Harley Davidson Provides Free Instruction for Vets

on Monday, 20 March 2017.

American Heroes Learn to Ride Free

All current and former U.S. military and first responders can learn to ride for free with Harley-Davidson® Riding Academy.

To thank the millions of people who have courageously defended our country, guarded our safety, and helped protect everyone's personal freedom to ride, Harley-Davidson is offering a free Harley-Davidson® Riding Academy New Rider Course for all current and former U.S. military personnel and first responders (law enforcement, fire, and EMS). You can register now and sign up to take an eligible course January 1, 2016 - December 31, 2016.

In addition to the Harley-Davidson® Riding Academy offer, there is an alternate offer available. With this alternate offer, qualified participants will be eligible to receive a Harley-Davidson Gift Card in an amount equal to the value of a course offered at an authorized Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) or other state accredited riding school, upon proof of completion of a basic motorcycle riding course and a receipt.

For a link to the company announcement, additional details, and to register for this free class Click here.

Veterans Affairs Program Works to Ensure That No Vet Dies Alone

on Wednesday, 17 February 2016. Posted in News

No Veteran Dies Alone

The old Army cook and the injured artilleryman sat shooting the breeze at the Department of Veterans Affairs' Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago.

Nick Konz spent part of the 1960s in uniform, turning low-grade meat into meals for soldiers stationed in Germany.

Ray O'Brien came home "banged up" from the Korean War, prompting a discharge and a loss of military life that the 86-year-old would lament after until the day he died.

By that November day, O'Brien was suffering from vascular disease and had settled into hospice care. Still, the Libertyville man retained the loquaciousness of someone healthier as he held court from his wheelchair.

"The American Legion has the best bars," he noted, hair gelled up by a nurse for the visitors, his right leg swollen with blood that refused to circulate.

"Depends on who's bartending," Konz said.

 

McMahon Services and Construction Goes “Above and Beyond” in Serving the Community

on Wednesday, 30 November 2016.

LCVFSFMcMahon

When Jeremiah J. McMahon started his home services and remodeling business in 1954, he had no way to predict how successful this business would become many decades later.

Today, McMahon Services and Construction is a leader in its field, which now includes fire, smoke and water restoration, roofing and siding, and mold remediation, as well as construction and remodeling.

The Hainesville, IL firm serves northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin homeowners as a “Preferred Contractor”, an honored status designated by leading insurance companies.

VA Releases Report on Nation’s Largest Analysis of Veteran Suicide

on Friday, 05 August 2016.

More than 55 Million Veterans’ Records Reviewed From 1979 to 2014 From Every State in the Nation

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today released its findings from the nation’s most comprehensive analysis of Veteran suicide rates in the United States in which VA examined more than 55 million Veterans’ records from 1979 to 2014 from every state in the nation. The effort advances VA’s knowledge from the previous report in 2012, which was primarily limited to information on Veterans who used VHA health services or from mortality records obtained directly from 20 states and approximately 3 million records.. Compared to the data from the 2012 report, which estimated the number of Veteran deaths by suicide to be 22 per day, the current analysis indicates that in 2014, an average of 20 Veterans a day died from suicide.

A link to the report may be found here.

Bob Woodruff Foundation Establishes Fund for Injured Veteran IVF Services

on Friday, 02 December 2016.

Tracy Keil discusses, along with other Veteran family advocates, the fertility challenges faced by injured service members and their families during the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s ground-breaking Intimacy After Injury convening, held in Washington, D.C., in December of 2014. Among the issues discussed was the personal financial burden incurred by families, including Keil’s, to pursue treatment in the hope of having a family.

In a continued effort to further assist the estimated 1,500 to 2,000 service members who sustained genitourinary injuries that may affect fertility, the Bob Woodruff Foundation established a financial assistance fund to help cover the costs associated with needed reproductive treatments to help our service men and women start or grow their own families. Merck, Ferring Pharmaceuticals and EMD Serono made this possible through funding provided by independent grants.

New PTSD Perspective

on Monday, 01 February 2016.

What Does a Parrot Know About PTSD?

An unexpected bond between damaged birds and traumatized
veterans could reveal surprising insights into animal intelligence.

 Charles Siebert,  JAN. 28, 2016

Nearly 30 years ago, Lilly Love lost her way. She had just completed her five-year tour of duty as an Alaska-based Coast Guard helicopter rescue swimmer, one of an elite team of specialists who are lowered into rough, frigid seas to save foundering fishermen working in dangerous conditions. The day after she left active service, the helicopter she had flown in for the previous three years crashed in severe weather into the side of a mountain, killing six of her former crewmates. Devastated by the loss and overcome with guilt, Love chose as her penance to become one of the very fishermen she spent much of her time in the Coast Guard rescuing. In less than a year on the job, she nearly drowned twice after being dragged overboard in high seas by the hooks of heavy fishing lines.

The VA Program For Veteran Caregivers You May Not Know About

on Tuesday, 22 March 2016.

VA caregiver benefits provide financial, medical, and peer help for family members that support veterans.

Roughly 5.5 million people serve as caregivers for veteran family members. The Department of Veterans Affairs has a lesser known benefit for these family members. Known as Caregiver Support Services, these benefits aim to help family members who are tasked with the primary care of a disabled veteran.

The services available include access to a caregiver support line, support coordinator, peer support for caregivers, adult day health care centers, and home care, among other things.

Naval Museum Open at Naval Station Great Lakes

on Monday, 20 March 2017.

NAVAL STATION GREAT LAKES, Ill. – The Great Lakes Naval Museum was officially renamed the National Museum of the American Sailor during a ceremony and sign unveiling at the museum in July 2016.

The Navy's top enlisted Sailor, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (AW/NAC) Mike Stevens, was joined by retired Rear Adm. Sam Cox, director of Naval History and Heritage Command, North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham, Capt. James Hawkins, commanding officer of Naval Station Great Lakes, Jennifer Searcy, Ph.D., director of the National Museum of the American Sailor, and representatives from the Great lakes Naval Museum Foundation and National Museum of the American Sailor Foundation to unveil the new sign in front of the museum.

"Dedicated to telling the story of anyone who has ever worn the Navy uniform, this building will do more than house history," said Cox. "The National Museum of the American Sailor will stand as a place for Sailors, Navy families and proud Americans to learn more about the Navy that serves them by using the history and experiences of our Sailors as the basis for its exhibits."

Scuba, Parrots, Yoga: Veterans Embrace Alternative Therapies for PTSD

on Sunday, 18 September 2016.

Veterans swimming with whale sharks this month at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta as part of their therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder.CreditMelissa Golden for The New York Times

ATLANTA — Thomas Harris slid into the cool, salty water of a 6.3-million-gallon tank at the Georgia Aquarium here and let himself float limp as kelp.

Mr. Harris, a former Army medic, gazed through a diving mask at a manta ray the size of a hang glider doing slow somersaults above shifting schools of silver fish. A 21-foot whale shark brushed silently by, inches from his face, its broad, spotted back taking up his entire view. Immersed in the moment, he forgot about the world.

This is not a weekend hobby. It is part of his therapy for the post-traumatic stress disorder he has been grappling with after his tours in Iraq. And like Mr. Harris, more veterans are turning to these sorts of outside-the-office treatment.

The broad acceptance of PTSD after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has posed an unexpected challenge. Acknowledging PTSD has only spurred a wide-ranging debate over the best way to treat it.

Traditional medical approaches generally rely on drugs and controlled re-experiencing of trauma, called exposure therapy. But this combination has proved so unpopular that many veterans quit before finishing or avoid it altogether. This has given rise to hundreds of small nonprofits across the country that offer alternatives: therapeutic fishing, rafting and backpacking trips, horse riding, combat yoga, dogs, art collectives, dolphin swims, sweat lodge vision quests and parrot husbandry centers, among many, many others.

VA Weighs PTSD Care that Avoids Traumatic Memories

on Friday, 21 August 2015. Posted in News

 An instructor with Joined Forces Yoga teaches a class for Soldiers with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) offered by Joined Forces Yoga at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, April 23, 2015. (U.S. Army photo/ Sgt. Sierra A. Fown)

An instructor with Joined Forces Yoga teaches a class for Soldiers with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) offered by Joined Forces Yoga at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, April 23, 2015. (U.S. Army photo/ Sgt. Sierra A. Fown)

VA Weighs PTSD Care that Avoids Traumatic Memories

NAPLES, Italy — Revisiting a traumatic event in a therapy session can open a door to relief for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. But confronting bad memories may not be the answer for everyone.

After years of emphasizing trauma-focused psychotherapy as a preferred treatment for PTSD, researchers and clinicians with the Department of Veterans Affairs are considering forms of therapy that steer clear of traumatic memories, including those focusing on mindfulness.

Although relatively new and backed by less research than other therapies, the treatments could expand practitioners’ options and could offer patients a greater say in their care, a top VA clinician said. That, in turn, could lead to better outcomes.

“I think the coming years will be a maturation of the field, the realization that there’s more than one door,” said Harold Kudler, chief consultant for VA Mental Health Services.