This Veteran is Helping Fellow Vets Transition to Civilian Life Through Video Gaming

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video gamer online with headphones on looking at monitor

One medically retired veteran of the U.S. Army is helping recreate the brother and sisterhood people often find in the service through his YouTube channel that focuses on gaming—and self-care.

After Christopher Boehm left the army, he learned from a friend the staggering statistic that 22 veterans die each day by suicide.

Being injured and having a past struggle with alcohol abuse, he connected with the pain of these veterans.

He decided then that he wanted to help others leaving the service smoothly transition to civilian life.

When he learned that the U.S. Army uses Twitch, a live streaming platform for gamers, for recruitment purposes, he knew he could do something similar to connect with veterans and prevent the social isolation and depression that exists in the veteran community.

Christopher set up his own YouTube channel, Bayonet X-Ray, where he plays video games live for 22 minutes at sunrise each morning—representing the 22 veterans that die by suicide each day.

While gaming, Boehm shares strategies for combating PTSD and depression, daily motivation, and tips on healthy eating and breathing. He also provides general camaraderie for isolated veterans.

“My goal is to connect with veterans that can’t access other services,” explains Boehm. “This YouTube channel is my way of helping my brothers and sisters, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially important to stay connected and break up the day to day monotony.”

Boehm has a kind, peaceful voice, and his YouTube channel isn’t just for veterans: It’s for everyone. Check it out today.

Continue on to the Good News Network to read the complete article.

Discovery Channel’s special “Gold Rush” Featuring military vets airs Friday Night- Sneak Peek Clip!

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promo poster of Gold Rush series on Discovery Channel

“Gold Rush” is Discovery’s #1 show, and Friday night’s episode will focus on the all-military veteran team led by military veteran turned mine boss Fred Lewis.

During the show, fans will learn about their war injuries, paths to recovery and how his all-veteran team got into gold mining. It also reveals that crewmember Kyle Pletzke is one of the nation’s many homeless veterans.

Fred’s rookie team has faced a lot of setback this year from spotty ground to aging equipment… resulting in a low gold total so far.

But, the silver lining is that his special forces team has gelled together and is working well now as a crew.

They’re working through the night when needed, all with the goal of banking more gold.

VIEW THE TRAILER!

On Friday’s episode of “Gold Rush”, airing at 8 PM ET/PT on Discovery, mechanic Mitch Blatshke from Parker’s crew stops by to help fix up the operation to get them to finish line. Now, they have to hope the gear will hold and that there’s gold in the ground to have any chance of bringing home gold this year.

Gold Rush” airs this Friday at 8 PM ET/PT on Discovery, followed by the military Gold Rush special at 10 PM ET/PT on Discovery. Fans can also binge all previous seasons of Gold Rush on discovery+

Trace Adkins—He’s Got Your Back

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By Kat Castagnoli

For more than two decades, country music icon Trace Adkins has sold 11 million albums –all but one has gone Gold or Platinum — won numerous Country Music Television (CMT) and Academy of Country Music (ACM) awards and has nearly 200 million plays on YouTube.

But if you ask Trace Adkins what he’s proudest of, it has little to do with any of the above.

It’s the invaluable, long-lasting connections he’s made with U.S. veterans through his work with the USO, and especially with the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP).

“I’m a better man for having associated with these men and women. I always say that if you have the opportunity to be in the presence of heroes, take it. You’ll be better for it,” said Adkins, who’s been WWP’s spokesperson since 2010.

“It’s always been a privilege to work with veteran organizations and it’s really been the most meaningful thing that I’ve done in my career.”

Steve Nardizzi, chief executive officer for WWP, says Adkins’ unwavering and passionate support for their cause has given a voice to their mission and the needs of the nation’s wounded veterans. “Time and time again, Trace has gone out of his way to highlight WWP and help us ensure this generation of injured veterans is the most successful and well-adjusted in our nation’s history,” said Nardizzi.

The country music singer’s support for the military began when he went on his first USO tour in 2002 to Bahrain, according to an Iamthevoluntourist.com interview.

“After that first trip, I was hooked,” Adkins said. “They were some of the most appreciative audiences you’ll ever play for.”

Since then, he’s been on a total of 12 USO tours, visiting over 65,000 service members across the globe, including performances at military installations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Japan, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

Respect for the armed forces is a common theme in the singer’s music. “The last few albums we’ve always tried to include a song that pays tribute to the men and women that serve,” he says. “I appreciate them. They’ve got my back and I want to let them know, I’ve got theirs, too.”

A Deep Connection

Widely known for his distinctive, bass-baritone voice, Adkins first emerged onto the country music scene in 1996 with his debut album, “Dreamin Out Loud,” released on Capitol Records Nashville. Since then, he’s released ten more studio albums and two greatest hits compilations. In addition, he’s charted more than 20 singles on the Billboard country music charts, including number one hits, “(This Ain’t) No Thinkin’ Thing,” “Ladies Love Country Boys,” and “You’re Gonna Miss This,” which peaked in 1997, 2007 and 2008, respectively.

All but one of his studio albums went Gold or Platinum in the U.S. – his highest-selling to date is the 2005 album, “Songs About Me,” which went multi-Platinum, selling over two million copies.

On his 2017 album, “Something’s Going On,” Adkins dedicated the song, “Still a Soldier,” to our nation’s veterans as a way to show his support and respect for all that they have done.

The song talks about the life of an American veteran and his deep-seated connection to life as a solider, even though he’s currently living a civilian life:

“Comes home at night to a pretty wife

With a baby due

He’ll sleep in on Saturday

Cut the grass if it don’t rain

After church he’ll watch the game

And have a beer or two”

“He’s still a soldier

His blood runs red, white and blue

He put away his gun and boots

But he still believes

The American Dream

‘Til his last breath he’ll always be

A soldier”

Adkins’ songs are just one of the many ways he advocates and supports veterans. The singer has been involved with the Wounded Warrior Project since its

Trace Adkins on stagein a suit and holding his cowboy hat singing with US flag in background
NEW YORK, NY – MAY 31: Trace Adkins performs onstage during the Wounded Warrior Project Courage Awards & Benefit Dinner at Gotham Hall in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Wounded Warrior Project)

inception and is passionate about its mission. “In my career, I just can’t think of any other organization that I’ve been involved with that just moved me the way my work with Wounded Warrior Project has,” he told Rolling Stone.

In his experience with wounded veterans, Adkins said he’s been struck by how many share the same goal: to rejoin their colleagues in active duty. “That’s all they want to do is go back, because they couldn’t find solace or comfort here. They just want to go back,” he says. “It’s sad to see those folks and visit with them. You can hear that pain. I’ve been around a lot of them and talked to a lot of them and it leaves you feeling helpless.”

Still, the singer, who released the EP “Ain’t That Kind of Cowboy” in October, is bolstered by the progress he’s witnessed. “There have been so many success stories,” Adkins says. “They come back and they get the help they need and it’s a wonderful thing to see when that does happen.”

In 2016, Adkins received the National Defense Industrial Association’s Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for his exceptional leadership and advocacy for service members. But, “I’m not going to pat myself on the back too hard,” Adkins says. “I just do what I can and hopefully it’ll help.”

Living Country

Just hearing some of the things Adkins has lived through, you might say he doesn’t just sing country songs – he’s lived them. Born in the small Louisiana town of Sarepta in 1962, Adkins, at the age of 17, hit a school bus while driving to school one morning, puncturing both lungs, breaking several ribs and severing his nose – which, thankfully, they were able to sew back on, according to Wide Open Country. He went on to garner a football scholarship to Louisiana Tech University, but sadly, knee injuries ended any chance of an athletic career.

After college, Adkins worked several manual odd jobs before figuring out that Nashville was the place to be. He took up the guitar early in life but at the time, he was known more for his accident-prone ways than his singing.

Trace Adkins performs in on stage with his guitar in blue jeans, cowboy style shirt and cowboy hat
CEDAR PARK, TEXAS – AUGUST 09: Trace Adkins performs in concert at HEB Center on August 9, 2019 in Cedar Park, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)

In 1982, Adkins’ tangle with a bulldozer caused such deep cuts that, “I thought I was fixin’ to lose both my legs,” he told Wide Open Country. Less than a year later, a tank containing 400 barrels of oil exploded while he was trying to repair a leak, crushing his left leg. And in 1988, Adkins flipped his truck on an icy overpass in Texas, putting him in a neck brace. Another accident a year later left him with one of his fingers cut off.

But the decade’s cherry on top was Adkins being stranded with nine other coworkers on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Chantal in 1989. To survive, “I got to the highest part of the living quarters on the rig, so if it turned over, I was pretty well centered and could go in either direction,” he told Wide Open Country.

Adkins survived, and went on to have two daughters, Tarah and Sarah, with his first wife and high school sweetheart, Barbara Lewis, and three daughters, Mackenzie, Brianna and Trinity, with his third wife, Rhonda Forlaw, a former publicity manager for Arista Records who actually helped Adkins jumpstart his career.

However, in 1994, his second wife, Julie Curtis, got a little too fed up with his drinking, picked up the family shotgun and shot Adkins. Bullets went through his heart and both lungs.

“The doctors held little hope that I would survive and told my family and friends to go in and say goodbye,” he wrote in his autobiography, A Personal Stand: Observations and Opinions from a Freethinking Roughneck.

But if you know anything about Adkins, it’s that the country star has nothing if not nine lives, and continues to live life on his terms.

Generations of Sacrifice

With all Adkins has been through, he wasn’t going to let a pandemic

Country music star Trace Adkins, with his daughters Brianna and Trinity, and his dogs Bella and Daisy sitting on a couch
JUNE 11: Country music star Trace Adkins, with his daughters Brianna and Trinity, and his dogs Bella and Daisy, invites dog owners to enter the Waggin’ Train Tail Waggin’ Jingle Contest by writing a song about the fun they have with their four-legged friends. The Grand Prize winner gets to sing his or her jingle in a recording session produced by Adkins. For complete contest rules, visit www.WagginTrainBrand.com. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images for Purina)

prevent him from performing at the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS for his fifth time. The concert is traditionally one of PBS’ highest rated shows and went on as scheduled, but with a few noticeable changes. The event usually draws hundreds of thousands of people to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building, but in 2020, the tributes and performances were filmed separately in accordance with social distancing guidelines–something Adkins didn’t mind.

“For me, it was less of a challenge than it has been in the past because there was no live audience and if I screwed up, I got to do it over again. In the past I walked out on stage to 200,000 people, so it’s like being in a pressure cooker. This time it was way easier,” he laughingly told Iamthevoluntourist.com.

Adkins says he was thrilled to be part of the show and is happy to celebrate veterans every chance he gets. “It’s always a privilege and the highlight of my year to be part of this show. This year, I think especially. It provides some perspective.

“We’re going through a strange time but there have been generations before us who have been asked to sacrifice way more than we’re being asked to sacrifice. The times have been tougher on a much bigger scale and I think we need to be reminded of that. This too shall pass.”

Kellie Pickler, Wilmer Valderrama Named USO Global Ambassadors

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In honor of its 80th anniversary, the United Service Organizations (USO) has named country singer and actress Kellie Pickler, and producer, actor and activist Wilmer Valderrama as USO Global Ambassadors.

USO tour veterans Pickler and Valderrama will help lead the effort for Americans, united in spirit and action, to give more than thanks to the military community.

“We are honored to have these two longtime advocates come on board as USO Global Ambassadors,” said J.D. Crouch II, USO CEO and president. “Kellie and Wilmer have seen firsthand the importance of the USO mission and the impact it can have when we express the nation’s gratitude to our Armed Forces. We hope their continued support will invite more Americans to join them in honoring service members and their families.”

As USO Global Ambassadors, Pickler and Valderrama will support the organization’s Give More Than Thanks initiative, a campaign encouraging all Americans to find actionable ways to express their gratitude for the service and sacrifice of our troops and their families. Throughout the year, Pickler and Valderrama will participate in events and entertainment engagements for service members, raise awareness of our military’s needs and share ways Americans can help the USO give more than thanks.

Pickler and Valderrama have dedicated their time and talents to give back to service members and their families throughout their careers, including touring together in 2018 for the annual USO Holiday Tour with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Ways Pickler and Valderrama have served with the USO include:

Kellie Pickler

  • First tour in 2007 to Iraq
  • 12 USO tours visiting 13 international locations (Afghanistan, Germany, Iraq, Kosovo, United Kingdom, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Kyrgyzstan, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Norway) and a ship at sea; and three domestic locations
  • Five USO Holiday Tours with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (2008, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018)
  • USO Military Virtual Programming (MVP) session with husband, Kyle Jacobs, broadcast worldwide to 34 locations in the U.S., Qatar, Guam and Japan
  • Recipient of Department of Defense Spirit of Hope Award, Operation Troop Aid Chris Kyle Patriot Award and USO of North Carolina Heart for the Warrior Award

“I am honored to join the USO as a Global Ambassador for their 80th anniversary of supporting America’s military, especially in support of this campaign encouraging all Americans to give more than thanks,” shares Pickler. “The USO has allowed me so many opportunities to serve those who serve us, and this is another way I can help shine a light on something that matters … supporting our servicemen, servicewomen, their families, and letting them know we don’t take what they do for granted.”

Wilmer Valderrama

  • First tour in 2007 to Germany
  • Eight USO tours visiting nine international locations (Germany, Poland, South Korea, Afghanistan, Djibouti, Greenland, Norway, Bahrain, Iraq) and a ship at sea; and three domestic locations
  • One USO Holiday Tour with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2018
  • More than 40 USO performances
  • USO MVP session broadcast worldwide to 13 installations in the U.S., United Arab Emirates, Germany, Japan, Italy and Iraq

“Touring with the USO has been one of the proudest moments of my career because it has given me the chance to pay my respect and personally express my gratitude to our servicemen and women,” Valderrama said. “I feel honored to now serve as a USO Global Ambassador, to help others understand how important it is to support the military and encourage Americans to follow our heroes example in becoming a more united community in a more united nation.”

Generations of Americans have answered the call to step up, serve and sacrifice. Wherever they are deployed or stationed—on the front lines overseas or the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic response at home—the USO stands by our heroes in uniform. Since 1941, the USO has been a resource for more than 40 million individuals, from providing morale-boosting entertainment to delivering millions of care packages.

To learn more about ways to give more than thanks, visit USO.org/morethanthanks. Follow the USO’s Give More Than Thanks campaign and join the conversation using the hashtag #MoreThanThanks on social media.

About the USO:

The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. At hundreds of locations worldwide, we are united in our commitment to connect our service members and their families through countless acts of caring, comfort and support. The USO is a private nonprofit organization, not a government agency. Our programs, services and entertainment tours are made possible by the American people, support of our corporate partners and the dedication of our volunteers and staff. To join us in this important mission and learn more about the USO, please visit USO.org and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Launch Veteran Suicide Prevention and Advocacy Week

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Soldier sitting and talking to his therapist

In the second week of its six-week campaign, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is dedicating this week to its legislative goals and research on veteran suicide and mental health.

An average of 20 servicemembers and veterans die by suicide every day, and IAVA’s own research has found that 59 percent of members know a veteran that took their own life.

“Reducing the number of veterans that die by suicide has been a key concern for IAVA.”said Tom Porter, Executive VP for IAVA. “As members of the armed services, our veterans have experienced collective trauma as well as other unique challenges. Our federal government has a duty to provide the mental health support, resources, and accessible care to the servicemembers that have fought to defend our country. We are eager to work with Congress and the Biden administration to continue to address the pressing issue of veteran suicide.”

IAVA has made addressing veteran suicide a top priority for over a decade and worked alongside legislators to pass the bipartisan Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, the most comprehensive veteran suicide bill passed to date. This vital legislation includes much-needed updates related to transition assistance, mental health care, care for women veterans, and telehealth care as well as care for at-risk veterans who do not use the VA. We call on the House and Senate VA committees to exercise strong oversight on, and to work closely with newly confirmed VA Secretary McDonough and VSOs toward implementation of the new law.

Additionally, IAVA has advocated for the expansion of accessible mental health resources, including the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, enacted last year, which designated 9-8-8 as the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. This new IAVA-backed law will make it possible for all Americans in need, including veterans, to be connected with resources and care in seconds.

This year, IAVA will continue to advocate for the VA and all relevant government agencies to more aggressively fight the growing rates of veteran suicide, including implementation of the new aforementioned legislation. Learn more about IAVA’s work on mental health and suicide prevention here.

IAVA also provides free services to any veteran in need through its flagship program, the Quick Reaction Force (QRF), which offers 24/7 confidential peer-to-peer support, comprehensive care management and resource connections for veterans and their families. The full scope of the program and ways to connect to QRF can be found here.

IAVA is the voice for the post-9/11 veteran generation. With over 400,000 veterans and allies nationwide, IAVA is the leader in non-partisan veteran advocacy and public awareness. We drive historic impacts for veterans and IAVA’s programs are second to none. Any veteran or family member in need can reach out to IAVA’s Quick Reaction Force at quickreactionforce.org or 855-91RAPID (855-917-2743) to be connected promptly with a veteran care manager who will assist. IAVA’s The Vote Hub is a free tool to register to vote and find polling information. IAVA’s membership is always growing. Join the movement at iava.org/membership.

This Taylor Swift ‘Red’ Hit Is Now a Sea Shanty, Thanks to U.S. Navy Band

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Taylor Swift closeup with her smiling wearing red lipstick

Sea shanties may be trending on TikTok, but the U.S. Navy wants you to know that they were into the genre first — so much so, that the U.S. Navy Band took to Twitter to share its sea-shanty rendition of Taylor Swift’s Red single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”

Featuring a thumping, shanty-esque beat, violins and a five-part vocal harmony, members of the Navy Band chant the lyrics, even putting their own spin on the second verse’s “indie record” line: “And you would hide away and find your peace of mind/ With some TikTok video that’s much cooler than mine,” the female vocalist sings, nodding to the growing sea-shanty trend on the popular video sharing platform.  (Photo by Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic)

To really let followers know that sea shanties are deeply embedded in U.S. Navy history and culture, the band playfully quoted the Navy Chief of Information in the caption: “To quote @CHINFO, ‘We were very much into this music before it was cool.’”

Watch the U.S. Navy Band’s sea-shanty version of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” below.

Read the complete article on Billboard.

The Bob Woodruff Foundation Releases Best Practices for Organizations Providing Emergency Assistance to Veteran and Military Families

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famility portrait of mom dad and two children smiling

The COVID-19 pandemic and resultant economic downturn have had a profound financial impact on millions of Americans, including our nation’s veterans and military families.

The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) quickly pivoted their 2020 grantmaking plans to get critical funding into the hands of their partners, enabling emergency financial assistance (EFA) for veterans when and where it was needed most. Based on insights gathered from their grantees, BWF has now released “Emergency Financial Assistance: Best Practices,” the latest issue in their Stand SMART for Heroes research series, to share key findings that can help organizations minimize risk and maximize impact for veterans and their families.

In April 2020, BWF released a pivotal research paper, “Veterans and COVID-19: Projecting the Economic, Social, and Mental Health Needs of America’s Veterans,” indicating that half of veterans between the ages of 25 and 44 had less than $3,000 to $4,000 in savings before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Additionally, 15% of veterans were employed in industries that were most likely to be impacted by the pandemic.

In anticipation of increased need, BWF leveraged their findings and expedited their 2020 grants to provide direct support to the military and veteran population during the pandemic, broadening their usual granting criteria to include applications from programs providing EFA. At the same time, BWF developed a survey to evaluate applicants for risk and professionalism. The results of that survey formed the basis for this latest research paper publication.

“Providing support to cover rent, groceries, home or vehicle repairs, or other unexpected expenses can help veterans maintain stability in the short term, so that they can thrive in the long term,” said Anne Marie Dougherty, Chief Executive Officer of the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “By sharing what we’ve learned from our network through our latest issue of Stand SMART for Heroes, we’re shining a light on this urgent need while also providing an important resource to organizations that want to help.”
For more information, and for funders interested in supporting emergency financial assistance programs, please visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org/stand-smart-for-heroes/.

About the Bob Woodruff Foundation:
The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) was founded in 2006 after reporter Bob Woodruff was wounded by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq. Since then, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has led an enduring call to action for people to stand up for heroes and meet the emerging and long-term needs of today’s veterans, including suicide prevention, mental health, caregiver support, and food insecurity. To date, BWF has invested over $76 million to Find, Fund and Shape™ programs that have empowered impacted veterans, service members, and their family members, across the nation. For more information, please visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org or follow us on Twitter at @Stand4Heroes.

Tens of thousands of veteran caregivers now eligible for the coronavirus vaccine through VA

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Hands of a doctor in latex gloves fill a syringe from vial of covid vaccine going to give an injection isolated on white

By Leo Shane lll
Military Times

Tens of thousands of caregivers providing critical medical support to disabled veterans will be eligible to receive coronavirus vaccine doses soon under a new policy announced by the Department of Veterans Affairs this week.

The move comes after a coalition of veterans groups lobbied for the caregivers to be pushed to the top of the vaccine list, arguing that they deserved to be included in the first wave of medical professionals being protected against the deadly illness.

In response, Dr. Richard Stone, executive in charge of the Veterans Health Administration, released a memo this week asserting that individuals registered with the department’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers can be given the vaccine “in a coordinated manner with the veterans for whom they provide care.”

More than 6,700 Veterans Affairs patients have died from virus complications in the last 10 months.
Leo Shane III

Specifics on an exact timeline for vaccinations was not released. The memo states that decisions will be made “in balance with site-specific resources, needs, vaccine availability, hesitancy to accept the vaccine, and status of the pandemic locally.

In an interview with Military Times, Stone said that he is shifting many of those vaccination decisions to local officials, in an effort to provide coverage to more individuals.

“We need to leave it up to people at the besides, to make sure they are making the best decisions for veterans,” he said. “When someone brings a veteran in to give them the vaccine, they can easily identify what the other needs are.”

For caregivers like Jennie Beller, the news is welcome relief.

Read the full article on militarytimes.com

WWII veteran becomes first VA patient to get COVID-19 vaccine

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female VA patient receiving vaccine

Less than three days after the first COVID-19 vaccine received government authorization, a World War II veteran in Massachusetts became the first Veterans Affairs patient in the country to get the shot.

The VA Bedford Healthcare System’s shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived Monday morning and the facility began to administer doses within a few hours.

Margaret Klessens, a 96-year-old resident of the Community Living Center in the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford, received the shot Monday at 12:07 p.m., the VA Bedford Healthcare System announced in a statement.

Thirteen minutes later, Andrew Miller, a housekeeper in the environmental management services became the first employee to get the jab.

Elsewhere in Massachusetts, shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were arriving and hospitals are preparing to begin administering them to staff this week.

Boston Medical Center said Monday it received its first shipment of 1,950 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID19 vaccine.

Continue on to wvcb.com to read the complete article. Department of Veterans Affairs photo via Twitter.

VA announces initial plans for COVID-19 vaccine distribution

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scientist holding vile of vaccine for covid

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently announced a preliminary plan for distributing COVID-19 vaccinations it will implement once the Food and Drug Administration issues an emergency use authorization for a vaccine.

VA has worked in close coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Operation Warp Speed to plan for COVID-19 vaccination of VA staff and Veterans.

VA will first provide vaccinations to front-line VA health care workers and Veterans residing in long-term care units in 37 of its medical centers across the country.

The centers, listed below, were chosen for their ability to vaccinate large numbers of people and store the vaccines at extremely cold temperatures.

Health care workers will be among the first to receive vaccinations because they are at high risk for contracting and spreading COVID-19 to other staff members and patients, and their health is critical to ensuring the continued care of Veterans.

Veterans in VA’s long-term care facilities will be the first patient group to be vaccinated. As vaccine supplies increase, additional Veterans will receive vaccinations based on factors such as age, existing health problems and other considerations that increase the risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19.

VA anticipates a limited vaccine supply immediately after FDA’s approval, but expects more supplies to be available in short order.

“VA is well prepared and positioned to begin COVID-19 vaccinations,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Our ultimate goal is to offer it to all Veterans and employees who want to be vaccinated.”

The 37 VA sites chosen for initial distribution of the vaccine will closely monitor patients and staff for side effects and log this information in its vaccine monitoring and tracking system. This is the same system VA uses to monitor reactions to all vaccines, including those for the flu and shingles.

VA will report directly to the CDC data on all vaccine doses administered by VA. The department will also provide general, public updates on the number of people who receive the vaccination at these sites, similar to how VA posts COVID-19 testing figures.

The 37 VA sites are spread throughout the country and include:

Birmingham (AL) VA Health Care System

Phoenix (AZ) VA Health Care System

Greater Los Angeles (CA) VA Health Care System

Palo Alto (CA) VA Health Care System

Eastern Colorado (CO) VA Health Care System

Connecticut (West Haven Campus) VA Health Care System

Washington DC VA Health Care System

Orlando (FL) VA Health Care System

Augusta (GA) VA Health Care System

Edward J. Hines Jr. VA Hospital (IL)

Lexington (KY) VA Health Care System

Southeast Louisiana (New Orleans) VA Health Care System

Maryland (Baltimore) VA Health Care System

Bedford (MA) VA Health Care System

Ann Arbor (MI) VA Health Care System

Minneapolis (MN) VA Health Care System

Harry S Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital (Columbia MO)

St. Louis (MO) VA Health Care System

Omaha (NE) VA Health Care System

Southern Nevada (North Las Vegas) VA Health Care System

Raymond G. Murphy (NM) VA Health Care System

New York Harbor (Brooklyn) VA Health Care System

Western New York (Buffalo) VA Health Care System

Durham (NC) VA Health Care System

Cleveland (OH) VA Health Care System

Oklahoma City (OK) VA Health Care System

Portland (OR) VA Health Care System

Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center (Philadelphia PA)

Pittsburgh (PA) VA Health Care System

Caribbean (Puerto Rico) VA Health Care System

Memphis (TN) VA Health Care System

Dallas (TX) VA Medical Center

Michael E. DeBakey VA Health Care System (Houston TX)

Audie L. Murphy VA Hospital (San Antonio TX)

Richmond (VA) VA Health Care System

Puget Sound (WA) VA Health Care System

Milwaukee (WI) VA Health Care System

Veterans seeking additional information should visit the VA COVID-19 vaccine webpage, contact their care team or visit their facility website.

Source: VA.gov

Joe Walsh Presents Lineup And Details For This Saturday’s VetsAid Festival 2020 – Home For The Holidays

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VetsAid promo poster featuring many musical artists

Joe Walsh reveals the final artist lineup and details for this Saturday’s VetsAid 2020: Home for the Holidays today, boasting nearly 50 performances and appearances, the multi-hour music festival will raise sorely needed funds to veterans services groups across the country. Join Joe and his friends December 12 for a worldwide broadcast of unique performances, never-before-seen VetsAid footage from years past and great stories from some of the greatest musicians in the world. VetsAid is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and multi-GRAMMY Award winning musician’s national 501(c)3 non-profit veterans organization.

“Wow – what a show we have this year! Such a diverse and wonderful line up!” Walsh explains, “When you have something like this you humbly ask your friends and colleagues and hope a couple will sign on – kind of like going fishing – but this year everyone I asked said yes! And now it’s turned into a virtual music festival like no other. We know the plight of our vets is hard enough in the best of times, and they are especially vulnerable during this pandemic.

Nearly 50 performances and appearances from artists across the USA, including never before broadcast from The Vetsaid Archives; Sheryl Crow, The Doobie Brothers, Haim, Don Henley, Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit, Brad Paisley, Ringo Starr, James Taylor, Keith Urban, Joe Walsh And Zz Top.

And new performances and/or appearances from; Drew Carey, Kenny Chesney, Alice Cooper, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Melissa Etheridge, Brandon Flowers, Mary Gauthier, Vince Gill, Patty Griffin, Daryl Hall, Ben Harper, James Hetfield, Jewel, Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan And Ayaan, The Lumineers, Richard Marx, Tim Mcgraw, Willie Nelson and The Boys, Phillip Phillips, Nathaniel Rateliff, Josh Ritter, Blake Shelton, Jake Shimabukuro, Amanda Shires, Gwen Stefani, Billy Bob Thornton/The Boxmasters, Steven Van Zandt, Eddie Vedder, Rufus Wainwright, Joe Walsh and Verdine White.

VETSAID 2020: HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

TO BE STREAMED ONLINE DECEMBER 12, 2020

AND AVAILABLE FOR RESTREAM THROUGH DECEMBER 14, 2020

Tickets on-sale now at vetsaid.veeps.com

“I am proud of this nationwide tradition we’ve created and I’m so glad we can have this show during the holidays featuring all these artists that I love. I’ve got a great feeling about it and know fans will too. I hope it shows the Vets how many people care and want to help – I can’t think of a better way to remember and honor the men and women who have served our country this holiday season than by helping us raise funds to support their essential and basic needs.”

This ticketed event will be streamed on December 12 starting at 6pm ET via vetsaid.veeps.com and will also be available for restream through December 14.

Tickets and merch bundles are available now at vetsaid.veeps.com and will be priced from $20 with discounts available for active duty military and veterans using the promo code VALOR.

Joe Walsh launched VetsAid on September 20, 2017 with an inaugural concert at the EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, VA. The second festival event was in Tacoma, WA and the third in Houston, TX.  VetsAid typically seeks to host the events in cities across the country with large veteran populations. The shows have included performances by musicians including James Taylor, Chris Stapleton, Don Henley, ZZ Top, Sheryl Crow, The Doobie Brothers, Zac Brown Band, Jason Isbell, Keith Urban, Haim, Gary Clark Jr. and Joe’s brother-in-law Ringo.

VetsAid has raised nearly 1.5 million dollars and supports veterans and their families.

All net proceeds from the 2020 festival will go directly to the veterans’ services charities selected through a vetting process coordinated in tandem with the Combined Arms Institute.

For more information, please visit www.vetsaid.org.

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