Showing posts with label Arkansas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arkansas. Show all posts

Monday, January 27, 2020

Arkansas Army National Guard, as two guardsmen took their own life.

#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife

Two Arkansas Army National Guardsmen take their own life this week

Author: Ashley Godwin (THV11)
January 24, 2020
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — It's been a tragic week for the Arkansas Army National Guard, as two guardsmen took their own life.
A statement sent to us by the Arkansas Army National Guard says they are "grieving with the families and loved ones of the two soldiers who are no longer with us. The Guard is like one big family."

The grief can be felt throughout as several people reached out on social media to share their condolences, including service member Melody Daniel.
read it here

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Community comes together to help amputee move on to healing

Veterans community comes together to help double amputee move to Arkansas

AZ Central
Nathan J. Fish, Arizona Republic
Feb. 16, 2019

With a wide smile on his face, Matt Zajac, a double-amputee Army veteran, wheeled himself outside, stopping to light up a cigarette. Boxes lined his driveway.

"Keep the beer, throw out everything else," Zajac told one of a volunteers with a laugh.

Almost a dozen volunteers from multiple veterans organizations joined forces Saturday to help Zajac move out of his home in San Tan Valley.

Volunteers wearing black Changed By Nature Outdoors shirts bustled around, carrying boxes and furniture in and out of Zajac's home. The volunteers loaded up the moving truck parked in front of the home near Bella Vista Road and Hunt Highway.

Zajac is moving to participate in an Arkansas-based wounded-veteran program with We Are The 22, a nonprofit organization committed to preventing veteran suicide. The Purple Heart awardee said he reached out to the organization for help with his post-traumatic stress disorder.
read more here

Monday, July 30, 2018

PTSD Veteran sleeps outside Rehab, service dog not welcomed

Combat Veteran Sleeps Outside with Service Dog When Denied Access to Rehab Facility
FOX 16 News
By: Rebecca Jeffrey
Jul 29, 2018

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Justin Simmons knows what war looks like.
"I hear screaming and yelling, I hear explosions."

It's a scene that now lives in his head.

"You know, there's some things that don't go away," Simmons said.

The Iraq combat veteran is taking on a new battle for his best friend.

"This guy's kept me out of more trouble than any jail commitment," he said looking at his service dog Blue.

He says a PTSD episode landed him in jail back in 2011.
He says last week he was sentenced to treatment at the Recovery Centers of Arkansas in North Little Rock until a bed opened up at the VA.

"I was automatically court ordered and if I left I would go to jail," he said.

While he was welcome inside the RCA, Blue was not because he didn't have the right certification.

"You're not allowed to deny me access with my service dog. It's not legal," Simmons said.

Blue is a registered service animal through the Americans with Disabilities Act.
read more here

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Firefighter Battles Own Mind with PTSD

Retired Firefighter Battles Own Mind with PTSD
FOX 16 News
By: Mitch McCoy
Updated: May 23, 2018

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - In a game of chess, you have to find your intellectual self to not only predict the next move but to make that one move to win.
"There's no way to come back from that," says Britton Turner.

Retired Little Rock Firefighter Britton Turner knows the mind can also play tricks.

"You have this compartment in your head that is only so big and it can only carry so much," says Turner.

Decades of service to the Capital City means saving lives going call to call. "She's screaming," recalls Britton. "It triggered something in my head."

It changed the former Captain's life forever.

"It was actually a patient's mother because she reminded me so much of my mother and what my mother would be doing if I was in the same place," says Turner.
read more here

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

VA Nurse Now...Was Homeless Veteran Before

Once a homeless veteran, this nurse turned his life around to help other veterans
THV11 News
Author: Brejamin Perkins
Published: 5:19 PM CDT May 7, 2018
“Back in 2003, I came to the VA as a homeless veteran,” said Hathcock. He admits he never imagined himself entering the hospital doors as a RN.

Registered Nurse David Hathcock, at the Veteran’s Hospital in Little Rock, was recently ranked one of the best nurses in Arkansas.

He and many others on that list are being recognized this week for the work they do for us all.

Hathcock has an interesting perspective, as he once was in the care of nurses he works with today. The service he received, is now what he provides.

“Back in 2003, I came to the VA as a homeless veteran,” said Hathcock. He admits he never imagined himself entering the hospital doors as a RN.

Now he gets to scan his badge with pride every day.

“The VA is here for you and they will help you get your life back, but you have to put the work in. I didn't just show up here thinking they were going to do everything for me,” he said.

Hathcock was once a veteran in the VA’s Drug Treatment Program. He gives the hospital credit for helping him start his life over because they gave him opportunity and a job, now career.
read more here

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Patriot Guard Riders Honor Service of Wilson Robert Selick

Homeless Veteran Laid to Rest
Arkansas Matters
March 7, 2018
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The Arkansas Patriot Guard helped lay to rest a homeless veteran with no known family this morning at the Arkansas State Veteran's Cemetary.

More than 30 Patriot Guard Riders showed up to honor Mr. Wilson Robert Selick, who served in the U.S. Army in the 1960s.

He was the recipient of the Marksmanship medal. Mr. Selick passed away last July but no relatives could be located.
read more here

Sunday, November 19, 2017

PTSD Veteran From 2 Wars Life Changed by Bike

Helping veterans get motivated, and moving, goal of fund founder

Arkansas Online
Ginny Monk
November 19, 2017
"In Iraq, you know who your friends were and who your enemies were," (Paul Bunn) said, crossing his arms over his chest. "When I came back here, it got hard to tell."

PHOTO BY GINNY MONKMark Leonard is one of the founders and organizers for Arkansas Freedom Fund, a nonprofit aimed at getting veterans moving. The Arkansas Challenge Ride is its biggest event. 
Mark Leonard approached a veteran wearing an American flag T-shirt and paused on his way to set up more registration signs for his organization's biggest event of the year.
"I want you to sit on this one here or that one there because I want you to have a new bike," Leonard said, pointing to two recumbent bikes sitting under a tent. "I want you to go faster."
Paul Bunn, a veteran who is getting ready to participate in a 24-mile bike ride, hugs Leonard and starts adjusting his new bike -- an eight speed instead of a three speed.
Leonard, 59, is one of the founders and organizers for Arkansas Freedom Fund, a nonprofit that works to get veterans active. The Arkansas Challenge Ride last month is its biggest event, Leonard said.
This year's ride was Bunn's second time to participate. He is an Army veteran who served one tour during the Persian Gulf War and one in Iraq. He returned with post-traumatic stress disorder that made venturing out into crowds difficult. 
read more here

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Wedding Party Time Meant Serving Others

Wedding party gives back to community by volunteering at food bank
Meredith Mitchell
October 13, 2017
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A lot of wedding weekends begin with a bridal luncheon, maybe a trip to the spa, but one Little Rock couple wanted to do something a little different.

The beautiful path to marriage is getting more and more elaborate these days, but before Patricia Minor walks down the aisle, she and her groom-to-be wanted to spend time with their wedding party.

But the group went for something a little unconventional. The group decided to give back to their community by volunteering their time at the Arkansas Food Bank.

"I thought this would be a great opportunity for us to have some bonding time and some fun times," Minor said.
The groom, Will Ewings, and all of his groomsmen are either retired or active duty military. The man were wearing their favorite team's jersey as they stacked cans of food and helped in any way they could. Minor said service is nothing new to them.
read more here

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Arkansas Suicide Prevention Hotline Passes House

Bill Instating Arkansas Suicide Prevention Hotline Passes House
Arkansas Matters
By: Jessi Turnure
Posted: Mar 21, 2017
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Right now... if you call the National Suicide Prevention hotline, you have no chance of speaking with someone in Arkansas.

We're one of two states without an in-state call center. A bill to change that passed in the House Tuesday afternoon.

The legislation calls on the Health Department to run a 24-hour call center that answers Arkansans' calls to the national hotline.

The Veteran's Coalition and Veteran's Mental Health Council brought the bill to Representative Bob Johnson, (D)-Jacksonville.

He says he's worked out the funding issues opponents have had concerns about.

The call center would cost nearly 700,000 dollars a year to run and evaluate.

Rep. Johnson says the Health Department has money to start program, and once it's up and running, it'll qualify for federal dollars.
read more here

Friday, March 10, 2017

A Hundred Veterans Became Family to Vietnam Veteran At Funeral

Veterans provide burial for fellow veteran without a family
Erika Ferrando
March 9, 2017
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - On February 8, 68-year-old Private First Class William A. Powers died alone in a central Arkansas hospital. He was a veteran who was nearly forgotten, but nearly 100 veterans who never met him, made sure Powers was laid to rest with the honor deserving of a hero.

Powers served as a soldier in the Vietnam War from 1966 until 1969. He was given a proper burial at Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery, thanks to a few phone calls.

"It's a very heartfelt appreciation for the service and sacrifice," said Jerry Ashby, Patriot Guard Riders.

They showed up not because they knew him, but because no one else did.

“We attempted to find family. There was none," said Mike Frazier, manager at Roller-McNutt Funeral Home.

Maybe it's fate Mike Frazier's funeral home received the call from the hospital.

“It's very sad," Frazier said. "No one should leave the world like that."

As a fellow veteran himself, he felt it was his duty to provide a proper burial.
read more here

Monday, February 13, 2017

Fort Hood Staff Sergeant's Death Under Investigation

Fort Hood: Iraq war veteran found dead in off-post residence 
KWTX News 
By Staff 
Feb 13, 2017
Staff Sgt. Christie Marie Anderson. (Fort Hood photo)
FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) Fort Hood Monday identified a soldier who was found dead on Feb. 6 in her off-post residence as Staff Sgt. Christie Marie Anderson, 44 of Hazen, Ark. 

Killeen police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death, Fort Hood said, but no details were released. 
read more here

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Homeless Veteran, Beaten For His Shoes?

Homeless Veteran Attacked, Shoes Stolen Off His Feet
Arkansas Matters
Posted: Jan 10, 2017
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Caught on camera... a homeless veteran at the door of a gas station being robbed of his shoes.

Police say the incident happened Friday at the Super Stop Gas Station along I-30 in Little Rock.

The attendant at the Super Stop said he was at the store after a busy snowy day. He heard commotion outside and looked quick enough to see a rough turn of events outside the shop. It was all caught on the security cameras.

Two men in the video come up to where the veteran is standing, knock him out, and can be seen taking his shoes.

The attendant says he called police, and police say the man was bleeding from the mouth and had a small cut under his right eye.

Customers at the super stop say it's terrible that this happened in their community.
read more here

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Soldier On Service Dogs Accused of Mistreatment and Selling Dogs

Soldier On Service Dogs Accused of Mistreatment and Selling Donated Dogs
NWA News
By Erika Hall
Published 12/05 2016

Arkansas has one of the highest per-capita veteran populations with an estimated 2,500 Arkansans in need of service dogs.

As of now there's no regulation when it comes to trainers, and no regulated certification for service dog teams.

KNWA News investigated how many inadequately trained dogs still carry the honored title.

In Fayetteville, Soldier on Service Dogs was recently accused of mistreatment and selling donated dogs.

"I mean I donated these dogs for free and I know that they took a donation or they sold the pups," animal breeder Rick Dodson said.

Dodson works in Tennessee, and donated five full-blooded German Shepherd pups valued at $1,500 a piece to Fayetteville's Soldier on Service Dogs non-profit, run by Angie Pratt.

After ten months of K-9 training with volunteer puppy handlers and trainers, the non-profit washed out all five dogs, meaning they were unfit to serve a veteran.
read more here

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Veteran Gets Help With Place to Live, Thieves Steal Volunteers Tools!

Thieves steal tools from volunteers building home for homeless veteran
KY3 News
Dustin Hodges
Dec 21, 2015
A man from Mountain Home who served his country was getting the Christmas gift of a lifetime until his holiday hopes turned into heartbreak.

Army veteran William Murray had to spend last winter living in a camper.

"We happened to have one of the coldest winters last year and all of our money went to propane to keep it heated," Murray said on Monday.

This fall,volunteers helped Murray find local churches and a local business owner who helped get him an abandoned house and materials to fix it up.

"I was amazed at the blessings that just came in," said Murray.

"One thing led to another and we've been progressing on getting the house done and trying to get them a good warm place to live and a permanent residence for him and his girlfriend," said volunteer contractor Scott Callender.
Then, last week, thieves broke into the house and stole all the volunteers' tools worth about $2,500.
read more here

Friday, December 11, 2015

Arkansas VA and AG Track Veterans Non-Profits

Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs and Arkansas Attorney General launch Veterans non-profit verification service

December 10, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA) in partnership with Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge unveiled “ADVA Verified” in a press conference at the state capitol Thursday afternoon. 
The voluntary program verifies nonprofits who offer Veteran specific services are current with Arkansas filing requirements.
“As I have been hosting veteran roundtable meetings, one of the common themes I have heard involves the regulation of veteran advocacy and support organizations,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansans have big hearts and are very generous, but they should be able to verify that their donation will be used for the intended purpose. Working with Director Snead, I am pleased that donors can now use the new ADVA Verified to help separate certified organizations from those that may be questionable.”
ADVA is committed to connecting public and private resources to Veterans across the state.  ADVA Verified was created to ensure that those services connected are credible.
“ADVA Verified is another commitment filled through our agency’s first-ever strategic plan,” said Matt Snead, Director of ADVA, “It is designed to assist both Veterans and credible nonprofits, bringing more transparency and peace of mind to those who use those services.”
A two-page form will ensure that the charity has filed articles of incorporation with the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office, has current registration with the Attorney General’s Office, and has a current IRS filing. It will also collect financial information, charitable purpose, services offered, locations, and contact information to share with Veterans seeking services.
The services of ADVA Verified nonprofits will be connected to Veterans through the ADVA website, social media, monthly newsletter and the Veteran service officer network.  Transparency information on verified nonprofits will be available on ADVA’s website located
ADVA Verified nonprofits will be able to display the ADVA Verified logo and communicate services through the statewide Veteran service officer network; reaching nearly 250,000 Veterans and their families.
While the program is voluntary, services of non-verified nonprofits will not be connected through ADVA outreach channels. The website will link those who wish to file a complaint against a nonprofit to the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division.
ADVA Verified does not imply state endorsement of a nonprofit.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Vietnam Veteran Died Saving Family in Arkansas Fire

Vietnam Veteran dies in house fire after saving family members 
SEPTEMBER 11, 2015
"He was the type of guy that would stand up for you, help you out. You call him in the middle of the night and he would come help you," said Tony Green, Hulbert's brother-in-law.
EARLE, Ark. --Tragedy hit the small town of Earle, Arkansas after an early morning fire killed a Vietnam Veteran, who was also a recipient of the Purple Heart.

Friends and family of Hulbert Bonner, Junior said he was a hero to the end.

"He wanted to make sure, ensure everybody's safety. And you know he put his life on the line to make sure everybody else was safe," said Damian Bonner, son of fire victim.

Damian Bonner stood tall Friday morning, speaking proudly of his father 69-year old Hulbert Bonner, Junior.

The elder Bonner was killed when fire destroyed his home on Tulip Street in Earle, Arkansas.

The Vietnam Veteran tried to extinguish the fire but first made sure his disabled son and Bonner's brother escaped.
read more here

Thursday, August 6, 2015

VA Contract for Communications Worth $450 Million

Windstream awarded contract with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs
Contract to improve service consolidation efforts for VA facilities nationwide
Aug 04, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.,—Windstream (NASDAQ: WIN), a leading provider of advanced network communications and managed services, announced today that it is one of three awardees of a contract to provide voice, data and Internet services for the federal government’s Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Information and Technology (OIT) under the National Consolidation of Local Exchange Carrier (LEC) Services Contract. This award, with a ceiling of over $450M over the next five years, provides Windstream’s comprehensive solutions portfolio to 2,100 VA facilities across the nation.

This new contract is designed to reduce costs and support management. It allows installation of Windstream’s technology solutions at 2,100 facilities nationwide, helping the VA further consolidate its communication services for even greater efficiency and reliability, supporting the OIT’s enterprise-level management of its LEC services.

“In the past, the VA’s local voice, data and internet services have been decentralized. By continuing its consolidation efforts and implementing more formalized management of its LEC services, the VA is able to strengthen all of its communications solutions, leveraging Windstream’s reliable, nationwide fiber network,” said Michael Magliato, vice president of government solutions at Windstream. “While this also supports the federal government’s overall budgetary and organizational goals, it allows the VA to offer higher quality service to our nation’s veterans – and Windstream is proud to be part of that effort.”

Windstream will provide multi-location VA medical center clinics and facilities with services such as local voice and high-speed Ethernet Internet services, as well as customized solutions to support complex telehealth initiatives. Rural clinics also will benefit from teleconferencing technology in order to communicate with hard-to-reach patients and medical practitioners.

“The strength and reliability of the Windstream network is foundational to the essential communication needs of federal government offices and its employees,” said David Works, president of enterprise at Windstream. “As a U.S Navy veteran, I’m personally committed to ensuring that we provide our government with the reliable and secure technology solutions that will assist in the efficient delivery of healthcare to veterans across the nation.”

Windstream offers a full suite of advanced network communications and technology solutions, including voice and data services such as VoIP access, SIP trunking, MPLS and dedicated high-speed Internet. Windstream also offers managed services, cloud computing, disaster recovery and networking services designed to help businesses increase productivity and improve operational costs. For more information, visit

Monday, July 20, 2015

Wounded Afghanistan Veteran Plans to Leave Wheelchair at Tampa VA

Wounded war veteran returns to Ark. hometown
THV 11 News
July 19, 2015

While his recovery has been rough, Moore is adamant about his future. He plans to return to the VA in Tampa to continue his recovery, and says he will stay there until he's out of his wheelchair.

War veteran Carl Wayne Moore III reunites with his family at Toad Suck.
(Photo: Jan Collins)

CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) -A veteran, who was severely wounded during his second tour in Afghanistan, finally returned to his hometown on Sunday.

Carl Wayne Moore III was hurt in action on June 4, 2013 and has spent the last two years traveling to several states in the U.S. just trying recover and learn how to live with a spinal cord injury.
read more here

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Arkansas Veterans Group Puts Compassion into Action

New center helps Conway veterans get benefits 
THV11 News
Astrid Solorzano
January 17, 2015

CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) - There are more than 250,000 men and women who served our country in Arkansas. Veterans Outreach Ministries has helped more than 8,000 veterans through the hurdles of receiving health care benefits. The group has two existing locations, one in Pleasant Plains and one in Searcy. Paul Bunn's offices help veterans and their families overcome struggles with health care. 

Now Bunn, with the help of more than 60 volunteers, have opened a new location in Conway. "Our veterans do not have access to proper representation when it comes to the Department of Veterans Affairs." The group's motto is 'healing by helping compassion in action.'

"Our Vietnam veterans were exposed to herbicides, Agent Orange," said Bunn, "There are automatically 12 presumptive illnesses they are exposed to, and can get treatment paid for."
read more here

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Veteran Marine Killed in Arkansas Tornado

Eddy Withem, Marine and Father of Three, Killed in Ashdown, Arkansas, Tornado
The Weather Channel
By Allie Goolrick
Published: Oct 14, 2014

Eddy Withem with his wife, Roxanne Oliver-Withem.
(Photo: Facebook/Eddy Withem)

An Arkansas Marine and father of three was killed early Monday morning after an EF2 tornado tore through Ashdown in the southwest corner of the state. Eddy Withem, 33, was killed when a twister hit his home around 5:30 a.m., KSLA reports. His wife, Roxanne Oliver-Withem, was critically injured.

Withem was in the home with his wife and their three children when the storm blew the couple outside, said Mike Seidel, meteorologist with The Weather Channel, as he reported from Ashdown.

Roxanne is in critical condition after having surgery at Wadley Regional Medical Center in Texarkana, Texas. The three children, ranging in age from seven to 13, sustained minor injuries and have been released to their grandparents.
read more here