Thursday, October 31, 2013

Charleston mom talks about soldier’s return from combat

I am so tried. Tired of trying to get people past the fact these stories are so sad and to the point where they decide to do something. To be moved somehow to try to save on of them from suffering needlessly instead of healing. When does that happen? When do you get to the point where you listen to someone talk about their Dad, their brother, sister or friend and say, "I can help." Tell them there is hope and in the last 40 years Vietnam veterans proved that because while many of them are gone, more are still standing strong.

PTSD is not the end of the world. It doesn't have to be the end of anything. It is a new beginning just like anything else. The start is the hard part. Then comes the middle when they start to allow themselves to feel again when the wall comes down. Then comes the part where they start to reach out their hands that once held their heads and find someone else needing be helped to where they got to.

None of them fight this alone but they didn't fight in combat alone, so they should be able to accept that fact. Families don't have to go it alone either. There are hundreds of thousands of other families just like them. Some have suffered wordless agony but more have escaped the worst that can happen. Some like my family are still together looking back on how far we've come and knowing that it could have turned out so differently had we not been willing to love past all of it. We started this journey in 1982 and we are not done yet. By the way, we still hold hands.

Oh, no, I am not talking about just loving them into healing, even though it is a huge part because this battle fought at home does not end. Each day matters. Each new piece of the puzzle comes into place as we learn more about PTSD and the majestic thing we call the soul rising above the odds.

Knowing what it is and why they have come home with a piece of hell in their heart is key so that we can understand how we act and react to them can either heal them or destroy them.

If we do not help families do what has to be done we will keep reading sad stories but as you read this one you'll also see that there is more healing going on because people cared enough to reach out to someone else. Even if it is just one person at a time.

Fighting PTSD: Charleston mom talks about soldier’s return from combat
ABC News 4 Charleston
By Ava Wilhite
October 31, 2013

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – Sharon Brown often finds herself looking back at childhood photos of her youngest son, Jonathan who's now 24 years old.

"We really thought this was going to be a career for him," said Brown.

In 2009, Brown agreed to let her son leave his full academic scholarship at the College of Charleston to enlist in the United States Army. Shortly after boot camp, Jonathan was sent to Iraq in his first deployment.

"Jonathan did a really good job of telling me things that he wanted, as a mom, wanted me to hear. Things like, ‘Oh no, I'm very safe here. I never go outside of the area,' which later on I found was not exactly true," said Brown.

Brown says when her son returned from Iraq there were subtle changes in his behavior.

"There were things like, he seemed very anxious, which was not really his personality. If we'd go out to restaurant, he would have to be sitting facing forward he would not let anyone sit behind him. Kind of always vigilant looking around," said Brown.

Brown also noticed her son began to drink heavily and a once outgoing Jonathan Brown was now withdrawn from family and friends.

"Instead of kind of being able to talk to anybody about it, I think it just welled up inside of him, so he had kind of an episode of feeling that, you know he was not happy being here," said Brown.

Three months after returning from his tour in Iraq, Jonathan Brown attempted suicide. His mother was notified by a late night phone call.

"That's a call no mother, well no one ever wants to get, but totally sidelined me. I did not expect that at all," said Brown.

Brown says her son was admitted and spent 30 days in a recovery unit where he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But as a mom, Brown was struggling, too.
read more here

Big rig driver looking at pictures killed officer in Arizona

Report: Big-rig driver in crash was looking at phone pics
Associated Press
Thu Oct 31, 2013

TUCSON — A big-rig driver allegedly was looking at cellphone photos of women when he crashed into emergency vehicles on a Yuma County freeway. Authorities say the May 6 crash killed an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer.

The Arizona Daily Star says it obtained records of the crash from the DPS via a public records request.

Officer Tim Huffman was killed in his patrol vehicle when it was struck as he was writing a report at an Interstate 8 accident site.
read more here

PTSD May Have Led to Deputy-Involved Shooting of Veteran

PTSD May Have Led to Deputy-Involved Shooting: Friend
7 News San Diego
By Brandi Powell and Christina London
Wednesday, Oct 30, 2013

The man shot by a San Diego sheriff’s deputy may have been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction and depression, according to a friend.

30-year-old Daryl “Ray” Cody was shot by a deputy Tuesday at the downtown apartment building where he was living. Two deputies were helping evict Cody when one saw what he thought was the barrel of a gun, according to police.

Police said Cody refused to come down from his bunk bed and refused to show the deputy his hands before the shooting.
read more here

Illness Claims Life of Fort Hood Soldier from Florida

Fort Hood soldier with terminal illness dies 
Killeen Daily Herald
October 30, 2013

Fort Hood officials on Tuesday released the name of a soldier who died Friday from a terminal illness in Copperas Cove.

Staff Sgt. Jason Allan Hicks, 40, of North Miami, Fla., entered active duty service in January 1994 as an infantryman. He was assigned to Fort Hood’s Warrior Transition Brigade since March 2012.

Hicks’s deployments include four tours to Iraq between 2003 and 2011; Kosovo operations from February 1999 to September 1999; and Operation Joint Endeavor to support efforts in Bosnia from December 1995 to December 1996.
read more here

Coming Up Central Florida Veterans Events

November events - Upcoming military, veterans and patriotic events in Central Florida
This DOES NOT include Veterans’ Day/weekend events.  They will be in a separate email.
If you wish to be removed from the email list, just let me know.
Please share with your friends and interested others.  Post where appropriate.
Operation Gratitude – A dentists’ office is paying for/collecting excess HALLOWEEN candy from kids to ship to troops overseas.  See Sat. Nov 9 event.
Indian Association Pow-Wow – Fri, Sat, & Sun Nov 1-3 – Central Florida Fairgrounds at 4603 W. Colonial Dr., Orlando, 32808. This event is free for military members in uniform and has a wonderful history of thanking those who have served (as many Native Americans are veterans.) This 27th Annual gathering of all tribes features arts and crafts, entertainment, native dancing and clothing, more. Fri 1-10pm; Sat 10am-10pm; Sun 10am – 5pm.  Sunday is Girl Scout and Youth Day 10am – 1pm.  Grand Entry/parade of nations: Fri 7pm; Sat 1pm and 7pm; Sun 1pm. $6 adults, $3 children and seniors.  407-474-0018
FL Int’l Dog Surfing Championship - Sat. and Sun Nov 2 and 3 – Watch these canines catching some waves and watch the World Famous Frisbee dogs!  Lori Wilson Park, Cocoa Beach, Coordinated by AVET Project; Groups/supporters of veterans and military can set up a FREE booth on the beach. Contact   321-373-7046   Lori Wilson Park - 1500 N Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach, 32931.  Additional info & schedule:   Some limited free parking nearby.
Osceola County Stand Down Event – Sat. Nov 2 – Assistance to homeless vets and all vets. info   (9am – 1pm) Osceola County Veterans Service Offices, 330 N. Beaumont Avenue, Kissimmee, 34741.  Info:  Call for registration or volunteering: 407-893-0133 Ext. 107
Honor Flight – Sat. Nov 2 – Villages Honor Flight takes 25 WWII veterans to Washington DC.  This is the LAST Honor Flight from our area until next spring.  They will visit their war memorials as well as watch the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown at Arlington National Cemetery.  Among these veterans are three women – two served as WAC ‘s and one in the Navy Hospital Corps.  Others include a B-17 pilot, a tail-gunner, and a Seabee.  The group will return to Orlando Int'l Airport (MCO) from DCA (Reagan Airport) on US Air Flight 3409 due to land at Orlando International Airport about 8:25 PM. (give or take) You and your group can greet them at Terminal B area, Airside 3, Gates 39-50 -  it is the west end - the opposite end from the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  Bagpiper David will be escorting them from the tram into the Terminal. 
Special free off-site parking arrangements have been made.  Contact Cathy (below) for information.
For the Early Risers who like to wave them off in the morning, the Flight will process thru security about 5:00 AM, same area as above.
OR – you can welcome them home at American Legion Post #347 at approx. 10:30pm with the Diamonds and Spurs, The Village Cheerleaders, Twirlers and Clowns and others in a rousing patriotic event.  However, the bus will stop and 88 yr old WWII veteran “Dixie” will exit and ride HER motorcycle with the other motorcycle escorts  in the last 10 miles of the trip!   699 W Lady Lake Blvd, Lady Lake, 32159.   Info contact:  (c) 352-391-0548 ;
J.O.S.H – Just Our Shoulders Helper, Inc., Golf Tournament - Sat. Nov 2.  JOSH is a local organization which sends care packages to our troops who are in harm’s way, particularly to the troops who are in the front/at the outposts/forward operating base where a shower is a seldom experienced luxury or a candy bar is a real treat.  JOSH is a non-profit and all proceeds go to the purpose.  Sponsorships are available.  Timacuan Golf and Country Club, 550 Timacuan Blvd, Sanford/Lake Mary, 32771 Registration and info at: ; JOSH info:  www.
Space Coast AUSA Golf Tournament - Sat. Nov 2 – Space Coast Chapter of AUSA (Association of the United States Army) theirmain mechanism to provide for the needs of the JROTC/ROTC, wounded warriors, homeless veterans, national guard at home and abroad, reserves, etc.  Golf Carts Unlimited of Melbourne has generously donated a new Golf Cart for anyone making a par 3 hole in one.
For info contact David at 321-784-7362, Joan at 321-720-5919,
12th Annual Founders’ Day Festival Poker Run - Sat Nov 2 - hosted by City of Ocoee Police Department and Founders’ Day Festival Committee -  Registration will start at 9:30 am at Sandwich Shoppe, 1113 S. Clarke Road Ocoee, 34761.   This event will feature motorcycles, classic cars, and hot rods. Participants will ride to five stations to collect playing cards. The participant with the best poker hand at the end of run wins. The cost will be $10 a participant and $5 dollars for each additional hand. The first 100 participants will receive an event t-shirt. Additional prizes will be award at the event  The proceeds from this event will benefit the City of Ocoee Police Department’s “Holiday Toys for Kids in Need Program”. New toy donations are welcome. To make a donation or to find out more about this event, contact Sgt. Scott Nylander at the City of Ocoee Police Department at 407-905-3160 ext. 3315 or at  More Founder’s Day events at or call Ocoee Parks and Recreation Department at 407-905-3180.
Poker Run for Support of the Museum – Sat Nov 2 – The Cpl. Larry E. Smedley National Vietnam War Museum , aka “the Bunker”, 3400 N. Tanner d, Orlando, 32826.  Motorcycles not required.  Registration at 10am.  $10 for riders, $5 for passengers, $5 extra Poker hands.  Kick stands up at 11:30 am; 1ST stop – Geneva Tavern, 3391 E. State Rd 46, Geneva (No one under 21 allowed); 2ND stop – Gators Riverside Grille, 4255 Peninsula Point, Sanford; 3rd stop –Shotz, 167 S. Charles Richard Beall Blvd., Debary. Last stop at the Bunker at 3pm. Raffles and 50/50.  Food available at reasonable price; Entertainment by Bubba starts 3pm – 6pm.   508-523-7192.
7th Annual Veterans Salute, Ride and Tribute to Support Disabled American Veterans – Sat. Nov 2 - Beginning at Stormy Hill Harley-Davidson (2480 U.S. 27, Clermont, 34711) with a motorcycle registration at 9:00am. First 300 registered will receive a free pancake breakfast prepared by Central Florida Pediatric Therapy,  OJ from Cutrale, and coffee from Starbucks. The program includes the National Anthem, Bag Piper, VFW Local 5277 Honor Guard, Clermont’s City Council Member and Veteran Ray Goodgame, and retired ARNG BG Timothy Sullivan.  At 11:30am the Lake County Sheriff’s Motor Unit will escort the motorcycle ride to Gator Harley-Davidson (1745 U.S. 441, Leesburg, 34748) where the recognition will continue. The Village’s Cheerleaders and Leesburg Academy will cheer the motorcyclists into Gator Harley-Davidson.  Military guests include Am Vets and Honor Guard of Mount Dora, Table of Honor performed by the Mount Dora High School AFJ ROTC, Col. Harry Lumpkin, President of the Viet Nam Veterans Chapter 1036 of the Villages, currently holds the National Viet Nam Veterans Chapter of the Year!  Lt. Col David Moseley, and Military Vehicle Preservation Association.  Don’t miss Schneider Trucking’s Ride of Pride, Military wrapped 18 wheeler cab, attends Washington’s Rolling Thunder Rally yearly. Cliff Walker Auctioneer with live auction of donated items.  Event benefits Disabled American Veterans, assisting Veterans since 1920.  The famous Doc Holiday and the Elgin Hooper Band entertaining, great food and beverages available from Bob Evans Restaurant and Al’s Landing. Harley’s Heroes Van (D.A.V.)  on site 11:00am till 3:00pm assisting Veterans with their benefits. Everyone is invited to join the activities at both locations.  Contact 352-787-8050 x21 or
Seminole Cyclefest - Bicycle Enthusiasts – Sun. Nov 3 - the Seminole Cyclefest launches from Fort Mellon Park, 600 E. 1st Street, Sanford, 32771.  You can register either on line at /sanford-fl/cycling/seminole-cyclefest-2013, or at Fort Mellon Park on Sat. Nov 2.  This is the 4th year for Cyclefest and the second year it has started from Fort Mellon Park, a safer and more organized ride for all experience levels.  This year proceeds will be donated to, along and ; The event consists of two different distances/routes, that are escorted by the ‘Seminole County Sheriff Deputies' and the rides are open for all levels of cyclists who are capable to participate.  The event is known locally for ‘No stop signs, no stop lights, no unclipping until the SAG’!  It is a really fun ride for all experience levels!  And there are two different distances.  A share of the proceeds will go to the Seminole County Hero’s Memorial to be constructed in front of the Seminole Criminal Justice Center on 17/92.  (Notice courtesy of Seminole Co.VSO.)
Resource and Career Fair – Tues. Nov 5 – A community collaboration from 9am – 1pm at R.E.A.L. Church, 830 Fiske Blvd, Rockledge, 32955.  As the war continues to draw down there is one major issue our service members will have to face is finding careers for themselves that allow them to continue on with their lives and goals.  Resources include drivers’ licenses, job development, housing services, spiritual and family support, more.  Sponsored by Brevard Workforce, Goodwill Industries of Central FL, FL Dept. of Corrections.  Info: contact Susan Kowalski at 321-634-3570.
New ROTC Building Dedication at UCF – Fri. Nov 8 – UCF will dedicate its newest building at 4pm.  This building will house 8 new large classrooms as well as administrative and cadet spaces for both the Air Force and the Army ROTC programs.  The ceremony is open to the public and will begin at the south end of Memory Mall near the Veterans’ Memorial on the UCF campus.  Parking is available in lots surrounding the mall area.  Following the dedication, the building will be open for tours and orientation. UCF is now the second largest college campus in population in the US!  Info: Col. Todd Freece  at   407-823-1247
Operation Gratitude – Sat. Nov 9 – Dentist office is collecting/buying excess Halloween candy from kids to ship to troops overseas. $1 per pound of unopened candies, 5 lb max. paid. 12noon – 3pm at Hillcrest Dental, 3600 N. Formosa Ave., Orlando, 32804.  Wear your costume!  Bounce house, face painting, card making for the troops.  (Also collecting candies on Mon. Nov 11 thru Wed. Nov 13, 2pm thru 4pm but no bounce house, etc.)  www.operationgratitude  Info: 407-898-1995.
Founders’ Day 5k Race – Sat. Nov 9 at 7:30 am in Ocoee, the 3rd Annual Chick-fil-A 5k Race and Kids Fun Run – part of the City of Ocoee’s 20th Annual Founders’ Day Festival. The race will start at the Ocoee Middle School track and will end at the intersection of Bluford Avenue and McKey Street. Registration is available online at Run Sign Up  go to 3rdAnnualChickfilA5K . The registration fee is $25.  Proceeds from the race will be donated to S.T.A.R.S. of West Orange County. S.T.A.R.S. (Supplies to Assist Our Students) provides backpacks and school supplies to thousands of Orange County students. For more information on the Chick-fil-A 5k Race and Kids Fun Run, or call Ocoee Parks and Recreation Department at 407-905-3180.
VETERANS’ DAY/WEEKEND EVENTS (Thurs – Mon Nov 7 – 11) - they are listed in a separate email.
The Challenges Facing our Veterans – Wed. Nov 13 – League of Women Voters of Orange County (non-partisan) will spotlight the problems (and solutions) that many military personnel experience when they return to civilian life.  Several guest speakers during this 11:30 lunch gathering.  Sorosis Club at 501 E Livingston St., Orlando, 32803.  $25 – League members with reservations by noon Nov 11; $35 - guests and all walk-ins. or (407)505-1664 and leave your name and phone number
Disney Veterans Institute’s Seminar for Small Business – Thurs. Nov 14 – (SPECIAL item mentioned at end of this entry.)Disney is offering a free ‘Veterans Institute’ Workshop to encourage and support hiring of military Veterans.  Disney will share expertise of its ‘Heroes Work Here’ initiative with small- and mid-sized companies to help them build their own Veteran-hiring programs.  The complimentary one-day seminar at Walt Disney World will feature an array of experts, classes from the Disney Institute and the tools, policies and networks used in the Disney Veteran program.  At the close of this workshop, participants will have an entire Veteran staffing program that can be implemented immediately.  Please see the attached document for additional information and use this link,, for registration.  Curtis L. Coy, Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity, Veterans Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs  (Notice courtesy of Seminole Co.VSO.)
Special:  It was mentioned in a separate notice that First Lady Michelle Obama would be giving the keynote address at this event.  Mrs. Obama has long stressed the need for awareness of the strengths and unique needs of veterans and their families. Learn more at Facebook: http://    Contact: Rod Wingfield ( or Kevin Preston ( about questions. 
Homeownership Luncheon and Seminar for Veterans – Thurs. Nov 14 – 11:30 – 1:30pm  (lunch provided)  at VFW Post # 10147, 519 S. Central Ave, Apopka  32704.  The Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association invites all military personnel, veterans and their families to attend this FREE luncheon and seminar to learn about their home loan VA benefits and the programs, resources, and services available to help you navigate the process of homeownership.
Active military, reservists, military retirees, veterans and their families face many issues when it comes to buying or selling a home, finding a place to live, or dealing with home loans and they need expert guidance to help them understand their options and overcome difficulties related to homeownership. A list of REALTORS® who have earned the Florida Military Specialist Certification trained to better serve the homeownership needs of our military personnel and their families will be provided. Limited seating, call 407-513-7268, M-F  9am-5pm.  Or email to reserve your seat.
Ruck Sack March - Sat. Nov 16 –“Walk a Mile in their Boots!” - The Camaraderie Foundation hosts a military-style fundraising run/walk in which participants opt for 3-, 6- or 12-mile routes and have the chance to run with or without an added 45-plus pounds of gear – just like real-world military wear.  The event is at UCF (University of Central Florida) campus, 4000 Central Florida Blvd., Orlando,   Cost: $25 - $85.  407-841-0071
Military Appreciation Day – Sat. Nov 16 – 11am to 4pm at American Legion Post #53, 2874 S. Sanford Ave., Sanford, 32773. (East on Airport Blvd, Left on Sanford Ave, located on Left.)To honor those who sacrifice so much, ask so little, and deserve so much more than we can ever repay.  Veterans of all ages are welcomed along with their families.  Bounce house, contests, award, Color Guard ceremony, Honor Flight attendees, and Food!  Please RSVP by Nov 1 so we can plan for enough food.  Sponsored by Pay It Forward Project, FAACES, Candlelight Catering.  Call 407-466-1993  or
On the Horizon
Holiday Party - Sat. Dec 7 –volunteers needed – donations needed - Party for 1300 Air Force and Navy family member needs volunteers, treats, food, entertainers at Patrick Air Force Base, The base is on the east Coast of Central Florida, 3 miles South of Cocoa Beach and approximately 12 miles north of Melbourne, in Brevard County. Contact ASAP   321-373-7046 to volunteer or provide supplies.
The Museum of Military History - Sat. & Sun. Dec 7 & 8 – Military Appreciation Weekend by the Museum at Brown's Farm, 4901 Oren Brown Road in Kissimmee, FL 34746. The event will be highlighted by both WWII re-enactments on Saturday and both Civil War and WWII re-enactments on Sunday.  Weapon demonstrations will take place prior to the re-enactments. The Civil Air Patrol’s 463rd Cadet Squadron and Kissimmee Sea Cadet units will be at the event to present the colors and participate in competitive events on Sunday. Also on Sunday, a special concert of WWII era music will be presented by the Bahia Dance Band. Food vendors, booths, and children’s activities will be available both days.
More info to come.  Sponsorships welcomed.  Contact Scott Carmean at  or 407-507-3894 
Ocoee Christmas Parade – Sat. Dec 7 – applications being taken now for floats, marchers, walkers, etc, For more details, including Parade route maps and registration information, see  2013/10/preparations-begin-for-2013-ocoee-christmas-parade/.  And for news about this and other Lions Club events, like the Club Parade sponsored by the Ocoee Lions Club in conjunction with the City of Ocoee.
January – Fund raising event to benefit injured Navy SEAL Bo Reichenbach.  Details pending.  Contact Mary at
Local Volunteer Assistance Program (LVAP) meetings –variable times, dates and locations.  Volunteers meetings for the “Veterans Home Service Project “ associated with the DAV- Disabled American Veterans - designed to provide veterans who are unable to physically or financially do for themselves, basic chores/minor repairs around their home.  Volunteers along with avarious collection of generous businesses, veterans’ networks and local contractors are working to make this happen for Central Fl. veterans!  At no charge to the recipient!
Exterior home service examples that can be provided: lawn and garden work, raking, tree & shrub trimming, pressure washing, screen door & window repair, painting, ramps/lifts, hand railings, disability access.  Interior home service examples that can be provided:  small handyman work around the house, painting, cleaning, and computer set-up.
      To qualify to receive assistance you must be residing in or near Orange County (for the time being) and a veteran. You DO NOT have to be a DAV member.  For an application to receive services, contact Ray Stone (Home Services Coordinator)  407-501-0767
      One or 2 days a month will be set aside for volunteer teams to do multiple projects based from requests we receive (shut-ins will have First Priority) Committees will comprise of members from all involved entities to determine in advance which project to be done that month and call you to make arrangements for the work requested. If your project is not selected for that month, it will be placed for the following month until completed as this is an on-going monthly program as long as there is member need for the program.
     Additional mtgs to join as a volunteer will be held in Nov and Dec. Times and locations of meetings may vary.   Info:  Ray Stone (Home Services Coordinator)  407-501-0767
The journey after military service can be a difficult one.
If you are a Veteran or warrior in crisis or know of one who is,
Please call the VA’s 24/7 Suicide Prevention Line at
1-800-273-TALK (8255)
To speak with a trained counselor - It’s Confidential.
Or find a Crisis Center near you at
Caring and sharing,
Cathy Haynes
Member/supporter of numerous veteran  and military organizations in Central Florida

Vietnam Combat Photographer shares history for healing

Photo exhibit helps Vietnam veterans heal

For decades the photos, John Hosier Jr. took during the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 70s were only seen by family members. In 1999 at the urging of his daughter, Hosier, Jr., who served as an Airborne Ranger and then combat photographer displayed several photos for classmates at her school. The exhibit which started with just enough items to cover one table now fills an entire tent with over 300 photographs and dozens of displays that feature American and Vietnamese weapons and memorabilia.

Hosier Jr. along with retired USMC veteran, Bob Heuman will be at the State Fair of Louisiana with their 'Through the Eyes' exhibit until Veteran's Day. The Missouri residents circle the country between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day each year. They say the stories other war veteran's share when they visit the exhibit help them cope with post traumatic stress issues they continue to live with.
read more here

Central Florida Veterans Day Events

Veterans’ Day/weekend events  in Central Florida
This DOES NOT include other November events. They were in a separate email.
If you wish to be removed from the email list, just let me know.
Please share with your friends and interested others.  Post where appropriate.
Honoring Our Heroes – Thurs. Nov 7 – The First Academy students Wounded Warrior Club is proud to honor “Our Heroes” of the United States Armed Forces, including a special recognition of our Korean War Veterans. 10am at First Baptist Orlando - Faith Hall, located at 3000 S. John Young Parkway, Orlando, 32805. Special seating is available for guests with special needs. For more information, please call (407) 206-8643.
The American’s Creed - Inseparable, Unbreakable, Indivisible! – Thurs. Nov 7 - Lake Highland Prep School presents its annual tribute of music, dancing, drama and video footage to honor veterans.  Shows at 8:45 am, 10:45 am, and 1 pm in the Harriett Coleman Center for the Arts on campus, 901 N. Highland Ave., Orlando, 32803.   All LHP friends and family are welcome to attend.  407-206-1900 x5762.
Salute to Veterans – Fri. Nov 8 – 7pm Orlando Philharmonic Jazz Orchestra presents a musical tribute to veterans with aswingin' concert of instrumental and vocal sounds of big band and swing-era favorites like Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller and Count Basie. Cornerstone Auditorium, 801 Fairlane Ave., Belle Isle, 32809. This is also the grand-opening celebration of the Cornerstone auditorium, now a premier Central Florida concert hall and the area's best local venue for the performing arts. 

General admission tickets are $17. Veterans who RSVP to 407- 851-7730 are eligible for a FREE ticket with valid military identification. Doors open at 6 p.m. and refreshments will be available for sale.  Salute to Veterans is made possible by City of Belle Isle and sponsors like the Regal Family Center, a charitable arm of Regal Marine Industries. 
City of Winter Park 3rd Annual Veterans Day Celebration - Fri Nov 8 at 10 am. This Free event will be held in honor of all of the veterans of Winter Park, at the Winter Park Community Center Ruby Ball Amphitheatre located at 721 W. New England Ave. VFW Post 2093 Community Band is playing musical tributes, anecdotal speakers; WP Fire-Rescue is collecting candy and letters of encouragement thru Operation Gratitude to send to deployed troops. Info: 407-599-3428.
Orlando Vet Center Open House 2013 – Fri. Nov 8 – In honor of Veterans Day, the Vet Center will be celebrating all veterans with an Open House and a special presentation by Quilts of Valor at 1pm. 12noon – 4pm.  5575 S. Semoran Blvd, Suite 30, Orlando, 32822.  407-857-2800. (Notice courtesy of Seminole Co.VSO.)
Boomer Bash and Senior Expo  – Fri. Nov 8 – King Center – 9am – 3:30 pm - Veterans will be honored and there will be a special veteran’s motorcycle rider entry.  Vet riders – gather at 8am at the Veterans Memorial Center or the American Legion Post #81.  The ride will be at 8:30am with special VIP parking.  Ceremony at 9am to 10:20 am.  Free Expo with military exhibits, entertainment and speakers, including a live musical tribute to veterans will showcase the Moving Wall, honoring the lives of service men and women who gave their all protecting our great nation.  King Center, 3865 N Wickham Rd, Melbourne, 32935.
Seats for Soldiers Night – Fri. Nov 8 – Orlando Magic professional basketball team will be celebrating the many contributions our troops have made to this country. They have a limited number of donated tickets that will be distributed.  Contact Ms. Leak, Asst. Dir of Community Relations, 407-916-2454.
The Warbird Museum Annual Veterans Open house – Sat., Sun, Mon Nov 9, 10, 11 – 9am – 5pm Free entry for All active, retired military and all FL residents.  Please bring a non-perishable food item. Combat pilots on hand, displays, along with antique cars and model train displays. Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum, 6600 Tico Rd, Titusville, 32780.  321-268-1941
Amvets 5K Run/Walk – Sat. Nov 9 – Amvet Post #30 sponsors this event – their first 5K Run/Walk at Hankins Park and surrounding streets.  (Park is south of Columbia, west of John Young Parkway) 407-294-0838 or 407-290-2055 for further information.
City of Orlando Veterans Day Parade – Sat. Nov 9, Downtown Orlando, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. Parade with 100+ units begins at the corner of Orange Ave. and Robinson St., down to Central, north on Rosalind Ave. past Lake Eola.  12 Red Tail pilots of the Tuskegee Airmen of WWII will be Grand Marshalls.
Timber Creek Air Force JROTC Veterans Day Program – Sat. Nov 9 - 10am in Timber Creek High School auditorium, 1001 S Avalon Park Blvd, Orlando, 32828.  The Honor Guard will be conducting their annual ceremony, including the guarding of a replica Tomb of the Unknown and the cadets will be changing the guards at the completion of various other presentations.  The POW/MIA Missing Man Table Ceremony, the Battle Cross Presentation, honoring of wounded, and a guest speaker.  Free and open to the public.  Info: SMSgt Dowdy at  (321) 235-7800 ext. 6142622.
Veterans Day Memorial Parade and Ceremony – Sat. Nov 9 – Town of Celebration in Osceola County. Parade at 9am – Front St. in Downtown Celebration; Ceremony at 10am – Veterans Memorial.  Info: Dulcy at 407-566-1200 ext. 202,
UCF Football Game – Sat. Nov 9 - UCF is offering a free game ticket to active duty/reservists and retirees for the UCF vs. Houston football game.   Eligible members can purchase their free ticket by visiting the ;
Additional tickets can be purchased at the same time for prices starting at $15. 
Marine Corps Birthday Ball – Sat. Nov 9 - This annual event sponsored by the Central Florida Marine Corps Foundation will feature John L. Estrada, 15th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps (2003-2007), retired after 34 years of service. Sergeant Major Estrada serves as a committee member of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, a member of the national Board of Directors for Operation Homefront, and on the executive committee for the United Services Organization (USO).  Rosen Centre Hotel, 9840 International Drive, Orlando, 32819.  Info:  Ms. Jan Baka  407-745- 3029 or  407-758-0968   Semper Fi!
Vision of Flight Scholarship and Acknowledgement Gala – Sat. Nov 9 – Meet the Red Tail Pilots of the Tuskegee Airmen, recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal for their service in WWII.  Live music, dinner, silent auction, more. Rosen Centre Hotel, 9840 International Drive, Orlando, 32819.  $125/pp  407-719-0912.
Veterans Celebration – Sat. Nov 9 – VFW Post 10139 of Chuluota and Oviedo, starts at 4pm with fireworks at 7pm.  Open to public.  Live country music by Bryan K. Buchanan.  Special memorial dedication for Army Spc Brendan Salazar at 5pm.  Located at the corner of Lake Mills Ave and East 7th St in Chuluota, 32766 in Seminole County.  (407) 359-5020
Mount Dora Patriot Cruise and Salute - Sun. Nov 10 - 16 wounded, ill or injured veterans and their families will be taken on a scenic boat ride.  At 1 pm, after their return, a patriotic ceremony and picnic will be held. Gilbert Park in downtown Mt. Dora. 310 S Tremain St, Mount Dora, 32757.  Details: Email:  305-772-5246
Maitland Salutes Veterans – Sun. Nov 10 – 4pm - Free patriotic program with live band performance followed by BBQ, cake and ice cream.  Hosted by Maitland Community Organizations at the Maitland Civic Center, 641 Maitland Ave S, Maitland, 32751   RSVP requested (for food planning) by Nov 7 at 407-677-2111 or online at 
Fourth Annual Military Appreciation Luncheon – Sun. Nov 10 – 12noon at First United Methodist Church of Winter Park will be honoring veterans, guardsmen, reservists and active duty military men and women. Past attendees know that we like to incorporate photographs of military men and women into a slide show…please send yours to Andy, Military Outreach Ministry or RSVP to 407-595-6190.    125 N Interlachen Ave, Winter Park, 32789
Red Tail Pilots of Tuskegee Airmen Monument Dedication - Mon. Nov 11 –– 10am – The first monument in the country honoring them. Abt. 12 of the original pilots will be here.  Orlando Science Center, 777 East Princeton St., Orlando, 32803. Free parking in Science Center garage.  Sponsors include Vision of Flight and City of Orlando.  407-719-0912 
Central Florida Veterans Memorial Dedication - Mon. Nov 11 –11:30am adjacent to the Lake Nona VA Hospital site. The Memorial honors approximately 1,100 veterans from Orange, Lake, Brevard, Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia counties who made the ultimate sacrifice.  A major fund-raising effort has allowed their names to be engraved in granite. Registration for attendance is required – send email to by Mon. Nov 4.
The City of Ocoee Veterans Day Ceremony – Mon. Nov 11 - 11:00 am at Bill Breeze Park, 125 North Lakeshore Drive, Ocoee, 34761. Patriotic songs, musical tributes by the Ocoee Middle School Jazz Ensemble, flag presentations by Ocoee High School JROTC Color Guard and Ocoee Police Department Honor Guard. Keynote speaker: Capt. Bruce Garrott, USN (ret.), US Merchant Marine Academy graduate, naval service in anti-submarine helicopters, with significant service in Djibouti and the Horn of Africa. For more information on Ocoee’s Veterans Day Ceremony - 407-905-3100.
Veterans Day Parade – Mon. Nov 11 – Downtown Kissimmee starting and ending at Beaumont Field, at 10 am thru 1pm.  This parade honors all former members of the Armed Services and is followed by an awards ceremony.  Sponsored by the Osceola County Veterans Council.  Info – 407-518-2561
Veterans Day in Sanford - Mon. Nov 11 - 11 am the annual Veterans Day celebration will be held at the Veterans Memorial Park,400 North Park Avenue, Sanford, Fl. 32771.  Celebrating our Nation’s past and honoring our veterans.  Info: 407-688-5120 or email Jennifer   (Notice courtesy of Seminole Co.VSO.)
Marine Corp Toys for Tots Golf Tournament - Mon. Nov 11 - Reserve your place ASAP at 407-322-2531. Registration at 7:30, Shotgun start 8:30, 4-man scramble – make your own or allow us.  $25 per person plus $10 lunch AND each player must bring a Toy (suggested $10 price), a gift card, or a cash donation when you or your team registers to play. Our Buffet Luncheon will have a Veterans Day Cake, honoring all branches of our Armed Forces, including the Marine Corps Anniversary of November the 10th. Mayfair Country Club, 3536 Country Club Road, Sanford, 32773.
Veterans Concert Hosted by the Lake Brantley High School Concert Bands – Mon. Nov 11  at 7 PM. (Altamonte Springs, FL) The Lake Brantley High School Concert Bands request the honor of your presence for their annual Veterans Concert.  Berry - Douce Auditorium, 991 Sand Lake Road, Altamonte Springs.  (Notice courtesy of Seminole Co.VSO.)
Events in media - Do you like seeing heartwarming coverage of veterans or military stories on TV?  Have there been good articles of local veterans or military efforts in newspaper or social media that make you smile?  Let the writers, producers and editors know.  Thank them for the thoughtful coverage and ask for more like it!
EXTRAS of Interest:
·         American Warrior Radio Show  from 11am-noon EDT on Saturdays, radio station WMEL - AM 1300    Nationwide broadcast: 
· - Veterans News Service covering news that matters to veterans and their families. Local, state and national news and events – especially with videos involving Central Florida military and veterans. Dedicated to defeating Combat PTS.
·         Shades of Green Resort – Armed Forces Recreation Center on Disney property provides various packages for active duty, reservists, guardmen, 100% service connected disabled, and retired military personnel and their families.  Go  for information.  Special discounts for rooms may be available based on occupancy levels, and special ticket rates.  (407) 824-3400
·         Vet Centers are available for combat zone veterans to help with personal and family readjustment counseling and outreach services.   The nearest centers are located in Orlando, Melbourne, Clermont, and Daytona Beach.
·         The Navy Exchange (NEX) still exists in Orlando for all branches of active duty military, reservists, guardsmen, retirees, 100% service-connected disabled veterans and their dependents.  It is located west of Orlando Int’l Airport, about 1 mile south of the Beachline Expy/528 on Tradeport Dr.  Competitive pricing and programs.  7151 Earhart Dr., Orlando, 32827.  407-857-3550
·         Military OneSource is a free service provided by the Department of Defense (DoD) to active duty, Guard and Reserve service members, and their families with comprehensive information on every aspect of military life including deployment, relationships, economics, grief, education, parenting and child care, and much more.
Caring and sharing,
Cathy Haynes
Member/supporter of numerous veteran  and military organizations in Central Florida

Police officer killed in car crash was also a Camp Lejeune Marine

Former Camp Lejeune Marine, police officer dies in Asheville crash
JD News
By Daily News staff
Published: Wednesday, October 30, 2013

An Asheville police officer who died Tuesday after his cruiser plunged off a bridge was formerly a Camp Lejeune Marine.

Asheville Police Chief William Anderson said Officer Robert Bingaman died when his car ran off a bridge on Interstate 240 around 1 p.m. The car landed along Riverside Drive.

Leaving active duty on Jan. 1, 2000 as a sergeant, Bingaman was a mechanic stationed with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines aboard Camp Lejeune, according to Marine officials.

Bingaman was transported to Mission Hospital and was pronounced dead shortly after, officials said.

There was no one else in the cruiser and no one else was hurt. Anderson said he did not believe any other vehicles were involved, but could not say whether Bingaman was in pursuit or responding to another accident at the time.
read more here

Veterans' wives still don't know how to help husbands heal

I Don't Know How to Help My Husband

Dear Ms. Vicki,
I am worried about my husband of one year. Before we met, he was enlisted in the Army. He had two tours and then became a recruiter. He has been out of the Army for several years and gets VA benefits.

He now has horrible anxiety. At least once a week, he has nights where he says he feels like he can’t breathe or is having a heart attack. We have visited the ER several times, where he is told it’s an anxiety attack and given a sedative.

Little things set him off into an angry rage. We have two dogs that we have rescued, and they are taking some time to train. If the dogs bark or have an accident in the house, he screams and yells to the point that I have to leave the room and the dogs are terrified.

He has not been able to hold a job for a long time because of anger issues. He tells me all the time that the best thing he has ever done was serving in the military and nothing in his life will ever measure up to that.

He has not been diagnosed with PTSD, and when I bring up the idea of getting help, he tells me that it is too difficult to go to the VA.

He is still in contact with several other soldiers and recently found out that one had been killed in combat. This really upset him (which I completely understand).
read more here

Disabled Iraq war vet and his service dog pass a test, together

Disabled Iraq war vet and his service dog pass a test, together
Carolina Live
by Joel Allen
Posted: 10.30.2013

A former Marine and Grand Strand resident who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder passed a crucial test Wednesday.

Donnell Nelson needs a therapy dog to help him cope with civilian life, but the man who helped him acquire the dog wanted to make sure dog and owner were fully prepared to be a team.

Nelson served three tours of duty in Iraq. He says Maximus, his pit bull terrier, helps him deal with day-to-day pressures, after the war.

"I have anxiety around in crowds, pretty much public places, loud noises, those small things. The dog is there to give me that comfort."

Pit bulls tend to be stereotyped. Nelson says the dogs sometimes get a bad rap. But in a way, that's exactly why he wanted a dog like Maximus.

"So I chose the pit bull because he represents me as who he is, and I represent him as who I am," Nelson explained.
read more here

Dentist gives veterans reason to smile: free dental care

Issaquah dentist gives veterans reason to smile: free dental care
When Dr. Theresa Cheng, a dentist and a mother, read a profile about a mother and her son who was severely wounded in Iraq, she was inspired to offer free dental care to veterans.
Seattle Times
By Sarah Zhang
Seattle Times staff reporter
October 31, 2013

Where to begin talking about what Rory Dunn has been through since his head was blown open that day in Fallujah? His best friend, who bled out next to him? His traumatic brain injury that has altered his personality? His forehead held together by a plastic prosthetic?

It’s hard to know where to begin, so Dr. Theresa Cheng concerns herself with what she knows best as a dentist: his teeth.

In the nine years since his unarmored Humvee in Iraq was hit by explosives on his 22nd birthday, Dunn has been making a long, hard recovery. His mother, Cynthia Lefever, has been by his side the whole time — sleeping next to her then-comatose son at Walter Reed Army National Military Medical Center and later traveling the country to advocate for veteran care.

Inspired by a profile of mother and son in The Seattle Times in 2008, Cheng, whose practice is in Issaquah, began providing free dental care for veterans in need and has signed on dozens of other professionals to do the same.

Cheng has three sons, now in their early 20s, and she remembers thinking what it must have been like for Dunn’s mother to get that phone call and to drop everything to go to her son in a hospital thousands of miles away.

“I was thinking how when something like this happens in your life, you just put everything else on hold,” Cheng said.

In the upheaval, dental care was sure to fall by the wayside — and she could do something about that.

Cheng originally planned to offer care to the wives of returning soldiers, thinking the vets got dental care through their veterans’ benefits. But she learned that the rules were more complicated, and for the most part, only vets who are considered completely disabled qualify for the dental program.
read more here

Boston Red Sox Win!

Red Sox Win World Series With 6-1 Win Over Cardinals In Game 6
Posted: 10/30/2013

BOSTON -- BOSTON (AP) — There hasn't been a party like this in New England for nearly a century.

Turmoil to triumph. Worst to first.
Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Koji Uehara and catcher David Ross celebrate after getting St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Carpenter to strike out and end Game 6 of baseball's World Series Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, in Boston. The Red Sox won 6-1 to win the series. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox, baseball's bearded wonders, capped their remarkable turnaround by beating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 in Game 6 on Wednesday night to win their third World Series championship in 10 seasons.

Shane Victorino, symbolic of these resilient Sox, returned from a stiff back and got Boston rolling with a three-run double off the Green Monster against rookie sensation Michael Wacha.

John Lackey became the first pitcher to start and win a Series clincher for two different teams, allowing one run over 6 2-3 innings 11 years after his Game 7 victory as an Angels rookie in 2002.
read more here

This isn't a sports blog but considering how much the Sox have done with their foundation for veterans and others, I think I will be forgiven for being very proud of my home town boys! Boston Red Sox Home Base

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ex-VA Official spent money to see if they were wasting money?

VA official who resigned in spending scandal repeatedly pleads fifth at hearing but should have pleaded insanity! The day they signed the check it proved that one.
Although the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing was short on new revelations, one exchange concerned the fact that the VA spent more than $400,000 on consultants — to determine whether or not they were wasting money.

This is just the beginning of what happened. Given the fact they wasted money to see if they wasted money, it actually got worse.
VA official who resigned in spending scandal repeatedly pleads fifth at hearing
NBC News
By Courtney Kube and Daniel Arkin
October 30, 2013

A former Department of Veterans Affairs official who resigned from his post last year amid revelations that the department had spent vast sums of taxpayer money on a pair of extravagant conferences was tight-lipped at a hearing Wednesday.

John Sepulveda, the former Assistant Secretary of Human Resources at the VA, invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination, repeatedly saying: "On the advice of my counsel, I respectfully decline to answer based on my Fifth Amendment constitutional privilege." Sepulveda said he was exercising his "privilege to remain silent" — and he refused to even acknowledge whether or not he ever worked for the VA.

He stepped down from his position last year amid revelations detailed in a congressional report that two 2011 conferences held in Orlando, Fla., near Walt Disney World, cost taxpayers $6.1 million, and included spa treatments, helicopter rides, and expensive tickets to shows.
read more here

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tea Party leaving veterans without food, or coffee or tea

Mistreating The Military-Nearly One Million Veterans To Suffer The Pain Of Food Stamp Cutbacks
Rick Ungar
October 30, 2013

In just two days, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP)— better known as food stamps—will experience a drop in benefits as the boost provided as a result of the 2009 stimulus bill expires.

Clearly, this comes as good news to the many Americans who believe that the food assistance program has grown out of control, allowing many low-income Americans to ‘scam” the taxpayers by using our tax dollars to feed their children at government expense.

One wonders, however, if the millions of Americans who are so pleased to see food stamp benefits lowered—with more cuts likely to come— understand the impact this will have on a segment of society that one would be loathe to call ‘freeloaders’ seeking to live on the largesse of their country?
read more here

On the subject, here's a few more
GOP On Food Stamp Program-Let 'Em Eat Peanut Butter And Root Beer
Rick Ungar

GOP Congressman Stephen Fincher On A Mission From God-Starve The Poor While Personally Pocketing Millions In Farm Subsidies
Rick Ungar

The Conservative Case For Welfare Reform Suffers Massive Blow Via Cato Institute Study
Rick Ungar

It's Official: House Republicans Could Not Care Less About Their Own Party Or The Hungry-It's Just All About Them
Rick Ungar
That would be the 900,000 veterans who offered up their lives for their country only to return home to find employment exceedingly difficult to come by—thereby creating the need for food stamps to provide for their families.

Food stamp cuts for veterans ‘unacceptable’ and ‘revolting’

Australia troops take on war games look

Superhero or supervillain? Soldiers dressed for futuristic battlefield AU
OCTOBER 30, 2013

The equipment is designed to save the soldiers in modern battlefield situations.
THEY look like superheroes or supervillains from the big screen, only they are real life soldiers.

New high-tech equipment and body armour developed for armies around the world is turning troops into flesh and blood versions of video game warriors.

The science fiction video game-style equipment is designed to save the lives of soldiers in modern battlefield situations, such as roadside bombs or close combat with high-powered assault weapons. read more here

Navy surgeon saves lives in Afghanistan, Iraq

Navy surgeon saves lives in Afghanistan, Iraq
October 29, 2013

Even as a trauma surgeon, U.S. Navy Capt. Joseph Rappold was not fully prepared for the kinds of devastating injuries he encountered in Afghanistan and Iraq, the terrible damage done by the improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, that marked the wars.

"I think when you see one of these wounded in front of you for the first time it's like, jeez where do you start," he said.

But quickly, his training took over and although he never became numb, as a surgeon on the front line, he did compartmentalize the bloodshed around him, he said.

"We have a whole generation of surgeons now in the military that I don't think there's much that they can see that fazes them any more," he said. "But certainly the first time you see it, it clearly leaves an impression on your mind."

Rappold, 53, retired from the military in January 2012, after seven deployments as a medical corps officer to Afghanistan and Iraq. He was in Afghanistan with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and in Iraq in Baghdad, Balad, Mosul, Tikrit and in the fierce fighting in Ramadi in 2006.

Two years later, he served as the director of the Joint Theater Trauma System, responsible for all surgical care in both wars. And then just when he thought he had come back to the United States for good, he was asked to return to war one more time in 2009, to the British field hospital at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan's Helmand province.

Connie Johnson knows Rappold through her work as a coordinator in the trauma program at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany. He saved many lives, but took his losses hard, she said.
read more here

Readers at were asked to nominate their heroes for Veterans Day. If you know a hero, whether for conduct during a war or after, submit the details here

Veteran, 'Regardless of your disability you can overcome and succeed'

Veteran, 'Regardless of your disability you can overcome and succeed'
Daily News
October 29, 2013

EGLIN AFB — It took more than eight years for veteran Rob Vickers to fully realize he was suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder.

While serving with the Army National Guard in upstate New York, Vickers was called to ground zero after 9/11. Sifting through the rubble in a smoggy cloud of jet fuel, burnt carpet and body parts, he saw things that haunt him still.

He already had spent four years in the Marine Corps and hadn’t planned to re-enlist, but “Al Qaeda changed all that,” he said. He quickly signed up for the Air Force and was sent on two tours to Iraq.

At one point he saw an aircraft get shot down in front of him. His pilot took evasive action and Vickers’ head was thrown against the fuselage, possibly causing a brain injury.

“As soon as we hit the air field we were off, it wasn’t about who was hurt; ‘Hey Vickers, is your head OK?’ ” he said.

The migraines started in 2007. Then came the nerve damage; he had trouble standing on his feet for long periods of time. He realized he was getting angry over little things —spilled coffee or a paper jam in the copy machine. He had a lot of anxiety.

Vickers finally was diagnosed with PTSD in 2010 and medically retired.
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Canadian wounded troops face discharge before pension

Military boots injured soldiers before they qualify for pension
OTTAWA — The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, Oct. 29 2013

Gravely injured troops are being booted from the military before they qualify for a pension, despite assurances to the contrary from the federal government.

A former reserve combat engineer was let go last Friday on a medical discharge after begging for months to remain until hitting the 10-year mark.

Corporal David Hawkins is about a year shy of being eligible for an indexed pension, but was released because his post-traumatic stress means he is unable to deploy overseas.

Cpl. Glen Kirkland is also among those leaving. His plea to remain in the army last June was answered by former defence minister Peter MacKay with a pledge he could stay until September, 2015 – and that no members are released until they are ready.

But the offer turned out to be exclusive to Cpl. Kirkland, who chose within the last few days to leave rather than be given special treatment.

“I joined as a member of a team, as a family,” Cpl. Kirkland said in an interview from Shilo, Man. “So, when I was offered an opportunity when no one else was, it just goes against everything I joined for.”
read more here