Vietnam: The War That Killed Trust

on Tuesday, 10 January 2017.

The legacy of the war still shapes America, even if most of us are too young to remember it.

Vietnam '67
Karl Marlantes

In the early spring of 1967, I was in the middle of a heated 2 a.m. hallway discussion with fellow students at Yale about the Vietnam War. I was from a small town in Oregon, and I had already joined the Marine Corps Reserve. My friends were mostly from East Coast prep schools. One said that Lyndon B. Johnson was lying to us about the war. I blurted out, “But … but an American president wouldn’t lie to Americans!” They all burst out laughing.

When I told that story to my children, they all burst out laughing, too. Of course presidents lie. All politicians lie. God, Dad, what planet are you from?

Before the Vietnam War, most Americans were like me. After the Vietnam War, most Americans are like my children.

America didn’t just lose the war, and the lives of 58,000 young men and women; Vietnam changed us as a country. In many ways, for the worse: It made us cynical and distrustful of our institutions, especially of government. For many people, it eroded the notion, once nearly universal, that part of being an American was serving your country.

VA extends deadline for seeking Gulf War illness benefits to 2021

on Friday, 21 October 2016.

In February 1991, an armored vehicle passes through a breached sand berm separating Saudi   Arabia from Iraq, paving the way for advancing allied troops during the Gulf War. WAYNE J. BEGASSE/STARS AND STRIPES

WASHINGTON – For the next five years, veterans will have an easier time seeking benefits for illnesses linked to service in the Gulf War because of an extension issued Monday by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Since 1994, the VA has automatically presumed a connection from Gulf War service, which included a toxic environment of oil fires and chemical weapons, to an increased risk for several illnesses. The connection enables veterans to receive a disability rating and benefits more quickly.

But the presumed connection and the ability to seek benefits was set to expire at the end of this year, after being extended four times previously. Effective Monday, the VA extended it a fifth time, to Dec. 31, 2021.

Healing Our Warriors

on Tuesday, 13 December 2016.

Veterans Anthony Anderson (L) and Tom Voss decided to walk 2,700 miles from Wisconsin to California to try to sort out some of the issues they faced—including PTSD and moral injury—after being in combat situations in Iraq. (Almost Sunrise)

Veterans Anthony Anderson (L) and Tom Voss decided to walk 2,700 miles from Wisconsin to California to try to sort out some of the issues they faced—including PTSD and moral injury—after being in combat situations in Iraq. (Almost Sunrise)

Tom Voss’s unit fired a warning shot, but the truck kept speeding towards them. So they shot to kill. It was Iraq more than 10 years ago, and that’s what they were trained to do.

“I ran up to the passenger’s side and smashed the window open. The guy had two sucking chest wounds,” said Voss, who was a sniper on an 11-month deployment in Iraq in 2004–2005.

Voss said his platoon sergeant slowly walked up while they were frantically trying to save the man’s life and said, “Are we done here?”

On another day, they were alerted to a body on the roadside. “This man was tortured: He had his nose cut off, all his fingers were cut off, his toes were cut off while he was still alive,” Voss said. “He was involved with helping us. That’s what he was killed for.”

Horsefeathers Equine Therapy Empowers LCVFSF Veterans and Family members

on Friday, 17 June 2016.

Horse trainer Buck Brannaman, who helped inspire the lead character in the Nicholas Evans novel "The Horse Whisperer," speaks from experience about the healing power a horse can offer its human companion.

"Horses,'' he says, ''are incredibly forgiving. They fill in places we're not capable of filling ourselves. They've given people a new hope, a new lease on life."

That proposition — that horses can be healers — stands at the operational core of Horsefeathers, a therapeutic riding program located at 1181 Riverwoods Road in Lake Forest since 2008.

LCVFSF Increases Donation Options for Future Program Growth

on Tuesday, 11 October 2016.

Success is a wonderful thing. It is exhilarating and exciting, especially when it comes to helping others. But it can also be very limiting when it drains resources that need to be replenished in order to sustain growth.  

That is the state of affairs the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation finds itself in as we complete our first full year of operation. Our robust growth has paid off, but we need to raise money to continue to serve our Service Member target population fully and efficiently. So, we are happy to announce two more options for our supporters to help us with donations.

The Veterans Employment Program of Lake County, Illinois

on Wednesday, 25 November 2015.

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The Veterans Employment Program of Lake County (VEP) was created by Catholic Charities with two goals in mind:

  1. Help our local unemployed U.S. Military Veterans (and military spouses) find employment.
  2. Help our business community find qualified people to fill their employment needs.

Pentagon Holds Up GI Bill Benefits for Reservists

on Sunday, 27 November 2016.

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Stars and Stripes | Nov 26, 2016 | by Alex Horton

SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras -- Nearly 300 Marines came home from their seven-month deployment to Central America this week. They have a few things in tow -- wood carvings from local artisans and the grit of experience responding to Hurricane Matthew, among the world's worst recent natural disasters.

But the reservists returned without something that most were counting on: seven months of GI Bill benefits.

A relatively new and obscure deployment code, a measure the Pentagon created in 2014 to scale back spending on benefits, is the reason. By law, reservists involuntarily mobilized under Title 10, section 12304b, do not receive credit for the GI Bill while they are activated.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill is paid out by the amount of active-duty time racked up. Reservists say deployments are in high demand in part because education benefits will grow much faster than relying on drill time.

2016 Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation Annual Report Available

on Monday, 13 February 2017.

1LCVFSFAnnualRept2016V6Cover

Thanks to the professional work of Veteran Peer Specialist Bob Gorman as well as dedicated volunteer Leslie Wolko of the Wolko Design Group, the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation 2016 official Annual Report is ready for review. We are sure that you will agree they have done a fantastic job of creating our most professional and informative report ever.  Click on the cover to download or read your own copy.

Make Your Health Records Work for You

on Thursday, 07 July 2016.

 
US Department of Veterans Affairs Seal
 
 
 
Make your health records work for you.

Dear Veteran,

Connecting your docs with the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) Health program shares important parts of your Veteran health record between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and your community health care providers who participate in this program. This allows your health care providers to access important information about your health, so they can provide you the best possible care.

This exchange occurs over a secure and private network known as the eHealth Exchange. This program is free and voluntary for Veterans, but VA needs your consent to share your health records (VA Form 10-0485).

sign up nowIf you have not already joined, go to the eBenefits website and sign up (It's free)! 
If you have technical difficulties, please call 1-800-983-0937 for assistance.

Thank you for agreeing to share your VA health data with your providers and, as always, we thank you for your service!

Sincerely,

The VLER Health National Program Office

Home Helpers of Barrington Honors Service Members with Donation to Lake County Veterans Group

on Monday, 14 November 2016.

Home Helpers

Steven Krzyzk, Navy veteran of Home Helpers of Barrington (far right), is pictured with Lake County Veterans and Family Services foundation volunteers (l-to-r): Air Force veteran Carl Seifert, Joan Seifert and Navy veteran Carl Marro.

BARRINGTON - To honor the many veterans its serves, Home Helpers of Barrington has donated $500 to the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation (LCVFSF). Steven Krzyzyk, on behalf of Christine L. Browning R.N., president, Home Helpers of Barrington, traveled to LCVFSF’s headquarters in Grayslake to present the check and tour the organization’s facilities.

As one of the nation’s leading providers of affordable and flexible home care services, Home Helpers allows seniors, including veterans, to be independent and secure in their own homes. Area Home Helpers offices serve hundreds of retired veterans and their families across the region with in-home caregiving and support with household chores.

In addition to its donation to LCVFSF, Home Helpers annually provides meals to Chicagoland vets each November in recognition of Veterans Day.