Showing posts with label Las Vegas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Las Vegas. Show all posts

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Lt. Derrick “Bo” Taylor, Corrections Officer Honored After Las Vegas Shooting

Veteran Corrections Officer Killed In Vegas Massacre Remembered As A Hero

CBS Los Angeles
October 7, 2017

BURBANK (CBSLA) — A veteran corrections officer killed in the Las Vegas massacre was welcomed home in true hero fashion Saturday.
Family and colleagues of Lt. Derrick “Bo” Taylor gathered at Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport, where his body was flown Saturday morning.

On the tarmac, members of the color guard draped a flag over his casket; corrections officers then carefully loaded it into a van as part of a procession in his honor. 

Taylor and his girlfriend, Denise Cohen, of Carpinteria, were among the 59 people shot and killed at the country music festival in Las Vegas.
read more here 

Jason Aldean Tribute to Las Vegas Victims and Survivors

Jason Aldean Pays Tribute to Las Vegas Victims, Sings Tom Petty Song on ‘SNL’
NBC News
October 8, 2017

Jason Aldean, the musician who was on stage when a gunman opened fire on a crowd of Las Vegas concert-goers this week, opened "Saturday Night Live" with a tribute to those affected by the massacre and a musical nod to recently-deceased rock legend Tom Petty.

The show skipped the traditional joke-filled cold open and began with Aldean on stage.

"This week we witnessed one of the worst tragedies in American history. Like everyone, I'm struggling to understand what happened that night, and how to pick up the pieces and start to heal.” Jason Aldean
read more here

"You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down
No, I'll stand my ground
Won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down
Gonna stand my ground"

Saturday Night Live
Published on Oct 7, 2017

Jason Aldean pays tribute to the victims of the Las Vegas shooting with a performance of Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down."

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Man Risked Life to Save Veteran and Wife in Las Vegas

Veteran talks to man who shielded him, dying wife, after Vegas shooting
KWTX 10 News
Julie Hays
October 5, 2017

WACO, Texas (KWTX) An Army veteran whose wife of 32 years was killed in the Las Vegas shooting rampage heads home Friday, but not before he talked to the stranger who shielded him and his dying wife as shots rang out.
“It was a selfless act of kindness,” Tony Burditus said Thursday.
His wife Denise was among the 58 who died when Stephen Paddock opened fire on the crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival Sunday night on the Las Vegas Strip.

Burditus will fly back to West Virginia Friday after the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office released his wife’s body.

But before he left Las Vegas he had an emotional phone conversation with the stranger who threw himself on top of the couple as bullets flew.

Sam Porter, a CPA from California, was attending the three-day music festival outside the Mandalay Bay hotel with 15 friends, mostly Los Angeles firefighters, when bullets began to rain down around them.

As news organizations began to identify the shooting victims and showed photographs, Porter immediately recognized Denise.
read more here

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Army of Heroes Showed Up in Las Vegas

Here are a few more stories about veterans still risking their lives for the sake of others!

Matthew Cobos, US Army
Cobos used his belt as a tourniquet to stop bleeding and even used his fingers to try to plug wounds. Cobos told family and friends that he could see the shots hitting the ground and ricocheting around him.

The young soldier is stationed with the Army in Hawaii where he is a cavalry scout. He was at the Route 91 Harvest Festival with his sister and her boyfriend during the shooting, and is for the time being back with his family in California.

Dr. James Sebesta, Ret. Army
is a surgeon who retired last year from service at Madigan Army Medical Center after an Army career that included four deployments to combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sunday, he encountered some of the worst carnage of his career during what he called a “prolonged date night” as he attended the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. After surviving the onslaught of bullets unleashed in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, he sent his wife away with friends to a safe place while he stayed behind to help the wounded.

Aaron Stalker, Army veteran
While thousands of people scrambled from the parking lot where the Route 91 Harvest music festival was held as bullets rained down from overhead, Stalker ran straight into the crowd. He searched frantically for his girlfriend and her mother. Unable to find them in the chaos, "I just started helping anyone and everyone I could," Stalker said. 
He went to the first wounded person he could find and ripped up a piece of clothing to use as a tourniquet. He made splints, patched bullet holes, flipped over the plastic barriers that had been set up around the perimeter of the festival and turned them into stretchers. With two other men whose names he never learned, he carried the wounded to cars that would take them to the hospital.

Robert Ledbetter, Army veteran 

was a scout sniper for the U.S. Army Rangers during one tour of duty in Iraq. He was trained for war.
Those instincts kicked in on Sunday night at a different battlefield: about 40 yards from the stage where Jason Aldean was performing.
Ledbetter, 42, now a loan officer in Las Vegas, said at first it sounded like a firecracker or a firework. “We all looked around,” he said, as he and his wife and family members made sense of the popping sound.
Another burst of rounds went off, and someone about four rows ahead at the concert dropped to the ground. He saw Aldean escorted from the stage.

Las Vegas Survivors and Responders Struggle to Heal

Las Vegas survivors have been through hell. And it's not over.
Anne Godlasky
Published Oct. 5, 2017
"Most people who've gone through something this horrifying will have symptoms that look like PTSD initially. It's only when they continue to linger that a diagnosis would be given," Gillihan said. Though rates of PTSD vary depending on the trauma, Gillihan said he would expect a "high percentage" to experience it in this case.

Now is about the time you've got Las Vegas fatigue. For the sake of your sanity, you turn your attention to other things, lighter things.

Now is about the time survivors of that attack are beginning to feel the shock subside and an onslaught of emotions — anguish, grief, guilt — take over.

"There's national recognition and solidarity around these big events, (but) that sense of attention and care and compassion seems to fade with the next news cycle," said Seth Gillihan, a psychologist and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder researcher. "The country pretty quickly returns to its baseline."

But survivors can't return to their baseline. Those who escaped the bullets can go home, and the injured will leave the hospital, but they can't go back to the lives they had.

"The world they knew before it happened is profoundly changed," Gillihan said. "They're probably going to have a different way of seeing the world, they may have a different way of seeing themselves, they may be critical of themselves for how they reacted during the event."

Las Vegas survivors have been thrust onto a new trajectory, one that will feel worse before it gets better. They are joining an unfortunate fellowship of those who've endured trauma — but one that can at least provide guidance down this too well-trodden path.
read more here

I hope you read the rest of the article because it is important to understand that the rest of the country moved on.

Everyone shot, obviously needs help. Not so obvious are the other concert goers. Even less obvious are the First Responders trying to save everyone else.

After Pulse, Police Officers said that the worst part was after the shooting stopped. They had to walk around in puddles of blood, but even that wasn't the worst for them. It was the constant ring of cell phones as they prayed the batteries would die. They knew on the other end of the call, was someone looking for someone who was not going home to them.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Truck Thief You Got To Love!

This Iraq veteran stole a truck and rescued dozens as gunfire rained down in Las Vegas

Sacramento Bee
Mandy Matney
October 3, 2017

An Iraq veteran is being hailed as a hero for stealing a festival truck and rescuing dozens of shooting victims as gunfire rained down in Las Vegas Sunday night.

Taylor Winston, 29, of San Diego, first thought the gunshots were fireworks while drinking and two-stepping at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, CBS News reports. But his combat skills kicked in when he heard the screams and the gunshots got closer during the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
read the rest here

How to Help Mandalay Bay Survivors. Be There!

This morning I posted advice on Google+ about how to help someone after they have survived something like Mandalay Bay shooting. It is really simple advice.
"If you know survivors of the shooting in Las Vegas, be there to listen to them. Do not turn it into a contest or try to "fix them" with any words, other than letting them know you care. Hold their hand and hold your tongue. Be there as they bring what happened as survivors back into the safety of what "normal" life is supposed to be."
Aside from living through many times when my life was on the line as a civilian, (remember, I am not the veteran in the family) this works. My family did it naturally, not knowing they were beginning my healing as a survivor. I also studied it, trained to work with First Responders, because of how much I do believe it works. 

Having seen the worst that can happen after a survivor is suffering without help, I weep more because I know that suffering did not need to happen.

It isn't just me saying this. It is repeated over and over again from the type of experts I learned from. You know, the ones with degrees up the you know what and a proven history of being right.

This is from one of those types of articles that just came out from an interview with Michele Hart.
A place to feel safe
"The first step is safety. Give someone a safe place to be and just be," she said. "Right now the talking isn't the important part."

Hart said the priority should be giving people a place where they can cry and express emotions and begin to process what has happened in a way that is safe and comfortable.  
The rush for 'psychological first aid' in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting
Jessica Mathews
October 3, 2017

The morning after Stephen Paddock opened fire on 22,000 concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay Resorts promptly opened a crisis center.
What was to be an evening of country music and celebration turned into a night of bloody terror, leaving those affected at risk of severe post-traumatic stress disorder.
Clinical social worker Michele Hart, who specializes in stressor-related disorders, says one of the best measures to treat PTSD is providing a place where those affected can cry and express emotions.

Denise Truscello | Getty Images
People embrace during a vigil on the Las Vegas strip for the victims of the Route 91 Harvest country music festival shootings on October 2, 2017, in Las Vegas.

The morning after 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire on 22,000 concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay Resorts promptly opened a crisis center, asking certified trauma counselors to volunteer and go to "Circus Circus – Ballroom D," according to a tweet. The makeshift crisis center was open to all victims, family members and anyone else directly impacted by the events, including Mandalay Bay guests and employees.

"Psychological first aid," or early mental health response, after the aftermath of horror and heartbreak is relatively new. In the first two weeks after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings on December 14, 2012, which left 29 people dead, more than 800 people visited the main crisis counseling center in Newtown, Connecticut. Within 24 hours after the June 12, 2016, nightclub shooting in Orlando, which claimed 49 lives, local counselors began circulating a spreadsheet, asking practitioners to sign up for shifts to offer therapy and support to victims, their families and community members. In a few days 650 practitioners signed up.

The Las Vegas shooting on Sunday night turned out to be the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, leaving 59 dead and 527 injured. For nearly 15 minutes shots rained down on the attendees, who had nowhere to escape. What was to be an evening of country music and celebration turned into a night of bloody terror, leaving those affected — whether directly or vicariously — at risk of severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

read more here

But remember, it isn't just about the survivors. It is the First Responders, the families, the friends and the people who just left, will also be changed. Will you be there to help them change again for the better?

Monday, October 2, 2017

The best that comes out of many because of the "one"

One man decided to kill as many strangers as possible. 

Many more decided to risk their lives to save as many strangers as possible.

Thousands fled the hail of gunfire in Las Vegas. These people stayed to try to save lives.
Blyleven, who is the son of Hall of Fame pitcher Bert Blyleven, said he has no formal medical training but that he felt obligated to do whatever he could to save lives.

“I just felt like I had to,” said Blyleven, who estimated that he may have helped about 30 or 40 people get away from the gunfire. “I would hope that if me, or my family, was in a situation like that, that someone would come in and get me.”

During the gunfire, Mike McGarry, a 53-year-old financial adviser from Philadelphia, said he tried to shield his children.

“It was crazy — I laid on top of the kids. They’re 20. I’m 53. I lived a good life,” McGarry told Reuters. He said he had shoe prints on the back of his shirt from people who ran over him to get away.

A parade of police officers, firefighters and paramedics rushed to the scene of the shooting, where good Samaritans were seen in photos kneeling down, tending to victims.

One man told Fox News that he hid behind a table and, when it was all over, helped load several bodies into a truck.

Las Vegas shooting: At least 58 dead, 515 hurt in Mandalay Bay shooting

Jose Baggett, 31, of Las Vegas, said he and a friend were in the lobby of the Luxor hotel-casino -- directly north of the festival -- when people began to run, almost like in a stampede. He said people were crying and as he and his friend started walking away minutes later, they encountered police checkpoints where officers were carrying shotguns and assault rifles. 
"There were armored personnel vehicles, SWAT vehicles, ambulances, and at least a half-mile of police cars," Baggett said.
That is the place where we find hope. There are still far more good people in this country than bad. Sure we may think that members of law enforcement and first responders are just doing their jobs, but they decided to do those jobs for the sake of everyone else.

Are there some who do not deserve to wear the badge? Yes, but they are few among many. So why is it that we forget that?

Are there some bad people in this country? Yes, but why do we forget that there are far more good ones?

This man was talking about his friend who had been shot. He also talked about how many people went to help strangers. 

Southern California resident Chris Roybal, 28, died after he was shot in the chest, ABC Chicago station WLS reported. Roybal was a Navy war veteran who served in Afghanistan.

Time and time again we have witnessed the worst that can be done, but we have also witnessed the best that comes out of many because of the one.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Las Vegas Patriot Fest Shows "Magnitude of lives lost" in Vietnam

Replicated monument draws Vietnam vets to Patriot Fest in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Review-Journal
By Katelyn Newber
May 20, 2017
“It’s a powerful thing. When you see how small the names are and how big it is, you see the magnitude of how many people lost their lives.” Branan Allison
A replica of Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall hosted by American Veterans Traveling Tribute at Craig Ranch Park on Friday May 19, 2017 in North Las Vegas.
Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review Journal
As his motorized wheelchair rolled past 58,307 names on the replica Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Dennis Daniels was consumed with grief. He reminded his wife, Aleta, to use her walker as she traced three familiar names on the wall.

But Dennis was afraid to look.

“It just brings back instant memories,” the 70-year-old said. “I don’t want to look and see if they’re up there.”

The Danielses were attending the third annual American Patriot Fest, underway at Craig Ranch Regional Park in North Las Vegas, on Saturday during Armed Forces Day.

This was the first year the American Veterans Travel Tribute organization brought the replica, sized down 80 percent from the fixture in Washington, D.C., said Branan Allison, the president of Source 1 Events, which organized the festival. The memorial will be open to the public until 3 p.m. Sunday.

Allison said he hopes to bring the memorial to the festival each year.
read more here

Sunday, October 2, 2016

PTSD on Trial: Walter Laak

Las Vegas man’s journey from stalwart Marine to PTSD time bomb
Las Vegas Review Journal
Keith Rodgers
October 1, 2016

Since his general discharge from the Marines under honorable conditions in January 2005, Laak said his Veterans Affairs service-related disability rating for PTSD has been increased in stages from 30 percent to 100 percent. At one time, he said, he was taking medication for nightmares but stopped, without explaining why he turned away from the VA’s efforts to help him cope with the mental illness.
The horrors of war came home with Walter Laak when the Las Vegas Marine returned from two tours of combat duty in Iraq with a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Today he sits in a jail cell, charged with beating and attempting to run over a Las Vegas pastor with his vehicle, then driving back to his victim’s home and firing multiple gunshots into it while the pastor’s wife and children hid inside. It is the third serious crime Laak has been charged with since his return from the battlefield. He was given a general discharge in 2005.

In two jailhouse interviews last week, Laak, 36, said he carried out the unplanned attack because he believed the pastor, a former neighbor, was an FBI “snitch” trying to interfere with his efforts to expose what he says were war crimes committed by U.S. military officials during the Iraq War.

In the interviews at the Clark County Detention Center, where he awaited a court appearance Monday to face charges of attempted murder, battery with a deadly weapon and discharging a firearm, Laak spoke calmly about his war experiences and made some seemingly bizarre allegations about “friendly-fire” Marine deaths.

His first tour of duty began at the onset of the invasion of Iraq and lasted through his unit’s arrival in Nasiriyah, where he says his experience led to his ongoing struggle with what he calls “delusional” PTSD.
read more here

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Las Vegas Iraq Veteran With PTSD Filed Discrimination Lawsuit

Lawsuit accuses Wynn of discriminating against worker with PTSD
Associated Press
September 16, 2016

Wynn Las Vegas is accused of discriminating against a U.S. Army veteran who was working for them as a security guard and had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

An exterior view of the Wynn and Encore Tuesday, November 15, 2011.

Steve Marcus
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit Friday in Las Vegas, alleging the company refused to accommodate the veteran and aggravated his condition by suspending him.

The lawsuit says the employee served in Iraq and started working in 2007 as an unarmed security officer on bike patrol.
read more here


Wynn Las Vegas denies it discriminated against disabled employee
Las Vegas Review Journal
Jeff German
September 17, 2016

A Wynn Las Vegas spokesman Saturday denied allegations the Strip resort discriminated against a disabled employee diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The allegations were leveled in a federal lawsuit filed Friday by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“We did not discriminate against the employee on the basis of an alleged disability,” Wynn spokesman Michael Weaver said in a statement. “Wynn Resorts profoundly resents the false accusations of the EEOC in taking this action and intends to prove that in court.”

Weaver said the lawsuit is an example of the EEOC’s “frequent irresponsible and ill-conceived actions that often ignore the obvious facts, and in this case, the truth.”

“We are deeply disappointed that the EEOC decided to file a lawsuit three years after our last communication on this matter, rather than contact us and engage in the real work necessary to help an employee ensnared in medical and government bureaucracy. “

The company makes work accommodations under the Americans With Disabilities Act and was prepared to do that for the employee, a security bike officer and U.S. Army veteran, Weaver said.

“Unfortunately, the employee was unable to obtain the certification required by government regulation which would allow us to fairly make an accommodation for him,” Weaver said. “The company worked with the employee for months to help him obtain the necessary medical certification. Eventually, the employee resigned; he was not terminated.”
read more here

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Firefighters Raising Alarm of PTSD

Firefighters Raise Alarm About Risk Of PTSD In The Ranks
New research indicates PTSD might be as common among firefighters as military veterans.
Houston Public Media

Three Houston firefighters have killed themselves in the past five years, according to White.

Dave Fehling | Houston Public Media
Volunteer firefighters training at Texas A and M’s Disaster City in College Station
Firefighters from the U.S. and Canada are in Las Vegas this week for the biennial convention of the International Association of Firefighters. One of the main topics of the conference this year is post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We know that it’s increasingly on the rise,” said Alvin White Jr., the union president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association and a conference attendee.

White says it’s not clear what’s contributing to the increase – it could be simply that more firefighters are willing to seek treatment. The 9-11 attacks also helped to de-stigmatize the disorder among first responders.

“Before that we tried to deal with it ourselves,” White said. “We’d self-medicate ourselves with alcohol and try to take care of it that way, because it was a sign of weakness.”

A report released Tuesday from the International Association of Firefighters summarizes the most recent research on PTSD. Estimated rates among firefighters range 9 to 20 percent, which is comparable to the rate in the military.
read more here

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Las Vegas Vietnam Veterans Learned to Heal PTSD Together

Las Vegas psychiatrist helps Vietnam veterans heal ‘invisible wounds’
August 7, 2016

Until he began therapy sessions with Dr. Steven Kingsbury to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder, Marine veteran Lonnie Coslow was in denial about his invisible wounds from the Vietnam War.

“I told him that if the Marines wanted me to have PTSD they would have issued it to me,” Coslow, 71, said Thursday.

Looking back, Coslow now understands how Kingsbury, a wheelchair-bound psychiatrist at the North Las Vegas Veterans Affairs Medical Center, helped him realize how to live with the nightmares, flashbacks and pent-up emotions that have simmered since 1968.

Kingsbury became a mental health expert after earning degrees, completing residencies and serving on faculties at universities like Harvard, Loyola, Miami, Texas and Southern California. Through his knowledge and experience he gradually won Coslow’s confidence.

After 10 years of private sessions with Coslow, the affable doctor persuaded him to join the Tuesday gatherings of a group of about 20 other Las Vegas area combat veterans.

“One of the great things we had going was we saw these guys in a group and they were able to help each other,” Kingsbury said. “Any trust issues that they had with me, they still had trust among themselves.”

When issues like suicidal thoughts, marriage problems and anger flare-ups surfaced, he said, 

“They were there for each other and they could call each other and just get away for awhile.”
read more here

There wasn't a specific name for post-traumatic stress disorder when Dr. Steven Kingsbury first began working with combat veterans a few years after the Vietnam War ended in 1975.

PTSD didn't become part of the VA's vocabulary until the American Psychiatric Association's manual for mental health disorders was revised in 1980.

Some symptoms had been described as "shell shock" or "war neuroses" for World War I veterans; or "combat stress reaction" from "battle fatigue" for World War II veterans, according the VA's National Center for PTSD.

During the Korean War era, the association's manual from 1952 made reference to "gross stress reaction" as a symptom of traumatic combat events. The diagnosis, however, was struck from the revised 1968 manual and replaced with an "adjustment reaction to adult life." That was later described on the center's website as "clearly insufficient to capture a PTSD-like condition."

In 2013, more than 500,000 veterans were receiving treatment for PTSD at VA facilities.

Monday, June 6, 2016

WWII D-Day Veteran Proves PTSD Far From New

Las Vegas D-Day veterans will never forget June 6, 1944
June 5, 2016

Firecrackers on the Fourth of July or even the smell of diesel fuel is enough to trigger horrible flashbacks that have been etched in Onofrio Zicari’s mind since June 6, 1944.

World War II veteran Milton Duran holds up the front page of the Onaway newspaper at the North Las Vegas VA Medical Center on Friday, June 3, 2016.
(Loren Townsley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
An Army private in the 5th Amphibious Brigade, he landed in the fifth wave on Omaha Beach during that deadly Tuesday on France’s Normandy coast.

“The last man off the boat got hit. The boat got knocked out. Three sailors and my buddy got killed,” he said Friday, during one of his regular post-traumatic stress disorder classes at the North Las Vegas VA Medical Center.

“I was scared, man. I was scared,” he said.

Those from his outfit who made it through nearly neck-high water to reach “Red Easy” beach were pinned down for five hours by machine-gun fire from a German pillbox on a cliff.

“I said a confession and said, ‘Lord, take me, take me,’” he said. “I wasn’t afraid to die, But I was scared.”

Bleeding from shrapnel wounds in his knee and shoulder, he “looked over and saw this G.I. sitting on his helmet,” Zicari recalled.

“And he’s just holding his guts … He kept laughing at me and saying, ‘I’m going home! I’m going home!’ I don’t know if he ever made it. He was a redhead. I’ll never forget him,” said Zicari, a draftee from Geneva, New York.
read more here

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Las Vegas DA Challenges Authority of Veterans Court?

DA Wolfson challenges standing of courts that help veterans
Las Vegas Review Journal
Keith Rogers
June 4, 2016

“For five years, it has worked great and there wasn’t any problems. Why now? I don’t know.” Judge Mark Stevens
Steve Wolfson, Clark County District Attorney, speaks during a news conference on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015, at the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse in Las Vegas to discuss ongoing efforts to prevent the sexual exploitation of minors.
(Jacob Kepler/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Other than judges themselves, few people know the virtue of veterans treatment courts better than Jason Brooks.

The 43-year-old Iraq War Marine veteran was among the first to graduate from Henderson Municipal Veterans Court with his domestic violence case dismissed and records sealed.

He’s gone from being a client to a mentor. Now he helps other veterans facing misdemeanor DUI and domestic violence charges meet the requirements of counseling, rehabilitation and community service to get a second chance at succeeding in life.

Gov. Jim Gibbons signed a 2008 law creating veterans courts; they were established three years later. Now, after five years, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson has filed papers with the Nevada Supreme Court challenging the legal authority for municipal and justice courts to host veterans treatment courts. He contends the law specified only District Courts have authority for veterans courts.

“It makes no sense. We have a proven track record that it’s working,” Brooks said Thursday. “We’ve been doing it for five years now and 90 percent of the cases going through are DUI and domestic violence.”
read more here

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Mom Lost Son in Iraq But Added to Family in Las Vegas

Cadets make over home of mother whose soldier son died in Iraq
Las Vegas Review Journal
Keith Rogers
May 14, 2016

“We probably have 25 kids here working to help the family realize we’re going to stay connected with them as long as they want us to."
Marina Vance arrives to see the new landscaping by volunteers done as part of a Blue Star Mothers of Henderson and Boulder City project on Saturday, May 14, 2016. Vance lost her son in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2006. (Daniel Clark/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
With shovels, hoes and wheelbarrows, a platoon of teenage cadets launched their assault Saturday as the sun rose over Marina Vance’s Henderson home.

“I wanted to beat the heat,” Sgt. Maj. Robert Brown said as the team of two dozen Army Junior ROTC cadets from Mojave and Valley high schools set out to sweat and “spit cotton,” as one soldier put it.

Stormmie Banegas, 16, of Mojave high, said the sight of the unkept landscape “was really gloomy.”

Fellow cadet Adrian Castellanos, 17, described the scene “as a blackish-gray mess of dried grass.”

Their job: remove tons of that dead grass and dirt from the front yard, and replace it with rock and desert landscaping. Then give the stucco-and-rail fence a makeover with fresh paint. Then focus on the house’s exterior, said Chief Warrant Officer-4 Loyd Crathers, the senior Army instructor at Mojave High School.

The reason: It’s been almost 10 years since Vance’s son, “Nacho” — Spc. Ignacio Ramirez — was killed when a roadside bomb exploded in Ramadi, Iraq.

With Memorial Day approaching, Chere’ Pedersen of Blue Star Mothers of Henderson and Boulder City thought a makeover of the Gold Star mother’s home was long overdue.

Brown, an Iraq War veteran, was on tour when Ramirez was killed. He and Crathers are members of the Nevada Veterans Council where they found out about the Blue Star Mothers’ plan to spruce up Vance’s home.
read more here

Thursday, March 24, 2016

One Week After Stand Down Homeless Veteran And Child Have Home

Veteran single father living in shelter with toddler now has a home 
NBC 3 News Las Vegas 
LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) — A homeless veteran and his one-year-old daughter now have a place to call home. We first introduced you to them last week as they were getting some much-needed help.

Eric Jackson was pushing a stroller with his daughter Jerica inside, last week at the Veterans Stand Down event at Cashman Center. He was looking for a place to live. A week later, the army veteran is in his own apartment.
read more here

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Beyond 22 A Day Forgotten Veterans and Families

We Count The Coffins They Won't Even Think About
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 24, 2016

I always wonder how a family feels when they are planning a funeral for the others forgotten in the number "22 a day" being repeated by 400,000 charities as part of "awareness" fund raisers. After all we're really talking about over 26,000 a year but most only want to do what is easy all the way around.
If you saw half of the articles I have to read your head would explode too. I try to just put up the best ones the national media has no time for. Considering they've been covering the election for the last two years, they don't take time to report on much else anymore. Seems really strange all this attention on folks wanting to become Commander-in-Chief but no attention paid to what happens to the troops or veterans.

For what I don't post, I usually swear at it then drop it but the following articles are wrong in so many ways, I just couldn't let them go.

This bullshit has to stop! All of us agree on that because nothing has changed for any of our veterans from any decade. Pretty sickening to most of us.

Ask any of these groups what they are trying to change and they can't explain it or how they plan on making a difference. It happened from coast to coast this weekend just like every other weekend and reporters are all over it to give readers a warm and fuzzy feeling since they know this country loves its veterans, or at least appears to.
Active, retired military service members raise suicide awareness in Orlando
Orlando Sentinel
Caitlin Dineen Staff Writer
January 23, 2016

Saturday's high of 50 degrees didn't stop Jared DeFoor and 40 others from walking around downtown Orlando wearing military-issued shorts, carrying ruck sacks with no shirts on.
Check out pictures of the Silkie hike through downtown Orlando, calling awareness to the 22 veterans that die by suicide daily.
When passersby were done gawking at the 24-year-old's six-pack abs, the Marine Corps sergeant would tell them the real reason he stripped down.

"I've lost three of my friends to suicide," said DeFoor, an Apopka native who's been a marine for nearly six years. "So this is pretty near and dear to my heart."

The Silkies Hike, also called the "22 with 22 for the 22," is an event sponsored by the Irreverent Warriors organization.

Irreverent Warriors brings veterans together "using humor and camaraderie to heal the mental wounds of war" and raises money to financially support warriors.
read more here
Great attention getter on that one.  It was pretty cold here yesterday. Is that a feel good story about veterans caring about their own? Sure. But is it a story on making any kind of real difference for their own? Hardly.

That's the point of all this. For all the groups out there claiming they are raising awareness, there is very little real things getting through to them.

They don't understand they are not stuck suffering the way they are or how to find what really will work for them. Simply put, with 4 decades of research behind us it seems more like they have taken a trip back in time to when no one was doing anything instead of everyone doing something.

These groups don't talk about the fact most of the veterans committing suicide are over the age of 50 and none of these new groups want anything to do with our generation. Leaves most of us speechless since it was our generation to make sure the research treating the wounds of combat past generations came home with were treated. Yep, we know nothing is new about any of this but this younger generation doesn't seem to have the awareness required to begin to understand any of this.

How did we do it without the internet? How did we learn so much more than they have begun to learn without instant access to a world full of knowledge? We learned because we needed to know the right answers and not will to settle for the fast answers that changed nothing.

On the Las Vegas Review Journal there is "Trike riders bring attention to veteran suicides" about yet another "awareness" fundraiser.

Air Force veterans started this one.
"We're not some person in a three-piece suit starting a veterans organization because it's a good idea," Peter said. "We are the suffering veteran that got around it with other veterans to figure out how to overcome the thing that was holding us back."
Well no real wonder who is the person in the suit he's talking about. Still, there isn't much in this article that is right.

The "22 a day" is wrong and we all know it. With the CDC reporting over 40,000 Americans committing suicide each year and veteran suicides are double the civilian population rate, that is over 26,000 veterans a year. Hey, but why actually think about something so important that there are charities popping up all over the country to raise awareness on something they need to become aware of first?

How about someone actually raise awareness on the basic facts, like they don't have to suffer with PTSD, they can heal and then maybe offer the hope suicidal veterans need that tomorrow can be better than this day is?

How about give them the knowledge they are lacking about how to actually make it better and liver a happier life?

The veterans and families I work with say they never heard any of what I have to say before and then they wonder why it isn't on the internet. I tell them they are just looking in the wrong places because after over 30 years, I can assure them that it is all available online. They are wasting their time searching social media sources and really won't learn much at all that way.

Further down in the article Rep. Joe Heck showed Congress is just as unaware of the real issues they are supposed to have jurisdiction over.
And as Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., said during a meeting this week with veterans: over 50 percent of the suicides are in the population of nondeployed service members.
Non-deployed? They are still talking about that but never seem to fathom the fact that every servicemember had been trained in "resilience" for almost the last decade. How did they expect that training to work on deployed troops especially when most had been deployed several times?
"They're struggling with the same issues that the civilians struggle with," he said, listing such depression triggers as failed marriages and financial issues.
Huge difference between servicemembers and civilians because civilians are not willing to put their lives on the line for the sake of others and are not willing to endure all the hardships that come with that service. Families are different as well considering they are also willing to endure whatever comes with military life. Why compare the two? Why try to point to the regular problems without putting the rest that goes with it?

"So we've got to build a better mental health system in general," Heck said, adding that Las Vegas has the fewest number of publicly funded mental health beds "of any metropolitan area in the country."
What he failed to mention is the fact that Congress has been spending billions a year on what has failed. Strange how they haven't noticed that part. Even stranger that reporters haven't either.

So they'll keep covering these walkers and talkers, making it seem as if it is a good thing when we keep counting the coffins that shouldn't have been filled, and worse, ones they won't even stop long enough to think about.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Las Vegas Pageant Warrior Women Fight For Homeless Female Veterans

Pageant contestants are ‘fully woman and fully warrior’ 
Las Vegas Sun
By Jeanne Brei, Special to The Sunday
Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015
The competition is “a place for us to be fully woman and fully warrior with great camaraderie with our fellow sisters-in-arms,” said competitor Kerri Brantley

Contestants in the Ms. Veteran America pageant take a stroll in downtown Las Vegas.
There are evening gowns, a talent competition, an interview question, a tiara and a sash — but don’t call Ms. Veteran America a beauty pageant. The judges don’t consider age, marital status or how a woman looks in a swimsuit when determining a winner.

These contestants all are active duty or military veterans using the competition to raise awareness about the challenges many women in the military face, including homelessness, post-traumatic stress disorder and sexual assault.

For instance, an estimated 55,000 female veterans are homeless, and female veterans are the fastest-growing homeless population in the United States.

The 25 finalists coming to Las Vegas for the Oct. 18 competition will be judged first on their military history and their advocacy for women in the military, then on their talent and interview answer. The pageant’s mission is to honor the contestants’ grace, poise and service, and raise money for Final Salute, a group that helps find housing for homeless female veterans and their children.
Money raised during this year’s pageant will pay for housing and prevention programs for female veterans, including financial assistance for utility bills and groceries. In four years, the Ms. Veteran America competition has helped Final Salute raise more than $1 million to combat homelessness among female veterans.
read more here

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Fatal Motorcycle Crash Claims Life of Fort Carson Soldier

Fort Carson soldier ID'd as victim of fatal motorcycle crash
The Gazette
By: Chhun Sun
September 30, 2015

The man who died in a weekend motorcycle crash in Fremont County was identified Wednesday as a Fort Carson soldier, officials said.

Spc. Rafael Munoz Baez, 44, was traveling north on Colorado Highway 9 when he lost control of his 2005 Buell XB12S motorcycle while going around a curve near mile marker 5, Colorado State Patrol said. The motorcycle went down an embankment, where Munoz-Baez was thrown from the bike and suffered fatal injuries. He was wearing a helmet, State Patrol said. read more here