What It Means to Be A Veteran by Juan Mendez, USMC

on Monday, 02 September 2019.

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Juan Mendez, United States Marine Corp, E-6 Staff Sergeant, LCVFSF Veteran Peer.

Juan did community outreach work in Milwaukee that included the Marines’ “Toys for Tots” and worked with Marine Reservists on employment and other issues. Juan was deployed three times to Iraq, as well as other assignments in the Philippines and ports in Singapore, Japan and Thailand. Juan will complete a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at North Park College in December.

Earlier this year, Paul Baffico, my boss and LCVFSF founder, suggested that I write an answer to the question: “What does it means to be a Veteran?”. I told him that I wasn’t ready; in other words, allow me my space because I don’t want to pick the scab on those wounds right now. Well, that’s what I wanted him to believe. In fact, I had no idea how to answer that question, and that terrified me.

Free Bikes for Jobs and Job Interviews

on Monday, 11 March 2019.

Lake County veterans have learned about the chance to receive free bicycles from Mitch Siegel, who works as a job developer for Catholic Charities.

Siegel has delivered about bikes to veterans in Lake County, with 19 more to go. One by one, his intern Matt Lindemeier is polishing them, greasing the chains and making repairs.

The veterans are using them to get to work or a job interview and for recreation, Siegel said.

Siegel recalled lamenting to Lake County Bike Project board member David Motley about the transportation situation in Lake County. "It's hard for anyone without their own transportation to get to jobs or to interviews for potential jobs. There's a big gap in the bus service," Siegel said.

Post Traumatic Winning hits the 2nd Marine Division; the response is beyond overwhelming

on Wednesday, 31 July 2019.

Major General David J. Furness, USMC, took command of the 2nd Marine Division (2nd MarDiv), headquartered in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, during the first week of August 2018. In his first two months as the CG, the 2nd MarDiv recorded five suicides and 20 to 30 incidents of suicidal ideations/attempts. Gen. Furness asked about causal factors, he asked what was being doing about the problem, and he wasn’t happy with the answers. Historically, military suicide rates have been lower than those rates found in the general population. That started changing about ten years ago. By 2015, suicide was the second leading cause of death in the U.S. military. The Marine Corps has dedicated more resources and senior level attention to suicide prevention than at anytime in its history and yet the problem is increasing.

Gen. Furness didn’t know why all the programs and training the Marine Corps had developed over the years weren’t working; he just knew they weren’t working. He had three choices: continue with the existing programs but work at them harder, continue with present programs and hope they would start to show some return on investment, or try a dramatically different approach.

Need to File a Secondary Claim? File as a DRC

on Sunday, 24 March 2019.

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Do you have a condition that was directly caused by or has gotten worse because of your service-connected condition? If so, you can file a secondary claim for disability compensation for that condition. If you’re planning to file a secondary claim, make sure you file it as a Decision Ready Claim (DRC). Filing as a DRC means you can get a decision on your claim in 30 days or less.

Work with the Veterans Assistance Commission in Waukegan or with another accredited Veterans Service Organization (VSO) to determine if the DRC Program is right for you and your secondary claim. They can then help you gather and submit all relevant and required evidence so your claim is ready for us to make a decision when you submit it.

Don’t have a secondary condition? You can also file these other types of compensation claims through the DRC Program:

  • Direct Service Connection Claims
  • Presumptive Service Connection Claims
  • Increased Disability Claims
  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (for surviving spouses)

Learn more about the DRC Program, including eligibility requirements and what medical evidence you need to submit.  Go to: https://www.lakecountyil.gov/725/Veterans-Assistance-Commission or to find an accredited VSO and get more information before going to the VAC, go to:  https://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/drc.asp

Army combat veteran uses her experience to help struggling Lake County Veterans.

on Monday, 06 May 2019.

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Former Army Sgt. Roxann GarzaTershel said her unit was attacked nearly every time it transported gasoline and water during her 13½-month deployment in Iraq.

"Nearly every convoy I was in was attacked in some way," Garza-Tershel said. "We'd see IEDs (improvised explosive devices) or small-arms fire. Through it all, we were told to just keep moving."

The eight-year veteran said she feared for her life many times when explosives or gunfire tore through her convoy. In one instance, her convoy became "sitting ducks" after it was separated from an armored calvary regiment in downtown Baghdad.

"We went through an intersection when the vehicle in front of us was hit by an IED," she said. "It was the first time I was like, 'Holy cow, that could have been us.'"

Veteran Suicide Statistics Indicate Collective Effort Is Critical

on Wednesday, 17 July 2019.

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VA Suicide Prevention Efforts
2019 Reporting

Suicide prevention is VA’s top clinical priority, and VA has adopted a public health approach to suicide prevention.
The goal of VA’s suicide prevention efforts is not to get every Veteran enrolled in VA care, but rather to equip communities to help Veterans get the right care, whenever and wherever they need it. This means using prevention approaches that cut across all sectors in which Veterans may interact, and collaborating with Veterans service organizations, state and local leaders, medical professionals, criminal justice officials, private employers and many other stakeholders.  Put simply, VA must ensure suicide prevention is a part of every aspect of Veterans’ lives, not just their interactions with VA.

Reaching Veterans Where They Live, Work, and Thrive
VA’s suicide prevention efforts are guided by the National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide, a long-term plan published in 2018 that provides a framework for identifying priorities, organizing efforts, and focusing national attention and community resources to prevent suicide among Veterans while adopting a broad public health approach with an emphasis on comprehensive, community-based engagement.

 

After the Marines and Lioness, Ashton Kroner’s Service Continues

on Wednesday, 29 May 2019.

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Marine Lioness Ashton Kroner in Afghanistan

Not many women can list “Marine” on their resumes. Even fewer can list “Lioness”, a title reserved for women who have served in combat roles. Ashton Kroner is proud to list them both. Currently serving as Outreach Coordinator for Road Home, a program of The Center for Veterans and Their Families in Chicago, Ashton is one of many Veterans who continue to serve their country and community once the active duty uniform comes off.

Ashton knew in high school that she wanted to join the Marines, so she went to Boot Camp at age 18, completing Basic Training at Paris Island, SC. She learned quickly to follow orders, including the Drill Instructors’ absolute rule of never referring yourself as “I’, “me”, and “mine”. “Like everyone else, I referred to myself as ‘this recruit’,” Ashton said. “Right away you learn that it’s about ‘us’, not ‘me’. Otherwise, there’s hell to pay.”

A New Way to Help Veterans: Donate Your Vehicle

on Wednesday, 05 December 2018.

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Supporters of LCVFSF have been generous with donations of time and money. Now there’s another way. If you own a car, motorcycle, ATV or other motorized vehicle, you can donate it to our Foundation. We get the funds. You get whatever tax deduction your donation earns.  In partnership with Auto Parts City of Gurnee, we are happy to offer a new and easy way to make a donation to LCVFSF to help the Veterans of Lake, McHenry and Southern Kenosha counties.

Your Benefits: Active Guard Reserve

on Monday, 25 March 2019.

National Guard and Reserve members with active service may qualify for a variety of VA benefits. Active service includes:

Active duty (Title 10) - full-time duty, such as, but not limited to, a unit deployment during war, including travel to and from such duty, OR

Full-time National Guard duty (Title 32) - full-time duty, such as responding to a national emergency or duties as an Active Guard Reserve, where you receive pay from the Federal government

New Resource Available: Attorney Provides Help with Family Law

on Wednesday, 15 May 2019. Posted in News

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Meet Rebecca Whitcome

Coming from an extended family full of Veterans and having a big “soft spot” for Service Members, Rebecca Whitcombe recently agreed to offer her professional legal services to the foundation’s families and friends.

There is free consultation for those who call LCVFSF to register. Other legal services are offered at a reduced rate that will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Rebecca expects that most of her “return” will come from the satisfaction of helping Veterans and their loved ones. “I want to ‘give something back’ to the Veterans and family members in the community around me,” she said. “That led me to contact LCVFSF.”

Rebecca’s firm, Whitcombe Law, P.C. is dedicated to dealing with family issues that include divorce, adoption, custody, child support, paternity and pre-nuptial agreements. Rebecca started her own Waukegan-based firm nine years ago after working first as a paralegal and then as a lawyer for other firms. She is a graduate of Cornell Law School.

“We are very happy that Rebecca has agreed to work with us in helping Veterans and their loved ones,” said LCVFSF founder and president Paul Baffico. “If you have a family law matter that you need help with, just call us at 847-986-4622.”