Thursday, August 17, 2017

Iraq Veteran Speaks Out After PTSD Service Dog Kicked Out

Milton veteran speaks out after restaurant turns away service dog
Pensacola News Journal
Melissa Nelson Gabriel
August 17, 2017

A Milton Army veteran is speaking out after being questioned by a Fort Walton Beach restaurant owner about her service dog.
Brittney Healy, who spent a year in Baghdad, Iraq, working in mortuary affairs in 2010, relies on her service dog to help her feel comfortable and safe in public places. Healy, 25, enlisted in the Army at age 17 and deployed to Iraq a year later.

She said she wasn't fully prepared for the emotional impact of processing the bodies of dead Americans, Iraqis and children.

"That was tough," said Healy, who has battled post-traumatic stress disorder since leaving the Army. Healy is also a survivor of military sexual assault.
read more here

Where Service Animals Are Allowed
Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.
Read  the rest of the law and print it. Take it with you in case you run into someone else who did not bother to get the facts ahead of time.

SWAT Raided Special Forces Veteran's Home For Legal Pot?

Special forces soldier sues Fountain SWAT after legal pot grow raid
Denver Post
Kirk Mitchell
August 17, 2017

A former special forces infantryman, who was awarded the Bronze Star and uses marijuana to treat PTSD after tours to Iraq and Bosnia, has sued the Fountain police SWAT team after officers raided his legal marijuana greenhouse.

Eli Olivas and his girlfriend Marisela Chavez sued the city of Fountain and Fountain police Sgt. Matthew Racine, claiming the city failed to properly train its police to investigate pot cases in a state where it’s legal to grow marijuana.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Denver by attorney Terrence Johnson. Olivas and Chavez seek compensatory damages of more than $100,000. Olivas, a paramedic, also wants his guns returned: an AK-47 rifle, a 5.56 millimeter Sig Sauer rifle and a Glock 17, court records show Police confiscated the weapons but haven’t returned them, the lawsuit says.

Fountain Police Chief Chris Heberer said the department had a valid search warrant signed by a judge.
Olivas is a former U.S. Army Special Forces staff sergeant, infantryman, medic and combat veteran. Besides the Bronze Star, he earned numerous other service medals. He also was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder linked to combat.

Olivas is a registered medical marijuana patient with a permit to grow up to 99 marijuana plants for his own treatment of PTSD. He was growing 18 marijuana plants behind a locked, 6-foot privacy fence. The plants were further enclosed in a greenhouse walled with opaque glass.
read more here

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Vietnam Veteran Went Back To Find Buddy, Found Forgiveness

Veteran returns to Vietnam in search for soldier left behind

Cape Cod Times
Adam Lucente
August 15, 2017

Michael Cunningham says loss has weighed on him for 49 years.
HARWICH — An expended M16 round, bomb fragments and helicopter scraps sit in Michael Cunningham’s Harwich home. They constitute small pieces of his memories fighting in Vietnam — memories that are with him today.
Cunningham, 67, served as a rifleman in the Army’s 1st Battalion, 46th Regiment, 198th Light Infantry Brigade in 1968 during the Vietnam War. On July 29 of that year, his unit was on a mission in the Que Son Valley when a helicopter arrived with supplies. Wanting to be “first in the chow line,” he went up the hill so he could unload the helicopter and get some hot food.
What happened next would haunt him for decades.
“The enemy planted a 500-pound bomb on the hill,” said Cunningham, and the bomb exploded. “It brought down the chopper and buried alive a whole bunch of guys.”
Three men were killed and a dozen wounded in the explosion, according to Cunningham. But 24-year-old Staff Sgt. Jerry Auxier, of West Virginia, was unaccounted for.

“We looked all night long. The colonel ordered that we had to leave someone behind. It’s not the most pleasant thing,” he said. “It’s been on my mind the past 49 years.”

Two men among the witnesses were in the militia responsible for the bomb, including the man who detonated it. Cunningham walked right up to them. He gave the man who set off the bomb his 198th Light Infantry Brigade hat. The man put it on and gave Cunningham his hat. 
“They thought I was gonna punch the guy, but it was the total opposite. He was taken advantage of just like me,” Cunningham said. “There were no hard feelings. And I could see in his eyes he felt the same.”read more here

Community and Home Depot Foundation Rebuild Old House for Veterans

Shabby McDonough building to become place ‘where veterans can feel safe’

Henry Herald
Asia Ashley
August 15, 2017

McDONOUGH— A formerly vacant 115-year-old building will soon be transformed into a safe resource hub for local veterans.

Veterans Support Group, a McDonough nonprofit that provides free assistance to military veterans, took on the 32 Jonesboro St. building through a $10-per-year lease agreement with the McDonough City Council approved in October 2015. Before the agreement, city officials were considering tearing down the building to make way for a parking lot for downtown patrons.

“This is a dream come true,” said Veterans Support Group CEO Bob Van Dunk during Tuesday’s groundbreaking ceremony. “If you look at what we’ve been doing for the last six years, we’ve been meeting people in pizza parlors and everything else, and the city has been gracious to give us this house for the veterans of Henry County.”
Through generous donations from local businesses — including Mercer University, which donated furniture and computers, and the Home Depot Foundation, which donated approximately $93,000 toward the project — the building will not be torn down and will be used for a much more meaningful purpose. 
“If it wasn’t for Home Depot, this place would probably be 17 parking spots,” said Van Dunk during Tuesday’s groundbreaking ceremony. “It’s amazing how people come together to get this house up and running. It’s fantastic.”
read more here 

Man Charged After Hit and Run Left Veteran in Road

Police make arrest in hit-and-run that left local veteran injured

August 15, 2017
WACO, Texas (KWTX) Bellmead police made an arrest Tuesday in a hit-and-run crash in June on an I-35 access road that left a local veteran seriously injured.

Cody William Jones, 25, was charged with failure to stop and render aid.
Boone Barott, 45, of Riesel, the vice president of the American Legion 121 Elm Mott riders group, was riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle shortly after 10 p.m. on June 25 on the Interstate 35 access road next to the Texas Department of Transportation offices when an SUV whose driver was headed the wrong way hit the bike.
read more here

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Community Comes Together to Save Home of Korean War Veteran

Lincoln Countians scramble to save Korean War POW’s home

Lincoln County Journal
By Megan Myers
Staff Writer
August 14, 2017

Luckily, Johnson’s plight has been attracting the attention of many in Lincoln County and abroad. Troy resident Kathi Boley is among those trying to help Johnson, whom she began referring to as “our veteran.” 
Flanked by Troy residents Kathi and Doug Boley, Korea veteran Richard Johnson shakes the hand of Albert St. Clair after the group dined together at Harry J’s Steakhouse Aug. 8. The Boleys and St. Clair have been raising money to keep Johnson’s home from being foreclosed on. Megan Myers photo.

Richard Johnson has never been the type to seek attention.

After all, that’s why the 88-year-old Korean War veteran moved to his longtime home in Winfield in the first place. After experiencing a rocky road back to civilian life, the avid nature-lover longed for the peace and quiet of the country.
And for the last 32 years, that’s just what he’s found.

But now Johnson is finding that peace interrupted. About one year ago, his lending company mysteriously increased the mortgage payments on his home from $506 a month to $860. Johnson, who lives on a fixed income, could not afford to make the larger payments. Then in June, he received a letter stating that if he did not come current on the payments, he would lose his home on Aug. 31.

But in the meantime, Boley said that coupled with attorney fees, late fees and interest, the total amount that Johnson will have to pay to stay in his house is around $8,000. So Boley started a GoFundMe account for the cause. In about one week, the account raised more than $2,500, with donations coming from individuals all across the area.Boley also began organizing a team of volunteers to help make necessary repairs and to furnish Johnson’s home with appliances.Many on the team were veterans themselves, including Sheriff John Cottle and Albert St. Clair Sr., an army veteran who runs a charity called St. Clair Hearts Foundation for homeless veterans in the Greater St. Louis area. Guy Kimler, a fellow Patriot Guard rider with Boley’s husband, Doug, donated $250.
read more here 

This Police Officer Can Do Job With One Arm

ONE ARM, NO PROBLEM: Army veteran amputee fulfills dream of becoming police officer

Idaho State Journal
By Shelbie Harris 
August 15, 2017

“No matter where you go or what you do there is going to be pros and cons to it. But it all depends on how you picture it. If you look for the bad stuff that’s all you’re going to get. If you look for the positive and the good out of it, no matter what situation you are in you’ll see it.” Carlos Lugo

Pocatello Police Department patrolman Carlos Lugo is an Army veteran who lost half of his left arm in a roadside bomb blast in Afghanistan. But he didn’t let that stop him from becoming a police officer.

POCATELLO — As a 9-year-old living in Stockton, California, Carlos Lugo grew up in a very low-income family.
His mother, a single parent surviving on government checks to feed the mouths of himself and three younger siblings, bounced around from house to house whenever the rent was too high or the bills began to stack up. That was difficult for Lugo, but watching his mom endure constant episodes of domestic violence inflicted by the men in her life was nearly unbearable.
At the brutal height of one such attack, Lugo got a signal from his mom to run to a neighbor’s house and phone the police for help — something he said she rarely asked him to do.
That’s where Pocatello police Capt. Roger Schei first encountered Lugo.
Schei said Lugo never struggled to keep up.
“Everything that we taught he was able to do,” Schei said. “No matter what he was able to find a way. He never asked for special treatment or considerations, and he just figured out a way to get it done.”
Pocatello Police Chief Scott Marchand has similar praise for Lugo, who has now been on the police force a little less than six months.
read more here 

Inspirational Vietnam Veteran Plans On Surviving Again After Being Set on Fire At Denny's

Vietnam Veteran Is Determined To Survive After Being Set On Fire

Christe Lattimore-Staple 
August 14, 2017

Nearly four months after he was doused with gasoline and lit on fire at a Happy Valley, Oregon Denny’s, walking remains a goal for Scott Ranstrom.

“I’m trying to take steps,” he said.

The 69-year-old Vietnam veteran didn’t know his attacker.

He doesn’t like to think about him.

“Every morning I get up with expectations of tomorrow, not what happened,” said Ranstrom, his hands covered by protective gloves.

Sitting in a private room in Vibra Specialty Hospital, a recovery center for those who need long-term, in-patient care, Ranstrom is unwavering.

He remembers everything.
read more here

Monday, August 14, 2017

Camp Pendleton National Navajo Code Talkers Day

On National Navajo Code Talkers Day, a look back at what started at Camp Pendleton
San Diego Union Tribune
Jeanette Steele
August 14, 2017
Navajo Code Talkers took part in every U.S. Marine Corps assault in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945. They transmitted messages by telephone and radio in their native language — a code the Japanese never broke. 

The idea came from Los Angeles resident Philip Johnston, a World War I veteran raised on a Navajo reservation as a missionary’s son. He took his concept to the Marines at Camp Elliot in San Diego, now Miramar Marine Corps Air Station. 

In May 1942, the first 29 Navajo recruits attended boot camp. Afterward, at Camp Pendleton, this group created the Navajo code for military terms. 
read more here

Hole in Spokane VA Hospital Roof--Leaked for 5 Years!

Investigation discovers staff ignored hole in roof for years at VA hospital in Spokane

Thomas Clouse
August 11, 2017

"The hole is scheduled to be fixed sometime by the end of the year."

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ frustrated attempts to secure changes for veterans’ care in Spokane just fell through the roof.
Based on complaints funneled through a group of veterans who have protested for a year about the lack of cooperation from the staff at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, McMorris Rodgers asked for staff from the House Veterans Affairs Committee to come to Spokane in June and investigate conditions at the hospital. Among the problems they discovered: a hole in the roof.
The hole apparently has been leaking water for about five years. McMorris Rodgers said VA staff has known about the problem, evidenced by the fact that someone had built a rectangular funnel to catch water dripping through the roof. The funnel channels water through a hose into a metal bucket.
But the make-shift-leak-management system is located only feet from hospital’s large electrical panel that fuels power to the entire facility, she said.
“Just how unbelievable it was to learn we had a leaking roof,” McMorris Rodgers said. “And it’s been going on for years and hasn’t been addressed.”

Just no other way to put it!