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THE VFW

LEADER

U F TU E H RE Official Publication of the N.C. Department Veterans of Foreign
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Official Publication of the N.C. Department
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
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Inside:
VFW of North Carolina
PO Box 25337
Raleigh, NC 27611-5337
Non-Profit Org
US Postage
PAID
Rermit No. 1838
Raleigh N.C.
• Letters
Pg. 2
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• Officers Columns
Pg. 3
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• New Solicitation Effort
Pg. 4
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2012
• President's Column
Pg. 8
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• VFW Stamp
Pg. 9 -
• OND/BRC Scholarships
Pg. 10 -
• Suicide Epidemic
Pg. 11 -
• Pg. 12 - Veterans Village
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Volume No. 70

The VFW L eader

oct/NoV/dec 2011

Mid-Winter Council Meeting Scheduled for February 2012

The Department of North Carolina will hold its Mid-Winter Conference and Council of Administration meeting from 3-5 February 2012 at the North Raleigh Hilton Hotel, located at 3415 Wake Forest Road, just off Exit 10 on 1-440.

Highlighting the conference will be the Voice of Democracy and Patriot Pen Banquet, to be held at 7:00 p.m. on Friday the 3rd. To be honored at the banquet will be the top three State- level winners of the Voice of Democracy (VOD) high school oral competition, and the top three State-level winners of the Patriot Pen (PP) middle school writing competition. The 1st place win- ners in both competitions will read their prize winning entries to the Comrades, Ladies Auxiliary members, and Men's Auxiliary members attending the gala event. Cost of attending the banquet is $20 per person.

Prizes for the winners include a $3000 scholarship for 1st place VOD, 1 $1500 scholarship for 2nd place VOD, and a

$1000 scholarship for 3rd place VOD.

The Patriot Pen students receive a $500 check for 1st, $400 check for 2nd, and $300 check for 3rd. Additionally the six students will visit the State Capitol building, the Legislative building, and the Museum of History.

The Mid-Winter Conference will be full of meetings, seminars, and classes. All Comrades, Ladies Auxiliary members, and Men's Auxiliary members are highly encouraged to attend.

On Friday the 3rd will be a business ses- sion, one-half day's one-on-one training in the Department's webmail/website system and internet reporting system, and the banquet.

On Saturday will be committee meetings, Conference meetings (Eastern, Central, and Western), and various classes. Besides an entire day's worth of one-on-one webmail/website and internet reporting system classes, there will be training

internet reporting system classes, there will be training Army JROTC cadets from Erwin High School assist

Army JROTC cadets from Erwin High School assist Asheville Post 891 in a flag retirement service. Post 891 has retired over 500 unserviceable US flags with the proper ceremony in the last several months. The JROTC unit is also a Boy Scout Venture Crew, sponsored by the post. At the far left, post comrade Robert Benson starts to light the first flag to be retired.

for Post Adjutants, National Military Services training (MAP program, Unmet Needs program, Operation Uplink, and Adopt-A-Unit), a Service Officer update seminar, and a Membership Recruiting and Retention class.

On Sunday morning will be a memo-

rial service by the State Chaplain, and

a final business session. Starting at

this Conference, all Comrade attend- ees who are not normally paid by the Department for attendance at the meet- ings will be reimbursed at the rate of

$.20 per mile for the journey from their home to the hotel and return. Comrades

do not have to drive their car to receive

this reimbursement, but do have to attend the various meetings. Forms for reimbursement will be completed by all attendees and collected by Department Headquarters at the Sunday morning business session, and attendees will be mailed their reimbursement check later from Department Headquarters.

This plan was approved by the Council at

the October meeting in order to encour- age more Comrades to attend the confer- ences and convention.

Another item approved by the October Council is to hold two drawings on Saturday night for two free room nights at the Department Convention in June. When a Mid-Winter Conference attend- ee purchases a goody bag packet for $30 or a Banquet only ticket for $20, or a Hospitality Room bracelet-only for $10, they will receive a ticket for the rooms drawing. However, the person must be present at the Hospitality Room draw- ing on Saturday night to win the rooms, since the winners will be announced by ticket numbers instead of names. The Department Hospitality Room will open by 12:00 noon on Friday and remain open until 12:00 midnight Saturday night. All hospitality rooms, to include any being operated on behalf of candi- dates running for State offices, will be closed from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Friday night, so as not to conflict with the Banquet.

Also being drawn on Saturday night in the Hospitality Room are the winners of the Department's 2011-2012 Voice of Democracy/Patriot Pen Raffle. Prizes are $10,000 for 1st, $2,000 for 2nd, $1,000 for 3rd, $500 for 4th, and $500 for 5th. You do not have to be present to win these prizes. Tickets for this raffle have been received in the mail by all Comrades, Ladies Auxiliary members, and Men's Auxiliary members.

The National Representative from VFW Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, is John Hamilton of Florida, the National Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief. Hamilton is scheduled to become the National Commander-in-Chief in July at the National Convention in Reno, Nevada. The National Representative for the Ladies Auxiliary is Ann Panteleakos of Connecticut, who is the current Ladies Auxiliary National Chaplain.

She is scheduled to become the National President in 2014.

Brunswick Shaggers Donate $4750

National President in 2014. Brunswick Shaggers Donate $4750 The Society of Brunswick Shaggers, a group of

The Society of Brunswick Shaggers, a

group of individuals dedicated to danc- ing the "Carolina Shag" have donated $4750 to the Veterans of Foreign Wars

in their annual gift for soldiers and

veterans through the National Military Services program, administered at both National and State VFW Headquarters.

A dancing organization consisting of

over 250 members from many coastal

towns, the group is headquartered in the Oak Island area. They raise money all year through various fund-raising pro- grams, and donate the proceeds through the Oak Island Post 10226. To date the Shaggers have donated more than $25,000 over the last several years to assist members of the Armed Forces, particularly in the area of telephone communications.

A staple of southern coastal Carolina, the Shaggers dance every 2nd Friday of each month at VFW Post 10226, and every 4th Friday at the Oak Island Moose Lodge. The fun begins at 7:00 p.m., and the cost is only $2.00 for members and $5.00 for guests. More information on this generous group of citizens may be found at their website at www.shagtour. com/societyofbrunswick.

Indian Trail Post 2423 Hosts Vietnam Moving Wall

VFW Post 2423 will be hosting the Vietnam Moving Wall at their post home in Indian Trail from Thursday, June 14, through Monday, June 18. The Wall is the half-size replica of the Washington, D.C. Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and has been touring the country for more than 25 years.

When John Devitt, a former helicopter door gunner and Army veteran, attended the 1982 dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, he said he felt the

positive power of "The Wall." At that time he vowed to share that experience with those who did not have the oppor- tunity to visit Washington, D.C., and thus the Moving Wall was born.

Viewing of the Moving Wall will begin at 12:00 noon on the 14th, and end at 2:00 p.m. on the 18th. At 5:00 p.m. on the opening day will be a ceremony that is dedicated to the families of the 18 Union County soldiers who died in the Vietnam War. The post's Moving Wall

Committee is contacting the Gold Star

families of the 18 soldiers, and asking them to attend the ceremony. The Wall

is open 24 hours a day, and there is no

charge for admission. It will constantly be guarded by Comrades and Men's Auxiliary members of the post.

Other ceremonies will follow during the course of the five days that the Moving Wall is at Indian Trail. On Saturday the 16th at 1:00 p.m. will be a dedication ceremony, and on Sunday the 17th is a

remembrance ceremony. The Wall was last displayed at the Indian Trail post in 2007, and attracted thousands of visitors.

There are over 58,000 names on the Wall to represent all of the members of the American Armed Forces killed in the Vietnam War. 1600 of those soldiers came from North Carolina.

Post Moving Wall Committee Chairman Troy Comer notes that hosting the Moving Wall is a costly affair. The post

is currently seeking donations to help offset the expense. Those who wish to make a donation can send a check of any amount to The Moving Wall Committee, VFW Post 2423, PO Box 535, Indian Trail, NC 28079. The check should be made out to VFW Post 2423.

Further information about this event can be found at www.vfwpost2423.com. and click on The Moving Wall link. Chairman Comer can be contacted at

706-537-9788.

Wall link. Chairman Comer can be contacted at 706-537-9788. Murphy Post 10222 recently shipped 25 boxes

Murphy Post 10222 recently shipped 25 boxes of goodies to Specialist Josh Reid and his unit in Afghanistan. The effort was a joint one with the local American Legion post. Behind the boxes are several packers, including Post Quartermaster Oscar Valdez on the right.

including Post Quartermaster Oscar Valdez on the right. Assistant State Scouting Coordinator David Baillie of

Assistant State Scouting Coordinator David Baillie of Asheville Post 891 presents VFW medals to Marine JROTC cadets of Asheville High School. This JROTC unit is also a Boy Scout Venture Crew in its third year.

Page 2

Oct/NOv/Dec 2011

the vFW LeaDer

the vFW LeaDer

The VFW Leader is published quarterly by the Department of North Carolina Veterans of Foreign Wars at 917 New Bern Avenue, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Editor

Bruce

Edwards

News stories, photographs and other matters for publication should be addressed to Editor, VFW Leader, P.O. Box 25337, Raleigh, N.C. 27611.

Correspondence regarding sub- scription and circulation should be addressed to VFW Leader, P.O. Box 25337, Raleigh, N.C. 27611.

"Department Headquarters normal operating hours 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday. Closed for holidays: New Years Day, Martin Luther King's Birthday, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day."

TAPS

TAPS Larry Powell 1706 Meek Junior Byers 5574 D. W. Hooper Jr. 10950 Don L. West

Larry Powell 1706 Meek Junior Byers 5574 D. W. Hooper Jr. 10950 Don L. West 891 Hubert G. Wilkie 5204 R. S. Graham 2843 Ben Oxendine 2843 Harold B. Locklear 2843 Monroe Lowry 2843 Winston Oxendine 2843 Jeffrey E. Lane 15034 Thomas H. Pardue Elda R. Morgan 2087 Charles Wilderson 15034 Franbk Moulton 15034 Arthur J. Bousquet Leo J. Van Deusen 15034 Leonard S. Jacobs 7339

J. Bousquet Leo J. Van Deusen 15034 Leonard S. Jacobs 7339 The newly renovated and painted

The newly renovated and painted VFW State Recruiting Trailer is available for sign out and pick up by contacting the State VFW Headquarters at 919-828-5058. It comes com- plete with recruiting documents & Patriotic Giveaways.

plete with recruiting documents & Patriotic Giveaways. Letters to the Editor A CHALLENGE LETTER FROM THE

Letters to the Editor

A CHALLENGE LETTER FROM THE STATE NATIONAL GUARD MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR

Comrades:

I am issuing a prediction that will

affect the Department of North Carolina in it's National ranking, and here is the reason I feel that the prediction will come true.

Beginning in 2004, I have checked the National Membership Standings and Department Statistics at least once a day. The following information is each dis- trict's and post's standing from the statistics of the week ending 12/11/11. It is from this infor- mation that I am predicting that the Department will not reach its membership quota for the 2010- 2011 fiscal year and possibly not 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 either. We are in a rut that we need to get out of and it's up to each of us to do so.

You do have a chance to prove me wrong, but here are the reasons I feel that it is going to take an all- out effort to do so.

1. NATIONAL LEVEL: 35th with

a 85.13% percentile. We now need

4000+ new or reinstated members

to

make 100%.

2.

SOUTHERN CONFERENCE

LEVEL: Here our standing is

a little better with us ranking

sixth, but there are only four- teen departments in the Southern

Conference. We still need 4000

to meet the 100% for the confer-

ence.

3. DISTRICT LEVEL: With our

overall percentage of 85.13, there are only seven districts who have surpassed that figure. A large "shout out" to those districts

11 and

17. Nice job, keep up the good work!!

which are:

2,3,4,

7,

9,

4. POST LEVEL: Seventy-one posts have not added one new member as of 12-11-11, and there are 81 with no reinstated mem- bers.

5. Thirty posts have only one new member and 34 posts only one reinstated member.

We do, however, have some bright areas, and those are the following posts with over 20 new and rein- stated members: 9133 (43),9983 (33), 9103 (24),4542 (23), 6018 (25),12107 (40), 10346 (24), 2423 (24), 1142 (24) and 891 (31). NICE JOB, KEEP THE GOOD WORK UP!!!!

A BIG SHOUT OUT TO THE

FOLLOWING POSTS THAT

HAVEREACHED100%BEFORE

THE YEAR IS HALF OVER!!!! 9959,9850,9161,11119,8466, 12

107,5953,9436,9134,9811.

There are a number of posts that need only one, two or three new members to reach 100%, but don't stop there. One post reached 200%+ one year and was going for 300% before the year ended.

The Membership Program is as important, if not more so, than the core programs of VOD, PP and Buddy Poppy. Without mem- bers we'll see the last person cut off the lights and lock

up for the final time. It has been shown that those who are slack in the four core programs are slack

in their membership program.

NOTHING WOULD MAKE ME HAPPIER THAN FOR YOU TO PROVE ME WRONG.

MERRY CHRISTMAS.

EUELL "Buzz" Griggs

DISAB LED VETS CAN USE HELP WITH KEEPING JOBS

To the Editor: Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time in America there were jobs. Specifically there were some jobs set aside for disabled vets. They were telephone switchboard operator, elevator operator and security guard.

Time and technology have eliminated the phone and elevator operators. Those jobs have gone the way of the dodo. All that is left to disabled veterans coming home from our wars is security guards.

There are precious few of those jobs avail- able, considering the vast numbers of disabled veterans. Now, the final assault on disabled veterans is almost complete. The classic Catch 22 is this: The only way to stop flying combat missions is if you are crazy; however, if you want to stop flying combat missions, you can't be crazy and therefore must continue to fly.

The federal government, Big Army in par- ticular, has gone Heller one better, and it's not fiction folks.

It goes like this: We hired you because you are a disabled veteran; however now we are going to fire you because you're disabled and can't pass a personal fitness test.

Can a 61 year old Vietnam veteran who left his right foot in a rice paddy still hold a rifle or search a vehicle? Yes he can. Can he run two miles in 14 minutes? No, he can't.

Can a 25 year old who has a traumatic brain injury and nerve damage in his back from combat in Kandahar patrol a base perimeter in a pickup truck or check ID

cards at a gate? Yes, he can. Can he do 54 sit

not

ups in two minutes? No, he cannot without excruciating pain.

This has been going on for several years now. There is only one base left where they

haven't gotten rid of the disabled veterans who can't pass this absurd test. That base

is Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point in

North Carolina. Our brave veterans there have fought Big Army to a standstill, and the whole sordid issue is now at an impasse and will be going to arbitration. Likely as not, the might of the federal government will prevail and those disabled veterans will be quietly ushered out the gate.

The rationale is something like this: "We need a younger stronger security force; therefore the physical fitness test is the tool we will use to get it."

There is not a veteran who disagrees with the need to protect our bases. Hardly a month goes by where there is not some incident of a gun toting whack job trying to penetrate a base or a terrorist planning to attack one.

From today's paper in Greenville we read:

"A North Carolina man charged in a ter-

rorist plot to attack a Marine base has been found guilty on immigration violations in

a separate case."

We do need good security to protect our - selves and our military assets. We do not need to discard veterans who can do the essential elements of their jobs, but can't pass some arbitrary physical fitness test. Big Army is going to dump these brave men and women, who were broken in our wars like yesterdays coffee grounds.

As you read these words a disabled veteran is possibly telling his family, "I'm losing my job, I'm sorry there is nothing I can do."

Please, America, awaken that sleeping giant once again. Contact your elected represen- tatives and tell them you want this injustice stopped and stopped right now! You want currently employed veterans exempted from the physical fitness test and you will be watching to see how and what they do. By God, you elected those people and you can run them off. Please take five minutes from your day to call, email or write.

Andrew Jost, Southport, NC

The VFW Leader

OcT/NOV/dec 2011

cOmmaNders cOLumN

We can't count on our elected repre - sentatives to step up and do the

We can't count on our elected repre - sentatives to step up and do the right thing. We have to demand the govern - ment honor its promises to veterans and their families. We have to stand up and make our voices heard in Washington DC. Politicians won't act in our best interests; they'll only react to our united calls for action.

It is only through a strong, growing membership that we can have our voice heard. We have to convince our fellow veterans of the importance of joining the VFW. We have to make them aware that joining the VFW gives them a voice in Capital Hill; that joining makes our collective voices louder. We need to let all eligible veterans know that their membership allows us to fight the good fight in Washington. I can think of a lot of good reasons to join the VFW, but none may be more important than the legislative advocacy membership allows.

Nothing can make a bigger impact on the VFW's legislative efforts than mem- bership. Please help us make a dif- ference, help us recruit new members into our ranks. The next time you see a veteran thank them for their service and then ask them to join the VFW. With your help we can grow our numbers and defend veteran's benefits from the continued attacks by politicians.

JasON schOOLcraFT

I used to be rather naive about our government. I believed that our elected leaders had a sense of responsibility to our veterans: that they would honor our nation's obligation to care for its defend- ers no matter what the cost. Now I pick up a newspaper or turn on the televi- sion and see daily examples of where our politicians are failing veterans. It disgusts me to see our government tell veterans they must sacrifice their ben- efits for the sake of debt reduction or cost savings. Nobody gave veterans those benefits, they were earned! In many cases they were earned on the battlefield with blood.

FrOm YOur chapLaiN

on the battlefield with blood. F rOm Y Our c hapLaiN a. g. p arker Hey

a. g. parker

Hey Children: 'The time has come, the Walrus said, to speak of many things."

The problem with that statement is this Chaplain has very few things to speak of!!

If I begin speak, Self says "You've already spoken on that. Yeah, I guess they have already heard of the hungry, the sick and the needy." So what's new Comrade??

Frances and I have covered North Carolina from top to bottom and side to side and we have enjoyed every moment of District Meetings, Post Meetings, and those places visiting the sick, needy and afflicted. We appreciate so very much the opportunity to serve those who have need and hope we made a difference.

Buzz Griggs, I heard you loud and clear and you're doing a fine job on that televi- sion.

Love you all Amen!

-

a little bit!

Frances says

Chap.

Frequent Flyers Miles Solicited for Veterans WWII Tours For 2012

This is the ninth year that Vi Ranney will be escorting veterans and others to Europe for he 68th anniversary of D-Day. The tour is produced by Rupiper Travel and designed by WWII veteran Dr. Brooks Ranney of Yankton, SD. Highlights will include:

•Paris,NormandyandEisenhower's headquarters in France • Patton's grave in Luxembourg • the Battle of the Bulge area in Belgium • the Remagen Bridge, Munich, Dachau, Hitler's Eagle's Nest and more in Germany.

The tour features professional guides, great hotels, most meals and is economically priced. Two departures are slated: June 3-13 and August 8-18. Veterans are espe- cially honored at the June 6th cer- emonies. Mrs. Ranney stated that "since

our WWII veterans are elderly and often living on a small tension, a trip like this is not always feasible unless help is solicited. Therefore, we are asking individual, busi- nesses, large corporations, VFW and Legion Posts and Departments for contributions of extra frequent flyer miles. If we could get the air transportation covered for our needy veterans, they could afford the rest in most cases. Each year I hear from between three and four hundred veterans who would like to make he trip, but just can't afford it. After all they have done for us, isn't it a shame they can't go. They need to go back and make a closure. If you can help, please call me," she concluded. Call Mrs. Ranney at 605-665-3596 if you would like a brochure or to donate frequent flyer miles.

sr. Vice cOmmaNder cOLumN

frequent flyer miles. s r . V ice c OmmaNder c OLumN T ed h. B

Ted h. Briggs

Hi Comrades and Sisters,

I would like to bring you up to date on some of the things I have been doing this year. The National Convention is a good place to start. As you know it was held in San Antonio, Texas, and North Carolina was well represented with Comrades and Sisters. I think more of us was

very pleased with the results of all the Resolutions.

In October, I along with many of you attended the wedding of our Department Quartermaster and Department Secretary in Indian Trail.

Southern Conference was held in Mobile, Alabama, which I attended and pleased to say North Carolina was well represented in Mobile.

I have visited a few Posts in the Department, due to orders from our State Commander. As of this writ- ing it seems that some good has come out of my visits. Comrades, you know if you have a problem in your Post or District, try to resolve it within, before you contact the Department. It makes it so much easier on everyone and it saves the Department money.

November 19,2011, I was assigned to be representative in District 10.

The District meeting went well, and

I would like to congratulate mem-

bers of District 10 for the outstand- ing work they have done this year in their schools. Keep up the good work Comrades. I want to thank all

of you, for all you do for our Veterans

and their families.

I have

Democracy entries, and hope all Districts will submit an entry to be judged on the Department level. It would be so nice to have a National winner.

started

receiving Voice

of

Sign a member up in January, and please try to attend the Council of Administration meeting in Raleigh February 3rd, 4th, and 5th, 2012.

I appreciate your support, and will

continue to need it through this year, and also next year.

Yours in Comradeship, Ted Briggs

Jr. Vice cOmmaNder cOLumN

in Comradeship, Ted Briggs J r . V ice c OmmaNder c OLumN Comrades, e rNie

Comrades,

erNie aLLis

I've been asked lately why there is such urgency for more attendance at meetings. As I discussed in my last article, our meet- ings at all levels are the best vehicle for shar-

Qualified

ing information, exchanging ideas, learning our processes and procedures, and the com- puter reporting systems.

Attending these meetings provides officers and members the chance to participate in the decision making process of this orga- nization. It also gives us the opportunity to work one-on-one to build consensus on the direction we are to take to be success- ful. This "face" time is essential because it limits how much gets lost in translation through memos and emails.

With seventeen Districts; and over one hundred seventy Posts across the State, we need to maintain a common, systematic approach in fulfilling our mission. If each of the Districts and Posts operate indepen- dent of one another, our organization will be less successful as a whole. When officers and members participate in the District and

Department meetings we have more buy-in on the direction the Department needs to take. In other words, we will all be on the same page.

To be a part of the process, you have to be where the decisions and direction are determined; meetings. I know that you comrades can't get to all meetings. But, challenge your elected officers to attend and represent you and keep you abreast of the latest news. Then, you can be assured that you have made informed decisions for your Posts and Districts.

Remember, an informed membership is a powerful membership. See you at the next meeting.

Yours in comradeship, Ernie Allis

People

with

Military

Background Needed For Work

It is of great pleasure to talk to you over the phone in reference to finding qualified people with military background to work for Turner Asphalt Inc. We are a pav - ing company located in Raleigh, NC with offices in Greensboro and Charlotte, NC. The company has been in business since 1995 and we specialized in asphalt and pav- ing, concrete, sealcoating, milling, streetprint, grading. You can also visit our website at www.turneras- phalt.com to get to know who we are and what we do. Turner Asphalt is an equal opportunity employer and currently, we are hiring for the following positions:

1. Milling Operators

Experienced in operating heavy equipment Valid NC Driver License with good driving record Flexible schedule

2. Sweeper Tractor Operators Experienced in operating heavy equipment CDL Licensed A or B with good driving record Flexible schedule

3. General Labor

Must. be dependable, hardworking Flexible schedule Valid NC Driver License with good driving record

Qualified candidates may apply in

person at Turner Asphalt Inc.-5805 Lease Lane, Raleigh, NC 27617. Contact Person: Jo Snyder, Phone # (919) 784-0014.

If you have any questions, I can be reached at (919) 784-0014 or email jo@turnerasphalt.com. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to find qualified candidates with military background to work for our orga-

nization

Jo Snyder - Turner Asphalt Inc. 5805 Lease Lane, Raleigh, NC 27617 (919) 784-0014 Office (919) 784-0084 Fax jo@turnerasphalt.com North Carolina, South Carolina Virginia • www.turnerasphalt.com

VA Publishes Social Media Policy

POLICY ESTABLISHES RESPONSIBLE USE FOR WEB-BASED COLLABORATION TOOLS

WASHINGTON - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today the release of a policy directive regarding the secure use of Web-based collaboration and social media tools. The policy allows the Department and it employees to lever- age emergingplatforms that enhance com- munication, stakeholder outreach, and information exchange as the Department transforms itself into a 21st Century orga- nization attuned to the needs of Veterans of all generations. "Veterans should have consistent and convenient access. to reli- able VA information real time using social media whether on a smartphone or a com- puter," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "They also should be able to communicate directly with appro-

priate VA employees electronically."

The policy, "VA Directive 6515: Use of Web-Based Collaboration Technologies," encourages the adoption and use of social media by VA employees. It provides workplace boundaries and establishes the Department's philosophy for communi- cation: VA is open and transparent, and VA is willing and able to engage and collaborate with its many stakeholders online. "This isn't about using social media because it's cool or because it's a fad," said VA Director of Online' Communications Brandon Friedman. "It's about getting the right information to the right Veteran at the right time. This policy sets us on a path toward changing how we talk and listen-to Vets." VA began launching social media sites in 2009 and the Department has over 100

Facebook pages, more than 50 Twitter feeds, two blogs, a YouTube channel, and

a Flicker page. VA's Facebook pages have a combined subscribership of over 293,000 fans with the Department's main page

reaching over 138,000. On Twitter, VA has

a combined followership of over 53,000-

with the Department's -main- feed reach- ing over 22,000. VA has posted over 300 videos on YouTube and over 9,000 photos 01). Flicker, which have been viewed over a combined 1.1 million times. In November 2010, VA launched its first blog, Vantage Point, which distinguishes itself from other government blogs by actively soliciting guest pieces from both employees and the public. By the end of the year, the Department expects to have an active Facebook page and Twitter feed for all 152 VA Medical Centers.

Page 4

Oct/NOv/Dec 2011

the vFW LeaDer

Department Kicks Off New Solicitation Effort

The Department of North Carolina has partnered with a new firm to solicit companies and individuals in North Carolina to try and obtain funds to help defray the tremendous efforts made to support soldiers, vet- erans, and their families in the Tarheel State.

The new company is Landmark Productions of Naples, Florida. The firm did an outstanding job serving the VFW Department of New Hampshire, and was dis- covered by the Department's computer "guru", Ross Myers, a few months ago. Previously the Department used a firm called

Heritage to do its telephoning,

but the results over the last few years have not been completely satisfactory. The projections for higher income were placed in the 2011-2012 and were subsequent-

ly approved by the Department

Council of Administration in its June (after the State convention) meeting.

A "landmark" of the Landmark

Productions company is that they will actually come to the donor's door to pick up the donated check. Heritage relied on the donors mailing their checks to the com- pany headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas. Of course, if the poten-

tial donor wants to contribute but is uneasy about Landmark coming to their door, they are advised that they can send their donation to the Headquarters on New Bern Avenue in Raleigh.

"The thrust of the solicitation effort is that Landmark is not going to members of the VFW for donations," pointed out State Adjutant/Quartermaster Bruce Edwards. "In the VFW we are often guilty of always going back to the same well, but in this case, we are looking for patriots who want to support soldiers and vet- erans."

The funds collected helped to off- set the grants that the Department Headquarters makes from the Department Relief Fund to help make mail boxes overseas to deployed soldiers, help deploy- ing and redeploying units, help with events or welcome home cel- ebrations, and to assist soldiers, veterans, and their families who have "fallen through the crack" because of a combat deploy- ment. In this fiscal year alone (1 June 2011 to 31 May 2012) the Headquarters has already given out over $41,000 in grants to help our Armed Forces, and this doesn't even count the additional thousands of dollars given annu-

ally by the 173 individual posts in North Carolina.

Comrades and posts, if asked by citizens in their local com- munities whether or lot this solicitation effort is a "scam" or not can truthfully say that it is an authorized fundraising effort by the Department of North Carolina. The Landmark Productions Company is listed on the Department's Charitable Solicitation License, issued annually by The State of North Carolina's Secretary of State's Charitable Solicitation Division.

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves

Why is employer support impor- tant? Almost half of our mili- tary force resides in the Reserve

to

ee

Reserve.

What we do: More than 4,600

Rights Act (USERRA). Statutory authority for USERRA resides with the department of Labor,

to provide a notice of rights to

Posters: Employers are required

icies, and tips to help you avoid employment challenges.

Component which is comprised of the Guard and Reserve. The men and women who serve in the Reserve Component are unique in that they also have civilian

volunteers and. support staff are located in all 54 U.S. states and territories to provide the follow- ing services:

and ESGF serves as a neutral, free resource to employers and ser- vice members. ESGR has many resources available at www.esgr. mil.

employees entitled to the rights and benefits under USERRA. To meet this requirement, you can download free USERRA notices for both federal and non-federal

Understanding of the law:

Confused? We can help! ESGR provides wallet cards and other resources to help you understand your rights and responsibilities

employers. Support of America's

ADVOCATE: We advocate

workplaces to display.

under USERRA. ESGR volun-

employers and the employees

relevant initiatives on behalf of

MEDIATE: Trained ombuds

teers attend mobilization/demo-

they share with the nation ensures the viability of the all-volunteer force, and thus our national secu- rity. Employer Support of the

employers, service members and their families. We promote the importance of employer support through regular communications

men provide information, con- sultation and mediation concern- ing USERRA compliance. We have hundreds of trained vol-

Training: Links to free online USERRA training help employers to better understand the law.

bilization briefings to answer questions. Call ESGR toll-free at 1-800-336-4590 or contact your local Guard or Reserve unit for

Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is a

military leadership, and serve

unteer ombudsmen throughout

Briefing: ESGR volunteers can

more information. Show appre-

Department of Defense agency that seeks to develop and promote

as a communication link between employers and the Department of

the country ready to provide free mediation. Many times a conflict

visit your workplace and provide USERRA training. Join thou-

ciation for supportive employ- ers by nominating your boss for

a culture in which all American

defense.

is resolved because it is due to a

sands of American employers

a

Patriot Award. It's free, and

employers support and value the

misunderstanding rather than a

who visibly confirm their sup-

an easy way to say thanks. Visit

military service of their employ-

RECOGNIZE: We applaud

purposeful violation of the law.

port for their Guard and Reserve

www.esgr.mil to nominate your

ees with ESGR as the principal

employers who practice person-

employees by signing a Statement

employer.

advocate within DoD. It does so

nel Policies that support employ-

ESGR

PROVIDES

EMPLOy-

of Support. Visit www. esgr.mil

by advocating relevant initiatives, recognizing outstanding support,

participation in the Guard and Reserve.

ERS:

to request your Statement of Support.

Our customer service center is operational from 8 am to 6 pm

increasing awareness of applica-

Regulations: ESGR provides

Eastern Time, Monday through

ble laws, and resolving conflict

INFORM: We inform and edu-

copies of the USERRA Statute

ESGR

PROVIDES

SERVICE

Friday, to provide answers to

between employers and service members.

cate service members and their civilian employers regarding

Law reviews, the Federal Code of regulations for USERRA

MEMBERS:

USERRA questions, or to refer cases to a trained ombudsman.

Who we help: All employers and members of the Guard and

their rights and responsibilities under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment

Implementation and a non-tech- nical guide to understanding the law.

• Resources: ESGR provides samples of military leave absence forms, sample letters, service pol~

Call our customer service cen- ter toll-free at 1-800-336-4590. Questions may also be answered

National Personnel Records Center Moves

THE NEW ADDRESS FOR THE NATIONAL PERSONNEL RECORDS

63138-1002

prior to 1950). Note that reg- istering at the 'county' court- house may make that document

building into the cooler part of a fire and the documents would survive. Finally, a refrig-

rized requesters. Our webbased application will provide bet- ter service on these requests by

180. you should print Standard Form 180 as you need it, not in advance because the form is peri-

CENTER IS - NATIONAL

a

public record. Separation

erator is large enough to be

eliminating our mail room pro-

odically revised and updated. It

PERSONNEL RECORDS CENTER, 1 ARCHIVES DRIVE, ST. LOUIS, MO

Documents issued after 1969 may contain Social Security Numbers which could be used for identity theft. Storing the Separation Document in a safe

easily located in the trash and rubble of a fire or other serious incident. (As a bonus, everyone has a refrigerator, not, everyone has a fire resistant storage box).

cessing time. Also, since the reg- isterer will be prompted to sup- ply all information essential for us to process the request, delays that occur when we must go

should not be available on your web~site. you can have a link to the NPRC webpage - The link is: http://www.archives.gov/vet- erans/military-service-records/

The majority of personnel have

deposit box may make it difficult

Be sure to inform your spouse

back for more information will

stanaard-form-180.html.

moved to the new location and

to

retrieve immediately upon the

and relatives' where to locate

be minimized. you may access

the military personnel records are in the process of moving.

death of the retiree or honorably discharged veteran. The better

your Separation Document and any other important papers.

this application at: http://www. archives. gov/veterans/military-

Since the Standard Form 180 is updated periodically, it is NOT

The entire move should be com-

storage locations are: • Fire safe

service-records.

recommended that large quan-

pleted by the end of the Summer

in

a secure location of the house

As a reminder, the preferred

tities be printed/photocopied

of 2012.

(not in the bedroom, as this is where most thieves search first).

method of submitting a request to the National Personnel

This improved on-line request should be used INSTEAD OF

and stocked.

As a reminder, ALL retirees and

Be

sure spouse knows the loca-

Records Center (NPRC) is via

Standard Form 180 for requests

The form will be updated with

Honorably Discharged veterans

tion and has key/combination.

the Internet. Please note that in

from the veterans or the veter-

the new address within six

should ensure that their family

In a watertight food container

some cases using a browser other

an's next of kin, if possible. your

months. The US Postal Service

knows the location of their mili- tary Separation Document (DD Form 214 from 1950 to pres-

(Glad; Tupperware. etc. in the refrigerator. Most refrigerators are fire resistant. Additionally

than Internet Explorer may cre- ate problems with data entry. As you know, the NPRC provides

assistance with this initiative will allow us, and you, to better serve the needs of our veterans. If you

will forward mail if requests are mailed to the old location until February 2012.

ent and WD (War Department)

a

refrigerator is heavy enough

copies of documents from mili-

don't wish to use the Internet,

Form 53-55 and other variations

to

fall through the floor of a

tary personnel records to autho-

you should use Standard Form

The VFW Leader

OcT/NOV/dec 2011

Page 8

PresideNT's cOLumN

P resideNT ' s c OLumN B arBara I card Ladies Auxiliaries: I hope you've all

BarBara Icard

Ladies Auxiliaries:

I hope you've all had wonderful holidays. It has been a pleasure so far to represent you as President. But we have just begun. I am so proud of all of you for all the hard work and support you have given me, and most of all, the orga- nization. It has been a joy visiting the different Auxiliaries throughout the state. It has been fun sharing ideas. I look for- ward to the other visits

during the second half of the year.

We will have to 'Step up and Leave no Veteran Behind' to achieve the membership we need to serve our Veterans in the same fashion we are accustom to. We can do this if we all pull togeth- er. We have so many good programs that we are all working on. Remember, the job is not done till you do the paper work is done (report). Enter your reports online as soon as you finish your projects. And call if you need help.

It was such an honor to represent you at the Statue of Liberty celebra- tion and the Southern Conference meeting. I have been truly blessed to be apart of such great organization, and for you allowing me to do this.

State Commander Runs to Support "Return the Favor"

State Commander Jason Schoolcraft was looking for a way to help veterans across the country. He found it just down the road 26.2 miles. That's the distance he'll be running in the upcoming 2012 Myrtle Beach Marathon.

He's running to raise aware- ness and funds for the VfW foundation's Return the favor campaign. "I wanted to com- bine my love of running with my love of the VfW. The mara- thon was the perfect opportu- nity," said Schoolcraft. "I'm hoping I can make people aware of all the great programs the VfWfoundation supports. Things like Unmet Needs, the Military Assistance Program, and our National Veteran's Service program get funding from the foundation. These programs are at the core of our mission to honor the dead by helping the living," added the commander.

Return the-favor is a cam- paign sponsored by the VfW foundation to honor, celebrate and support active-duty and retired military and their fami- lies. The VfW foundation is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit orga- nization and official charity of the Veterans of foreign Wars,

America's oldest and largest service group for combat vet- erans.

State Commander Schoolcraft started running a fewyears ago after a trip to the doctor. "My blood pressure and cholesterol levels were high and the doctor wanted to put me on medica- tions for both. Exercise and better nutrition were the only option to avoid the meds, so 1 started a fitness program," he said. Schoolcraft has been run- ning ever since, logging up to 30 miles a week in preparation for the february 18 marathon. He continued, "I hope that in addition to raising funds for the VfW foundation 1 can also inspire others to improve their health and fitness. Maybe other comrades and sisters will be motivated to become more physically active. That would be great!"

To make a donation or learn more about the campaign you can go to www.firstgiving.com and type "Jason Schoolcraft" in the search field. Checks and money orders made payable to the VfW foundation can be mailed directly to Commander Schoolcraft. Address your gift to him at 150 Brookside Road, Whiteville, NC 28472.

Women's Health High on VA's-List

By Dr. Joel Kupersmith

Women are the fastest grow- ing segment of the Veteran population. Today, they constitute 11 percent of the oEf/oIf Veterans, and by 2018 they'll be 10 percent of the overall Veteran popu- lation.

In response, VA research has significantly acceler- ated activity in this field, with more studies than ever before.

Participants include previ- ous generations of aging femaleVeterans, who are liv- ing longer and with chronic illness, right up to the cur- rent cohort of oEf/ oIf Veterans. for example, one study found depression to be highly prevalent among female Veterans with com- plex chronic heart disease

or hypertension. Another study showed that near- ly one-third of oEf/oIf Veterans who were preg- nant and used VA health care received one or more mental-health diagnoses, compared with 21 percent of female Veterans who were not pregnant.

our research also focuses on how women are affected differently by diseases and conditions, or where differ- ences in use and quality-of care exist. for example, a study analyzing the records of more than 125,000 Veterans who received VA primary care or mental- health services between 2001 and 2007 found that 15 percent of women and 7 percent of men reported military sexual trauma.

finally, the ongoing collab-

oration of VA research with the VA health-care system has accelerated the transla- tion of findings into every- day practice. for example, when researchers found prolonged exposure thera- py in female Veterans with post-traumatic stress to be effective, the VA office of Mental Health implement- ed a national training pro- gram to expand the thera- py's availability.

Go to www.research.va.gov/ programs/ womens health to learn more about our research portfolio.

Dr. Joel Kupersmith is chief research and development officer for the Veterans Health Administration.

Article submitted by News Chairman, John Scocos

Caregiver Benefits and Services

P.L. 111-163, the Caregivers and Veterans omnibus 'Health Services Act of 2010, is a watershed piece of legislation that is provid- ing assistance to caregivers of severely injured veterans" who were injured in Iraq or Afghanistan. Caregivers make extraordinary sacri- fices for the injured vet- eran they love and care for. Among other sacrifices, many go sleep-deprived and, experience high and chronic personal stress as their own health deterio- rates.

Under this legislation, care- givers of seriously injured veterans will receive the sup- port they need. Caregivers will receive important train- ing to care for their loved ones in a proficient way, while receiving a monthly stipend and respite care of their own. They will have access to mental health ser-

vices and VA counseling, while also reimbursing trav- el expenses related to treat- ing an eligible veteran. We believe these steps will give them a basic standard of liv- ing so they can care for their loved ones.

VA has developed a core training tool in collabora- tion with Easter Seals, and the first approved caregiv- ers began their training in June 2011. The training is being offered in a variety of formats, such as in-per- son, online or through writ- ten materials. Since May 9, VA has received more than 1,000 applications, and 500 caregivers have been able to receive training.

The VfW is watching the program very closely and expects feedbackfrommem- bers who interact with the VA caregIver program.

Caregiver support coordi- nators are located in every VA medical center. The pro- gram application form (VA CG 10-10) can be found on the VA's Website. The VA also runs the National> Caregiver Support line (855-260-3274) that veter- ans and caregivers from all eras can call for more infor- mation.

While it is true that this new program is currently available only to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, VA is required to report to Congress by January 30, 2013, on the feasibility of expanding this program to veterans seriously injured in the line of duty before September 11, 2011. The VfW strongly supports expanding this program. We have and will continue to publicly advocate for this expansion in the halls of Congress.

expanding this program. We have and will continue to publicly advocate for this expansion in the

Page 9

Oct/NOv/Dec 2011

the vFW LeaDer

10 For 10: VFW Won't Stand for Broken Promises

Recently, when Congress voted to raise the nation's debt ceiling, they specifically targeted nation- al security spending to absorb many of the cuts, indicating that Department of Defense person- nel programs and VA benefits would not be spared.

Leaders in Congress have already discussed cutting or eliminat- ing 10 benefits affecting mili- tary members, veterans and their families in recent months, and the VFW believes that these toxic proposals will once again gain momentum as Congress looks for ways to tighten its belt. An in- depth explanation of each pro- posed cut is included below.

America's all-volunteer military has shouldered a multi-theater war all by themselves for almost 10 years. They did so without question, and often with tremen- dous sacrifice to themselves and their families.

Americans understand the scope of the national debt crisis; a crisis

that could have serious reper- cussions on a military at war and a veterans' population that has already sacrificed much for the nation. However, instead of debating and enacting meaningful fiscal reforms, some in Congress have proposed plans that would leave America's military and her veterans to shoulder more of the national debt.

This "10 for 10" plan - to cut 10 specific benefits to pay for 10 years of war - is a breach of faith with America's military and veteran families, and the national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the US and it's Auxiliaries is calling upon his 2 million members to fight it.

"Our military and veterans have earned each of the 10 benefits Congress is proposing to cut," said VFW National Commander Richard L. Eubank, a retired Marine and Vietnam combat vet- eran from Eugene, Oregon.

"Our

nation broke a similar

promise to her World War I vet- erans," he said. "It took the VFW to lead thousands of them in

a march on Washington until

Congress made the responsible choice to support them. The VFW wouldn't stand for broken prom- ises then and we won't stand for it now."

The 10 ways Congress is target- ing military and veterans' ben- efits during today's difficult fiscal times are to: • Increase healthcare premiums for military retirees on TRICARE • Increase pharmaceu- tical fees for troops, families and retirees. Eliminate presumptive service-connected conditions for disabled and ill veterans. Lock out

or increase fees for Department of

Veterans Affairs Priority Groups 7 and 8 veterans • Reduce cost- of-living allowances. • Freeze military pay • End government subsidies to military commissar- ies • Eliminate Department of Defense elementary schools state- side • Eliminate the 20-year mili-

tary retirement plan • Eliminate DoD tuition reimbursement pro-

grams for service members.

While Congress publicly debat- ed raising the nation's debt ceil- ing, the VFW was concerned that many of the proposed cuts were being discussed behind closed doors, The VFW had the same concerns over the new bipartisan "Gang 'of 12" Super Congress tasked to develop the nation's debt reduction plan. Eubank said the VFW recognizes that the nation must make difficult fiscal decisions, but the programs and benefits' provided to veterans and military families were prepaid in full through their honorable ser- vice and sacrifice.

"Unlike other government-fund- ed entitlement programs, veter- ans earned their benefits by mak- ing a national commitment that 99 percent of other Americans are simply unwilling to make," said Eubank. "To ask these same men and women to sacrifice more is simply unconscionable."

The VFW also believes that cut-

ting the 10 benefits could have tremendous impact on military recruiting and readiness, and threaten the future viability of the all volunteer force. Healthcare, education, a retirement system and family programs are criti- cal factors in retaining talented personnel in a low-paying and extremely dangerous profession. Eubank said as the debate over fiscal responsibility continues to unfold in Washington, the VFW will work to ensure that mili- tary and veterans' benefits remain intact. In the coming weeks, the VFW will continue to put pres- sure on Congress to ensure pro- posed fiscal reforms do not nega- tively' affect troops, veterans or their families. Join the effort and make your voice heard by calling, writing, or emailing your mem- bers of Congress. To learn how, visit VFW's Capwiz page at cap- wiz.com/vfw/dbq/officials/ and to follow the story as it develops, visit the VFW's new Capitol Hill blog at www:vfwonthehill.org

and to follow the story as it develops, visit the VFW's new Capitol Hill blog at
and to follow the story as it develops, visit the VFW's new Capitol Hill blog at
and to follow the story as it develops, visit the VFW's new Capitol Hill blog at

The VFW Leader

OcT/NOV/dec 2011

T he VFW L eader O cT /N OV /d ec 2011 SUPPORT YOUR VFW P
SUPPORT YOUR VFW

SUPPORT

YOUR

VFW

Page 10

O cT /N OV /d ec 2011 SUPPORT YOUR VFW P age 10 Otis N. Brown/Billy

Otis N. Brown/Billy Ray Cameron Scholarships Veterans of Foreign Wars and It's Ladies Auxiliary Department of North Carolina

ELIGIBILITY: A scholarship applicant must be sponsored by a member of a NC VFW Post or NC Ladies Auxiliary Unit.

1. Be the child, grandchild or stepchild of a 2011 CURRENT AND 2010 IMMEDIATE PAST YEAR member of a NC Veterans of Foreign Wars Post or a NC Ladies Auxiliary or if deceased, must have been a member in good standing at time of death. Membership status must be veri- fied by Post/Auxiliary Officer who, by signing preliminary application, takes full respon- sibility for member's dues hav-

ing been submitted to National Headquarters.

Should the sponsoring parent or grandparent be deceased, it is the responsibility of the student to provide information confirming that the parent was a NC VFW/ Auxiliary member at time of death. Assistance can be obtained from the VFW Post or Ladies Auxiliary unit regarding mem- bership status and membership number. A current Post Officer's signature is also necessary.

2. Be enrolled as a Senior in a pub- lic, parochial or private school.

3. Intend to enroll in a junior or

senior college in North Carolina.

4. Be recommended by an offi-

cial, principal or counselor of the applicant's school, as scholasti-

cally and morally worthy of con- sideration for a scholarship.

5. Return the Preliminary Application form signed by Post or Auxiliary Officer postmarked by February 17, 2011 to the fol- lowing address:

Otis N. Brown/Billy Ray Cameron Scholarships Committee Veterans of Foreign Wars, Dept. of NC

P.O. Box 25337 Raleigh, NC 27611

6. The final application form with other requested materials must be submitted to the Scholarship Committee before April 15, 2011. Final Application forms and instructions for completing them will be mailed directly to the student who has filed a pre- liminary application authorized by Post/Auxiliary Officer.

AWARDS: Otis N. Brown Scholarship-Billy Ray Cameron Scholarship-One (1) each $1,000.00 annual scholarship. (A

student may receive as much as $4,000.00 in a four Year period.) Awards must be used in the con- tiguous four (4) years after high school graduation.

Scholarship checks will be mailed directly to the college or univer- sity in which the student enrolls. Checks will be forwarded to the institution in August for the first semester and in December for the second semester. The student will be notified when check is mailed to institution.

first semester and in December for the second semester. The student will be notified when check
first semester and in December for the second semester. The student will be notified when check

Page 11

Oct/NOv/Dec 2011

the vFW LeaDer

Suicide The Silent Epidemic

In 1974 First Lady Betty Ford coined the phrase "Silent Epidemic "referring to breast cancer. Each year this cancer was killing thousands of men and women and no one was willing to talk about it until she as a survivor started to make it public. This aware- ness has spread and has saved many lives. We now have the complete month of October for cancer awareness.

Today we have another "Silent Epidemic" and this one is affecting our Veterans. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from war has its own set of symptoms; one of those is depression which can and unfortunately does lead to some veterans thinking about suicide. We as veterans need to be talking to the pub- lic, to other veterans, and to anyone who will listen. This will help our veterans under- stand that they are not alone. Our vets need to know there are other vets to talk to and who have learned to under- stand it and have learned to live with it. Making the pub- lic more aware of what PTSD is, can help them understand which can ultimately bring a more positive approach to veterans' needs and perhaps save more veterans from the long term solution (suicide) for what could be a short term problem. I believe that it is very important for our

younger veterans to see that it

is alright to talk about PTSD

and seek help and to see that

it is not a form of weakness

to ask for help. "It takes the courage and strength of a warrior to ask for help" and talk about it.

This is why it is so important for the friends and family of our veterans to gain a better understanding of PTSD and to at least help our veterans to seek help for depression which can lead to suicide.

There are two different cat- egories of veteran suicide, those who are serving and those who are no longer serv- ing in the armed forces. The fact is if you are a veteran you are twice as likely to com- plete suicide.

Nationally, it is estimated that 12,000 veterans under VA care attempt suicide yearly and 6,000 succeed. Studies show that suicide is

a multi-dimensional, multi-

determined, and multifacto- rial behavior. More then one

condition of mental health problems such as, substance abuse disorder, and/or

depression can affect the vet- erans who attempt suicide. The stressors of the 18-64 age group usually are listed as problems with their intimate partner, and for the over 65

it is usually health problems.

Veterans 18-64 have account- ed for 30% of the suicides and 20% are veterans over 65 in VA care. One thing which has been recently disclosed is that some of the VA's anti- depressant drugs cause side effects which include sui- cidal thoughts. We need to ask what medications these veterans are taking and what the side effects are.

Suicide and PTSD are known to be connected, per a RAND Corporation study. There are approximately 300,000 veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan who are suffering from PTSD and only 20% have asked for help, so you can see the problem will be on-going for some time. Some of the reasons given for PTSD are the long deployments, mul- tiple deployments, death of a friend killed in combat, and combat trauma. The suicide rate for active duty members of the armed forces is higher then it has ever been and has gone up each year for the last ten years. Suicide accounts for 15% of all casualties in OEF/OIF active forces. The Marines have reported that suicide has gone up also. The numbers for the DoD and the VA are that in September of 2008, there had been 4,700+ Americans casualties and 821 suicides on record. We know that we

have lost over 5,000 but I could not find the total num- ber of suicides. I do know that in Afghanistan ending in September 2010 we had lost 861 by combat and 731 by suicide. As more veterans will be returning home soon the problem can and will only get closer to home.

If you suspect a veteran is depressed, remember the word A.C.E. "A"= ASK the veteran how he/she is doing, ASK if they are thinking about hurting themselves, "C"= CARE enough to talk to them, listen, share your own personal experiences and gain their trust. "E"= ESCORT them to get help, do not let them promise to get help. Then check up on them at a later date.

I write this now because of the up-coming holiday season. The number of suicides goes up for all segments of society during this time of the year. I hope that we as veterans can help other fellow veter- ans through this time. I hope that this can be published in Department newspapers and Posts newsletters along with the SUICIDE HOT LINE NUMBERS. VA HOT LINE 1-800-TALK (8255) or the DoD HOT LINE 1-800- 1020. Some States have Hot lines within their own state Veterans Department. Place

them in your local newslet- ter.

SUICIDE WARNING SIGNS:

• THINKING ABOUT HURTING OR KILLING THEMSELVES

• LOOKING FOR WAYS TO

KILL THEMSELVES • SELF-DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOR SUCH AS DRUG ABUSE, WEAPONS, etc. • HOPELESS, FEELING LIKE THERE'S NO WAY OUT • ANXIETY, AGITATION,

SLEEPLESSNESS, MOOD SWINGS

• FELLING LIKE THERE IS NO REASON TO LIVE

• RAGE OR ANGER

.• ENGAGING IN RISKY ACTIVITIES WITHOUT

THINKING

• INCREASING ALCOHOL

OR DRUG ABUSE .• WITHDRAWING FROM

FAMILY AND FRIENDS • GIVING AWAY PERSONAL ITEMS OR PETS THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO THEM.

Any of the above could show a need for help and the more symptoms which are present, the more chance a suicide attempt could be building. These are only a guide line for the signs, and many oth- ers problems could add to the mix.

the signs, and many oth- ers problems could add to the mix. Calabash Post 7288 hosted

Calabash Post 7288 hosted 150 veterans and guests at the special Veterans Day Event. Attendees included comrades, Ladies Auxiliary members, and Men's Auxiliary members. An emotional video entitled "Far From Home" was presented by Ladies Auxiliary President Fran Redfield. At the podium is Post Commander Ray Ketcham.

Fran Redfield. At the podium is Post Commander Ray Ketcham. Garner Post 10225 presents a check

Garner Post 10225 presents a check for $5000 to the Garner Veterans Memorial Committee. This was a response to a chal- lenge from their community partners, TT&E Iron and Metal Works. The post comrades, Ladies Auxiliary members, and Men's Auxiliary members all had fundraisers to raise this money. Left to Right: Faye Gardner, the Garner Veterans Memorial Committee Vice President, Post Commander Mark Judson, Post Quartermaster Tom Morey, Ladies Auxiliary President Etta Ballo, Men's Auxiliary President Scott Hood, and District 7 Commander Allen Daniels.

Page 12

Oct/NOv/Dec 2011

the vFW LeaDer

The Veterans Village to Open in Surf City

Larry S. Dewey, the head of the LS Dewey and Associates company, has announced to the Department of North Carolina that he will be opening a special veterans' living community in Surf City, to be known as Surf City Village. It will cater to wounded warriors, homeless veterans and military retirees and spouses.

Dewey emphasized that he has designed senior living communities for over 30 years, to include continu- ing care retirement commu- nities, independent living, nursing care, assisted living units, and special care units for Alzheimer's care. He has provided services for many types of communities includ- ing both for-profit and non- profit places, moderately priced to high-end prices

locations, and both church and non-church affiliated communities. Dewey stated that, to his knowledge, the new Surf City Village will be the first one of its kind in the entire nation.

Construction of the village is scheduled to begin this Spring. Phase One of the construction will consist of an active adult living com- plex featuring 110 units ranging in monthly rent and unit size. There will studio, one bedroom, and two bed- room apartments, according to the firms website at www. surfcityvillage.com. Monthly rent will range from $1995 to $3895 per month, and includes paid cable TV and all utilities, chef-prepared meals made from scratch daily, a fitness room, a wellness cen- ter with exercise pool, tow

a fitness room, a wellness cen- ter with exercise pool, tow NC Department officers enjoy the

NC Department officers enjoy the company of the Azalea Belles of Mobile at the Southern Conference meeting in Mobile, Alabama, 4-6 of November. Left to Right are State Senior Vice Commander Ted Briggs, State Junior Vice Commander Ernie Allis, and State Commander Jason Schoolcraft.

Ernie Allis, and State Commander Jason Schoolcraft. NC Department Ladies also liked the Azalea Belles of

NC Department Ladies also liked the Azalea Belles of Mobile at the Southern Conference. Left to Right are State Ladies President Barbara Icard, State Ladies Senior Vice President Ginger Amos and Ladies Voice of Democracy Chairman Farres Upton.

sets of live-in management teams, home health care, an activity calendar, transpor- tation to appointments and errands, weekly housekeep- ing and linen service, one- site complimentary laundry facilities, billiards room & library, kitchenette, on-site beauty salon and barber shop, emergency response system monitored around- the clock, and individually controlled hearing and air conditioning in each suite.

Phase Two of the veterans' project will consist of twenty 10-bedroom cottages that will serve the needs of vari- ous disabilities. This is the form of assisted living recog- nized by the state of North Carolina in which personal care services are provided as needed by a licensed home health care system. Dewey

pointed out that the design of a cottage supports a dein- stitutionalized care delivery system with large common room and open kitchen. A cottage will fit in among its Surf City Village neigh- bors architecturally, they being primarily American Craftsman bungalows built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The levels of care provided are homeless veterans, home health care, assisted living, acute care, dementia, and other disabili- ties.

Finally in the Spring of 2013, 150 patio homes will be con- structed, ranging from 1100 to 2000 square feet. 1 00% VA financing is scheduled to be available for the purchase of these houses.

Dewey also stated that the

veterans' project supports the White House initiative of "Joining Forces." Retired U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal will assist in implementing the joining of forces that will advocate for and recognize the extraordi- nary stress endured by fami- lies of active-duty military, veterans, and spouses.

Finally, Dewey pointed out that the facility will be built by and managed by veter- ans for veterans. More infor- mation on the project, to include veterans' financing options, can be found at the website. Reservations for Phase 1 will start in January, and for Phases 2 and 3 in March.

REAL ESTATE & MORTGAGE SERVICES
REAL ESTATE & MORTGAGE SERVICES