Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Ex-homeless Vietnam veteran Marine giving back

Formerly Homeless Veteran Gets Help, Now Gives Back


NBC Bay Area
By Garvin Thomas
Published Feb 19, 2019
One day, a Concord police officer checking on Bartell noticed the United States Marine Corp tattoo on Bartell's right arm. "He said, 'You're a veteran? You shouldn't be homeless,'" Bartell said. "I told him, 'Yeah, I've heard that before.'"


To witness 70-year-old Mike Bartell smiling, laughing, and caring for others while volunteering for the San Francisco Marin Food Bank, is to see a man who looks like he's had a lifetime of experience spreading joy.

Bartell, however, is quick to point out that if you were to ask anyone who knew him at an earlier age, they would tell a different tale.

"They wouldn't believe it," Bartell said. "That grumpy old person ... what happened to him?"

What happened is that Bartell discovered, very late in life, that it's never too late to turn one's life around.

"No, never," Bartell said. "I'm glad I didn't give up on myself and I'm glad other people didn't give up on me."

Both of those, it should be noted, were real possibilities for Bartell.

Bartell is someone who had suffered more than his fair share of indignities and trauma during his life. Bartell's father abandoned his family and his mother committed suicide when he was just six. After a childhood in and out of juvenile facilities and foster homes, Bartell joined the Marines and saw combat in Vietnam. Returning home, Bartell married a couple of times and had children but said he never conquered his ever-constant anger.
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“Guardian of the Golden Gate Bridge” saved over 200 from suicide

Guardian’ Officer Has Saved Over 200 People From Jumping Off the Golden Gate Bridge


Good News Network
By McKinley Corbley
Feb 18, 2019
“We talked for 92 minutes about everything that I was dealing with. My daughter, her first birthday was the next month. And you made me see that if nothing else, I need to live for her.”

It’s a police officer’s job to protect and serve – but Kevin Briggs never thought that his job would lead him to save over 200 people from committing suicide.

Briggs has been dubbed the “Guardian of the Golden Gate Bridge” because of his awe-inspiring history of talking people down from the edge of the historic landmark.

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the world’s most notorious spots for suicide attempts. Briggs, who is a California Highway Patrol officer, was first stationed on the bridge in 1994 – but he says that he had never been trained on how to handle suicidal people.

As he encountered more and more distraught individuals, however, he began to pick up more and more strategies on how he could talk to them efficiently. Whenever he successfully managed to coax someone off of the ledge, he would ask them about which parts of his approach were helpful and which ones weren’t.
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Only about 40 percent of firefighter suicides are reported

Law enforcement peer group meets in Dothan hoping to help others


WTVY News
By Ken Curtis
Feb 19, 2019

A few years ago, Houston County Sheriff Donald Valenza's fellow officer took his life. Valenza often wonders if he could have done something to prevent the tragedy.

Law enforcement officers, others attend seminar in Dothan to help them cope with job stress. Photo from February 19, 2019. That prompted him to to organize seminars that help law enforcement officers cope with job related stress.

Alabama Fire Marshal's Office Investigator Jason Clifton attended his fourth seminar in Dothan Tuesday.

“It's a life changer to know you're not alone and you don't have to keep it bottled up inside because, if you keep things bottled up inside, you'll create a bomb that will explode,” Clifton said.

In 2017, more officers nationwide died from suicide than in the line of duty,” according to the website officer.com. Statistics show 140 police officers and 103 firefighters committed suicide.

Making the figures more disturbing, the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliances estimates only about 40 percent of firefighter suicides are reported.
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WWII sailor kissing nurse statue vandalized with #MeToo

'#MeToo' spray-painted on iconic statue of WWII sailor kissing nurse


CNN
By Amanda Jackson
February 20, 2019

(CNN)Police in Florida are looking for the vandal who painted "#MeToo" on the leg of the nurse in the "Unconditional Surrender" statue.
Florida police released images of the graffiti on Tuesday.
The statue is modeled after an iconic photo taken in Times Square in 1945, showing a woman dressed in a white uniform being embraced and kissed by a sailor to celebrate the end of World War II.

The woman, identified as Greta Friedman, was 21 at the time, and she didn't know the sailor, who has been identified as George Mendonsa. He passed away on Sunday at the age of 95.
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Prazosin study may be making suicide thoughts stronger

Study shows drug commonly prescribed to veterans could be making suicidal thoughts worse


WSET ABC 13 News
by Kathleen Jacob
February 19th 2019
One of those medications is Prazosin, a blood pressure medication that a VA doctor prescribed him to help with nightmares. “I didn’t wanna go to sleep. There are times I didn’t wanna lie down. I just didn’t want to go to sleep,” Sgt. Chapman said. Over time, he realized his nightmares weren't getting any better. In fact, he said they got worse.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — A drug treating PTSD in our veterans could be killing them. Prazosin is a blood pressure medication commonly prescribed to treat PTSD nightmares, according to a WZTV news investigation. Only two drugs are approved by the FDA to treat PTSD, and Prazosin is not one of them.

Retired Sgt. Allen Chapman said he takes 10 pills a day to treat depression, PTSD, and all the other side effects that come with working in a war zone overseas.

“I’ve got so many medications, it takes a while to take them all in the morning,” Sgt. Chapman said.

He served in the 230th Signal Company of the National Guard. He spent time in Afghanistan from 2011-2012.

“When you get back, you’re used to all that high-speed stuff and then people here, people are just slow,” Sgt. Chapman said.

It's one of the reasons readjusting is so hard, and why Sgt. Chapman went to the VA for help.
Sgt. John Toombs took a video of himself on an early November morning in 2016.

“I went to the VA for help and they opened up a Pandora's box inside me and just kicked me out the door,” Toombs said in the video.
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Medevac crew refused to give up on saving Army Ranger

Medevac crew receives valor awards following harrowing rescue mission


STARS AND STRIPES
By CHAD GARLAND
Published: January 11, 2019

Under fire and carrying a badly wounded patient, the Black Hawk helicopter was just lifting off an Afghan battlefield when the crew chief saw an Army Ranger in the landing zone get shot and drop to the ground.

The Black Hawk darted back to evacuate the fallen Ranger.
From left: Sgt. Armando Yanez; Spc. Emmanuel Bynum; Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Six; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan Cole; and Capt. Benjamin Krzeczowski 101ST CAB, WINGS OF DESTINY/FACEBOOK
Spc. Emmanuel Bynum, thinking quickly, directed the pilot to make an emergency landing on a dusty patch masked from most enemy fire. They still took fire — in all, about two dozen rounds to the helicopter, which would become nearly unflyable.

After the wounded Ranger was loaded, the Black Hawk lifted off. But there was more danger to come as they flew from Paktia province toward a base in Logar province dozens of miles to the north.

For their courage during the July operation, Bynum and four other aircrew members received the Distinguished Flying Cross with valor during a Jan. 5 ceremony officiated by Gen. Scott Miller, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

Each of the five “completely disregarded his own safety” and refused to leave Army Ranger Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Andrew Celiz and an unnamed casualty on the battlefield, award citations said.
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MOH Marine Maj. Henry Courtney Jr. belongs in hometown

Nonprofit in dispute over Marine’s Medal of Honor agrees in principle to hometown display


STARS AND STRIPES
By MATTHEW M. BURKE
Published: February 20, 2019
The foundation’s board includes Medal of Honor recipient Army Col. Walter Marm Jr., who received the award for actions taken during the Vietnam War, and Doug Sheehan, the nephew of Doug Munro, the Coast Guard’s only medal recipient.
Marine Maj. Henry Courtney Jr. received the Medal of Honor posthumously for leading a daring assault on Okinawa's Sugar Loaf Hill on May 14-15, 1945. COURTESY OF COURT STORY
A Pennsylvania nonprofit dedicated to educating Americans about citizenship and community service has agreed — in principle — to send a Marine hero’s Medal of Honor back to his hometown for display following a protracted fight.

The family of Marine Maj. Henry Courtney Jr. has been seeking the return of his medal from the Valley Forge-based Freedoms Foundation since around 2015, family members previously told Stars and Stripes.

They accused the foundation of breaching the agreement over how the medal would be used and requested it be sent instead to the St. Louis County Historical Society’s Veterans Memorial Hall in Duluth, Minn., which has a substantial Courtney display.

At first, the Freedoms Foundation, which was founded in 1949 by a group that included future President Dwight Eisenhower, refused. Courtney’s family members then took their fight public.
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Air National Guardsman pretended to be CIA agent to fool woman

New York Air National Guardsman accused of impersonating CIA agent to impress woman


Syracuse Media Group
By CHRIS LIBONATI
Published: February 19, 2019

CICERO, N.Y. (Tribune News Service) — A New York man who police have accused of impersonating a CIA agent to impress a woman works for the New York Air National Guard as a drone camera operator, according to a New York Air National Guard spokesman and an Air Force website.
Staff Sgt. Ryan Houghtalen, who is currently a sensor operator on the MQ-9 Reaper with the 174th Attack Wing, was charged by New York state police with misdemeanor criminal impersonation for pretending to be a CIA agent. He was arrested Monday, Feb. 18, 2019 and spent a day in jail before being released. VIA LINKEDIN

Staff Sgt. Ryan R. Houghtalen, 25, was charged with second-degree impersonation of a public servant, a misdemeanor, according to court records.

After showing the woman a fake CIA ID, Houghtalen told the woman how he was currently targeted by terrorists.

“He was telling her his job as a CIA agent is very dangerous,” said New York State Police spokesman Jack Keller. “He was hoping to use that information to start a relationship with her.”

Houghtalen told the woman he met at church that, because he was a CIA agent, both he and her were targets of ISIS, according to court documents.
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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Find help to heal PTSD before you spread suicide

Fate of two soldiers sheds light on veteran suicide, points out where to get help


Delaware Online
Jerry Smith
February 19, 2019
Pfc. Jacob Jonza (left), and Sgt. Daniel Grime of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, provide security for their platoon during a patrol through a business district in Baghdad's Sha'ab neighborhood in 2008. (Photo11: Staff Sgt. Michael Pryor/Defense Visual Information Distribution Service)

Free: This abridged version of the story about veteran suicides is presented free as a public service to allow access to information to get help. To read the full story, please subscribe online.

Francis Graves III and Jacob Jonza each carried emotional scars after returning home from military deployments to the Middle East.

Ultimately, each tried to take his life. One lived, while the other died.

About 24 First State veterans kill themselves each year, part of 6,000 veterans who commit suicide nationwide, according to a 2016 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs survey.

Because the number has risen in the last decade, both the Trump administration and Wilmington Veterans Administration Medical Center have made veteran suicide a priority.

Graves, from Townsend, lost his battle years after returning from a stint in Saudi Arabia when he killed himself in 2015.

Jonza tried to kill himself in 2008, but was saved.
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As you'll see in the video, the pain never stops for those you leave behind. Stop spreading suicide and start inspiring healing!

Go to the link and look at what help is out there for you in Delaware. If you live in another area of the country, you can find help to heal there too~


#CombatPTSD and #Take BackYourLife

Veteran in crisis began to heal on Arizona Trail

The Arizona Trail chrysalis for life


Payson Roundup
Micheal Nelson
February 19, 2019
Mike Buckley makes his way from the Roosevelt Marina where he met a very friendly and helpful bar owner.

Mike Buckley stared at the gun on his desk.

“It was the night I started to crack,” he said in front of more than 200 members of the Arizona Trail Association at its annual meeting recently.

The 30-year Army veteran commanded a bomb squad in Afghanistan, but after months of sending his boys home in pieces, he’d reached his breaking point.

Sitting with the gun and his despair, he had no way to know the Arizona Trail would save him.

Little did he know a bartender on a golf cart, an Australian woman with body odor and a Pine winemaker with a bathrobe encountered along the trail would restore his faith in humanity — and heal the wound in his soul.

He ultimately found himself again in a charred burn scar, near the end of the 800-mile-long trail.

“At Telephone Hill, passage 41 runs through a burn scar,” said Buckley. “It incinerated ponderosa pines. Even to go out through the devastation is profound because you see life. I became overwhelmed. It was like a chrysalis of new life and I realized it was who I was.”
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After VA GI Bill scam, jail next mission for ex-VA employee


11 years in jail for ex-Veterans Affairs official in disabled vet fraud scheme


WTOP News
Valerie Bonk
February 18, 2019

WASHINGTON — A former U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs official has been sentenced 11 years in prison for a $2 million bribery scheme involving a program for disabled military veterans.

James King, 63, of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to one count of honest services and money wire fraud, one count of bribery of a public official and one count of falsifying records to obstruct an investigation, authorities said in a news release.

King was sentenced Friday to serve 132 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and to pay $155,000 in restitution to Veterans Affairs.

Three school owners and employees, who admitted to bribing King, were sentenced last week.

Albert Poawui, the owner of Atius Technology Institute, was sentenced to serve 70 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.5 million in restitution.

Sombo Kanneh, Poawui’s employee, was sentenced to serve 20 months in prison and ordered to pay $113,000 in restitution.

Michelle Stevens, the owner of Eelon Training Academy, was sentenced to serve 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $83,000 in restitution.

“James King and his associates exploited an important VA program that provides valuable services to our disabled military veterans,” said Justice Department Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski in a release. “This prosecution once again demonstrates the Justice Department’s commitment to hold accountable those who seek to defraud government programs for their own personal enrichment.”
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Blue Water Veterans Closer to Justice

'Blue water' Vietnam veterans may finally be able to seek help with Agent Orange side effects


WCPO 9 News
Craig McKee
February 19, 2019


A Jan. 29 federal appeals court ruling could expand the pool of Vietnam veterans able to claim disability benefits connected to Agent Orange, a chemical weapon known to cause serious health problems in those exposed.


“It’s about time,” veteran John Ranson said Monday.
That category — those exposed — for years did not technically include Navy veterans like him.

Agent Orange was a defoliant herbicide American soldiers deployed to thin out the Vietnamese jungle, depriving guerilla insurgents of both cover and food. When its deadly long-term health impacts became clear, Congress passed the Agent Orange Act of 1991 to provide some financial relief for all those who served.

However, the Department of Veterans Affairs repeatedly denied the claims of so-called “Blue Water Veterans,” claiming only soldiers present on the Vietnamese mainland could reasonably claim to have interacted with the substance.

That’s not what Rex Settlemore, who served from 1967 to 1998 and spent two tours in Vietnam, thinks. He watched from the U.S.S. Durham and U.S.S. Richard S. Edwards as airplanes releases chemical weapons overhead, and he remembers how close to the shore both ships sailed.

Agent Orange particles must have made it into the ocean water he and the rest of the crew used, he said, if not the air they breathed. He believes some of the early deaths among his comrades from that time are connected to that exposure.

“Ships who ingested the sea water, even if the sea water was distilled for fresh water on board, would still contain the Agent Orange contaminants,” he said.
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Will the US do the right thing finally after Australia did it for their Vietnam veterans?

Monday, February 18, 2019

Famous Kissing WWII Sailor passed away

George Mendonsa, Navy veteran identified as 'kissing sailor' in WWII photo, dies at 95


NBC News
By Erik Ortiz
February 18, 2019
"He was very proud of his service and the picture and what it stood for," Mendonsa's daughter said Monday.

George Mendonsa, a World War II veteran whose claim of being a sailor kissing a nurse in an iconic image was verified using facial recognition technology, died early Sunday, his daughter said. He was 95.

Mendonsa was living in an assisted living facility in Middletown, Rhode Island, and had been suffering from severe congestive heart failure, daughter Sharon Molleur told NBC News. He would have turned 96 on Tuesday, she added.

Mendonsa, a retired fisherman, had maintained for years that he was the sailor locking lips in a picture taken on Aug. 14, 1945, by Alfred Eisenstaedt and published in Life magazine as a scene from "V-J Day in Times Square." On that day, Americans crowded the streets to celebrate the Japanese surrender to the Allies and the end of the war.
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19 year old female soldier killed while deployed to border

Active Duty Soldier Killed By Suspected Drunk Driver


KURV 710 News Talk
By JSALINAS
February 17, 2019

A Valley man has been charged in the suspected drunk driving death of a U.S. Army soldier. 25-year-old Edward Leo Magallan was brought before a judge Saturday, charged with intoxication manslaughter, and ordered jailed on a $150,000 bond.

Magallan is accused of plowing into a Ford Mustang and running over 19-year-old Cassandra Julianne Perez. Perez was standing next to her car which had stalled on the southbound frontage road of I-69C at around 1 a.m. Friday. 

Perez was part of a squad of active duty soldiers assigned to the border.
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Help Herbie, WW2 Veteran, Dying Wish Come True

Fundraiser Underway to Help 96-Year-Old WWII Veteran Live Final Days at Home Care Facility


Faithwire
February 18, 2019
Friends of Gordon’s set up a GoFundMe campaign called “Herbie WW2 Veterans Dying Wish” to help cover the costs. It had raised more than $11,000 of the $35,712 goal as of the weekend.

A community is trying to give back to a hero who served this country by ensuring he gets to live his final days comfortably in the home care facility where he spent the last years with his late wife.
World War II U.S. Army veteran Herb Gordon, 96, has had multiple brushes with death, the latest being in 2017, when he broke his neck while volunteering at a medical center, he told WPBF-TV.
“They were so certain I was going to die on the operating table, but I had my family here and God listened,” Gordon said of his caretakers at the Atria Senior Living Facility in Lantana, Florida. “And here I am.”
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Florida Military Bases losing end of the deal for "national emergency"

Florida military bases could lose up to $177 million to Trump’s border wall


Tampa Bay Times
Steve Contorno and Howard Altman
February 18, 2019

President Donald Trump will pay for his much coveted wall at the southern border in part by taking $3.6 billion from military projects across the country and the world.
LUIS SANTANA | Times A-10 Warthog jets from the 122nd Fighter Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard taxis out of Macdill Air Force Base in Tampa. Increased jet noise and activity surrounding the base are from several jets that are being hosted at Macdill Air Force Base on Dec. 6, 2018. President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency and plans to divert $3.6 billion from military construction to the southern border for a barrier. A $3 million project at MacDill is one of many that could be cut.


The decision means Florida bases could lose up to $177 million for planned construction, more than all but eight other states, according to a list of eligible projects compiled by the House Appropriations Committee and provided to the Tampa Bay Times.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the influential Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies subcommittee, said the move is an indication that Trump feels the wall “is a higher priority than these projects.”

Among the projects in jeopardy are $3.1 million to relocate KC-135 Stratotanker pilot flight simulators to MacDill Air Force Base. The KC-135 are refueling planes “critical to the joint warfighter and our allies,” Gen. Carlton D. Everhart said in a June 2018 press release, and the simulators would allow pilots to experience realistic training of these aircrafts and practice emergency protocol.

Other projects that could lose funding include: $83 million for Littoral Combat Ship support facility and $29 million for Littoral Combat Ship operational training facility at Mayport Naval Base in Jacksonville, and $35 million for a F-35A training center and $28 million for a F-35A student dormitory at Eglin Air Force Base in Okaloosa County.
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Firefighter almost died...until God showed off

Firefighter regains consciousness after near death from septic infection


Times Union
Mike Goodwin
February 18, 2019
"Y'all keep asking about the hand: the surgeon is coming to look first thing tomorrow morning. It doesn't look pretty though. I'd be amazed if he didn't lose fingers. But God has been showing off all week so....." Josh Woodward
ALBANY - The Albany International Airport firefighter who nearly died from an out-of-control septic infection, regained consciousness and is aware of his surroundings, his wife wrote on Facebook.

"He's awake, aware, extubated, conscious, forming his own unique thoughts, maybe a little confused, in pain, very weak, vulnerable," Chelsea Woodward wrote Sunday of her husband Josh's slow recovery. ".... it goes on."

"He doesn't remember much," she continued, writing that he was having some post-traumatic stress disorder from the tracheal tube. "He is really down and frightened about the road ahead of him."

Still, Chelsea Woodward calls her husband's survival a miracle.
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Four Chaplains Brotherhood Award for Gold Star Mom

Duty Calls: Minister earns Four Chaplains Brotherhood Award


Times Union
Terry Brown
February 17, 2019
She is also a Gold Star mother of Army Staff Sgt. Thomas Robbins, who died in action in Iraq on Feb. 9, 2004, attempting to save the lives of his soldiers during a mortar explosion while serving with Troop A, 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment (Stryker) near Mosul, Iraq.
The Rev. Charlene Robbins of Delmar, a Gold Star mother active in veterans circles, has been selected to receive the 54th annual Four Chaplains Brotherhood Award from the Albany Post 105 of Jewish War Veterans.

Robbins will receive the award during a Four Chaplains Award and Remembrance ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the First Reformed Church, 8 N. Church St., Schenectady.

The Rev. Charlene Robbins of Delmar, a Gold Star mother active in veterans circles, has been selected to receive the 54th annual Four Chaplains Brotherhood Award from the Albany Post 105 of Jewish War Veterans.

Robbins will receive the award during a Four Chaplains Award and Remembrance ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the First Reformed Church, 8 N. Church St., Schenectady.

The honor commemorates the sacrifice four military chaplains made after a German submarine torpedoed the USS Dorchester, a troop ship, on Feb. 3, 1943, off the coast of Greenland.

One of the four was Army Chaplain 1st Lt. Clark Poling, who ministered at the First Reformed Church just before he enlisted.

The other chaplains were 1st Lt. Alexander Goode, a Jewish rabbi; 1st Lt. George Fox, a Methodist minister; and 1st Lt. John Washington, a Catholic priest.
"Charlene inspires us in her devotion to others, and in particular her focus on serving veteran organizations," said Fred Altman, Post 105 commander. "As a Gold Star mother, Charlene stands among our veterans as a cherished and honored family member. Her sympathy and enthusiasm to give back to the many veteran groups and causes is a shining example of the commitment to others that the Four Chaplains gave their lives for."
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Woodworker working to join Vets with pets

Man's love of woodworking aids vets group, animal shelter


WFTV 9 ABC News
Nahan Cobb
Northwest Florida Daily News
February 18, 2019

SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - An any given day, you might find Dennis Wise crafting wood in his garage. Wise then sells his creations - from bat houses to refrigerator magnets - through his nonprofit, Pets and the Vets, with proceeds split between Paws for Purple Hearts and a DeFuniak Springs animal shelter.

"I take care of who I can, when we can," he said, and added 100 percent of profits are donated. "The more sales we get, the more people we can help."

Wise sees bringing together veterans with shelter animals as a win-win proposition. He said there is strong evidence that shows owning a pet reduces post-traumatic stress disorder.

The shelter animals benefit too.

"If the dog (or cat) goes home with the vet, he's now in a home (and) everybody loves him," he said.

His wooden creations include bat houses, bee traps, bookends, superhero and military plaques, and flip-flop magnets.

Prices for Wise's wooden artwork range from $1.75 to $12. He also accepts requests and will personalize items.

Wise is retired from the Illinois Wing Civil Air Patrol and also worked as a public information officer for the Walton County Sheriff's Office.

He said his patriotism runs deep, along with his love for animals.
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Marine thanks God he was caught

McCrabb: Why a Marine says being arrested was ‘one of the biggest blessings’ in guiding him to Middletown success


Dayton Daily News
Rick McCrabb
February 17, 2019
He called being arrested “one of the biggest blessings of my life. I’m glad God cut me down that day. God was fed up and he gave me over to the authorities.”
MIDDLETOWN — When Jake Ferguson heard a strange voice yell, “Mr. Ferguson,” he knew he was busted.

“There was a wave of fear,” he said. “I thought, ‘This is how it’s all going to end.’”Ferguson, a Marine recruiter in Bowling Green in 2012, had forged a prescription for painkillers at a Meijer pharmacy, and 15 minutes later, local police charged him with deception to obtain a dangerous drug, a felony.

If convicted, the Middletown native faced a court-martial from the Marines with a possible penalty of up to 18 months in prison, the loss of his military rank and pension and probably his marriage to Nicki.

“I need treatment,” he told the judge. “I need help.”

The judge listened. The charge was suspended, and Ferguson was placed on one-year probation and told to seek therapy through Veterans Affairs.“Very blessed,” he said of his reaction to the judge’s leniency.Since then, Ferguson has received 2½ years of intense therapy — one year in Bowling Green and 18 months with the Wounded Warriors East Battalion in Jacksonville, N.C. — medically retired from the Marines in 2015, “surrendered his life” to Christ, worked as a counselor for more than three years with his wife at a church in North Carolina and recently was named Life Care Pastor at Berachah Church in Middletown.
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If you want to know how to prevent military suicides....send this Marine to talk to them and you'll see change happen!

Treating this has to happen by mind-body and spirit. Leave out the spirit and you have healing that is incomplete. Add in the spirit and you can watch them soar!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

After veteran committed suicide, Prince Harry and Meghan made promise to Mom

Prince Harry and Meghan promise tragic special forces veteran's mother that they will help servicemen and women win the battle against PTSD


Daily Mail UK
By ISABELLA NIKOLIC FOR MAILONLINE
February 17, 2019

Viv Johnston's, 62, special forces son, Danny, 35, killed himself last year
Danny had been struggling with PTSD ever since he was discharged
Harry, 34, had previously written to Viv after Danny was found hanged in May
An estimated 42 servicemen and women committed suicide last year
Viv Johnston, 62, was invited to speak to Prince Harry and Meghan before the Endeavour Awards last week after Harry wrote to her when her son, Danny, killed himself last year
Roughly 42 ex-servicemen and women suffering with PTSD committed suicide last year but the true scale of the crisis isn't known because the Ministry of Defence doesn't keep a record.

Prince Harry and Meghan have made a vow to a grieving mother to help servicemen and women who are struggling with PTSD.

Viv Johnston, 62, saw the destructive effects PTSD can have first hand when her son, Danny Johnston, 35, killed himself last year.

The royal couple invited Viv, from Bognor Regis, West Sussex, to meet them before the military Endeavour Awards in London last week.
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Community comes together to help amputee move on to healing

Veterans community comes together to help double amputee move to Arkansas


AZ Central
Nathan J. Fish, Arizona Republic
Feb. 16, 2019

With a wide smile on his face, Matt Zajac, a double-amputee Army veteran, wheeled himself outside, stopping to light up a cigarette. Boxes lined his driveway.

"Keep the beer, throw out everything else," Zajac told one of a volunteers with a laugh.

Almost a dozen volunteers from multiple veterans organizations joined forces Saturday to help Zajac move out of his home in San Tan Valley.

Volunteers wearing black Changed By Nature Outdoors shirts bustled around, carrying boxes and furniture in and out of Zajac's home. The volunteers loaded up the moving truck parked in front of the home near Bella Vista Road and Hunt Highway.

Zajac is moving to participate in an Arkansas-based wounded-veteran program with We Are The 22, a nonprofit organization committed to preventing veteran suicide. The Purple Heart awardee said he reached out to the organization for help with his post-traumatic stress disorder.
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Stunning UPS Driver kept calm after carjacking and police chase

San Jose police shooting: Abducted UPS driver hailed for thwarting carjackers during chase


The Mercury News
By ROBERT SALONGA
PUBLISHED: February 15, 2019
Matthew O’Connor, a spokesman for UPS, declined to identify the driver or comment on his actions, but said the company was providing support for him and for other employees who work with him. “We’re giving our driver some privacy after yesterday’s incident, and we’re offering grief counseling to the driver and our other employees in the area,” he said.
SAN JOSE — A UPS driver abducted during a carjacking on Thursday is being lauded for having nerves of steel.

The armed carjackers seized his delivery truck and forced him to drive it, with law enforcement officers in pursuit. But he drove slowly so that the police could keep up and then, in an attempt to derail his captors’ escape, purposely hit the metal spikes officers had placed on the road.

“When you are accosted, taken at gunpoint, and made to drive, like something that comes out in the movies, you can’t train for the calmness that man had,” San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia said.
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Navy Veteran arrested after threats at VA Outpatient Center

Bethlehem man charged after threats, standoff


The Morning Call
Andrew Scott
February 14, 2019

A 30-year-old man is awaiting a court hearing on charges of threatening to shoot police during a standoff at his Bethlehem apartment, prompting the evacuation of his apartment building, three days after reportedly threatening to “shoot up” the Veterans Affairs Outpatient Center in South Whitehall.
Jonathan Simmons, 30, of Bethlehem, is awaiting a court hearing on charges of threatening to shoot police during a Feb. 5 standoff, prompting the evacuation of his apartment building. (FILE PHOTO / THE MORNING CALL)

U.S. Navy veteran Jonathan Simmons was arraigned this week on charges of terroristic threats in connection with the Feb. 5 incident at his Allwood Drive apartment building.
On Feb. 2, Simmons caused a disturbance at the Veterans Affairs Outpatient Center on Hamilton Street, South Whitehall, during which he used his fingers to mime firing a gun and threatened to “shoot up” the building.

On Feb. 4, Lehigh County Crisis staff went to Simmons’ Allwood Drive apartment and tried serving him with a warrant to involuntarily commit him to a mental health facility. Simmons refused to go with the crisis staff, which led to a standoff ending with them staff leaving his apartment without him.
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What is your dash telling you?

It is the middle that matters


PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
February 17, 2019

When you look at your dash, there are a lot of things it can tell you. In the center, you see how far you've traveled and how fast you are going at this very moment.



THE DASH by Linda Ellis is one of those poems that is usually delivered when it is too late for the person being remembered to benefit from. It is not so much for the person being buried, but for those gathered to be able to think about their own lives.

This is part of that poem.

"He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years."
While we have no control over when we arrive into this world, we do have control over what we do between the dates used to acknowledge we were here at all.

"FOR THAT DASH REPRESENTS ALL THE TIME THEY SPENT ALIVE ON EARTH AND NOW ONLY THOSE WHO LOVED THEM KNOW WHAT THAT LITTLE LINE IS WORTH."

Question; What is your line worth? Can you see it all or is it mostly a blur with symbols you cannot really understand?
read more here

Slogan "accepted and understood" by clueless reporter

Reporter carelessly pushed ear worm of 22

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 17, 2019


Janice Kiaski Community editor of Weirton Daily Times wrote a headline of "SAVE22 helping family members impacted by veteran suicide" and turned in what could have been a great story of searching for healing, into a selling job of the ear worm that has penetrated the brains of Americans.
"And accepted and understood, too, not to mention inspired to return and help in its mission to raise awareness about the statistic that, every day, 22 veterans commit suicide."
It is not "accepted" and is not "understood" by anyone paying attention to all of this because facts actually matter to them!

How the hell is it raising awareness when they couldn't even get the number right? That notorious number came from the VA report that stated clearly it was limited data from just 21 states. Apparently not worth reading for any of the folks popping their heads out of the sand, discovering the heartache the rest of us had been living with for decades and then deciding they should "do something" about it without taking any of is seriously enough to research any of it! Damn it! How could they have taken such a callous attitude? 
"While SAVE22 is designed to raise awareness about and help in the prevention of suicide among veterans and active-duty military personnel, it also is an aid for family and friends who’ve been impacted."
Suicides in active duty military personnel have gone up over the last decade in every branch, including Special Forces. The Air Force reported they lost 11 Airmen and civilians to suicide last month! Veteran suicides, the known ones, have also gone up, even as the reported numbers remain the same. Why? Because as the VA reported, the number of veterans committing suicide back in 1999 was 20 a day. Although there were over 5 million more veterans living back then, that would mean that the percentages actually went up!

 Yet with all that, this unacceptable truth escaped the reporting. Apparently, the result of the "efforts" to raise awareness did not matter either.
"1st Sgt. Brent Charles Myers of Anchorage, Alaska, was 45 when he died Jan. 20, 2018. The former area resident served in the Army for 20 years as an Airborne Ranger, retiring in August 2011. He left behind his wife, two sons and his parents and was part of a big family that included 16 cousins, Corder among them."
This group has been doing it for 4 years! What good did all the "efforts" do Myers last year? What good did any of this do for the family? Or for any of the families before it was too late? 

The fault does not belong to the families.  It belongs to the reporters not paying any attention to the story they want to push down our throats as if it is actually supposed to mean anything!