VA Social App Connects Veterans

on Monday, 01 October 2018.

Motorcycles – retired Navy – fuel exposures. Sonja Skinner says those are three items she added to her profile on VA DoD Veteran Link, a new social networking app just for Veterans and current service members. The app creates a secure, closed community where users can connect and feel comfortable talking about common interests and life circumstances – including any health concerns they may have.

After retiring from the Navy in 2005, Skinner began her second career at VA. Today, she works at the Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Medical Center in Temple, Texas, as a My HealtheVet Coordinator, a VA Online Scheduling Manager and a Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) Representative. She’s busy, but not too busy to help test new VA technologies and apps. She tested VA DoD Veteran Link this past spring.

Millburn 8th Graders Learn from Vietnam Veterans

on Sunday, 19 May 2019.

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April 26, 2019, Millburn Middle School, Millburn, Illinois   

Years ago Don Williams and David Schroeder were having coffee one morning.  They started talking about Don's Vietnam experience.  Schroeder thought it might be a great way for his Social Studies students to learn about the period in U.S. history from a genuine Veteran.  Williams agreed and spoke of his personal experiences to the eighth graders, not knowing what kind of reaction he might get.  He was a hit and Schroeder asked him back for an encore the next semester.  Schroeder and Williams extended the invitation to two other Vets of the war, Tom Gramer and Paul Baffico.  They are now part of Schroeder's syllabus during "Vietnam Week" every semester. Friday, April 26th the three Veterans spent the day with multiple classes teaching with Schroeder....a thrill for all! 

In gratitude, David Schroeder wrote the following:

"Vietnam Veterans are local treasures in their respective communities. As fellow citizens, we owe due respect for our Veterans’ service and sacrifice in the United States Armed Forces. It is important to offer our Vietnam Vets a platform to share their experiences to future generations of Americans.

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David Schroeder, Tom Gramer, Don Williams and Paul Baffico

DoD Clarifies Liberal Consideration for Veterans' Discharge Upgrade Requests

on Thursday, 31 August 2017.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2017 — The Defense Department released guidance today to clarify the liberal consideration given to veterans who request upgrades of their discharge saying they had mental health conditions or were victims of sexual assault or sexual harassment.

The new guidance clarifies that the liberal consideration policy includes conditions resulting from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, sexual assault or sexual harassment, said Air Force Lt. Col. Reggie Yager, the acting director of legal policy in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

The policy is meant to ease the burden on veterans and give them a reasonable opportunity to establish the extenuating circumstances of their discharge, Yager said.

Cases involving invisible wounds such as PTSD or other mental health conditions, whether from combat or sexual assault, are some of the most complex and difficult cases to review, he said.

Peer Specialists Act Passes

on Monday, 28 May 2018.

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Bipartisan legislation to expand Veterans’ access to peer counseling specialists passed the Senate by unanimous consent.

The Veteran Partners’ Efforts to Enhance Reintegration Act (Veteran PEER Act) will expand Veterans’ access to peer specialist services by specifically targeting shortcomings in the current program, including peer specialists’ restricted participation in primary care services; persistent stigma attached to seeking treatment for mental health disorders; and under-promoted proven successes of the peer specialist program in Veteran reintegration.

Service Platoon Offers Opportunities to Give Back

on Monday, 11 March 2019.

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My name is Mike Maguire, and it is my honor and pleasure to be named the new Service Platoon leader for the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation (LCVFSF). Let me state up front that I am not a Veteran, but I am a life long American citizen, and I have the greatest respect and admiration for all our Veterans.

I believe that we as citizens, and the beneficiaries of the service and sacrifice that these brave men and women, and their families, have willingly given for our freedom and liberty, must never forget them. LCVFSF is run by Veterans for Veterans, but they also firmly believe that a partnership between civilians, and Veterans is vital to their primary mission of providing assistance to ALL Veterans, in areas ranging from employment, health and family issues, housing, any many others. I know by the fact that you have all signed up to participate in this service that you all feel the same way.

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.”

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.

Vets Who Didn’t Serve in Vietnam Can Claim Benefits for Agent Orange

on Tuesday, 07 November 2017.

For direct online access to VA benefits and resources, create an account here.

From 1961 to 1971, almost 20 million gallons of a combination herbicide were dispersed over nearly a quarter of the country of Vietnam in hopes that it destroy foliage, thus revealing before-hidden pathways of the enemy: the guerrilla Viet Cong, otherwise known as the National Liberation Front.

The defoliant chemical, Agent Orange, killed plants and other vegetation, but it also proved toxic to the United States military members serving on the lands it touched, then and decades after.

And it wasn’t just Vietnam and neighboring Cambodia. Unfortunately, the compound substance harmed vets serving outside of this combat area — sometimes reaching hundreds and thousands of miles away.

If you or a loved one served and was affected by the poisonous affects of Agent Orange, but didn’t serve in Vietnam, it’s still possible to claim benefits or compensation (payments) for this contact.

Equestrian Connections Partners with LCVFSF for Veterans

on Friday, 29 June 2018.

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Recognizing that working with horses can be a powerful therapy for Veterans and family members, LCVFSF has begun partnering with Equestrian Connections on Bradley Road in Lake Forest. It offers best in class equine therapy to enrich the lives of people who choose to benefit from its many resources and services.

Equestrian Connections offers a broad range of equine therapy programs, including one called ReConnect, specially designed for Veterans and family members to connect with horses and with each other to create a uniquely positive experience.

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.'"