about the rate was 39.1.

For Florida Veteran Suicide Rate was 40.4 yet state average was 18.8 with the majority over the age of 50. Go to the link and look up your state. Here are a few more.

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -Newly released data from the Department of Veterans Affairs shows that in 2014, the most recent year on file, 127 Nevada veterans committed suicide. The statistic makes Nevada's veteran suicide rate 60 per 100,000 veterans, well above the national average of 38 per 100,000.

But the suicide rate for Michigan was higher than national averages for the 18-34 age group at 122.2 per 100,000 compared with the national rate of 70.4 and the Midwestern rate of 79.2. The veteran suicide rate also is high in Michigan for the age range of 35-54 at 52.3 compared with the 47.7 national rate, according to the Michigan VA data sheet.
The good thing is that veterans being treated at the VA are still less likely to commit suicide. The bad thing is, for all of this "awareness raising" about a non-number, it is time to change the conversation on healing awareness if we really want to change the topic from suicide to surviving!

Ring the bell: Veterans call for Veterans to help end suicide

VAntage Point
September 20, 2017

All eyes are on a Veteran in the back of the hall talking about a guy from the old unit.  His buddy had said “I’ll get over this.” But he never did.  Then there was the final step, suicide.
Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines: active duty and Veterans of Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and peacetime stand together.  There’s a brass bell made from a shell casing off of a war ship positioned at center stage.  This is Suicide Awareness Night, and the hall is packed.
VFW Post 3631 in Aurora sits at the crossroads of Colfax and Tower Road outside the city of Denver where the plains of eastern Colorado begin.  Just over a year ago the post’s commander, Gary Anguilm, read in an article that 22 Veterans were dying by suicide every day.  “Being Veterans we decided we wanted to do something about it,” Anguilm said.
And that’s when the idea came to invite the community to come together on the 22nd of every month at the VFW, to learn about Veteran and military suicide and how to help.IMAGE: A brass bell, made from a shell casing, is rung in honor of Veterans lost to suicide.
Anguilm is a Vietnam Marine Corps Veteran who served two tours in the infantry between 1964 and 1966.  He organizes this event with meticulous attention to detail, starting at 5 p.m. with socializing fueled by burgers, hot dogs and fries – free for all Vets.   It’s a way to honor them, with the added benefit of drawing in a crowd.  At 6 p.m. sharp everything stops, and everyone rises for the Star Spangled Banner.  A Navy officer comes to the stage.  She strikes the bell 22 times in remembrance of each Veteran lost.
The number of Veterans who die by suicide each day changes over time, and right now, that number is down to 20.

Iraq Veteran Ron Creech Remembered After Fatal Motorcycle Accident

Family, friends gather to remember veteran killed in recent wreck

WHNT 19 News
Melissa Riopka
September 22, 2017

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Family and friends gathered together on Thursday to remember Ron Creech. They held a vigil near where the 33-year-old Iraq War Veteran died in a motorcycle wreck. The wreck happened on Triana Boulevard on September 15th.

"I knew something was wrong when I got there and the doors weren't opened," remembers Sheri Layne, the general manager of Durham School Services. "Something in my heart said I need to go check and see what's going here because Ron's not here and he's always here."
Ron was a mechanic with Durham Schools Services. Before that, he was in the military where he served with the 82nd Airborne Division with Military Intelligence. He was also a father. 

Ron had an infant daughter that passed away at 11 months old, and he was survived by a 12-year-old son.
read more here

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Adam's Answer Came On Swift Wings

"Why? What good am I now to anyone?"
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 21, 2017

Adam clicked the pen, put it down and stretched his fingers. He looked at the clock on his cellphone. Three hours had passed since he opted for the old fashion way of saying what he had never said before. A text would have been too restrictive. Sending an email didn't make much sense either. Too easy to just delete words plus, he couldn't think of a single person he wanted to contact. All of the people he knew, were just people he knew, but none he'd call for help. It was just better this way.

He looked at the gun for a second, then turned away as his hand reached for it. He stretched his fingers out over the barrel. It was cold, just as he felt deeply within his soul. Adam looked around the room with remembrances of his life hanging on the walls. Then, it dawned on him, it was just four years worth of his life. What about the other years? What did all of those years mean?

His eyes turned toward the other wall where he hung pictures of his three kids. When they were all in high school, Adam walked out the door. It was too much when his oldest turned 18. The same age he was when he got on the plane to Vietnam. Once in a while, his ex-wife sent him pictures of them, all grown up, with kids of their own. Grandchildren he had never held, or even seen in person.

He looked at the other wall and all the degrees he received, along with awards and the plaque he had received when he retired. What did it all mean anyway?

He had been alone for so long, and lonely, but until he retired, he was too busy to notice, too tired to care.

So, the letter to his ex-wife was done. He wanted to make sure no one felt responsible for anything that was about to happen. After all, it was more a just in case type of deal, but that was the way Adam dealt with everything. Thinking of the worst that could happen.

Adam poured a glass of whiskey and down it went. It was getting close to midnight, the time he decided to leave. He got up for a last look at the pile of papers he left on the bed so no one had to search for his paperwork just to bury him. As he reached the bed, he saw a glow in his backyard. He opened the drapes and saw a man standing near a fire.

Thoughts of pulling the trigger on himself were replaced with protecting his property.

He opened the door, saw the huge man, put his finger on the trigger and yelled, but just then, the gun flew out of his hands. 

The fire changed color and then wings appeared behind the man. Adam was frozen as he watched the wings spread out. He dropped to his knees knowing he was face to face with Archangel Michael.

Michael told him how his Guardian Angel had been with him since the moment his soul came into this world when God breathed life into him. She had been there whenever his soul cried out to God.

Adam, being Adam, argued. "When did I ever cry out?"

Michael shook his head. "You did not cry with your mouth. You did not cry out with words in your head. Your soul did."

Michael told him about the day he stood holding his Mother's hand as they buried his father. He was only 7. He was sure it felt like someone was holding his other hand. All this time, he thought maybe it was his Dad letting him know everything would be ok.

Then Michael reminded him of his time in Vietnam when he was a young medic. His Guardian Angel protected him from bullets as he risked his life to save all the soldiers in his unit. She was there another time when shrapnel hit his leg but he refused to stop holding the hand of his friend.

And then Adam's eyes burned with a flash of light. His Guardian Angel appeared holding a book on her lap. 

She did not speak a word. She simply opened the book to the page where Adam made the decision to leave his family. Michael read the page and saw how devastated Adam was because he didn't want to hurt his family any more. He packed his bag while his family was asleep. He went into each of their rooms, softly whispered "I love you" as as he carefully closed their doors. It was as if he was closing the door on the only people on this earth who still loved him.

Adam knew he was getting worse. His moods swings were more than he could control and the anger had turned to rage. The only way to go on was to stop feeling anything. 

Yet on this night, the time of being numb gave way to complete hopelessness. 

Michael held the book in his hands. "Everything you have done upon this earth is in this book. The good, as well as the bad but more, the reasons why you did them and what you felt afterwards." Michael flipped more pages.

"It remembers what you have forgotten. That all of your life, you put others first,  then humbly walked away as if you had done nothing special. You spent your entire life as last on your own list of things to take care of. What you didn't know is that ability was within your soul and so was all you needed to be able to continue to do all of it."

Adam wiped a tear as the weight of his life crushed his core. "Then why as I so miserable? Tell me why you came this night of all nights when I was down on my knees praying for relief?"

"Because this was the night you needed help the most. You wouldn't ask anyone with your pride in the way but your soul knew you still needed to be here."

"Why? What good am I now to anyone?"

Michael closed the book and Adam's Angel vanished. "Because the rest of your life's book has yet to be written. There are so many others for you to save now but first you have to ask for help for yourself. Then you'll be able to help them. If you cannot bring yourself to ask, then you can't help others do it. Are you ready to ask or are you ready to end your life's book?"

Adam didn't say a word. He fell face down on the ground. He put his arms on the back of his head. When his eyes opened, he was on the floor of his room. Stunned, slowly he looked around and wondered if he had just passed out. Had his imagination taken over and it was all just a dream?

He thought about the question Michael asked. The answer was he wanted to fight. He wanted to fight to take his life back instead of ending it. He wanted to help others understand that pain is not something that judges you. Only he was judging himself instead of doing whatever he had to do to forgive himself.

Most of his energy had been drained out of his body. It was a struggle to get up but he made his way to the chair. Crawled up into it. He picked up the letter and wondered what would have happened if he had not been interrupted. He picked up the gun and put it back in the desk drawer. 

Adam looked at his cellphone and noticed it was after 1:00 am the next day. Was it possible that all that had really happened? He wasn't sure until his cellphone rang. One of the veterans he served with was crying. He was not crying for himself, but for his own son who needed help to survive after coming home from Afghanistan. Adam had saved his life when they were in Vietnam and he was sure he'd do the same for his son.

As Adam listened to his buddy, his soul once again cried out for help to know what to say and what to do. This time, he was sure the answer would come on swift wings but he hoped that his Angel would skip the fire this time.

**Please...note that this one is fiction!

Got a vision that no one else sees
Lot of dirty work, roll up your sleeves
Remember there's a war out there
So come prepared to fight!
You never know where the road leads ya
Not everyone's gonna believe ya
And even though they're wrong,
Don't prove 'em right
I'd rather stand tall
Than live on my knees (Can't live on my knees)
'Cause I'm a conqueror
And I won't accept defeat
Try telling me no
One thing about me
Is I'm a conqueror
I am a conqueror

Memphis VA Removed Employee--Or Not?

VA Removing Employee Arrested for Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon 
VA News Release

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it is taking immediate steps to propose the termination of a Memphis VA Medical Center employee arrested over the weekend for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and criminal impersonation of a police officer.

Upon learning of the employee’s arrest, VA Press Secretary Curt Cashour said, “This behavior is not in line with the norms and values of the VA, and as a result the employee has been suspended from all duties. VA has initiated the process for removal from employment.

“Secretary Shulkin has made clear that VA will hold employees accountable when they fail to live up to the high standards taxpayers expect from us. And that’s exactly what we’re doing in this case.”

Memphis woman back working at VA after being charged with aggravated assault

FOX 13 News
Marius Payton
September 20, 2017

A woman charged with aggravated assault is back at work tonight and guess who's paying her salary? You the taxpayer.

Linda Turner was charged with 2 counts of aggravated assault and criminal impersonation after  police said she pulled a gun on a grandmother and her 2-year-old granddaughter. 

FOX13 has been digging into this story and found that Turner works at a facility that has had its issues here in Memphis, that's the VA Medical Center.

She has been employed at the VA Medical Center since 1998, but this weekend, police said she pulled a loaded gun on a grandmother who was walking her two-year-old grand-daughter across a busy street.

Wednesday, Turner was back at work at a facility struggling to clean up its image, but there is a difference of opinions on how the aggravated assault issue should be handled.

Woman Loses It Over PTSD Service Dog

And the winners are the veteran, his family, people who stuck up for him and Kathy's Crab House because of what they are doing about this!
Kathy's Crab House & Family RestaurantYesterday at 9:05am
We would like to express at this time how sorry we are over the embarrassing turn of events that occurred earlier this week in our restaurant, here in Delaware City.
It is unfortunate that some of the public are not familiar with federal regulations regarding service animals, which, in fact, do permit service animals into establishments such as grocery stores, public buildings and restaurants, giving aid and comfort to their masters in their time of need.
That being said, we would like to take what may have been perceived as a negative incident and turn this into a positive opportunity, by educating and enlightening the public about the role of service animals and how they help and serve many returning veterans who have suffered serious wounds and injuries, as well as those veterans suffering from PTSD.
So, at this time, we would like to announce that we will be sponsoring a fundraising effort for veterans and service animals thru the Montana Wounded Warriors. We would like to enlist your help as a sponsor, volunteer, or as a donor and help us enlighten and educate the public as well as to help those veterans in need.
Details need to be finalized at this time, but as they come together, we will make additional announcements to keep you apprised of our progress.
Thank you

Video captures argument about veteran's service dog in restaurant
USA Today Adam Duvernay
Wilmington News Journal
September 21, 2017

WILMINGTON, Del. — A now-viral video depicting the argument over a veteran's service dog in a Delaware restaurant has participants on all sides explaining their actions.

The video begins in the middle of an argument where a woman believed a veteran's service dog ruined her dining experience. The video shows Delaware resident Ciara Miller standing in the middle of Kathy's Crab House in Delaware City, Del., arguing with a small group of people, which included a man holding the leash of a Great Dane wearing a vest indicating it's a "PTSD service dog."

"I'm not going to keep my opinions to myself. I'm going to voice it just like I did. There's nothing you can do about it," Miller said in the video.
read more here

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Air Force Wounded Warrior Program Helps Heal Body and Mind

Letting go of pride: Air Force vets adapt to 'invisible wounds'

Army Times
Charlsy Panzino
September 19, 2017

When a friend suggested he join the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program, Smith hesitated because he felt his non-combat injuries didn’t warrant joining the program. He didn’t “fit the bill” of those wounded in combat, he said.

Retired Tech. Sgt. Joshua Smith competes in the seated shot put during the 2017 Warrior Games July 5 at Soldier Field, Chicago. (Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons/Air Force)
Two Air Force veterans who were severely injured during their service, and who suffered from the “invisible wounds” of post-traumatic stress, said they had to overcome fear of the stigma sometimes associated with getting help ― and their own pride ― to recover from their wounds.

The airmen talked about their roads to recovery during the Air Space Cyber Conference at National Harbor, Md., Monday.

Former Tech Sgt. Joshua Miller and Capt. Mitchell Kieffer, both medically retired, suffered significant injuries during their time in service. Those injuries led to a string of surgeries for both veterans and, ultimately, a choice: between reaching out to overcome those injuries or to isolate themselves.

Smith joined the Air Force in 2003 as an aircrew flight equipment specialist and served on active duty for 13 years.
read more here

As you can see, it is the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program and not the "project" running ads.