I have the honor of serving on California's Interagency Council on Veterans (ICV). ICV brought together more than 130 representatives from federal, state, and local organizations to discuss ways in which to make it easier for veterans and their families to claim the benefits and services they have earned through military service. The ICV motto says it all: "Working together to serve all who have served."
Additionally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who have contacted us to express your appreciation for the monthly newsletter. Also, thanks to those of you who have sent valuable information for us to pass on to our audience. We endeavor to put together a comprehensive newsletter that contains information we hope is of value to our readership, with something of interest for all readers.
Give an Hour, a national nonprofit organization providing free mental health services to the military and veteran communities will host a black-tie inaugural gala, A Celebration of Service, in Washington, D.C., on May 23, 2012 at the Mandarin Oriental. Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation, will be honored for her life's work, which exemplifies the theme, A Celebration of Service. While Give an Hour's current focus is on the military community, the gala will highlight additional aspects of service and voluntarism, including honoring GAH's thousands of volunteer mental health professionals. In addition Give an Hour will honor two veterans who have worked to raise awareness about the issues facing military men, women and their families: Justin Constantine, OIF Veteran and Jennifer Crane, OEF Veteran. World renowned journalists Cokie and Steve Roberts will serve as the evening's Masters of Ceremony. Tickets start at $250. For additional information, visit www.giveanhour.org.
We Salute You
Those Who Serve Our Veterans
We want you to know that we at MilitaryConnection.com consider it an honor to work with you. We applaud all of you...
Transition Assistance Officers of all Services Branches, Nationwide
Veteran Service Officers, Nationwide
Veterans' Employment & Training Officers, Nationwide
Gary Sinise has been a huge supporter of those who serve. He is the "Bob Hope" of our generation and gives generously of his time and resources. Gary and the Lt. Dan Band perform for our troops at over 40 bases annually. On Thursday, March 1st, the Lt. Dan Band will perform in a Benefit Concert for 27 year old Lance Cpl. Juan Dominguez in Temecula, CA. Cpl Dominguez, a triple amputee, was severely injured by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. The proceeds from this concert will be a key part of the fundraising effort to build a specially-equipped "smart home" in Temecula for Cpl. Dominguez, who has already endured 23 surgeries. For ticket information, click here
Veteran Friendly Featured School
Reach your career goals at InterCoast Colleges. With locations in California, Maine and New Hampshire, Intercoast Colleges offer Veteran and MyCAA approved programs including medical, legal, business and technology programs. Whether you are a working professional with a full-time job and family or someone that is just looking for a little freedom in their schedule, InterCoast can help you get your career on target! InterCoast makes it possible to serve your country and continue your education at the same time. Ask about your GI bill and how to enroll online for courses.
Free SAT/ACT Test Prep Software for Military Families eKnowledge™ has introduced the next generation of advanced Test Prep and multi-media eLearning programs. The test prep software includes more than 11 hours of video instruction, thousands of sample questions and practice tests, resulting in highly improved learning performance and superior test achievement. To thank them for their sacrifices, eKnowledge is continuing their test prep software donation program for military families. To order online click here. For more information, call 951-256-4076. *There is a nominal charge of $17.55 per program for the cost of materials, streaming, support & shipping
Man's Best Friend
Non-profit Freedom Dogs is devoted to helping our wounded military members returning from armed conflict with PTSD and physical limitations. The Partner Program pairs a wounded warrior with a Specialty Service dog and their trainer on a short term, intermittent status. The Partner for Life Program permanently places the Specialty Service Dog with the wounded warrior. Both of these programs are offered at no cost to the military personnel. For more information, visit them on the web.
Free Government Resource Sites
Attention All Veterans!
There are a large number of websites that provide information on Veterans benefits and how to file and/or ask for them. Accordingly, there are many sites that explain how to obtain books, military/medical records, information and how to appeal a denied claim with the VA. Most of this information is free and available to all veterans, but you have to ask for it. We invite you to look over the list of websites in the event that one or more of them will be advantageous to you. We also recommend that you bookmark the page for future use.
Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader that creates quality products, services and solutions that make essential contributions to the modern world in which we live, work and travel. With careers from finance to engineering to administration, Johnson Controls' employees have the opportunity to learn and develop, to grow and perform to their fullest potential. They work in an environment that values their ideas, teamwork and personal safety. Their 162,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and interior systems for automobiles. In 2011, Corporate Responsibility Magazine recognized Johnson Controls as the #1 company in its annual "100 Best Corporate Citizens" list. To view current open positions, click here.
PRESIDENT SIGNS "VOW TO HIRE HEROES ACT" WITH GENEROUS TAX CREDITS FOR EMPLOYERS
On November 21st, President Obama signed into law Returning Heroes & Wounded Warrior Tax Credits
The Returning Heroes Tax Credit is a new hiring tax credit that will provide an incentive for businesses to hire unemployed veterans of $2,400 to $5,600.
The Wounded Warrior Tax Credit will double the existing tax credit for long-term unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities up to $9,600.
For more information on these tax credits & to reach an audience of viable Veterans in occupational areas across the board, contact us by email or call 800-817-3777, ext. 124. To check out our Employment Area, click here.
As Georgia's second largest county, Gwinnett is a family of lively, growing communities and a great place to live. Known for its laid-back lifestyle and unique town centers, Gwinnett offers the best of all worlds: family-friendly communities and big city amenities the Atlanta region has to offer. If you are looking for a career in Law Enforcement, Public Administration or Technology, Gwinnett County is hiring. Click here to view job openings.
FREE SURGERY FOR DISFIGURING WOUNDS
The Iraq Star Foundation, now in its fifth year, provides free aesthetic surgery for soldiers wounded in the Iraq and/or Afghanistan wars. 265 Board Certified surgeons in 44 states are providing their skills to remove shrapnel, treat burn scars, revise artillery scars, implant eyebrows, tooth restoration, etc. If you have suffered a disfiguring wound, call the Iraq Star Foundation at 310.245.6775 or 760.568. 4039 or contact us via email. Iraq Star's Mission is to prevent the Iraq and Afghanistan wars from permanently disfiguring young lives, please let them help you. Visit www.iraqstar.org and view videos of events and news coverage of Iraq Star wounded receiving their life changing surgeries.
Column of Interest
The Most Common Disability
Ted Puntillo, the Director of Veteran Services for Solano County, shares with us the most common disability that occurs in the Veteran population, and what it means to those who have it. To read more about it, click here. When it comes to Veterans' benefits, Ted Puntillo is one of the most knowledgeable people on the planet! The former Deputy Director of CalVet and current Director of Veteran Services for Solano County, Ted will be sharing important information on topics such as Veteran benefits, disability, compensation, etc. through his columns on MilitaryConnection.com.
Join Team Fisher House
Fisher House Marathons
Team Fisher House has opened registration for the 2012 Fundraising Teams for both the Marine Corps Marathon and the Air Force Marathon, with the Army and Navy registration opening soon. Fisher House Foundation's "comfort homes," built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers, enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times - during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury. There is at least one Fisher House at every major military medical center to assist families in need and to ensure that they are provided with the comforts of home in a supportive environment. No family ever pays to stay at any Fisher House! Join the team to raise funds and awareness for Fisher House Foundation - Join the Champions for Military Families team! Go to TeamFisherHouse.org/AFM to get more registration details.
Membership is Free
Veteran Business Owners
VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association working to ensure the development, growth and prosperity of Veteran Owned Businesses, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Businesses of all sizes. VAMBOA will serve the needs of the veteran and military business communities by uniting veteran and military business owners for collaboration, connections and contracts with both private corporations and government agencies. Join today and take the survey to let them know what issues are important to you. Membership is Free! You have honorably served our nation. VAMBOA is here to serve you and be your voice.
The Mission Continues
At The Mission Continues, they've long believed that the five million men and women who have worn our country's uniform since 9/11 are assets. When veterans find a way to channel their ethic of service, skill sets, and leadership abilities at home, our communities flourish. They also know that many veterans struggle to find purpose at home without the structure, mission and camaraderie of a military unit. By empowering them to serve as civic leaders, their service gives them purpose and aids them in successfully transitioning home. To date, The Mission Continues has engaged nearly 250 post-9/11 veterans in six month fellowships in local nonprofit organizations, mentoring at-risk youth, training guide dogs for disabled Americans, coordinating housing builds or doing disaster preparedness work. They have seen these communities improve as a result of their efforts and seen those veterans grow and successfully transition to meaningful careers, further education or an ongoing role of service.To applyclick hereor call 314-571-6157.
Attention New York Vets
Through little know legislation, you may be able to audit Vocational classes at no cost to you. Thanks to the years –long efforts by our friend Wolf Popper, Educational Law A05670 was amended to allow honorably discharged Veterans to audit vocational education classes. There are a few restrictions based on space and availability. To read the actual bill, click here
Thanks go out to Sid Hull, one of the volunteers at the VA Outpatient Clinic in Austin, Texas. Sid is part of a much larger group of veterans and civilians who devote their time to serving our veterans in Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics throughout the country. Retired from the US Army after 20 years of active duty, Sid has been volunteering at the Austin clinic for over seven years. He wanted to spread the word that there are thousands of volunteers throughout the VA system as members of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Services (VAVS), but they can always use help. For more information, visit VAVS on the web.
Got Heart, Give Hope
This Valentine's Day, Hope For The Warriors began accepting nominations for their annual Got Heart, Give Hope Gala to be held on May 23. On this special evening, Hope For The Warriors honors the courage of our nation's wounded and fallen heroes and their families, focusing on the hope they inspire through their remarkable stories of recovery and achievement. One man honored at last year's Gala was Christian Haerter, father of LCpl. Jordan Haerter, KIA. Christian demonstrates everlasting love and devotion to his son through his commitment to his own nonprofit, and through his commitment to Hope For The Warriors®. To learn more about Christian, other awardees and this year's gala, please visit www.hopeforthewarriors.org/gotheartgivehope.html.
COMBAT-RELATED SPECIAL COMPENSATION
The National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) is launching a new program to provide free representation to veterans applying for a new federal disability benefit – Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC). CRSC is available to veterans who are medically retired for disability (either because they are on permanent disability retirement or the Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL). CRSC is not paid automatically-a veteran must submit a detailed application and supporting documents to receive this benefit. Lawyers Serving Warriors® screens information supplied by eligible veterans and, if they qualify, connect them with a volunteer attorney at no charge. To be eligible for free legal assistance on a CRSC application through Lawyers Serving Warriors®, the veteran must currently be permanently retired for disability or on the TDRL; be entitled to service-connected disability compensation from the VA; and believe that the disabilities are combat-related. To request CRSC application assistance, visit www.nvlsp.org
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Coming Home Project
The Coming Home™ Project is a non-profit organization devoted to providing expert, compassionate care, support, education, and stress management tools for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, service members, their families, and their service providers. Coming Home Project invites you to join with other student veterans and service members for a retreat near Yosemite National Park. The retreat, to be held March 28, 2012 - March 31, will offer students to support one another in the journey of return, share stories and experiences and learn stress and wellness management skills. Student will find comfort and strength in community with fellow student veterans and service members while enjoying vigorous recreational activity and renewing mind and body in a beautiful setting. For more information, click here. Lodging and meals are free.
Strengthen Your Military Marriage
Family Life Today is offering free marriage enrichment seminars to active duty military and their spouses. "A Weekend to Remember" seminars are held throughout the country, and provide attendees with marriage-changing principles that you can take home and apply to your daily lives that will strengthen your marriage. If you are interested in attending at no charge, you must pre- register by calling 800 358-6329. (Registrations done online will not be complimentary.) Attendees will be responsible for any transportation, food and lodging charges, with discounted lodging available to those who register at least two weeks in advance. For dates and locations, click here.
Military Mom Talk Radio, co-hosted by Sandra Beck and Robin Boyd, with contributions by Doris Rivas Brekke, provides a powerful platform for women to discuss their ideas, issues, and concerns with respect to the military lifestyle. It encourages women to share their experiences as a military wife and mother. The program has interviewed medical specialists, military brass, military charities, military contractors and providers along with military authors, educating military families on the resources that are available in both the public and private sectors. Topics range from coping with PTSD, navigating government programs, and dealing with family issues, to the struggles of deployment along with being a working mother both in and out of the home. Military Mom Talk Radioairs every Monday from 2-3 PST. The shows are also available on iTunes under Military Mom Talk Radio. Pod rebroadcasts are available here and also on the Rock Star Radio Network.
Veteran & Military Resource Fair
The San Francisco Armed Forces Community Covenant and Military and Veterans Resource Fair will be held at the San Francisco War Memorial Building on March 2, 2012. This event, a demonstration of the community's commitment to our servicemembers, will kick off the year‐round outreach that will develop a greater awareness of the needs of our Military members, veterans and their families. The full day Resource Fair will provide outreach by community based organizations and veterans service providers to connect and provide direct assistance to our servicemembers, their families and our veterans. There will also be a job fair, educational seminars and a Veterans Art Show. For more information, click here.
News From CalVet
Historically, CalVet's mission priority has been directed to building and providing high quality care in the veteran homes. Recently, there has been a shift to an emphasis on "veteran services," the processes that connect veterans to benefits and services they have earned. California veterans are currently taking advantage of their compensation and pension, health care and other benefits at a substantially lower rate than veterans in other states. Because it is anticipated that an additional 40,000 veterans will separate from military service and return to California over the next couple of years, it is imperative that delivery of services be better coordinated. For more information, click here.