Wounded Times


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

'Profiteering' off Veteran Insurance Payouts News To VA?

VA Unaware of Prudential 'Profiteering' off Veteran Insurance Payouts 
by Bryant Jordan
Oct 05, 2015

The Veterans Affairs Department was not aware that Prudential Insurance encouraged its counselors to keep casualty pay-out monies in-house as a way to boost company profits, or that its agents were schooled to try to change the minds of surviving family members who sought a traditional lump-sum payment.

Prudential's practices came to light last week with the court-ordered release of internal company documents to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which joined in a class-action lawsuit against Prudential in 2010. Prudential is under contract to handle Sevicemember Group Life Insurance and Veterans Group Life Insurance policies.

Among the documents was one detailing a plan to increase company profitability by retaining control of money that would normally be awarded to survivors in a lump sum. Another revealed the company trained personnel on how to deal with survivors who insisted on a lump-sum payout rather than leaving the money with Prudential in "Alliance Accounts" that provided the beneficiary with a fraction of the interest that Prudential would gain from it.

VFW National Commander John A. Biedrzycki Jr. last week called for an independent investigation of the VA and the Alliance Accounts, saying the department turned a blind eye to Prudential's profiteering off beneficiaries.
read more here

Camp Pendleton Marine Found Dead At Shooting Range

Marine found dead with gunshot wound at Camp Pendleton 
CBS News
October 5, 2015

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- A Marine has been found dead with a gunshot wound to the head at a shooting range at Camp Pendleton Marine Base, the Associated Press reports.

Officials at the military base say the Marine was taking part in a training exercise in which live ammunition was used Monday morning.

The circumstances of the fatal gunshot are under investigation. read more here

Grounded Pilot Sues VA After 10 Years Medicated For What He Did Not Have

Former Navy Pilot Sues US Government over Bipolar Diagnosis
Associated Press
by Bill Draper
Oct 06, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A former Navy pilot has filed a $35 million lawsuit against the federal government alleging that a Veterans Affairs doctor misdiagnosed him with a mental illness that caused him to lose his ability to fly commercial airplanes and be wrongly treated for the disorder for a decade.

William Royster, 53, of Kansas City, said in the lawsuit filed Friday that a doctor at the local VA medical center diagnosed him with bipolar disorder in April 2004 and said he could not work in any capacity. The doctor also said the condition was permanent, he contends.

After he had been treated and medicated for more than 10 years for the disorder, Royster said a different psychiatrist at the medical center told him last November that he was not bipolar.

"From the review of the records, he (Mr. Royster) never had any manic symptoms and he never met the criteria for the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. ... Thus in my professional opinion, I do not believe that Mr. Royster has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder," Dr. Shreeja Kumar wrote on Nov. 18.

Royster was flying a fighter jet on a training mission associated with Desert Storm on June 4, 1996, when he was shot down, the lawsuit says. He was injured when he ejected from the jet and honorably discharged from the Navy that November.
read more here

“Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.”

Faith of the Centurion
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
October 6, 2015

Yesterday I asked for prayers when I posted What Does A Chaplain Do When Soul Is Crushed because I just didn't know what to do anymore. After 33 years I was ready to quit. There just didn't seem to be anymore reasons to even try to do this work especially when everything I knew was being drowned out by all the groups popping up all over the country. I just got to a point where I gave everything I had left to give and there just wasn't anything left to keep this emotional weight off my soul.

Too many gone and counting far too many years witnessing it feeling helpless to get anyone to hear me anymore.

Well, I asked for prayers from readers as well as members of Point Man International Ministry leaders. Every Monday night we have a conference call and it replenishes us but with getting up at 4:30, I had to stop participating in that call. I asked Dana for prayers from the group. I asked for prayers from friends that if God wanted me to give up, I just needed to know for sure or if He wanted me to keep fighting, I needed the strength to do it. I got the usual speech from my buddy Gunny about not giving up on veterans because they were not giving up on me and bless him for all the support he has given more more times than the can even remember.

If anyone tells you that prayers are no longer answered, share this with them.

I was getting ready to go home from work, waiting until a few minutes before the end of my day, to talk to a coworker. I was sure I'd cry. She is a Christian and I thought she belonged to a prayer group, so asked her if they would pray for me to find out what I am supposed to do.

Sure enough, she listened to what I needed instead of offering a blanket prayer, good prayers are always as specific as they can be. She said she understood and gave me words of encouragement so that if the answer came back to stop, I would find peace knowing that all these years helped a lot of people and I should find comfort in that.

Then she told me about a friend of hers in the military. He used to attend church with her but has become an atheist. I was explaining how something like that can happen when the tears dried up. I told her that they see so much horror and evil that they miss what is miraculous at the same moment. That they grieve so much because the strength of their soul, preparing them to be able to put their lives on the line, knowing they could die for someone else, opens them up to the pain they carry. That grieving is coming from a place of love, not evil. That compassion lives no matter what they face. That the man/woman standing by their side is willing to die for them. That they are there to save and should the enemy drop their weapons, they would simply take them in and not obliterate them where they stand. That PTSD comes into that place where all that is good lives and tries to infect it.

I told my friend that Point Man has Combat Veteran Bibles I could send him and then reminded her about the Roman Centurion telling her that it is a good reminder of what can happen when someone believes just enough to ask.
Matthew 8:5-13 New International Version (NIV)

The Faith of the Centurion
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
It was while I talking about the Centurion that the weight crushing my soul left and I knew I had my answer. I am not supposed to give up. When I was talking about my own suffering, focusing on what I was lacking, it hurt, yet when I was talking about the members of the military and our veterans, it didn't hurt anymore.

What they need is already in them. There is no magic to what I do and it isn't financially expensive as much as it is emotionally but the rewards far outweigh the tiny price I pay. I actually smiled when I told my friend what those I help want to do as soon as they start to heal. They want to help other veterans. That's how amazing all of them are and that, that you cannot put a price on. It is all proof of God's Love and the Compassion Christ came to teach all of us.

If veterans are to heal, the spirit has to be at the center of any endeavor and it shouldn't matter if they go to church or not. That is not my job. My job is to help them and their families heal the same way mine did.

I know what trauma does as much as I know what it can do to a person from a lifetime of facing it just as a civilian. I also know what God can do to heal us and bring us peace to live as a survivor. Everything I needed to heal was already inside of me, just as it is within them. They just need help finding it and seeing it differently.

So I'll keep fighting the good fight and doing my best everyday as I search for another way to do it so that I won't let my voice be drowned out by the chattering instant experts unable to explain anything about "raising awareness" when they are not even aware of what the facts are.

Simply put, if their goal is to educate veterans about the problem, as most appear to be doing, they forget the veterans already know why they are suffering. What they don't know is how to heal. 

Frankly, no one should be making any money off telling them they are in pain. If they are trying to educate the public, again, enough money has already been spent to make matters worse for all of them, so that is a useless effort.

I was feeling like the Centurion, unworthy to ask for help but clinging onto just enough hope to ask and my prayers were answered. Yours can be answered too! Just have enough hope and courage to ask.

Memories Of Vietnam Come Home To Manchester

Memories Of Vietnam Come Home To Manchester With The Wall That Heals
Hartford Courant
Jesse Leavenworth
October 6, 2015
After the start of the Iraq War in 2003, Simmons said he was determined to protect service members from the scorn heaped on veterans of his era.
MANCHESTER — On that indelible winter's day, Ann Marie Krajewski rushed to answer the doorbell with all the innocent enthusiasm of a 5-year-old.

Uniformed men stood outside, and her parents told her to go play, the now 52-year-old Ann Marie Grottke recalled Monday. Moments later, "I could hear my father burst out crying," Grottke said. "I never heard my father cry before."

U.S. Army Spec. 4 Donald Joseph Krajewski, Ann Marie's 19-year-old brother, was killed in Vietnam on Feb. 28, 1969. His remains were returned home on what would have been his 20th birthday, March 13.

Along with other men from Manchester, Krajewski's name is inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and on the replica that is scheduled to arrive in town Wednesday.

The Wall That Heals, a 250-foot-long traveling monument, is designed to bring the names home, allowing "the souls enshrined on the Memorial to exist once more among family and friends in the peace and comfort of familiar surroundings," according to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
The keynote speaker for the opening ceremony is former U.S. Congressman Rob Simmons, a U.S. Army veteran who served 19 months in Vietnam and earned two Bronze Stars. Simmons also was a CIA operations officer in Vietnam and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
read more here

Central Florida Veterans Events

From Cathy Haynes

October - Veteran, military and patriotic events in Central Florida
Sorry, folks, I’ve been totally consumed with caring for a senior family member with medical issues.  I’ve had/needed/wanted to attend to her and set all other things aside.  It will take me more time to catch up on emails, phone calls, sleep and life in general.
*This is a list of unique events in Central Florida.  A list of group meetings and miscellaneous information will be provided in a separate list due to the amount of information received.
*Send me your events – people cannot attend an event if they don’t know about it!
*Please share this information and events with your friends and interested others and attend.  Post where appropriate.
*Every effort is made to put a space into email addresses and websites to avoid Spam flags.  If you use ‘Copy and Paste’ to make contact or get additional information, please keep this in mind. 

Tues. Oct 6 – MAJOR Veteran Job Hiring event - held at the Citrus Bowl on October 6, 2015 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. The Orlando VA Medical Center, in partnership with Orlando Jobs, and sponsored by Orlando Health, Job Path, SunTrust and other veterans advocate organizations.  The following will be at the event:
·       Free Transportation is being provided by LYNX – Please provide Veteran with COLORED copy of the attached flyer.
·       Interview clothing.
·       Resume preparation.  
·       Bonding will be provided for those Veterans with criminal backgrounds if necessary.
·       VJO will be there to assist Veterans with questions.
·       Showers will be available if needed.
·       IDignity will be there to provide IDs if necessary.
·       A HVRP representative will be there to process Veterans who are homeless for employment resources (i.e. certifications, clothing, tools and employment)
Flyer available upon request (required for the free bus transportation) from ellamay.artis @ va.gov, chaynes11629 @ yahoo.comand others.
POINT OF CONTACT:  Ellamay "Annie" Artis, CESP - Veteran Community Employment Coordinator,  (c)l 407-307-9101 ellamay.artis @ va.gov
Home at Last Project Golf Tournament – Thurs. Oct 8 - Windermere Charities Central Florida (WCCF) Foundation is having a fund raising golf tournament at Marriott Orlando World Center Resort's Hawk's Landing Golf Course.  Proceeds will help the Home at Last Project build a house for disabled Marine SSgt Sergeant Brandon Wittwer, wife Kassandra and children Kaydence, Karter and Kylee.   Brandon enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2002. During his deployment to Iraq in 2006 as a Scout Sniper Team Leader, his unit was ambushed. Despite severe head, neck, and back pain as a result of an RPG explosion, he continued to assist injured Marines in his unit. Following rehab and time with his family, SSgt. Wittwer redeployed in 2013. During a training exercise while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, SSgt. Wittwer suffered further spinal injuries. Over time his mobility is expected to be limited to the use of a wheelchair. 
Come and enjoy a great day of golf, and help provide support for our heroes. The event will include a 4 - person scramble, breakfast buffet, beverage cart, and a special lunch following the golf tournament. Featured events for the day include Silent and Live auctions, and on course events including a Hole-in-One contest.  The donation is $175 per player - $650 per foursome. 
Registration begins at 0700, shotgun at 0830.  Donations and sponsorships welcomed!  Info:  Windermere Charities Central Florida (WCCF) Foundation    wccfcharities.org    407.361.8827
October 13 – Happy Birthday United States Navy!  Established October 13, 1775!  Thank a sailor, past or present, for his/her service!
FAVOB – Florida Association of Veteran Owned Businesses – Tues. Oct 13 - THIS IS A "FREE" EVENT!!! Come join us for drinks, fellowship and networking at the Orlando Improv Comedy Club!  5:30 PM to 7:30 PM at Orlando Improv Comedy Club, 9101 International Dr., Orlando, 32819 You don't have to be a Vet to Support the Veteran Business Community!   Our last event had roughly 100 Business Professionals in attendance. Please come and show your support for our Military Veterans who are currently in business or own their own business within the communities in which we all live and work in. Please tell your friends and colleagues about this worthy event and let’s see if we can reach 150 participants!  50/50 Drawing so bring some cash! Winner receives half of the Pot! Please RSVP at:   www. meetup.com/ Florida-Association-of-Veteran-Owned-Businesses /events/ 225421721/ so we can get an accurate accounting of the number of people who plan on attending.   Jrice@  supportingstrategies.com
2nd Infantry Division Association of Florida – Fri and Sat. Oct 16-18 – Annual gathering in Titusville for all veterans of the Second Indianhead Division.  Special hotel rates and fun.  Contact Mike Davino at 919-498-1910  2ida.mail@ charter.net 
Young Marines Military Ball – Sat. Oct 17 - Sponsorships/donations welcomed for this fine group of young men and women, ages up to high school.  You don’t see or hear about them in wrong-doings for a reason.  6pm to 9:30pm at Elks Lodge # 1079, 12 North Primrose DR., Orlando, 32803.  Adults and Young Marines 11 and older $25, YM's 5 to 10 years old will be $12.50, Info:  John Gionet at 407-963-9388 sgtmajgna@ earthlink.net or Sally Osteen at 321-297-2579 osteen9195@ aol.com
Greeters needed!  Honor Flight Welcome Home – Orlando Int’l Airport –After a day spent in Washington DC, veterans of WWII and Korea return home thru Orlando Int’l Airport.  The hub of the nation-wide organization will take veterans on a single day trip to our nation’s capital where they visit the WWII, Korea, and Vietnam War Memorials, Marine Corps Iwo Jima and the Air Force Monuments, and witness the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. 
Sat Oct 17 –-25 vets   Southwest Airlines #915 from BWI; Arriving MCO at 10pm.
Fri Oct 23 – 25 vets - Southwest Airlines #407 from BWI; Arriving MCO at 8.35pm.
Sat Oct 24 – Central FL hub –Information obtained from Facebook – 50 vets - Southwest Airlines #915 from BWI; Arriving MCO at 10pm. 
Wed Oct 28 – 35 vets - Southwest Airlines #915 from BWI; Arriving MCO at 10pm.
THESE ARE THE LAST FLIGHTS FOR 2015 - THERE WILL BE NO MORE FLIGHTS UNTIL SPRING 2016.  Senior veterans and unpredictable winter conditions don’t always mix well…. Come welcome all these former warriors home!  “Welcome Home” receptions at the airports make a difference!  Bring your flags, banners and signs! Terminal A, Airside 2 (hotel area in front of Starbucks.) Before leaving home, check online to see if the flight is on time because there may be delays due to weather, mechanical or medical issues. 
Free parking has been arranged at an off airport property – FastPark and Relax – who has been very generous to Honor Flights with free parking and shuttles to the airport (tips welcomed by drivers!) - Contact Cathy Haynes for those details NLT 7pm  - chaynes11629@  yahoo.com   407-239-8468.
New:  Vouchers are available for airport garage parking from a GOAA rep. in the terminal for this event – maximum of 3 hours –BUT you have to take a paper/card upon entering the airport garage.  The vouchers will NOT work if you use the E-Pass/SunPass transponders – we cannot credit back the charge.  For the Early Birds - you can wave these veterans off in the morning no later than 5am – same location as listed above.  They process thru Security early and quickly.  Wave them off for a wonderful day!
Military Order of the Purple Heart – Wed. Oct 21 - the Military Order of the Purple Heart which has history back to George Washington and the American Revolution.  Join Orlando Chapter 400 at 7pm, Orlando Elks Lodge, 12 N. Primrose Dr., Orlando, 32803.   Contact mmichles@  att.net   407-382-9737
Halloween Party Military and Family Friendly – Sat. Oct 31 - There will be a Haunted House, treats, snacks and games for the children.  Free.  Children must be accompanied by an adult.  3pm – 5pm at American Legion Family at Post 286 Pine Castle, 529 E. Fairlane Ave., Orlando, 32809 (north of Sand Lake Road on Orange Ave. in south Orlando.)  The American Legion Post 286 Pine Castle Department of Florida members, the Legionnaires, American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of The American Legion, make up what is known as The Legion Post 286 Family.  “Working Together as ONE”,  all three organizations place high importance on preserving our American traditions and values, improving the quality of life for our nation's children, caring for veterans and their families, and perhaps most importantly, teaching the fundamentals of good citizenship and  better places in which to live.   
Children and Youth Committee embraces all activities for improvement of conditions of life in the community where the American Legion Family is located. It has been a major activity of The American Legion and Auxiliary since 1926, and has resulted in the completion of a vast number of projects to make American communities.  This is a very pro-active and involved Post!  407-859-1460
Nov 7 – 4th Annual Ruck Sack March sponsored by Camaraderie Foundation to benefit warriors, past and present, and their families who seek counseling for PTS issues. 3, 6 or 12 mile challenge at Lake Nona. You can participate as a Walker/Runner or compete for prizes as a Warrior, in which you must carry at least 35 lb. in your ruck sack or backpack.  Registration and Sponsorships available at www. rucksackmarch2015.kintera. org
Nov 14 – Orlando Veterans’ Day Parade – Florida’s largest. Volunteer opportunities available. 
Nov 14 – Marine Corps Foundation organizing the 240th Marine Corps Birthday Ball in Orlando.  You don’t have to have served in the USMC to attend.  Sponsorships welcomed.  Info: Jan Baka at jan.baka@ ecs-federal.com   407-745-3029  www. centralfloridamarines.org 
Marine Corp’s 2015 Toys for Tots Drive - Sun, Nov 15 – Mayfair Country Club is the site.  Registration-8am.  Tee Time-9am.  All toys and donations will go to the USMC T4T’s.  Registration form will be available at Mayfair Country Club Pro Shop or you can print form from Mayfair’s facebook page.  The format is a 4 person scramble with a shotgun start. Submit your name as a single; or build your own team. Event cost is $35.25 per player and $12 for the luncheon that includes gratuity. Payment is due by Oct 31st. Make the check out to John Craft and mail this form, with the check, to John Craft, 315 Silver Pine Drive; Lake Mary FL 32746, or drop this registration at the Mayfair Country Club Pro Shop. Bring a picture of yourself or a loved one in military uniform, and we will post it on our “Military Wall of Fame”. Loyalty Card members will pay their seasonal price and the $12.00 for lunch by Oct 31st. All players must donate a toy or gift certificate to be eligible to play. The toy or gift card will be collected at the registration table while checking in. The number of players will be held to 100. Please bring an item to be sold in our Silent Auction. Silent auction proceeds will be used to purchase additional toys   Questions call John Craft at 407-417-3156, usnflorida @ bellsouth.net
Nov 19 – UCF Football Military Appreciation game.  UCF versus East Carolina.  Thurs. night 7:30pm
Operation Holiday Cheer – There are about 600+ warriors from Central Florida who are currently deployed and will likely remain abroad over the holidays – many are in less than friendly areas.  The Sunshine Chapter of Association of the United States Army (AUSA) as well as some other groups will be gathering items to send.  Be thinking about the men and women who are serving our country and stock up on various items on sale – please be mindful of the various regulations and restrictions of some items.  Donations of monies would be welcomed, too, as it helps to defray the shipping costs.  Further information will be forthcoming.
Jan 7-10, 2016 - SVA's 8th Annual National Conference - in Orlando. The largest conference for America's Student Veterans.
Caring and sharing,
Cathy Haynes
Member/supporter of numerous veteran and military organizations in Central FL
chaynes11629@  yahoo.com

And don't forget the Orlando Nam Knights BIKEtoberfest party Oct 17th- OFFICIAL FUNCTION Orlando Nam Knights Eternal Chapter Memorial/Biketoberest Party will be Saturday, October 17th.

Monday, October 5, 2015

What Does A Chaplain Do When Soul Is Crushed?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
October 5, 2015

I became a Chaplain 7 years ago because I knew how faith got me through a lifetime filled with traumatic event after many others and I knew what kind of pain that causes a soul. The unspeakable grief surviving leaves behind never really goes away but we adjust and change, mostly for the better depending on how we see all of it and that was my mission.

To get the grieving to look at all of it through different views because there is always more going on around us than we remember. Pure, unclouded by ego and pride, we can see ourselves the way that God sees us, undiluted by what we hear others say and lousy advice, we can experience the miraculous healing as survivors beyond our own ability.

I paid a high price for all that knowledge and wanted to pass it on freely to spare others going through the same thing. It is from that suffering that I was able to understand what combat did to my husband and from him, what it did to the veterans I worked with over the years. My own pain helped me help families. My research helped me explain to mental health professionals what it looked like beyond the clinical books most of us had to read before the internet brought us instant answers to everything we wanted to know.

I am standing on ice with bare feet and stuck. I've been stuck for so long now that it is hard for me to know how to get out of this hearing the ice crack under my feet. There are few standing by me, ready to help when I need it but for the most part, there has been a crowd of folks using what I have to give and never thinking twice about who gave it to them.

Lately I've been seeing more and more of what I started being forgotten as more and more groups claim they invented all of it. Too bad for them that folks can look it all up discovering there were others out there I learned from since I've only been doing this a little over 3 decades by they started 4 and 5 decades ago. I just had more staying power but I was not the first. I was only one of the first to put the information up in the form of videos.

I had these videos up on YouTube before. I posted this in 2009 Give healing PTSD as a Christmas Gift this year. The videos had to be pulled because back then the music was being blocked since I didn't have the same kind of account I have now but this gives you some idea of the kind of attention these videos had.
When War Comes Home PTSD
views 2418

Veterans and PTSD version 1
All time views:14,283

Wounded Minds Veterans and PTSD version 2

Wounded Minds PTSD and Veterans version 3
Here is part of it,
PTSD After Trauma on Google

End The Silence of PTSD on Youtube
Views: 2,919

Hero After War Combat Vets and PTSD on Google
Google 3697
Views: 1,772 on Youtube

Coming Out of The Dark of PTSD on Google

Coming Out Of The Dark-PTSD and Veterans on Youtube
Views: 4,304

Death Because They Served PTSD Suicides

I put up up a couple of videos so you could see what was done 9 years ago. The part that gets me is that Wounded Minds was used by someone in the Navy showing it to Sailors coming back from Iraq because there was nothing else "out there" like it. Well, there is a book titled "Wounded Minds" 01 July 2013 and a charity Operation Wounded Minds with email going to Woundedminds.org.

Coming Out of The Dark is also another issue since there is a walk that is taking in thousands called 'Out of the Darkness'walkers raise awareness for suicide prevention.

If you thought your support or donations or even your prayers were given to me, they were not. I haven't had a single donation in over a year and frankly, it makes it even harder to do my ministry day in and day out knowing that while I was ahead of all these new groups, they have the support I used to have.

Sometimes I wonder why I didn't just give up back in 1999 when our battle with the VA was over and my husband's claim was approved. Then I remember the simple fact that if it all happened to us, it was happening to more veteran families as well. I wanted to make life a little easier and prayed to make a difference enough so that things would change but nothing has changed.

Too many families suffering after all these years of instant experts gathered followings into the abyss without anyone watching where they were going.

So why aren't more healing instead of suffering in the soul crushing silence? It isn't that they are willing to be silent. It is just that no one hears them anymore. No one can hear their cries for help and when they do gather up the courage to cling to that last glimmer of hope to reach out, they discover the place they turn to has nothing to give them at the same time they ask for a check for their time. Ya, nice little gimmick they have going.

I refused to play that game a long time ago and to this day, I refuse to play nice so that someone decides I am worthy of their abysmal approval. No thanks! If I valued their opinion, I would join their group but since they have proven the warning true, their deeds speak much louder than their words of being all about "raising awareness" while it turns out to be nothing more than code for raising their cash flow.

So, with all that said, I am asking for your prayers tonight. I cannot see the light anymore after 33 years. I cannot find a reason to even try anymore. I've searched my soul for so long now that I can't even remember what it looks like. I don't know how to do anything else since I have tried everything leaving me with very little support but a huge line of people looking for what I can do for them. I can't compete with all the crap out there about raising awareness when they clearly are not aware of what is real vs what is false.

So what does a Chaplain do when her soul is crushed? She asks for prayers.

I cannot keep going on like this, so please just pray that God grant me whatever I need to do whatever it is I am supposed to do.

UT Dallas Gets More Millions for PTSD Study?

With all this "study" work going on do you think they will finally learn?
UT Dallas awarded $6.4 million grant to study PTSD treatment
Project will explore vagus nerve stimulation as a treatment for PTSD

A federal agency has awarded a four-year grant that could result in funding of up to $6.4 million to the Texas Biomedical Device Center at UT Dallas to study a potential new therapy for individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) grant began Sept. 15 and will continue for four years. The project will explore a PTSD treatment that uses targeted plasticity therapy. Targeted plasticity therapy uses vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) during exposure therapy to reduce the fear response.

VNS is an FDA-approved method for treating various illnesses, such as depression and epilepsy. It involves sending a mild electric pulse through the vagus nerve, which is in the neck, and relays information about the state of the body to the brain.

UT Dallas researchers already have demonstrated the safety and potential efficacy of targeted plasticity therapy as potential treatments for stroke patients and individuals suffering from tinnitus, which is constant ringing in the ears. Those treatments are in trial and review.
read more here

OK and what about this money?
The Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas was awarded a $3 million grant from the Department of Defense in 2011 to further investigate the effectiveness of a paired treatment for PTSD. This no-cost, non-drug treatment combined Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS).

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Deputy Rudy Mirelez Remains in Critical Condition

Mariposa deputy injured in shootout identified
Family of injured deputy issues brief statement; requests privacy
Merced Sun Star
Sun-Star staff
October 4, 2015

A Mariposa County deputy sheriff shot in a gunfight last week, allegedly with a Merced man, was identified Sunday.

Deputy Rudy Mirelez, 39, remained in critical condition Sunday at a Modesto hospital, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Officials said Mirelez is expected to “undergo many more surgeries on his road to recovery.”

In a brief statement issued Sunday, Mirelez’s wife, Christine, thanked the sheriff’s offices of both Mariposa and Stanislaus counties for the “round-the-clock support for Rudy” and the outpouring of community support since the incident Thursday morning.

“Rudy’s recovery is our biggest concern and we would like to ask for your continued thoughts and prayers and request that you respect our privacy as we continue to process this tragic event and support our husband and father,” Christine Mirelez said in the statement.

Brian Ballasch, 35, of Merced, has been accused of shooting at four deputies, including Mirelez, around 6 a.m. Thursday on Highway 49, south of Mariposa. Ballasch has been described by deputies as a U.S. Marine Corps veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. He also was wounded during the incident and is expected to recover.

He has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of a peace officer.
read more here

Too many lives shattered

Congress Underfund the VA By Nearly $1 billion, Again

Look up how many times this has happened in the past.

"If they can afford to pay for wars, they can afford to pay for the treatment after the wars," says Garry Augustine, with Disabled American Veterans. DAV and other private veterans' organizations draw up their own "independent budget" for the Department of Veterans Affairs every year. "We've been saying it every year for the last 10 years in our independent budget, that the funding is not sufficient to sustain the demand," Augustine says.
Tester, Daines disagree on Veterans Affairs funding bill
Independent Record
October 02, 2015

MISSOULA -- Montana’s two U.S. senators criticized a proposed Veterans Affairs funding bill this week, with Republican Steve Daines accusing Democrats of blocking the bill, while Democrat Jon Tester said the measure would underfund the VA by nearly $1 billion.

While both senators have worked to improve VA care for Montana veterans and have introduced needed reforms to the system, they have differing views on funding the agency -- a debate that's tied in part to budget caps proposed by the GOP leadership.

Daines said the latest legislation includes a record $163.8 billion in funding for the VA. He said the figure marks an increase of $4.6 billion.

“This legislation contains numerous important provisions to address Montana veterans’ long-standing concerns and it would be shameful to see these much-needed reforms fall victim to Democrats’ obstructionism,” Daines said.

Tester, however, has urged his colleagues to oppose the VA funding bill, saying it underfunds veteran care by nearly $1 billion and would undermine VA reforms passed by Congress a year ago.

Earlier this year, Tester offered an amendment to increase funding for the VA to a level that better reflected what department officials said was needed to carry out veteran care.

His amendment failed on a 16-14 party-line vote, with all 16 Republicans voting against it.
read more here

Yochi Dreazen War Correspondents Battle With PTSD

The path not taken: A war correspondent’s struggle with PTSD
Boston Globe
By Yochi Dreazen
OCTOBER 02, 2015
I had full-blown PTSD, but I couldn’t bring myself to admit it. I was a war correspondent; I was a tough guy. Tough guys, I believed, didn’t need help.
Journalists scrambled behind US Marines practicing squad rushes in northern Kuwait in 2003.
Yochi Dreazen is the managing editor of Foreign Policy. His book “The Invisible Front: Love and Loss in an Era of Endless War,” from which this essay is adapted, will be reissued in paperback on Oct. 6.

I WANTED TO be a war correspondent from the day I entered journalism. In 2003, with American troops massing in the Middle East, I got my chance. I left for Iraq that spring, drawn, like so many of my colleagues, by the excitement and danger of covering a war. I wrote about the invasion, flew back to the United States for a couple of months, and then went back to Baghdad in August to help open The Wall Street Journal’s bureau there. I lived in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 and, after that, went back every few months to do combat embeds with the troops fighting what had by that point become a full-on civil war.

I saw dead and dying Americans; I saw dead and dying Iraqis. I was interviewing a tribal sheikh in southern Iraq once when my translator stepped away to take a phone call, sat back down, and told me that there had just been a major suicide bombing in the nearby city of Karbalah that had killed dozens of Iranian pilgrims, including a large number of children. In Karbalah, I watched a chador-clad woman slowly make her way up and down each row of corpses, pulling back every sheet, until she found the shattered body of her son. At the sight, she let out a scream and then collapsed to the ground. I will never forget the sound of that mother’s grief.
I returned from that trip, and from all of my others to the war zones, far different than when I had left. The war was changing me, hardening me. I felt flashes of pure rage when someone ran into me on the basketball court or cut me off on the road. I chose tables at restaurants that were as far from the front doors and windows as possible, in case a bomb went off outside. I would wake up whenever there was a sound in my bedroom and then be unable to fall back asleep. In some of my dreams, loved ones died. In some, I did. I had full-blown PTSD, but I couldn’t bring myself to admit it. I was a war correspondent; I was a tough guy. Tough guys, I believed, didn’t need help.
read more here

Health and Human Services Spent $2 Million Spin PTSD Veterans

State representative asks funding agency for more information about $2.2 million PTSD study 
Dallas Morning News
Sue Ambrose
Published: October 2, 2015
Cerebrum Health Centers is an Irving chiropractic clinic that received more than $2 million in state funds to conduct PTSD research on veterans.
A member of a Texas House investigations committee has asked for more information about how the state vetted a $2.2 million project to try to treat post traumatic stress disorder in veterans using a spinning chair.

In a letter to the head of the Health and Human Services Commission, State Rep. Chris Turner, D-Arlington, said the state’s decision “to spend over $2 million on an unproven treatment… with little to no oversight by the state, is deeply concerning.” 

A spokesman said HHSC will respond to Turner. “We will attempt to address every facet of his inquiry as best we can,” said HHSC spokesman Enrique Marquez. “We will absolutely be responsive to Rep. Turner’s inquiries early next week.”

The Dallas Morning News and KXAS-TV (NBC5) published a joint investigation into the state project last month. The study took place at an Irving clinic now known as Cerebrum Health Centers. According to state records, it treated about 140 veterans with PTSD by trying to stimulate the brain’s balance system. The treatment included spinning the veterans upside down in a chair.
read more here

Too Many Lives Have Been Shattered After More Efforts Have Failed

When Do We Change The Outcome For Veterans?
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
October 4, 2015

There is a price being paid all over this country just because what is easy to say is being supported and promoted as fact yet the truth has a heartbreaking complexity that goes far beyond what can be cut down to a slogan. The collateral damage is all due to our collective ignorance. We hear about the "problem" and turn around to write checks but never manage to wonder where all that money went. I'd love to see an "awareness" charity fit this into their fundraising Tweet or Facebook post.
"Department of Defense has had increased suicides after "prevention training" then turned around to boot out 140,000 leaving the discharged with no help at all, betrayed others with PTSD treating them like slackers while telling the public they care, and then Congress betrayed even more by not taking responsibility for all the money they spent, laws they passed, rules they wrote because they could turn around and blame the VA when they in fact had jurisdiction over and then folks saw charities making millions off "awareness" raising and jumped on the bandwagon making suffering of veterans a way to make money leaving them without help so they could fact off with law enforcement officials all over the country to the point where communities had to come up with Veterans Courts to try to keep veterans out of jail and get them the help all the others failed to provide."

In 2013 NPR reported "The most recent statistics on incarcerated veterans from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) are almost 10 years old. In 2004, 10% of the State prisoners reported prior service in the U.S. Military. 140,000 were being held in prisons nationwide, 62% reported having an Honorable Discharge. A majority of veterans in State (54%) and Federal (64%) reported they served during a wartime period. At that point in time veterans of the Iraq-Afghanistan era comprised 4% of incarcerated veterans in both State and Federal prison."

Yep, it's that bad. Just to prove the point, when all the reporters were finally talking about suicides tied to the military and PTSD, Congress decided to start spending money. No, not just over the last decade or so but back in the 70's. Vietnam veterans pushed for all of it yet after all these years what was learned was forgotten and so have the Vietnam veterans been forgotten. They are the majority of the suicides but hey, why tell the truth on that simple fact?

As for current news, the DOD reported that there were 99 suicides in 2006 and was the highest number of suicides in 26 years. So Congress decided to do something about it but didn't matter to any of them what they did made it worse. More committed suicide even as less were serving with the end of wars.
Over the first six months of 2015, 130 active-duty troops took their own lives, along with 89 reserve members and 56 National Guardsmen. In the second quarter, the reserve component experienced 47 suicides and the National Guard, 27.
As for the VA, "The analysis found that the actual number of estimated suicides per day among veterans has remained relatively stable, ranging from 20 per day in 2000 to 18 per day in 2007 and 22 per day in 2009 and 2010, the latest estimates available, according to a report on the study released Friday. The rate of suicide among veterans who use VA health care services has remained steady in recent years, at about 36 per 100,000.The analysis found that the actual number of estimated suicides per day among veterans has remained relatively stable, ranging from 20 per day in 2000 to 18 per day in 2007 and 22 per day in 2009 and 2010, the latest estimates available, according to a report on the study released Friday. The rate of suicide among veterans who use VA health care services has remained steady in recent years, at about 36 per 100,000."

Yet even that report came from limited data. At least you can see that when more "efforts" were made, there were more suicides but WTF no one shows any sign of changing a damn thing they got wrong already.

How about we take a look at another missed number in all the talk about the price being paid by those who risked their lives for this country? I was reading about another veteran in crisis facing off with law enforcement officers and wondering who is being held accountable for failing veterans in the first place? A Deputy was shot in the face by a veteran with PTSD. The veteran is now facing charges.

Local Shooting Starts Conversation About PTSD was the headline but the news begins with the false conversation of "22 Veterans Commit Suicide Everyday."

How do you begin a conversation with bad information? How to you boil any of this down to a soundbite as if it will ever change anything?

This is what happened in California but keep in mind it is happening all over the country.
Mariposa deputy shot in morning shootout
Your Central Valley News
By Patrick Nelson
Published 10/02 2015

Mariposa, Calif.
The Mariposa County Sheriff's Office is asking for prayers after one of their own was shot in the face during a shootout with a suspect early Thursday morning. The deputy remains in critical condition. 35-year-old Brian Ballasch of Merced is being charged with shooting the officer.

While this shooting happened in a small community it's impacting anyone who puts on a law enforcement badge for a living.

The Fresno Sheriff's Office is just one of many agencies offering their support for the critically injured officer.

Just a day after the Merced Police Department was warned about former Marine Brian Ballasch struggling with post traumatic stress disorder he had a run in with Mariposa deputies.

After ramming his vehicle into deputies trying to stop him on Highway 49 near Mariposa investigators say he got out and started shooting a .45 caliber pistol hitting a deputy in the face and upper body who is now fighting for his life in a Madesto hospital.

Officials are visibly shaken by the incident

"One deputy... I'm sorry... a ten year veteran of the office, a father, a husband, a friend was struck at least twice," Kristie Mitchell of the Mariposa County Sheriff's Office said fighting back tears.

Ballasch was also shot in the shootout, but will be ok. He is being held for the attempted murder of a peace officer. The three other deputies involved in the shootout have been placed on administrative leave which is standard protocol as California Highway Patrol is investigating
read more here

These are other just from 2015
Magoffin County Sheriff's Deputies and Kentucky State Police, went to serve an arrest warrant on Vietnam War Veteran, Carter Castle.

MARICOPA, Ariz. --- An Arizona military veteran died after a confrontation with police in his neighborhood south of Phoenix Sunday afternoon. The widow of 32-year-old Johnathan Guillory says her husband struggled for many years with post-traumatic stress, brought on by a combat deployment in Iraq. He also spent time as a contract worker in Afghanistan.

On the balcony of his second-story apartment in U.S. Air Force dress blue uniform, Francis “Frank” Lamantia Spivey stood with an assault rifle pushed up to his chin just after midnight Feb. 25.

Police said William Dean Poole, 52, had told the hotline he planned to kill himself and not to send anyone to his home because it would not end well. When officers arrived at about 5:25 p.m., Buie said Poole was sitting on a lawnmower and fired multiple shots at police first. The officers returned fire, killing Poole.

Glendale police fatally shot Joe Tassinari in March 2015 outside his home near 67th and Peoria avenues. An officer said Tassinari, who was suspected of displaying a firearm at a woman earlier that night, did not obey commands and made a threatening move by reaching for his waistband. Dallas and neighbors said Tassinari typically kept a gun on him in one of his back pockets.

Anthony Hill, a 27-year-old US air force veteran, was shot dead on 9 March at his apartment complex outside Atlanta. Police officers had been responding to a 911 call for an episode during which Hill was not wearing clothes, crawling on the ground and banging on his neighbors’ doors.

An as-yet-unidentified officer shot and killed Brian Babb, a 49-year-old former captain in the Oregon Army National Guard, after Higgins called police to Babb’s west Eugene home because he was suicidal and told Higgins he had fired a gun in his home.

At least two Victoria police officers were placed on administrative leave Sunday after fatally shooting a 25-year-old man outside of his home. Brandon Lawrence, was an Afghanistan veteran.

Standoff on 1-35 With Texas Veteran Ends With Help, Police confirmed he was a veteran and took him to the hospital. Investigators were waiting Saturday afternoon to talk to doctors and decide whether to file charges, Dickson said.

A army spokesperson has released the name of the Soldier found dead by Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department SWAT Wednesday in the Century at Fenwick Apartments in the Berwick area. The Soldier was Spc. Roobelson Viciere, 30, 3rd Infantry Division Artillery.

Boise Police Department On average, Boise police officers encounter approximately one veteran per week facing a crisis and in need of assistance, and officers are provided the opportunity to aid in referring the veteran to one of the network partners. These interactions demonstrate the value of the program, and that its objective is being met.

Wade Allen Baker, 44, of Clyde, alone in the church when law enforcement crews arrived. The man exchanged gunfire with the officers, she said.

Barry Sutton was a civilian contractor, working with DynCorp International. He was helping to train police officers in Afghanistan as part of NATO's resolute Support Mission, according to the Floyd County Sheriff's Office. Sutton was one of 12 people who died after a suicide bomber attacked a NATO convoy traveling through a crowded neighborhood. "Barry was a solid career officer, Floyd County Police Department SWAT veteran and deputy,"

Mr. McGranahan had served two tours of duty in Iraq, been wounded in the back, and awarded a Purple Heart. The woman, Shirley Mowery, said her grandson suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, but was not capable of hurting anyone. Toledo police have identified Donald McGranahan II as the main taken in custody after a standoff with police in West Toledo today.

An Ormond Beach father and husband was additionally charged Thursday with attempted second-degree murder after his wife described to police a horrific night of "PTSD rage." Before barricading himself in his house for seven hours on Wednesday, Kevin Hamilton attacked his wife, threatened to kill his family and shoot himself in front of his crying 4-year-old son, police reports state.

Keep in mind that I cannot find all the reports, so there are a lot missing from this list. There were many more news reports about veterans on trial for standoffs from other years during this year like the one going on in Tampa Florida
Matthew Buendia changed after his third deployment to Afghanistan and that when he came home, the former Marine became a recluse. "He was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder," said Swanson, "A lot of those doctors were giving Matthew different types of medications. He was taking very severe stuff." Buendia is accused of shooting Hillsborough County deputy Lyonelle De Veaux during a domestic dispute in October 2011. The deputy survived the shooting.

This isn't even factoring in the number of questionable suicides like accidents that are actually on purpose or drug overdoses that may or may not have been on purpose. Families are still wondering what the purpose of all this "awareness" actually produced to spare other families from suffering the same deadly outcomes.

Too many lives have been shattered because veterans are still unable to find the help they need to heal from where they were sent. So when will someone be held accountable for this failure that spreads from the DOD to our communities? When do we actually do something to change the outcome? How do we get there when all the nonsensical "awareness" raising fails to not only tell the truth but trivializes this massive suffering down to a convenient soundbite of "22 a day" just because it is easier than reporting the facts?

Vietnam Veteran Searches For Woman Who Saved Him From Suicide 42 Years Ago

Suicidal army veteran seeks beautiful stranger who saved his life - 42 years later
Mirror UK
3 OCT 2015
Wracked with guilt over his actions during the Vietnam War, the veteran said the woman had "breathed life into his lungs"

A Vietnam War veteran has written an impassioned plea to trace the "beautiful" woman who saved his life 42 years ago.

He fell deeply in love with the stranger when they shared a coffee and chat on New Year's Eve in 1972.

At the time the pilot was ready to kill himself claiming to have flown four B-52 sorties dropping 48 bombs, before being discharged.

Sadly, the woman left without leaving a number and he returned EVERY day to the same place without ever seeing her again.

Now his heartfelt letter on Boston's Craigslist to reunite with her has gone viral.

After spending a depressing day "trudging through the rain" his life changed when on the way back to his "barren apartment" he came across the woman.

"You were wearing a teal ball gown, which appeared to me both regal and ridiculous," he writes.
Now an "old man", he wants to trace woman on Craiglist 'Missed Connections' site and Facebook .

Ending the letter, he tells woman: "You breathed your spirit into my lungs one rainy afternoon, and you can't possibly imagine my gratitude."
read more here

Saturday, October 3, 2015

El Paso Veterans Court Gets Patriotism Award

El Paso Veterans Court receives state recognition for treatment services
KFOX 14 News
Crystal Price
Fri, Oct 02 2015
In addition to the veteran cases, they also work with other organizations to hold events such as the annual Stand Down. Through this event, they go out in the community and offer showers, meals, and clothes for homeless veterans.
EL PASO, Texas -- The El Paso Veterans Treatment Court program has received state recognition for the services they provide in the community.

The Texas Veterans Commission recently presented the El Paso specialty court with the Patriotism Award.

The court program offers treatment to veterans who get in trouble with the law, opposed to sending them straight to jail.

Through grants from the Office of the Governor, the program offers treatment to veterans who may suffer from substance abuse or mental health illnesses.

Angie Juarez Barill, judge for the 346th District Court, started the program three years ago. "We saw so many of our men and women veterans and so many active military coming through our court system," Barill said. "So we knew we had to do something about it."

Through this 18-month program, veterans are able to receive counseling and the court assists scheduling VA appointments.

Since the program started the El Paso Veteran's Court has had 50 veterans graduate from the program.

However, Barill said they have had more than 250 veterans who have applied. Barill said these individuals were turned away because they could not prove they had a combat-related illness.
read more here