Showing posts with label military families. Show all posts
Showing posts with label military families. Show all posts

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

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Soldiers given housing rights after deplorable living conditions

DoD adds key provisions to tenant bill of rights

Army News Service
By Devon Suits
March 12, 2020
The tenant bill of rights included inputs from close to 200,000 households. Within the original provisions, Soldiers are given the right to reside in a house and community that meets health and environmental standards.
The Military Housing Privatization Initiative Tenant Bill of Rights was signed by DoD senior leaders on Feb. 25, ensuring that service members and their families receive fair treatment. The bill of rights may soon include three more key provisions to help rebuild trust about privatized housing, officials told the House Appropriations Committee. Sentinel file photo

WASHINGTON — The tenant bill of rights, signed by Department of Defense senior leaders last week, may soon include three more key provisions to help rebuild trust about privatized housing, officials said March 3.

The document has 15 provisions to ensure service members and their families receive fair treatment under the Military Housing Privatization Initiative. It was signed Feb. 25 by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy and the other service secretaries.

The three additional provisions propose to provide military tenants a dispute resolution process, the right to withhold rent until a dispute is resolved, and access to a building’s maintenance history before the move-in date, officials told the House Committee on Appropriations’ Military Subcommittee.

“Since early last year, the DoD has been working to address the concerns of our military families,” said Pete Potochney, the acting assistant secretary of defense for sustainment, in written testimony to the Capitol Hill hearing.

“We recognize and acknowledge that our oversight of the program had not been up to the standards established at the outset,” which includes leadership engagement, he added.
read it here

Saturday, March 7, 2020

51-year-old man seeking psychiatric care shot at Dallas VA under investigation

Family struggling with questions after VA police shoot and kill Army veteran at medical center in Dallas

Dallas Morning News
By David Tarrant
Mar 6, 2020
January shooting during confrontation with 51-year-old man seeking psychiatric care remains under investigation by the Dallas Police Department
Dallas police squad cars park outside the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center near where a man was fatally shot by hospital police Wednesday night.(Metro News Service)

On a Friday morning in early January, two cops showed up at Donovan Ashcraft’s house.

The 23-year-old from McAlester, Oklahoma, was at home with the mother of his new baby.

“Do you know Donald Ashcraft?” one of the officers asked him.

Donovan’s father, a 51-year-old Army veteran from Oklahoma City, had struggled with mental health issues for years. He’d been arrested months earlier for threatening violence with a knife. Donovan hadn’t spoken to his father since last summer. Now he feared the worst.

“Is he dead?” the son asked.

Yes, the officers told him.

Officers fatally shot the Army veteran on the night of Jan. 8 after he allegedly refused to drop a knife at the Dallas VA Medical Center.

Donald arrived at the southeast Dallas hospital seeking help "for psychiatric issues” and was seen holding the weapon, according to police statements. When he tried to walk away, VA officers followed him, trying multiple times to disarm him. “The man attempted to attack VA police with the knife, causing VA police to fatally shoot him,” according to the statement issued by the medical center.
read it here

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Do not choose to leave your family wondering why

Military suicide crisis: Army veteran remembered as kind and compassionate

WFMY 2 News
Author: Kevin Kennedy
February 26, 2020

“He seemed okay when I talked to him on the phone that morning but evidently, he was holding back and already had a plan in mind,” said Dan Krise.

Sgt. William Krise wanted to serve his country. His family was proud and thankful he returned home safe, but the man that came back was not the same one that left.
SEAGROVE, N.C. — Sgt. William Krise picked up the phone on the morning of January 18, 2020, and called his dad. The two men shared a simple conversation like they have done hundreds of times in the past.

“We just talked, nothing big, mostly regular stuff,” said Dan Krise.

The conversation didn’t last long, and Sgt. Krise ended it like he always did.

“He said, I love you, dad."

Dan was in Pennsylvania at the time while his son was at his home in Seagrove, NC. Dan had been planning a trip to North Carolina, but they had yet to set a date.

Later that afternoon, Dan received a phone call from a friend of his son. The lady on the other end of the phone had helped Sgt. Krise find a therapy dog to help him adjust to life after the military. This call was also short, and little was said.

She told Dan his son had committed suicide.

Pain and misery seemed to follow Sgt. Krise from his tour in Iraq back home in the United States. A 10-year veteran, Krise was medically discharged in 2003, but his life was filled with challenges and obstacles after he returned from the war.
read it here

#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Canada" “Our (PTSD suffering) soldiers are chastised, treated like lepers.”

Canada treats veterans poorly, Fredericton doctor tells Desmond inquiry

Chronicle Herald
Aaron Beswick
Published: 6 hours ago
Smith filled out the form. Eleven months later, Desmond would use his licence to kill Shanna, his daughter Aaliyah and mother Brenda before shooting himself.

GUYSBOROUGH, N.S. — A Fredericton family doctor who works with many veterans took a harsh view of how Canada treats soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Shanna and Lionel Desmond hold their daughter Aaliyah in this photo from Shanna Desmond’s Facebook page.
“Our (PTSD suffering) soldiers are chastised, treated like lepers,” Dr. Paul Smith told the Desmond Fatality Inquiry on Monday.

“It’s all about pills and psychotherapy. It’s pathetic. There’s nothing about developing relationships, which (are) what makes the world happen.”

Lionel Desmond appeared at Smith’s office in July 2015.

He’d just been discharged from the military, his marriage was on the rocks and money was short.

Diagnosed in 2011 with PTSD and suspected brain damage from concussions during a tour on the frontlines of Afghanistan in 2007, Desmond had already been prescribed antidepressants and drugs to help him sleep.
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What happened to Marine Matthew Kraft, still missing after going on hike?

A year after Marine disappears on High Sierra hike, family still unsure what happened

Orange County Register
Erika I. Ritchie
PUBLISHED: February 24, 2020
...But a special kind of Marine needs no words, symbols or proclamations to describe their love for the Corps. Their love is found in late nights at the office, their stoicism in harsh conditions, genuine concern for subordinates and an obstinate adherence to what is right, regardless of the situation. These Marines live on through their influence and deeds, setting the example for the rest to come. Matt was one of these Marines.”
Marine Matthew Kraft is seen here hiking with his mother, Roxanne Kraft, in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. (Courtesy of the Kraft family)

Every night, Greg Kraft turns on an electric candle that sits in the window of his family’s Connecticut home.

“I turn it on and I say, ‘God Bless Matt,’ ” Kraft said Friday, Feb. 21, his voice choked with emotion. “In the morning I turn it off and say ‘God Bless Matt.’ “

The candle, in the upstairs middle dormer of his Williamsburg Cape Cod-style home, is lighted so his son, Capt. Matthew Kraft, can find his way back.

Matthew Kraft, a platoon leader with the 1st Battalion/7th Marines at Twentynine Palms, part of the 1st Marine Division based at Camp Pendleton, disappeared after taking leave from the Marine Corps for a two-week backcountry ski trip along the High Sierra Route starting Feb. 24, 2019.

He had planned the rugged trek for his pre-deployment leave, before his unit was to depart for Afghanistan.
That’s when I came to grips with it,” said Greg Kraft. “It’s also the day (March 15) the Marine Corps calls the date of death.”

An official statement, released by the Marine Corps on April 11, said Matthew Kraft died after being “overcome by severe winter storms.”

Kraft was posthumously promoted from 1st Lt. to the rank of Captain.
read it here

Saturday, February 22, 2020

National Guard Soldier did not live to see his son born, but now all can see his love!

Soldier dad added to family pictures, overlooks infant son born after his death

February 21, 2020

PERHAM, Minn. (KVLY/Gray News) - Charles Nord never got to meet his infant son Jack, but in a new family photograph, the late Minnesota National Guard soldier is there overlooking his young family.

In pictures by photographer Sarah Jean, the chief warrant officer is superimposed, proudly looking over this wife Kaley’s shoulder at his newborn son, Jack Charles Nord, and his toddler daughter, Lydia.

Little Jack was born February 11, about two months after his father died in a Dec. 5 Black Hawk helicopter crash near St. Cloud.

The images of Charles Nord were added to a pair of pictures from a recent family photo shoot. Jean had done photo sessions with the family before.
read it here

Friday, February 21, 2020

$8.2 million claim against VA after veteran son’s suicide

Mother files $8.2 million claim against VA after veteran son’s suicide

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By Jeremy Redmon
February 20, 2020

The mother of a U.S. Navy Reservist who killed himself outside the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin last year has filed an $8.2 million wrongful death claim against the Veterans Affairs Department.

Rhonda Wilson said a VA doctor abruptly stopped refilling an opioid painkiller prescription for her 28-year-old son, Gary Pressley, causing him to go into a painful withdrawal.

Pressley shot himself to death in the hospital parking lot on April 5, one of three veterans who, over a five-day span, committed suicide outside of VA facilities. One died outside the main entrance of the Atlanta VA Medical Center in Decatur the next day. Three days later, a veteran killed himself in front of hundreds of people in a waiting room at a VA clinic in Austin, Texas.
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Original Report

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Military clinics will stop taking 200,000 non-active duty patients

These military clinics will stop taking 200,000 non-active duty patients. Here’s the list.

Military Times
20 minutes ago
The plan includes a reduction of roughly 18,000 uniformed medical personnel, with those retained focusing on the medical readiness and treatment of active duty personnel.

In this file photo, a Navy corpsman assigned to Naval Health Clinic Corpus Christ, administers an influenza vaccine to a patient. The facility is among those slated for changes under a new Pentagon plan to shift the mission of some military health facilities to caring for only active duty personnel (U.S. Navy photo by Bill W. Love/Released)

More than 200,000 Tricare beneficiaries, including 80,000 active-duty family members, will no longer be seen at 37 military health clinics across the country in the coming years, according to a Department of Defense report sent to Congress Wednesday.

The Pentagon is planning major changes to 50 military health facilities that will force many beneficiaries to find civilian doctors in their communities over the course of two to four years.

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Thomas McCaffery said Wednesday that the realignment supports the department’s effort to support the military health system’s return to focusing on troop health and military readiness.

According to the report Restructuring and Realignment of Military Medical Treatment Facilities, the clinics include Air Force, Army and Navy facilities. Two additional facilities will close and several others have already started transferring non-active duty beneficiaries to Tricare providers in surrounding communities.
read it here

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

PTSD after six years and three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, lost to suicide

Helen Ubinas: Veteran’s final words show the true cost of war

Journal Star
By Helen Ubinas
Posted Feb 17, 2020

It’s been six weeks since Rosalind Williams’ 30-year-old son, Army veteran Michael Corey Hadley of Philadelphia, took his own life.

When grieving the death of a child, that’s a moment. A blink of an eye, a flip of a calendar. Barely enough time for Williams to pick herself up and return to the high school where she teaches science.

And yet in that small window, 900 other military parents have been dealt the same blow — left behind to try and find the rhythm of a life that they’ve lost after losing their children to suicide. According to the most recent data from the Department of Veterans Affairs, about 20 veterans, active-duty service members and members of the National Guard and Reserve die by their own hands every day.

In the quiet that followed the initial flurry of collective shock and grief after his death on Jan. 2, Williams sat with her anguish. She went through old photographs, collected new ones from his funeral and military interment. She read, and reread, the numerous news stories written about her son after the family spoke unsparingly about his death.

“His wounds were slow-acting and invisible, but nonetheless crippling and fatal,” the family said in a statement that spoke of his struggles with depression and PTSD after six years and three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Just as she did when she and the family struggled to find the right way and words to describe the loss of her son, Williams has continued to consider the cause of his death. His PTSD and the mental health issues that medicines and other interventions failed to help — those were merely symptoms, torturous as they were, of what really ailed him. Instead, his mother believed: What finally cost him his life was the traumatic brain injury he suffered after the Army sharpshooter’s multiple deployments. Even in his final letter to his family, which she read aloud to me at her dining room table, he spoke about it.

“I’m so sorry for doing this to you,” Hadley wrote. “I am so grateful to have been born into a loving, strong family.
read it here

#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife

Monday, February 17, 2020

Fort Carson Soldier falsely charged for abusing baby,,,until truth finally came out

Fort Carson Soldier Charged with Abusing His Child until Bone Disorder Found

The Associated Press
17 Feb 2020
Crystal gave up on restoring her nursing certification — the main reason she wanted it was to take care of Jace’s g-tube. Jarvis is still waiting for the Army to restore his security clearance, and when it does the Bryants hope to leave Colorado for another Army post. The state where their baby was born has too many bad memories.

FOUNTAIN, Colo. (AP) — When a child protection caseworker told Crystal Bryant they were taking her 5-month-old boy, the young mother dropped to her knees on the hospital floor.

“Take me,” she pleaded. “For my son to stay home, take me, I don’t care.”

She begged God and anyone listening, but “they still took him,” Bryant recalled, shaking her head and wiping tears as she recounted the worst moment of her life. Child welfare and police officers made Bryant and her husband, Jarvis Bryant, leave the Colorado Springs hospital room before a foster mother arrived to take their baby away.

Their lives were shattered.

The Bryants, who moved to Fountain when Jarvis was assigned to Fort Carson, were charged with felony child abuse, accused of breaking multiple bones in their only child’s body. Crystal’s recently earned nursing certificate was revoked. Jarvis, a U.S. Army specialist, lost his security clearance, stripping him of his job in aircraft and vehicle supply and relegating him to paper shuffling.
The Bryants’ son was one of 4,772 Colorado children removed from their homes by child welfare authorities and living in foster care last year.
read it here

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Heroes Horizon helped repair more than a roof for elderly veteran

Nonprofit organization remodels house for veteran Army nurse

February 15th 2020

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WJAR) — A veteran Army nurse from Narragansett is getting a new roof over her head, literally.
Dozens of volunteers who heard she needed some home repairs stepped up to help her.

“Some of these guys have brand new babies at home, some of them came hundreds of miles to help out this weekend,” said Ken Gayles, the Project Manager for Heroes’ Horizons.

Heroes’ Horizons is a non-profit organization based out of Rhode Island that helps veterans.

“My son was a veteran, he came home he was not well and we lost him eventually,” said Gayles. “I started this because of him, if a veteran needing heating oil, electricity bill paid, had nothing in the refrigerator, we like to provide it for them that day if possible.”
read it here

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Homeless veteran reunited with family after they see KOCO 5 story

warning:before watching this video...have tissues ready

'I have my family back': Homeless veteran reunited with family after they see KOCO 5 story

February 12, 2020
OKLAHOMA CITY — Earlier this month, KOCO 5 spoke with homeless veteran Paul Rambo for a story about how the Homeless Alliance had helped put on a Super Bowl party.
Rambo had not seen or heard from his family in three years. His family saw KOCO 5’s story, and now Rambo has been reunited with his nephew, his son, his daughter-in-law and his five grandchildren.
watch the video here

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

93 Year Old WWII Veteran's VA Pension Claim Tied Up For 18 Months?

93-year-old veteran's pension application held-up for 18 months

WTVR 6 News
By: Bree Sison
Feb 11, 2020

The Problem Solvers reached out to at least a half dozen officials and advocacy groups on Jerry Horn’s behalf. Congressman Ben Cline called Bob Horn in late January to say his office had secured a favorable outcome in the case. The next day, Bob received letters from other federal officials and the VA stating the pension had been denied.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The family of a 93-year-old veteran in Charlottesville cannot understand why the Veterans Administration has taken more than 18 months to approve a pension application.

“It’s very frustrating. He deserves this. He earned it,” Dr. Bob Horn tells the Problem Solvers.

Like many members of the Greatest Generation, Bob’s father Jerome Horn did not talk about his experience serving in the United States Army during World War II.
read it here

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Soldiers' morale is low at some bases across the country

Morale Is in Trouble at Some Army Bases. Here’s What the Service Plans to Do About It
By Matthew Cox
February 5, 2020

The general in charge of Army installations laid out a plan that moves beyond fixing the service's housing crisis to drastically improving the quality of life at some of its most undesirable posts.
Soldiers secure equipment to their Stryker before moving out to "the box" at National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Ca on Aug 30, 2019. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Nicole Branch)

"I am working two big pilots. First, I call it the big three, enhancing quality of life at Fort Wainwright in Alaska, at Fort Irwin in California and Fort Polk in Louisiana," Gen. Gustave "Gus" Perna, commander of Army Materiel Command, told reporters Tuesday at a Defense Writers Group breakfast.

Wainwright is a strategic base on the Alaskan frontier; the other two are equally Spartan and are home to two of the Army's combat training centers: the National Training Center at Irwin and the Joint Readiness Training Center at Polk.

"We send our best leaders, at all levels, to go train our [brigade combat teams], and then they are in these installations in the desert and in places where they don't have a lot of quality-of-life stuff," Perna said.
read it here

Monday, January 27, 2020

Missing veteran Jesse Conger's car found in Arizona

Vehicle belonging to missing Scottsdale Marine Jesse Conger found in eastern Arizona

Author: 12 News
January 25, 2020

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Toyota Camry that belongs to Jesse Conger, the Marine who went missing last year, has been found, Scottsdale police confirmed Saturday.

The Scottsdale Police Department said the car was located in San Carlos, about 105 miles from the city where Conger was last seen.

No other details were immediately released. The case remains under investigation.
read it here

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Navy Flight Surgeon James Mazzuchelli continued to save lives after he died

Their Son’s Heart Saved His Life. So He Rode 1,426 Miles to Meet Them.
Jan 24, 2020

What she did not yet know was the way those heavy words would ripple outward like a stone dropping into a still pond: allowing a man to return to work, a veteran to get his health back, and an ailing cyclist to get back on his bike. And how those little waves would slowly smooth out the edges of her own grief.

Lt. James Mazzuchelli in an undated photograph. Courtesy U.S. Navy
It took several drafts to get the letters right. To capture her boy who, just a few short months before, had been so full of life, energy, and love. To distill him into the two dimensionality of words on paper.

Three weeks earlier, the thread that held Christine Cheers’s world together had been ripped clean away, sending her whole life spinning like an off-balance top. On Wednesday, February 21, 2018, someone on the other end of the phone had said the words that bring any parent to their knees: “There’s been an accident.”

Her son, 32-year-old Navy flight surgeon James Mazzuchelli had been injured in a helicopter training mission at Camp Pendleton. If she wanted to see him while he was still alive, she needed to get on the next flight from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Diego—and she needed to pray.

James was still breathing when Christine and her husband, David, arrived at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California, the next morning. But it soon became clear that his condition would not improve. Machines were keeping him alive, and the doctors told Christine that what she was seeing was likely his future—that her scuba-diving, world-traveling, over-achiever of a son was never going to wake up.
read it here

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

"For me, it was just about trying to turn the pain into purpose" after wife died serving near burn pits

Woodbury veteran's legacy lives on through Amie Muller Foundation

River Towns
Written By: Hannah Black
Jan 21st 2020
"For me, it was just about trying to turn the pain into purpose. When you think about ... what the military's done for us as a country, and then we're not taking care of our soldiers and our veterans the way we should, I think for us it's about raising awareness about how we can continue to help these veterans and to give back." Brian Muller

WOODBURY, Minn. — When Minnesota Air National Guard veteran and Woodbury resident Amie Muller died in 2017 after battling pancreatic cancer, her loved ones set out to carry on her legacy.
Amie Muller, 36, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2016 and died nine months later. Muller, who served two tours in Iraq, believed her cancer was caused by living next to a massive burn pit while stationed in Balad. Courtesy of Brian Muller

The resulting Amie Muller Foundation was formed to provide financial assistance to military families fighting pancreatic cancer. The foundation will host its second annual Family Fun Day fundraiser Sunday, Jan. 26, at Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America in Bloomington. One of two yearly fundraisers the foundation holds, Family Fun Day was started as tribute to Muller's love of family and as a way to include the children — hers, and those of her family and friends — she loved so much.

"Amie was very family-focused, and her kids were everything to her," said Julie Tomaska, Muller's best friend and fellow Minnesota Air National Guard veteran. Muller and Tomaska were in the same unit and did two tours in Iraq together in 2005 and 2007.

Amie Muller and Tomaska had been stationed at Balad Air Base near a giant open-air burn pit. Inside the pit was anything from Styrofoam to plastics and even human body parts, burning 24 hours a day in a fire stoked by jet fuel, the Star Tribune reported in 2016. The burn pit was just one of many used by the U.S. military throughout Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tomaska and Muller's husband, Brian, started planning the foundation shortly after Amie's death. Every couple of months, the foundation's leadership combs through the GoFundMe site in search of military families affected by a pancreatic cancer diagnosis, providing $2,500 to $5,000 in financial aid to each family.
Nearly 200,000 veterans have signed up for the VA's Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry. read it here

Monday, January 13, 2020

New York soldier fought in Iraq and Afghanistan...and in his neighborhood?

Army member allegedly ‘shoots up’ block with AR-15 claiming wife cheated

New York Post
By Andrew Denney, Joseph Konig and Aaron Feis
January 12, 2020
“He was very calm,” the neighbor added. “He took the gun apart, left it on the porch and called the cops on himself.”
Harold Beard's Dyker Heights home. Kevin C Downs for the New York Post
A US Army member turned his quiet Brooklyn block into a shooting range, firing his AR-15 into his own car and a neighbor’s home while accusing his wife of infidelity, authorities allege.

Harold Beard, a veteran of campaigns in both Iraq and Afghanistan, allegedly pointed his assault rifle out of the second-floor window of his Dyker Heights home at around 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 7, squeezing off at least 29 rounds, officials said.

“My wife is cheating on me,” Beard, 28, told responding cops, according to a criminal complaint. “I have an AR-15, I shot at my car, I shot it out of the window.”

No injuries were reported, but two rounds punched into Beard’s Cadillac as more sailed across 82nd Street and blew out a pair of windows at a neighbor’s home, authorities said.
read it here

Thursday, December 26, 2019

11 Year old boy got Christmas see his brother

Watch: 11-Year-Old Boy Reunited With Military Brother While Christmas Caroling At Woodbury Senior Center

By CBS3 Staff
December 18, 2019
“For weeks my parents have been asking, ‘What do you want for Christmas?’ And I kept saying each and every single time, ‘I want to see my brother,'” Mark said. “Until a day ago they said, ‘So you are sticking to your word?’ And I said ‘Yes.’ And today he’s here.”

WOODBURY, N.J. (CBS) — Military homecomings always pull on the heartstrings, especially during the holiday season. An 11-year-old boy from Deptford Township had his Christmas wish come true while caroling with his Oak Valley Elementary classmates at a senior center on Wednesday morning.
Mark DiTizio told the audience at Atrium Post Acute Care of Woodbury all he wanted for Christmas was for his brother, Private Second Class Eric Shaw, to come home from the military.
read it here