Wounded Times


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Memorial for Harold "Cutter" Perry

Today was a sad day because on November 14, 2015 shortly after the Veterans Day Parade in Orlando, Cutter was on his motorcycle on the way home and was killed.  He had a day doing what he loved with people he called family.  
Nov 28, 2015
On November 14, 2015, shortly after the Veterans Day parade in Orlando, Cutter was killed while riding his motorcycle. Today was the day we celebrated his life and said goodbye.

Soldier from Florida Among Dead After Blackhawk Crash

Fort Hood releases names of soldiers killed in Blackhawk crash
November 27, 2015
FORT HOOD — The names of the four Soldiers killed in a UH-60L Blackhawk helicopter crash on Nov. 23 have been released after next-of-kin notification. The crash occurred sometime after 5:49 p.m. in the northeast portion of the Fort Hood training area. All four crew members were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 291st Aviation Regiment, First Army Division West. The aircraft, assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment was on a routine training mission.

The Fallen Warriors are: 
Sgt. 1st Class Toby A. Childers, 40, a Hays, Kansas native
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen B. Cooley, 40, a Cantonment, Florida native
Sgt.1st Class Jason M. Smith, 35, a Destrehan, Louisiana native
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael F. Tharp, 40, a Katy, Texas native.
read more here

Joe Donnelly's "Care Package" Empty Box

This is really getting ridiculous! They keep committing suicide and members of Congress keep getting writers cramp. The latest is another bill by Senator Joe Donnelly called "Care Package" but it turns out it will be another empty box with a pretty wrapping paper.
Donnelly’s Military Mental Health Provisions Signed into Law with National Defense Bill Senator’s bipartisan efforts will improve quality of care and ease of access for servicemembers in ongoing push to address military suicide November 25, 2015
Donnelly said, “Seeing the ‘Care Package’ signed into law is another important step forward as we continue the fight to bring military suicide numbers down to zero. Getting these provisions implemented in communities across Indiana and throughout the country will improve the quality of mental health care provided to our servicemembers. It will expand their options, helping connect Hoosiers with local providers who are specially trained to deal with challenges unique to the military. It will also help our Department of Defense providers better recognize the signs of suicide risk in their patients and connect them with the resources and support they need. We owe it to our servicemembers and their families to help them get access to the best quality mental health care. Our work is far from done, and I will keep pushing to improve mental health care for our servicemembers, veterans, and their loved ones.”

Exactly what good has any of the other bills done? This is from Joe Donnelly's site.
"In the first half of 2015, DoD reported that more than 200 servicemembers took their own lives. Last year, 443 servicemembers took their own lives and in 2013 474 were lost to suicide, the Pentagon reported."
This may sound good until you consider the simple fact the number of servicemembers has dropped by the thousands. Plus add in the first attempts to reduce suicides happened back in 2007 when there were 99 suicides in the Army.

March 2012
Total - Worldwide
Total 1,409,877
Army 557,780
Navy 320,961
Marine Corps 198,427
Air Force 332,709

Total 1,382,684
Army 532,043
Navy 324,308
Marine Corps 195,848
Air Force 330,485

By September 30, 2014 1,378,834
By September 20, 2015 1,353,762

Members of Congress have been more interested in writing bills than bothering to understand if anything has worked in the past. Repeating the same steps has produced devastation for servicemembers, their families and in the Veterans Community.
What does Joe Donnelly say about suicides now?

Blind Iraq War Veteran Needs Out of Trailer Home

Iraq War veteran and 970 WDAY host Eric Marts selected to receive home, but has trouble finding a spot to build it
By Kevin Wallevand
Nov 27, 2015
"I want to be close to Moorhead. My family is here and my whole support system is here and the VA is here which I have to frequent a lot," Marts said.
Moorhead (WDAY TV) - A Moorhead veteran who lost his sight after an IED blast while serving in Iraq is close to getting a special home to meet his needs thanks to a non-profit that helps vets. Homes For Our Troops selected Eric Marts as its latest recipient for a home, but because homes and land are so hard to come by in the Fargo-Moorhead area, the plan to move ahead has been on hold for months.

We followed Eric Marts to Washington DC recently during our Honor Flight special. The 970 WDAY radio host spends every weekend promoting veteran causes, but he rarely talks about his needs.

"A trailer house is all I have right now," Marts said.

His home now is anything but handy for a blind person.

"Not wide enough for Deacon and I to get through, too compacted and the kitchen is so small. I have to have everything laid out," Marts said.

The national charity Homes For Our Troops has built 200 homes nationwide for paralyzed, injured or blind soldiers like Eric.
read more here

Friday, November 27, 2015

Wheelchair Bound UK Veteran Left Homeless

War veteran Chris Lazzara homeless for Christmas after Army gave notice from Howe Barracks 
Kent Online
by Chris Pragnell
27 November 2015
A crippled war veteran is being ordered by top brass to clear out of Army digs just days before Christmas.

Former Private Chris Lazzara has been told to pack his bags – and slapped with a court summons for December 16.

Refusal could see Mr Lazzara, his wife and baby son turfed out of their house in Howe Barracks and left homeless over the festive period.

Mr Lazzara, who served his country in Afghanistan, said: “I feel like the Army has declared war on me."

“I feel really let down. I just can’t believe the timing of this. All we need is time to stay in the property while we acquire other accommodation.

“We’ve nowhere to go so I don’t know what we’re expected to do? I’m now trying to sort emergency accommodation through the council but we’ve no guarantees at all.”

Canterbury’s Howe Barracks site will eventually be bulldozed, but while most properties sit empty, some occupants are still in place.

Mr Lazzara, 32, is confined to a wheelchair following injuries he says he sustained during an Army exercise.

He says Army bosses are refusing compensation, claiming his injuries are the result of an earlier condition, and have launched eviction proceedings.

Having served with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Mr Lazzara was discharged on medical grounds in July this year.
read more here

After 10 Years of Service, Veteran with 3 Children Homeless

COURAGE: Army vet, 3 children join ranks of hotel homeless in Brockton 
Cynthia Cast knows this Thanksgiving will be different for the family because of the difficult situation, but she is thankful and grateful for the help she has received.
Enterprise News
By Marc Larocque Enterprise Staff Writer
Posted Nov. 26, 2015
Before that, Cast served in the Army for 10 years. She enlisted as a senior at Brockton High School, following in the footsteps of her father, who was a veteran. She was the first woman in her family who joined the military, she said.
BROCKTON – In the Holiday Inn Express overlooking Westgate Mall in Brockton, an Army veteran has been living with three young children. Cynthia Cast found herself without a home in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.

Her apartment lease ended and she was financially unable to secure a new one. Cast joined the ranks of roughly 50,000 homeless veterans around the country. “It’s been very discouraging,” said Cast, 42, who is trying to use a veterans rental assistance program to find a new apartment. “And it’s definitely stressful. You don’t want to be in a hotel. You want your kids to live a normal life.”
read more here


WPVI TV News Philadelphia
November 27, 2015

OLNEY (WPVI) -- A homeless veteran, beaten at a gas station in the Olney section of Philadelphia nearly eight months ago, has died.

The incident at the Sunoco in the 5500 block of North 5th Street was captured by a surveillance camera on April 7th.

The video shows 51-year-old Robert Barnes being pummeled by teens with a hammer, a piece of wood and punches, after police say a 10-year-old boy told his mother he got into an argument with Barnes.

The attack left Barnes in a coma.
read more here

400 American Soldiers Brown Bag Lunch Replaced

Shlomo Rechnitz Pays for US Soldiers Meal in Shannon, Ireland
Man Buys Hot Meals for 400 American Troops
By Courtlin
November 24, 2015

This story will warm your heart! An L.A. business man did quite the good deed when he spent $20,000 buying dinner for American soldiers at an airport in Ireland.

44-year-old Shlomo Rechnitz is the owner of Brius Healthcare Services, the largest nursing home provider in the state of California.

He was waiting for a flight at an Ireland airport, on his way to Israel with his family, where he came across 400 American soldiers eating dinner out of brown paper bags. He noticed that everyone around them was eating hot meals, and that just didn’t sit right with him. That’s when he approached their commanding officer and offered $50 to each soldier so that they could eat at any restaurant in the airport. read more here

Nov 17, 2015
An LA businessman named Shlomo Rechnitz paid $50 per meal for about 400 US solders in an airport in Shannon, Ireland. He saw them eating standard army food while all the other passengers in the terminal were eating in trendy and appetizing restaurants. Rechnitz then asked their commander if he can give them something extra. This is Rechnitz offering words of appreciation to the soldiers after the commander agreed.

Vietnam Veteran Finds Comfort In Horses

Vietnam Veteran Finds Comfort In Horses, Helps Others Vets Cope
NOV 25, 2015
William Goforth ADRIAN HILL WYSO
Vietnam veteran William Goforth knows firsthand the challenge of returning to civilian life after a difficult deployment.

He found comfort in horses, and now finds purpose in sharing his discovery with Post-9/11 veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Army veteran, and Wright State student, Adrian Hill of Englewood has today’s Veterans’ Voices story.

William Goforth was drafted into the Vietnam War as a generator mechanic but once there he was assigned to tactical combat casualty care where he tended to critically wounded soldiers. When William returned home after serving he did not receive a hero’s welcome.

"I faced the same problems that everyone else faced," says William. "We came back and we weren’t welcomed and we didn’t feel like we were part of this world and we weren’t. We were a different individual after we went through the zone that we went through. It takes a lot of time to forget and you aren’t going to be able to forget, so you have to deal with it."

William’s way of dealing with his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was by working with horses.
read more here

A place where wounded soldiers languished

In 2007 what was going on in Building 18 of Walter Reed Hospital was made public because reporters cared enough to do more than just listen to the wounded soldiers there. It was a part of a systemic attitude of bitter cruelty being passed off as caring for those who risked their lives.

What happened at Walter Reed was a national disgrace, but the way some Americans reacted was despicable.  They jumped to defend President Bush against the truth.  Much like today when reporters cover scandals at the VA, they are only interested in what is easy to complain about and not what has been going on for decades almost as if the past just didn't matter at all.

All of this is how we ended up right were we are today. For all the talk about being a grateful nation, in reality, we've turned into a nation of neglecters of the defenders.

So now Building 18 is gone but the damage done remains.
Saying Goodbye To Building 18 — Symbol Of Neglect For Military's Medical System
By: Nahanni Rous
November 20, 2015
“It was very clear to me on many levels that we were not prepared for the number of wounded coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and that’s why service members ended up in Building 18 to begin with,” Staff Sgt. John Daniel Shannon

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced this month the city will pay the U.S. Army $22.5 million for 66 acres of the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center, which closed in 2011 after the Base Realignment and Closure Act.

But the city already owns one piece of the campus: formerly known as Building 18. This nondescript off-white brick building on Georgia Avenue is being demolished to make way for a new fire station for Engine Company 22.

Crews in fluorescent vests throw metal door frames and sheets of wallboard out of third floor windows. Trucks haul away debris. The structure looks like an abandoned, second rate motel. Walter Reed’s Building 18 once housed soldiers wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A place where wounded soldiers languished

Staff Sgt. John Daniel Shannon was treated at Walter Reed from 2004-2007. He says soldiers should never have been living there.
Nahanni RousD.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and other officials break ground for a new fire station on the site of Walter Reed's Building 18.
“I think it should have been demolished a long time ago. It should have been demolished before they put service members in it," he says.

Dan Shannon is a decorated veteran of the Iraq war and served as a sniper with the Second Infantry Division. At the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Walter Reed Army Medical Center was bursting at the seams.

“It was very clear to me on many levels that we were not prepared for the number of wounded coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and that’s why service members ended up in Building 18 to begin with,” he says.

There were amputees, soldiers with traumatic brain injuries and post traumatic stress disorder. At the peak of the Iraq War, there were 900 soldiers on the campus, plus family members who came to help take care of them. Building 18 was part of the facility, but it was outside the gates. And it was decrepit. There was black mold on the walls, and mice and cockroaches in rooms where soldiers with open wounds were staying.

Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and Anne Hull spent four months posing as friends of patients to gain access to Walter Reed.

“Building 18 represented to me a microcosm of what was going on on the larger campus," Priest says.

Priest and Hull won a Pulitzer Prize for their 2007 series, which led with Building 18. The reporters described how a mountainous bureaucracy, lost paperwork, and insufficient social services kept soldiers languishing at Walter Reed, and Building 18 became the bricks and mortar symbol of that neglect.

"The whole thing just didn’t make any sense, that this building would exist in this place that the president had said delivered the best medical care in the world for returning soldiers," Priest says.
read more here

Chris Doleman, Emmitt Smith on a mission to help veterans

WATCH: Chris Doleman, Emmitt Smith on a mission to help veterans
CBS News
By Sean Wagner-McGough
Staff Writer
November 26, 2015
(Source CBS Sports)
In addition to memorializing the veterans who lose their lives while serving abroad, former NFL player Chris Doleman wants us to remember the veterans who make it back home safely. Doleman, who played in the NFL from 1985-1999, wants us to remember the 22 veterans who take their own lives every day.

That's why Doleman, along with Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith, teamed up with Remember the 22 to help the veterans who do make it back home.

"Remember the 22 is an opportunity now," Doleman said. "Our goals are being able to get guys out of their homes, get them into things they enjoy. It's more of the camaraderie."
read more here

Reminder, not 22 a day. Too many are forgotten about as if they just don't matter. How do we get veterans to understand they do matter if we can't even get that number right?

Justin Fitch Remembered For Life's Work

Justin Fitch had no way of knowing that the number of veterans committing suicide everyday in America is closer to 73 than to 22. He had no way of knowing that state after state have been reporting that the percentage of veterans surviving military service is double the civilian rate for suicides.  He had no way of knowing any of this because reporters just keep repeating part of a study that came out in 2012 that also came with a disclaimer of just being an average from 21 states.

The only thing that this veteran knew was that there were far too many losing a reason to live while he did everything possible to stay alive long enough to change the outcome.
Friends honor late Iraq vet who fought to spread suicide awareness
Justin Fitch lost battle with stage 4 colon cancer in October
WCVB Boston
Mary Saladna
Nov 27, 2015
Despite the more than 50 chemotherapy treatments, he was determined to leave the world a better place.

BOSTON —Friends and family spent Thanksgiving Day remembering Justin Fitch.

Fitch, an Army captain and Iraq War veteran, lost his battle with stage 4 colon cancer in October.

Despite the more than 50 chemotherapy treatments, he was determined to leave the world a better place.

A veteran of two tours in Iraq, Fitch spent the final years of his life fighting to raise awareness and funds to end military suicides, calculated at 22 a day or more than 8,000 a year.

"The guy had stage 4 colon cancer, and for the last 2-and-a-half years of his life, fought, kicked, and screamed -- everything he could do to tell everybody that 22 veterans a day taking their own life is just a crime," said John Harlow, a friend.
read more here

Fence Jumper Put White House on Lockdown

White House On Lockdown After Man Jumps Fence
Associated Press
Published on Nov 26, 2015

A man draped in an American flag climbed over the fence at the White House on Thursday, prompting a lockdown as the first family celebrated Thanksgiving. An eyewitness spoke to the Associated Press about what she saw. (Nov. 26)
The man, identified as Joseph Caputo, was apprehended about 2:45 p.m. ET on the North Lawn of the White House grounds — the "front door" side along Pennsylvania Avenue, said Robert Hoback, a spokesman for the Secret Service. Police said Caputo was carrying a manila folder, NBC Washington reported.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Hero Dog Layka Saved Lives, Now Has Army Behind Her

Hero Military Dog That Saved Unit in Afghanistan Gets a Second Chance
ABC News
Nov 25, 2015

During her deployment in Afghanistan, U.S. military combat dog, Layka, saved many lives and now some of them are helping save hers.

Layka, a Belgian Malinois, lost one of her front legs when she was shot four times during an ambush in Afghanistan in 2013. Despite her wounds, the dog managed to save the soldiers from an attacker inside the building she was sent to clear.

Now 5 years old and adopted by her Afghanistan handler, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Julian McDonald, Layka faces the possibility of losing her remaining front paw from a bad ATV jump earlier this fall.

"It's a big injury because she only has one leg," said Rebecca Switzer of Oklahoma, who met Layka and her handler at an event more than a year ago. "She struggled along with one leg and now her other leg is in jeopardy."
read more here

If You Hate "Merry Christmas" Then Go To Work That Day

Here is a list of Federal Holidays Notice the name of the last day?
Thursday, January 1New Year’s Day
Monday, January 19Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Monday, February 16*Washington’s Birthday
Monday, May 25Memorial Day
Friday, July 3**Independence Day
Monday, September 7Labor Day
Monday, October 12Columbus Day
Wednesday, November 11Veterans Day
Thursday, November 26Thanksgiving Day
Friday, December 25Christmas Day
Lawmakers respond to Salem VA Medical Center’s Christmas tree ban 
WSLS 10 News
By Jenna Zibton - Virginia Today Anchor
Published: November 25, 2015

WSLS 10 first reported the letter sent to employees saying Christmas trees wouldn’t be allowed in public areas this year because trees were considered religious symbols. After a heated meeting with employees the medical center reversed the decision saying “After a lengthy discussion, it was determined that Christmas trees could be displayed in public areas so long as they were accompanied by the respective symbols of the two other faiths that celebrate holidays during this holiday season – namely the Jewish Menorah, or Hanukkah Lamp, and the Kwanzaa Mkeka (decorative mat) or Kinara (candleholder).” read more here

If you have a problem with people celebrating Christmas, saying Merry Christmas, then go to work that day and stop whining. You are entitled to your own faith or lack of it but you are not entitled to force everyone to do what you want. Grow up and finally understand that Christmas is a holiday and not a "holy day" for most folks. I seriously doubt Christ would approve of Black Friday or buying a Lexus for yourself while using Him as a reason to go shopping.