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.

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.

Special "Quilts of Valor" Presentation

on Friday, 20 April 2018.

 
April 20, 2018, Waukegan County Court House         
Mentors for the Veterans Treatment and Assistance Court (VTAC) of the 19th Judicial Circuit were presented with their own Quilt of Valor in recognition of their dedication and service to the VTAC program. The quilts are normally presented to court graduates upon completion of the program as a symbol of the care, warmth and security the VTAC will always provide the graduate.

Judges Christie Bishop and Christopher Stride, the presiding judges of VTAC, broke with the tradition of Quilts of Valor protocol to honor the mentors in addition to only court graduates. The quilts were presented in a solemn ceremony in front of more than 80 spectators to underscore the importance of the mentors in the success of VTAC.

LCVFSF Veteran mentors Kirby Wagner (far left) and Bob Gorman (third from left) were two of the very proud recipients.

To learn more about VTAC, call 847-986-4622.

Pentagon Plans Changes to Post-9/11 GI Bill Transferability

on Saturday, 25 November 2017.

Defense officials are considering changing the rules under which troops may transfer Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to family members. Army photo

Military.com | 20 Nov 2017 | by Amy Bushatz

A rule allowing troops to transfer their post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to their children or spouse may soon see changes, a Defense Department official said in testimony submitted to lawmakers last week.

"The Department of Defense intends to issue a policy change to the 'Post-9/11 GI Bill' regarding the transferability of benefits to eligible family members," Anthony Kurta, acting deputy under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee in a written statement.

"Effective one year from this change, the ability to transfer benefits will be limited to service members with less than 16 years of total service," he wrote.

Currently, service members can transfer their post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to a dependent family member if they have at least six years in service and agree to serve an additional four years.

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.

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

PTSD in Military Veterans Causes, Symptoms, and Steps to Recovery

on Tuesday, 22 August 2017. Posted in News

Soldier with therapist

For all too many veterans, returning from military service means coping with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You may be having a hard time readjusting to life out of the military. Or you may constantly be feeling on edge, emotionally numb and disconnected, or close to panicking or exploding. But no matter how long the V.A. wait times, or how isolated or emotionally cut off from others you feel, it’s important to know that you’re not alone and there are plenty of things you can do to start feeling better. These steps can help you learn to deal with nightmares and flashbacks, cope with feelings of depression, anxiety or guilt, and regain your sense of control.

What causes PTSD in veterans? Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sometimes known as shell shock or combat stress, occurs after you experience severe trauma or a life-threatening event. It’s normal for your mind and body to be in shock after such an event, but this normal response becomes PTSD when your nervous system gets “stuck.”

Your nervous system has two automatic or reflexive ways of responding to stressful events:
Mobilization, or fight-or-flight, occurs when you need to defend yourself or survive the danger of a combat situation. Your heart pounds faster, your blood pressure rises, and your muscles tighten, increasing your strength and reaction speed. Once the danger has passed, your nervous system calms your body, lowering your heart rate and blood pressure, and winding back down to its normal balance.

Immobilization occurs when you’ve experienced too much stress in a situation and even though the danger has passed, you find yourself “stuck.” Your nervous system is unable to return to its normal state of balance and you’re unable to move on from the event. This is PTSD.

Recovering from PTSD involves transitioning out of the mental and emotional war zone you’re still living in and helping your nervous system become "unstuck."

VA Mission Act Approved

on Monday, 28 May 2018.

WASHINGTON – The Senate easily approved extensive reforms to the Department of Veterans Affairs extending benefits to more Veteran caregivers, averting a funding crisis and increasing Veterans’ access to private-sector health care.

The bill went through multiple iterations and debate dragged on for months, at times dividing Veterans groups and straining ties between lawmakers and the VA. The legislation went to the President and was signed before Memorial Day.

National Guard Scholarship Announced

on Friday, 09 February 2018.

NatGuard 2

Leonardo DRS Guardian Scholarship Fund
Administered by The National Guard Educational Foundation

APPLICATION CRITERIA AND INFORMATION

Eligibility Criteria for ALL Scholarship Grants

1. A scholarship applicant must be a dependent son or daughter of a National Guard member who died in an operational or training mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation New Dawn.
2. All scholarship grants are to help cover the cost of tuition, applicable room and board, fees, and books.
3. All educational institutions to be attended by scholarship recipients must be geographically located within the SO United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or Guam.
4. All scholarship applicants or previous scholarship recipients must apply or re-apply each year no later than June 30.
5. Send scholarship applications and required documentation to:
    The National Guard Educational Foundation
    Attention: Leonardo DRS Guardian Scholarship Fund
    One Massachusetts Avenue, NW
    Washington, D.C. 20001
6. Scholarship recipients will be notified no later than August 1.
7. All scholarship grants awarded will be paid directly to the educational institution to be attended by the scholarship recipient.

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.