Saturday, January 19, 2019

Vietnam Veteran Peter Turnpu Laid to Rest With Honor

Mourners pay respects at funeral of veteran with no family

ABC 13 News
Gary Hall
January 18, 2019
"He was a veteran and we are all brothers at heart. He didn't have no family, he didn't have no relatives and that's why we are here for him," said Jack McGrath.

WRIGHTSTOWN, N.J. -- On Friday, strangers became family to a veteran who died all alone with no known family.
Most had never heard his name and didn't know his life story but they showed up by the dozens to pay respect and say goodbye to 77-year-old Peter Turnpu. Leroy Wooster of Wooster Funeral Home and Cremation Service said, "We have to give honor to those who have served and Peter would have had no one here if we didn't reach out." Wooster said when he heard about Turnpu's death, he couldn't just let the Vietnam veteran be buried alone. He paid for the funeral and invited the community to attend the service.
read more here

Thank you WSCR-AM 670’s Dan McNeil

When a radio show host had the chance to remain silent about mental illness, he chose to #BreakTheSilence and confront the bully of his healing.

After over half my life has been consumed by PTSD and the efforts to help veterans to heal, getting them to overcome the stigma, has been the hardest thing to do. Someone decided that mental illness was something to be ashamed of, and that is the message they got.

This is for anyone with a mental illness, no matter what it is. No matter what it is caused by or what label it has been given. 

The truth is, there is no shame for you unless you put it there. Do you really care what other people think about you, more than what you think about yourself?

Mental illness is real and so is taking steps to live the best life possible by doing what is possible to living happier ever after!

Well this radio show guy just won one for all of you last night!

After 'dead pool' pick, radio host Dan McNeil shares mental health struggle: 'I must confess, this guy got to me'

Chicago Tribune
Phil Rosenthal
January 18, 2019

Sharing a vulnerability uncommon among sports radio hosts, WSCR-AM 670’s Dan McNeil laid himself bare in a post-midnight Facebook post Friday.

McNeil, 57, apparently was triggered by a text from a listener who informed him he had been selected in the listener’s so-called dead pool in which the deaths of those chosen score points weighted toward the decedent’s relative youth.

Despite initially seeming to laugh off the note as he might on the air — “Give the dude credit for a sound investment strategy; I’m a good ‘value pick’ in a pool like that” — McNeil responded with soulful ruminations on living with vices, mental health issues and suicide.

Then he shared the impact he imagined his death would have on his three grown sons.

“I must confess, this guy got to me,” McNeil wrote. “I even cried a few times. Daydreaming about my sons’ sadness over the void in their lives is an optic I’d just as soon avoid.

“What kind of human has so much contempt for a radio show, he wishes for — at the minimum, bets on — a guy’s death? So, hoping that guy is reading this — as I did on the air, hoping he was listening — I want him to quickly meet my sons, now bereaved by the loss of their dad.”
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Heartwarming reunion, a military couple

Video: Military couple reunites after 8 months apart

WTHR 13 News
January 18, 2019

HOUSTON (WTHR) — In a heartwarming reunion, a military couple saw each other for the first time in 8 months.

Second Lt. Jordan Pruitt, an Army Medical Specialist Corps officer, got an unexpected surprise during his classroom training.
His significant other Jamie Douglas, who is also a second lieutenant, returned home from an 8-month deployment in Iraq. Douglas is a medical platoon leader/squadron medical officer who was stationed at Fort Hood in Texas.
The reunion was captured on video and we'll warn you, you might want to grab the tissues.
read more here and watch the'll be happy you did.

Flying tire killed 19 year old female Marine

Young Marine killed by truck’s flying tire on Indiana interstate

New York Post
Joshua Rhett Miller
January 18, 2019

A young Marine was killed in Indiana when a wheel flew off another vehicle before crossing a concrete median and crashing into her pickup truck, state police said. 

Lance Cpl. Olivia Kustes, 18, of Rineyville, Kentucky, died Wednesday after a wheel from a pickup truck fell off the vehicle and barreled into her truck after crossing a median on I-65 near the Eastern Boulevard exit in southern Indiana, WDRB reports. 

A local Marine recruiting station told WDRB that Kustes had recently returned home on a recruiters’ assistance program and was scheduled to return to North Carolina next week.
read more here

Marine charged with murder of 17 month old

Marine from San Clemente Charged in Killing of Girlfriend’s 17-Month-Old Daughter in Orange

KTLA 5 News
JANUARY 18, 2019

Prosecutors filed murder and assault charges Friday against a Marine from San Clemente accused of killing his girlfriend’s 17-month-old daughter at an apartment in Orange earlier this month, authorities said.

Christopher David Recio, 28, entered no plea when he appeared in Orange County Superior Court to face charges of murder and assault on a child likely to produce great bodily injury or death, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a written statement.

“The defendant is accused of murdering 17-month-old Jane Doe in the city of Orange by causing blunt force trauma to the victim’s head,” according to the statement.

The injuries occurred on Jan. 5 at a home in the 3100 block of West Chapman Avenue, Orange Police Department Sgt. Phil McMullin said. Recio, who is described in booking records as a U.S. Marine, was not the child’s father.

Firefighters were first summoned to the apartment about 5:30 p.m. after someone reported the toddler needed medical help, the sergeant said.
read more here

Friday, January 18, 2019

120,000 Florida veterans may go hungry if shutdown continues

120,000 Florida Veterans Might Lose Their Food Stamps If Government Shutdown Continues

Danielle Prieur
January 17, 2019
“I just recently started coming to Soldiers’ Angels. I was homeless at the time and went from there into the HUD-VASH program. And that’s when I became aware of Soldiers’ Angels.”

One of the federal programs affected by the partial government shutdown is the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP. If the shutdown continues into March, funding for the program could run out. And in Florida that means a lot of low-income and homeless veterans may have to fend for themselves. More veterans in Florida rely on food stamps than any other state.
Florida has the largest number of veterans on food stamps. The USDA has guaranteed food stamps through February. FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS
Every third Friday, volunteers at the VA mobile food pantry in Baldwin Park pack supplies for veterans. An older veteran shows junior ROTC kids how to pack clear gallon bags with carrots and potatoes and brown paper bags full of pasta.

A line of older sedans and minivans has started to form while the volunteers were working. Cristina Mercado who runs the VA pantry says donations from nonprofits Soldiers’ Angels and Second Harvest can only feed 200 veterans so spots have been going fast.

“Within 2 hours, 153 people signed up on our list and within a day and a half the list was completely filled up. And then within a few days after that, our wait list also filled up. So this was the quickest [sign-up] so far.”

Mercado says demand for the food bank has grown since the fall. That’s partly because of an influx of veterans coming from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
read more here

Army veteran got to watch himself win Titan Games

Elizabethtown Army vet earns title of Titan on NBC’s Titan Games

Taylor Durden
January 18, 2019

ELIZABETHTOWN, KY (WAVE) - Elizabethtown Army veteran Christopher Watts impressed the nation on NBC’s new show “The Titan Games.”

Thursday night Watts beat out his competition to earn the title of Titan. He will be moving on to the next round of the competition.

Watts was a security contractor in Kabul, Afghanistan. He flew to Los Angeles just for the show, before returning back to Afghanistan to keep working.

On Thursday, more than 50 of Watts' friends and family members sat around tables at Buffalo Wild Wings in Elizabethtown to watch the show.

Watts told his family and friends he was heading to Texas so he wouldn’t be able to join them to watch. Unbeknownst to them, Watts changed his flight last minute after he heard about their gathering.
read more here

Fort Bliss solider "hero" in his own mind?

That hero soldier who saved a life with just a pen and a sweatshirt? Apparently, he made it all up.

Army Times
Meghann Myers
January 17, 2019

It took a few days, but as news outlets around the country picked up a Jan. 9 Fort Bliss, Texas, press release about a soldier’s heroic response to a gruesome car accident, firefighters in Sweetwater, Texas, started to ask questions.
Sgt. Trey Troney, a field artillery cannon crewmember assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, is under investigation after questions arose about whether he lied about saving a man after a traffic accident on Interstate 20 near Sweetwater, Texas, Dec. 22, 2018. (Staff Sgt. Killo Gibson/Army)

That wrecked Toyota pickup on the side of Highway 20 sounded very familiar, but Sgt. Trey Troney, the 20-year-old soldier with the New Orleans Saints “Salute to Service” sweatshirt and the ballpoint-pen chest decompression didn’t.

“There are so many similarities, but our patient didn’t have those injuries,” Grant Madden, Sweetwater’s fire chief, told Army Times in a Wednesday phone interview.

Fort Bliss officials on Thursday retracted their story. Troney’s command has initiated an investigation into whether he lied to his leadership about his role in the accident, spokeswoman Maj. Allie Payne told Army Times.

“The entire 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss team sincerely apologize to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Highway Patrol, the city of Sweetwater, Texas, the city of El Paso, the University of Texas at El Paso, the New Orleans Saints, the local and national media and the American people,” Payne said in a release.
read more here

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Preventing veterans from killing themselves takes more than wanting to

Suicide Prevention is not everyones business

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 17, 2019

Yet again we hear the slogan that is doing more harm than good. "Suicide is everyones business" and that, dear reader is the problem.

Too many have gotten into this as a "business" and did not take any of it seriously enough to get trained on how to actually prevent suicides. Actually, too many are making a living off  of veterans committing suicide.

Helping them heal is a lot of hard work, but  no one should try before they learn what actually helps so they can avoid what hurts. Seen it way too often because people thought all they had to do was say "I'm doing something about it" and never stopped to learn what that something should be. Or, if that something they want to do has already proven to be a massive failure.

The VA therapists are trying, and in most cases, they are turning lives around. Most of the ones I know are committed to the veterans succeeding in healing. They recommend taking care of the whole veteran, body-mind and spirit.

This is from the VA in Maine. Go to the link and watch the video.

Veteran suicide prevention

Iraq veteran survived combat and suicide attempt

I survived combat in Iraq and a suicide attempt at home. But many veterans aren't so lucky.

USA Today
Danny O'Neal
January 16, 2019
Sometimes, trauma can be more deadly than war itself. But the VA's existing mental health services are woefully inadequate for a growing problem.

I'm supposed to be a statistic.
Army soldiers who had been in the Iraq War prepare to fly home to Fort Hood, Texas, from Kuwait in 2011. (Photo: Joe Raedle, Getty Images,)
On July 14, 2012, drowning in grief and guilt, I tried to kill myself. Like so many veterans, I had found civilian life desperately difficult. War had drained me of joy. The sights, sounds and smells of the battlefield had been relentlessly looping in my head. The suffering seemed endless. And so, thinking there were no other options of escape, I turned to suicide.

Luckily, I survived. I avoided becoming one of the 20 veterans who kill themselves every day in this country. But I also witnessed firsthand all the ways that our nation's mental health resources fail our fighting men and women. Department of Veterans Affairs facilities and the military simply aren't equipped to properly treat sick vets. We must do better.

I enlisted in the military on Sept. 11, 2001. My first major combat experience came on a deployment to Sadr City, Iraq, in the winter of 2005, the apex of the insurgency.

War inflicts permanent psychic scars on survivors. Scrubbing a friend's flesh out of a Bradley reconnaissance vehicle, packing up the cold clothes of a new dad to ship home to his family, pulling tortured corpses out of a water treatment facility — the trauma from these experiences is deep and lasting.
read more here