Showing posts with label North Carolina. Show all posts
Showing posts with label North Carolina. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Veterans Court Saved Veteran Who Save Child

Man who rescued toddler graduates Veterans Treatment Court

WLOS NBC 10 News
October 26, 2018

BUNCOMBE COUNTY, N.C. (WLOS) - A man who was hailed as a hero after rescuing a toddler in a crash celebrated a milestone on Friday.
Gage Hampton, an Afghanistan veteran who rescued a toddler from a wreck in May, graduated from Buncombe County's Veterans Treatment Court. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)
Back in May, Gage Hampton came to the rescue of a toddler who was trapped in a car that had crashed through a store window.

On Friday, he graduated from Buncombe County's Veterans Treatment Court. The Army veteran has overcome PTSD and been sober for nearly three years.

During Friday's ceremony, he was presented with a Quilt of Valor.

"All my support network is here. It's just a real blessing to have this ceremony and to graduate from veterans treatment court," Hampton said. "I got the feeling of redemption, you know, to be in this situation and it's just a blessing, it really is."

Hampton did combat duty in Afghanistan while he was in the Army. He said the experience taught him the meaning of self-sacrifice.
go here for video

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Woman takes command of 776,000 soldiers and 96,000 civilians

For the first time, a woman is leading the largest command in the US Army

Andrea Diaz
October 16, 2018

(CNN)Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson has succeeded in breaking through a few glass ceilings in the US Army. Now she's set to break a new one.
Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson earned her pilot's license at age 16 and has flown to high rank in the Army.

For the first time in US Army Forces Command, or FORSCOM, history, a woman will be leading the largest command in the Army, representing 776,000 soldiers and 96,000 civilians.

This may be a first for the Army, but Richardson has had other firsts.

She has been with the US Army since 1986, and in 2012 she became the first female deputy commanding general for the 1st Cavalry Division, known as "America's First Team."

In 2017, she became second in command to Gen. Robert B. Abrams, when she was named the first female deputy commanding general of FORSCOM in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the US Army reported.

Now, Richardson will become the first female commanding general of the US Army FORSCOM as Abrams steps down from his post, reported CNN affiliate WTVD.
read more here

Thursday, October 4, 2018

After Soldier was robbed, he got more donations than needed, and gave it away!

Soldier Whose House Was Looted Gives Away Money Raised for Him: 'I Wanted to Show Kindness'
October 04, 2018
In just 11 days, the fundraiser reached nearly $15,000 — surpassing Capron’s $5,000 goal. Ocampo and Finch said they were astonished to receive so much. “It was overwhelming,” Finch tells PEOPLE. “It was way more than we needed.”
Army medic Luis Ocampo returned from the front lines of Hurricane Florence in September to find his house looted, and some of his family’s most cherished possessions stolen. Now, after generous well-wishers donated money to replace his losses, Ocampo is giving away most of the money that was raised for him.

“We got more than we expected, and felt that it was our responsibility to show someone that same kindness that so many showed us,” Ocampo, 24, tells PEOPLE.

Ocampo left his home in Charlotte last month when his unit from the North Carolina National Guard was called to help with hurricane relief. Ocampo spent days in New Bern, a riverfront city ravaged by the storm.

With Ocampo gone, his girlfriend Kailey Finch and their infant son also left home.
read more here

Monday, October 1, 2018

Motorcycle accident claimed life of Camp Lejeune Marine

Camp Lejeune Marine killed in motorcycle accident
September 30, 2018

SNEADS FERRY, N.C. (WITN) - A Camp Lejeune Marine was killed in a motorcycle accident Saturday evening, Highway Patrol Troopers said.
The accident happened along Old Folkstone Road near Scuba Drive in Sneads Ferry around 5:55 p.m., Trooper Adam Hostinsky said.

The motorcyclist, Trevor Richardet, 19, had been traveling east on Old Folkstone Road at a high rate of speed when a pick-up truck pulled out of a driveway in front of him, Hostinsky said.
read more here

250,000 radiology orders at VA canceled?

‘I knew something was not right’: Mass cancellations of diagnostic test orders at VA hospitals draw scrutiny
Donovan Slack
Oct. 1, 2018

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Radiology technologist Jeff Dettbarn said he knew something was wrong at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Iowa City, Iowa, when a patient arrived in February 2017 for a CT scan, but the doctor’s order for it had been cancelled.
“To have a patient show up for a scan and not have an order – you’re like, ‘What the heck is going on?’” he told USA TODAY in an interview.

Dettbarn started collecting cancellation notices for diagnostic procedures such as CT scans, MRIs and ultrasounds.

“I knew something was not right,” he said. “Because none of them were cancelled by a physician.”

Cancellations of more than 250,000 radiology orders at VA hospitals across the country since 2016 have raised questions about whether – in a rush to clear out outdated and duplicative diagnostic orders – some facilities failed to follow correct procedures. At issue is a concern over whether some medically necessary orders for CT scans and other imaging tests were cancelled improperly.

The VA inspector general is now auditing mass cancellations at eight VA medical centers “to determine whether VA processed radiology requests in a timely manner and appropriately managed canceled requests,” VA Inspector General Michael Missal said.

Those hospitals are in Tampa and Bay Pines, Florida; Salisbury, North Carolina; Cleveland; Dallas; Denver; Las Vegas; and Los Angeles.
read more here

Monday, September 17, 2018

During tragedy, blessings from Samaritans

Good Samaritans help military Humvee submerged in Florence floodwaters
ABC 11 News
Gary Cooper
September 11, 2018

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- What happens when the rescuers need rescuing?

That's what happened in Jacksonville, North Carolina, on Saturday after rains from Hurricane Florence flooded the city.

A marine and two first responders from Onslow County tried to get a military Humvee through a very flooded Half Moon Creek.

And when the Humvee didn't make it, several good Samaritans, who were taking supplies from back to the other side of the creek, jumped in to help.
read more here

"Cajun Navy" volunteers help evacuate North Carolina nursing home residents
CBS News
September 17, 2018

A group of volunteers all too familiar with devastating flooding have gone to North Carolina to help in the aftermath of Florence. Cajun Navy Relief and Rescue is a non-profit group of volunteers from across the country. The group was created after flooding hit southern Louisiana in 2016.

CBS News was with the team in Lumberton as they evacuated 40 people from Highland Acres Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Many of the residents were bedridden.

"Yeah, we are risking our lives, but this is worth it," said Chris Russell, one of the volunteers.

It took five hours to rescue the residents and deliver them to area hospitals.

"I think what we were able to accomplish tonight, was to give these people some dignity, holding their hand, asking them if they would like to somebody to pray with them," said Allen Lenard, another volunteer. "As much as I believe were were a blessing to those people, I know as a matter of fact, that they were a blessing to me tonight."
read more here

Saturday, September 15, 2018

2,800 National Guard Soldiers Stand Ready to Rescue

NC National Guard has ‘historic’ response to Hurricane Florence
Fayetteville Observer
Drew Brooks
September 14, 2018

North Carolina National Guard troops are working alongside first responders as Hurricane Florence makes its way inland.

Officials said they know the worst is yet to come as the state prepares for more flooding and high winds.
Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division prepare themselves and their equipment for the potential impacts of Hurricane Florence at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, Ga September 13. In addition to the Army's preparation happening on bases, Hunter Army Airfield has become a staging point for U.S. Coast Guard helicopters who mat be called on to assist in hurricane response efforts.

“We still have just over 2,800 National Guardsmen on state active duty,” said Lt. Col. Matt DeVivo, a spokesman for the NCNG.

That is the most troops ever activated ahead of a major storm.

“We’ve never had this many already ready to respond,” DeVivo said.
read more here

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Vietnam veteran Marine's sword returned after 53 years!

Marines helping Marines: Wausau trio return retired colonel's sword, stolen 53 years ago
Wausau Daily Herald
Keith Uhlig
Aug. 9, 2018
"I'm still amazed, that after all this time, that it would show up. And that somebody would take the time and effort to track me down." 
Retired Marine Colonel Kenneth Russom
Retired Marine Colonel Kenneth Russom displays the sword he bought as he was finishing up Officer Candidates School in 1964. The sword disappeared while Russom shipped it to his first post at Camp Lejuene, North Carolina. Above Russom is the sword he bought later, to replace the original. (Photo: Courtesy of Kenneth Russom)
WAUSAU - Retired Marine Col. Kenneth Russom never dreamed he'd see the sword again.

It disappeared more than 53 years ago in early 1965. The sword was almost certainly stolen after he shipped it along with other gear from Quantico, Virginia, to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

Russom was preparing for his first post as second lieutenant with the Eighth Marines. He bought the sword a few months earlier as he neared completion of Officers Candidate School in Quantico because it is a required part of every Marine officer's dress uniform.

Russom, now 76 and living in St. Augustine, Florida, remembers wrapping and taping the sword up and placing it in a box with uniforms and other personal effects for the move. And he remembers his thoughts when opened the box in North Carolina only to discover the sword was gone.

"First thing was, 'Oh my god, I don't have a sword'," Russom said. "Marine Corps regulations call for every officer to have a personal sword. ... I wasn't panicked, but I was concerned that there would be a uniform inspection (with a commanding officer) and I would be, 'Oh, and by the way, I don't have a sword.'"
read more here

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

CBS This Morning: Coming Home

Coming Home: Families adjust to Marines returning from war
CBS News
August 6, 2018

When the Riveras are separated, with Paul serving in dangerous combat zones, they rely on their faith. "I'd wake up and just go in my closet and pray for 15 minutes, and that was one thing I did every day," Lily said. "I just felt like I needed that pick up."

"CBS This Morning" continues to follow the lives of our nation's bravest as they return from war. We were there earlier this year when a group of Marines came home to North Carolina from Afghanistan's Helmand Province.

It's been six months since that emotional reunion. Now as part of our series, "Coming Home," we focus on the families of two Marines, Major Ethan Krumnow and Major Paul Rivera.
Major Ethan Krumnow's family must now adjust to his return following a lengthy deployment to Afghanistan. CBS NEWS
You hear this phrase all the time when we're honoring our nation's heroes: "Families serve, too."

But what does that really mean for a family to serve? How do they cope when this huge hole opens up in their home, and then when their loved one comes home and so much has changed – especially for those with young children?

When Majors Krumnow and Rivera first saw their families, you could feel the relief.

But after nine long months in Afghanistan, Krumnow and his wife, Christina, faced some surprises.
read more here

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Suicide "Top priority" fake news for all

A reporter with the Sun Herald out of North Carolina had chosen a headline that should fall under "fake news" but what can we expect?

20 veterans kill themselves every day. Suicide prevention is now VA’s No. 1 priority. by Matt Goad. I couldn't help it! I couldn't stop myself, not that I really wanted to. The thing is, are we really trying to save their lives or push a "feel better" story? I sent him an email but I bet he'll be like the others and just ignore it. 
Did you bother to actually research any of this? You used the slogan from the VA but did not know it was 20 a day back in 1999 when there were over 5 million more veterans living at the time? Did you know that the first suicide prevention bill was passed in 2007? 
The DOD and the VA have been saying a hell of a lot of things but the end results is, veterans are still ending their lives because coming home is still harder than combat!
OMG! Will you guys ever take this seriously?
Ya I know, shame on me for bothering to contact yet another reporter who did not do any basic research on this story.
Suicide prevention is now the VA’s highest priority among the nation’s 20 million veterans, 2 million of them women, according to a VA National Suicide Data Report released last month.
And maybe if reporters had paid attention when our generations was suffering the same way, then maybe we wouldn't be talking about what failed our veterans. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

More to story after arrest of Deputy for bank robbery

"A former Davidson County deputy accused of bank robbery worked security there prior to robbery" on Salisbury Post headline may begin the judgement of this man, but there is so much more to the story.

"Jeffrey Dean Athey, 51, entered the F and M Bank at 418 W. Main St. about 3:35 p.m. on Feb. 6 and showed a Glock 41 semi-automatic handgun. He requested $1,000 and then left the bank."
He is accused of robbing the bank he worked for. Think about that one. Top that off with he only wanted $1,000 and knew exactly what the penalty would be for that. Why would he choose to do it there?

After hearing of the news, Davidson County Sheriff David Grice terminated Athey the same afternoon. He’s worked for the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office for a number of years, left to work for the private military company formerly known as Blackwater, and then returned to the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office.
He not only joined law enforcement, he worked for a defense contractor.
Court documents show Athey was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. He recently married and lived with his wife and her two children.
Was this a scream for help? He had 2 jobs plus a new family. If this was not a man who was willing to risk his life, but change it for the better as well, it would be easy to just pass it off as a good guy gone bad. Taken everything into consideration, now we know there is so much more to this story.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Young widow struggles to have husband buried?

Young Iraq War veteran ineligible for burial in North Carolina state cemetery
KMBZ 98.1 FM
JUNE 09, 2018
"At this point, [Amanda] would like her husband to rest in peace, so she is moving forward with Arlington, because she can't handle the process," Lacey said. "She doesn't have the strength to fight it, or keep living."

(NEW YORK) -- The mother-in-law of an Iraq war veteran is pleading for change in North Carolina after her daughter’s late husband was denied burial in a state cemetery.

Capt. James Christian Gallagher, a third-generation member of the United States armed forces, described by his family as having love for his country that "never wavered," is being held in a morgue, waiting to be interred.

"How can the state of North Carolina turn their back on this. The rejection of allowing CPT Gallagher to be buried in North Carolina State Veterans cemetery," Gallagher’s mother-in-law Wendy Lacey wrote on Facebook.

The post, shared more than 100 times on Facebook, condemns North Carolina for its “unconscionable” decision.

Gallagher, a 2008 West Point graduate, was stationed in Fort Lee, Virginia, with his wife and three daughters, when two weeks ago he suddenly passed away at the age of 31.

Amanda, Gallagher’s wife, decided to move to North Carolina, to be near her family in a time of need.

"When my daughter decided that she needed help, it was the right fit to have her husband buried here," Lacey told ABC News.

Initially, Amanda was told her husband could be buried at the North Carolina state veterans, Sandhill Cemetery, but the funeral home denied the family a plot, citing ineligibility.

A free burial plot is provided at a North Carolina State Veterans Cemetery for state veterans; however, they must meet certain residency requirements. Among those requirements is that the veteran has at the time of death been a legal resident of North Carolina for at least 10 years, according to the North Carolina State Veterans Cemetery Program.
read more here

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Iraq veteran and K9 reunite

Bomb-sniffing dog, handler reunited after service in Iraq
JUNE 7, 2018

MONROE TOWNSHIP, Pa. - A dog that served our country in Iraq for most of his life now gets to retire with his owner.
Troy Sutton of Lumberton, North Carolina, has been in Iraq off and on since 2011 with his Dutch shepherd Ali. The two were nearly inseparable for about five years while they worked together in Iraq as an explosive detection team.

But when Ali was forced to retire in December due to old age, Sutton was worried they would never see each other again. That's until a dog rescue in Herndon stepped in.

"He was my life over there because he took care of me," Sutton told WNEP.

Sutton lives near Wilmington, North Carolina, and served in the United States Army for 24 years. He works for American K-9 Detection Services and works with dogs to sniff out bombs in Iraq.
read more here

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Maj. Gen. Elizabeth Austin Retired After 39 Years

Trailblazing general closes chapter on her career

Lisa Simunaci
Army Material Command
December 5, 2017

In 2011, Austin became the first North Carolina Guardsman to achieve the rank of brigadier general and remains the state’s highest ranking female officer.
Photo By Staff Sgt. Mary Junell | Maj. Gen. Elizabeth Austin welcomes distinguished guests to her retirement ceremony at he North Carolina National Guard Joint Force Headquarters in Raleigh, NC December 1, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. – Surrounded by family members, military leaders, lifelong friends and hundreds of colleagues from across the nation, Maj. Gen. Elizabeth Austin closed the chapter on a 39-year Army National Guard career.

Austin, who served as Army Materiel Command’s assistant deputy commanding general-National Guard, took to the stage of the North Carolina National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters Dec. 1, flanked by her husband and state Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Gregory Lusk.

To her husband of 35 years, who is also a retired Army colonel, Austin said it was only fitting that he join her on stage.

“You encouraged me to do more, you sacrificed for me and made the transition from Soldier to Army spouse,” she said.

When Austin took on her leadership role at Army Materiel Command, the state’s adjutant general noted North Carolina National Guard, where she began her military career, was never far from her mind.

“On behalf of the North Carolina National Guard and a grateful state, we genuinely thank you for your service,” Lusk told Austin. “We know you will still continue to serve, but on your timeline.”

Maj. Gen. Janson Boyles, adjutant general of the Mississippi National Guard, recognized Austin’s influence went well beyond the state of North Carolina.

“Her fingerprints spread throughout all the states,” he said. “She has been a mentor to officers in the state of Mississippi and they think the world of her.”
read more here

Friday, November 24, 2017

Camp Lejeune Marines Homesyle Thanksgiving

Fairfield Harbour continues tradition of feeding Marines at Camp Lejeune

WCTI 12 News
Stephanie Brown
Jason O. Boyd
November 23, 2017

The Obers said they love sharing a space at their table. The Marines said it's nice to spend the holidays with people who make them feel at home.

FAIRFIELD HARBOUR, Craven County - It's a tradition that started in 2006 and was still going strong Thursday.
Families at Fairfield Harbour opened their doors, hearts and dinner tables for Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune. There were 110 Marines that got off buses and, for the first time in a long time for many, got to enjoy a home-cooked Thanksgiving this year.
It's how they've started Thanksgiving in Fairfield Harbour for the past nine years.
"When we lived in Pennsylvania, we had a lot of people, a lot of family, and I always had a full table," said Mary Ann Ober. "When we moved to North Carolina, we didn't have as much family and we still enjoyed the holiday, so we decided we would invite someone that wasn't going to spend time with their family."
This year, they're joined by Austin Sampson and Mikel Harden. It's Mike's first Thanksgiving from home.
"I can handle it, it's easier to understand knowing that my family knows why I'm not with them," Harden said.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Veteran Survived Final Deployment, But Not Suicide

Fighting veteran suicide gets personal

The Mountaineer
Kyle Perrotti
November 17, 2017

When Sgt. Jared Best reenlisted to go to Afghanistan after having already done a tour in Iraq, he did so to be there for his guys, many of whom were inexperienced in combat.
But he never realized the toll that final deployment would take on him.

Patti and Hugh Best, although still grieving, have begun the search for a solution to the problem of veteran suicides that they say is plaguing this country.
When Best finally got out of the Army and returned to Haywood County to tend his family’s farmland in Crabtree, he learned just how hard it can be to adjust to civilian life, and how hard it can be to forget the things he’d experienced. 

Last New Year’s Eve, alone and with too much time to think, the 26-year-old took his own life with a gun.
read more here

Saturday, October 21, 2017

More Doing More But More Veterans Commit Suicide

Veteran suicide numbers in NC soar above national average
Citizen Times
Alexandria Bordas
Oct. 20, 2017

Veterans in North Carolina committed suicide at a rate comparable with that of veterans nationwide in 2014 but at a rate more than double that of the generation population, according to a newly updated report.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recorded 249 veteran suicide deaths in North Carolina in 2014, more than double the number of veteran suicides reported in the same year in neighboring South Carolina.

The state-by-state veteran suicide data was released last year, updated again in 2017 and re-released in September. It represents the largest report ever compiled on veteran suicides.

The VA examined veteran suicides over the course of 35 years, beginning in 1979, to better understand suicide trends across the nation.

"There is a lot of stigma about mental illness and suicide, especially in regards to military culture," said Dr. Craig Martin, chief medical officer for Vaya Health, a mental health service provider in Buncombe County.

Martin previously worked for the VA in New England.

In North Carolina, the veteran suicide rate was 37 per 100,000 in 2014, according to the report, versus a national suicide average of 17 per 100,000 people.
read more here

Friday, October 6, 2017

Widow of Fallen Fort Bragg Solider Has Enormous Gender Reveal Announcement

82nd Airborne in Afghanistan helps with gender reveal for fallen NC soldier

North Carolina
October 6, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The wife of a fallen Fort Bragg soldier had a little help learning the gender of her unborn child.

U.S. Army Spc. Christopher Harris, 25, was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan on August 2. His wife, Brittany, was pregnant at the time of his death.
But his fellow 82nd Airborne members helped Brittany with learning the gender of her child.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Homeless Shelter to Evict Homeless Veteran Whistleblower?

VA, charity send veteran to the streets after attempts to blow the whistle on veteran's shelter

WBTV 3 News
Nick Ochsner
September 4, 2017

Armento said last-minute assistance from the VA was his last hope for staying off the streets. Now, because he has not received that help, he will not have anywhere to go.

An Asheville veteran faces life on the streets after trying to blow the whistle on questionable practices at the long-term residential facility for homeless veterans at which he was staying.
(Corey Schmidt | WBTV)
Greg Armento moved into the Veterans Restoration Quarters run by the Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry in September 2015. He had recently moved back to Asheville, in need of a place to live after losing his job as a graphic artist.
The ABCCM runs the Veterans Restoration Quarters with money from a grant program administered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs known as the Grant Per Diem program.
The Grant Per Diem program pays organizations a daily amount of money to provide homeless veterans room and board. Organizations that house veterans as part of the program take in roughly $1,300 each month for every veteran given food and shelter.
First, he called Senator Thom Tillis’ (R-NC) office. When that didn’t lead to a change, Armento filed a lawsuit against ABCCM in federal court.
A letter from the VA to Tillis’ office confirms the local Asheville VA Medical Center reviewed Armento’s complaints of being forced to work for free as a condition of living at ABCCM’s facility and confirmed that was a requirement to participate in the charity’s service hour program.
There is nothing in the VA’s manual on the Gran Per Diem program that says a charity participating in the program should require veterans to perform service hours as a condition of receiving room and board.
A court filing on behalf of ABCCM in response to Armento’s lawsuit characterizes the service hour requirement as “voluntary” service, even though the same filing acknowledges a document from the VRQ that clearly states service hours are mandatory for staying at the facility.
Armento didn’t get help from calling Tillis’ office or the VA but he did get an eviction notice from ABCCM.
The 62-year-old veteran has been told that he must vacate the VRQ by Tuesday, September 5, 2017.
read more here 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Three of Five Soldiers Missing After Black Hawk Crash Identified

Military officials have declared three soldiers dead after their Black Hawk helicopter crashed off Hawaii during a nighttime training mission earlier this month.
The Armed Forces Medical Examiner says 1st Lt. Kathryn Bailey of North Carolina, Staff Sgt. Abigail Milam of Kentucky and Sgt. Michael Nelson of Tennessee are dead after confirming their DNA among debris recovered from the Aug. 15 crash. The three were riding in the helicopter with two others when it crashed off of Oahu.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Stephen Cantrell of Texas and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brian Woeber of Alabama have not been found.