Ways to honor our fallen over Memorial Day
Many communities across Michigan are having parades and other activities over the Memorial Day weekend to honor U.S. military personnel who died fighting for our country.From the Saturday parade in Mackinaw City -- which bills itself as the state's largest -- to a host of local parades in Oakland County, there are plenty of parades to choose from, along with 5Ks, barbecues and other events.In addition, after two years without gatherings, VA national cemeteries will host public Memorial Day weekend ceremonies this year. The list includes two ceremonies in Michigan on Sunday, May 29 -- at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta (2 p.m.) and at Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly (11 a.m.). Read more in VA's VAntage Point blog.Check out what your community has to offer. And happy early Memorial Day. May we never forget the ultimate sacrifice that so many American service members gave for our freedom.
VETERAN SERVICE ORGANIZATION SPOTLIGHT: Michigan's Disabled American Veterans (MI DAV)With more than 1.2 million members nationwide, the DAV is an organization of veterans helping veterans. The DAV receives no government funding and is proud of its 90-plus-year history of helping American veterans, proud of its record of fighting for their rights and proud of working alongside other nonprofits and advocacy organizations to make sure that we fulfill our promises to the men and women who have served.Among its services, the DAV:
- Helps returning veterans transition back to civilian life by linking them with services that address their physical, emotional and financial needs.
- Provides free, professional assistance to veterans of all generations in obtaining VA and other government benefits earned through service.
- Fights for veterans' rights on Capitol Hill.
- Links veterans to job training and job assistance programs.
- Funds rehabilitation programs for veterans with severe disabilities, such as blindness or amputation.The DAV is open to any man or woman who served in the armed forces during a period of war or under conditions simulating war; was wounded, disabled to any degree, or left with long-term illness as a result of military service; and was discharged or retired from military service under honorable conditions. To learn more, visit the MI DAV contact page, fill out a membership application or call (586) 415-8610.
How to be a participant, supporter or vendor at the MVAA's first-ever Women Veterans ConferenceThe MVAA's first Women Veterans Conference is not only a great opportunity for women veterans to connect with one another, but for organizations and companies to engage with women veterans as well.
- The conference, June 10-11 at the Lansing Center, is for women veterans. Registration is just $60 and is available at Eventbrite. Registration ends at noon on Friday, May 27.
- You can support women veterans in your organization by sharing the conference information and/or sending them to the conference and paying for registration or hotel or both.
- You can participate as a vendor and are encouraged to do so if you are not a woman who served in the military.
- Vendor booth space is available at the Lansing Center on Friday, June 10. Booths need to be set up by 7 a.m.; the day ends at 4 p.m.
- Cost is $25 per person staffing the table.
- Vendors are welcome to eat breakfast and lunch at the event.
- Connect, generate leads and follow up with participants through the Whova app before, during and after conference.
- To be a vendor, contact Katy Golden at GoldenK1@michigan.gov.
Researchers: We've found the cause of Gulf War IllnessAfter nearly 30 years of trying to prove a theory -- that an environmental toxin was responsible for sickening roughly 250,000 U.S. troops who served in the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War -- Dr. Robert Haley says new research confirms that sarin nerve gas caused Gulf War Illness.Following the Gulf War, nearly one-third of all who deployed reported unexplained chronic symptoms such as rashes, fatigue, gastrointestinal and digestive issues, brain "fog," neuropathy, and muscle and joint pain. Federal agencies spent years broadly dismissing the idea that troops may have been suffering from exposure to chemical agents, with many veterans experiencing symptoms sent to mental health providers.But a new study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives used genetic research and survey data to determine that U.S. service members exposed to sarin were more likely to develop Gulf War Illness, and those who were exposed and had a weaker variant of a gene that helps digest pesticides were nine times more likely to have symptoms."Quite simply, our findings prove that Gulf War illness was caused by sarin, which was released when we bombed Iraqi chemical weapons storage and production facilities," said Haley, director of the Division of Epidemiology in the Internal Medicine Department at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center."There are still more than 100,000 Gulf War veterans who are not getting help for this illness and our hope is that these findings will accelerate the search for better treatment," Haley said.Read the full story in Military.com.
Army veteran volunteers with bomb tech crews in UkraineRetired Army Lt. Col. John Culp walks the streets of Kyiv wearing body armor and looking for unexploded ordnance left behind from Russian assaults on the city. He picks up and moves shells and removes fuses, working alongside bomb technicians from the explosive ordnance disposal, or EOD, team of the National Police of Ukraine.When Culp arrived in Ukraine in early April, he expected to initially assist from behind the scenes, but he was prepared to put his EOD background to use. After all, that background is what brought him the more than 5,000 miles away from home to a war zone. The retired special forces officer and EOD tech is volunteering with the organization Bomb Techs Without Borders, or BTWOB, a 501(c)(3) founded in 2018 "to prevent casualties caused by landmines, IEDs, and other explosive remnants of war.""Can you imagine being shelled day and night and probably 20% of the ordnance not exploding?" Culp said. "That's exactly the situation they have here [in Ukraine]."Read more in Military Times.
Careers in law enforcement, corrections and security are focus of InvestVets' virtual event this weekInterested in a position in law enforcement, corrections or security? InvestVets focuses on the most significant barrier to veteran employment: the military and civilian cultural gap. They connect employers with military/veteran talent by offering activities that reduce the high expectations and stress that are common with traditional job fairs.
InvestVets hosts a virtual networking event each Thursday at 2 p.m. EST.
This week's event focuses on careers in law enforcement, corrections and security. Register for the May 26 virtual networking event at InvestVets' Zoom link.
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ARE IN CRISIS:The Veterans Crisis Line is staffed by caring, qualified crisis responders who are there to help. Many of these responders are veterans themselves.
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Thursday, May 26, 2022
Researchers: We've found the cause of Gulf War Illness Fw: Michigan Veterans News & Resources for May 24, 2022
Tuesday, May 24, 2022
The American Legion Post 32 Riders plan to attend the Post 202 Veterans Memorial on the morning of Memorial Day. Note the flyer below.
KSU Where: Meijer store parking lot - 8mi & Haggerty, Northville.
KSU time: 9 AM
Route: 8mi road to Woodward and north on Woodward to Roseland Park, 29001 Woodward Ave, Berkley, Mi 48072
Ceremony Start: 10:30 AM
Saturday, May 21, 2022
The 1st District held a deceased member memorial at Post 32 on Wednesday, May 18, 2022. Special thanks to Debbie Abraham and Linda Roman for their dedication and work to make the event successful. District Commander Dan Newton started the ceremony and directed the Post 32 Honor Guard to advance the colors. District Chaplain Thomas Catterall read the name of each deceased member to be memorialized, and Auxiliary Chaplain Helen Pardo read the names of the deceased auxiliary members. Past State Commander Dick Chatman took the podium and provided insight on the importance of remembering our departed comrades. At the conclusion of the program, the Post 32 Honor Guard fired a rifle salute and played Taps. If you haven’t attended one of these ceremonies in the past, we would encourage you to do so in the future. It is very moving.
Thursday, May 12, 2022
Posted: 10 May 2022 06:39 PM PDT
State grant will connect veterans with construction apprenticeships
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) awarded Helmets to Hardhats a $250,000 grant to support the Michigan Construction Apprenticeship post-Military Opportunity (MiCAMO) Program that will connect 225 veterans with Registered Apprenticeships in Michigan's construction industry.
The MiCAMO Program will provide training to help transitioning active-duty and retired military service members, National Guard, reservists and veterans with Registered Apprenticeship paths to in-demand, high-wage construction jobs.
Resulting employment from the MiCAMO Program will benefit veterans and the state. Veterans who participate will gain long-term economic security in high-demand, high-wage U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) Registered Apprenticeship Programs and improved access to GI Bill benefits for eligible veterans. Having skilled workers employed in the construction industry helps the state close current skills gaps and supports an important segment of the state's economy.
Registered Apprenticeships are industry-driven, high-quality career training programs in which employers develop and prepare Michigan's future workforce. Apprentices gain paid work experience, related classroom instruction and a national industry-recognized credential upon program completion. The programs help employers begin an immediate transfer of knowledge from current to future high value workers. Workers get a paycheck from day one while they build the right skills in a new career.
VETERAN SERVICE ORGANIZATION SPOTLIGHT: Veterans of Foreign Wars – Department of Michigan
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Department of Michigan is one of Michigan's leading veteran service organizations. Founded after the Spanish American War, the VFW has since led the fight for the passage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the creation of the VA, and alongside our partners in Michigan's Commanders Group, advocated for the creation of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency in 2013. Today the VFW hosts over 230 posts across the state, and the VFW's service officers continue to advocate for veterans and their families to access the benefits they earned through their service to our nation.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the VFW has been transforming itself to better serve Michigan's post 9/11 veterans and their families. After the withdrawal from Afghanistan in August of 2021, the VFW worked with the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and Vietnam Veterans of America to host "Voices of Veterans" events across the state, bringing together veterans and their families to share their experiences and emotions about the withdrawal, and its parallels with Vietnam. In December, the organization came to the aid of Kentuckians struck by a tornado that ravaged their communities, donating goods and nearly $20,000 in aid.
The VFW hosts the VFW Camp Trotter in Newaygo for 7- to 12-year-olds and is accepting applications now for the 2022 camping season. The organization also features the VFW National Home in Eaton Rapids. If you are a veteran or military family in need of housing and are trying to get your feet on the ground, please consider applying for free housing for up to four years.
Veterans and their families come to the VFW to find camaraderie and a family like the ones they had in service. There are cornhole and pool tournaments, family picnics and barbeques, fundraisers and community activities. Most importantly, the VFW and its Auxiliary come together to represent and give honor to our veterans and our fallen by serving in honor guards at funerals, parades and ceremonies. For membership opportunities, visit Veterans of Foreign Wars or Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary.
VA's Make the Connection offers mental health resources
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the VA has helpful resources and information through its Make the Connection initiative.
Make the Connection offers stories and videos and links to local support and treatment for many life events, conditions and experiences.
Whatever you may be struggling with – financial issues, PTSD, the effects of military sexual trauma, gambling or alcohol addiction – there are ways to address the issues and live well. Make the Connection offers resources for veterans, service members, their families and friends, and caregivers.
Veterans experiencing a mental health emergency can contact the Veteran Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and select option 1 for a VA staffer. You can also text 838255 or visit VeteransCrisisLine.net for assistance.
State of Michigan to host skilled trades career fair Thursday
The State of Michigan will hold a skilled trades career fair on Thursday, May 12, for those interested in working for the state.
There will be an in-person fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Horatio Earle Learning Center, 7575 Crowner Drive in Dimondale. Free parking is included and registration is encouraged at https://bit.ly/somstip. No need to dress up. There will be recruiters, Civil Service staff to help with applications and representatives from the MVAA who can print DD-214s for veterans who want to apply for veterans' preference.
There is also a virtual option from 3-7 p.m. Registration is required at https://bit.ly/somstvi.
For more information, contact MITradesCareers@michigan.gov
VA gives vets more response time because of mail delays
Some veterans have reported receiving confusing letters from the Department of Veterans Affairs regarding "a delay in receipt of mailed correspondence."
In the letters veterans are advised:
- If they received a letter from the VA between July 13 and December 31, 2021 and responded to that letter, no further action is necessary.
- If they received a letter from the VA which requested additional information, they will automatically be given an extra 90 days to respond or take action without any detrimental consequences.
- If they received a letter from the VA, but did not respond or take action within the original time frame, they should contact the VA so that "corrective action" can be taken to reconsider any claim decisions.
- If they are unsure, or believe they should have received correspondence regarding a claim for benefits but did not, they are advised to contact the agency at 800-827-1000.
Normally, veterans who do not respond to the VA in a timely manner or attend a scheduled medical examination can see their benefits terminated, in some cases retroactively, causing them to owe large amounts of money to the government.
As a result of the current delays, VA is extending its normal response time limit by 90 days for most veterans benefits letters. Any veteran who was mailed an action letter from July 13, 2021, through the end of the year automatically will receive the 90-day extension.
Read more in Military.com.
New MVAA employee shares journey to identifying as a woman veteran
Like many veterans before her, Alyssa Feazel felt joining the Army was her calling. She enlisted at 17 and had to wait until after graduating from high school before heading to basic training. She spent more than seven years as an Army medic before her career was cut short.
Feazel, a single parent of two young sons, would be forced out of the Army because of its involuntary separation due to parenthood policy.
"I was devastated," she says. "I wasn't ready to get out of the Army. I felt like I wasn't good enough to be in the Army anymore and because of that, I was embarrassed. I didn't want anyone to know I was a veteran."
Stationed in West Point in New York at the time, Feazel would move back to her hometown of Holt, Michigan, as a civilian. Her transition out of the military wasn't easy.
In 2019, Feazel was looking to run a 5K and happened to come across the MVAA's Women Veterans 5K in downtown Lansing. It was the first time she had heard of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.
"When I heard Director Adams speak at the 5K, I remember thinking, 'Wow, there' s other women veterans who felt like I did,'" says Feazel. "These women didn't want to identify as veterans, they didn't fit in with male veterans or the VA. I had tears in my eyes. It was like someone finally understood how I felt."
Feazel decided she wanted to make a difference by helping other veterans who might have struggled in the transition to civilian life. Luckily, she stumbled across a job posting with the MVAA's Veteran Resource Service Center, the agency's 1-800-MICH-VET call center ...
Read Feazel's full story on michigan.gov/MVAA. And if you're a woman veteran looking to connect with other veterans, please join us June 10-11 in Lansing for the MVAA's Women Veterans Conference. Celebrate the 43,000+ women veterans across Michigan and learn about advocacy for yourself and your community. You'll build friendships and get connected to the benefits you earned. Register on Eventbrite.
IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE
ARE IN CRISIS:
The Veterans Crisis Line is staffed by caring, qualified crisis responders who are there to help. Many of these responders are veterans themselves.
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