Healing words: Veteran speaks at 4th annual 'Chat ’N Chew'

on Tuesday, 24 March 2020.

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Iraq Veteran Leo Evans tells his story at the 4th Annual Chat N’ Chew celebration of Black History Month at The Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation.

GRAYSLAKE – Leo Evans is a big man with a quick smile and an infectious laugh.

Wearing a Waukegan Jr. Bulldogs 2018 Division Championship sweatshirt, he lights up while he talks about his family. He loves cooking with his daughter and playing football with his son and spending time with his wife, who was his high school sweetheart. He also just bought his first home, he said, pulling up his sweatshirt to reveal a T-shirt bearing the words “Veteran Home Owner.”

He paces across the front of the small conference room at the end of the hall at Grayslake’s Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation and seems to be at ease in front of the small group gathered there.

Vets Need Veterans Health I.D. Card (VHIC) to Access Bases for Privileges

on Monday, 09 December 2019.

Veterans need VHIC for in-person Commissary, Military Exchange, MWR access
Expansion to start Jan. 1, 2020

The Defense Department has announced expanded Commissary, Military Service Exchange and MWR access Jan. 1 and established a standard for physical access to military installations.

Veterans who are eligible and want to take advantage of in-person benefits must have a Veterans Health Identification Card, or VHIC. Primary Family Caregivers must have an eligibility letter from VA’s Office of Community Care.

Peer Training Conducted at LCVFSF

on Tuesday, 18 February 2020. Posted in News

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Peer training and certification was held at the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation DryHootch Drop-In Center Feb 17, 18 and 19.

Completion of the 40 hour course qualifies participants to be certified by the state of Illinois, a requirement of LCVFSF Three participants are Peer Specialists from LCVFSF and three are Lake County mentors from the 19th Judicial District Veterans Treatment and Assistance Court.

The TYFYS Movement

on Monday, 09 March 2020.

The following editorial represents the opinion of the writer and is not necessarily that of The Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation. It is printed with the intent to create awareness of the dynamics of a perplexing situation.

 ‘Thank you for your service’ movement weaponizes patriotism | February 15, 2020 - 5:20 AM Curtis Milam, For The Inquirer

The United States has a patriotism problem — a cult of patriotism. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very nice that people express their appreciation when they learn I served in the Air Force. But enough is enough.

The “thank you for your service” (TYFYS) culture is going to backfire on the military and society. There are many reasons people decide to serve, in uniform or out, but most public servants understand that service is its own reward — and a privilege. The TYFYS culture’s specific emphasis on military service fosters an environment where service members can develop a sense of entitlement, helped by a well-intentioned but overly appreciative public.

Our patriotism problem began in the 1980s as an over-correction to the poor treatment of Vietnam veterans returning from that war. It was supercharged by the performance of our forces in Desert Storm and a later sense of victimhood and vengeance that came with 9/11. Today we see it everywhere in our society, from the ubiquitous returning soldier set piece reunions (including one during this year’s State of the Union) to the corporate version — think NFL and NASCAR, both of whom have tightly woven a particularly strident form of military adulation into their products. Service members have always been used as political props, but what we see today is unprecedented in its pervasiveness.

 

What It Means to Be A Veteran by Juan Mendez, USMC

on Monday, 02 September 2019.

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Juan Mendez, United States Marine Corp, E-6 Staff Sergeant, LCVFSF Veteran Peer.

Juan did community outreach work in Milwaukee that included the Marines’ “Toys for Tots” and worked with Marine Reservists on employment and other issues. Juan was deployed three times to Iraq, as well as other assignments in the Philippines and ports in Singapore, Japan and Thailand. Juan will complete a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at North Park College in December.

Earlier this year, Paul Baffico, my boss and LCVFSF founder, suggested that I write an answer to the question: “What does it means to be a Veteran?”. I told him that I wasn’t ready; in other words, allow me my space because I don’t want to pick the scab on those wounds right now. Well, that’s what I wanted him to believe. In fact, I had no idea how to answer that question, and that terrified me.

Service Member Suicide Statistics for Veterans, Active, Guard and Reserve Indicate Collective Effort Is Critical

on Friday, 27 September 2019.

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Military suicides continue to rise

6:39 PM EDT September 26, 2019
Washington

Deaths by suicide in the US military continue to rise with 541 service members dying in 2018, according to a Pentagon report issued Thursday.

Military leaders are continuing to express concern and frustration about the rising number of deaths as they attempt to understand why the numbers are increasing.  (continued)

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VA Transition

on Monday, 09 December 2019.

Military life can be full of transitions. From deployments to retirement, these times can bring about both new opportunities and challenges. Active duty service members have long enjoyed the support of sponsors during their military service transitions. But similar support is not provided for the final transition to civilian life.

VA’s Expiration Term of Service (ETS) Sponsorship Program is beginning to change that, with promising results.

The program helps transitioning service members secure housing, find jobs, pursue educational opportunities and access mental health support, while also providing support to their families.

When service members execute an ETS or retire from service, there is no individual assigned responsibility for their transition into the civilian world. This transition can be challenging, as service members lose the benefits of military leadership, camaraderie, support and structure.

These losses can lead to increased stressors, a decreased sense of purpose and an elevated risk for suicide and other mental health concerns when service members rejoin the civilian community.

As a result, VA has started collaborating closely with the U.S. Department of Defense; academia, including Syracuse and Columbia universities; local governments; and nonprofits, such as American Corporate Partners and ProVetus, to launch the ETS Sponsorship Program.

Free IRS Tax Guide for Military Members

on Wednesday, 01 January 2020.

IRS Free Tax Guide Focuses on Tax Benefits for Members of the Military

WASHINGTON —Each year, the IRS publishes Publication 3, Armed Forces Tax Guide, a free booklet packed with valuable information and tips designed to help service members and their families take advantage of all tax benefits allowed by law. This year's edition is posted on IRS.gov. Available tax benefits include: