Showing posts with label veterans charities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label veterans charities. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Canadian veteran's best therapist has four legs, and really big ears!

A friend named Bert: A Canadian veteran living with PTSD finds hope in a donkey

CTV News Canada
Joel Haslam
CTV News Ottawa Multi-Skilled Journalist
December 27, 2022
Karen is living with PTSD. She is a veteran of the Canadian Forces, doing her best to live with a painful past.

Karen Stacey, a Canadian Forces veteran living with PTSD, enjoys a gentle stroll with her friend Bert (Joel Haslam/CTV Ottawa)
Karen Stacey swings wide a creaky, stainless steel gate, announcing her arrival.

“Good morning, Bert. Are you still sleeping?”

She’s come to see a friend; a soulmate of sorts, who’s changed her life.

“Hi, buddy,” she says with a smile.

Bert turns his head toward her, clearly recognizing his visitor.

His ears point to the sky.

“Hello, handsome,” Karen whispers.

She locks her arms around his neck and gives him a gentle peck between the eyes.

“He’s a blessing. I couldn’t have asked for a better success story than to have a donkey as my best friend.”
Karen and Bert’s friendship began at the Women Warriors Healing Garden in Blackburn Hamlet.

“It still hurts. So, finding this place and being able to let everything go is fantastic. This is 52 acres of freedom that I can wander as I want. No judgment, no stress, no pain. Just a lot of love,” she says.

Co-founded by an American military veteran, Erin Kinsey, and an Ottawa psychotherapist, Elaine Waddington Lamont, the garden is a place for veterans to heal.
read more here

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Valor Clinic Gave Me Back Hope

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 16, 2021

Yesterday I had a lengthy conversation with Mark Baylis of Valor Clinic. It didn't end the way I expected it to and I ended up very hopeful.

If you are familiar with the way I feel about all the new groups popping up all over the country, the you know what frame of mind I was in when I called him. Truthfully, after reading his email, I could already feel my blood pressure go up as soon as I saw the words, "suicide awareness."

I asked him a few questions and he answered them. It was not that he knew what he was talking about that impressed me. It was his total sincerity about wanting to make a difference.
Founder and CEO
SGM Mark D. Baylis
VALOR Clinic Foundation

Sergeant Major Baylis was born in Morristown, NJ on 13 April 1961 and served over 26 years on active duty. SGM Baylis entered the service on 22 February 1981 as an 11C (Indirect Fire Infantryman). After Basic Training and AIT, he served with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC and the 2d Bn 75th RGR as a mortar Squad Leader prior to coming to Special Forces.
check out Valor Clinic for more.
He knew exactly what I was talking about and by the time we got off the phone, I knew he was one of the good guys. He is actually trying to make a difference and, that my friend, is very rare in this day and age when people are only after making a difference in their own lives and what they can gain from others in pain. Mark wants to make a difference in the lives of veterans and help them find the healing they need.

I hope to have many more conversations with Mark in the future and catch up on all the work he is doing. 

If you have not been in PTSD Patrol for a while, there is something I wrote the other day that may help you understand something else you need to know about healing.

From Grieving To Healing

PTSD Patrol
Mental Health / By Kathie Costos
September 13, 2021

When you have PTSD, you can feel as if God saved you. That’s a good way to look at it because it gives you a chance to see what was done for you, instead of what was done to you. The other way, is when you think it happened because God caused it. No matter how much faith you have, it is something most survivors of trauma struggle with.

Right now, veterans of Afghanistan are struggling because of the way their war ended. They are turning to the only other veterans who understand. Vietnam veterans have struggled for over 50 years and they know what that level of pain is like, but they also know what it is like to heal. To make peace with the service by looking at “their service” instead of the cause of them having to be there.

They served the nation and the nation sent them. They were risked their lives for one another and were willing to die for those they served with. As for the people of the nations they were sent to protect, they gave them a chance for a better life. That was all that was within their power. How it started, why it lasted as long as it did and how it ended was not in their power to decide.
read more here

You had the courage to have the courage to heal from your service too! You didn't fight alone then so why try to fight alone now?

Friday, March 27, 2020

Hoarding hurting veterans' charity helping them heal!

Hoarding Hits Local Veterans Struggling For Supplies

CBS News Sacramento
By Marlee Ginter
March 26, 2020
“It’s been complicated, to say the least. I know at Sam’s Club we’re not allowed to buy more than two items, and two packs of laundry pods for 57 people just isn’t going to cut it,” said Residential Programs Manager Amy Childers.

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As people continue stockpiling, facilities that help veterans in need are scrambling for the basics.

Jared Dannenberger, an Iraq War veteran, signed up to serve and protect. Now veterans like him at the Sacramento Veterans Resource Center of America need their own protection in the fight to curb the spread of COVID-19. Facilities are running low on hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies and basic hygiene items.
“I mean donations are always welcome, hand sanitizer, hygiene,” said Dannenberger.

”Soaps, towels things like that you know, we’d be very grateful,” said Vietnam-era veteran Vincent Craft.

Employees keep hitting empty shelves from store to store and have even tried getting things online.

Most of the vets are recovering from PTSD, drug and alcohol abuse, and homelessness and need any support they can get. Add tight quarters and a COVID-19 lockdown, and that can take a toll on an already vulnerable population.
read it here and watch the video

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Charity for Disabled Veterans Raised Nearly $300 Million But Little Helped Veterans

A Charity for Disabled Veterans Raised Nearly $300 Million. Why Did Most of the Money Barely Reach Them?

Mother Jones
MARch 9, 2020
“Nothing has changed. Based on the results, they’ve gone back to what they’ve been doing in the past that got them into trouble.” Daniel Borochof Charity Watch
In the summer of 2014, the Disabled Veterans National Foundation was in dire straits. Only seven years after setting up shop, DVNF had raised more money than all but a handful of other veterans groups, but only 15 percent of its revenue in that time directly reached veterans. The rest was owed, almost entirely, to a single contractor—an outcome that had already sparked a congressional probe and investigations by Florida and New York’s top prosecutors.

Like other groups, DVNF used sappy solicitations to raise money, often centered around veterans with heartbreaking stories of injuries suffered in combat. But many of these characters were completely made up. By the time New York authorities announced a settlement with DVNF that summer, the charity was spending 90 cents of every dollar it raised to pay Quadriga Art, the direct mail firm that coordinated its fundraising campaign, and Convergence Direct Marketing, a firm that designed the direct-mail solicitations. As part of the agreement, Quadriga was ordered to forgive DVNF’s massive debt and pay the state nearly $10 million, the “largest amount of financial relief ever obtained in the US for deceptive charitable fundraising,” according to the New York attorney general’s office.
Instead of cutting ties with Quadriga, DVNF has continued fundraising at near record levels while using most of its revenue to offset exorbitant direct mail costs. While the settlement barred DVNF from resuming the same fundraising arrangement with Quadriga or any of its “successors” for three years, it did not say anything about restricting DVNF’s fundraising costs. And it still permitted the charity to work with Quadriga in a limited capacity if the firm won a “competitive bidding process.”
read it here

If you have been donating to this group thinking they are Disabled American Veterans...they are not!

Friday, March 6, 2020

100 enthusiastic women veterans fix up shelter for homeless women

Female veterans refurbish D.C. facility for homeless women

The Washington Times
By Sophie Kaplan
March 5, 2020
The Mission Continues, an organization that matches former members of the U.S. armed services with leadership and service opportunities across the country, brought about 100 enthusiastic women veterans, including Ms. Edwards, to Calvary in Anacostia to refurbish the facility.
Veterans Jamicka Edwards (left) and Elis Salamone from The Mission Continues’ women’s leadership fellowship program repaint the outdoor space at Calvary Women’s Services on Thursday in the District. (Sophie Kaplan/The Washington Times)
Jamicka Edwards held back tears when she arrived Thursday to do a community service project at Calvary Women’s Services, a transitional housing provider for homeless women.

The 41-year-old Indiana native was once homeless herself.

“It is even more special to me that I am here being able to give back in this capacity because I know what it’s like for these women, Ms. Edwards said. “Some of their stories, I was there, I get it.”
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

"For every completed suicide there are 10 others" so why support making more aware of them?

Is your group doing more harm than good?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 15, 2020

When veterans decide to take their own lives, there is a much bigger problem this country has, than most are aware off. There was a time when it was necessary to put all the reports together so that people would do something about it. That time arrived on Wounded Times in 2007. Why isn't the press on suicide watch was viewed over 9,000 times.

I discovered the reports searching for them to do a video on suicides. Before that, it was a topic in the Veterans' Community, but we spoke about it too quietly. Many of us lost parents, as well as other family members, but we thought it was something to be ashamed of, instead of something that needed to be shouted so that everyone could hear us.

Putting together the report and the video, ripped me apart because I knew what that pain felt like. My husband's nephew, also a Vietnam veteran, took his own life. I also know what it is like when they hear there is an alternative to taking your own life with #TakeBackYourLife.

The time to invest in awareness efforts came soon afterwards, when the American people stood up and demanded the government take action. Since then, billions have been spent on some things that are worth every dime. Unfortunately, even more has been spent by the government that are far from worthy of the loss of one single veteran's life. In the process, we managed to also ignore the families, like mine, left behind to deal with unanswerable questions.

How we arrived here is no mystery. Some just decided they had to do something but did not take it seriously enough to know what they were talking about.

In this report Chaplain to veterans hopes new initiative will help stop veteran suicide out of Australia, you can see how suicide awareness groups can actually make it worse for those struggling.
CATHOLICS leading the battle against veteran suicide have welcomed the appointment of an independent commissioner to investigate deaths and make recommendations on metal health and wellbeing.

Deacon Gary Stone, the man known as the Veteran’s padre, “hopes and prays” a new government initiative will combat veteran suicide, and benefit the wider community.

“Every suicide seriously impacts families and friends who also need support,” Deacon Stone (pictured), who heads the Veterans Care Association and is a former infantry officer, said.

“For every completed suicide there are 10 others (and their associated families and friends) struggling with suicidal ideation and self-harm.”

What do we see all over social media? Talk about a number attached to veterans committing suicide. We see members of the military, veterans groups, police officers, firefighters and regular citizens, dropping down to do 22 pushups. We see them running, walking and all kinds of other stunts to raise money while claiming they are raising awareness that veterans are killing themselves.

What is the point of all this? Did anyone of them think that their peers are also among those committing suicide and it is not just veterans?

The CDC released a report last year stating, "After a stable period from 2000 to 2007, suicide rates for persons aged 10–24 increased from 2007 to 2017..."

In another report from the CDC, "Suicide is a large and growing public health problem. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It was responsible for more than 47,000 deaths in 2017, resulting in about one death every 11 minutes. Every year, many more people think about or attempt suicide than die by suicide. In 2017, 10.6 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.2 million made a plan, and 1.4 million attempted suicide."

Tens of thousands of groups have been doing it for over a decade and the trend is growing. What causes most advocates to cringe, aside from the obvious, is there seems to no end to the flood of people making money off this, and no end to the heartache of veterans doing it.

The groups usually use names they think will attract the most attention.

Back in 2015, NPR did a report on how The Number 22: Is There A 'False Narrative' For Vet Suicide? They interviewed Keith Jennings for his input. The problem is, they did not fact check what he said.
"That number, if we talk about it out of context, it's questionable," Keith Jennings, Iraq combat veteran and clinical psychologist, says. He acts as chief science adviser for a North Carolina-based group called
There is a problem with the name itself. Stop "Soldier" Suicide, used in context, would mean that they are trying to stop soldiers from committing suicide, not all of the services, and certainly not talking about veterans.

At the time NPR produced this article, the DOD report shows clearly that the following statement is also wrong.
So Smolenski and a team, in a study released this year, dug deeper. They found that vets who had served during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars commit suicide at a rate of about one a day — not 22.
The average of suicides within the military has been 500 a year since 2012. (Add in Active Components with Reserve totals.) Is that what the "team" looked at?

It would make sense however, aside from that, had they really "dug deeper" they would have discovered how many were not included in any of the reports from the DOD or the VA.

If you read Wounded Times, you have seen all the data and links. It is up to them to go and find them, but much like years ago, I offered to help them change the outcome, they were not interested in facts.

22Kill has been studied since they started. "In 2012, the Veterans’ Administration (VA) released a Suicide Data Report that found an average of 22 veterans die by suicide everyday. The 22KILL initiative started in 2013, at first just as a social media movement to raise awareness, and later became an official 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in July of 2015." But had they spent enough time to even read the report? If they had, they would have noticed the number was an average from limited data collected from just 21 states. They would have seen that the majority of veterans in the report, were over the age of 50.

Had they invested time and energy to discover what had been done before the topic struck them?

While the conclusion is, much like this from Task and Purpose, "Likewise, awareness doesn’t do much. You can know a problem exists. That doesn’t mean you are any closer to solving the problem. There are a lot of diseases and societal issues with different color ribbons and special days for awareness, but not a lot of solutions. Veterans dying by suicide has been all over the news since the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal broke in April 2014."

Wounded Times has been covering veteran suicides since 2007, right after it started...and lost money every year since the work of changing the outcome matters a hell of a lot more than anything else. Before the move from Florida to New Hampshire, average page views were over 1,000 a day. Right now, after trying to rebuild from a two month break, it is about 600 a day.

As you can see, over 4 million since August of 2007.

Stop Soldier Suicides says, since they started they served 1,000+ has managed to take in over $3 million in 2018, but they are hardly the largest group.

So where exactly is your money going? Find something that will actually make a difference, like taking the time to know about the topic before you share the stunt. Make sure that what you read, is actually the truth, instead of words that stick in your brain. Until we start using words that change the outcome, we will keep contributing to it.

If you have a group that has been raising awareness, it is time to change the subject and earn the money by helping them stay alive!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

MAG-V founder collected 10-21 years for ripping off homeless veterans!

NY man convicted for stealing from homeless vets

Connecting Vets
FEBRUARY 12, 2020

New York City courts slammed Michael Erber after he defrauded the government and stole from homeless veterans.
The New York Attorney General's office said Erber, of Brooklyn, formed a non-profit organization called MAG-V, then began recruiting homeless veterans by posting fliers at homeless shelters and community centers.

Next, he signed master lease agreements with landlords in Brooklyn and the Bronx. He then sub-leased the apartments to the homeless veterans he had recruited and applied for government aid money intended to help veterans facing the risk of homelessness. Elber, however, never paid that money to the landlords, pocketing more than $67,000.

To add insult to injury, once the federal funding for homeless veterans was tapped out, Elber collected rent directly from the veterans he had moved into the apartments but again failed to pay the landlords. As a result, these veterans were evicted from their homes.

Elber also coned a disabled veteran, convincing him to invest $200,000 of his lottery winnings in MAG-V, which he also stole. According to bank records entered into evidence at the trial, the Attorney General's office showed "Erber spent more than $110,000 on rental cars and more than $41,000 to buy a car."

Judge Donald Leo in Kings County Supreme Court handed down his sentence to Michael Erber of Brooklyn this week, handing him 10-21 years.
read it here

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Marine Corps League Delaware County chapter officers face charges for stealing funds

Delaware County DA: Officers From Marine Corps League Arrested, Charged For Stealing Over $53,000 From Group

By CBS3 Staff
February 7, 2020

DELAWARE COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — Two people are accused of stealing money from the Marine Corps League of Delaware County. Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer says Alan Staniskis stole more than $53,000 from the group.

He was the commandant of the Upland Chapter of the organization.
The group’s paymaster, Kera Kiss, is also accused of altering the books to hide the improper withdrawals.
read it here

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Victory Ensured Through Service, or V.E.T.S. ordered to cease-and-desist

California charity raised millions for veterans. Almost none of it helped the needy

The Sacramento Bee
FEBRUARY 03, 2020
Becerra’s office late last week issued a cease-and-desist order to V.E.T.S. saying the charity’s registration had been delinquent for three years, even while Zagar and Associates continued soliciting donations. Prosecutors also said the charity knowingly filed false statements about its revenues for much of the past decade.
Each year, Fred Salanti receives a check in the mail for a few thousand dollars.
Salanti, a 72-year-old Vietnam veteran, uses the money to keep his small Redding-based charity afloat. It buys a few wheelchairs for veterans, covers student scholarships and sometimes funds a monument at the cemetery, he said.

“We’re down here scrabbling with shoestrings,” Salanti said of his charity, Victory Ensured Through Service, or V.E.T.S. Salanti said he tries to not question much in life.
V.E.T.S. is scrabbling because the money Salanti receives is a small fraction of the amount actually raised in the name of his charity. Most of the money that people donate to V.E.T.S. goes to a West Sacramento telemarketing firm 160 miles away. Veterans get little benefit from the money.
read it here

Saturday, January 25, 2020

UK: Combat Stress Charity hit hard by cuts from NHS

Veterans' charity Combat Stress stops new referrals over funding crisis

By Jonathan Beale
Januray 25, 2020
All new referrals will now be redirected to the NHS, which Combat Stress said "needs to demonstrate" it can deal with the additional demands.
A leading mental health charity for military veterans says it will not be able to take any new cases in England and Wales, because of a funding crisis.

Combat Stress said its income has fallen from £16m to £10m in the current financial year partly due to cuts in NHS funding support.

The charity had been receiving around 2,000 referrals for treatment a year.

The NHS said new specialist services for ex-soldiers have helped more than 10,000 people to date.

The NHS said in a statement its "number one priority is providing the best care for veterans".

NHS England had previously commissioned Combat Stress to provide a six-week residential programme, providing them with more than £3m funding a year.

After consulting veterans and their families as part of a review, it has decided instead to use this money on new services, including community-based help.
read it here

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Woman accused of stealing from Harley Davidson suspended from veteran's charity board?

Woman accused of stealing from local business suspended from veterans organization board

WPSD 6 News
Krystle Callais
Jan 14, 2020

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY -- A woman charged with stealing from a McCracken County business, has been suspended from her position on an veterans organization's board.
Marie McGruder McCracken County Sheriff's Department

Marie McGruder was arrested Monday on theft charges.

She was accused of using a company credit card while an employee at Four Rivers Harley Davidson to buy things for herself.

She allegedly spent about $40,000 on things such as vacations, groceries, pet supplies, and electronics.

On Tuesday, ProjectDieHard in Paducah said they were suspended McGruder from their board.
read it here

Monday, January 6, 2020

Foster Families to Ailing Senior Veterans, Opening Up Their Hearths and Homes

Hundreds of Americans Become Foster Families to Ailing Senior Veterans, Opening Up Their Hearths and Homes

The Good News Network
By Andy Corbley
Jan 5, 2020
The program, launched in 2008, now has a presence in 44 states, and each family in the program is allowed to take up to three veterans into their homes in order to give them a more comfortable and personalized care environment.
Today in the United States, more than 82,000 veterans live in nursing homes—probably not the kind of conditions or end-of-life care that would warm the hearts of veterans who had served gallantly in Korea and Vietnam.

However, the Medical Foster Home program launched by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) in 2008 has been providing opportunities for a much more comfortable life to senior veterans who can’t live alone by allowing American families to open their own doors to the nation’s heroes.

“A Medical Foster Home can serve as an alternative to a nursing home…for veterans who require nursing home care but prefer a non-institutional setting with fewer residents,” says the DVA website.
“Many of our caregivers and vets become family,” Cooper told Southern Living. “They take them on vacation. We recently spoke to a family who takes their veteran—a quadriplegic—camping twice a year. These are opportunities they never would have had.”
read it here

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Vietnam Vets Gifted Service Dogs For Christmas After 50-Year Wait

‘It’s Just Incredible’: Vietnam Vets Gifted Service Dogs For Christmas After 50-Year Wait

CBS News New York
December 24, 2019
“The PTSD is overwhelming,” Thumm told CBS2’s Charlie Cooper. “There are times where I am so depressed and there are times when I have flashbacks. There are times when I just don’t know where I am. The night terrors, the nightmares.”

NESCONSET, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Two Long Island Vietnam Veterans were gifted with life changing animals on Tuesday, just in time for Christmas.
Larry Keating and Bill Thumm both have waited 50 years to receive a service dog.
“I had a drug problem. I had an alcohol problem. I had an attitude problem. I had PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder], none of which was treated,” Keating said. “I did get clean and sober 10 years later.”

“The PTSD is overwhelming,” Thumm told CBS2’s Charlie Cooper. “There are times where I am so depressed and there are times when I have flashbacks. There are times when I just don’t know where I am. The night terrors, the nightmares.”

No longer will they have to suffer in silence thanks to Paws of War and Unsung Siblings Foundation gifting them with partially trained service dogs. Their new owners will finish the job in the next year.

Paws of War rescues and trains dogs to become service and therapy pets. They’re then matched with veterans and given to them for free.

“Task training could be anything from a medical alert,” said Paws of War co-founder Robert Messeri. “It could be something where we design a bedspread to have a ball on it to pull the bedspread off the individual when he’s having night traumas.”
read it here

Monday, December 23, 2019

All they hear about is that other veterans lost their battles

Operation Snowflake helps gold star family heal following suicide

By: Steve Dent
Dec 22, 2019

GREENLEAF, Idaho — In 2013 Tanner Volkers died by suicide while serving in the United States Air Force, it's a loss the Volkers family continues to mourn.
"He always knew from 12-years-old that he wanted to be in the military," Tanner's mother Melissa Volkers said. “He was the happiest kid ever, and why he’s not here right now, we will never know.”

Volkers now channels her energy into helping other military families honor the lives of their loved ones lost to suicide.

"I was having a really hard time during the holidays, so I sent out for snowflakes," said Volkers. "It was very small in the beginning and I never dreamed it would turn into this.”

Operation Snowflake is a memorial that now raises awareness to the fact that every day in our country, 22 veterans and active duty service members die by suicide.
read it here

This is not the story I thought it would be.

While I feel terrible for the family, it is happening way too often. A grieving family wants to turn their pain into something positive, and that is good. What is bad is when they are passing on information that is not true. The number is not now, nor has it ever been "22 a day" and that is according to the VA and was within the report everyone seems fixated on repeating.

Further, this report contains information from the first 21 states to contribute data for this project and does not include some states, such as California and Texas, with larger Veteran populations. Information from these states has been received and will be included in future reports.
Estimates that the number of suicides among Veterans each day has increased, are based on information provided by 21 states and may not be generalizable to the larger Veteran population.
I do not blame the families but I do blame everyone, from politicians to the media for sharing a lie. To pretend to care is what made all this worse for our veterans after over a decade of people doing what they want to instead of what is needed to change the outcome.

Raising awareness veterans are killing themselves makes no sense at all. They already know that. What they do not know is how to heal because all they hear about is that other veterans lost their battles.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Amputee Iraq veteran who adopted amputee dog has new place to call home

Country singer Craig Morgan surprises Tennessee veteran with mortgage-free home

News Channel 5
By: Laken Bowles
December 20, 2019
NewsChannel 5 featured Ferguson's story over the summer when he adopted a puppy with a missing leg. Ferguson lost his leg during a deployment in Iraq when his vehicle was hit by an IED. He also suffered other injuries, including a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Dickson County veteran received an incredible gift this Christmas – a custom-built, mortgage-free home.

 On Thursday, U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Josh Ferguson, along with his wife and family, were presented with the keys to their new home.

Country singer Craig Morgan and Taya Kyle, who is the widow of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, surprised Ferguson with the keys.
read it here

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

We have to hold all of them accountable for veterans suffering

Holding people accountable for veterans in misery!

Wounded Times
Kathis Costos
December 18, 2019

Another case of someone reporting somethings that are wrong. There is no mention of the "contributor" who wrote ‘Parking lot suicides’ at VA hospitals prompt calls for better training, prevention efforts All it has is "Denton Staff Contributor" with a mention of "The Washington Post’s Julie Tate contributed to this report."

The article starts off with this.
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Alissa Harrington took an audible breath as she slid open a closet door deep in her home office. This is where she displays what’s too painful, too raw to keep out in the open.

Framed photos of her younger brother, Justin Miller, a 33-year-old Marine Corps trumpet player and Iraq veteran. Blood-spattered safety glasses recovered from the snow-covered Nissan Frontier truck where his body was found. A phone filled with the last text messages from his father: “We love you. We miss you. Come home.”

Miller was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal thoughts when he checked into the Minneapolis Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in February 2018. After spending four days in the mental-health unit, Miller walked to his truck in VA‘s parking lot and shot himself in the very place he went to find help.

“The fact that my brother, Justin, never left the VA parking lot – it‘s infuriating,” said Harrington, 37. “He did the right thing; he went in for help. I just can‘t get my head around it.”

At this point, one would assume it would be an important enough report to have been well researched, however it apparently did not deserve careful research.
The most recent parking lot suicide occurred weeks before Christmas in St. Petersburg, Florida. Marine Col. Jim Turner, 55, dressed in his uniform blues and medals, sat on top of his military and VA records and killed himself with a rifle outside the Bay Pines Department of Veterans Affairs.

“I bet if you look at the 22 suicides a day you will see VA screwed up in 90%,” Turner wrote in a note investigators found near his body.
Yet this was not the "most recent" suicide at the VA.

March 14, 2019, again in Florida, Brieux Dash committed suicide at West Palm Beach VA. He hung himself on the grounds.

In April of 2019, two veterans committed suicide in Georgia in two days.

In August of 2019, it happened in North Carolina when a veteran committed suicide in the parking lot.

There were more, but it depends on who is doing the counting because veterans cannot count on anyone to get this right for them. You would think that with all the news reports focusing on this topic, things would change, but no one is ever held accountable for their broken promises.
With more than 50,000 community organizations nationwide also committed to preventing veteran suicide, bill sponsors said their proposed legislation also would allow the VA to work more closely with those groups to reach more veterans and to make sure veterans know about all available resources.
The "contributor to Denton" also got this wrong.
Sixty-two percent of veterans, or 9 million people, depend on VA‘s vast hospital system, but accessing it can require navigating a frustrating bureaucracy. Veterans sometimes must prove that their injuries are connected to their service, which can require a lot of paperwork and appeals.
While it is true that there are around 9 million veterans in the VA system, they are not depending on VA hospitals for their healthcare. The VA released a data sheet for all the veterans collecting disability compensation by states and counties. This chart released in 2017 gives you a better idea of how the 9 million veterans are using their benefits but also a good time to remind people that there are about 20 million veterans in this country, so less than half use the VA.
We no longer have the luxury of trusting what reporters tell us. We should no longer have the patience to wait for someone to be held accountable for all of this.

The last 4 presidents, including the current one, need to be held accountable.  The 100 Senators serving right now need to be held accountable, along with all the others who have been voted out of office. The over 400 in the House of Representatives need to be held accountable, along with all the ones voted out of office. The State representatives, also passing bills and using tax payer funds to pay for services on the local level, need to be held accountable. The 50,000 groups need to be held accountable for all the money they have been getting from Americans pockets. None of that will happen until we hold the media accountable for deceiving the public!

Find something that was reported and is wrong, call the out on it! Nothing will ever change until we demand it!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Playing Candy Crush in the lobby of the VA so you can say you showed up for them?

Having a "fun run" because veterans are killing themselves is repulsive!

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 25, 2019

It is heartbreaking when you read about a veteran wanting to do something because he lost buddies he cared about. Noble reasons to want to prevent someone else from committing suicide, dose not mean the endeavor is the right one.

Once again, a veteran lost a buddy after seeing "dark in nature" Facebook posts posts and then a link to Pink Floyd's "Goodbye Cruel World." This suicide was number 7 of his friends. 

What did he decide to do? He decided to host a fundraiser for Mission 22 and have a "fun run" along with a Chinese Silent Auction.
“We just felt like we had to do something, said General Manager Joshua Hawkins of The Firing Pin. “We have never done something like this here. This is our first one and I’m hoping this will turn into something we do every year, and I’m hoping we can raise a lot of money for them.”

The day will feature a 2.2k fun run, with registration starting at 10 a.m. and the run itself an hour later. Food trucks will be available 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with live music from 1 to 4 p.m.

A chinese and silent auction will take place through 5 p.m. while an Eli Fish Brewing Co. craft beer tent will be available 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Raise a lot of money for them? Seriously? Repeating a false number is not worth a dime or anyone's time!

The question raised in the article of "Why aren’t people more aware of suicide among military personnel and veterans?" proved how all these "awareness" stunts do nothing to prevent suicides.

People all over the country have been making veterans aware of something they knew all too well, how to die. What they did not know was how to heal. They still do not even know they can.

There was a time when I abstained from attacked events like this. I thought if they were trying to make a difference, it was better than nothing. The problem is, that is all they are doing. 

They had no knowledge of what was in the reports they quote but worse, they did had no basic knowledge of what was missing from the data. They did not know the history behind decades of earnest efforts to change the outcome, instead of having "fun" events after the fact.

It produces the same result for veterans in crisis as playing Candy Crush in the lobby of the VA so you can say you showed up for them. You may convince yourself you did something for them, but it was a worthless effort that did nothing for them!

#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife

You can defeat PTSD!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Travis Mills expands to prove veterans are not alone

'You're Not Alone,' Mills Tells Veterans At Suicide Prevention Event

Maine Public Radio
September 17, 2019

Maine Gov. Janet Mills today joined with 30 organizations to call attention to suicide prevention resources for veterans.

Speaking in the State House Hall of Flags, Mills noted that Maine has the highest number of veteran suicides in the Northeast.

“We know that many people, many veterans are suffering, and I want you to know that you’re not alone. Please hear me when I say you are loved, honored, welcomed and not alone,” she said. "In 2016, 29 Maine veterans took their lives. These men and women who faithfully served our state and our nation lost their lives I think needlessly and in a preventable manner. We deeply mourn that loss."

Mills said people needing help can call or text the Veterans Crisis Line or the Maine Crisis Hotline.
read it here

Maine retreat for wounded veterans is ready to expand

The Associated Press
by David Sharp
Monday, September 16th 2019

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- A soldier who lost all his limbs after an explosion in Afghanistan and created a retreat to help others like him understands that injuries can run deeper than shattered bones.

So, the Travis Mills Foundation plans to address post-traumatic stress disorder when it embarks on a major expansion of its facility in Rome.

For one week each month, the retreat that opened two years ago will dedicate itself to PTSD recovery by getting participants started in a series called Warrior’s PATHH, operated by a partner. Participants must be willing to commit to the 18-month program that helps veterans recover from the invisible wounds of war.

“There’s no free vacation,” Mills told The Associated Press. “I’ve been able to rebuild myself with true grit and having wonderful people who were there for me. We’re trying to provide a way for them to push forward and to get through it.”

Plans for the $5.4-million expansion, to be unveiled Sunday, also include an addition with a swimming pool and gym equipment, along with the expanded calendar with dozens of weekly PTSD treatment sessions.
read it here

Sunday, September 8, 2019

150 volunteers showed love to combat wounded veteran

Volunteers come out in force to work on disabled veteran's home

Village News
August 30, 2019
“They transported me to Landstuhl in Germany, where they actually called my mom and told her to fly out to Germany because they didn’t think I was going to make it,” Paulks said in a video from Homes for Our Troops. “They were hoping that they could get there to say goodbye.”

An unusually warm Saturday morning couldn’t stop more than 150 volunteers from showing up to work on the future home of a disabled U.S. Army veteran relocating to Fallbrook with the help of Homes for Our Troops.

The event is the second for the home build for Spc. Joseph Paulks, leading up to the key presentation ceremony, Saturday, Sept. 7.

The landscaping event was organized by Homes for Our Troops with the help of general contractor Youngren Construction.

“We as a company and also as a family are so appreciative to be a part of giving back to our veterans who have given so much,” Jennifer Youngren said. “Joey’s home will be the 23rd we’ve completed for Homes for Our Troops. We get to know each veteran throughout the build process but the best part for us is seeing them through the years afterward. It’s amazing to witness how each family has thrived because of the freedom this specially adapted home provides.”

Paulks was serving with the 546th Military Police Company as the lead driver of a Quick Reaction Force in southern Afghanistan in 2007, and while on a rescue mission, his convoy was struck by an improvised explosive device, causing the vehicle to flip over.

Though he was ejected from the vehicle, he was engulfed in flames. His unit quickly put the fire out with fire extinguishers as Paulks sustained severe burns. He was moved to the nearest U.S. facilities in Afghanistan, where doctors put him into a medically induced coma.
read it here