Spirit of giving at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center - We Are The Mighty
Veterans

Spirit of giving at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center

The spirit of giving is strong at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center.

Carts filled with presents were wheeled out of the South Entrance and into vehicles waiting to take them to children and Veterans alike. The gifts are the result of a pair of outreach programs.

Employees in the hospital’s Logistics Department provided a bounty of gifts for 55 children served by Children’s Wisconsin’s Community Services Division.

Meanwhile, presents purchased via an annual giving tree organized by recreational therapist Sara LeClaire and the City of West Allis were bound for Veterans in the Community Living Centers, Palliative Care Unit and the Community Homes.

Gifts for children

“This is such a wonderful giving opportunity for us,” said Stacey Snyder, program support assistant in Logistics and chairwoman of the annual Children’s event. “During these times, when things feel a little grim, this is an opportunity to know every kid will get a gift.”

Volunteers load donated gifts into a car.

Like a traditional giving tree, Children’s provides names and ages of the children, along with a short list of items they desire. Employees then choose a child (or children) and purchases the gifts.

The children are typically involved in foster care, child and family counseling, child abuse prevention programs and special needs adoptions. Most live in poverty and have had “difficult and challenging” life experiences according to Children’s.

This is the fourth year for the outreach, which has grown to the point where Children’s runs out of names to provide to Snyder and her crew.

“Our motto is no one is left behind,” she said. “It’s become bigger and bigger. We have more people wanting to buy than there are kids.”

Snyder noted that one employee, who wants to remain anonymous, makes the event a family affair, selecting 11 children this year and involving his brothers, sisters and extended family.

Some employees write personal notes to the children.

“This creates a connection between us and the community,” Snyder said, noting that some employees grew up served by Children’s Community Services and are eager to give back. “There are some tears involved. This brings up a lot of memories for people.”

“This is wonderful,” said Sondra Russell, a social worker at Children’s after receiving the gifts Monday. “They’re very generous, and we’re very thankful.

“Our families will be very thankful as well,” added Children’s social worker Tanya Edwards. “Resources are limited for our families, so this is amazing.”

Gifts for Vets

Some employees wrote personal notes to accompany the gifts for children.

While Snyder and her crew loaded up gifts for Children’s, LeClaire and recreation therapy assistant Francheska Wallace were gathering gifts for Veterans.

For the last 10 years, LeClaire has organized the outreach with the City of West Allis. It also involves a giving tree, which went virtual this year due to the pandemic.

LeClaire provides a list of Veterans and crafts wish lists, enabling community members to select names and purchase the gifts. The list is based on each Veteran’s interests and needs.

This year, all of the names were snapped up within two hours of being posted, Wallace said.

“The organizer from West Allis called me and said all the tags were taken,” LeClaire said.

Many people buy more than one gift, seeking to fill out as many wish lists as possible.

“They buy them all. It’s amazing what we get. It’s really a wonderful program,” Wallace added. “It blows my mind how generous people are, and this year with COVID, they’ve been even more generous. It’s incredible and such a wonderful thing.”

This article originally appeared on VAntage Point. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

Veterans

100-Year-Old Veteran loves VA telehealth

Proves age is not a barrier to telehealth


People often think that new technologies are for the young. But a 100-year old Veteran in Florida has proven otherwise. Dr. Joseph Belshe, a World War II Veteran Air Force medical officer, has used VA telehealth technology for almost two years to receive care from VA.

Belshe incorporated telehealth into his care thanks to Kimberly Braswell, a nurse practitioner in the cardiology unit at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, Florida. As a part of his cardiac care, Belshe meets with Braswell for routine appointments to review diagnostics related to his medication.

Belshe gets diagnostic tests done at his local primary care annex. The provider uploads the test results to Belshe’s VA Electronic Health Record so Braswell can review it. He then meets with Braswell through VA Video Connect, a VA app that enables Veterans and their VA providers to conduct secure, real-time video visits through a smartphone, computer or tablet.

“So convenient… really quite simple”

Through his VA-issued iPad, Belshe receives email reminders about his upcoming telehealth appointments. On the day of an appointment, he receives an email with a link to open his appointment on VA Video Connect.

“VA has made it so convenient for me. It is really quite simple,” he said.

VA Video Connect has also eliminated the need for Belshe to make 80-mile round trips from his home in Lakeland to Tampa for his appointments with Braswell. Of that added convenience, Belshe said, “My time is important to me. So the ability to avoid fighting traffic, I love it.”

Telehealth appointments have become important to everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic. But Belshe was using VA Video Connect for about a year before the pandemic started.

Reliability adds a layer of confidence

“Dr. Belshe is really an early adopter,” said Braswell. “While many people had to adjust their normal routines for social distancing, he was able to continue on the same schedule. I think that reliability added a layer of confidence and peace of mind for him, knowing that his medications and care wouldn’t be interrupted.”

Braswell says her day is always a little brighter when she meets with Belshe. She sees many Veterans through VA Video Connect. And they appreciate the opportunity to connect through video rather than a phone call. “Age is not a barrier to accessing virtual care.”

Belshe agreed. “Being able to have that face-to-face visualization and speak directly has been enjoyable. I think more Veterans should try it even if they don’t have experience with technology.”

For more information on VA telehealth, visit the VA Telehealth Services website and read VA’s Connecting Veterans to Telehealth Care fact sheet.

This article originally appeared on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

MIGHTY TRENDING

Veterans experience hope and healing through partnerships

It’s possible for Veterans speaking about their experiences — and working toward self-forgiveness — to heal their emotional wounds.

A Veteran’s Health Administration initiative is facilitating this process. The Atlanta VA Health Care System Veteran Community Partnership (VCP) collaborates with VITAS Healthcare, a palliative care and hospice services company, to offer healing and hope for Veterans with other than honorable (OTH) discharges.

This collaboration is an effort of We Honor Veterans. The program, part of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, is in collaboration with VA. We Honor Veterans helps care for Veterans at the end of life.

VITAS, part of We Honor Veterans, is a partner agency within the Atlanta VCP.


VCPs are coalitions that bring community entities together to foster Veterans’ access to care and supportive services at VA and beyond. Each VCP in the United States is part of the national VCP initiative. There are 41 VCPs as of December 2019.

The VCP initiative is a joint project of VHA’s Offices of Community Engagement (OCE), Geriatrics and Extended Care, Rural Health and Caregiver Support.

Spirit of giving at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center

Veteran Service Organizations can help.

Requesting a change in OTH discharge

A Veteran with an OTH military discharge is ineligible for most VA benefits. This can cause significant obstacles as they approach the end of life.

Larry Robert is a chaplain who provides supportive counseling to Veterans in this position. He also is the bereavement services manager and Veteran liaison for VITAS. VITAS helps Veterans talk through their reasons for OTH military discharges. It helps them file a request for a change in their discharge status with the Department of Defense (DoD).

Robert also helps Veterans understand their benefit options. The most important part of this process, he said, is encouraging Veterans to tell their stories. An OTH discharge may be a result of a Veteran not having the proper support for a mental health issue, for example.

“They are trying to forgive themselves and they’re making peace with something that brought them a lot of pain.”

Veteran Service Organizations can help

Veterans — even those not in hospice care — and caregivers or loved ones of Veterans should be aware of the process of requesting a change to their discharge status, as well as the palliative care services of We Honor Veterans.

Veterans should apply for a change in their discharge status and enroll for benefits when they’re well. They should have a Veteran service officer work with them on this process. A representative from one of the Veteran Service Organizations listed at the link above could also help fill out paperwork for a correction of their military record

Even if their status and record is not changed, Robert explained, the process of this work is transformative for many Veterans.

“It adds a voice to their pain. It makes it real. They’re able to then see their pain and discuss it. In becoming real, it becomes something than can be overcome.”

OCE supports the VCP initiative and partnerships throughout VHA. For more information on OCE’s work, visit: https://www.va.gov/healthpartnerships/.

This article originally appeared on VAntage Point. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

Veterans

Security Investment

What I would tell my 21-year-old self

Alani Bankhead is an Air Force veteran and current reservist. She has served tours around the world, including Iraq. She’s also a former counterintelligence special agent.

Bankhead always knew she wanted to be in the military and attended college on an Air Force scholarship. She started her career as a personnelist, the equivalent of a human resources manager in a civilian company. She didn’t stay in that world for too long.

Encouraged by supervisors, Bankhead applied for and soon transferred to be a Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI). The job turned out to be much more than she had originally expected. And she loved it!

In her 12-year active duty career, Bankhead served in duty stations around the world and did a six month tour with special operations in Iraq. Her job: running informants for counterintelligence to help find high-level terrorists. She’s not your typical counterintelligence special agent.

Bankhead remembers when she was first dropped into Iraq, saying “I was this young little Hispanic girl.”

Standing at just 5-foot 3-inches, she was quite different from her colleagues. OSI is a male dominated field operating agency. Bankhead says she originally questioned her own ability on that first deployment.

That insecurity stems from childhood.

Bankhead’s father is a former army officer for whom education was the path out of poverty. And while the family was middle class, she says she grew up feeling as if they were really poor. She recalls that there was always a sense in the house that they didn’t have money. She internalized that.

Her parents couldn’t afford college. Her Air Force scholarship helped with that. Still, she struggled with finances. That came from her childhood perception of being poor. It created a conflict between having expensive nice things and sacrificing, between spending and saving.

Spending won. She lived beyond her means. She moved into an apartment she couldn’t afford. And she got behind on her rent.

The inevitable eviction notice was her wake up call. That was the beginning of her personal financial journey. Bankhead refers to it as her, “financial fitness journey.”

She decided that she would never go into debt again. This gave her the ability to reframe her insecurity. It changed everything in her life.

Today, Bankhead is a special agent working internet crimes against children.

“I always hated bullies; anybody that uses their strength or their power to pick on someone that’s weaker,” said Bankhead.

Her job is to protect the most vulnerable: children. She has moved from hunting terrorists to chasing human traffickers and white-collar criminals. She is driven to get justice for the victims of those crimes and appreciates the opportunity to help them heal.

“The pay is awful, but it is the job I was destined to do. The joy I get from that is just incredible,” Bankhead remarks. And it’s all possible because of proper planning.

She has a robust retirement portfolio thanks to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) and explains that it’s “a really great tool!”

Today Bankhead is a smart well-diversified investor. Because of her planning, she is able to contribute to the world in a personally meaningful way. The result is that she can do a job that is really important and that she truly loves without worrying about putting a roof over her head.

Her financial fitness journey is the result of her courage to explore who she was and what her true beliefs were. She achieved a great sense of peace as a result. She made career and personal moves with confidence. And she feels really good about that.

Bankhead says that “having financial security gives you options to seize opportunities at the right time.” When you do, you can align yourself to do what you were always meant to do.

All of the things she thought were weaknesses were actually her strengths.

This is what Bankhead would say if she could go back and talk to her 21-year-old self.

Veterans

Army Veteran turned Documentarian continues to deploy to conflict zones

Violence escalating between Israel and terrorist organizations like Hamas is, unfortunately, all too common. But the fighting over Israel’s holiest sites dates back much, much further than Hamas or even modern Israel. Jerusalem, Israel’s capital city is home to the holiest sites of three major religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

Jerusalem remains the focal point for much of the conflict that rages between Israel and the Palestinians today – because those holy sites are all within the same square mile. 

In his latest Fox Nation special, “Battle in the Holy City,” Fox News correspondent Pete Hegseth takes viewers closer to the powder keg than they’ve ever been. Hegseth is uniquely qualified for the job. He’s been in combat before with the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Most weekends, Pete Hegseth is in the Fox News studio as a co-host of Fox & Friends Weekend. Not too long ago, however, he was Maj. Pete Hegseth of the Army National Guard. He joined the guard after graduating from Princeton in 2003, serving as an officer with the 101st Airborne Division in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. 

Not long after returning from Cuba, he volunteered to serve in Iraq as a civil affairs operations officer. It was in Iraq where he not only earned a Combat Infantryman Badge, he was also awarded the Bronze Star. 

That experience would serve him well when he volunteered for a tour in Afghanistan with the Minnesota National Guard, this time as a counterinsurgency instructor. Two years after returning from the war, Hegseth joined Fox News. 

Since then Hegseth has produced a number of thought-provoking specials and reports under his belt. He has interviewed American military veterans from all walks of life on the Fox Nation show “Modern Warriors.” During the Coronavirus pandemic, Hegseth hosted “America Together,” a “living room concert” that raised more than $8 million to support pandemic relief efforts. 

Today, his latest special report is one that has suddenly become more important than ever. As the tensions and clashes between Israel and Hamas increase, Hegseth’s “Battle in the Holy City” shows us why so many people are fighting and dying for this small strip of land in the Middle East. 

Jerusalem is a much bigger city than the carved stone streets of the old city. The old city is little bigger than a third of a square mile. Between the old city walls, however, the streets and houses are packed with religious and secular people from all walks of life. Jewish and Palestinian muslim familes, Orthodox Christian monks, and even Lutheran bishops are all packed in this small space.

Also inside this space is the Western Wall, the last remnant of the second temple, believed by the Jewish people to be the one place where heaven and earth come together. It is situated next to the Temple Mount, where the golden Dome of the Rock sits. 

To muslims, the area overlooking the Western Wall is where the prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven with the angel Gabriel, to pray with Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. It is the third holiest site in the Islamic faith, after Mecca and Medina. 

Just a short walk away from the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a large church built around the two holiest sites for Christians of all denominations. The first is Calvary, where Christ was crucified and the second is his empty tomb, where he was buried and resurrected. 

The Old City of Jerusalem can be a powder keg of tension. When fighting erupts, the results can be catastrophic. On Fox Nation’s “Battle in the Holy Land,” viewers can get glimpses of the holy sites and relics, a closer view than going in person, as Hegseth guides them through the start of the conflict and the reasons it continues to this day.

If you’re in the military or a veteran, you can check out Pete Hegseth and other awesome veterans for a year for free on Fox Nation. Check out the Fox Nation website for more details!

MIGHTY TRENDING

Watch how 3 veterans ski to their old Iraq battlegrounds in ‘Adventure Not War’

Often when service men and women return home from a long military deployment, they can have a sense of feeling lost being back stateside.


Many troops believe they still have plenty of unfinished business “over-there,” extending years down the line after their return. In the interim, they can be found struggling with various forms of depression.

Many veterans seek counseling, but one former Army captain found relief by revisiting the place that caused him so much anxiety — Iraq.

“We all have to ultimately take care of our own healing process and so that’s where I wanted to go back,” Iraq veteran and former Army Capt. Stacy Bare says.

Related: Ranger takes flip flop company from Kabul to the Shark Tank

Spirit of giving at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center
U.S. Army captain, Iraq veteran, and National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Stacy Bare smiles bright while on his cathartic journey. (Source: Adventure Not War/Screenshot)

In February 2017,  Bare, CEO of Combat Flip Flops and Army Ranger Matthew Griffin, and former helicopter pilot Robin Brown embarked on a ski ascent and descent from Mt. Halgurd  — the tallest mountain in Iraq — to the hallowed battlegrounds from which Bare once served.

This incredible journey of healing spawned filmmaker Max Lowe to create the compelling documentary Adventure Not War.

Spirit of giving at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center

This film shows a rarely seen beauty in a location known for devastation. For Bare, it created a stable place for healing wounds that are deeper than those seen on the surface.

Also Read: These entrepreneurs survived Shark Tank and share their secrets with vets

During their two-week journey, Stacy, Robin, and Matthew traveled to Iraqi Kurdistan to work alongside the non-profit Tent Ed, providing educational resources to children displaced by war.

Check out the Stept Studios’ video below to witness how these three brave veterans ventured back to Iraq and revisit the various places in which many Americans used to fight.


(Adventure Not War, Stept Studios)
MIGHTY TRENDING

VA diagnoses 4,000 cases of colon cancer each year: how to get screened at home

Denise put off a screening colonoscopy for two years. When she finally did, she was diagnosed with rectal cancer.

“I was fortunate. My cancer was in the early stages and surgery offered me a cure. The prep was not that bad. The sedation made me wonder, ‘Is that all there is to it?’ The moral of my story is if I had waited until I had symptoms, it would have been too late.”

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S. It is also the second leading cause of cancer deaths, behind lung cancer. The yearly death toll from colorectal cancer in America exceeds the total number of American combat deaths during the entire Vietnam War.


The Veterans Health Administration recommends screening for colorectal cancer in adults age 50 through 75.

The decision to screen for colorectal cancer in adults age 76 through 85 should be an individual one, taking into account the patient’s overall health and prior screening history.

Spirit of giving at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center

Six out of ten deaths could be prevented

In the past decade, colorectal cancer has emerged as one of the most preventable common cancers. If all men and women age 50 and older were screened regularly, six out of ten deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented. Screening is typically recommended for all between the ages of 50 and 75 years. VA diagnoses some 4,000 new cases of the disease each year in veterans.

Spirit of giving at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center

Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum. It’s as common in women as it is in men. Most colorectal cancers start as a growth called a polyp. If polyps are found and removed before they turn into cancer, many colorectal cancers can be prevented.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month: A perfect time for veterans to get screened.

Questions? Here are the answers, including symptoms and how to prevent colon cancer.

This article originally appeared on VAntage Point. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

MIGHTY TRENDING

5 ways a grunt’s resume is more valuable than a POG’s

One of the biggest drawbacks of being in the combat arms is a perceived lack of post-service opportunities out here in the civilian world. A recently released grunt might take a look through job listings, see a laundry list of requirements, become convinced that applying is a pointless effort, and send themselves into a downward spiral. We’ve seen it happen too many times — we all know a brother- or sister-in-arms who has fallen down this hole.

This misconception couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is, there really isn’t much of advantage to being a former POG over being former infantry when it comes time to find a job. Unless that guy who was a computer analyst in the Army is specifically going into a civilian computer analyst job, you’re both on even footing.

In fact, when you cut away the military jargon from your resume and translate your skills into something a civilian employer can read, the grunts actually have the upper hand, based solely on the day-to-day lifestyle of combat arms troops.


This article isn’t meant to discredit a support troop’s career path. All troops can pull useful information out of this article, but it’s intended mostly for the grunts who don’t realize their true potential.

Spirit of giving at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center

It’s best if you let your resume do the talking…

(Meme via Valhalla Wear)

Your awards are proof for all the “fluff” in your resume

Let’s be honest; everyone is going to add some decorative fluff their resume. Employers expect this and have to weed through said fluff to get the heart of the issue. Even if you don’t embellish a little on your resume, prospective employers will assume you’re fluffing it up. It’s just how these things go.

Typically, grunts don’t have awards tossed to them like candy, so when they get one, it means something. So, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. Go ahead and mention why you were given the award; that’s the real impressive part.

Spirit of giving at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center

Deployment stories usually do well with civilians who have no idea what life in the military is actually like.

(Meme via Pop Smoke)

Your deployment history can solidify your communication skills

Writing about your deployment history is, in a word, complicated. Unfortunately, there’s a stigma associated with veterans of combat zones. Some employers unjustly see veterans as unqualified because they assume we all have post-traumatic stress and are difficult to work with — despite the fact that that’s discrimination clearly forbidden by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Still, civilian employers, no matter the industry, are looking for three key traits in an employee: Communication skills, leadership potential, and management ability. There’s no question that a deployment checks these three boxes. If you’ve deployed, then you have a proven ability to “communicate with a team and higher-ups under extremely stressful conditions.”

Spirit of giving at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center

They don’t need to know about your salty attitude until you’ve been on board for several months.

(Meme via CONUS Battle Drills)

Your leadership skills are needed for promotion in civilian workplace

Employers want a new hire for one of two reasons: They’re either looking to fill a vacancy to complete a specific task or they’re trying to bring someone on for the long-haul, someone who will rise within the ranks and remain loyal to the employer.

Support guys, like that Army computer analyst from the earlier example, might be a shoe-in for that one entry-level position, but it’s the grunt they’ll be looking at for the long-term. Grunts take on leadership roles from the first moment they’re assigned a boot private to babysit watch over. What the civilian employer wants to hear is that you “oversaw and aided in the growth of subordinates over the course of several years.”

Spirit of giving at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center

Civilians won’t know that you were volun-told or needed to make rank. It just sounds extremely impressive to the uninformed.

(Meme via The Salty Soldier)

Your military schooling is tangible proof of management skills

In every complete resume, the final portion is reserved for educational history. Typically, this is where an applicant lists their high school diploma and college degrees, but it’s also used for technical schools and any kind of additional education. Good news, grunts: this is also where you put those random schools you were sent to.

Officer Candidate School and NCO Academies definitely count. Put those on there. Plus, most NCO schools are given overly “hooah” names. Go ahead and tell me what sounds better: “Warrior Leader Course” or “Los Angeles City College?”

Spirit of giving at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center

Follow wherever your heart takes you. You’ll find someone out there willing to pay you money to do it.

(Meme via Disgruntled Vets)

Your college degree will cover down on anything else missing on the resume

At the end of the day, your military experience looks good and it makes for a great topic of discussion during the interview, but you can’t expect anything more than a foot in the door if you don’t meet the required qualifications.

Thankfully, using that GI Bill that you earned can help boost your odds in any field you’re pursuing. Once you’ve finished your degree, the job market is ripe for the picking, and your military service will give you an edge over the competition.

For further instruction on how to best translate your military history into a fantastic civilian resume, please check out this article by the folks over at Zety. They’re professionals who dedicate themselves to this very subject. It’s a great read.

MIGHTY TRENDING

New VA appeals process is starting and it looks promising

Over the last 18 months, VA has been dedicated to implementing the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (Appeals Modernization Act). The Appeals Modernization Act was signed into law by President Trump on Aug. 23, 2017, and has been fully implemented beginning Feb. 19, 2019. VA is proud to now offer veterans greater choice in how they resolve a disagreement with a VA decision.


Veterans who appeal a VA decision on or after Feb. 19, 2019, have three decision review lanes to choose from: Higher-Level Review, Supplemental Claim, and appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board). VA’s goal is to complete Supplemental Claims and Higher-Level Reviews in an average of 125 days, and decisions appealed to the Board for direct review in an average of 365 days. This is a vast improvement to the average three to seven years veterans waited for a decision in the legacy process.

Spirit of giving at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Clayton Cupit)

Before appeals reform, pending appeals grew 350 percent from 100,000 in Fiscal Year 2001 to 450,000 in Fiscal Year 2017. In November 2017, VA initiated the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP) to afford Veterans with a legacy appeal the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of the new process. RAMP ended Feb. 15, 2019, but VA remains committed to completing the inventory of legacy appeals.

This is a historic day for Veterans and their families. Appeals Modernization helps VA continue its effort to improve the delivery of benefits and services to Veterans and their families.

For more information on Appeals Modernization, visit http://www.va.gov/decision-reviews.

This article originally appeared on VAntage Point. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

MIGHTY MILSPOUSE

How one bank is investing heavily in vet-owned business

The hardest part about starting a business is finding the seed capital to get the ball rolling. Like the first step of a thousand-mile journey, it’s the hardest and most important. For many veterans, owning their own business is the way to financial freedom. There’s a reason entrepreneurs call seed capital “friends and family money.” Now veterans don’t need to go around asking loved ones for the money – one bank is willing to jump start your idea.


To find out why, just take a look a the PenFed Foundation’s Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program. Besides the fact that PenFed serves the military-veteran community as a consumer base, it just makes sense for the PenFed Foundation to support veterans who are looking to start their own businesses. The numbers speak for themselves. While the number of vets who actually pursue entrepreneurship is relatively small compared to the number of separating military members, that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of interest, it might just mean there’s a lack of capital to get started.

Simply put, veterans need money and knowhow. They already have the work ethic. The numbers back that fact up too.

Spirit of giving at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center

Medal of Honor Recipient Florent Groberg will speak at the 2019 Military Influencer Conference.

Entrepreneurs who are business owners tend to out-earn entrepreneurs who are not veterans. Vets are also a much more diverse subgroup of Americans in terms of age, ethnicity, disability, and experience. There’s nothing a vet can’t do when faced with a big job full of hard work. But like many entrepreneurs, veterans or not, many lack the startup funds to get the ball rolling. That’s where the PenFed Foundation’s VEIP comes in.

The VEIP aims to develop and grow vet-owned startups with seed capital for all the reasons listed above but the most important reason to support these entrepreneurs is because vets become knowledge bases for other vets looking to start their own businesses. Not only that, veterans who own businesses are 30 percent more likely to hire veterans themselves.

Spirit of giving at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center

Charlynda Scales, vet and founder of Mutt’s Sauce is speaking at the 2019 Military Influencer Conference.

The PenFed Foundation is a national nonprofit organization founded in 2001 that is committed to helping members of our military community secure their financial future. Its mission is to provide service members, veterans, and their families and support networks with the skills and resources they need to build a strong financial future.The Foundation changes lives through financial education.

If you’re interested in starting your own business and don’t know where to begin, the Military Influencer Conferences are the perfect place to start. There, you can network with other veteran entrepreneurs while listening to the best speakers and panels the military-veteran community of entrepreneurs can muster. Visit the Military Influencer Conference website for more information.

MIGHTY TRENDING

VA hiring housekeeping staff: immediate need to fill positions nationwide

VA is seeking housekeeping staff to fill numerous, immediate openings at health care facilities in Boston and across the country. Boston alone has 57 available housekeeping positions. Temporary, permanent, part-time and full-time positions are available.

During a time of high unemployment, we offer job security, a regular paycheck, excellent benefits and an awesome mission: giving back to our nation’s Veterans.

Our housekeeping staff support our mission to help Veterans get better fast by keeping facilities clean and safe for patients, staff and visitors. And Veterans who become housekeeping aides will work alongside fellow Veterans, who make up 85% of VA’s custodial staff.


With new openings posted daily, be sure to visit the VA Careers website often for the most up-to-date postings across the United States and its territories. You also can apply specifically for positions in Boston. Transferring between locations is easy and you’ll take all of your benefits with you, including accumulated paid time off.

“VA depends on our housekeeping staff to keep our medical centers and outpatient clinics clean and safe for those providing and receiving care,” said Darren Sherrard, associate director of VA recruitment marketing. “Now more than ever, we are grateful to those who show up every day to perform the vital tasks without which our facilities could not operate.”

Enjoy excellent benefits

As a VA housekeeping aide, you’ll receive:

  • Paid vacation time that starts building right away, paid sick leave and 10 paid federal holidays.
  • Comprehensive health insurance, including dental and vision care, which may become effective on the first full pay period after you start your job.
  • Generous retirement benefits through the Federal Employees’ Retirement System, or FERS, a three-tier retirement plan that includes a 401(k)-type savings plan with an up to 5% employer match, Social Security and pension.

Child care and transportation assistance programs may also be available. VA employees who have previously served in the military or another federal government role continue to accumulate retirement benefits.

Work at VA today

If you’re looking for a satisfying career working with other Veterans for Veterans, explore our openings for housekeeping aides at vacareers.va.gov.

This article originally appeared on VAntage Point. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

MIGHTY TRENDING

This is what John McCain thinks of the VA’s Veterans CARE Act proposal

US Senator John McCain today applauded the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ proposed Veterans Coordinated Access and Rewarding Experiences Act, which would bolster the Veterans Choice Program and consolidate the VA’s community care network.


The proposal also includes several measures Senator McCain has strongly advocated to expand quality and timely care for veterans in their communities, such as eliminating the current 30-day/40-mile limit to permit all eligible veterans to use the VA Choice Card.

Also read: The VA is running out of money for Veterans Choice health care program — again

It would also offer patients access to a network of walk-in clinics for minor health issues. This is modeled on a path-breaking partnership in Phoenix, Arizona, that allows Phoenix’s nearly 120,000 veterans to visit dozens of local CVS MinuteClinic locations for care.

Spirit of giving at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center
Marines, veterans, and care providers watch as the American flag is walked to the flagpole at the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ. Photo by Sgt. Justin Boling

Senator McCain released the following statement supporting the VA’s new proposal:

“The VA’s proposed Veterans CARE Act would improve access to health care by developing a consolidated community care network that places veterans first. I am especially pleased to see the VA’s proposal incorporates some of the major reforms I have long advocated, such as eliminating the 30-day/40-mile restriction in the Veterans Choice Program, and expanding the successful pilot program in Phoenix, Arizona, that allows veterans to visit local walk-in clinics nationwide.

Veteran Issues: Military veterans are twice as likely to get ALS, and no one knows why

“Over the last few years, demand for community care through the Veterans Choice Program has grown considerably. Millions of veteran appointments have been made with quality community health care providers around the country. Today, veterans no longer have to wait in long lines or drive hundreds of miles to receive care. Unfortunately, the Veterans Choice Program has also been a victim of its own success, and has outpaced the VA’s ability to accurately predict growing demand for the program. Until the VA can accurately assess demand for care in the community, Congress’ efforts to create an integrated and efficient VA health care system will continue to face difficulty.

Spirit of giving at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center
Senator John McCain. DoD photo by Chief Petty Officer James Foehl

“Those efforts must reflect the lessons learned through the Veterans Choice Program. We must set standards for care that are easy to use and understand. We must require the VA to accurately assess demand for care in the community. And we must produce a standardized and transparent system that integrates community and VA services.

“I look forward to working with Secretary Shulkin, my colleagues on the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committees, and veterans service organizations to build on the proposed Veterans CARE Act and deliver our veterans the timely, quality, and flexible health care they deserve.”

Articles

Why Navy SEALs will storm the beaches of Normandy in 2018

Jumping into freezing water is just part of the legacy of being a Navy SEAL. During World War II, the U.S. Navy Combat Demolition Units were just a handful of guys equipped only with a pair of shorts, a knife, and maybe some explosives. But those amphibious roots are still close to the hearts of the Navy special warfare community — that’s why they still call themselves “Frogmen.”

Some 74 years ago, in the English Channel during the predawn hours of June 6, 1944, these Navy Combat Demolition Units braved the freezing waters — not to mention the thousands of Nazi guns pointed at the water’s edge.

They were trained for this.

They weren’t necessarily trained to be the secret first wave of invaders up against some of the most fortified positions in the world. No, instead they were trained to win against any and all odds or obstacles. These men were the precursor to modern day SEALs, moving to do their part on the beaches before the D-Day Landings.

That’s how SEAL training works to this day. Recruits are taught to overcome the things they think can’t be done. Now, in tribute to those few who landed at occupied France well before the rest of the Allies, 30 current and former Navy SEALs, as well as some “gritty” civilians, will recreate those NCDU landings.

Today’s SEAL reenactors will do a seven-mile swim to land at Normandy, where they’ll scale the cliffs of Omaha Beach to place a wreath in memorial. At that point, they’ll gear up with 44-pound rucks to do a 30-kilometer march to Saint-Lô.

Why? To raise awareness (and funds) for the Navy SEAL Heritage Museum in Fort Pierce, Florida — and the wide range of programs they offer to support family members of SEALs who fell in combat, doing things only the U.S. special operations community would ever dare.


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“The greatest barrier to human performance is your own mind,” says Kaj Larsen, a Navy SEAL veteran who is also a seasoned journalist and television personality (among other things). “… what [BUD/S training] is really doing is putting guys into the [SEAL] community who aren’t going to quit in combat.” Larsen will be among the SEALs hitting the beach on D-Day 2018.

Spirit of giving at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center
Larsen with Nigerian troops while covering the fight against Boko Haram for Vice News.
(Kaj Larsen)

The goal is to keep the 2018 mission as close as possible to the original mission of the D-Day Frogmen.

The night before D-Day, an ad hoc team of underwater demolition sailors, along with Navy divers and Seabees, led by Ensign Lawrence Stephen Karnowski, rigged the mine fields, obstacles, and other impediments set up by the Nazi defenders to explode so the main invasion force could make it to the beach.

Spirit of giving at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center
Karnowski (center) with his UDC team.
(U.S. Navy)

It was 2 a.m. when the NCDU units slipped into the water, wearing little more than diver’s shorts and carrying satchels of explosives. The water temperature at that time of year peaks at just below 58 degrees Fahrenheit (for reference, water freezes at 32 degrees).

This is why today’s SEALs get that mental training: they need it.

Be sure to listen to this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast to find out more about “The Murph” workout (Larsen was a close friend of SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient Michael P. Murphy for whom the exercise is named), to learn about a “Super Murph,” how SEALs are dealing with their fame in the wake of the Bin Laden Raid, and why veterans might be the future of American journalism.

Spirit of giving at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center
Larsen on assignment in Peru with Vice camerawoman Claire Ward while embedded with Peruvian Special Forces.
(Kaj Larson)

You can also find out how to follow Kaj and his work, as well as what comes next for the veteran journalist.

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