Showing posts with label Nebraska. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nebraska. Show all posts

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Officer used hug to start to heal veteran

OPD officer recalls early morning call where he met a man suffering from PTSD, threatening suicide

Cal Larsen
December 7, 2023
"I said, 'Hey man you want a hug?' He looked at me, I said, 'I'm serious I'm a hugger, you want a hug?' And he just starts crying and buried his head in my chest and I could feel that release," Ruby said.
An Omaha police officer was on a call in July when he came face-to-face with a young man who was threatening suicide, and suffering from PTSD.
Officer Justin Ruby was one of the first on scene and made initial contact over the phone with a 24-year-old, Army veteran who had a loaded gun under his chin. The man was threatening to kill himself.

"This male called in and said his roommate was sitting in the hallway holding a gun under his chin, he'd been crying, he's yelling his roommate's name," Ruby said.

Ruby got on the phone with the man for nearly 45 minutes before going up to the apartment for a conversation.

"I need you to unload the gun, I need you to get the gun out of play," Ruby told the man. The man responded with, "I don't want to hurt anybody, just myself."

Before Ruby went into the room the man unloaded the gun and slid it across the floor.
read more here

Friday, March 13, 2020

Nebraska VA using Skype to help families stay connected during COVID-19

Nebraska Department of Veterans' Affairs launches ‘virtual visits’ to keep veterans’ home members and families connected

The North Plate Telegraph
March 11, 2020
Members will have access to computers, tablets and other devices loaded with video messaging software, such as Skype and FaceTime. Teammates will be available to assist members and their families in connecting.

The Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs is launching a virtual visitor system to keep veterans’ home members and their families connected while the facilities are limiting entry, according to a press release. Access to the four state veterans’ homes is currently limited to NDVA teammates and medical professionals only as a precaution against COVID-19 exposure.

“Protecting our members’ health and safety is our top priority,” said NDVA Director John Hilgert in a press release. “However, we also want to protect the bond they have with their loved ones and ensure they can remain connected. Through our virtual visitor system, we’re striking a balance between the two.”
read it here

Monday, December 30, 2019

Nebraska who suffered his second traumatic brain injury is making a miraculous recovery

Nebraska veteran comes out of coma in time for Christmas

WCMH/CNN 17 min ago

OMAHA, Neb. — A Purple Heart veteran from Nebraska who suffered his second traumatic brain injury is making a miraculous recovery.

Tony Belt, who fell 18 feet in a work accident, woke up from a coma before Christmas and has been able to communicate by giving a thumbs up or down. WCMH/CNN
Christmas Eve marked three months since Tony Belt fell 18 feet in a work accident, KETV reported.

"The doctors told me he probably wasn’t going to make it to the weekend,” said Kyli Belt, Tony’s wife.

He survived that weekend, but doctors still said he would never wake up.

Tony is a fighter. He spent eight years in the Army, deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2006, he was shot in the head, an incident that ended his military career and sent him home with a Purple Heart. read it here

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Korean War Veteran died alone...buried by community, Governor and Senator

Hundreds packed a Korean War veteran's funeral when he died without surviving family members in Nebraska

By Christina Maxouris
June 25, 2019

(CNN)When Dale Quick died earlier this month and left no known survivors, a Nebraska funeral home appealed to his community to make sure he got the funeral he deserved.

"We are appealing to any and all veterans, veterans' clubs and organizations and our community to attend Dale's service to honor an individual who so selflessly served our country," Roper and Sons Funeral Home wrote in an obituary posted to its website.

The 91-year-old "led a simple life" after serving in the military for nearly seven years, the funeral home said.

CNN's Jake Tapper also took to social media to spread the word.

The community heard the call.

On Monday morning, hundreds showed up to pay their respects to Quick, including 50 bikers and flag carriers who led his casket, CNN affiliate KLKN reported.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and Sen. Ben Sasse were also there.
read more here

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Police Officer victim of domestic her own home

Hero Down: Gothenburg Police Officer Jill Larson Murdered By Husband

Blue Lives Matter
Holly Matkin
June 14, 2019

Gothenburg Police Officer Jill Larson served her department for 12 years.

Gothenburg, NE – Gothenburg Police Officer Jill Larson was fatally shot by her husband at their home on June 7.
A relative discovered the bodies of the 53-year-old veteran officer and her 52-year-old husband, Jeff McCandless, at approximately 9p.m. the next day, and alerted police, the Kearney Hub reported.

Investigators said they believe Jeff murdered Officer Larson, then fatally shot himself, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.

The Dawson County Attorney’s Office and the Nebraska State Patrol are handling the ongoing investigation into the murder-suicide.

Officer Larson joined the Gothenburg Police Department in 2007, and became the third woman to ever serve on the city’s police force, according to her obituary.

“Jill was considered by many to be one of the best police officers this community has ever had,” the City of Gothenburg said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
read more here

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Police Chief accused of not being a Marine even once?

Wisner police chief’s military record called into question

Norfolk Daily News
May 18, 2019

WISNER — The future of a Northeast Nebraska town’s police chief appears to be in doubt following a social media post that recently went viral on area military pages.

Wisner Police Chief Jeffery Treu’s claims of a military career were called into question after a letter from the National Personnel Records Center was posted on Facebook.

The Daily News obtained a hard copy of the letter from Ryan Smith, a deputy with the Howard County Sheriff’s Department and a retired Navy chief petty officer.

Smith had filed a Freedom of Information Request from the records center after being told by other area law enforcement officers that Treu may have fabricated his military career.

The letter from the records center — sent and signed by archives technician John Welsch — says this in regards to a search for Treu’s military history: “We have conducted extensive searches of very records source and alternate records source at this Center; however, we have been unable to locate any information that would help us verify the veteran’s military service.”
read more here

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Man on trial after road rage death of Iraq veteran

Nebraska man stands trial in killing of Iraq War veteran

The Associated Press
Feb 27, 2019
Womack was in the Army and served three tours in Iraq before he moved to Omaha with his wife to raise their three children.
OMAHA — An Omaha trial has begun for a man accused in the road-rage killing of an Iraq War veteran.

Michael Benson, 26, is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of James Womack, 32. The shooting occurred at a busy Omaha intersection in 2017.

Dashcam video from another vehicle shows that the altercation began after Womack got out of his semitrailer and yelled at Benson, pounded on the passenger-side window of Benson's truck and started to walk back to his semitrailer.

Witnesses testified in a Douglas County courtroom Tuesday that they heard gunshots and then saw Womack fall to the ground. Womack was taken to a local hospital, where he later died.
read more here

Thursday, February 21, 2019

On leave for husband's funeral after suicide, soldier did the same

Following his husband’s suicide, a soldier took his own life while on leave for the funeral

Army Times
By: Meghann Myers
6 days ago

A 21-year-old soldier died Feb. 5 while stateside visiting home, according to a release from the Army. It was the day after a funeral for his husband, according to their obituaries.

Pvt. Aaron Mitchell was found dead in Valley, Nebraska, 12 days after his husband, 21-year-old Rich Rosa, died by suicide.

“We’re just grieving,” Rosa’s father, Richard Rosa, told Army Times in a Wednesday phone interview, acknowledging that the family believes the deaths were by suicide. “We are without words to express how much we’re grieving and how much grief we feel.”

Rich Rosa, a civilian, had been living in the couple’s native Nebraska while Mitchell was in South Korea on an unaccompanied assignment, in which family members do not move with the soldier.

Both families requested donations to a suicide prevention or veterans organization in obituaries posted by Roeder Mortuaries in Omaha.
read more here

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Deaths of two soldiers under investigation

Two S. Korea-based soldiers found dead — one in barracks and another while on leave in Nebraska

Published: February 12, 2019

SEOUL, South Korea — The Army was investigating the deaths of two South Korea-based soldiers, including one found unresponsive in his barracks and the other while on leave in Nebraska. Both joined the service less than a year ago.
Claytun Cepeda, 19, was one of two South Korea-based Army privates found dead in separate incidents since last week. COURTESY OF THE U.S. ARMY
Pvt. Claytun N. Cepeda, a 19-year-old Guam native, was pronounced dead Sunday after he was found in his room at Camp Humphreys, the Army said. It added that the circumstances surrounding his death were under investigation.

Cepeda, a water purification specialist, joined the Army in June 2018 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and was assigned to A Company, 602nd Aviation Support Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, according to a press release.
Separately, the Army said a soldier stationed at Camp Henry, South Korea, was found dead Feb. 5 while on leave in Valley, Neb. The cause was under investigation. Pvt. Aaron Mitchell, 21, was a mortuary affairs specialist assigned to the 498th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, U.S. Army Materiel Support Command Korea, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command.
read more here

Also, From Stars and Stripes

Army helicopter repairman dies of injuries sustained at on-base home in Alaska

An Army helicopter repairman died Monday of injuries he sustained a week earlier at his home at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, the Army said.
Sgt. Brian Peter Sawyer, 33, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment at Wainwright, died at Madigan Army Medical Center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., where he had been transferred because of the severity of his injuries, the Army said in a statement Tuesday.
He was injured at his on-base residence on Feb. 3 and initially treated at Bassett Army Community Hospital on Fort Wainwright, the statement said. 
read more here

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Dunstan the Blacksmith vs the Devil

Never Forgotten: A small token of gratitude for America's heroes

US Army
By Sgt. Jessica Villwok
January 2, 2019
To this day, it is still a blacksmith tradition to ring one's anvil three times at the end of the day to drive the Devil out until the next morning, or, if the Devil sees a horseshoe, he turns and runs away from it, remembering all the pain and torture they had caused him. That is the reason a horseshoe is supposed to bring you good luck, Randy said.

Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Randy Dack, a blacksmith at Grand Island Stuhr Museum in Nebraska, has made more than 4,000 "lucky" horseshoes for military service members worldwide. Dack made his first "Soldier's shoe" for his son prior to his first deployment in 2002 with the Nebraska Army National Guard's 1-134th Cavalry. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Jessica Villwok)
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. - Randy Dack still remembers every detail from that fateful day. What he was doing. Where he was standing. Where the messenger stood when he came to tell him the news.

For Randy, the blacksmith at Grand Island Stuhr Museum in Nebraska, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 are forever burned into memory.

"Ralph Gill came down to the shop and he said, 'They just hit the World Trade Center,'" Randy said. As terrible as the attacks were, Randy admits that his most immediate thoughts went to his son who had recently joined the Nebraska Army National Guard.

"Adam had been in boot camp about two weeks on that day," Randy said. "I just knew they were gonna take him out of the National Guard and put him in the regular Army and he wouldn't be coming home." Adam did make it back home to Nebraska from basic training, but he didn't stay there for long.

Shortly after his return in 2002, Adam, who now serves as a sergeant first class in Hastings' Troop A, 1-134th Cavalry - began preparing for a peacekeeping mission to Bosnia-Herzegovina, a country still recovering from years of bloody civil war and ethnic cleansing.

After hearing the news that his son was heading overseas as part of a major mobilization of National Guard Soldiers, Randy, who began his career as a farrier, remembered the story of Dunstan the Blacksmith, the Devil and how a horseshoe came to be lucky.

In that story, a blacksmith named Dunstan was working in his shop one day when the Devil walked by and became intrigued by the sound of the pounding of the anvil. When the Devil realized the blacksmith was making horseshoes to protect the horse's hooves, he thought that as a cloven hoofed animal, he too, should have horseshoes to protect his feet.
read more here

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Jimmy John's delivered disabled veteran to VA freaky fast

Florida woman dials wrong number for help, but still gets lift for sick brother

Andrew Ozaki
October 23, 2018
Hillmer hopped into his car, picked up her brother and took him nine miles to the hospital. "You could hear the relief in her voice that something was going to get done. That was kind of nice just to hear that -- that made it all worth it," Hillmer said. Also that Hillmer was helping a fellow veteran.
"Till the day I die if another service member needs help I'll be going to do it," Hillmer said.
COLUMBUS, Neb. - The call wasn't like anything Jason Voss had ever taken before.

"She just started going off about how she was in Florida, and she needed help," Voss told Omaha, Nebraska, TV station KETV.

The manager of this Jimmy John's sandwich franchise in Columbus, Nebraska, listened as the women explain she had just returned to Tampa from visiting her brother in Columbus who just had surgery. He was having complications and needed to get to the hospital.

"He was like in a lot of pain. It's the same issues he was having this morning and I can't find a ride to the hospital," Lisa Nagengast told the TV station.

In an interview with Nagengast over Facebook, she said her brother didn't have enough money to call a cab, there was no Uber and since he's a veteran he couldn't call 911 unless he had prior Veterans Affairs approval.

Nagengast thought she was calling a caseworker.
read more here

Monday, September 24, 2018

135 Ladies Only Veterans Honor Flight From Nebraska to DC

Female Veterans Honor Flight
"M*A*S*H" actress Loretta Swit (second from left) poses with participants in Monday's honor flight for female military veterans at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. MIKE THEILER, For the Journal Star (Go to link above for more great pictures)

Women-only honor flight takes 135 veterans from Nebraska to D.C.
Lincoln Journal Star
September 24, 2018

OMAHA — Since 2008, Bill and Evonne Williams have taken more than 3,500 veterans to Washington, D.C., on honor flights.

But Monday's trip to the nation's capital is different. The Patriotic Productions flight consists of all females. All of the 135 veterans are women, as are the volunteers, members of the media and the plane's pilots.

The trip, which is free to the veterans, left Omaha at 4 a.m. The veterans will spend all day Monday visiting military memorials in Washington, including Arlington National Cemetery, the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon, the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, the Air Force Memorial, the World War II Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

But before their trip to Washington, the veterans were treated to a dinner at a hotel in La Vista on Sunday evening. The guest speaker was Loretta Swit, who played Maj. Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan on the hit TV series "M*A*S*H."
read more here

Monday, September 3, 2018

POW-MIA chair will have honor guard for University of Nebraska games

POW/MIA Chair installed at Memorial Stadium
by Jennifer Schmidt
Sunday, September 2nd 2018

LINCOLN, Neb. (FOX 42 KPTM) — The University of Nebraska at Lincoln has dedicated a chair in the stadium to POW and MIA soldiers.

The university says it's their way of commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I.

They say each game this season, a veteran of U.S. military service will stand next to the unoccupied chair to honor the more than 800 Nebraskans lost in combat, but whose fate remains "unknown."
read more here

Monday, July 30, 2018

Maj. Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan taking Honor Flight!

'Hot Lips' actress from “M*A*S*H” booked for women's Honor Flight event
Omaha World Herald
By Steve Liewer / World-Herald staff writer
July 30, 2018
For the Female Veterans Flight, only women will be onboard. The veterans. Their escorts. The airline pilots. The flight attendants. Even the news media.
Loretta Swit Actress who played Maj. Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in “M*A*S*H” will speak before flying with vets to D.C.
Come September, an actress who portrayed a female soldier on television for more than a decade will travel to Washington, D.C., with a planeload of Nebraska women who served in the military, for real.

Loretta Swit, who played Maj. Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in the iconic 1970s TV show “M*A*S*H,” is scheduled to speak at a dinner honoring the 135 female veterans in La Vista on Sept. 23. The Korean War comedy-drama focused on an Army combat medical unit.

Swit, now 80, will join the veterans early the following morning on the first leg of the daylong trip to visit patriotic sites in the nation’s capital.
read more here

Friday, June 15, 2018

Nebraska Disabled Veterans Cannot Get Care?

State senator claims VA Hospital locking out veterans from needed health care
Michelle Bandur
Jun 12, 2018

Carol Blood is working with veterans to get much needed equipment for hearing and visually impaired vets.
OMAHA, Neb.-
Nebraska State Senator Carol Blood said a growing number of veterans is being locked out of the VA health care system.
Some hearing and visually impaired veterans said they just want to be able to communicate with the TTY/TTD device.

"They are completely shut out of the VA system when it comes to communication," Shawn Wilbur, President of the Blinded Veterans Association said.

Wilbur said they can't do simple things like refilling a prescription because the VA lacks the proper equipment required by law.

"They are not equipped anywhere for these vets to do simplest of tasks," Wilbur said.

Another veteran advocated, Michael Young agreed.
read more here

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Teresa Domeier Nebraska National Guard

Nebraskan is first woman to be named nation's top Army National Guard warrant officer
MDJ Online
By Steve Liewer World-Herald staff writer
May 13, 2018
An Iraq War veteran, Domeier was the base food service officer at Al Asad Air Base in 2005 and 2006. Since shortly after her return from Iraq, she served in a series of leadership positions at the Nebraska Army National Guard’s Warrant Officer Candidate School in Ashland.
Teresa Domeier

A 35-year veteran of the Nebraska Army National Guard has been selected as the leader of 8,600 Army National Guard warrant officers nationwide.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Teresa Domeier will assume the position of command chief warrant officer at the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Virginia. She will be the first woman to hold the position. She will take over the job later this year from Chief Command Warrant Officer Peter Panos.

She was selected to the position by Lt. Gen. Timothy Kadavy, former Nebraska National Guard adjutant general. He has served as national director of the Army National Guard since 2015.
read more here

Sunday, January 14, 2018

For these veterans, giving to others is what they live for!

Disabled Omaha veteran restores TVs for vets in need
OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - A disabled Air Force veteran from Omaha is using his hobby of fixing electronics to help other veterans in need. 

Todd Hering served in the Air Force for nine years and then spent the rest of his career working for an airline. Three years ago, he injured his toe so badly it later infected his leg, resulting in several surgeries and ultimately, had to have his right leg amputated.
read his story here 

Local Vietnam vets giving back to those in need with free wheelchairs, walkers, and more

Members of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 17 have been collecting donated wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters for years. Now, the group has a surplus of the assistance items and they’re hoping to give them to local vets in need. 
"We don't give to just Vietnam veterans. We give to any veteran in need,” said Vietnam War veteran J.W., who oversees the chapter’s wheelchair program. "I thought, 'Wow. These guys worked all their lives and they don't even have a car to get to the grocery store? The wheelchair provides that mobility.’”
read their story here 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veteran Needs Help With Medical Bills?

Bellevue community rallies around Iraq War veteran

KETV 7 ABC News 
James Wilcox 
November 10, 2017
And Justin also recently learned his prosthetic, part of a rare procedure done in Australia, also isn't covered by insurance. The cost is close to six figures.
BELLEVUE, Neb. — Justin Anderson was deployed to Iraq in 2003. He enlisted in the U.S. Army as a high school student in Bellevue. "Two weeks after after graduation he was on the plane heading to boot camp. He was ready to rock n roll," Justin's mom, Lisbeth Anderson, said. 

Nobody was ready for what happened next. Just four months into his tour, Justin and his fellow soldiers were attacked. Justin suffered a gunshot wound to the knee. "To date, I've had a total of 27 major surgeries. 23 of those were on my left knee," Justin said.
The injury eventually led to the amputation of his leg, which came a year after another setback. "In June of 2013 I was diagnosed with Astrocytoma, which is a form of brain cancer," Justin said. He fought the cancer with chemotherapy and radiation. The battle lasted more than two years, but Justin is now in remission. read more here

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Iraq Veteran James Womack Shot and Killed in Omaha

Iraq War veteran shot, killed near 60th, L streets; no arrests made

Josh Planos
September 19, 2017

James Womack, a father of three who served three tours in Iraq, was shot and killed on Monday -- his daughter's birthday -- during rush hour.

Omaha police haven't made any arrests in Monday's fatal shooting of the 32-year-old.

The shooting was reported around 4:30 p.m. near the intersection of 60th and L streets. Womack was driving a Hills Bros. semi-truck when he was shot. A nurse successfully attempted to keep him alive until paramedics arrived, a witness said.

"When I got to the stoplight, I saw someone resuscitating the guy on the ground at the median," Gabriel Bernal, a witness, told KETV NewsWatch 7.

Paramedics rushed Womack to Bergan Mercy Hospital while performing CPR. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
read more here

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Police Officer Fights to Heal PTSD--And Justice After Being Fired

Fired cop sues N. Platte, says city didn't accommodate his PTSD after fatal shooting

Lincoln Journal Star
Lori Pilger
August 20, 2017

Pelster said after Harms lost his job he went to the Nebraska Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which found reasonable cause to believe the city had discriminated against Harms on the basis of disability.
A former North Platte police officer has sued the city, alleging he was wrongfully terminated after he sought disability benefits for PTSD, which he developed after taking the life of an armed man.
Rick Harms is asking a federal judge to reinstate his job and award him back pay and benefits, according to the lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Omaha.
The city has not yet responded to the suit.
According to the lawsuit, Harms had worked as a patrolman with the North Platte Police Department for nearly 10 years when, early March 25, 2011, he shot and killed Marlon Johnson, a 60-year-old man who had pulled two knives on officers in the station's lobby.
A grand jury later cleared Harms and another officer involved of any wrongdoing.
But Harms developed post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of having to take the life of the armed assailant in the course of his duties as a police officer, his attorney, Glenn Pelster, said in the complaint.
 Man shot and killed at police station