Veterans struggling with PTSD find hope and healing by working with horses

LinkedIn
Warrior Ranch Foundation train horses and matches them with veterans who need healing therapy

By Deidre Reilly, Fox News

Warrior Ranch Foundation rescues and trains horses — then matches them with veterans and first responders who can benefit from healing therapy.

Eileen Shanahan is the founder and president of the Warrior Ranch Foundation, headquartered in Calverton, N.Y.

She was joined by U.S. Army Ranger veteran Paul Martinez, U.S. Coast Guard veteran Maddie Feaster and Warrior Ranch trainer Gina Lamb — and together they explained how this equine therapy organization helps veterans and first responders heal from PTSD.

“We do horse interaction therapy,” explained Shanahan, who is also an editor with Fox News.

“What we do is we teach our participants about the nature of horses and the way horses communicate with each other — and that’s through body language.”

Warrior Ranch Foundation rescues and trains horses, then pairs them up with veterans and first responders who need their healing energy.

Shanahan explained that they teach simple exercises to learn to communicate with the horses, with a focus on safety.

“Now, think about it: We’re stepping into their herd — so it’s about respect and trust,” she said.

“You have to get the trust of that horse,” Shanahan continued. “When horses are out in the field seeing who the leader is, they’re poking each other, biting each other, kicking each other.”

She explained that they’re not hurting each other, noting that they each weigh about 1,000 pounds, “but when we enter their herd, that’s the only way they know how to communicate” — hence the foundation’s focus on safety.

Click here to read more on foxnews.com

The PACT Act and your VA benefits

LinkedIn
Disabled Veteran in wheelchair

The PACT Act is a new law that expands VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances. This law helps us provide generations of Veterans—and their survivors—with the care and benefits they’ve earned and deserve.

This page will help answer your questions about what the PACT Act means for you or your loved ones. You can also call us at 800-698-2411 (TTY: 711).

And you can file a claim for PACT Act-related disability compensation or apply for VA health care now.

 

What’s the PACT Act and how will it affect my VA benefits and care?

The PACT Act is perhaps the largest health care and benefit expansion in VA history.

The full name of the law is The Sergeant First Class (SFC) Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act.

The PACT Act will bring these changes:

  • Expands and extends eligibility for VA health care for Veterans with toxic exposures and Veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War, and post-9/11 eras
  • Adds more than 20 new presumptive conditions for burn pits and other toxic exposures
  • Adds more presumptive-exposure locations for Agent Orange and radiation
  • Requires VA to provide a toxic exposure screening to every Veteran enrolled in VA health care
  • Helps us improve research, staff education, and treatment related to toxic exposures

If you’re a Veteran or survivor, you can file claims now to apply for PACT Act-related benefits.

What does it mean to have a presumptive condition for toxic exposure?

To get a VA disability rating, your disability must connect to your military service. For many health conditions, you need to prove that your service caused your condition.

But for some conditions, we automatically assume (or “presume”) that your service caused your condition. We call these “presumptive conditions.”

We consider a condition presumptive when it’s established by law or regulation.

If you have a presumptive condition, you don’t need to prove that your service caused the condition. You only need to meet the service requirements for the presumption.

Read more about the PACT Act on the VA’s website here.

Improving Access to Healthcare

LinkedIn
soldier in wheelchair with son pushing him and daughter riding on lap

Google Cloud announced that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is partnering with Google Cloud to help developers implement new tools and applications that will improve veteran access to VA services and data.

Serving more than 19 million veterans and their families, the VA is the largest healthcare provider in the United States and manages a network of 170 medical centers and 1,000 outpatient sites. In addition to healthcare, the VA administers key veteran services ranging from education opportunities and unemployment assistance to housing aid, pension benefits and more. Ensuring veterans can access these services easily is a top priority for the VA.

Through a $13 million, multi-year contract, the VA will deploy Apigee, Google Cloud’s application programming interface (API) management platform. The implementation is part of the continued evolution of the VA’s Lighthouse API program, providing developers with seamless and secure access to VA APIs in the development of new tools and services. For example, with Apigee, developers can use the VA’s Benefits API to create applications that help veterans submit and track electronic benefits claims and add supplemental documentation. Developers can also easily access the VA’s Health APIs to build new online tools that help veterans manage their health and access their medical records.

“Google Cloud’s Apigee will help the VA to continue scaling the VA Lighthouse API program for third-party developers in a cost-efficient manner, offering veterans more choice in the applications and tools they use to obtain access to their data and services,” said Dave Mazik, director, VA Lighthouse. “This partnership is a logical next step to better connect veterans with VA services, innovate with trusted third parties and continue to offer a high-quality, digital-first customer experience to which they’re accustomed to in other areas of their lives.”

APIs are how software talks to software and how developers leverage data and functionality at scale in a secure fashion. They are products that need to be actively managed so that organizations and developers can execute business strategies and achieve innovation at scale.

“We’re honored to support the VA and our nation’s veterans,” said Mike Daniels, vice president of Global Public Sector, Google Cloud. “By making it easier for developers and partners to build new applications through Apigee, the VA is spurring innovations that will ultimately enable veterans and their families to more easily access important benefits and services.”

The VA’s Apigee deployment — built on Apigee’s FedRAMP-authorized platform — will support the department’s existing efforts to safeguard veteran data, in compliance with standards such as HIPAA regulations and the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard for exchanging healthcare information electronically.

About Google Cloud
Google Cloud accelerates organizations’ ability to digitally transform their business with the best infrastructure, platform, industry solutions and expertise. We deliver enterprise-grade solutions that leverage Google’s cutting-edge technology — all on the cleanest cloud in the industry. Customers in more than 200 countries and territories turn to Google Cloud as their trusted partner to enable growth and solve their most critical business problems.

Source: Google Cloud

Coping with Chronic Pain as a Veteran

LinkedIn
man in military uniform sitting on floor holding his head in pain

Chronic pain, one of the most common medical problems, is any pain that persists after your body has healed, usually after three to six months.

Some types of chronic pain include headaches, low back, neck, and other muscle, joint or nerve pains. These problems may be caused by an injury or an ongoing medical problem like arthritis or diabetes. In many other cases, the exact cause of chronic pain is unknown.

How you respond when you hurt is essential for managing any type of chronic pain. Many efforts to reduce pain in the short term create increased pain, suffering, and disability in the long term. This includes taking more medicine, resting or avoiding activities.

There are multiple treatment options available to treat your chronic pain. No single treatment is suitable for everyone. Talk with your healthcare provider to learn more about the possible treatment options and decide which ones are best for you.

Opioids and chronic pain

Opioids are natural or manufactured chemicals that can reduce pain. Healthcare providers prescribe them. Opioids work by changing the way your brain senses pain. Some common opioids are:

  • Hydrocodone
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone

Healthcare providers used to think that opioids could safely reduce chronic pain when used for extended periods. New information has taught us that long-term opioid use may not be helpful or safe for treating chronic pain.

New knowledge leads to new practices

We have learned three key things through studying opioids and chronic pain. This new information has changed medical practice.

  • Opioids will only temporarily “take the edge” off pain no matter the dose. You will not be pain-free over the long term.
  • There are very significant risks that come with using these medicines. Higher doses carry greater risks with very little evidence of any additional benefit.
  • There is absolutely no safe dose of opioids. An overdose is possible even when you are using your opioids as prescribed.

Facts about opioids

Opioids have many effects in addition to reducing pain. They slow your mind and body and can cause shortness or loss of breath. Long-term opioid use can cause multiple other problems, including:

  • Increased pain
  • Accidental overdose or death
  • Opioid use disorder or addiction
  • Problems with sleep, mood, hormones and immune system

Treating pain without opioids

Many treatments can be helpful with chronic pain, including:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Non-opioid pain medicines
  • Physical therapy and exercise
  • Nerve blocks or surgery
  • Acupuncture, yoga, chiropractic

The best long-term treatment for chronic pain requires you to be involved in your own care. Self-management includes taking care of yourself in ways other than taking medicines, having surgery, or using other medical treatments. Cognitive behavior therapy can help you learn to respond differently to your chronic pain and reduce its effects on your daily life.

You should work with your healthcare provider to develop an individual treatment plan based on realistic expectations and goals. For most people, long-term improvements will depend more on what you can do to help yourself in lieu of what medical providers can do for you. Appropriate goals focus on improving your overall quality of life instead of providing urgent and complete pain relief.

Source: Veterans Health Library

Crestview WWII, Navy veteran celebrates 100th birthday. Look back on his service

LinkedIn
Navy World War II veteran celebrates 100th birthday

By Northwest Florida Daily News/USA TODAY NETWORK

World War II veteran Ralph Morris of Crestview celebrated his 100th birthday with friends, family, and caregivers at the Joint Ambulatory Care Center in Pensacola on Monday.

Morris, who enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942, was recognized during the brief celebration by Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System (GCVHCS) Director Bryan C. Matthews.

“Our veterans are the reason we exist, and to celebrate the 100th birthday of an individual who was involved in one of the world’s greatest conflicts is an honor,” Matthews said. “(Ralph) Morris’ dedication to his duty serves as an example of what we — as an organization serving those who have served — embody, and I couldn’t be more proud to participate in this veteran’s milestone birthday.”

Morris, born June 13, 1922, in Jefferson, Iowa, enlisted in the Navy in 1942, and eventually served aboard USS Sigsbee (DD-502) and later aboard USS Alfred A. Cunningham (DD-752). Morris served as a Machinist’s Mate (MM) during his enlistment, working in both vessels’ power plants.

Morris ended his service and opened a home furnishings store in Jefferson, Iowa, was married and has two daughters. He moved to South Florida in 1959 and worked as a salesman. He later moved to Tallahassee, and in 2019 moved again to Crestview to live with his daughter.

Click here to read more on yahoonews.com

Biden nominates Marine general as next commander of US forces in Africa

LinkedIn
US Marine appointed commander of US forces in Africa

By Bryant Harris, Defense News

President Joe Biden on Thursday nominated Lt. Gen. Michael E. Langley to lead U.S. forces in Africa, teeing him up to become the first Black four-star Marine Corps general.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the president’s decision to nominate Langley as head of AFRICOM. Langley currently heads Marine Forces Command and Marine Forces Northern Command and is the commanding general of Fleet Marine Force Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia.

Langley has served in Afghanistan, Somalia and Okinawa. He also has worked at the Pentagon and CENTCOM, which oversees US forces in the Middle East. Should the Senate confirm Langley, he will replace Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, who has led AFRICOM since July 2019. AFRICOM oversees U.S. troops dispersed throughout Africa, including in conflicts zones such as Somalia, where Biden recently reinstated troops to expedite airstrikes for counterterrorism operations. The command is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany.

Former President Donald Trump’s administration briefly sought to scale down the U.S. troop presence in Africa while merging AFRICOM with European Command (EUCOM), which is also based in Stuttgart. However, the plan stalled amid strong bipartisan rebuke in Congress.

The New York Times first reported last month that Langley would receive the nomination, and quoted former Defense Secretary James Mattis — himself a former four-star Marine general — effusively praising him.

“He’s a Marine’s Marine,” Mattis told the Times.

Click here to read more on Defense News.

SR-71 Pilot explains how he Survived to his Blackbird Disintegration at a Speed of Mach 3.2

LinkedIn
SR-71 pilot recounts events of his plane disintegrating around him

By Linda Sheffield Miller, theaviationgeekclub.com

During the Cold War, there was a need for a new reconnaissance aircraft that could evade enemy radar, and the customer needed it fast.

At Lockheed Martin’s advanced development group, the Skunk Works, work had already begun on an innovative aircraft to improve intelligence-gathering, one that would fly faster than any aircraft before or since, at greater altitude, and with a minimal radar cross section. The team rose to the nearly impossible challenge, and the aircraft took its first flight on Dec. 22, 1964. The legendary SR-71 Blackbird was born.

The first Blackbird accident that occurred that required the Pilot and the RSO to eject happened before the SR-71 was turned over to the Air Force. On Jan. 25, 1966 Lockheed test pilots Bill Weaver and Jim Zwayer were flying SR-71 Blackbird #952 at Mach 3.2, at 78,800 feet when a serious engine unstart and the subsequent “instantaneous loss of engine thrust” occurred.

The following story told by Weaver (available in Col. Richard H. Graham’s book SR-71 The Complete Illustrated History of THE BLACKBIRD The World’s Highest , Fastest Plane) is priceless in conveying the experience of departing a Blackbird at an altitude of fifteen miles and speed of Mach 3.2.

“Among professional aviators, there’s a well-worn saying: Flying is simply hours of boredom punctuated by moments of stark terror. And yet, I don’t recall too many periods of boredom during my 30-year career with Lockheed, most of which was spent as a test pilot.

By far, the most memorable flight occurred on Jan. 25, 1966. Jim Zwayer, a Lockheed flight test reconnaissance and navigation systems specialist, and I were evaluating those systems on an SR-71 Blackbird test from Edwards AFB, Calif. We also were investigating procedures designed to reduce trim drag and improve high-Mach cruise performance. The latter involved flying with the center-of-gravity (CG) located further aft than normal, which reduced the Blackbird’s longitudinal stability.

“We took off from Edwards at 11:20 a.m. and completed the mission’s first leg without incident. After refueling from a KC-135 tanker, we turned eastbound, accelerated to a Mach 3.2-cruise speed and climbed to 78,000 ft., our initial cruise-climb altitude.

Click here to read more on theaviationgeekclub.com

Military veteran graduates from college alongside his daughter

LinkedIn
dad and daughter graduating

NORFOLK, Va. – A father and daughter from Portsmouth, Virginia, are now bonded by their college graduations from the same school and on the same day.

Marvin Fletcher, a retired U.S. Marine and Army veteran, told Fox News Digital that he was shocked when he found out that both he and his daughter SaNayah Hill, 17, would be graduating from Tidewater Community College at the same time.

In a phone interview, Fletcher said he felt overwhelming pride when he learned that his daughter had completed her career studies certificate in emergency medical service as a dual-enrollment student — before even finishing her junior year at Deep Creek High School.

“I’m just grateful for the opportunity that TCC afforded myself, as well as other veterans, and my daughter,” Fletcher said.

He earned his associate’s degree in applied science in management after serving for four years in the Marine Corps and eight years in the Army.

Fletcher added, “I’m humbled and honored to have served. And I like the fact that my daughter wants to serve in the medical field in her own way.”

The father-daughter pair completed their graduation march on Monday, May 9, at the Chartway Arena in Norfolk, Virginia.

Click here to read the full article on FOX.

Meet Volition America’s CEO John Sapiente

LinkedIn
John Sapiente pictured with his clothing brand spread around him

Clothing and Accessories Brand Volition America Inspires Support for Our Veterans and Fallen Heroes.

Can you tell our audience a bit about yourself and how you found yourself currently sitting where you are today?
My story of how I got involved in this and how I found myself sitting here today is unique. My background has nothing to do with apparel, consumer goods, or brand building. I am a manufacturing guy and a proud American. I currently own and operate two manufacturing companies that manufacture Safety-Critical components for the Automotive Industries and Disposable Devices for the Med Device Community. My journey into building a brand that celebrates country and gives back to our military community was inspired by my involvement in the Folds of Honor Foundation (Folds has provided over $180,000,000 of scholarships to children and spouses of our fallen soldiers and is a 4-star Goldstar-rated charity, and $.91 of every dollar donated goes to the recipients) and Lt. Colonel Dan Rooney (Founder of the Folds of Honor Foundation).

What is Volition America?
Volition is the most powerful word in the English Dictionary. It is the power of choice. You can love, hate, be happy or sad! But ultimately, the choices you make write the legacy of your life. Colonel Rooney approached me about starting the Volition America Brand. The idea behind Volition America was to create a for-profit entity that could create a larger commercial impact, expand its audience, and raise more money for our fallen soldiers’ families thru the Folds of Honor Foundation. (Colonel Rooney also believes his mission is to teach people the power of Volition (a word he feels is the driving force to his life’s journey). Volition is about making the choices to live your best life; our brand chooses to celebrate and unite our country. We use our Volition to choose America and give people the tools to stand up and say, this is what I stand for.

What inspired you to start Volition America?
Ultimately my desire to support Dan Rooney’s mission through Folds of Honor and my love of country inspired me to do this. The ideal he embodies drives us and reminds us that we have the opportunity and privilege to be better than we were the day before. Our goal when starting this brand was to create a group of brands and products that people could use that allowed them to stand up and say; this is what I stand for while helping raise money and awareness for the Folds of Honor Foundation.

What is your connection to our veterans?
My story dates to 2013, when I first attended a Folds of Honor Gala and won an auction to play golf with Masters Champion Craig Stadler. When I won the auction, I didn’t realize that we would be playing golf on Memorial Day and spending the weekend with many of our military members and their families. Before my experience on that day, Memorial Day had just been symbolic of a day to BBQ and play golf. Listening to their stories and getting to spend time with them, I realized that for 44 years, I had taken the sacrifices our Servicemen and their families make for all of us for granted. To this day, I tell people that weekend was my “Patriotic Awakening,” and supporting our military through the Folds of Honor Foundation has become crucial aspect of my and my family’s life.

What has been the most difficult part of your journey?
I think the political landscape of our country has misrepresented what the word patriotism means. People are mistaking patriotism for policy and politics. The Volition America brand isn’t political. It’s a brand that we hope will unite people to choose America by empowering them with the power of Volition. I often tell people you can be very far left and love your country and you can be very far right and love your country. We use a quote at Volition: “we aren’t red, and we aren’t blue…. We are RED WHITE AND BLUE” Our hope is the love of country, and the use of positive choices will bring us together. Fighting through the misunderstanding of what being patriotic means

What makes Volition America stand out?
The Volition America Brand is about building something more prominent than a shirt or a sporting product. We wanted to create a movement that brings our country together and empowers people to make better choices while giving back to those who gave us the freedom of choice. We are doing this by building a brand coalition of like-minded brands. We have added many great partners (Puma, Wilson, Cobra, Demarini, Revo, Luminox, and EvoShield). We also recently launched the Volition America Fund (FLDZ) with RiverNorth Capital, a publicly-traded ETF that invests in American Companies that invest in America. We believe that each brand collaboration will vastly increase the aggregate reach. Thus, giving us a much broader space to raise money and awareness as brands engage their collective audiences

How significantly has Volition America helped our veterans so far?
There are so many fantastic charities that benefit the veteran community. I chose Folds of Honor because their values aligned with my core values about education being the key to our country’s future. Folds of honor offers scholarships to our fallen or severely injured families. In my opinion, there is no better way to honor our fallen heroes than to educate their legacy through The Folds of Honor Foundation. Our ultimate mission is to help support the veterans through the Folds of Honor Foundation. That is the ethos of our company logo. The Folds logo is in the center of our logo but with wings. The idea of our mark is that we are lifting Folds and helping take them places they usually couldn’t go. So, if people want to give back to Veterans by supporting Volition America, we give 13% of our revenue to the Folds of Honor Foundation. We chose 13 because there are 13 folds in a folded flag. That is significant because many brands will only give back a % of their profits. So regardless of the company’s success, our Fallen Heroes and their families will receive our help. We have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Folds of Honor, increased raised awareness, and hope to see our annual donations grow to millions.

How would you encourage our readers to get involved?
Support us by going to our website and buying products or donating directly to Folds of Honor Foundation. We are always looking for great companies that would like to join our movement and be a part of our brand coalition, helping us get our message out and bring awareness to the Volition America brand.

What are your plans for the future?
I will continue building our Volition America Movement so that one day our brand will be a household name that consumers will know when they wear our logo. They tell what the person wearing the logo stands for when they see it.

Retired Army captain runs 44 miles in effort to raise awareness for veterans’ mental health

LinkedIn
Kyle Butters crosses finsish line carrying a U.S. flag

By Bradley Bennett, Cincinnati News

In Pasadena, Maryland, Retired Army Capt. Kyle Butters could be seen running and carrying an American flag for an important cause last weekend. “This flag has been everywhere from Afghanistan (to) Kuwait (to) Turkey,” Butters said.

More than just sentimental value, the flag he carries is the symbol of freedom and sacrifice. Butters ran 44 miles total.
It’s all to raise awareness about mental health issues facing veterans.” It’s affected me personally.

I was medically retired from the Army due to mental health issues. I’ve also lost soldiers to suicide throughout my time in the Army (and) even since I’ve been out of the Army,” Butters said. Starting in his own Pasadena neighborhood, Butters ran 4 miles every four hours for a total of 22 miles a day to represent the estimated 22 veterans who commit suicide every day.

”They think that during the COVID pandemic, that (it has) gone up by as much as 20%,” Butters said. “I chose to use running as my platform because not every veteran has the physical ability to do what I do, and people pay attention when you do big distances. ”He’s raising money with the run — more than $12,000 — to support the Infinite Hero Organization. ”They provide grants to veterans and also to research causes, whether it’s brain injury, PTSD, even physical disabilities,” Butters said. Butters said he’ll be back at it again next year and hopes this is something that can spread to other states with the ultimate goal of normalizing tough conversations that could save lives.

Read the complete article here.

How Hot Soup Almost Stopped a War

LinkedIn
Milchsuppe and armored soldier

By Sarah Sicard, MilitaryTimes

When people think of Switzerland, they tend to think neutrality (and cool pocket knives and stylish watches, I guess). But there was a point when the country was caught up in a religious civil war that their armies tried to resolve with soupaccording to lore.

In the early 16th century, conflict arose between the Protestant forces from Zurich and Catholic forces from Zug — Switzerland’s Christian Reformation — but legend has it that on the field of Kappel am Albis, no blood was shed. Instead, the armies simply shared some good, hot soup.

There are no records that detail how the soup was made or where it came from, but the story of the milk soup, known as “Kappel Milchsuppe” has become an integral story in Swiss history.

Made primarily with bread and milk, there is no definitive recipe left from the 1500s. Today’s recipes, however, feature various takes with butters, milks, cheeses, onion and garlic.

Though few facts about the original 500-year-old soup can be verified, BBC reported that historians agree the “broth was created by accident in June 1529 when two hungry armies met on a battlefield on what is now known as the Milchsuppestein, or ‘milk soup pasture.’”

“The soldiers from both sides mingled and eventually dined together — supposedly the troops from Zug provided the milk, and those from Zürich the bread to make this soup,” wrote Swiss cook and blogger Andie Pilot.

This brought to a close the first Kappel War.

“Negotiations continued, but to the amazement of everyone, the infantry brokered their own truce over a cooking pot while on the battlefield,” former Kappel Abbey pastor and historian Susanne Wey-Korthals told BBC. “Naturally, they were hungry after the long march, and Zürich had plenty of bread and salt, while Zug had a surplus of milk from its farms. From that the legend was born.”

Unfortunately the bisque was not enough to stop the fighting indefinitely.

The second Kappel War was fought in 1531. Ironically, a food embargo imposed on the Catholics brought the two armies back to war, bringing about a resolution in Switzerland’s Protestant Reformation. Ultimately, the Roman Catholics would go on to win when Zürich’s Protestant leader Huldrych Zwingli was killed.

Still, the lands of Milchsuppestein and the legendary soup enjoyed by the two warring factions became enduring symbols of Swiss peace. A stone monument to the original bloodless battlefield meeting remains there to this day.

“These fields have played witness to some of the most important moments in Swiss history,” Wey-Korthals said. “Switzerland found a way to compromise here. To concentrate on what we had in common rather than focus on our differences. It sounds remarkable, but we did it over a bowl of soup.”

Click here to read the complete article posted on Historynet.com.

Providing Business, DVBE. Employment & Educational Opportunities For Veterans

American Family Insurance

American Family Insurance

Leidos Video

lilly

Alight

Alight

Heroes with Hearing loss

Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  3. Multiple Hire GI Hiring Events During June-December!
    June 21, 2022 - December 8, 2022
  4. Commercial UAV Expo Americas
    September 6, 2022 - September 8, 2022
  5. Department of the Navy Gold Coast Small Business Procurement Event
    September 6, 2022 - September 8, 2022