Commentary: Veterans Deserve Our Support Every Day

on Thursday, 26 November 2015.

By Marc Burgess, Special to Military Times 12:10 p.m. EST November 25, 2015

Our recent annual observance of Veterans Day marked a genuine, heartfelt "thank you" to the men and women who have bravely served our nation. But now that the celebrations are over, it's an appropriate time to ask an important question: Are we truly supporting America's veterans?

A landmark survey conducted by my organization, Disabled American Veterans, reveals a very mixed answer.

There are 22 million veterans in this country. They are our family members, friends and neighbors; indeed, we all likely know at least one veteran. But there is much that many of us don't know or understand about their experiences, attitudes and perceptions.

Many Tricare Users to Pay Enrollment Fee under Congressional Proposal

on Thursday, 05 May 2016.

Doctor greets a patient with a handshake.

Apr 25, 2016 | by Amy Bushatz

Many Tricare users would face annual enrollment fees in a newly named plan under a draft proposal released Monday by the House Armed Services Committee.

Under the plan, current users of Tricare Standard and Tricare Extra would fall into the newly minted Tricare Preferred plan. Users would continue to be permitted to self-refer to providers, but doing so would come with an annual enrollment fee of $100 for individuals and $200 for families starting in 2020.

Stanford Scholar Helps Veterans Recover from War Trauma

on Tuesday, 02 December 2014. Posted in News

Stanford Report 

September 5, 2014

Newly published research by Stanford scholar Emma Seppala shows how meditation and breathing exercises can help military veterans recover from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Adam Burn practicing yoga

Adam Burn, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, practices yoga techniques to help combat stress. A Stanford scholar has found that breathing-based meditation dramatically reduces PTSD in veterans.

BY CLIFTON B. PARKER

For several years, Emma Seppala, associate director of Stanford's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and lead author of the article, has been studying the effects of breathing-based meditation practices on veterans suffering from PTSD.

"This is the first randomized controlled study on a form of meditation or yoga for veterans with PTSD that has shown such long-term, lasting effects," she said in an interview.

PTSD, which affects about one in five veterans, is typically triggered by the experience of a terrifying or life-threatening event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts and emotions. Returning vets suffering from PTSD have extremely high suicide rates, Seppala said.

LCVFSF Board Elects Stanley G. McCracken, Ph.D., LCSW, RDDP, Ex-Offico Board Mermber

on Friday, 21 October 2016. Posted in News

 

Dr. Stanley G. McCracken, Ph.D, LCSW, RDDP, has been elected an Ex-Officio member of the Board of Directors of the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation effective October 18, 2016.  Dr. McCracken is a Vietnam Veteran of the U.S. Army.

McCracken is Lecturer in the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration. He has written about psychiatric rehabilitation, addiction, behavioral pharmacology, behavioral medicine, aging, motivational interviewing, and staff training. He is co-author of Interactive Staff Training and Practice Guidelines for Extended Psychiatric Residential Care and co-editor of From Task-Centered Social Work to Evidence-Based and Integrative Practice: Reflections on History and Implementation.

He has forty years’ experience as a clinician, educator, and consultant. His practice interests include mental health, drug, and medical problems; aging; addressing cross-cultural and spirituality in direct practice; and veterans’ issues. He served as a linguist in the US Army in Vietnam.

Swords into ploughshares: Veterans find opportunities in farming

on Thursday, 18 June 2015.

WASHINGTON – Dan Mikulecky had an epiphany during his 2004 deployment to Iraq with the Montana National Guard.

He had joined the Guard for college, but wasn't sure the direction he wanted to go in life post-deployment. Being out in the Iraqi countryside, however, it became clear to him: he wanted to return to rural Montana and become a farmer.

When he got back to the U.S., Mikulecky received a preferential veteran's loan, agricultural training and financial advising through Northwest Farm Credit Services. He purchased land in Rudyard, Montana and grow it into a thriving wheat and grain farm.

"The hours from the service and the hours that you put into agriculture are very closely related," Mikulecky said. "Yeah, it's a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, but we're self-starters, always trying to go the extra mile."

The State of the American Veteran: The Chicagoland Veterans Study

on Thursday, 28 April 2016.

State of American Veteran (CHI) cover - April2016

The State of the American Veteran: The Chicagoland Veterans Study surveyed nearly 1,300 veterans, along with follow-up focus groups with 20 veterans, in Cook, DuPage, Lake and Will counties. The study was conducted in partnership with Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work.

The study found that many service members leaving the military and returning to the Chicagoland area are not prepared for the transition home and have a range of needs that cannot be easily addressed by a single organization.

LCVFSF Board Elects Judge John T. Phillips to Board Vice Chairman

on Friday, 21 October 2016.

 

Judge John T. Phillips, retired Chief Judge of the 19th Judicial Court, has been elected to the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation Board of Directors, effective October 18, 2016. Judge Phillips represents the highest caliber jurist in our country's judicial system. He is a Veteran of the Vietnam Era and a former JAG Officer in the United States Air Force. 

He retired from the bench at the end of January, 2016 after having served two terms as Chief Circuit Judge. He continues to serve on the Special Supreme Court Advisory Committee for Justice and Mental Health Planning of the Illinois Supreme Court. He is also a member of the governing Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite, a fraternal Masonic organization. He serves as its Grand Chancellor, representing the fraternity throughout the world in its relations with other Scottish Rite and related jurisdictions.

Risk of Over Thanking Our Veterans

on Tuesday, 02 June 2015.

By 

Traveling through an airport recently, I witnessed a now-commonplace ritual: military personnel getting head-of-the-line privileges in the boarding area. As we complete the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, one of the legacies of the longest war in our history is how the public has rallied to support those who served.

While this can seem superficial at times, there is not a vet alive who would prefer the other extreme. My father served in Vietnam, and the welcome home his generation received was a national disgrace.

Unfortunately, the modern-day lionization of veterans has itself gone too far. In Washington, this knee-jerk support has resulted in policy decisions that will hurt both vets and the larger public over time.

 

How PTSD Became a Problem Far Beyond the Battlefield

on Sunday, 27 December 2015.

Soldiers wait out a sandstorm in Iraq. (The inclusion of the soldiers pictured in this story should not be construed to indicate that any of them suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.)

 Though only 10 percent of American forces see combat, the U.S. military now has the highest rate of post-traumatic stress disorder in its history. Sebastian Junger investigates.

BY SEBASTIAN JUNGER

The first time I experienced what I now understand to be post-traumatic stress disorder, I was in a subway station in New York City, where I live. It was almost a year before the attacks of 9/11, and I’d just come back from two months in Afghanistan with Ahmad Shah Massoud, the leader of the Northern Alliance. I was on assignment to write a profile of Massoud, who fought a desperate resistance against the Taliban until they assassinated him two days before 9/11. At one point during my trip we were on a frontline position that his forces had just taken over from the Taliban, and the inevitable counterattack started with an hour-long rocket barrage. All we could do was curl up in the trenches and hope. I felt deranged for days afterward, as if I’d lived through the end of the world.