Veteran voice


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Veteran voice
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Veteran Voice, LLC
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VOL. 2/ISSUE 38 THURSDAY, JULY 24, 201435 cents Editors note: It is with much regret that Veteran Voice marks Marty Zickerts transition from the presidency of the Indian River County Veterans Council. Z, as he is affectionately known by our staff, has been an invaluable help to us in sharing veterans stories. He was a natural candidate for our recurring Veteran Vanguard series. We wish him and his family well, now and in the future. Its tough to put into words just how much Martin Marty Zickert has done for the veterans of Indi an River County, but a large group of well-wishers gave it their best try at a reception for him June 16 at the Veterans Club of Vero Beach. The retired Air Force colonel is taking what asso ciates call a leave of absence from the presiden cy of the council, due to his wife, Pennys, health issues. Attending the tribute was one of Zickerts six chil dren, Mike, and his wife, Renee. The Zickerts are moving to Pensacola next week in order for Penny to be closer to family as she bat tles ovarian cancer. Though times are challenging for Zickert, he didnt dwell on hardship, focusing rather on the positive. Its something he is known for his phone rings dozens of times a day, but in spite of health issues and moving issues, he answers each one and acts on them, with grace and humor. About his upcoming move, he said, simply, and By his own account, Zickert became involved with the council only reluctantly and it was Penny who gave him the spur, after they moved to Vero Beach from Pensacola, where he had been presAmerica chapter. He decided that, after the move, it was enough, and he was going to drop out of participation in any organization.Highly regarded leader on leave from Indian River council postBack in 2001, I wasnt going to get involved in anything. But Penny said, If youre going to b**ch and moan about things, youre going to have to get in volved. So, he attended a veterans luncheon, where he met Eric Rip Weiler, then pres ident of the Indian River County Veterans Council. Weiler talked him into becoming tops and the rest is the proverbial his tory. The following year Zickert was tapped to organize Memorial and Veterans Day events, and became a vice president. The next year, he became president. One of his biggest accomplishments came as a result of becoming allied with the Vet erans Transportation Network, a partner ship between the VA, Disabled American Veterans and participating counties. Counties supply vehicles to transport vet erans to VA medical facilities, and the VA maintains the vehicles. Volunteers drive the veterans to their appointments. Counties also must bear the costs of transportation and the biggest roadblock Zickert faced in trying to increase funding was the fact that membership in the council was limited to veterans groups. So, Zickert opened up membership to They said it (the Victory Center) would be guys waiting while their wives shopped around. I envisioned hippies with ponytails, with signs saying Will work for food. Martin Zickert outgoing president Indian River Veterans Council 1 See ZICKERT page 7 STAFF 1


2 JULY 24, 2014 VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE 2 2 12496 Candidate ForumThe event is being co-sponsored by the following organizations: The St. Lucie County 912 Tea Party The Treasure Coast Tea Party The American Coalition 4 Property RightsScheduled Emcee Award Wining WPTV NBC NewsAnchor, Michael WilliamsAny questions or concerns please call me. Leigh Lamson, Organizer 772-342-0812 ursday, July 31st 7:00PM 9:00PM. ose candidates running for the District 18 Congressional Race, Florida Senate District 32, and Fl. House District 84 have be invited. e event will be a traditional Candidate Forum, with a moderator conducting the meeting. All candidates will be invited to present themselves with a 3 minute opening statement, followed by both written questions selected in advance, along with questions from those in attendance. A time for brief closing remarks from candidates is planned at the end. Each candidate will be supplied a table & chairs, all set up around the perimeter walls of the event room, and will be manned by the candidate and their sta. Since doors will open at 6:30PM, there will be time for candi dates and the public to interact with those in attendance before we start. is event will be advertised to the general public, and press will be invited. We encourage all who are running for these oces, along with the voting public to take advantage of this opportunity and participate in this Fo rum. Please feel free to spread the word. is non-partisan event will be open to the general voting public.LOCATION:Port St. Lucie Civic Center 9221 S.E. Civic Center Place (on U.S. 1) Port St. Lucie, FL. 34952 Port St. Lucie Civic Center SE. Village Green Dr.SE Walton Rd. S. Federal Hwy


VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE JULY 24, 2014 3 3 It was only the second meeting of the newly formed Cascades of St. Lucie West Veterans Club, but already its off and running with a presentation by South Florida National Cemetery at Lake Worth director Kirk Leopard July 18 at the clubhouse. Leopard, who served 22 years as a Navy corpsman in submarines, began with a Power Point presen tation listing all of the casualties from the Revolutionary War to the present. It ended with the famous quote from Abraham Lincolns second Inaugural Address: With malice toward none, with the right as God gives us to see the work we are in, to bind up the nations wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his or phan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. what we in the service of the National Cemeteries truly believe, and what we strive to do. established 150 years ago at Gettysburg, Va. Currently, were undergoing the biggest expansion of National Cemeteries since the Civil War, Leopard said. The Lake Worth site was opened in April 2007. Four new cemeteries are either under construction or in the planning stages, including one slated to be built near Titusville within the next two years. Five more cemeteries will follow those, including one slated for Cape Canaveral and one in Talla hassee. Currently, there are 131 ceme teries located around the country and Puerto Rico. The Army oversees 30, the Department of the Interior oversees 14, the Ameri can Battle Monuments Commis sion oversees 24, and individual states or tribal commissions oversee 88. Our goal is to make sure 100 percent of veterans is given the opportunity to be buried at a National Cemetery, Leopard said. Right now, were at 92 percent. There are a number of states that, due to size and smaller pop ulations, like Montana and Idaho, veterans dont have the option of being buried near loved ones. The VA has now set up a program where veterans can be buried in private cemeteries, but their particular gravesite will be designated National Cemetery status. Leopard said the VA is also working with the Missing Veteran Project, to locate the remains of homeless or other veterans that have gone unclaimed in state funeral homes. In 1993, the National Shrine Commitment was enacted, un der which the VA pledges to keep all National Cemeteries properly maintained. My kids have grown up around National Cemeteries, and they were shocked at how poorly pri vate ones are kept, Leopard said. Basically any veteran who served more than two years is eligible to be buried in a National Cemetery. The exceptions are those who were dishonorably discharged or those who are convicted of a felony. You are eligible, but you cant set aside a particular site for yourself ahead of time, Leopard said. The reason for this is circum stances can change, as we wit nessed with Timothy McVeigh (who committed the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, for which he was executed in 2001). Yes, he was an Army veteran (of the Gulf War), but clearly some one like that will never deserve to be buried in a National Ceme tery, Leopard said. However, anyone who is reg istered for VA medical care is automatically on the database for burials. Veterans can be either cremated or interred in caskets. Head stones or special medallions can be requested. In answer to a club members query on spouse burial, Leopard said veterans and spouses can be inurned or interred side by side the headstone will have the veterans information on the front, and the spouses on the back. After Leopards presentation, business which, in their case, dealt primarily with the ongo ing controversy generated by the removal of the Wall of Honor display. is now president, as the former president, Anthony Capraro, resigned. The board (of directors of the Homeowners Association) has speaks at veterans clubMy kids have grown up around National Cemeteries, and they were shocked at how poorly private ones are kept. Kirk Leopard, director South Florida National Cemetery at Lake Worth STAFF See CASCADES page 5 3


4 JULY 24, 2014 VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE 4 Publisher Partner Managing Editor Graphic Designer 407-286-0807 (please note county in the subject line) e Voice of Experience Its coming up on 20 years, and Ive learned a lot. All of it comes to this respectful cour age and passion. It was on Aug. 2, 1994, that I per ink. I remember the moment with astonishing clarity where I was, what I was drinking, that sort of thing. It was a letter to the editor of the Orlando Sentinel Id ever written. I liked seeing my name as a newspaper byline so much that I wrote a second letter to the editor to see it again. That was to The DeLand Beacon. Not long after I mailed it, I was standing in my West Volusia County bungalow talking to publisher Barb Shepherd on the phone. My writing got her atten tion she thought it gifted. Barb made me an offer I wouldnt refuse. She wanted me to write a counter-column against a respected attorneys. There was a proposed big-business property tax break Volusias voters would decide in a referendum that year. The proposed tax break was aimed at helping the county attract bigger businesses. Allen Watts, that attorney, was for it, and had written a very compelling case for why voters should agree with him. I didnt know enough to be intimidated by the fact he had years of per suasion training and practice on me. I argued in my guest column to scrap the idea of attracting big businesses that could just as easily pull out of the county leav ing hundreds unemployed, and instead focus on giving longtime residents commercial tax breaks to encourage the growth of small, locally owned businesses. I dont know how many people I swayed, but the countys voters rejected the proposed big-business tax break that election. Uh, and the county never got around to resident business tax breaks that Id proposed. Oh, well. Back in that DeLand bungalow, I was hooked after seeing my name on a newspaper column. Id often thought about journalism, but never got around to trying my hand at it. Now was my chance. After the guest column, I asked Barb about making me into a re porter. She had just the training ground to offer. Barb handed me a camera and notepad, told me to come up with a question a week to ask about 10 people. All I had to do was record their answers exactly and get pictures. The more controversial the question the better, she told me. This was going to be a cinch. I just know Barb was chuckling as I bounced out of the newspato start my journalism career. I all a test. It turned out that get ting 10 people to stop and answer any question, then agree to their pictures being taken, is hard. Getting their words exactly right is no breeze either. Still, Streetbeat, became a popular feature in the paper for almost a year, and generated a number of letters to the editor. I didnt know it, but Barb had me learning the most important aspects of reporting from the start. Sources are people with feelings, and their words are important to them. I was learning that good reporting is about developing the courage to ask anybody anything, anytime, but respecting them as you do. By the time Id written 1995 a feature about notable DeLandites with Irish heritage I was already well on my way to a respectful brand of journalism. Ive practiced it at the Beacon, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the Orlando Sentinel numerous magazines, a radio station, and others. Journalism has taken me across the country to cover events in Washington, Colorado, Pennsylvania. One day it took me to meeting Tammy Raits, the ed itor of Your Voice News & Views and sister publication Veteran Voice. She later asked me to pull up stakes and move from DeLand to Palm City to work for her fulltime. So, here I am 20 years later, in Palm City, working for Your Voice News & Views and Veteran Voice. I get a lot of compliments from readers and regular sources. Rarely do they use the word respectful, but thats what a lot of their compliments amount to. Thats because Ive had good mentoring editors throughout my career whove reinforced the early lessons: be courageous and respectful, and write with passion knowing that every story is im portant to somebody. Along with Barb and Tammy, there were David Wiggins, Chris Fister, Ann Santos, Nick Klasne and others. Therere lessons in my story Vicennial of journalism teaches respectful courage, passion See MCCALLISTER page 9 Hit a strike for the veteransBowling for VETERANS Date: Aug. 9 Time: 11 a.m. Where: Vero Bowl, 929 14th Lane The Majestic Plaza Go bowling to help local veter ans. All proceeds raised stay in Indian River County. You will receive three games, shoes, door prizes and more, all for $20. Bring a friend, bring a team or just attend and have some fun. For more information, call San dra at (772) 226-5316 or email Sponsored by Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 1038 If you cant make it and you wish to make a donation, please send your check to: VVA Chapter 1038 P.O. Box 0322 Vero Beach FL 32961-0322 FOR VETERAN VOICE 4


VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE JULY 24, 2014 5 5 said theyre not going to make a decision until September, Pescino said. But I wanted to give them something to think about until then, so I wrote them a letter. A portion of the letter reads: We feel (the display) should be placed in one of two plac es: 1) where they once stood for nine years, or 2) on the the computer room. The reason is because anyone entering the clubhouse has a chance to view them, (whether) guests, grandchildren or prospective buyers. A main contention of many club members has been the issue of natural light always falling on the display, rather than many hours of darkness in what they see as the rela tive obscurity of the ballroom, where the display was desig nated. The letter also said We watched prospective buyers (as they went to the ballroom) all they did was open doors and look in. No one went in. Pescino said he attached pictures of the locations where club members would like to see the display placed. If the board doesnt answer, were prepared to go door to door among all the residents, he said. Previously, HOA president to Veteran Voice that the board will take up the matter at its next meeting, and that sion would be reached. 1st vice president Sue Snyder she was in favor of the display being placed in the ballroom. that that is not the case, she said. Nothing is further from the truth. In other business, the club voted members in on commit tees for hospitality (coffee and refreshments), 50/50 collec tions and a committee to or ganize attendance at funerals and send greeting cards. In upcoming meetings, events, based on suggestions from members, will be decid ed upon. The club plans to meet every three months, on the third Wednesday of the month. For information on burials in National Cemeteries, visit For informa tion on the cemetery at Lake Worth, contact Leopard at (561) 649-6489.CASCADES from page 3 Free wills, at upcoming AVET seminarsHelp with making simple wills and advanced medical directives, along will be available at free seminars at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Cocoa Beach Aug. 16, at 2080 N. Atlantic Ave. Sponsored by AVET Project Inc., along with area legal representatives, the seminars can help veterans or active-duty troops with making critical end-of-life plans and navigating through the VA bureaucracy. To be eligible for help with wills and advanced directives, there is an income cap depending on how many people are involved. For example, a single veteran or active-duty member is eligible up to $23,340 per year, while a family of six is eligible up to $69,940. Those interested are requested to bring a picture ID, proof of military status (DD-214 form or proof of membership in veterans organization), list of how to distribute property and list of names of recipients. This seminar will be conducted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. To register, call (321) 631-2500, extension 14, or contact via email. nar, veterans are asked to bring their tions on which injuries or illnesses are still causing trouble currently. This seminar will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Space is limited. To register, contact Kim Cone at via email. STAFF 5 Indian River Colony Club Call:877-484-6178 The Place Patriots Call Home 55 + Active Retirement Community I n dian River Col ony C lub 1 936 Freedom D r ive Vi era (Mel b ourne), F L 3 2 940Ready to start the next adventure? So many choices, with the time to use them. Golf, tennis, dance, craft, ne dining and over 40 clubs & activities of all kinds! Enjoy the lifestyle you deserve. Single family homes on 453 lush acres in Viera. Initially home to Military Officers, IRCC now takes pride in accommodating all those who served, devoted to the traditions of the U.S. Armed Forces. 12412


6 JULY 24, 2014 VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE 6 WASHINGTON, D.C. After close consultation with the De partment of Justice, the De partment of Veterans Affairs is providing guidance to same-sex and services to which they are entitled under current laws and regulations. VA worked closely with the DOJ to develop guidance to process cases involving samesex marriages and to implement necessary changes swiftly and smoothly in order to deliver the best services to all eligible Vet erans, said acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson. The U.S. Supreme Court over turned Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which governed spouse for all federal agencies. However, there remain certain provisions of federal law gov services that, like the Defense of a member of the opposite sex. In September 2013, the U.S. Attor ney General announced President Obamas directive to cease However, another provision of the law governing VA 38 U.S.C. 103(c) requires the Depart ment to look to the place of residency rather than the place of celebration to determine whether a veterans marriage is recognized This statutory requirement to look at the laws governing mar riage in the place where the vet eran or veterans spouse resided at the time of the marriage or at application precludes VA from recognizing certain same-sex marriages, such as when a couple has never lived in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages. The VA has worked with the DOJ to develop guidance to process claims and applications for same-sex married couples while still following the statutory requirement to look to the place of residency. The VA is committed to treating all veterans and their spouses as equally as possible under the law. Since the Windsor decision, the VA has worked with the DOJ to develop guidance to process claims and applications for samesex married couples while still following the statutory require ment to look to the place of res idency. Importantly, the admin istrations within VA will aim to apply the same level of scrutiny to all veterans marriages, regard less of whether it is a same-sex or opposite-sex marriage. The VA will therefore process claims and applications involving same-sex marriage in the same manner that VA processes claims based on opposite-sex marriage without any additional scrutiny or devel opment. This means generally that VA will accept a claimant or applicants assertion that he evidence to establish a veterans marriage for the purpose of VA to ensure that claimants will not be negatively impacted as a result of the time that has passed while developing this guidance. The VA is now processing all claims and applications involving same-sex marriages that were previously being held by the pronew website and is continuing to update forms to inform veterans changes in the law and procedures. The new website provides important information to help stand the eligibility requirements under federal law and VA regulations, and answers frequently asked questions. Our commitment to provide all eligible veterans and their fam ilies with their earned care and focus as VA begins recognizing same-sex marriages to the extent the law will allow. Gibson said. We will work with lawmakers to address the changes that are necessary to allow all veterans and their families to access the deserve. Veterans can learn more about VAs guidance regarding samesex marriages at http://www. or by reaching out to one of our Call Centers at 1-800-827-1000.VA provides guidance to same-sex married couples The VA is now processing all claims and applications involving same-sex marriages that were previously being held by launched a new website and is continuing to update forms to ries of the recent changes in the law and procedures. 6


VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE JULY 24, 2014 7 7 businesses and clubs who wanted to help veterans in some way. These now number 26, and include the Indian River County The county wanted to purchase two new buses, but the cost was steep: $120,000. There was only $70,000 available. How to get more funds? Zickert was annoyed that presidential candidate Mitt Romney could arrive in the area and rake in hundreds of thousands in campaign donations, but he couldnt get donations to help veterans. He expressed his frustration in a letter to the Vero Beach Press Journal. Soon thereafter, a local business ponied up the needed funds, and both buses were bought. Then Zickert was presented with yet another potential big project. Indian River Mall staff noticed men sitting around on benches wearing military-themed caps, and they had the idea that it would be good to have a store where they could hang out together. Once again, funding was an obstacle but once again, Zickert was the right man at the right time. consultation with a wealthy client about where to put her money. I said, Why not put it to use right now, rather than stash it away? Zickert said. The result a $25,000 donation to get the Victory Center store going. The store sells military-themed items, and proceeds go toward funding more buses. These and many other accomplishments were brought up by colleagues and close friends at Zickerts tribute. Former Navy Capt. Don Wick strand presented a letter from Navy League Chapter 334 in recognition of Zickerts efforts. Weiler, a Marine veteran and close friend, said, Its been an honor and a privilege working with you. Wow, what a ride! You and Penny are in our prayers youre on leave of absence till March 2015, so fair winds and following seas. Former Navy Chaplain Dick Flick gave the invocation. Af ter everyones heads lifted after prayer, Flick then dunked Zickert with a bucket of confetti. Indian River County Commis sioner Joe Flescher has long been a supporter of the Veterans Council, and has attended nearly every meeting. I want to thank you so much for what you have done for our veterans your veterans remember when (the council was) passing Tupperware around for funds? Not any more, Flescher said. Its because of how youve expanded things. Thanks to you, we are all better off. We cant let you go. Vero Beach Mayor Richard Winger, an Army veteran, said, You have been so very important here. You will be sorely missed. Because of Pennys illness, Zickert said arrangements for her care required relocating to Pen sacola. Other than saying Shes stronger than me, he didnt dwell on the challenges ahead. Instead, he thanked everyone for their support and made jokes ZICKERT from page 1 There was this ludicrous idea of a coffee shop at the mall, he said, referring to the Victory Mil itary Store thats been operating for a year and a half at the Indian River Mall. They said it would be guys waiting while their wives shopped around. I envisioned hippies with ponytails, with signs saying Will work for food. The presidency will be held by 1st Vice President Tony Young, a retired Army colonel, until elec tions are held in September. My heart is with veterans, Young said. Im just glad to have a chance to contribute. Young said that Zickert, as past president, will retain a seat on the board of directors. Because of Pennys condition, Zickert would not commit to a possible return date but his colleagues made it clear theyre He has to come back, one at tendee was overheard to say. We need him too badly. For more information on the In dian River Veterans Council, visit Boy Scout erects Purple Heart memorial in Martin CountyMartin Countys Nicolas Cocoves drove by Congressman Patrick mother one day and saw something that bothered him. I noticed it only had a small said. On Wednesday, Aug. 6, thats going to change in a big way. At 11 a.m., the 13-year-old will be on hand to help unveil the Purple Heart memorial he helped plan and build at the congressmans (I commend) Nicolas dedication to bringing attention to the annu al Purple Heart Day, making sure our nations heroes who received this honor are never forgotten, Murphy said in an emailed response to queries. I applaud his initiative and look forward to the unveiling of this important memorial. Yeah, Nicholas is only 13. The Stuart Middle School student is a Boy Scout with 64 merit badges and another 11 in progress. For his Eagle Scout project, he opted to plan and construct the memorial to Purple Heart recipients at the Military Order of Purple Heart aims to revive Port St. Lucie chapter FOR VETERAN VOICEpatrick.mccallister@yahoo.comSee SCOUT page 9 7 12428


8 JULY 24, 2014 VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE 8 The state released its latest employment numbers on Friday, July 18. The slow march of steady improvement on the jobs front continued in the Sunshine State. Earlier in July, the Vet released its quarterly report on veterans employment. Its trending up, Jim Watson, program manager at CareerSource Brevard, said. Things are looking brighter. Things are looking better for vets. Floridas seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.2 percent in June. Thats down from 6.3 percent in May. Over the year, the state went down from a 7.4 percent unemployment rate in June The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June was 6.1 percent. The veterans administration said that by the second quarter of the year that veterans overall unemployment rate was at 5.4 percent. The report doesnt break down veterans employment rates from state to state. Veterans had been trending with an overall higher-than-average unemployment rate until the second quarter of 2011. Veterans have consistently done better in the job market than non-veterans since then. Much of that is because those veterans ages 35 to 44 were doing very well in the job market. Those ages 18 to 24 had been doing much worse than their non-veteran counterparts for the last few years. Those 25 to 34 a little worse. Those 45 to 54 remained about the same. Watson said numerous veterans-hiring initiatives seemed to have helped the younger veterans land jobs. This (latest report) shows a consistent level of change for all of them, with the exception of 55 and older, Watson said. Put another way, Vietnam-era veterans are now the only group whose unemployment rate is higher than for their non-veteran counterparts. Florida has the second largest number of unemployed veterans, about 51,000. However, with about 1.6 million veterans in the state, their unemployment rate is within national averages. Mary land has the highest unemployment rate for veterans so far this year, 11.7 percent. In an emailed response to queries for a recent Veteran Voice story, Jessica Sims, press secre tary, said about 27,300 veterans found employment through the Department of Economic Oppor tunitys various services last year. From January to May this year, another 11,500 had. Thats a slight average daily increase from 74.85 to 76.15. Sims said that the current population survey 2013 annual average unemployment rate for Florida veterans was 6.1 percent, verses 7.1 for others. Nationally, the CPS 2013 average unemployment rate for veterans was 6.6 percent. For others it was 7.2. The unemployment rate is calculated using a variety of meth ods. Among them are telephone interviews with workers. Those that report not having jobs and looking for employment in the previous 30 days are counted as unemployed. Discouraged workers those who are able to work and want jobs, but have not sought employment in the previ ous 30 days are not counted in call this shadow unemploy to track due to variations for why people dont seek jobs. The state has 24 regional workforce-development organizations under what used to be Workforce Florida, the states workforce-de velopment program under the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. Each of the 24 is an independent agency, and all used different names. The Florida Legislature enacted a bill in 2012 to unify them to a common name: CareerSource.Jobs picture improving for veterans FOR VETERAN The Navy SEALs and other arms of the military have a long histo ry of training canines for active duty. Dogs have been trained for duty as scouts, trackers and bomb detectors. During the Civil War, dogs were used to deliver messages; in World War 1, they served as mascots and assaulters. In the Vietnam War, active duty canines are credited with saving an estimated 10,000 lives. Now, a canine ambassador has arrived at the Navy SEAL Museum. A 4-month-old female Dutch Shepherd Mika was trained by Baden K9 based in Ontario, and Trident Fitness Tactical, based in Orlando. Baden K9 is a introduced into tactical work and training. Baden K9 has always been a leader in the breeding, training and communication of working dogs. After Mika completes her train ing, Baden K9 will donate her to the National Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce. We are thrilled to accept this gift from Baden K9. She will be a welcomed addition and our resident SEAL celebrity, said Rick Keiser (pictured). She will also Top Dog arrives at Navy Seal Museum See DOG page 9 FOR VETERAN VOICE 8


VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE JULY 24, 2014 9 9 for others. Stop thinking about trying something new. Stretch yourself and do it. Find mentors and follow them wherever they take you. You might end up in a very happy place 20 years from now. Patrick McCallister writes for Veteran Voice. MCCALLISTER from page 4 Chili con camo VA continues to accelerate access to veterans health careWASHINGTON Under the direction of Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Sloan D. Gibson, the Department of Vetersteps to improve veterans access to quality health care. In keeping with the commitment to improve transparency in the departments processes, VA today released the latest update of facility-level patient access data. the problems we face in order to better serve veterans, said Gibson. VA must restore the publics trust, but more importantly restore the trust of our veterans who depend on us for their health care. The Veterans Health Administration has reached out to over 160,000 Veterans to get them off wait lists and into clinics. VHA has also made over 543,000 referrals for veterans to receive care in the private sector 91,000 more than in the comparable period a year ago. Additionally, VA has reduced the New Enrollee Appointment Report from its peak of 46,000 on June 1, 2014 to 2,000 (as of July 1, 2014). As of July 1, 2014, there has been a reduction in over 17,000 veterans on the electronic waiting list since May 15, 2014. Since June 2014, acting VA Secretary Gibson has traveled to 11 VA medical centers across the country in an effort to hear directly from veterans and employees about obstacles to providing timely, quality care and how VA can immediately address them. We have to rebuild trust by creating an open and transparent culture that is focused on better serving veterans, said Gibson. Thats what these site visits are all about listening to veterans and employees around the country about how we can better serve veterans and deliver the quality healthcare that they have earned. VA has added approximately 7,000 appointments provided to newly enrolled veterans who had requested an initial appointment at the time of enrollment. VA is continuing to address systemic challenges in accessing care, as quickly as possible and will provide the most immediate information on its progress to veterans and the public via the VA website, In a hearing before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs VA needs approximately $17.6 billion in additional resources to meet current demand for the remainder of FY 2014 through FY 2017. This funding would address challenges such as clinical staff, space, information teching necessary to provide timely, a plaque, and bench, along with County commissioner John Haddox, Palm City, is a 20-year Navy veteran. Hell deliver a proclamation declaring Purple Heart Day, Aug. 7, in Martin County at the memorial dedication. Hes glad to I think its a great location for it, Haddox said. Turns out that Haddox and Nicholas have an unexpected connecUSS Rankin. Nicholas grandfather, Charles Petzold, helped design that ship, and his great grandfather, William Law McDonald, was its captain from 1945 to 1946. al cost about $1,100, including the pizza he bought to feed folks who helped put it up. The Veterans Council of Martin County gave him $450, and let him accept other donations through its notget federal tax credit. Seacoast National Bank gave him another $250. The rest Nicholas raised by asking family and friends for a few dollars each. John J.B. Haskins, state adjutant for the Military Order of the Purple Heart, said there are about 100 Purple Heart recipients living on the Treasure Coast. He was impressed by Nicholas efforts to build the memorial. Thats remarkable for a 13-yearold, he said. Haskins said the order will send members to the dedication. The order is aiming to revive a chapter in Port St. Lucie to serve Treasure Coast Purple Heart recipients and other veterans. The previous Treasure Coast chapter hasnt been active since about 2007 Were trying to reactivate that chapter, Haskins said. September is the month were going to try to put it back together. He said there are Treasure Coast order members now attending meetings at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center. Haskins said the order has about 3,150 members in the state. Therere more (Purple Heart recipients), he said. Theres probably close to 10,000 Purple Heart recipients in Florida. Its probably the second ranking state in the nation for number of Purple Heart recipients. California, Haskins said, almost certainly takes the gold for the state with the most recipients. Texas and Florida are neck-andneck for the silver. Nicholas said he hopes the memorial earns him Eagle, the highest rank in the Scouts. I have to do a report on the project and go to a board of review, he said. Then it goes to national. Purple Heart recipients interested in joining the Military Order of the Purple Heart revived Treasure Coast chapter can email Haskins at The orders Department of Florida is online at SCOUT from page 7help us by entertaining and providing comfort to the SEALs and SEAL families (who) visit Trident House. Adults are $8. Children $4 and under 6 are free. The museum is located at 3300 N. Highway A1A in Fort Pierce. If you come to the Museum just to shop, there is no admission fee.DOG from page 8In the June 12 edition of Veteran Voice, D-Day veterans Raymond Carter and Richard Ramsey were misrepresented as Korean War vet erans. Veteran Voice regrets the error.Correction 9






















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