Veteran voice


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Veteran voice
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Veteran Voice, LLC
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VOL. 2/ISSUE 42 THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 201435 cents Editors note: Veteran Voice has the privilege of meeting, interviewing and writing stories that involve many area veteran leaders. Their names repeatedly appear in our stories, always followed by said. We launched an occasional series for 2014, Veteran Vanguard to introduce readers to the wonderful men and women that contribute so much to veterans, communities and our stories. Theres one whose name far more often appears in our sister publication, Your Voice New & Views John Haddox. The former supervisor of Martin Countys Veterans Services and president of the Florida County Veterans Service Ofsion in 2012. There hes known for being an independent and unpredictable vote. Back in 1999 John Haddox applied for a county job, because it sounded like the perfect way for the 20-year Navy veteran to get into semi-retirement. Semi-retirement, bah. The decision to apply for that job made him a very busy man with a 13-year career of helping veterans, and it likely set him on a course toward election to the Martin County Commission in 2012. I believe a military career provides you an excellent base for a political career, he said. (The military) teaches you to analyze the facts and make a decision. Campaign supporters often didnt get what they expected after Haddox won. Hes the most reliable swing vote on the commission. Others votes are mostly predictable. Doug Smith, Jensen Beach, will frequently vote in opposition to other commissioners, such as Sarah Heard, Port Salerno. They, in turn, will vote in opposition to him. Haddox? Hes the maverick. Sometimes he sides with Smith. And sometimes he joins the other three in opposition to Smith. Haddox is the least vocal commissioner, but when he speaks, its with a sailors earthy sensibility. That was recently seen in discussions about construction of a customs facility at the Martin County Airport. Haddox took opponents to task many of whom were his campaign supporters for contradictory arguments against the facility. Opponents simultaneously predicted that the customs facility would increase airport pollution by attracting many more planes, but that nobody would use it. ly told customs facility opponents at one commission meeting. The commission approved the facility in a 3-2 vote at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 5. So, back to 1999. Haddox retired from the Navy in 1988 and made his way to the Treasure Coast to be near his parents. The family hailed from a little town near Pittsburgh. He went on to running security for a gated community, and was thinking about that semi-retire ment thing. I saw this ad come up in the (newspaper), he said. It was a part-time position. It was a part-time position at Martin Countys Veterans Services helping folks ment of Veterans Affairs as a county veterjob. A couple years later, the supervisors position opened up at the veterans services tense about semi-retirement. He had ideas about how to help more veterans and Martin County. I knew where I wanted to take the Mardox said. I wanted to get out more into the public and market it better. I wanted much more involvement with the veterans community through the veterans service organizations. So, he applied for the job, and got it. erans Council of Martin County. The council was made up of members representing several local veteran service organizations. ed strong support from the veterans council, Haddox said. He said Hoyt Woods, chairman on the council from 1994 to 2009, helped him earned them. Woods died a couple years ago. I saw the function of the (veterans serOf course, one function was to help vetty-funded function. As such, Haddox said, he believed veterans services had a respon-Accidental veterans leader Patrick McCallisterFOR VETERAN See HADDOX page 3


2 AUGUST 21, 2014 VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE Armageddon a soldiers tale of the aftermath of KatrinaThe smell when we got off the C130, it hit me like a sledge hammer. It was like sticking your head in a toilet. Former Army National Guard Sgt. Jason Jay Harris, of Vero Beach, said the memories both horrible and gratifying of his one-month deployment to New Orleans in the immediate after math of Hurricane Katrina will last his lifetime. On Aug. 29, 2005, Katrina slammed into the Gulf states, killing 1,833 and causing more than $100 billion in damages. One week later, Harris arrived in New Orleans to help the devastat ed residents. He was a mechanic, attached to the 972nd Military Police Battal ion. He was part of a mosaic of units from all services, from all across the country. The immediate need was some kind of base. I wish I could remember his name, Harris said. He got us accommodations at the University of New Orleans, which is located near Lake Pontchartrain. base (Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans) was completely destroyed. The runway was hastily put together. We spent two days there, basically camping, before we moved into the university, Harris said. There were people from all over in our unit. They called us the ing. work right away, disproving their nickname by quickly getting their base set up for operations and commandeering supplies. The Louisiana National Guard Armory gave us access to equipment, like a wrecker, extra trucks, Humvees and tools, Harris said. Lowes and Home Depot were basically bust anyway, so they gave us any kind of supplies we needed, toilet paper, you name it. We were in a MacGyver situ make it happen. I certainly thank that unit (the Louisiana Guard) they made sure we had fuel, trucks, even a fenced-in area for our motor pool. There were 150 of us living in the gymnasium, he said. There were cots lined up to sleep on, male and female changing areas, no running water, only one fan, and we had to use MRE boxes as toilets pretty primitive, but it brought us all together, a real bonding. Harris and his unit-mates began STAFF WRITERmkemper@veteranvoiceweekly.comThe scene was Armageddon, like something out of a Mad Max movie. Apocalyptic. People were just in shock. Jay Harris See KATRINA page 4 Veterans employment dips slightlyNationally, veterans unemployment edged upward from 5.4 percent not seasonally adjusted in June to 6.0 percent July. The Bu reau of Labor Statistics released its July jobs report on Friday, Aug. 1. Even though we see a small uptick, over all veterans employment is more in line with national employment (than before), Jim Watson, program manager at CareerSource Brevard, said. The national unemployment rate increased from 6.1 percent seasonally adjusted to 6.2 percent. In July, Florida had about 34,000 veterans out of and looking for work whats counted as unemployed the fourth highest number in the nation. However, Florida is one of only three states with more than a million veterans, so its veterans employment rate was within national norms when looked at per capita. The Florida Department of Econom ic Opportunity reports that 766,000 of the states 1.6 million veterans were in the work force in 2013. In July, Georgia had about 43,000 veterans out of and looking for work, an unemploy ment rate at 10.9 percent, not seasonally adjusted. The Peach State has about half the number of veterans as Florida. California Patrick McCallisterFOR VETERAN VOICEpatrick.mccallister@yahoo.comSee EMPLOYMENT page 5


VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE AUGUST 21, 2014 3 sibility to help get as many dollars ble. Last year, Martin had about 14,400 veterans receiving compensations and pensions worth close to $38 million. Thats a lot of dollars for a smaller county like Martin. Through it all, Haddox said, hes always preferred to lead from the passenger seat. Rarely, Haddox said, has he ever come up with the great ideas that hes worked to turn to reality. Hes taken others great ideas to the go-getters whod make them happen. Although there is the story about the Vietnam Veterans of Americas Chapter 1041, Stuart There was a previous VVA chapter in Stuart. It folded a few years back. Haddox was supervising the Martin County Veterans Serally didnt like the idea that there wasnt a local VVA anymore. Really didnt like it. Haddox called the national orgato do to start another and learned other locals were already looking into that. Haddox got a couple of names and called a meeting. All they needed was 25 members to start up what would become VVA 1041. Sitting in a veterans service ofing members, Haddox said. I 30 members. Haddox said after getting about 15 recruits signed on, he hit on a slippery sales tactic to get another 10. I would tell them were up to 24, and I only need one more for 25, he said in a previous interview. It became a joke in the chapter. One time, a guy said, Will all the 25th members please raise your hands? and a bunch went up. Something founding members of VVA 1041 agreed on, Haddox said, was they wanted to build a local veterans organization that focused on raising money to help others. The VVA chapter raised about $20,000 to help local veterans earlier this year at its second Veterans Fun Shoot at the South Florida Shooting Club, Palm City. That money went to whats called the rapid-response fund at the countys veterans services. VVA 1041 started that fund with $17,500 it raised a couple years ago. Current Martin County Veterans Services took over after Haddox, can use that fund largely at his discretion to help veterans with immediate needs, such as paying power bills. HADDOX from page 1 Battle of the Branches slated for Satellite Beach sponders: youre wanted for the Battle of the Branches, to be held Nov. 1, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., in Satel lite Beach. Events will include an obstacle course, 5K fun run/walk, and a military vehicle pull challenge. The event is sponsored by AVET Project Inc., Patrick Air Force AVET Projects Recuperation and Reintegration Retreat, which helps veterans transition to civil ian life. Anyone from the public at large can participate as well, and are encouraged to form teams of 10 from military organizations, schools, businesses, neighborhoods or any other group. Sponsorships and vendor sites are also available. To participate, form a team of 10 people; select a captain; select a team name; select a fundraising goal ($500 minimum); and make sure the captain registers by Oct. 17 to ensure team T-shirts can be made. Thereafter, they cannot be guaranteed. For the run/walk, there is no charge for active duty or reserve others, the fee is $10 per adult; $5 for children 17 years and younger; and $5 for the obstacle course. Fees include a T-shirt or dog tag if registered by Oct. 24. Thereafter, they cannot be guaranteed. First, second and third prizes will be awarded in three catego ries: fastest pull, lowest combined weight and top fundraiser. The event will take place at Pel ican Coast housing area, 1-1/2 miles south of Patrick Air Force Base, on Poinsettia Drive. For information, visit avetproject. org, or contact Kim Cone at kim@ STAFF 12991


4 AUGUST 21, 2014 VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE ferrying supplies to their base from the airport and from lo cal sources, right through the pumping areas, he said. At that time, the water was still very high. And the smell from the water, a swirling mass of raw sewage and toxic chemicals a lot of people were throwing up from it. Death and destruction were ev erywhere. You had bodies in the trees, boats, everything, Harris said. It was chaos madness. The MPs got to work right away as well, securing perimeters and establishing cleared areas. They walked in teams, Harris said. Thats when it hit me that we might get hurt. New Orleans always had a lot of crime anyway, but law and order hadnt been re-established yet. We had to keep our weapons with us at all times. We didnt lock and load, but we always had to have a magazine in. Only once did Harris and the MPs encounter potential danger. A suspicious vehicle was seen driving around the area, but it took off after its driver presum ably saw the MPs, Harris said. I didnt like to ask too many questions when out and about with the MPs I was like, are we good? Good, he said. A more immediate danger was Harris said, was always a hazard. Jermaine) and I were sent out to stuck, Harris said. Daly was driving. The water started getting higher and higher, so we made the decision to get back to the parking lot. All of a sudden, the truck began to tilt. Uh-oh, (Daly) said. I said, Whaddya mean, uh-oh? Dont say uh-oh! Then it really began to tilt. Water started coming in. And you did not want to come in contact with that water. I climbed out onto the roof, while he tried to get the truck moving. It was no good, so he climbed out, too. Lets hang out for a while, I said. We called the motor pool. We sounded like smarta**es, I guess, because Daly said, They think were joking. I said, No, no, no! Were not! They planned to send someone out to get us, but a boat came by with reporters and local people (in it). They dropped us on dry land, and we eventually met up with the rescue party. We called ourselves Skipper and Gilligan, Harris said with a laugh. The next day, the water had drained enough to allow the truck to be driven out. You should have seen the yellow-green color on the hubcaps, Harris said. To think that could have gotten on us. Eventually, once the security perimeters were established, the MPs began allowing residents back to their home areas by ZIP code, Harris said. The scene was Armageddon, like something out of a Mad Max movie. Apocalyptic. People were just in shock. But relief efforts began to take on a kind of rhythm, Harris said. The MPs did their mission, we did ours, moving supplies, he ever worked with such an eclec tic group. Even the cooks were going out (distributing) water and MREs to people. We picked up people who were stuck, we helped out everyone we met it was the whole reason we were there, Harris said. People were so happy, thanking us all the time. The best part of the mission was seeing how much of a difference we made. When I went home, I felt good. Even personal hygiene for the troops began to improve from the MRE-box-toilet primitive conditions. Portable toilets were installed, and the Coast Guard unit allowed Harris and his fellow soldiers to use its shower facili ties on an alternative-day basis. That was awesome, Harris said. On the truck, Daly was talking about taking a long, long shower at home, and I was like, Dude, shut up! The overpowering stench permeated everything, and no one kept any of his clothes afterward, Harris said. It just smelled like death, like a punch in the face. They did give us masks, which helped. By the end of his deployment, Harris said there was a noticeable improvement in the situation. was 5 feet of water. There was a days, but then that was secured. FEMA cleared out the bodies, and the Coast Guard was clearing the dikes. The focus was on repair and rebuilding. Electric companies from all 50 states were there working around the clock. A few days before leaving, Harris and his friends heard there was a Popeyes restaurant nearby. We took a ride across Lake Pontchartrain, and there it was, he said. After a month of MREs, we devoured that food like vultures. All in all, despite the hardships, Harris said he doesnt regret a minute of his deployment. To see the city gradually pick itself up, to help people, to be a part of that its just the great est feeling, he said. Harris said hed love to go back and see New Orleans today. Its a beautiful city. Back then, it was more like downtown Iraq. No sooner had Harris National Guard contract expired in April 2006 than he was called back up to service via the Individual Ready Reserve. In November of that year, he was deployed to back to the U.S., my contract free and clear, he said. Back when I was in Kuwait, I used to tell people I wanted to start a revolution. You mean overthrow the government or something? people said. No, I just want to do something revolu tionary. A dog lover, Harris found his current job as coordinator of the veteran service dog program at Dogs For Life, Vero Beach, through his two white Scottish terriers, Fergus and Nessia. They needed walking, so I took them to the Dog Park, he said. (The two terriers were soon joined by Sasha, a poodle, and Barbie, a Chihuahua. Together, they form Harris own unit, with Nessia as brigadier general, Fergus as lieutenant colonel, Barbie as lieutenant and Sasha as secretary of state.) Well, a few months went by, and I was working at PetSmart. My mothers friend knew some one at DFL, and I eventually met Shelly (Ferger, DFL founder and CEO). Shes a great mentor, a great friend. We talked about training service dogs. About a year ago, Shelly said the (administrative and training) building was going up, and the plan was for Jay to get hired. That kept me going Ive always wanted to work with ser vice dogs. Editors note: Please see last weeks issue featuring Tony Santos and his dog Shadow, whom Harris is helping to train for Shad ows future as a service dog. At a recent ceremony for Purple Heart recipients at the Victory Center military store in Indian River Mall, Harris said he was proud of how well Daniel, a veter an suffering from PTSD, did with the help of his dog, Ariel (Daniels last name is not released because of privacy issues). In addition to his work with Dogs For Life, Harris said he wants to get a Florida sled dog initiative going. Basically, its you on a skate board with dogs on a harness and leash, he explained, showing a video of himself being pulled along a street by four dogs. Its a great, active way to exer cise dogs, and the veterans, too, he said. A lot of vets get pits (pit bull terriers), Dobermans, shepherds thats great, but they all need exercise. Veterans and dogs can learn a lot from each other, Harris said. I tell my classes, there is great KATRINA from page 2 Back when I was in Kuwait, I used to tell people I wanted to start a revolution. You mean overthrow the government or something? people said. No, I just want to do something revolutionary. Jay Harris We were in a MacGyver situation Former Army National Guard Sgt. Jason Jay HarrisSee KATRINA page 5


VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE AUGUST 21, 2014 5 had the 77,000 veterans out of and looking for work, the largest number in the nation. Nevertheless, its unemployment rate was still single digit, because that state has the most veterans of any, about 1.8 million. Nationally, the highest unemployment was among veterans ages 18 to 24, 32.1 percent not seasonally adjusted. Among non-veterans in the same age range, the rate is 12.7 per cent. Watson said there could be many factors playing into the much higher unemployment rate among younger veterans. He said a com mon thread is likely that theyre recently out way. Hes encouraged by the increases in manufacturing and construction jobs over the last year. Its a good sign for veterans, he said. Thats because many veterans get into those Roll up your sleeves and get in there and get dirty is what they trained in, Watson said. Nationally, manufacturing added 28,000 jobs in July. Construction increased by 22,000 jobs. From June to June, 2013 to 2014, Florida added 41,700 construction and 5,200 manufacturing jobs. 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 about the same. The unemployment rate is calculated using a variety of methods. Among them are tele phone interviews with workers. Those that report not having jobs and looking for em ployment 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 previous 30 days are not counted in the unemployment due to variations for why people dont seek jobs. Jessica Sims, press secretary for the De partment of Economic Opportunity said in an emailed response to queries that from Jan. 1 to Aug. 2, almost 15,500 Florida veterans found jobs through the 24 regional CareerSource boards. wisdom from dogs. Anger, frus tration issues dogs know. Its the best therapy to learn from each other. Things are beginning to change in terms of dog training. Were helping people learn to relax, instead of using tight leashes, choke collars I mean, would you like to keep on getting jabbed in the neck? But were seeing a real change from the old mentality. Now were helping people see interactions in new ways, with a focus more on problem-solving, and everything they can do with their dogs agility, sports, all that stuff. So yeah, thats revolutionary in its own way. See? Harris said with a laugh. I told em Id start a revolution! Veterans interested in learning more about the Dogs For Life ser vice training can contact and those interested in learning more about Harris sled dog initiative can con tact him at jason.r.harris.2013@ from page 4 EMPLOYMENT from page 2 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. 12974


6 AUGUST 21, 2014 VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE Nothing Sad about this Sack just call him Mr. CommunityHealth issues have slowed him down a bit, but Samson A. Sad Sack DeVille has a pretty good track record behind him to look back on, and be proud of. Plus, he still keeps his comrades company as a member of the ex ecutive board of American Legion Rider Post 318 in Fort Pierce. At its most recent meeting, he talked about his nickname, his service, his motorcycle, and his many years of giving back to the community. A Navy veteran of Vietnam, Samson earned the nickname Sad Sack because of the initials of his name S for Samson, A for Anthony and D for DeVille and the Sack was a natural add-on, from the famous cartoon character created by Army Sgt. George Baker in World War II. He was the original Beetle Bai ley, DeVille said. A former truck driver, DeVille used the moniker as his citizens band radio handle, and it stuck as his nickname with the Riders. The original Sad Sack was named after a prevailing Army expression (sad sack of sh-t) and was portrayed as an inept soldier, but DeVille was a sailor, and anything but inept. For many years, he worked for the March of Dimes, which raises funds for medical care for chil dren. Over the years he donated 37 gallons of blood, which he cant do anymore due to health issues related to his lungs (he carries portable oxygen with him everywhere he goes). And in 2011, he raised a whopping $23,000 for the St. Lucie County Department of Veterans Services, which used the funds to help needy area veterans. DeVille said that his original goal was $20,000, and if he couldnt raise it, he was prepared to auction off his own motorcycle. well above the goal. In 2013, he was named Legionnaire of the Year. Oh, Ive been around, DeVille said. Everyones probably seen me on Port St. Lucie Boulevard, or anywhere else. Ive been every where. During the 2011 fundraising marathon, DeVille could be found at Reeds Car Club, Port St. Luc ie, the Jammin Jensen regular Thursday evening event in Jensen Beach, the Sandy Shoes Festival or the B&A Flea Market in Stuart. Any place that would let me, Id be there, he said. With his custom-painted mo torcycle as part of his display, DeVille would set up shop on street corners up and down Port St. Lucie Boulevard. For this, he was arrested, twice. At the time, there were people to collect money for veterans, DeVille said. I guess the cops thought I was one of them, or something. I said, People are selling news papers, people with car wash signs, and they go after me? Well, I explained the situation, and we got squared away after that. After the massive fundraising effort was done, it came time to disburse the funds to veterans undergoing hard times. Donna would screen the veter ans, and then we would provide the funds, DeVille said, referring to then-St. Lucie County veter ans services coordinator Donna Carlsen. Whatever they needed dental care, electric bill, mortgage payment. I actually got to meet one of the people we helped, a lady she needed help paying her mortgage, so we sent her to Donna, DeVille said. and ran into (the lady). She gave me a hug, and cried, and said thank you. That just makes everything worth it. As for the 37 gallons of blood DeVille donated through the years, he said, Im not rich, but this is one way I can give back to the community. He knows for certain that he saved three lives with his blood, including a baby whose family he got to meet. Ill never forget that, he said. During another fundraising effort to provide school children with supplies, DeVille said he even took advantage of a friendship with a famous family. I know the Walgreens personal ly, he said. And I asked if they could help. They allowed us to load up carts full of supplies for the kids. Along with his fundraising activ ities, DeVille also became a poet. He wrote a tribute to veterans, titled Have they been forgotten? in 2011, and distributed copies to all and sundry, without regard to copyright issues. The poem has been read at several veterans organization events since then, and continues to be circulated. I cant help but think about veterans every day, he said. Thats why I wrote it. Its safe to say that a lot of veter ans are grateful in turn for every thing this tireless campaigner has done, as well. STAFF WRITERmkemper@veteranvoiceweekly.comEveryones probably seen me on Port St. Lucie Boulevard, or anywhere else. Ive been everywhere. Samson Sad Sack DeVille


VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE AUGUST 21, 2014 7Remembering Robin WilliamsMost of us started this week stunned and heartbroken over the news of actor and comedian Robin Williams suicide and its no wonder, after all, because he embodied each of us at some point along the way in his career We saw him as one of us. With that childlike twinkle in his eyes, he took on a broad range of roles, representing almost every demographic in society, transforming unforgettable characters that we will cherish for many years to come. liams in 1978, when he burst into our living rooms once a week as Mork, an alien from the planet in the television series Mork & Mindy. He introduced his own language to us words like nanu nanu and shazbot that quickly refreshing zaniness steered us out of the disco era and into a world with new perspectives. Williams quick wit, infectious and unique style of comedy, and ability to inhabit a wide range of personalities and voices all but He was one of the most versatile and talented actors of our generarole, where he gave life to an old newspaper comic strip character, Popeye, his talent was obvious. We followed along on his journey and watched him become one of the most bizarre magical genies imaginable, numerous deeply troubled, wise, or inspirational men, the perfect man-child (Pe ter Pan and Jack), a lovable old man, a U.S. president, a penguin, a G.I., an ordinary dad, caring physicians, and much more. Despite his proven success as a serious actor, he remained committed to comedy, frequently embarked on stand-up comedy tours, and collaborated with fellow comedians on several HBO Comic Relief shows. Making peo ple laugh was his true calling. His ability to play the everyman His father, Robert Fitzgerald Williams, a World War II Navy veteran, was an executive for Ford Motor Co. who provided well for his family and moved them to California after retiring in the late 1960s. Rob Williams, as Robin was known in high school, ran cross-country track and set out on his own path from there, never looking back. After initially pursuing a college degree in political science, he was accepted into Julliards theater program in 1973, but left before Five years later, he landed the Mork & Mindy series, and the rest is history. Although Robin Williams never served in the military, he played Air Force disc jockey Adrian Cro Vietnam. for that role in the same year that his father died. As his star continued to rise, so did his generosity to others. In the last half of his life, he estab lished scholarships to help others pursuing the arts and partnered with the USO to entertain mili tary troops. He loved visiting the troops, and they loved him. He soon became a second Bob Hope to an entirely new generation of veterans, sharing his unique talents and boundless energy to create an oasis amid the chaos of war and life. We mourn with his family in this great and tragic loss. Seize the day! Gather ye rose buds while ye may. We are food for worms, because, believe it or not, each and every one of us is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold, and die. Make your life extraordinary! (lines from Dead Poets Society) HISTORIAN DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS Navy Seaman Recruit Jonathan C. Sloan, son of Steven C. and Lori J. Sloan of Port St. Lucie, recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill. During the eight-week program, Sloan com pleted a variety of training which included classroom study and practical instruction on safety and survival, and shipboard and aircraft safety. An emphasis was also placed on The capstone event of boot camp is Battle Stations. This exercise gives recruits the galvanize the basic warrior attributes of sacri each recruit through the practical application of basic Navy skills and the core values of honor, courage and commitment. Its distinct account what it means to be a sailor. Sloan is a 2013 graduate of Centennial High School in St. Lucie West. FOR VETERAN VOICE Port St. Lucie Navy seaman completes basic training


8 AUGUST 21, 2014 VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE Veterans, community disappointed by delay in veterans home voteTRADITION The Treasure Coast community was poised to welcome the states eighth vet erans nursing home. Word was that the Florida Cabinet would hear and most likely approve the site-selection committees rec ommendation for Tradition to be awarded the next veterans home at its Aug. 19 meeting. Then Way disappointed, said Wayne Teegardin, St. Lucie Countys veterans services manager. Word hit that the item was pulled from the cabinets Aug. 19 agenda, because legislators from other parts of the state raising questions about the committees process in picking Tradition over eight other perspective sites in six counties. State Sen. Joe Negron, Stuart, said hes unaware of who might have raised objections. I think its expected and something we can anticipate that therell be a robust competition, he said. A robust competition because a state veterans home brings with it construction and a lot of medi cal jobs. Negron said that if legis lators raised legitimate objections to delay any actions on selecting Tradition for the next veterans home, its a matter of them doing what they were elected to do. Part of your job is to look out for your community, he said. Theres a wrinkle in the table cloth, however. Spokespeople at the Governors Mansion who wished not to be quoted until they could get additional information said the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs never asked for the vet erans home to get consideration at the August Cabinet meeting. Steve Murray, site selection committee member and commu nications director at the state veterans department, said theres ans home being pulled from this months agenda. It was never formally placed on the Cabinet agenda, he said. Murray, who was returning to the veterans department intended to have the veterans home placed on the Cabinets agenda. He wasnt sure why it hadnt been. The site-selection committees recommendation has been temporarily postponed, he said. That all I can say at the moment. The site-selection committee members met by conference call on July 1 to discuss their thoughts after visiting perspective sites. That meeting was open to members of the public listening in. Murray said they used score sheets to grade the perspective locations. (Cabinet members) dont have to (follow the committees rec ommendation), but I can tell you with the previous seven homes the governor and cabinet have not gone against us, Murray said in a previous interview. During its 2013 session, the Florida Legislature approved about $100,000 for an indepen dent study to determine whether a new veterans nursing home was needed, and if so, where it should go. Scott and the cabinet considered the study, which Health Strate gies did, at a February meeting in Tampa. Scott and the Cabinet opted to send letters to the top 10 good places for veterans homes requesting letters of interest back from them. Eight of the 10 counties did send us letters of intent telling us they were interested in bidding, Murray said in a previous inter view. Murray said that St. Lucie and Palm Beach counties were in that list. Palm Beach didnt send a letter of intent. Others on the list were Lee, Collier, Polk, Manatee, Hillsborough, Marion, Putnam and Sumter. The closest veteran nursing home to the Treasure Coast is the Alexander Sandy Nininger Veterans Nursing Home, 8401 W. Cypress Drive, Pembroke Pines. The next closest is the Emory L. Bennett State Veterans Nursing Home, 1920 Mason Ave., Dayto na Beach. Bennett was built in 1993. Nininger in 2001. Murray said the last home was built in 2010. That was the Clyde E. Lassen State Veterans Nursing Home in St. Augustine. That home cost about $30 million to build. The state paid about 35 percent of the costs. The VA paid about 65 percent. Other homes are in Land O Lakes, Panama City and Port Charlotte. The assisted living facility is in Lake City. Murray said the FDVA has the needed money for its share to go forward with building a state vet erans nursing home, because of changes the Legislature made to its trust funds last session. The trust has about $47 million. Teegardin said in a previous interview that there are numerous reasons Tradition and the Treaveterans home. Theyre supposed to hire around 190 people to run it, in addition to the construction jobs itll create, he said. The home would serve veterans for about a 75-mile radius. Tee gardin said that makes Tradition an ideal location for a veterans home. (The local) 75-mile radius is es timated to have 211,647 veterans in it, he said Of those, 112,758 are over age 65, which is the tar get of the nursing home. The Cabinet has a meeting scheduled for September. Representative Gayle Harrell of Port St. Lucie said its important for the community to rally to get the veterans department and Cabinet to approve the veterans home for Tradition at that meeting. There wont be another until November, after the general elections. If this drags on, we may miss the opportunity for the nursing home altogether, she said. The cabinet is made up of Attor ney General Pam Bondi, Commis sioner of Agriculture Adam PutJeff Atwater. The Tradition Land Company donated about 28 acres to St. Lucie County to bolster its bid to get the next home. The Florida Department of Veterans Affairs is not associated with the federal Department of Veterans Affairs. Patrick McCallisterFOR VETERAN VOICEpatrick.mccallister@yahoo.comThe site-selection committees recommendation has been temporarily postponed. That all I can say at the moment. Steve Murray, communications director, Florida Department of Veterans Affairs OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK 9AM TO 5PM Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum 6600 Tico Road, Titusville, FL 32780 Special Event Venues Available $1.00 OFF ADMISSION WITH THIS AD 3 Display Hangars Over 30 Aircraft Memorabilia Free Guided Tours Gift Shop C-47 Plane Rides Canteen $1.00 OFF Admission Cannot be combined with other offers. This coupon is not redeemable for cashWITH THIS AD13028


VETERAN VOICE THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE AUGUST 21, 2014 9 13026 SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!! Regular .................................... $18/yr ......... $12/yr PAYMENT OPTIONS Enclosed check payable to: VETERAN VOICE, LLC. #_____________________________________ SUBSCRIPTION/GIFT FORMMAIL SUBSCRIPTION PAYMENT TO: ___________________________________________ _________________________________________ ___________________________________________ _________________________________________________ ___________________________________________ _________________________________________ ___________________________________________Veteran Voice is a weekly newspaper for veterans, active military, their families and their friends.e Voice of Experience County Veterans Service OfficersSt. Lucie County, Wayne Teegardin Phone: (772) 337-5670 Fax: (772) 337-5678 veterans@stlucieco.orgDorothy J. Conrad Building(formerly the Walton Road Annex Bldg.) 1664 S.E. Walton Road, Suite 205 Port St. Lucie, FL 34952 By appointmentMon., Tues, Thurs, Fri 8:30 am-4:30 pmWed 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. St. Lucie County Community Services Bldg.(Corner of Avenue D and 7th Street) 437 N. Seventh St., Fort Pierce, FL 34950 Walk-ins Mon. and Fri. 8:30 a.m. 4:30 p.m. Brevard Veterans Services Office2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Bldg. B, Suite 102, Viera, FL 32940 Office: (321) 633-2012 Fax: (321) 637-5432 Mon., Tues. and Thurs., 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Wed. and Fri, 8 a.m.-noon Manager: Glenn McGuffieIndian River CountyJoel Herman Vero Beach 2525 St. Lucie Ave., Vero Beach, FL 32960 Ph: (772) 226-1499 Fax: (772) 770-5038Sebastian Square 11602 U.S. 1, Sebastian, FL 32958 Ph: (772) 589-6597 Fax: (772) 581-4988Martin CountyTony Reese, Veterans Service Office Super visor Nick Ciotti, Veterans Service Officer (772) 288-5448Veterans Services OfficeMartin County Community Services 435 S.E. Flagler Ave., Stuart, FL 34994 Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.VA Life Insurance Ctr., Phil., PA 1-800669-8477 VA Regional Office 1-800-827-1000 VA Medical Ctr, W. Palm Beach 1-800972-8262 Pharmacy, VA Medical Center 1-800317-8387 Military Retired Pay Activities, Cleveland, OH (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force ONLY) 1-800-321-1080 Military Retired Pay Activities, Topeka, KS (Coast Guard ONLY) 1-800-772-8724 Survivor Benefits (SBP), Denver, CO 1-800-435-3396 Stuart VA Clinic (772) 288-0304 Okeechobee CountyVeterans Services office (863) 763-6441, Ext 5. Fax: (863) 763-0118.Orlando VA Medical Cente5201 Raymond St., Orlando, FL 32803 (407) 629-1599 or (800) 922-7521Telephone Care(407) 599-1404 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon. Fri. (800) 645-6895 8 a.m. 4 p.m. Mon Fri (321) 637-3625 Viera patients8 a.m. 4 p.m. Mon. Fri. (877) 741-3400 Weekends, holidays, evenings and nightsWest Palm Beach Department of Veter ans Affair s Medical Center7305 North Military Trail, West Palm Beach, FL 33410 (561) 422-8262 or (800) 972-8262 Telephone Care(561) 422-6838 (866) 383-9036 Open 24 hours 7 daysViera VA Outpatient Clinic2900 Veterans Way, Viera, FL 32940 Phone: (321) 637-3788 1 (877) 878-8387 Mon. Fri. 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.St Lucie County PTSD Clinical Team (PCT) Outpatient Program 126 S.W. Chamber Court, Port St Lucie, FL 34986 Phone: (772) 878-7876Fort Pierce Community Based Outpatient Clinic1901 South 28th Street., Fort Pierce, FL 34947 Phone: (772) 595-5150 Fax: (772) 595-6560St Lucie Community Based Outpatient Clinic128 S.W. Chamber Court, Port Saint Lucie, FL 34986 Phone: (772) 344-9288Stuart Community Based Outpatient Clinic 3501 S E Willoughby Boulevard, Stuart, FL 34997 Phone: (772) 288-0304 Fax: (772) 288-1371Vero Beach Community Based Outpatient Clinic372 17th St., Vero Beach, FL 32960 Phone: (772) 299-4623 Fax: (772) 299-4632IMPORTANT NUMBERS ... Veteran Voice is a weekly publication designed to provide information to and about veterans to veterans and to the broader community. Veterans are an integral part of their Florida communities, which currently have individual organizations of their own, such as the Veter ans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Vietnam Veterans of America and many other groups with a nar row focus, but no convenient way to connect to a wider population of veterans and to the community in general within a limited geographic area, their community. The mission of Veteran Voice is to publish a weekly source of information that will provide, in one place, a listing of resources available to veterans, articles about changes in policies or organizations affecting veterans and events of interest to veterans as well as articles about veterans of interest to the general public. Veteran Voice LLC is organized as a partnership of experienced newspaper executives with an interest in veterans and in the communities of Florida veterans and friends. Veteran Voice is a start-up intended to ad dress a perceived lack of information readily available to veterans on programs and policies affecting them and objective reporting of veteran affairs to the public. To our knowledge, and based on comments from lead ers of local veterans organizations, there was no media or website currently meeting this need until the launch of Veteran Voice. We hope you agree, and will support this publica tion with your subscription. Without subscriptions there will be a limited number of people we can help, without which this mission will not be realized. As part of our commitment to supporting local veteran communities, readers and subscribers. Please let us know what you think by emailing or mailing your comments to us at 1919 S.W. South Macedo Blvd., Port St. Lucie, FL 34984.OUR MISSION STATEMENTAND OUR OBJECTIVE13027






















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