Workbenches for Veterans

By Chase Senior

DIMOCK TOWNSHIP — Students at a trade school in Susquehanna County were given the task of building some very special benches for some very special veterans.

At the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center near Montrose, students are fine-tuning their carpentry craft.

Recently, a group of students has been working on a project that has a greater purpose — constructing six new workbenches that will be donated to “Hunts for Healing,” a nonprofit organization near Laceyville that assists post 9/11 wounded combat veterans.

“What the school did here for us is they built these workbenches for an upcoming event that we have next week. We’re doing a build a gun event, where they build a custom flintlock rifle, so they’re going to use this bench to mount the vises on them, their tools, and they’re going to build the guns on it,” explained Ethan Demi of Hunts for Healing.

Read more at WNEP

Vets deserve easier access to prescribed drugs

By Gary Profit

For most Americans, refilling a regular prescription is simple — picking up their medicine at their local pharmacy on the way home from work or while doing weekly grocery shopping. But for nearly 100,000 Michigan veterans and beneficiaries of our active duty military insured through TRICARE, the Department of Defense health insurance program, obtaining some common maintenance prescriptions can be much more complicated.

Current DoD policy requires that patients obtain maintenance medications either by mail or often inconveniently by driving long distances to a Military Treatment Facility. Unfortunately, none of these facilities are in Michigan, so the state’s veterans must drive across state lines to Ohio, Indiana or Wisconsin — each of which have only one MTF. Our veterans and the families of our active duty military deserve easier access to health care services.

Read more at The Detroit News

15 unclaimed veterans receive military burial service at Fernley cemetery

Fifteen veterans were given a proper military burial service Friday at the Northern Nevada Veterans Cemetery in Fernley.

heir remains have gone unclaimed and were in the care of a local mortuary before the service Friday, Feb. 9, according to the Nevada Department of Veterans Services.

Several people turned out to pay their respects, and the master of ceremonies said the service was a long time coming, as some of the veterans being honored have remained unclaimed for decades.

Read more at News 4

Female WWII Marine Veterans Receive Their Victory Medals

By Christiane Cordero

Eleven Marine Corps veterans received their World War II Victory Medals Friday, almost 75 years after they served.

The veterans were among the 23,000 women who fought the second world war. When the military rushed to discharge soldiers, it left its female fighters without the victory medals they earned.

“Seventy-five years ago this month, the commandant permitted the women to enlist, and 23,000 women flooded the gates of their offices,” said Women Marine’s Association Area 1 Director Jamie DePaola during her opening remarks.

Read more at NBC Connecticut

Meet the Korean War veterans returning to South Korea for the Winter Olympics

By Natasha Turak

At 83, it would be understandable if Jack Keep and Lew Ewing didn’t feel like braving a long-haul flight to the sub-zero temperatures of South Korea’s Pyeongchang.

But that’s just what these two Americans, veterans of the 1950-1953 Korean War, did this week when they traveled to the 2018 Winter Olympics.

In 1951, 17-year-old Jack Keep enlisted in the U.S. Navy, and in early 1953 was assigned to Task Force 77 as a petty officer aboard a ship patrolling the North Korean coast.

That same year, Corporal Lewis Ewing was stationed at Chuncheon as a helicopter crew chief with the U.S. Army, responsible for maintaining the aircraft that sent supplies to troops on the ground and transported the wounded to hospitals.

Read more at CNBC

U.S. Threatens to Dump Lenders From Veterans Loan Program

By Joe Light

Nine lenders have been warned by the U.S. that they will be kicked out of a top mortgage program within months unless they find ways to stop costly rapid refinances of veterans’ loans.

The warnings stem from a probe by Ginnie Mae, a government-owned corporation that makes mortgages cheaper by protecting bond investors against homeowner defaults. Ginnie Mae guarantees about $2 trillion in bonds containing loans backed by agencies including the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Some lenders have boosted their revenue through repeated, unneeded refinancing of veterans’ home loans, according to regulators. That process, called “churning,” lowers prices investors are willing to pay for bonds, effectively raising rates for veterans, first-time home buyers and others whose loans are included in Ginnie Mae-backed securities.

Read more at Bloomberg

Congress Tries Again To Restore Gun Rights To Veterans With Caretakers

By James Clark

A group of bipartisan senators want to reverse a longstanding federal policy that prevents veterans from owning firearms if someone else is handling their personal finances.

Since 1998, any vet who was assigned a fiduciary by the Department of Veterans Affairs to handle their money matters has been reported to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) as “mentally incompetent,” barring them from purchasing firearms. As of 2016, 167,815 vets’ names had been added to this database since the policy went into effect.

That’s not right, says Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa. Along with fellow Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Grassley is sponsoring a fix, called the “Veterans’ Second Amendment Rights Restoration Act of 2018,” that would give gun-buying rights to more vets with fiduciaries.

Read more at Task & Purpose

Veterans: White House VA hotline is now fully staffed 24/7

By David Anderson

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that the White House VA Hotline, first launched in June as part of President Donald J. Trump’s commitment to reforming VA, is now fully staffed with live agents working to serve veterans 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. The hotline, which became 24-hour operational in mid-October, is now staffed by a team consisting of 90 percent veterans or employees who have a veteran family member and is in response to veterans’ requests to talk to agents who could relate to their experiences.

“The White House VA Hotline provides our nation’s veterans with a direct, dedicated contact line that allows them to interact with highly trained, live agents to answer their needs and concerns,” said VA Secretary David J. Shulkin. “Since the initial launch of the hotline in June, we listened to our veterans, who indicated that they prefer speaking with other veterans and veteran family members and we adjusted our hiring based on that feedback,” added Shulkin. “We’re proud that the hotline is now staffed 24/7 by a team of mostly veterans or veteran family members who have direct knowledge of their particular concerns and can use their experience to address them in the best way possible with the resources of the VA. This represents a true win-win for veterans and their loved ones.”

Read more at the Wadena Pioneer Journal

VA Reverses Plan To Drain Millions From Veteran Homelessness Efforts

By Nikki Wentling

The Department of Veterans Affairs issued a memorandum this week that officially reverses plans to shift millions of dollars from a VA account dedicated to combating veteran homelessness.

Steve Young, VA deputy undersecretary for health, sent the memo Tuesday to all VA network directors, homeless coordinators and medical center directors. It states the VA will not reallocate funds this fiscal year earmarked for a veteran housing program known as HUD-VASH, in which the VA provides case management for veterans who receive housing vouchers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The memo eased concerns among collaborators who help veterans get shelter through HUD-VASH.

Read more at Task & Purpose

Children showing love for veterans on Valentine’s Day

By Shellie Murgaugh

The love for our veterans is seen on Veterans Day, however, one woman wants to make sure they are also honored during Valentine’s Day.

Dina McGuire, an assistant manager at Piggly Wiggly in Ridgeland, came up with an idea to remember Jasper County’s veterans on Valentine’s Day by giving each a valentine.

“The Valentines for Veterans program at the store was originally my idea,” McGuire said. “I was thinking of our Facebook page and how we could incorporate the kids in some activities. I thought about doing coloring pages and a contest, but the more I thought about it, I figured we could do something more meaningful.”

Read more at the Jasper County Sun Times