Showing posts with label Colorado. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Colorado. Show all posts

Sunday, March 8, 2020

TBI and PTSD aren't usually diagnosed until long after those other than honorable discharges are handed out

A new insult to veterans: Thousands are unlawfully being denied medical care | Vince Bzdek

The Gazette
Vince Bzdek
March 7, 2020
Just because a discharge is “other than honorable” doesn’t mean that a vet doesn't qualify for medical benefits, according to the VA’s own rules. But the new study by the Veterans Legal Clinic at Harvard Law School says the VA has unlawfully turned away thousands of veterans with other-than-honorable discharges because officials at the VA systematically misunderstood the law and didn’t review the vets’ applications properly.
A new study has discovered that the VA has unlawfully turned away thousands of veterans with other-than-honorable discharges because officials at the VA systematically misunderstood the law and didn’t review the vets’ applications properly. Associated Press file photo. Ted S. Warren
Veterans call it “bad paper.”

In a Pulitzer Prize-winning series of stories reported in 2013, The Gazette found that more soldiers than ever are receiving “bad paper”, which means they are receiving “other than honorable” discharges for some sort of misconduct ranging from drug use to insubordination.

The Gazette investigation, based on data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, found that the annual number of misconduct discharges was up more than 25% Armywide since 2009. At the eight Army posts that house most of the service's combat units, including Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, misconduct discharges had surged 67%.

The Gazette discovered a Catch-22 about those discharges. Many “other than honorable” discharges stem from misconduct due to traumatic brain injuries received during service or to mental health issues caused by deployment. The problem is TBI and PTSD aren't usually diagnosed until long after those other than honorable discharges are handed out.
read it here

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

El Paso County Jail Veteran Pods Proving Support

Congressman Lamborn explores veteran care at El Paso County Jail

FOX 21 News
by: Brandon Thompson
Posted: Jan 21, 2020

COLORADO SPRINGS — It was a busy day at the El Paso County Jail, but far from it’s busiest. The around 1,450 inmates Tuesday were much more comfortable than this time last year when the average daily population reached 1,800, according to Sheriff Bill Elder.

“There are a lot more people here than I realized,” said Congressman Doug Lamborn, a Republican representing El Paso and Teller Counties in Washington.

Lamborn was visiting the jail Tuesday, the largest jail by inmate population, outside of the state’s Department of Corrections and it is specifically interested in veteran care.

“They might have mental health issues based on PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] or they might have things like that,” said Lamborn. “So, being able to treat that population differently from everyone else, I think makes a lot of sense.”

The veteran inmates in minimum security are housed with other inmates and have programs available to them. The deputies who oversee the veterans’ pods are veterans as well.

“One thing I see the veterans do is watching out for each other,” Lamborn said. “There’s a spirit of respect where they take some of the military traditions that they served under when they were in active service.”
read it here

and what they got wrong!
Lamborn was on hand for a daily tradition: 22 pushups at 3:00 p.m. to honor and remember the 22 veterans who take their own lives each day.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

If veterans are "Still Reluctant To Seek Help" time to change help you are offering

Can we finally drop the BS of "suicide awareness" so we can start raising "healing awareness?"

Every time I read about the rate of suicides going up after all the "awareness" efforts stated, I have to decide between crying, screaming or hitting something. For the last 37 years I have known what to do for two reasons. The first is that other people became experts on PTSD long before I heard the term. The second reason is that learning all I can about it was a matter of life or death because it involved my family.

All these years later, what people are settling for makes me sick to my stomach! Suicide is a serious thing and requires serious efforts to be support, not avoided because it is harder than pulling stunts and showing off. Saving lives is personal involvement and a full knowledge of everything involved in it.

Are you willing to make a difference for them, or are you in this for yourself? Take a good, hard, honest look at yourself. If you really care about them, contact me so you will know what has to be done. 407-754-7526 or email

All calls are confidential, so you can ask any question you want. Maybe then we can prevent more headlines like this one.

Veterans And Active-Duty Service Members Make Up 20% Of All Suicides In Colorado, But They’re Still Reluctant To Seek Help

Colorado Public Radio
By Hayley Sanchez
August 30, 2019
Nearly 200 Colorado veterans kill themselves every year, according to the report. The number of veteran suicides in the state has been increasing since 2004. It went from 44 suicides per 100,000 that year to 52 by 2017.

David Zalubowski/Associated Press The exterior of the Veterans Affairs Department hospital is shown in east Denver.

Colorado’s suicide rate is already one of the highest in the country, and research shows veterans are even more likely to die by suicide than non-veterans in the state.

“The deaths by suicide from 2004 to 2017 in Colorado, there were about 13,000 of them, which is a mind-boggling statistic. Nearly 2,600 of them were veterans or active duty service members,” said Karam Ahmad, a policy analyst with the institute, who also wrote the report for Colorado Health Institute.

“Suicide is a major public health problem nationally. Here in Colorado, it’s a major public health problem. We ranked 10th worst in the country,” Ahmad said.
read it here

Friday, August 2, 2019

Iraq veteran's daughter fighting for life after hit and run driver left her in road

Lillington family trying to bring home woman critically hurt in Colorado hit-and-run

By Amanda Lamb, WRAL reporter
August 1, 2019

LILLINGTON, N.C. — A Lillington native remains in a Colorado hospital three months after she was seriously injured in a hit-and-run in Denver.
Ashley Schachter, 22, was on her way to work at a local college on May 1 when she was hit. Witnesses told police that the driver stopped briefly and could be heard asking someone on the phone what to do before jumping back in her car and driving off.

"To know that she got out of her car saw what she did to my daughter and then left the scene of what she did, it just baffles me how someone could just do that," Brandy Schachter said Wednesday.

Ashley Schachter, a Harnett Central High School graduate who had moved to Denver only weeks earlier after spending several years doing community service work through AmeriCorps, suffered a traumatic brain injury along with fractures in her spine, hip, legs, left ankle and collarbone.

"I didn't recognize my daughter, and I basically hit the floor," Brandy Schachter said, recalling the first time she saw her in the hospital. "It was, I mean, all the trauma and the bruises, everything, it was just overwhelming that I didn't even recognize my own daughter."
Chad Schachter, a disabled Iraq War veteran, has stayed in Denver since the crash to be with his daughter and to try find clues to help with the investigation of the hit-and-run, which remains unsolved.

"I had no idea if she was going to be alive or not when I got here," he told NBC affiliate KUSA.
read it here

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Fort Carson 10th Special Forces Group Lost Hero

Decorated special forces soldier dies in combat in Afghanistan

NBC News
By Tim Stelloh
July 14, 2019

Sgt. Maj. James Sartor "was a beloved warrior who epitomized the quiet professional," a military official said.

A Special Forces company sergeant was killed during combat operations in Afghanistan, military officials said Sunday.

Sgt. Maj. James Sartor, 40, died Saturday in the country’s northern Faryab Province, U.S. Army Special Operations spokesman Lt. Col. Loren Bymer said in a statement.

Additional details about Sartor’s death were not immediately available.

Sartor, of Teague, Texas, was assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group in Fort Carson, Colorado, Bymer said. He deployed to Iraq as an infantryman in 2002 and later as a Green Beret. Sartor had served in Afghanistan twice — once in 2017 and again this year.

Sartor, who went by "Ryan," joined the Army in June, 2001, and was given more than 20 awards and decorations during his military career. He will posthumously receive a Purple Heart and Bronze Star, Bymer said.
read it here

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Community honors memory of soldier who never got to meet his baby son

Hundreds of flags decorate coffee shop belonging to fallen soldier and wife

The Denver Channel
By: Jessica Barreto
Jul 05, 2019
Sergeant Elliott Robbins also leaves behind a baby son, Elliott Jr., who was born shortly after his deployment.

Hundreds of U.S. flags now adorn a coffee shop in belonging to a fallen Fort Carson soldier and his wife.
Special Forces Sergeant First Class Elliott Robbins died earlier this week in Afghanistan, just three weeks before he was set to return home.

Many took time out of their holiday on Thursday to pay their respects to Robbins and his family.
Costello Street Coffee House opened up early at 6:30 Thursday morning, and folks from all over the area stopped by to plant a flag, drop off a note of encouragement, and simply let this grieving family know there is an entire community behind them.

"Without them giving up everything for us, we can't celebrate," said Amber Ray, a military spouse who went to the coffee shop with her family.

Robbins deployed to Afghanistan earlier this year, and on Sunday, his family found out he would not be coming home.
read it here

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Fireworks started fire, Colorado woman rescued from house by strangers

Good Samaritans rescue woman from fireworks-sparked fire in Montbello

Denver Channel
By: Jaclyn Allen
Jul 05, 2019

DENVER – Denver Fire is investigating a fire in a Montbello home that was reportedly sparked by fireworks Wednesday night.

Dramatic dash cam and cell phone video captured the moment a bush caught fire, spreading to a car and a house on Atchison Way.
William Birkett was shooting the video after he saw the firework shoot into the bush, and pulled over to help.

"I tried my best to put it out with the water bottles that I had in my car. The neighbor was using his garden hose," said Birkett, who said the fire quickly grew out of control, and that’s when they heard a woman screaming. “Myself and two other men, we just started running towards the house. And the two men pulled her out while I held back the bushes and I ran back inside to make sure no one was inside.”
read more here

Monday, July 1, 2019

Colorado missing sheriff’s deputy remains found

Missing Gypsum man found dead inside his pickup truck, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office says

7 News Denver
By: Ryan Osborne , Óscar Contreras
June 28, 2019

“The love and support this community has shown in the search for Tayler has been beyond words,” Porter said. “This support has been a comfort to his family, friends, co-workers, and the entire community.”
GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. – A missing sheriff’s deputy who was last seen Tuesday in a rural area of Garfield County was found dead Friday, according to a spokesperson with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.
Tayler Esslinger, 26, of Gypsum, who was last seen Tuesday and was believed to be heading into the mountains, was found in his vehicle Friday afternoon. A cause and manner of death was not immediately released.

“We are very heartbroken by today’s turn of events in this discovery,” said Eagle County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Jessie Porter in a news release. “While it was not the outcome we had all been hoping and praying for, these last few days have shown how the circumstances of one individual can pull us together to make us all stronger.”
read it here

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Peterson Air Force Base Member's Death Under Investigation in Arizona

Military service member assigned to border mission found dead, foul play not suspected

Associated Press
June 2, 2019

NOGALES, Ariz. — Authorities say a military service member assigned to the Southwest Border Support Mission has died in southern Arizona.
Layers of concertina are added to existing barrier infrastructure along the U.S.-Mexico border near Nogales, Ariz., Feb. 4, 2019. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

Officials at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said in a statement that the military service member was found dead Saturday near Nogales.
read more here

Saturday, June 1, 2019

WWII veteran flew 1,500 miles for grandson's Air Force Academy graduation

101-year-old WWII veteran flew 1,500 miles to commission grandson at Air Force Academy

FOX 31
May 31, 2019

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Joseph Kloc is among the 989 members of the US Air Force Academy's class of 2019 who graduated this week.
But a unique moment with family set his week apart.

His grandfather, 101-year-old World War II veteran Walter Kloc, flew from Amherst, New York to commission his grandson.

"I'm so excited for him," Joseph’s father William Kloc told WGRZ before the trip to Colorado. "He's fulfilling his dream and he was so excited that his grandfather, a World War II Air Force bombardier pilot, could come and commission him."

The moment was captured on camera by the Air Force Academy.

"Walter received a standing ovation, and everyone in the room was gifted with a memory they’ll never forget," the academy said.
read more here

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Heroic teen at Colorado school had already joined Marine Corps

Colorado STEM school student Brendan Bialy helped disarm gunman

NBC News
By Patrick Smith and Hayley Walker
May 8, 2019

A high school senior who plans to become a Marine after graduation was among the students who tackled a gunman in a Colorado school on Tuesday.

Brendan Bialy attends the STEM School Highlands Ranch, which is not far from the site of the Columbine High School shooting 20 years ago.

Brendan Bialy, who is enrolled in the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program, helped subdue a shooter at the STEM School in Colorado.
Bialy's father, Brad, confirmed to NBC News that the teenager and other classmates tackled and disarmed one of the two shooters.
read more here

UPDATE: And the hero who did not survive

"This wasn't your average kid. He was extraordinary": Dad of school shooting hero remembers his son 
CBS News
MAY 9, 2019 

John and Maria Castillo are still trying to process the fact that their son, Kendrick, is gone.
"I'm sad, I'm mad. I have all these emotions. I feel like my life is blank as of yesterday," said John, speaking with reporters from the family home in Denver. CBS Denver was there
read more of his story here

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Fort Carson Missing Soldier Found Safe

Missing Fort Carson soldier found alive

By Tony Keith/Lindsey Grewe
Apr 17, 2019

"The soldiers of our brigade are tremendously relieved that our Soldier has been recovered safely," said Col. Dave Zinn, commander of 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
FORT CARSON, Colo. (KKTV) - A Fort Carson soldier who went missing Monday night has been found alive, the Mountain Post confirms.

The soldier had been participating in the "Expert Field Medical Badge competition" and was last seen on foot at the Fort Carson Land Navigation course, which is on the southeastern corner of the post near Pueblo West. The last time someone reported seeing the soldier was about 9:45 p.m. on Monday.

More than 1,700 soldiers, along with Directorate of Emergency Services personnel, and search rescue teams from El Paso, Fremont and Douglas counties took part in a ground search. Additionally, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Inf. Div., and Flight for Life helicopters searched from the air.
read more here

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Vietnam veteran collected from VA for blindness since 1969...but had drivers license

Vietnam vet pretended to be blind to defraud VA

By: The Associated Press
April 13, 2019
Blea had eye exams outside of the VA system that showed his vision could be corrected to 20/30 in one eye and 20/40 in another. He also had a driver’s license and drove regularly.

Mike Rodolfo Blea, of Northglenn, Colorado, was sentenced Wednesday by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Wiley Daniel to serve twelve months in prison, followed by three years on supervised release for defrauding the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs out of nearly $1.3 million by pretending to be blind. (rclassenlayouts/Getty Images)
DENVER — A Colorado man has been sentenced to a year in prison for defrauding the Department of Veterans Affairs out of nearly $1.3 million by pretending to be blind.

Mike Blea, of Northglenn, was sentenced Wednesday and ordered to pay the VA $1,273,180 in restitution.

Investigators say Blea is a Vietnam veteran who started getting VA disability payments in 1969 for visual impairment.

He did have a minor problem with his eyesight but started to exaggerate how bad it was.
read more here

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Soldiers killed in Afghanistan Identified

Pentagon identifies U.S. Soldiers killed in Afghanistan

By: CNN Newsource
Posted: Mar 24, 2019

TAMPA (WFLA/CNN) - The Pentagon has identified two U.S. soldiers killed Friday in Afghanistan. 

They are 33-year-old Sergeant First Class Will Lindsay of Colorado and 29-year-old Specialist Joseph Collette of Ohio.
Two defense officials tell CNN the service members died during a partnered U.S-Afghan Military operation.

The officials added that initial indications are that they were killed during a fight with the Taliban. Afghan troops were also killed in the incident.

This marks the third and fourth U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan this year.
read more here

Monday, March 18, 2019

Two hotel employees fired over double crossing military and veterans

Colorado Springs hotel apologizes after employees refuse to serve military

Tom Kackley
March 15, 2019

COLORADO SPRINGS – The DoubleTree by Hilton in Colorado Springs posted an apology to its Facebook page Friday afternoon for refusing to serve members of the military at the hotel’s bar Thursday night.
Hundreds of Facebook users shared a photo of a sign at the bar that read “NO LONGER SERVING MILITARY PERSONNEL and THEIR GUEST(S)” posted by Aimee Osbourne this morning.

The woman who posted the photo with commentary about the sign has since removed the post due to all of the negative commentary.

News5 spoke with Osbourne about her post and the reaction by staff. The number one thing Osbourne wants everyone to know is there is no ill will towards Doubletree Colorado Springs. She says she did not write the post with the intent of starting problems.

“I’m regretful that anyone had to lose their livelihood,” Osbourne said.

Daniel Kammerer, General Manager of the hotel, said two employees “acted without the proper authority” to exclude service members from the bar. According to the post, both employees are “no longer employed at the property.”
read more here

Saturday, February 16, 2019

100 Fort Carson soldiers came home on Valentine's Day

Valentine's Homecoming at Fort Carson

FOX 2 News
Brandon Thompson
February 15, 2019

FORT CARSON, Colo. - Thursday, 100 Fort Carson soldiers returned home to their families after a nine-month deployment in Europe.

The mission for the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division was to work with American allies in the Balkan and Baltic states on training, readiness and information sharing.

"This just is a special moment for us all getting back," Billy Austin said. "Just looking out and doing what's best for our country, I really enjoy it. It means a lot."

Austin has been in the Army for around 20 years. This was his first deployment away from his two younger children, and over the course of his time away from home, his third was born, a son named Ryker.

"It just makes you appreciate the smaller things in life," Austin said. "Spending time with these four, I've been looking forward to it for nine months."

For another family, the Montanos, this was their first homecoming and deployment.

"This is my first homecoming, but I've been in the crowd to support my cousin's," said Nathan Montano.

Montano left for his mission just weeks after his daughter, Alice, was born.
read more here

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Fort Carson Staff Sgt. shot by police

Suspect shot by officers at Springs apartment complex

KKTV 11 News
By Lindsey Grewe
Jan 23, 2019

The suspect sustained nonlife-threatening injuries. He was identified Thursday morning as 33-year-old Thomas McGeorge.

Fort Carson confirmed Thursday that McGeorge is an active duty staff sergeant. He works as a Fire Support Specialist in the Army's field artillery team. He has served in the military for just under 11 years.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Officers opened fire in an apartment complex Wednesday night after an encounter with an armed suspect.

What led up to the police-involved shooting remains under investigation. Colorado Springs Police Department spokesperson Lt. Howard Black says officers were initially called to the Mountain Ridge Apartments on Verde Drive on reports of someone repeatedly firing a gun.

"These multiple shots were being called in by multiple people over a period of time," Black said.

Witnesses reported hearing at least half a dozen gunshots.

"We were smoking a cigarette, and we heard like seven gunshots, and we didn’t think nothing of it ... all of a sudden a bunch of cops showed up, and it was terrible," Gere Burrell told 11 News.
read more here

Friday, November 23, 2018

Fort Carson Soldiers team up with Salvation Army for community

Thousands get a Thanksgiving meal in Colorado Springs thanks to Salvation Army, Fort Carson and volunteers

KOAA 5 News
Jessica Barreto
November 22, 2018

COLORADO SPRINGS – Thousands of people in Southern Colorado got a Thanksgiving dinner thanks to a tag-team effort between The Salvation Army and U.S. Army soldiers assigned to Fort Carson. The Salvation Army hosts the meal. The Fort Carson Soldiers do the cooking.

“Our cooks have been prepping food for about the last week,” said Brigadier General, William J. Thigpen. read more here

Also, Firefighters open their stations to Air Force trainees for Thanksgiving
SAN ANTONIO - Firefighters at just about every fire station across the city are celebrating their Thanksgiving with the men and women in Air Force.

This is the 14th year for "Operation: Homecooking." Military Trainees at Joint Base San Antonio - Lackland, who were not able to be with their own families today, were invited to share delicious firehouse food with firefighters.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Police saved the birthday of duo-veterans' son!

When classmates cop out on birthday party, boy’s mom calls the cops

By Julie Hays
Nov 16, 2018

GATESVILLE, Texas (KWTX) When classmates failed to show up for a pizza party celebrating the birthday of the son of two Gatesville Army veterans, the youngster’s mother called police, thinking that officers would appreciate the unneeded pizzas and the cops responded, bearing goodwill and an armload of gifts.

Kaleb Jansen and his parents, Brian and Tara, both former military police officers, moved to Gatesville from Colorado six months ago.

Tara spent five years as an MP and Brian served for 24 years, spending time at Fort Hood and deploying several times to Iraq.

Classmates didn't show up for Kaleb Jansen's 11th birthday party, but police did. (Courtesy photo)
Kaleb invited his new classmates to his 11th birthday party over the weekend at Studebakers Pizza in Gatesville, but his parents’ hearts sank when not one person walked through the door.

“It’s so hard as parents to see your little one sitting there just waiting for friends,” Tara said.

“I was afraid I put the wrong date on the invitation or something.”

“I think he did on a certain level understand what was going on, but he understood some people had other things to do and it was a weekend. We have moved quite a bit being in the military so he’s used to making new friends and going different places.”
read more here

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Vietnam Veteran Warns Others of Mile High Singles

Colorado veteran charged nearly $10,000 by dating service

FOX 31 News
NOVEMBER 5, 2018

DENVER -- Vietnam War Veteran Wesley James Nelson says he didn't want to be alone, so he turned to an agency called Mile High Singles to find love.

The company is run by Sheryl McDowell. Nelson says, “she called herself the Love Doctor and I'd have a personal concierge to take care of me as if I would be in a five-star resort. I’d be meeting really classy ladies.”

Nelson showed his bill, which featured a program fee of $8,995 plus other costs totally totaling $9,114, he says.

"I about fell over I told her I can't afford this then boy she really laid it on.” Then, Nelson charged the fee on his credit card. He says he never went on one date.

Others have come forward to lodge complaints. An investigation in 2017 revealed Mile High Singles changed its name from Great Expectations after being investigated by attorneys general in Washington and Arizona.
read more here