Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Taking a few days off

Today is our 25th anniversary and I'm taking a few days off. I need it and I pray to God that when I get back on, the next days will take away wanting to cry all the time. I can't believe I've gone this long without smoking but Lord it's hard. I can't sleep when I should sleep. I end up sleeping during the day instead and I don't know who I am anymore. My friends tell me that the loss of "me" will be replaced by something close to the "me" I used to know but different because the chemicals will return to normal balance. So far, I don't like me very much right now. I quit smoking on September 12. I thought I'd be a lot better by now.

Yet even with all of this I can still see the hand of God in this marriage of mine. 25 years! So many times I thought it would end, but God kept giving me what I needed to make it day to day when PTSD was doing it's best to claim my husband. God gave him an amazing character that still allowed his compassion to come out, reminding me, the man I loved was still there.

So many times I wanted to give up trying to make sure other families made it too, like I'm going through right now, but God always reminds me of why I do what I do. Nothing is hopeless unless we stop trying.

I wish I could be more "Chaplain" like right now. I'm only human, struggle with faith and wondering what to do just like everyone else. I don't have all the answers, run out of patience and yes, allow fear to come into my life, but these days of darkness with Satan's foot in the way, do pass. I pray when I come back on, these dark days are behind me so that I can get back to focusing on my work and not myself.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Stolen Valor or something else

We can't be sure what is going on right now or what was behind it. Why would anyone in their right mind want to do something like this especially when it involves something so soul reaching it can cause even the hardest hearts to weep? This is about the Traveling Wall and Vietnam, men and women treated like crap, but never gave up on us. They served with strangers they ended up living with as family. This is about Vietnam veterans honoring the lives lost and lives forgotten but someone is now accused to pretending to be one of them with the wall itself? I hope this gets cleared up fast because there will be more pain laid on the hearts of the Vietnam veterans for each day this goes on.

Stolen Valor and the "Wall That Heals"
by Larry Stimeling, Staff Writer
James Richard Lyons is a hero. He joined the Navy in 1964 at age 17. James went through some of the military' most rigorous training schools, including;
SEAL Training.
Force Recon.
Jungle Warfare Training in Panama.
Special weapons in Quantico. James served 4 tours in Vietnam and attained the rank of GySgt. He received a Silver Star and a Purple Heart. That is a lot for a four year enlistment. But there is a problem, A BIG PROBLEM!
Read More >

Disney to give day pass for volunteer work

Disney launching "Give a day, get a day" promotion
posted by Jason Garcia on Sep 29, 2009 8:19:33 AM

After a year in which it let guests into its theme parks for free on their birthdays, the Walt Disney Co. will hand out more free tickets in 2010 — but only after making people earn them.

Disney on Tuesday launched a new promotional campaign, “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day,” under which it will distribute 1 million one-day, one-park tickets to people who volunteer at select charities.

With the program, which succeeds the company’s “Free on Your Birthday” campaign this year, Disney is continuing its strategy of using discounts to lure vacationers amid a challenging economic climate that is expected to stretch well into next year. But it also marrying the approach with a socially conscious message.

“The thrust of this program is really about inspiring people to consider and participate in volunteerism, with the hope that that will become a way of life for them,” said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “We think, in this case, that doing good for our communities is good business.”

Beginning Jan. 1, guests will be able to sign up for volunteer work through a Disney website. People will be able to choose from service opportunities provided by HandsOn Network, a sprawling volunteer network that links volunteers with more than 70,000 non-profits around the country.
read more here
Disney launching Give a day, get a day promotion

Internet connects Vietnam veteran to fellow serviceman

Submitted photo Navy Corpsman 3rd Class Gary Graves as he appeared in South Vietnam, where he was stationed from October 1968 to October 1969 during the Vietnam War.

Internet connects Vietnam veteran to fellow serviceman
By: Greg Bischof - Texarkana Gazette - Published: 09/29/2009
The Internet has provided a local Vietnam veteran a chance to find out what happened to a wounded man he met during the war.

Although it happened more than 40 years ago, former Navy Corpsman 3rd Class Gary Graves can still remember an action of then-Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Brian Riley.

“He was gripping my hand and he kept asking me if he was going to lose his leg,” said Graves, a Texarkana, Ark., resident. “I told him he wasn’t going to lose his leg and he told me ‘thank you.’”
read more here
Internet connects Vietnam veteran to fellow serviceman

If Indianapolis thinks 1 in 8 will end up with PTSD, what will they think about the real number?

The real number is one out of three, a third of the troops we send. That's on the tame side because this does not factor in re-deployments increase the risk by 50% for each time sent back. One out of eight? Not even close and that is the most frightening part of all.

Walk raises awareness for soldiers' disorder
Updated: Sep 27, 2009 6:47 PM EDT

Indianapolis - A walk Sunday raised awareness of a life-threatening condition facing soldiers at home.

In honor of the troops who have marched courageously into war, a crowd of supporters marched downtown to help them fight the next battle many face once they return home.

"One in eight are predicted to have some sort of stress disorder, particularly post-traumatic stress," said Cami Pond, Indiana State Medical Association Alliance.

"We're here today to talk about PTSD. That hidden injury that is out there that we don't see, but it's so prevalent," said Major General R. Martin Umbarger.

Being rocked by explosions, death, excruciating pain and debilitating injuries can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, where the anxiety and fear of combat is carried into civilian life.

"The ultimate problem with post-traumatic stress disorder is feeling like they cannot cope and, as a result, take their own life," said J. James Rohack M.D., American Medical Association president.
read more here

Video Gallery

Walk for troops

Tomorrow is our anniversary. 25 years married with PTSD. We're living proof it is not hopeless and they can live with PTSD. This also means that we've been dealing with PTSD for longer than that. In 1978 there were already studies done. Most of what we read today has already been done, collecting dust in researchers stalks, in college achieves and obscure groups with friends in right places to hand out research cash. We know the drill well. It's almost as if they think the human mind, body and spirit has changed so drastically all the research already done is no useless. Nothing has changed. The original design is the same. Warfare, if anything is a little less horrific because they are not doing face to fact combat hacking off limbs at such close range they could hear the bones snap. Now they are not as close, but the bombs blow up more people a lot quicker.

We will see more and more coming home like my husband did, like all veterans did, and keep wondering when someone will help them. We will keep wondering because no one really paid attention the first time we were here with all of this. The death count goes up, families still fall apart, veterans end up homeless and in jail, but we dare to wonder why.

After Seven Hour Standoff War Veteran Surrenders

After Seven Hour Standoff War Veteran Surrenders
WXIN-TV, Indianapolis
11:42 AM EDT, September 29, 2009
After barricading himself in an apartment, a war veteran believe to be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has surrendered to police.

Officers say they responded to a disturbance call around 4:00 am Tuesday. Once they arrived at the Lockefield Gardens Apartment complex they found broken glass and blood leading to the apartment.

The blood led to the apartment of a man in his mid twenties who had barricaded himself in. IMPD called a negotiator to the scene knowing the man was armed with ammunition and one or two guns.
go here for more,0,5103736.story

Monday, September 28, 2009

Operation Open Arms: taking on the VA's work

Operation Open Arms: taking on the VA's work?
By Maggie Crane, WINK News

Story Created: Sep 28, 2009 at 6:08 PM EDT

Story Updated: Sep 28, 2009 at 6:27 PM EDT

Southwest Fla - Its job is to help veterans get the medical care they need, but a local non-profit says the VA is passing its work onto volunteers.

Since March Operation Open Arms has branched out from providing free vacations to veterans to something much more important -- getting free care for soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Founder John Bunch says word is spreading so fast that now the VA is calling on him for help.

His boat is his second home. Former Marine John Bunch often uses it to treat soldiers to a little R&R, but the captain soon noticed a new battle brewing back home: soldiers fighting PTSD and not getting the help they need. So Bunch rallied his own troops.

"There's no co-pay, there's no deductible, and we have 21 licensed, mental health pros that do this pro-bono," Bunch says.

Bunch says the goal was to offer an alternative for soldiers; not take over for the VA. He says a recent voice message on his machine is cause for concern.

"We were given your numbers through the VA Outpatient Clinic and were wondering if you could give us a call back," the caller says.
go here for more and for video

Two cents left, need donations

Things finally got cleared up today. If you make a donation to me from now on, please send it to the
PO Box 5922
Saginaw, MI 48603

I am a Charter of the IFOC. Their tax exempt number is 38-344-6353
Please make sure you have a note with Nam Guardian Angel on it so they know where the money goes.

I really appreciate any donation you can give.

Two cents left means, I didn't have much money in the first place but gave what I could. It wasn't so bad when I was working and had a paycheck to rely on. I also gave what I could with my time. It may be a tiny contribution to some, but I gave all I could. My videos, the blog, the website, the book and email help, all take time and as the saying goes, time is money. My time is up with no money left to hold me over.

I usually have about 90 subscribers. If each of them put in $10 a month, I would not have to find outside work and can stay working on the news they want to read, plus the rest. I'm sure you noticed how the postings have dropped. That's because I'm looking for a job and trying to find financial help. I know PTSD but have not really known how to do the rest of this and have lacked advice. The newer organizations want to be on their own and have no use for someone who has been a "pioneer" with over 25 years and way ahead of them. That's fine but it also means that all the work I've done is either being used freely or ignored. That doesn't pay my bills.

I have helped all the people who came to me and now I need your help.

If you know how I can get funding, please email me at

If you have an organization, the Charter issue is corrected now and the donations can be mailed to the IFOC with reference to Nam Guardian Angel
International Fellowship of Chaplains
PO Box 5922Saginaw, MI 48603
38-3446353 (501 c 3)

Stress management program helps soldiers with PTSD

Stress management program helps soldiers with PTSD
Program helps soldiers deal with severe stress, anger
By JENNIFER COX Story updated at 11:00 AM on Monday, Sep. 28, 2009

Army veteran Phil Bauer, 32, has never been shy. In fact, his bubbly personality rarely escapes notice and never fails to entertain.

"I always made the joke that I was glorified proof that bumbles bounce," Bauer laughed.

Even when he walks, it's hard to imagine Bauer in pain.

Yet the New York native suffered unimaginable losses while stationed in Iraq. First, he lost about 20 of his friends and colleagues, then his right leg and, finally, his career.

"I had all the time in [to be a] specialist, but they didn't want to promote an injured soldier," Bauer said.

In January, Bauer found he was not alone. He joined the Jacksonville-based TRACK program for injured soldiers hoping to get a college education and a fresh start with the help of APEX Performance techniques.

The APEX program trains participants to better manage stress and anger and increase their concentration. Bauer says he's proof of the program's power, saying it has helped him recover his positive outlook on life.

Turmoil and torment

In November 2003, an enemy missile hit Bauer's helicopter. After regaining consciousness, Bauer saw he was among the few who survived the attack.

"Outside of Fallujah, our helicopter was hit by a surface-to-air missile, and then gravity took effect, and a 150-foot bounce," he recalled. "When I woke up, my feet were trapped."

But, he said, that was "much better than some of the other people. I woke up."

Bauer's right leg was amputated, and he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. The newly discharged soldier plunged into a dark period of depression.

"I had spent almost five years basically trying to destroy myself in different ways," Bauer said. "It was just five years of turmoil and torment."
read more here
Stress management program helps soldiers with PTSD

Three Charged in Beating Caught on Video

CHICAGO (Sept. 28) - Prosecutors have charged three teenagers with first-degree murder in the beating death of a Chicago student who was walking home from school.
Family members believe the victim, 16-year-old Derrion Albert, was fatally beaten Thursday for refusing to join a gang. But some witnesses say he was a bystander who was swept into a violent fight.
Three Charged in Beating Caught on Video

Man meets fellow soldier whose life he helped save in Iraq

Man meets fellow soldier whose life he helped save in Iraq
By Karen Madden • Daily Tribune Staff • September 26, 2009

Paul Morrison didn't know how he'd react when he saw Robert Jackson on Friday.

They shared a life-changing day during the summer of 2003 in Baghdad, when Jackson lost his legs, but Morrison helped save his life. There aren't many people Jackson calls a hero, but Morrison is one of them.

On Friday -- the first time they truly met in person -- the two shared smiles, a handshake and a quick hug at Hotel Mead in Wisconsin Rapids. The moment didn't seem to require more than that.

In March 2003, Morrison, now a 43-year-old Grand Rapids resident and Adams County deputy, went to Iraq with his National Guard Unit, the Madison-based 32nd Military Police Company. Their mission: to train Iraqi police.
read more here
Man meets fellow soldier whose life he helped save in Iraq

What happens without veterans' courts

Please don't pass this by just because it comes from the UK. This is what happens when Veterans' courts are not there. It is what happened when Vietnam veterans came home too.

Veteran was discharged and jailed suffering from stress disorder
Case study: Mary Bowers

Danny McEneany, 37, had been home from Iraq for a year when he started seeing “terrorists” waiting outside his house, “staring through the patio window”.

A tip-off alerted the police to the gun he had acquired to protect himself. In December 2006 Mr McEneany was sentenced to five years in prison for possession of a firearm, despite the fact that in the interim he had been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and spent two months in a military hospital.

Before beginning his sentence he spent two nights under supervision in a military camp. “They said, ‘remember you’re a Royal Dragoon Guard.’ I thought: I’m not likely to forget.”

But Mr McEneany — formerly Sergeant — learnt of his discharge after 16 years of service from “a scrap of paper” sent to him post-hearing.

“They didn’t take my PTSD into account,” he said. “The judge said to me, ‘there are thousands who go through the same situation as yourself but they don’t act like you.’”

While in prison in Sussex and Wisley, he was never offered treatment for his condition. “If you go there with a drink problem you get help,” he said. “But prison is a dumping ground for those with mental issues.”

Mr McEneany found consolation in other ex-soldiers, both prisoners and officers. “They said ‘you’re ex-army and you’ll have no trouble here.’ We looked after each other.”
read more here

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Family health insurance premiums $13,375

I did accounting for a small company back in Massachusetts. Part of my job was the arduous task of negotiating the health insurance coverage for the employees. Each year we had to take a look at what companies were offering, what it would cost and what the employee would have to do without. It was never a matter of searching for better plans as it was searching to save what we could for the company and the employees.

Each year we had to tell them how their raise was going to have to pay for the increase the company had to make and then tell them they would have to pay more out of their paychecks for their share as well. A pay raise they were used to making ended up being a pay cut over health insurance. I have a problem with calling it healthcare coverage since it is not about taking care of their health, but about addressing an insurance company. They had no problem getting their doctors paid since they really liked their doctors, but making sure the insurance company was paid by eating away their raises, well, that was a different story.

This is something a lot of people just never stop to think about. It's not just a matter of the health insurance companies making a profit, they end up making a killing when you get right to the bottom of what's been allowed to happen.
Family health insurance premiums $13,375

MENLO PARK, Calif., Sept. 15 (UPI) -- An annual U.S. survey of non-federal private and public employers indicates most employers and employees are paying more for health insurance.

The Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust survey found in 2009, the average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance were $4,824 for single coverage and $13,375 for family coverage. Premiums for family coverage are 5 percent higher than last year, but there was no statistically significant growth in the single premiums.

Since 1999, average premiums for family coverage increased 131 percent while the average worker increase was 128 percent for the same period.
read more here
Family health insurance premiums

PTSD a wound to humans and not nation

While this is about German soldiers in Afghanistan, it just goes to show that PTSD does not know one nation from another. It only knows humans. The US has a bigger problem with troops and PTSD because we have more of them. It's as simple as that but also we don't take care of them any better than other nations take care of their own.

One Psychiatrist for 4,500 Troops
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Cases Rise in German Soliders in Afghanistan
The Germany armed forces' deployment in Afghanistan appears to be having an impact on soldiers' psyche. Several newspaper reports claim the number of cases of post-traumatic stress disorder is on the rise. And the Bundeswehr lacks psychiatrists to provide the necessary treatment.

The number of Bundeswehr soldiers affected by psychiatric problems has increased rapidly in recent months, with the number of those suffering from so-called post-traumatic stress disorder having risen particularly quickly, two German newspapers reported on Thursday.

Both of the dailies, the Rhein-Zeitung and the Süddeutsche Zeitung, referred to a request for information made to the defense affairs committee of the German federal parliament by politician Elke Hoff of the Free Democratic Party (FDP). "Up until now the government has neglected to do anything to better the psychological care and treatment of soldiers," she told the Süddeutschen Zeitung.

According to the newspapers, the number of soldiers suffering first symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder had risen by over 30 percent in the first six months of 2009. This resulted in a total of 163 cases. Last year, a total of 245 cases of the psychiatric disorder were reported in the military, with 226 of them occurring in Afghanistan. In 2006, only 55 soldiers were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. During the past six months, attacks on German forces in Aghanistan have risen.
read more here,1518,651015,00.html

Man set on fire after fight over beer, cigarettes, money

As bad as this story is, at least someone did try to help the man set on fire.

Man set on fire after fight over beer, cigarettes, money
The Associated Press

2:09 p.m. EDT, September 27, 2009
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida - Officials say a man's face was doused with gasoline and his body set on fire after a fight over beer, money and cigarettes Saturday afternoon.

EVAC Ambulance spokesman Mark O'Keefe says Dean Allen Fultz, 47, suffered "serious burns." Fultz was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center for treatment.

According to Daytona Beach police Chief Mike Chitwood, Fultz was drinking in a home's back yard when the fight broke out.
read more here
Man set on fire

Samaritans are helping in Hiram Georgia

Helping flood victims 1:29
Some good Samaritans are helping one Hiram, Georgia, family whose home was hit hard by floods. CNN's Catherine Callaway reports.

Helping Flood Victims

Vietnam MIA's remains return to his family

Remains of soldier killed in 1965 come home

The Associated Press
Posted : Sunday Sep 27, 2009 12:26:27 EDT

OMAHA, Neb. — The remains of a soldier who has been missing since a 1965 helicopter crash in South Vietnam have been returned to Nebraska.

A casket containing Spc. Donald Grella’s body was flown from Hawaii to Omaha on Sept. 26. Grella’s sister, Shirley Haase of Omaha, accompanied his remains.

Haase learned in July that Grella’s body was among the remains found at a helicopter crash site near An Khe, Vietnam, in 2006.
read more here

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Clergy abuse victims suffering after settlements

Clergy abuse victims suffering after settlements
Chris Carlson / AP
Money was meant to heal, but for the most deeply scarred, the checks have instead made things far worse. Virginia and Frank Zamora, with a picture of their son, Dominic.
LOS ANGELES - David Guerrero lies curled like a small child in bed, his teeth chattering and his fever spiked at 104 degrees. He has left his room only once since he crawled home from his latest crystal meth binge three days ago, to let his mother drive him to the emergency room for his soaring temperature.

Now, Minerva Guerrero hovers close to her 41-year-old son, making a mental list of the day ahead: she must change his bed linens, nurse him, pick up his new prescriptions.

Sixty miles away and days later, Dominic Zamora rages at his father, who suspects he bought a house in someone else's name. You're not my father, Dominic screams. You just want my money. When the 36-year-old finally calls his parents three weeks later, he is drunk and angry at the world — and most especially, at them.

Full story

Iraq Veteran and Advocate passed away after surgery

Obituary: Ryan Job was a spokesman for wounded veterans
Ryan Job, who grew up in Issaquah, died Thursday morning after major reconstructive surgery in Phoenix. He was 28.

Blinded by a sniper's bullet in Iraq, Ryan Job retained his characteristic determination and persistence. He climbed Mount Rainier, trained for a triathlon and became a spokesman for an organization that helps wounded veterans transition to civilian life.

"He didn't back down from any challenge," said a friend, Tyler Lein, of Scottsdale, Ariz.

Mr. Job, who grew up in Issaquah, died Thursday morning after major reconstructive surgery at Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix. He was 28.

Mr. Job's younger brother, Aaron, served three tours of duty in Iraq with the Marines. The Seattle Times profiled the Job family during Aaron Job's deployments in 2003 and 2004.
read more here

One couple's health care story

You can try to pass off my feelings, my words, what I post, as just being about a Chaplain, but you'd be wrong. I felt this way long before I became one.

I felt this way when my brother was still alive and each time he lost his job, he had to worry about healthcare for his family. The last time he lost his job, it cost him his life. Less than a week after he was let go, he died of a massive heart attack. He was 56.

I felt this way when my Mom, after spending most of her life working and saving, ended up seeing most of what she earned gone to pay for the nursing home she would spend the last months of her life in.

I've felt this way all my life, that this is wrong when some people can get the medical care they need to stay as healthy as possible but others can't even afford to go to the emergency room when something minor turned into something deadly.

Here are some stories.

Maxed out: One couple's health care story
'Nothing's in my hands. Nothing.'

Helga Kenny and her husband John spent half a century planning for retirement. Now he's had a stroke, and she's left to figure out how to care for him — they had health insurance, but his benefits ran out. First in a series of three stories.
Special report: Maxed out — insured, but not covered
PolitiFact: Keeping the health care plan debate honest

Now we can all stay angry, then end up putting ourselves in someone's place. We can keep saying we have it and their on their own, until we end up turning into "them" suddenly and wondering how the hell we're supposed to pay for an operation we didn't expect or for pills we can't afford. We can all keep shouting but in the end, the people making the money off our suffering are the ones we end up taking care of instead of each other. They won't care if you're the one standing in line for help next year. Plus one more thing is that while we work hard for our pay, we end up seeing raises go to pay for heath insurance and not real healthcare. When you look at it the way it really is, defending companies against humans needing medical care, just doesn't really make a lot of sense.

Vietnam War Vets Finally Get Their Homecoming

Vietnam War Vets Finally Get Their Homecoming, A Day in Their Honor

Posted: Sep 25, 2009 07:55 PM EDT

By Nathan Baca, News Channel 3 Reporter

TWENTYNINE PALMS - California is giving Vietnam Veterans their due.

Friday at the Twentynine Palms Marine Base, Governor Schwarzenegger signed a bill creating "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day."

"We are gathering this morning to say to our Vietnam Veterans what should have been said a long time ago: Welcome home, welcome home, welcome home," said the governor.

Nearly 6,000 Californians were killed in Vietnam, but for those who came home alive, airport homecomings were often hostile.

Veteran Ralph Ford recalls, "We had to walk past the chain link fence into customs inspection. We were spat on and called all kinds of foul names. This day, today, is long, long overdue."
go here for more
Vietnam War Vets Finally Get Their Homecoming

Vets waiting for education benefits will get emergency funds

Vets waiting for education benefits will get emergency funds
Story Highlights
Backlog in tuition payments forces VA to authorize millions in emergency funds

VA estimates 75,000 veterans are eligible for the emergency funds

Delayed payments makes vets fear they may have to drop out of school

By Adam Levine

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A backlog in processing education benefits has forced the Department of Veterans Affairs to authorize millions of dollars in emergency funds for veterans who need the cash to pay for school

The department announced Friday that it will issue up to $3,000 to students who have yet to receive the funds that the VA's various education bills -- including the recently passed Post-9/11 GI Bill -- provide to help veterans pay for college.

"This is an extraordinary action we're taking," VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said in a statement. "But it's necessary because we recognize the hardships some of our Veterans face."

The VA estimates there are 75,000 veterans eligible for the emergency funds, including 25,000 veterans who have served since September 11.

VA statistics show more than 27,500 vets have already received benefits for housing or books under the new Post-9/11 GI Bill, and hundreds of thousands more have gotten benefits under its other programs.
read more here

Friday, September 25, 2009

Neighbors help rescue man from Renton house fire

Neighbors help rescue man from Renton house fire
RENTON — Neighbors heard cries for help, broke a window and helped a firefighter rescue a man from a burning home near Renton in the Lake Desire area.

By The Associated Press

RENTON — Neighbors heard cries for help, broke a window and helped a firefighter rescue a man from a burning home near Renton in the Lake Desire area.

The man reportedly suffered burns on his back today and was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle in critical condition.

Neighbor Nick Vacca is a former firefighter and had turned a garden hose on the fire with his son Nick Vacca Jr. after they discovered it about 4 a.m. When they saw their neighbor at a window they broke it and pulled out the man, who is in his 60s.

Firefighters called a second alarm on the fire because of rough terrain and little access to water.
Neighbors help rescue man from Renton house fire

Vets may get $3,000 GI Bill check by Oct. 2

Vets may get $3,000 GI Bill check by Oct. 2

By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Sep 25, 2009 21:54:12 EDT

Faced with growing criticism from delays in paying GI Bill benefits, Veterans’ Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki has ordered an unprecedented $3,000 one-time payment in advance benefits that could be available as early as Oct. 2.

Exactly where to pick up the checks will depend on unannounced details.

In some cases, checks will be picked up at the nearest VA regional benefits office. In other cases, VA officials will be on the campus of schools that are either far from a regional office or that have a large population of student veterans, VA officials said in a statement.
read more here

We all have to laugh:Beyonce has baby dancing

All the Single Babies: If You Like it, Then You Shoulda Put a Bib on it
by Susan Avery
All the Single Babies

Soldier reaches out to veterans suffering from PTSD

Soldier reaches out to veterans suffering from PTSD

By Joyce Kelly/Daily News staff
Daily News Tribune
Posted Sep 24, 2009 @ 01:20 AM

NEWTON — Pulling a photo of a young infantryman out of his pocket, retired Brigade Command Sgt. Major Samuel Rhodes explained, "He is the reason I do this."

He carries the picture with him everywhere, the picture of the young man who killed himself on July 28, 2009, suffering from depression after serving in the war.

Rhodes, who served 30 months in Iraq over three years, understands all too well - intense guilt and anxiety about surviving the war, while so many "kids" in his unit did not, almost cost Rhodes his life, he said.

"I watched 21 of my fellow soldiers die, and every time one died - if you care at all about life - it has an effect on you," Rhodes said.

Overwrought with the feeling that he was actually responsible for traumatic events, which he later realized he had no control over, Rhodes was preparing to kill himself in April 2007, he said.

"I've got all kinds awards and medals, you name it. You'd think I'm invincible, but I'm human," Rhodes said.

"I was a walking zombie ready to die."

Somehow, a single thought of reaching out to a friend interrupted the barrage of thoughts that he had no reason to live. That thought saved his life, he recalled as he spoke to a group of veterans and their loved ones, as well as state Rep. Carolyn Dykema, D-Holliston, during a presentation on helping veterans cope with post-traumatic stress at the Marriott Hotel in Newton last night.
read more here
Soldier reaches out to veterans suffering from PTSD

It is not their burden, it is our's

It is not their burden, it is our's

Chaplain Kathie

When we send them to get onto planes, do we think our job is done because we showed up? So did they. They showed up. Their job is just beginning but our's is never really begun at all.

When they come home, we may stand in line complaining about having to wait so long for them to come by, but what exactly is the weight of our burden? The wait itself? What did we do between the time they left and the time we stood there to welcome them home? Anything? Did we go back to our jobs, homes and lives never giving more than a passing thought to them in Iraq, Afghanistan or any other part of the world?

We managed to complain a lot about the Vietnam veterans and how they were treated so poorly, but we are still doing it. The difference is, we are just not as obvious with our apathy.

Build them a monument here and there, give them a party and call it their "welcome home" celebration, thinking we have now done our part, but then pass them by on the streets because they are begging for handouts. Judge them and never once allow our brain to contemplate how they went from risking their lives in Vietnam to homeless on our streets for the last thirty years.

It was not their burden to carry when they came home. It was our's but we never even thought about it or them. We still don't. We spent hours on signs to protest war in Iraq and supporting the war in Iraq, but did we make one single sign to protest the lack of care the wounded were receiving or support programs that were started by average citizens paying attention to do for them what the government refused to do? No we didn't. We argued with people on the other side, but did we ever once argue with them over anything that really mattered to them? Anything that was non-political was not allowed because everything became political. People too sides against each other and neither side was taking the side of the troops alone.

This was our burden and still is. It is our burden that they come home and commit suicide because they are not getting what they need to heal. 18 veterans a day commit suicide and 10,000 attempt it every year. This is not counting the active military also committing suicide because they are not getting what they need to heal. They are our burden.

They are showing up back home, wounded, no jobs, no income, trapped in the VA system without compensation and ending up homeless. They are our burden.

Stop allowing them to carry all the burden all the time all by themselves. It's time to do our part for their sake or just stop saying we do. It's better to be obviously oblivious than claim we are caring but still ignoring them.

U.S. seeing more female homeless veterans

Sgt. Angela Peacock is seen in 2004, after she returned to the United States from duty in Iraq.

U.S. seeing more female homeless veterans
Story Highlights
VA: Percentage of homeless female veterans growing faster than male veterans

Female Iraq war vet blames wartime trauma for her PTSD and near-homelessness

Unemployment among post-9/11 vets has nearly doubled, to 11.3 percent

VA secretary vows to end homelessness among vets in five years

By Thom Patterson

(CNN) -- When Iraq war veteran Angela Peacock is in the shower, she sometimes closes her eyes and can't help reliving the day in Baghdad in 2003 that pushed her closer to the edge.

While pulling security detail for an Army convoy stuck in gridlocked traffic, Peacock's vehicle came alongside a van full of Iraqi men who "began shouting that they were going to kill us," she said.

One man in the vehicle was particularly threatening. "I can remember his eyes looking at me," she said. "I put my finger on the trigger and aimed my weapon at the guy, and my driver is screaming at me to stop."

"I was really close to shooting at them, but I didn't."

Now back home in Missouri, Peacock, 30, is unemployed -- squatting without a lease in a tiny house in a North St. Louis County neighborhood.

She points to the Baghdad confrontation as a major contributor to her struggles with drug abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. She says she's one step away from living on the street.
read more here

This is one of the videos I made on female veterans. I have a DVD with five videos on it for female veterans. As always, the videos are free online from my blog here and on my website at but I do ask for a donation if you want a DVD sent to you. If you are having a hard time getting people to understand what PTSD is, or why women have it at higher rates than males do, these videos can help you explain it to them. Suggested donation for this DVD set is $30.00. You can email me at or use the paypal button on the sidebar.

Siblings of troops often are forgotten mourners

Siblings of troops often are forgotten mourners

By Kimberly Hefling - The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Sep 24, 2009 16:38:39 EDT

WASHINGTON — The photo tells one story: brothers Chad and Ian Weikel, all smiles, arms around each other on Ian’s wedding day. The tattoos now on Chad’s forearms tell another — about his anguish over his brother’s death in Iraq.

Words like “rage,” “alone” and “fury” are interwoven in the tattoos along with the likeness of Capt. Ian Weikel, a West Point graduate. Chad, 32, says his older brother’s death in 2006 put him on a path that led to divorce and a decision to enlist in the Army Reserves. He recently moved from Colorado Springs, Colo., to Washington for a fresh start after a car crash kept him from starting basic training.

“It got pretty dark after all the services and all the family and friends stopped coming by,” says Weikel. “We were very close. I miss him every day.”

Weikel is one of the wars’ forgotten mourners, the brothers and sisters of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unlike a parent or a spouse, they don’t typically get the knock at the door notifying them of a sibling’s death. At a time when they, too, are grieving, they find themselves doing the comforting, writing the thank you notes, mediating family disputes.

On Friday, about 100 siblings and their spouses are meeting in Las Vegas for a weekend retreat organized by Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, a Washington-based nonprofit that offers support to anyone who lost a loved one in the Armed Forces.

TAPS says there are thousands of surviving siblings from the recent wars. A majority are in their 20s or 30s — a time when many are starting careers and families.

There have been divorces and suicide attempts among siblings taking part in an online private support group facilitated by TAPS, says Ami Neiberger-Miller, 38, a spokeswoman for the organization. Her own brother, Army Spc. Christopher Neiberger, 22, of Gainesville, Fla., died in Iraq in 2007.
read more here

Thursday, September 24, 2009

St. Petersburg firefighters accidentally run over victim

St. Petersburg firefighters accidentally run over victim they were sent to help
By Jamal Thalji, Times staff writer
Posted: Sep 24, 2009 05:36 PM

ST. PETERSBURG — The callers to 911 Thursday afternoon said there was a man bleeding from the face near the fire station. Two firefighters piled into Rescue 5 to go help him. They opened the garage bay door, turned on the emergency lights and pulled forward.

Then they heard a "thump."

The firefighters accidentally ran over the very person they were sent to help.

"They never even saw him," said St. Petersburg Fire Rescue Lt. Joel Granata.

Authorities said the man who was run over is Ted Allen Lenox, a 41-year-old homeless man. He suffered life-threatening injuries and was at Bayfront Medical Center Thursday night.

read more here
St. Petersburg firefighters accidentally run over victim

Where was Glenn Beck when Spc. Douglas Barber killed himself?

It is a question many of us have been asking, but not getting any answers. We listened as they debated, tried to play a game of whose who in the patriotic games that never seemed to really make any points other than people were pissed off. Not about Iraq or Afghanistan, just pissed off at the other side. Some people had valid points and truly motivated by what they believed, but the rest, were just a bunch of hacks running around the country trying to dump their own bad moods onto someone else's shoulders.

People like Beck fed on it. He showed up at rallies just like the one he mentioned tonight as I was channel suffering and wondering what he was talking about. The truth is, he never once mentioned how our "troops" which he was just too lazy to use the words of Soldier, Marine, Sailor, Airman or National Guardsman, were committing suicide when they were supposed to be back home, safe and sound with their families.

Oh, he couldn't be bothered to read a tiny insignificant blog like this one or my older one, but take a peek and see what was on this one post. I did it for research on the video I made, Death Because They Served, because of the numbers of suicides people like Beck were just ignoring.

Non-combat deaths-Non caring media

April 5, 2007
1/25/2007 JUSTIN BAILEY 27 CALIFORNIA OVERDOSE Iraq war veteran Justin Bailey checked himself in to the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center just after Thanksgiving. Among the first wave of Marines sent into battle, the young rifleman had been diagnosed since his return with posttraumatic stress disorder and a groin injury. Now, Bailey acknowledged to his family and a friend, he needed immediate treatment for his addiction to prescription and street drugs."We were so happy," said his stepmother, Mary Kaye Bailey, 41. "We were putting all of our faith into those doctors."On Jan. 25, Justin Bailey got prescriptions filled for five medications, including a two-week supply of the potent painkiller methadone, according to his medical records. A day later, he was found dead of an apparent overdose in his room at a VA rehabilitation center on the hospital grounds. He was 27

Spc. Doug Barber: One Year After His Tragic Suicide-Unaired Interviews by Jay Shaft Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2007 at 7:39 PM Two previously unreleased audio interviews with Spc. Douglas Barber, who served in Iraq with the Ohio National Guard. Released to commemorate the one year anniversary of his suicide due to untreated PTSD and overwhelming mental trauma. Interviews conducted by Jay Shaft: Editor-In-Chief/Executive Investigative Editor Thought Bomb Radio- Shock and Awe For the Mind Radio Hour/Coalition For Free Thought In Media 1-16-2006

Last month, on December 16, 2005, Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran Spc. Douglas Barber was my guest on my radio talk show. He said he'd been diagnosed with PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) and despite receiving some help from the V.A., was still having trouble getting his life back together. Yesterday, one month later, on January 16, 2006, I received an email from a listener who'd been exchanging emails with Douglas since his appearance on my show. Douglas has just sent him an email that troubled the listener. Douglas said he no longer had anything to live for, and was getting ready to "check out of this world." My wife immediately called Douglas and left a message on his cell phone. She also called the Montgomery Police Department in Alabama. At the start of the 3rd hour of my program last night, I received an email from one of Douglas's friends, who told me that Douglas had committed suicide earlier that afternoon. Today I was able to confirm his suicide with the Opelika, Alabama Police Department. The officer in charge of the investigation told me that it had happened with officers on the scene trying to talk Douglas out of it. The officer told me Douglas took his gun, fired one shot, and killed himself.

Spc. Rusty W. Bell 21 Company A, 603rd Aviation Support Battalion, Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division Pocahontas, Arkansas Died of non-combat related injuries in Taji, Iraq, on August 12, 2005 Similarly, Army Spec. Rusty W. Bell, 21, of Pocahontas, Ark., showed signs of combat stress after his first deployment to the Middle East in 2003 as a member of the Army National Guard, said his mother, Darlene Gee. When he came home in April 2004, he enlisted in the Army and was sent back to Iraq in early 2005."He saw tons of combat that first time, and I think it affected him," Gee said. "I never asked him about it straight-out, but he said a few things that stick with me. He said, `Mom, I wish they'd just nuke the entire place. I know I would die, but at least I would die for a reason.' I said, `Bub, don't talk like that.'"I thought they shouldn't have sent him back so soon," she said. "Let him have a normal life for a while, after what he'd been through."An autopsy report on Bell's death concludes that he shot himself last August, with witnesses saying he was "distraught over family problems." Gee said she was not aware that her son, who was married, was having any significant personal problems.

But as long as people like Beck get to say they support the troops and wave a flag, that's all they feel obligated to do. Isn't it?

What do people like Beck know about Vietnam veterans anyway? What does he know about what it was like for them to come home to a nation worse than ambivalent? That is what they got from us. They went to the American Legion halls and the VFW posts looking for some kind of support, but were told they didn't belong there. They were not welcomed there either. But Beck forgets that part.

What does he know about what it was like for them to go to the VA because their lives were falling apart, their wives wanted divorces, their kids hated them and they were about to lose yet another job because they couldn't find a way to sleep without having a nightmare walk them up, drain them of all energy and then have to deal with the daytime nightmares called flashbacks? Does Beck know what it was like for them to go thru any of this? No, it's easier to just focus on what was obviously done against the Vietnam veterans because then he can feel oh so noble.

It's really funny when you think about it. At least the anti-war people didn't try to hide how they felt about the Vietnam veterans, but people like Beck hid it rather well. Much like what's been going on in congress for the last 8 years as the death counts from suicides and attempted suicides went up but people in congress decided that taking care of our veterans was just not worth it politically when they could sucker them in just by claiming they supported them.

We keep hearing that we should do this, or we should do that, to really show that we are patriotic, but that's not the way it should be measured. We should take care of our veterans in the first place by never making them "troops" in combat unless it is absolutely necessary for our security instead of just being claimed to be. We do it by making sure when they are sent, they have everything they need from equipment to the plans to do it and win it. There has to be a end game so that no one will ever scratch their heads wondering if it's over or not. Then we do it by making sure they come home and never, ever, have to fight to have their wounds taken care of. That's how you do it. You don't do it with telling people to get rid of their flags or stain them with tea! You don't do it by tossing a frog into boiling water and wonder why it didn't do what it was supposed to do and you surely don't do it by avoiding any reporting on what is going on with them if it happens to look badly on someone you voted for!

People like Beck have a golden opportunity right now to bitch, moan and complain all they want about President Obama and actually make a difference by reporting on the numbers of suicides and attempted suicides among veterans as well as the "troops" but first he needs to be brought up to speed on the fact the VA numbers are different than the DOD and their numbers usually don't include totals from the Army, the Marines, Air Force or the Navy. He won't have a clue. Then he will also need to know that if he does report on what is happening to our "troops" that their backlog of claims is almost a million and that also means they are not receiving any paychecks, he'll also have report on the fact that this all started under Bush and people like him ignored all of it!

I doubt he'd do it. He would actually have to admit it and humble himself, but since we've seen him cry on his show, he should have no trouble finding the motivation to shed a tear or two for the men and women who should still be here instead of in the ground because we ignored their suffering.

When they all come out, on both sides, claiming to be patriotic, ask them where they were when some of the people on the above list were killing themselves waiting to really matter.

Stand off at VA hospital ends, son charged with murder of parents

Couple shot to death in West Side home
Barricade suspect in custody after 7-hour standoff

By Carlos Sadovi, Annie Sweeney and Dan Simmons

Tribune reporters

September 24, 2009

They were a father and son who lived, worked and fished together, two members of a close-knit family raised with "traditional Southern values."

But on Tuesday when Joe Washington refused his 53-year-old son's request for money -- knowing he had already burned through several hundred dollars on his cocaine habit -- he turned on him, police say.

The son, who has no criminal background, allegedly shot to death his 79-year-old father and mother, Johnnie Washington, 77, in their West Side home, several police sources said. No charges were filed by Wednesday evening.

The son fled the home in the 2200 block of South Kildare Avenue and allegedly confessed to the double murder in a 911 call to a police dispatcher, the sources said. Hours later, he walked into the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center with a gun to his head and again allegedly confessed to an employee that he had killed his parents, the sources said.

He barricaded himself in the hospital for seven hours before surrendering without a struggle to members of the Chicago Police Department's SWAT team about 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Members of the Washington family confirmed their brother was in custody. They vowed they would not abandon him.

"I want it clear. He is not a monster," the Rev. Mansa Kenyatta said as he fought back tears as he spoke of his brother. "He's still my brother, and we still love him. Our mother wouldn't want us to disown him."
read more here,0,7341558.story

Family of soldier murdered in car wants answers

Family of soldier killed wants answers
Posted: Sep 23, 2009 7:40 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 23, 2009 7:49 PM EDT

By Don Logana

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The family of Damion Reese, a Hunter Army Airfield soldier shot and killed last week, wants answers. Police discovered the murder after Reese's car collided with another car late last Thursday night at the intersection of Montgomery Street and 40th Street.

The family is struggling with what has happened. At a memorial service on Hunter Army Airfield Wednesday, fellow soldiers described Damion Reese as a father figure, an old soul, with a way with words. His family wants to know who took Damion away from them.

"We're saddened," said Shari Reese, Damion Reese's aunt. "We're disappointed. We're angry.We're hurt. This is my sister's son, my mother's grandson slash son, my nephew. He was pretty much the cornerstone of our family."

Reese's aunt and cousin sat before the media on the day they laid the Hunter Army Airfield soldier to rest.

"He joined the military because he wanted to do something differently with his life," said Shari Reese.

Reese's life was cut short by what was first thought to be an accident which quickly developed into a murder scene. Police found Reese's body inside his Toyota Camry.

"The fact he was murdered by someone who probably he would have tried and help, the fact he is an active duty soldier, someone thought so little of his life is very disheartening," Shari told WTOC.
go here for more

Four police officers, suspect shot in New Jersey raid

Four police officers, suspect shot in New Jersey raid
Story Highlights
Police officers shot in raid for firearms and narcotics in Lakewood, New Jersey

Suspect also wounded after officers return fire, official says

Lakewood is about 70 miles south of New York
(CNN) -- Four police officers and a suspect were shot in a raid for firearms and narcotics early Thursday in central New Jersey, a local prosecutor's office said.

The officers from the Lakewood Police Department's tactical unit were shot upon entering the property and returned fire, hitting suspect Jamie Gonzalez, said Ocean County Deputy Chief Prosecutor Michael Mohel.

Gonzalez, 39, received multiple gunshot wounds and is in critical but stable condition, Mohel said.
read more here
Four police officers, suspect shot in New Jersey raid

Male breast cancer patients blame water at Marine base

Male breast cancer patients blame water at Marine base
Story Highlights
20 people, all Marines or sons of Marines, have had male breast cancer

Each lived at Camp Lejeune between the 1960s and 1980s

"We all at some point in our lives drank the water at Camp Lejeune," one says

Marine Corps says two studies found no link to "adverse health effects
From Abbie Boudreau and Scott Bronstein
CNN Special Investigations Unit

Editor's note: This is part one of a two-part series.

Jim Fontella was based at Camp Lejeune in 1966 and 1967. He was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998.

TAMPA, Florida (CNN) -- The sick men are Marines, or sons of Marines. All 20 of them were based at or lived at Camp Lejeune, the U.S. Marine Corps' training base in North Carolina, between the 1960s and the 1980s.

They all have had breast cancer -- a disease that strikes fewer than 2,000 men in the United States a year, compared with about 200,000 women. Each has had part of his chest removed as part of his treatment, along with chemotherapy, radiation or both.

And they blame their time at Camp Lejeune, where government records show drinking water was contaminated with high levels of toxic chemicals for three decades, for their illnesses.

"We come from all walks of life," said Mike Partain, the son and grandson of Marines, who was born on the base 40 years ago. "And some of us have college degrees, some of us have blue-collar jobs. We are all over the country. And what is our commonality? Our commonality is that we all at some point in our lives drank the water at Camp Lejeune. Go figure."
read more here

Retired trooper warned census worker to 'be careful'

Retired trooper warned census worker to 'be careful'

The census worker found hanged with "fed" scrawled on his chest was apparently warned beforehand by a retired state trooper that "he might meet up with some folks who aren't too fond of people from the government showing up on their doorsteps," according to Ted Werbin, news director for WHAS radio in Louisville, Kentucky.

A "law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss the case and requested anonymity, did not say what type of instrument was used to write the word on the chest of Bill Sparkman, a 51-year-old part-time Census field worker and teacher," the AP reports. "He was found Sept. 12 in a remote patch of the Daniel Boone National Forest in rural southeast Kentucky."
read more here
Retired trooper warned census worker to be careful

Vietnam veterans have earned our assistance and our thanks

Guest view: Vietnam veterans have earned our assistance and our thanks
By Sen. Kathleen Vinehout

Last Saturday I was honored to participate in the annual Vietnam Veteran Appreciation Gathering in Altoona, Wis. Veterans from around northern and western Wisconsin gathered to share camaraderie and memories. The day, sponsored by Thuy Smith and her husband, Steve, was particularly special as we celebrated the creation of a new law to honor and remember Vietnam veterans.

All who attended were invited to speak about their experiences. Listening to each other was an opportunity to share and to heal. As I listened, I learned the Internet and DNA samples have become useful tools in finding fellow veterans, locating Amerasian children and finding those still missing or killed in action.

But mostly I learned making connections and telling stories can heal.

One veteran described how, upon his return home, his family was instructed to always change the subject when he brought up Vietnam. “They treated me like I was on a fishing trip,” he said. Years later, the man finally had the opportunity to share his experiences.

Another vet talked about how he loved to hunt and fish. “When I returned,” he said, “I found I could never kill any thing again.”

Many of the men were Army veterans. But one man who spoke served in the U.S. Air Force. “For years I felt guilty,” he choked on his words. “You guys were down there fighting and dying. I was high above you. So far removed.”

One of his Army brothers stood up and said, “Don’t you feel guilty man! You and your Air Force buddies saved my life so many times. I was never so happy as to hear you in the air!”
read more here

Afghanistan war hero and Military Cross soldier was tortured by guilt

Brave: Sergeant Michael Lockett receives the Military Cross from the Queen at Buckingham Palace, for services in Afghanistan

Afghanistan war hero and Military Cross soldier was tortured by guilt
By Michael Seamark
Last updated at 8:52 AM on 24th September 2009

His unflinching bravery in saving wounded comrades under fire earned him the Military Cross but, astonishingly, Sergeant Michael Lockett was later racked with guilt.

The 29-year-old hero - who repeatedly risked his life for others - was killed this week by a roadside bomb during a return tour to Afghanistan.

But before his final mission the father of three gave a series of haunting interviews in which he spoke of his despair at having to leave one dead colleague behind.

read more here
Afghanistan war hero and Military Cross soldier was tortured by guilt

Agony and courage of hero in mourning
The Military Cross hero killed by the Taliban after returning to front line

Lasting, unseen trauma, PTSD and TBI

BASE NEWS: Lasting, unseen trauma

Forum widens health focus to hidden war injuries

By Susan Oliver Nelson BASE NEWS

Hundreds of uniformed service members, administration leaders, legislators, health professionals, wounded warriors, family members and concerned citizens gathered in Alexandria last week for the Defense Forum Washington to discuss the unseen injuries of war. The topics included post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and progress on various pilot projects designed to improve support for wounded service members.

The one-day forum was hosted by the Military Officers Association of America, the nation's largest association of officers, and the U.S. Naval Institute.

"How do we create a system throughout America that recognizes these needs?" Adm. Mullen asked. "How do we convert the research [on post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury] to make it work? We need solutions which are evident and [to] take those and implement them."

Adm. Mullen stated that he is committed to preventing a repeat of what occurred after the Vietnam War.

"You know, I am a Vietnam veteran. I swore when this war started, not having any idea where I'd end up, and believe me, not expecting to be in this job, that I would do all I could to avoid generating another generation of homeless veterans as we did ... coming out of Vietnam and we still, decades later ... we've not met that challenge for them.

"Shame on us if we don't figure it out this time around," Adm. Mullen said. "We can't do it alone. These are America's citizens who are going off and doing our country's bidding without question, and we owe them. This is a debt, and it needs to be the first check we write."

read more here

Lasting, unseen trauma

Army dad, son take on Taliban

Pfc. Martin Miller, left, and his dad, Sgt. 1st Class Martin Miller, serve in the same Army squadron in Afghanistan.

Army dad, son take on Taliban; mom worries
Story Highlights
The Millers, father-and-son soldiers, serve in the same squadron in Afghanistan

Fort Bragg-based brigade is among first to train Afghan forces against Taliban

"I've had mortars come within 20 meters ... I should have been dead," dad says

"Navy brat" mom co-leads Army support group to distract her from fears
By Thom Patterson

FORT BRAGG, North Carolina (CNN) -- Marylisa Miller has spent much of her two decades as an Army wife bracing for the worst. But now the pressure is higher, as both her husband and their 20-year-old son are serving together in Afghanistan.

It's rare, but not unheard of: Sgt. 1st Class Martin Miller and his son Pfc. Martin Miller have deployed as part of the same squadron of about 500 soldiers.

Their brigade -- based at North Carolina's Fort Bragg -- is among the first specifically assigned to train Afghan security and military forces.

"If the phone rings in the middle of the night, I answer it no matter what," said Mary Lisa Miller. "You never know. It could be the last call."
read more hereArmy dad son take on Taliban

PTSD wrenches service member's heart, home

This never gets any easier. I still get weepy when I read accounts from other families, other veterans and more people suffering from PTSD. It still is infuriating when there are some fools claiming PTSD is not real and the veterans with PTSD are just looking for a free ride. They wouldn't last a week in the shoes of just one of our families.

There are different levels of the hell we live with just as there are different levels of PTSD itself. PTSD receives different levels of rating from the VA according to, or supposedly according to, the depth of the pain and how many different aspects it changes. It hit every aspect of my husband's life, thus, our entire family lived with PTSD.

If you want to read about our life go here and look for free book. I wrote it when no one was talking about PTSD and it was published in 2002. You can also find the videos I made to help you understand it too.

By Rob Curtis, Military Times

Sgt. Loyd Sawyer, a medically retired Army veteran suffering from PTSD, has experienced vivid flashbacks, nightmares and a strong sense of guilt.

PTSD wrenches service member's heart, home

By Kelly Kennedy, Military Times
Sgt. Loyd Sawyer joined the Army to bring honor to death.

For years, he had worked as a funeral home director. His children learned that death was part of the normal cycle of life — that it's good to mourn for a loved one and there was no reason to fear the bodies their daddy embalmed in a workroom of their home.

But then he spent six months working at the morgue at Dover Air Force Base, Del. And then six more months in mortuary affairs at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

After that, Loyd no longer saw death as part of a natural cycle.

The faces of dead troops began to haunt his every minute. Awake. Asleep. Some charred or shattered, some with faces he recognized from life, some in parts.

Once, after an aircraft crash, Loyd spent 82 hours lining up bodies side by side, the burnt remains still so hot they melted through the plastic body bags.

He took the images home with him, each of the dead competing for space in his mind. He spent hours crying on his family room floor, weeping as his dog Sophie licked away his tears, the only living comfort he could bear.

He retreated as his sons sought hugs and his wife, Andrea, looked for the snuggles they had once shared daily, hourly. He lashed out with angry words. He had known Andrea since they were 16. Now he couldn't touch her.

They'd never understand what he had been through. No one would, he thought.

Loyd was living a nightmare. Now his family was living one, too.


Exposure to combat can spark several mental health diagnoses, and often they appear together. For example, people who have post-traumatic stress disorder often also suffer from depression or substance abuse. Here is a breakdown of common PTSD symptoms and diagnoses, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders:

A person is exposed to a traumatic event in which he experienced, witnessed or was confronted with death, serious injury, or the threat of death or serious injury.

The trauma caused a person to feel intense fear, helplessness or horror.

The trauma is re-experienced through nightmares, flashbacks or replays of the event. The person also avoids things that remind him of the event, which can cause emotional numbing. The person may refuse to talk about the trauma, avoid places and people that remind him of the event, be unable to remember the whole event, stop participating in activities, or feel estranged from friends or family, even feel incapable of love.

A person may also have difficulty sleeping; be irritable, jumpy or nervous, prone to outbursts of anger, or unable to concentrate; or feel constantly alert for danger.

If those symptoms last for less than a month, the diagnosis is acute stress disorder. If they persist for more than a month, the diagnosis is PTSD.

If the symptoms last fewer than three months, the diagnosis is acute PTSD; longer than three months, it is chronic PTSD. If a person does not develop symptoms until at least six months after being exposed to trauma, the diagnosis is delayed-onset PTSD.

PTSD is one of a number of anxiety disorders that cause people to always feel worried and tense, even when they are safe or in a stress-free situation, and the disorder also comes with physical symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, muscle aches and other problems.

As many as one-third of people diagnosed with PTSD try to numb their pain and bad memories by abusing drugs and alcohol, leading to substance-abuse disorder.

-Kelly Kennedy, Military Times

read more here

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mother recalls night flood changed everything

Mother recalls night flood changed everything
Story Highlights
Flash flood rips family home off foundation and leaves 2-year-old boy dead

Mother clings to tree for six hours, clasping her other son to her chest

A serene creek was transformed into an 18-foot-deep torrent

A community rallies around the family, trying to make sense of it all

By Jessica Ravitz

CARROLLTON, Georgia (CNN) -- A clanking noise woke Bridgett Crawford after midnight on Monday. She was sleeping on the couch with her 1-year-old son, Cooper, as rain pounded their mobile home off Horsley Mill Road near Snake Creek.

Where was this strange sound coming from? Bridgett got up and stepped into the kitchen -- where water covered her feet. Peering outside, she saw one of the family's cars half-submerged.

As Bridgett rushed around the home, her husband, Craig, came out of the bedroom, where he'd fallen asleep with their other son, 2-year-old Preston Slade. They looked in the boys' room. It was flooded.

Bridgett placed a frantic call to Craig's parents, who live just up the hill. "You have to come get us!" she told them. Within two minutes, the young mother and father had thrown clothes on their boys, and they were ready to escape. Bridgett looked outside again and watched as floodwater whisked the car away.
read more here
Mother recalls night flood changed everything

Victim in fiery crash arrested hours before for DUI

Victim in fiery crash arrested hours before for DUI
By KOMO Staff SEATAC, Wash. -- A brother, his sister and their good friend were killed when a speeding SUV crashed and caught fire early Wednesday.

Ryan Savage, 30, and his sister Erika Savage, 24, grew up together and were both killed when the Lincoln Navigator crashed about 3:15 a.m.

Just hours before the crash, police in Des Moines had arrested Erika for allegedly driving under the influence and say she was too drunk to even blow into a breathalyzer.
read more here

Soldier, 2 others dead in Guard Humvee crash

Soldier, 2 others dead in Guard Humvee crash

The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Sep 23, 2009 21:03:40 EDT

TROY, Texas — A Texas National Guard Humvee went airborne on a Texas interstate Wednesday and vaulted into an oncoming lane, triggering a six-vehicle crash that killed a soldier and two other drivers, authorities said.

Texas National Guard spokesman Col. Bill Meehan declined to say where the soldier, who was driving the Humvee, was stationed or where he was going at the time of the crash. The drivers of an 18-wheeler and a car also were killed, authorities said.

Identities were not immediately released pending notification of relatives.
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Some vets lose sight, may trigger Calif. probe

Some vets lose sight, may trigger Calif. probe

By Juliana Barbassa - The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Sep 23, 2009 20:53:01 EDT

SAN FRANCISCO — A Veterans Administration probe that found eight veterans suffered potentially preventable vision loss while under the care of optometrists at a Northern California VA facility is prompting medical groups to call for a state investigation.

The groups sent a petition Wednesday to the California Department of Consumer Affairs seeking an evaluation of the care received by the veterans at VA Palo Alto. The patients had glaucoma, a class of eye diseases that can lead to blindness.

The California Medical Association, California Academy of Eye Physicians & Surgeons and American Glaucoma Society want the state to suspend a new state law set to take effect in January that would expand optometrists’ ability to care for glaucoma patients.
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Florida dad admits killings to reporters, blames crime on 'spirit'

Dad admits killings to reporters, blames crime on 'spirit'
Story Highlights
NEW: Warrant indicated victims were stabbed, throats slashed, paper reports

NEW: Mesac Damas admits killings, tells reporter he wants to be executed

NEW: He blames the crime on his mother-in-law's "spirit"

Damas, 32, faces murder charges in the deaths of his wife and five children

(CNN) -- A Florida man admitted to reporters that he killed his wife and five "innocent" children, adding that he wants to be executed "right away" so he can be buried with them on Saturday.

Mesac Damas, 32, said he wanted to take his own life, but did not have the courage to go through with it, "because if you kill yourself, you're not going to heaven."

Damas made the statements to a Naples Daily News reporter as he was being led into a Haitian police vehicle in Port-au-Prince. Damas was returned to the United States late Tuesday following his capture in Haiti.
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Man accused of beating female reservist jailed

Man accused of beating female reservist jailed

By Johnny Clark - The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Sep 23, 2009 13:35:02 EDT

JONESBORO, Ga. — A white man accused of beating a black female Army reservist while yelling racial slurs at her outside a suburban Atlanta restaurant was indicted Wednesday on felony charges.

Troy Dale West Jr., 47, of Poulan faces one count each of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and first-degree cruelty to children under the indictment filed in Clayton County Superior Court. He also faces two counts each of battery and disorderly conduct, which are misdemeanors.

West’s lawyer, Larry King, declined comment.
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Fort Bragg soldier dies while working out

Bragg soldier dies while working out

The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Sep 23, 2009 12:27:49 EDT

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — A soldier who was training for Special Forces at Fort Bragg has died while exercising at a gym in Fayetteville.

Army officials said Wednesday that doctors pronounced 28-year-old Spc. Jay Sevier dead at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

An Army spokesman said the cause of death is still under investigation but that no foul play is suspected.

Sevier was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group, Airborne, at Fort Bragg.

Sevier is a native of Austin, Texas. He joined the Army in 2007.

Lawmakers question $30K bonuses for VA execs

Lawmakers question $30K bonuses for VA execs

By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Sep 23, 2009 13:17:19 EDT

Voters and veterans won’t understand if the Veterans Affairs Department pays big performance and retention bonuses to its workers, members of a House subcommittee said Wednesday.

At a hearing that focused on a VA inspector general investigation into misuse of retention bonuses in the VA’s information and technology division and into plans for 2009 senior executive service bonuses, lawmakers urged VA officials to make sure extra pay is kept to a reasonable amount and is paid based on performance directly tied to helping veterans.

Deputy VA Secretary W. Scott Gould said revised rules for awarding executive bonuses cap payments at $30,000, lower than previous years.
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Veterans Suicide Report Earns Emmy

Keep in mind with all of this, with all that happened, NAMI Veterans Council thought it was a good idea to award Dr. Katz for being behind all of this and forced to act to save lives.

It is not as if they didn't know what was going on.

National Alliance on Mental Illness
Submitted to
Subcommittee on Military Construction,
Veterans’ Affairs and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
United States House of Representatives

March 20, 2007

The General Accountability Office (GAO) issued a startling report last year to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs documenting VA’s failure to spend several millions of available dollars in pursuit of important initiatives that would move VA in the right direction to reform its mental health programs. The Veterans Council Executive Committee met recently with Dr. Ira Katz to discuss his plans to improve the allocation of funds dedicated to the initiatives under the new strategic plan. We hope Congress will closely monitor VA’s implementation of the new strategic plan to ensure it meets that promise.

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Anyway, a reminder of what was behind all of this can be found here

Friday, July 3, 2009

Dr. Ira Katz award slaps veterans
I still believe in NAMI but I no longer believe in the NAMI Veterans Council. The decision to award Dr. Ira Katz for suicide prevention is akin to awarding a vampire for testing blood. Katz, as reported here countless times, was refusing to admit there was a problem with veterans committing suicide. Everything he did, what they are awarding him for, he was forced to do. The Veterans Council is giving him an award for what it took an act of Congress to do!

Veterans Suicide Report Earns Emmy
CBS' Armen Keteyian's Investigation Exposing a Cover-up by the VA Honored by Award
(CBS) The "CBS Evening News with Katie Couric" won an Emmy Award last night in the category of Outstanding Investigative Journalism in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast for a series of reports by Chief Investigative Correspondent Armen Keteyian that exposed how officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs tried to cover-up the true risk of suicide among veterans.

Play CBS Video Video Suicide Cover-Up Runs Deep
New information reveals that statistics related to veterans' suicides was explicitly withheld from the public and from CBS News. Chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian reports.
Video Veterans Suicides In Question
In a recently filed lawsuit, the Department of Veterans Affairs is accused of deliberately misinforming the American public about the number of veterans committing suicide. Armen Keteyian reports.
Video Veteran Suicides, An Epidemic
CBS News first reported on the staggering number of veteran suicides in a report last year. Now, newly-released data shows that vets who get help from the VA are still at risk. Armen Keteyian reports.
Suicide Epidemic Among Veterans
Veteran Suicides: How We Got The Numbers

Excerpts of the veteran suicide coverage:
Suicide Epidemic Among Veterans
Veteran Suicides: How We Got The Numbers
Congress Vows Action On Vets' Suicides
VA Admits Vet Suicides Are High
VA Says E-mail Was "Poorly Worded"
VA Official Grilled About E-Mails Soldier Suicide Attempts Skyrocket

Orlando-based evangelist says Bill Maher movie ruined his life

Orlando-based evangelist says Bill Maher movie ruined his life
Amy L. Edwards

Sentinel Staff Writer

September 23, 2009
For the past decade, Jeremiah Cummings says, he has made a modest living as an Orlando-based evangelist who traveled the globe to encourage people to deepen their faith.

Then, he said, he was tricked into appearing in front of a movie camera with political comedian Bill Maher and was falsely portrayed in Maher's comedy documentary Religulous as a flashy, gold-loving evangelist.

Since the movie came out about a year ago, Cummings said, his life — and work — has been a struggle.

He has sued. He has been sued. His speaking engagements are down. He can't pay the rent on his family's five-bedroom home in the Rio Pinar community, court records show.

"All of these things that have happened have hurt the ministry," Cummings said. "I'm struggling to try to keep my family together."

Cummings, 58, said he wasn't told the truth about Religulous when he agreed to be interviewed in 2006. Cummings, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity, said he was told he was going to be featured in a documentary called A Spiritual Journey.
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Orlando based evangelist

Failing to win

Counting the days without smoking and wondering what took me so long to do it. I quit on September 12th. It has been one long battle but as people tell me they are proud of me for doing it, I look back wondering what took me so long instead. I smoked for 32 years. When my husband quit smoking, I didn't. I found reasons to just keep lighting up.
I used to pray that I would quit but my heart really wasn't in it. I didn't want to quit. People would tell me that Christ came into their lives and they stopped drinking, smoking, swearing, lying, whatever they viewed as a sin in others. I had Him in my life all my life, but did all the above, except lying was something I was never really good at so I found it easier to give up than to struggle with being very bad at it. It's also one of the reasons why I am not very diplomatic.
The thing that finally got me to quit was my husband. When I lost my job last year, I couldn't get unemployment. The church didn't pay into the system. I was terrified of being broke but my husband encouraged me to become a chaplain when the possibility came. He stood by me all these years while I worked for a paycheck and did this the rest of the time for free, but he knew this time I would be going in a whole new direction.
He didn't complain when I had to travel or when I had to come up with money to pay for the expenses that go along with this work. He kept encouraging me to keep going. Whenever people let me down and I got depressed, he did all he could to build me back up again. We have been living off his disability and pension, while I kept waiting, hoping, praying for help to come. Honestly, I felt that after all these years, all this work, dedication and long hours, I deserved to be paid. I was ahead of so many other people out there, wondering what I was doing wrong when they were getting paid, but I was just being passed by. No matter what I did, I just didn't really matter. People came in and out of my life so fast, memory of them became a blur when I'd get an email after a long time, then have to look up a saved record of them to figure out who they were.
This month, as a matter of fact the 30th, we will be celebrating out 25th anniversary. I kept looking at the date and crying because all the hopes I had for this anniversary were not possible. No money to go away and having a hard time paying the bills we have, left no money to go away. I kept looking at my husband, knowing how far he's come, how much he's given up for me, how hard he fought to heal and how much I love him. If anyone deserved a good anniversary it was him. He's given up so much that the least I could do was quit smoking so that he could buy a better motorcycle. Yes, I was smoking a bike payment. Pretty terrible when you think about it.
I kept praying for what I thought I deserved, but not for what he deserved. I kept feeling bad about what I gave up but not for what he gave up. He married a woman with a good job and good income. He ended up with someone who can't make a living at something I've been doing for over half my life. I keep telling him that he married a failure but he says I'm not. I just fail to win. The thing is, I won 25 years ago when I married my best friend.