Showing posts with label Tampa FL. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tampa FL. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

So how are veterans handling this pandemic?

Veterans may be having a harder time dealing with COVID-19 pandemic

The Rebound Tampa Bay
By: Wendy Ryan
May 12, 2020
"It could be increased negative emotions such as sadness or anger or fear. it could be changes in behavior such as increased crying, irritability, angry outbursts or social isolation. That's a big one," Dr. Gironda warns.
TAMPA, Fla. — May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the VA is asking veterans to prioritize their mental health right now.

There are over 1.5 million veterans in Florida and the state has the third largest veteran population in the nation.

So how are veterans handling this pandemic?

Dr. Ronald Gironda, Chief of Psychology at James A. Haley VA Medical Center, says medical assistance right now is critically important for veterans, especially those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

"Not only have our anxieties been heightened but our normal routines have been disrupted in an unprecedented way. And of course, veterans with PTSD and other mental health conditions are at increase risks for worsening of their symptoms," Dr. Ronald Gironda said.

The contributing factors include social distancing measures, financial stress and more.

"For many, it's a disruption in our normal pattern such as eating patterns, sleeping patterns, physical activity and of course
read it here

Monday, December 9, 2019

Did you return veteran's wallet in Tampa Florida?

A stranger's good deed lands Florida veteran his wallet

By: WFTS Digital Staff
Dec 07, 2019
"I see so much negativity out there about people," said McCormick. "I wanted to make public that here’s a guy that for no reason at all, except that he was a good guy, just stopped and brought home something that he didn’t have to do."

TAMPA, Fla. — A Tampa man's mistake could have cost him big, but a stranger's kind gesture saved the day.

Joe McCormick says a routine trip to the grocery store nearly put his entire identity at risk. He dropped his wallet while shopping at Winn-Dixie on Swann Avenue.

“Driver’s license, military ID, veterans ID, medicare card, car insurance," said McCormick. "Everything that you need to have to get through life was in that, I had no idea I had even lost it."

Not long after returning to his home on Davis Islands, an unexpected knock came at the front door.

A man McCormick describes as in his 20s, driving a blue four-door sedan returned his wallet.
read it here

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Florida creates more special pod for military veterans

Florida jail opens section just for military veterans

Tiffini Theisen
AUG 21, 2019
U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., has championed the Tampa unit. "I'm very excited to see the commitment from all stakeholders as we work to improve how we identify and treat Veterans who are in need mental health services," he posted on his Facebook page in late July.
A jail in Florida this week became the latest to offer a special pod for military veterans.

"Veteran pods" are becoming an increasingly common part of jails nationwide as the criminal justice system focuses more on helping troubled former service members, who are more likely to have reported mental health issues, particularly PTSD. (Wikimedia Commons) A new housing unit is opening at the Falkenburg Road Jail near Tampa, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister announced Tuesday

"They'll get treatment for mental health issues and drug addictions, lessons on how to gain employment and group sessions with fellow #vets who can relate to their concerns," the sheriff's office posted on its Facebook page. "The goal is to restore their pride and give them the tools to NOT end up back in jail."

Statewide, the Florida Veterans Support Line at 1-844-MyFLVet (693-5838) allows veterans and their loved ones to talk confidentially with someone trained to provide emotional support and connections to community resources.

In Orlando, the Orange County Corrections Department Armed Forces Dormitory opened in 2012. Its dorm employs guards who are also veterans or reservists. The program provides counseling, treatment and re-entry support for veterans. Those with violent or serious charges are not eligible.
read it here

Veterans Getting Random Acts of Flowers

Petal Power: Recycled flowers bring smiles to veterans' faces in Florida

Connecting Vets
AUGUST 21, 2019
Random Acts of Flowers began because of a near-fatal accident suffered by its founder, Larsen Jay, who fell off a ladder two stories tall and broke every bone in his body in 2007. “He got overwhelming support,” said Donoghue. “His whole hospital room was full of flowers.”
We’ve all heard of recycling plastic, glass and paper.

But what about recycling flowers for veterans?

That’s exactly what Random Acts of Flowers does.

The non-profit recycles and repurposes day-old flowers and delivers them to patients at the Bay Pines Veterans Hospital and other hospitals, hospices and nursing facilities throughout the greater Tampa Bay, Fla. area.

The volunteers who deliver the flowers to the VA medical center are all veterans themselves, said Janette Donoghue, executive director of Random Acts of Flowers Tampa Bay.

“It’s near and dear to their hearts,” she said. “That’s something they want to do, it’s a veteran giving to a veteran.”
read it here

Saturday, August 17, 2019

"Ultimate Tribute to The King" and disabled combat medic

Top Elvis impersonator coming to The Villages to raise money for disabled veteran’s new home

Villages News
By Larry D. Croom
August 13, 2019

Villagers for Veterans has worked tirelessly over the past couple of years to raise money to build the special house for Kelly, a 17-year Army veteran who was injured during a 2002 training accident while preparing to deploy to Iraq. Kelly’s spine was crushed when a cable snapped during a sling load operation. As a result of her injuries, the Army medic, who lives alone in the Tampa area, was permanently paralyzed and has very limited use of one arm.
Dwight Icenhower, who has made a full-time career as Elvis Presley impersonator, will perform his ‘Ultimate Tribute to The King’ show at the Savannah Center at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 18.
Villagers for Veterans is bringing a special performer to Florida’s Friendliest Hometown – one who strives to keep the memories of “The King of Rock and Roll” alive forever.

Dwight Icenhower, who has made a full-time career as Elvis Presley impersonator, will perform his “Ultimate Tribute to The King” show alongside his Blue Suede Band at the Savannah Center at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 18. His appearance is a fundraiser being put on by the group to raise money for a smart home that’s being built for disabled Army veteran Sgt. Pam Kelly on the Historic Side of The Villages.
read it here

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Soldiers killed in Afghanistan Identified

Pentagon identifies U.S. Soldiers killed in Afghanistan

By: CNN Newsource
Posted: Mar 24, 2019

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

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

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

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

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Takedown of veteran in Muskogee questioned

Officials: Veteran's claims of disability are false

Chris DiMaria
January 5, 2019

Lezama says he pulled William's records, finding Williams is 30 percent disabled, as well as his discharge information. "I can speak for all the other organizations when I say none of us condone the behavior of a veteran who exaggerates their status"

MUSKOGEE, Okla. — Jason Williams's former company commander in Germany spoke to 2 Works for You and he says Williams's behavior scene on video does not surprise him one bit.
He says he's seen this video of Williams being pepper sprayed by police for not complying, and heard the story Williams gave about being deployed.

He says Williams's claims about an accident in Afghanistan that left him disabled is completely made up.

"He was never ever deployed," Smith said. "He was never involved in any sort of accident while he was in the military. When we drove him to the airport, he walked out of the van and walked into the terminal."

Major Smith who is now in Tampa says Williams was discharged, and when he saw the video he immediately thought back to when he had to make the call.

"The decision we came down to was the longer we had him in the unit, the worse it was for the unit, so we needed to put him out quickly," Smith said.
read more here

Monday, December 17, 2018

Retired Marine Col. Jim Turner took his life at Bay Pines

Jim Turner, a retired Marine colonel, took his life at the Bay Pines VA campus

Tampa Bay Times
By Howard Altman 
Published 28 minutes ago

ST. PETERSBURG — On Dec. 10, retired Marine Col. Jim Turner put on his dress uniform and medals and drove to the Bay Pines Department of Veterans Affairs complex. He got out of his truck, sat down on top of his military records and took his own life with a rifle.

Aside from leaving behind grieving family and friends, Turner, 55, of Belleair Bluffs, left behind a suicide note that blasted the VA for what he said was its failure to help him.

"I bet if you look at the 22 suicides a day you will see VA screwed up in 90%," wrote Turner, who was well-known and well-respected in military circles. "I did 20+ years, had PTSD and still had to pay over $1,000 a month health care."
Captain Ryan Spangler (left) and Gunnery Sgt. Tousnel Renaud (right), with the 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion, United States Marine Corps Reserve in Tampa, fold one of the two American flags that are to be presented to the family at the end of the memorial service Friday afternoon, at the Serenity Funeral Home in Largo, for retired Marine Col. James "Jim" Turner IV, who took his life at Bay Pines Dec. 10. (DIRK SHADD | Times)

Vietnam War Navy veteran Jerry Reid, 67, may have driven to the VA to take his own life on Feb. 7, 2013, because he lived alone and didn’t want to have his body found weeks or months later, said his friend, Bob Marcus.

Joseph Jorden, 57, a medically retired Army Green Beret, likely took his life at Bay Pines on March 17, 2017, not because of poor treatment, but because he felt safe there, said his brother, Mark Jorden.

But Gerhard Reitmann, 66, who served with the Marines in Vietnam and later as a guard for President Richard Nixon at Camp David, “felt like the VA wasn’t really taking care of him” when he ended his life at Bay Pines on Aug. 25, 2015, said his brother, Stephan Reitmann.

The mother of Esteban Rosario, 24, who ended his life at Bay Pines on May 8, 2013, could not be reached for comment. read more here

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Suicidal veteran lost lawsuit against Tampa Police

Man loses suit against Tampa police after being shot in face during attempted suicide call

Tampa Bay Times
Anastasia Dawson
Times Staff
November 24, 2018

A Tampa real estate agent’s four-year legal battle against the city of Tampa and its police department came to an end last week, when a jury sided with the officer who shot him twice in the face during a call meant to prevent his suicide.
Jason and Amanda Turk pose with their three daughters (from left) Emily, 12, with daughters Emily, 12, Anabel, 3, and Adeline, 5. [Courtesy of Jason Turk]
The federal lawsuit Jason Turk filed in August 2014 claimed that the city and then-Chief Jane Castor failed to provide the necessary de-escalation and crisis intervention training required for officers to successfully answer calls for help involving the mentally ill.

“I want the Tampa Police Department to take crisis intervention training more seriously and implement it into their training the way the (Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office) and countless police departments across the country do," Turk, 42, told the Tampa Bay Times. "It is an important component of policing because most calls into police involve some sort of mental health crisis. Not every call is about chasing down a bad guy."

One call for help came from Turk's wife, Amanda, in the early morning of Jan. 9, 2014. Turk, an 11-year Navy veteran, had become estranged from his wife and was suffering from severe depression. He was drinking heavily that night when he recorded himself reading aloud from a suicide note and sent the video to his wife, who then called 911.

She told the operator her husband was threatening to kill himself, and added a crucial detail: “He knows if cops come and he won’t put down the gun that they’ll shoot him,” she can be heard telling the operator in a recording of the 911 call. The police classified the call a “suicide by cop.”

It still haunts her, she said.

Turk admits he had a pistol in his lap when K-9 Officer Timothy Bergman spotted him sitting in his car as it idled in the driveway of the Tampa Heights home where Turk moved during a trial separation from his wife. But Turk insists the only person ever threatened by the weapon was himself.
read more here

Saturday, November 3, 2018

PTSD Veteran and dog rescued each other in Tampa

Bay Area veteran, shelter pup with anxiety find support in one another

FOX 13
Jen Epstein
November 2, 2018

TAMPA (FOX 13) - Mark and Molly have a very special bond. Their friendship goes far beyond the typical human-pet relationship.
"We pretty much do everything together. You talk about the old adage of boy meets dog; you're looking at it," said veteran Mark Starr.

Molly provides Mark with the emotional support he needs to get through each day. Mark is a Navy and Air Force veteran who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, and Molly is the one thing that keeps his anxiety and depression at bay.

"If I'm having difficulty or having a hard day, she's right on me. She wants to play and she gets me out of bed," said Mark.

Mark and Molly's friendship is give and take. Before he adopted her a year ago, Molly was a stray found walking the streets after Hurricane Irma.

"She has anxiety. She's definitely scared of thunderstorms. So, we have to work together when we have bad days," said Mark. "I play a little classical music for her, and I get down on the ground and hug her until until the storm goes."
read more here

Thursday, September 13, 2018

In other news...the failure of raising awareness

We just posted how a veteran had a mental health crisis situation at Tampa Airport. He served six tours in the Air Force...but is seems as if there are a lot of stories that should make national news. 

Apparently, people who put their lives on the line to save others, still have not been made aware they are killing themselves. 

Oh, wait, my bad! They have been aware of that for a very long time.  Seems they missed the message on how to change the outcome and heal!

Like these!
MEMPHIS, Tenn. ( - An hours-long standoff in a northeast Memphis neighborhood ended peacefully Wednesday afternoon, after a man fired shots from his home and barricaded himself inside. 36-year-old Alfred LaBarre, a war veteran according to Memphis police sources, now faces several charges.

MINDEN TOWNSHIP — Benton County Sheriff Troy Heck said the Sauk Rapids man who apparently took his own life on Sunday was a military veteran in crisis.

The incident brought authorities to a standoff with the man, forced neighbors to evacuate the area around the 7300 block of Minnesota Highway 95 and shut down that road.

The news release from Heck's office said the victim was Rodolfo Alberto Gomez Jr., 44, of Sauk Rapids, a military veteran.

This marks the third Chicago officer to die by suicide in the last two months The Chicago police are mourning the loss of one of their own again.

The Chicago Police Department says a veteran officer took her own life Wednesday morning—marking the third suicide within the department in just two months.

Air Force veteran with 6 tours crisis at Tampa Airport

VIDEO: Unruly traveler arrested after making scene at TIA because of flight delay
ABC Action News
Mary Stringini, Michael Paluska
Sep 12, 2018
Carmen Rodriguez said her husband was deployed six times over the course of 15 years serving in the Air Force. Recently, she says her husband had threatened suicide.
TAMPA, Fla. — An unruly traveler was arrested after causing a ruckus at Tampa International Airport on Wednesday because he was upset about a delayed flight, officials say.
The incident took place around 2 p.m. in Terminal A outside gate A-12. According to Tampa International Airport officials, the male traveler, identified as Ralph Rodriguez-Hernandez, 36, was waiting to board a Jet Blue flight to San Juan when he became upset because his plane was delayed. Officials say the traveler threatened to kill the ticket agent at the gate.

Video captured of the incident shows the man remove his pants as he yells, "No f****** bomb. I have no f****** bomb."
read more here

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Did you donate to VetMade Industries?

Millions collected, Tampa charity for veterans goes MIA
By: Steve Andrews
Posted: Sep 04, 2018

People donated millions to Tampa charity VetMade Industries, Inc., to help train unemployed, disabled veterans.
The program was designed to teach veterans how to make Adirondack style furniture and get them them used to reporting for work and getting a paycheck.

An 8 On Your Side investigation found as donations from a generous public poured in, the woodworking shop at VetMade Industries stayed empty, the machinery sat idle, the doors closed tight.

According to founder and Executive Director John Campbell, the whole program was on hold.

How long has it been on hold?

"Going on five years, that we're, I call it a caretaker status," Campbell explained.

Caretaking what?

Tax records show that in three years, $5.5 million dollars in donations flowed into VetMade Industries.

During that same period, not one veteran received training.

"Zero goes to the veterans," retired Army veteran Ken Cook said.

Cook was among the original volunteers at VetMade Industries when it launched in 2009.

What he found was disappointing.

"There was a high falutin fancy program on paper, but the reality was that there wasn't any kind of organized training going on in any way, shape or form," Cook stated.
read more here

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Beef O Brady's takes stand when football player kneel

Florida restaurant cancels NFL package over national anthem protests
FOX News
Ryan Gaydos
August 7, 2018
The restaurant will save more than $5,000 by canceling its package and instead will offer veterans 40 percent off on food Sundays during game days, the station reported.
Beef O'Brady's felt the protests showed a "lack of compassion and gratitude" for service members. (Google Street View)

A Florida restaurant decided to cancel its DirecTV NFL package over the controversy about players kneeling during the national anthem to protest social injustices.

Curtis West, who co-owns Beef O’Brady’s in Brooksville with his wife Janet, told FOX13 Tampa Bay on Monday there will be no NFL games shown because of the “disrespect” the players have shown.

“Last year, with the kneeling and the disrespect to our veterans and our flag and our country, I was very upset,” West told the station.
read more here

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Florida Firefighter Recovering After Falling Out of Truck

Florida firefighter falls out of truck on way to call
By Associated Press
July 12, 2018

Steven Dowd, 46, airlifted to hospital
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida firefighter is recovering from serious injuries after falling out of a fire truck on the way to a call.

Hillsborough sheriff's officials said Steven Dowd, 46, was riding in the passenger seat of the truck as it left the station Tuesday.
read more here

Monday, July 9, 2018

Firefighters and Paramedics PTSD Levels Near Combat Veterans

The other victims: First responders to horrific events often suffer in solitude
Tampa Bay Times
By Heidi de Marco, Kaiser Health News
Published: July 9, 2018
The "first responders" who provide emergency aid have been hit hard not just by recent large-scale disasters but by the accumulation of stress and trauma over many years, research shows. Many studies have found elevated rates of post-traumatic stress disorder among nurses, firefighters and paramedics. A 2016 report by the International Association of Fire Fighters found that firefighters and paramedics are exhibiting levels of PTSD similar to that of combat veterans.
Medical personnel tend to a victim after the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The "first responders" who provide emergency aid have been hit hard not just by recent large-scale disasters but by the accumulation of stress and trauma over many years, research shows. [Sun Sentinel]
The day a gunman fired into a crowd of 22,000 people at the country music festival in Las Vegas, hospital nursing supervisor Antoinette Mullan was focused on one thing: saving lives.

She recalls dead bodies on gurneys across the triage floor, a trauma bay full of victims. But "in that moment, we’re not aware of anything else but taking care of what’s in front of us," Mullan said.

Proud as she was of the work her team did, she calls it "the most horrific evening of my life" — the culmination of years of searing experiences she has tried to work through, mostly on her own.

"I can tell you that after 30 years, I still have emotional breakdowns and I never know when it’s going to hit me," said Mullan.

Calamities seem to be multiplying in recent years, including mass shootings, fires, hurricanes and mudslides. Just last month, a gunman burst into the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., killing five journalists and injuring two others.

Many of the men and women who respond to these tragedies have become heroes and victims at once. Some firefighters, emergency medical providers, law enforcement officers and others say the scale, sadness and sometimes sheer gruesomeness of their experiences haunt them, leading to tearfulness and depression, job burnout, substance abuse, relationship problems, even suicide.

Many, like Mullan, are stoic, forgoing counseling even when it is offered.

"I don’t have this sense that I need to go and speak to someone," said Mullan. "Maybe I do, and I just don’t know it."
read more here

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Vietnam Veteran Donated 37 Gallons of His Blood to Save Lives

Florida veteran saves hundreds of lives by donating 37 gallons of blood

December 5, 2017

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — OneBlood helps save thousands of lives every year but it isn’t possible without donors.
“In life, I like to help people,” said one donor, Richard Davis.

Davis has been donating blood for 25 years. He’s a Vietnam veteran who witnessed a blood shortage and wanted to help.
“A lot of people needed blood badly at that time. That was the first time I ever donated,” said Davis.
Since then, you can find him in the donor room – kicked back, donating blood and watching TV.
“Well the platelets you can actually donate every week but you can only do it 24 times a year which is a lot of times,” said Davis.
A lot of times, and a lot of blood. Davis is just grateful he can help.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

PTSD Marine Treated Better in New Jersey--Slammed At Tampa VA?

Target 8: VA therapist tells Marine treated for PTSD he’s only there for the drugs

WFLA Channel 8 News
Steven Andrews
August 31, 2017

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Peter Surck spent 20 years in the U.S. Marine corps, including some harrowing moments in Iraq in a bloodbath called Mosul.
He remembers his first exposure to combat was like something out of a movie. “You heard the mosque music come out and then all of a sudden sheer hell broke loose, and fire started, enemy fire just started coming out, and our guys started firing back and everybody just started shooting,” Peter recalled.
Later in Liberia, Mr. Surck and dozens of his buddies became extremely ill from anti-malaria medication. Many, including him, contracted the disease. Peter claims he still suffers side effects.
“Horrible dreams, I get tremors once in awhile, I have neurological problems,” he added.
The Navy diagnosed Peter with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  The Department of Veterans Affairs treated him in New Jersey for years.
Last week he attended his first therapy session at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital’s Department of Mental Health.

Shockingly, their resident therapist told Peter he didn’t have PTSD–he was only there for the drugs.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Mailman and Tampa Police Officers Saved Disabled Vietnam Veteran

Mailman, Tampa police officers team up to save disabled veteran trapped inside burning home
Sergeant put on a gas mask and ran inside
ABC Action News
Michael Paluska
Jun 10, 2017
“Sgt. Larry Brass is the real hero,” Sierra said. “I felt hopeless. I couldn't get in there, and once my sergeant was in there a few minutes we didn't know what was going on. As soon as he pulled up to the window we grabbed him and got him out of the house.”
TAMPA, Fla. - A United States Postal Worker and four Tampa police officers are being called heroes after they worked together to save the life of a 68-year-old Vietnam veteran trapped inside his Tampa home.

Jason Moss was on his regular route when he says he smelled burning plastic. Then he saw smoke billowing out of the home at 7903 Greenwood Avenue.

“I just went in and did what anyone would do. I knew the father was there and the two dogs,” Jason Moss said. “Oh, I was scared to go in. I had to slide in through the window and when that smoke hits you you can't see or breathe.”

Moss was overcome with smoke. Another Tampa police officer also couldn’t handle the intense smoke as they frantically tried to reach Terry Sims, 68, who was trapped in the back of the home.
read more here

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Florida Veterans Still in Need Because of Groups Like This!

Veterans charity raises millions of dollars at Florida rest stops, but where is the money going?
Veterans in Need Foundation has troubled past
ABC Action News
Adam Walser
Jun 5, 2017
In the charity’s most recent IRS filing, it reported collecting $448,000 in donations in the latest year available and almost $2.2 Million over five years.
TAMPA, Fla. - Convicted felons, drug users...even a registered sex offender…those are some of the people our I-Team found raising money for the Veterans in Need Foundation at Florida rest areas.

And many aren't even veterans.

The non-profit organization has a long history of complaints, but the state continues to issue them permits, allowing them to raise millions of dollars.

“If you can, $20 will house a vet for a week,” said Nicholas Koleff, as he manned a table in front of a rest stop in Hernando County.
read more here