AMVETS in Action

Category: News

Weekly Recap (July 17 – 21)

Some of the top stories circulating the AMVETS community this week.

Trump’s plan to privatize the VA will hurt vets Opinion piece by Suzanna Gordon | The Hill
The following piece contains quotes from AMVETS Legislative Advisor Amy Webb concerning the path our VA is traveling through the Choice program and further increase of private sector involvement. http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/the-military/342088-trumps-plan-to-privatize-the-va-will-hurt-vets

AMVETS raises $14,478 for Resurrecting Lives Foundation | Mansfield News Journal
The Robert P. Spreng AMVETS Post 26 raised almost $15,000 for the Resurrecting Lives Foundation during a benefit concert in April. This latest donation makes more than $90,000 raised for the foundation by AMVETS over the last 5 years. http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/story/news/2017/06/28/amvets-raises-14-478-resurrecting-lives-foundation/435462001/

AMVETS International
We are building a new AMVETS Post in South Korea. If you are interested in Joining as a Charter Member (SK-0001) call Pilo Castillo at 010-4613-5474, or email him at pilo.castillo@gmail.com. Pilo is in Songtan but you can be a member of the charter from anywhere in the country.

AMVETS gains members at Florida Convention Several AMVETS reps have been down in Florida Wednesday and Thursday welcoming new members to the AMVETS family! See if these are any new members you recognize: http://bit.ly/2uGCL4Y

AV Podcast – NightWare On today’s episode of the AV Podcast, we discuss the Vet Urgent Access to Mental Healthcare Act, a little ‘jail time talk’, and AMVETS’ upcoming National Convention. We also interview the creators of NightWare (a smartwatch designed to combat traumatic nightmares), and play ‘Who Said It: Sec. Mattis or Liam Neeson.’ Available through the website or soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-220399917/av-podcast-nightware

Stay up to the minute on AMVETS happens at the upcoming National Convention. Plus, stay connected with all your fellow AMVETS. Download the FREE AMVETS Connect App today.http://bit.ly/AMVETSconnect If you are not attending, but would like to see LIVE coverage of events, go to http://usvets.tv/Events/amvets73rdconvention

AV Podcast – NightWare

On today’s episode of the AV Podcast, we discuss the Vet Urgent Access to Mental Healthcare Act, a little ‘jail time talk’, and AMVETS’ upcoming National Convention. We also interview the creators of NightWare (a smartwatch designed to combat traumatic nightmares), and play ‘who said it: Sec. Mattis or Liam Neeson?’

Help through the storm: AMVETS assist Clinton family after loss of father, addition of children

Rachael Keating/Clinton HeraldKrista Fradette (center) sits with (from left) her niece, Faith Robinson, 4; her daughter, Katrina Fradette, 12; her son, Dominic Fradette, 8; her nephew, Jeremy Albin, 8; and her mother, Lana Davis, outside of her home in Clinton on Thursday.

Jake Mosbach | Clinton Herald

CLINTON — In its time of need, a Clinton family is receiving a generous donation from Clinton AMVETS Post 28.

It was one year ago when Krista Fradette’s husband, Bob, took his own life in the family’s home after struggling with post-war, post-traumatic stress disorder. Krista was left to raise the couple’s two children as a single mother. But this April, Krista’s load would get even heavier.

It was then that she was contacted by Kentucky human services officials notifying her that she would be taking custody of her niece and nephew. Now taking care of four young children mostly on her own but with the help of friends and family, Krista and the Fradette family are receiving a donation of more than $3,000 from the AMVETS post.

Krista was surprised by the announcement, but certainly not surprised by the support she’s received from area residents.

“The community support, the school support, has all been so great,” Fradette said. “To me, getting chosen to receive the donation was completely out of the blue, but all the support isn’t out of the blue. The community has been amazing.”

AMVETS Post Commander Cindy Hufford said post members are always willing to help out an individual or family in need, with the Fradette family being a perfect example.

The scope of the assistance, however, is slightly larger this time around.

“We’ve got a great group here that always tries to give help out a veteran or a family who might be struggling,” Hufford said. “But this time, we wanted to do something a little bit bigger. We wanted to branch out with this one, and I think we were able to do that.”

Krista plans to use the money for things such as the children’s school supplies for the upcoming year, as well as re-modeling the bathroom where her husband died. In the fall, she’ll become a full-time student at Clinton Community College, where her husband received his education as well.

Add CCC to the list of community members that has supported the family during the tumultuous past year.

“Everyone has just been so understanding of the whole situation,” Fradette said. “It’s been so awesome. I can’t even really describe it.”

AV Podcast – Jennifer Chaparro

On today’s episode of the AV Podcast, we discuss AMVETS’ testimony to the Senate VA Committee on the Choice Program and private sector care options. We also speak on the VA’s intend to close 430 buildings nationwide and former SECVA Anthony Principi’s remarks on the subject. We break to an interview we did with muralist Jennifer Chaparro. To end the episode, we visit Rep. Walter Jones’ proposal to re-name the Navy and Marine, while providing some name suggestions of our own.

AMVETS break ground at new post in Bunnell


Photos and story by Paige Wilson | Palm Coast Observer

AMVETS Post 113 will have a new building that’s fully constructed ideally by the end of 2017.

Joe Suits, an AMVETS trustee, said the organization’s goal is to open the new building no later than February 2018, but hopefully sooner. The group currently rents a building located at 2525 N. State St., Bunnell.

Suits has been a trustee with Post 113 since 2008. He said the current building is cluttered with certificates all over the walls and that it’ll be nice to start from scratch.

“It can be our own building,” Suits said. “We can have more pride in it.”

AMVETS works to benefit the community by donating food and clothing to those in need, helping veterans through leadership and advocacy services and by providing scholarships to local high school student who are going to college.

For more information on this organization, visit www.facebook.com/amvets.bunnellflorida.

AV Podcast – Dauntless Wine

On today’s AV Podcast, we open with some Independence Day talk, prosthetic limb innovation, body equipment upgrades over the decades, and cut with an interview we conducted with Dauntless Wine. We also climb down a rabbit hole with StarWars, firework guns, and the VA offering emergency mental care to ‘bad paper’ vets.

Callaway AMVETS named Outstanding Large Post for 5th time

COLLIN BREAUX | News Herald Reporter

July 2, 2017 – When members of AMVETS Post 2298 in Callaway went to Orlando earlier this month for the annual statewide AMVETS convention, they were four-time winners of the state’s Outstanding Large Post award.

They returned five-time winners.

Members credit their frequent community service, including sending members to staff the Military Welcome Center at Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, as one reason why they received the recognition five times.

“We have people that go out to Sims Veterans Home, we’ll go over and do bingo for them,” said Post 2298 Public Affairs Officer Danny Somers. “We take veterans to appointments. … On June 6 we gave $5,000 each to the five Bay County high schools that have Junior ROTC programs. On July 4 we’ll give $10,000 to The Fisher House Foundation.”

Some of the post’s other work includes supplying local police departments with trauma bears to give to children and working with other veteran groups to raise money for veteran causes. Post members mark down their community service hours, with annual credits estimated to exceed $200,000.

Post 2298 Cmdr. Rocky Bradford said the post, and AMVETS in general, is about veterans helping veterans and the general community. Somers said they also support the active military, which they do by reaching out to military members at Tyndall Air Force Base.

The post provides a place for veterans to meet, swap war stories and eat dinner together, because some don’t like to meet in other public places and talk about their military experiences, Somers said. Post 2298 is also a family-friendly place where spouses and kids are welcome, Bradford said.

“I think that the post provides the veterans in the community with a lot,” Post 2298 member Al Schmidt said. “I think we’ve got a good group of people here who try to do a good job for everyone around here. … I’ve had a lot of good times here, and I plan on having a lot more. The camaraderie of the group is extremely good.”

The Callaway post was organized in 1987 and has used the same building since 1992. Post 2298 has about 660 members and is one of 81 posts in Florida.

AMVETS is open to all veterans with an honorable discharge, regardless of where someone was stationed or when they served, and they are always seeking new members. They also have a Ladies Auxiliary, Sons of AMVETS squadron and a motorcycle riders chapter.

Post 2298 is at 5510 State 22 and is open seven days a week. To join or for more information, call 850-784-0066.

Weekly Recap (June 26-30)

Some of the top stories circulating the veteran community.

VA to open emergency rooms to ‘bad paper’ vets on July 5
Leo Shane | MilitaryTimes

Veterans with other-than-honorable discharges will be able to access Veterans Affairs emergency rooms for urgent mental health care starting July 5, under new rules outlined by department leaders on Tuesday.
The move is the culmination of months of review into how to handle the cases of vets who may have been improperly separated from the military due to undiagnosed or untreated problems like post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or other mental health issues.
In March, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin pledged to find more ways to help those veterans, even if their status makes them ineligible for traditional veterans benefits. The new initiative mandates that veterans with other-than-honorable paperwork may receive care for “a mental health emergency” for up to 90 days.
That may include inpatient services, residential care or outpatient options.
Veterans advocates for years have pushed for some type of mental health care for the estimated 300,000 veterans who have been separated from the military with so-called “bad paper” discharges, arguing that many are reputable veterans whose underlying conditions forced them out of the service.
VA studies estimate that nationwide about 20 veterans a day commit suicide. Of those, the majority are not regular users of VA services.
In a statement, officials from Vietnam Veterans of America praised the announcement.
“Secretary Shulkin leads with the heart of a physician, and takes seriously his oath to ‘do no harm,’” said John Rowan, national president of VVA. “That’s why he’s working to correct the VA’s self-imposed policies, which have denied care to our most vulnerable veterans for decades.”
VA officials said during veterans’ 90-day emergency treatment, Veterans Health Administration officials and Veterans Benefits Administration staffers will work “to determine if the mental health condition is a result of a service-related injury, making the service member eligible for ongoing coverage for that condition.”
The Veterans Crisis Line is also open to all veterans in need of immediate mental health assistance. To access the program, call 800-273-8255 and press 1, text 838255, or visit https://www.veteranscrisisline.net.

Army Vet Hailed A Hero After Sacrificing His Own Life To Save 2 Random Teens
Adam Linehan | Task & Purpose

A 62-year-old Army veteran who saved two teenagers from a vicious assault in Denver, Colorado, and was then killed by the assailant is being hailed a hero, CNN reports.
James Farmer Jr. was asleep in his car on the morning of June 16 when he woke up to 28-year-old Dejuan Stamps, a homeless man, attacking the two teens. Police believe it was a random attack.
“He surely would’ve died had [Farmer] not intervened,” said the father of one of the teens, 18-year-old Aidan Brown, whom Stamps had beaten unconscious before Farmer stepped in.
Farmer, who was in between jobs and living out of his Saab at the time of the incident, drew Stamps’ attention away from the teens. Stamps then turned on Farmer and beat him to death.
When police arrived on the scene they saw Stamps standing over Farmer “continually striking the victim in the chest with force.” Stamps proceeded to charged the officers and injured one before he was subdued, according to CNN.
Farmer, a grandfather of five who was planning to soon rejoin his family in Seattle, died on the scene and an autopsy confirmed that he died from blunt force trauma. Both teenagers were treated for injuries in a Denver hospital.
“He took an oath when he joined the United States Army and promised never to leave a man behind,” a family member told CNN affiliate KDVR. “He heard someone in need and risked his life to save [the] lives of those teenagers.”
The incident occurred near the St. Francis Center, a homeless shelter in downtown Denver, where Farmer had a reputation as “a good man.” A memorial service for Farmer was held at the shelter on June 27.
“People who know what’s right, do what’s right,” a shelter official told KDVR. “And he was one of those people who did it. He stepped up to help. And unfortunately, it cost him his life.”
St. Francis Center said Stamps had been banned from the shelter last month. He is now facing multiple charges, including one count of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree assault, according to CNN.

Cary-Grove AMVETS holds 30th annual picnic to honor veterans
Nate Linhart | Northwest Herald

Wednesday morning showers didn’t deter hundreds of veterans from coming to Fox River Grove to enjoy a day out of the hospital.
The 30th annual picnic for veterans, hosted by Cary-Grove AMVETS Pearl Harbor Memorial Post 245, was held at Lions Park in Fox River Grove.
Despite the early rain, this is a great turnout,” picnic chairman Bob Janu said. “There’s probably more [veterans] here than last year.”
Hospitalized veterans came from Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago and the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in Hines. After getting off the buses, the first group of veterans was greeted by volunteers holding umbrellas to protect the veterans from the heavy rain.
“The picnic shows that they want to get out,” Janu said. “They’re in the hospital a lot and this allows them to get out and relax.”
The rain cleared about an hour into the event, allowing veterans to enjoy outdoor activities such as bags, fishing and pontoon boat rides. Food and drinks also were offered during the event, along with karaoke and bingo.
Navy veteran Walter McKinley, who came from Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, said this was his second time attending the picnic.
“I think this event is fantastic,” McKinley said. “It makes me feel so good to see people who appreciate veterans here. I really look forward to coming out here.”
During the event, McKinley recited a poem he wrote called “I am a Veteran” in front of an audience.
“It tells people a little of what it’s like being a veteran,” McKinley said. “I recite it every chance I get, and I wrote it when I got home from Vietnam.”
Event volunteers included Boy Scouts Troop 161 in Cary and members from various AMVETS posts from across the state.
“We’ve been doing this forever, and this is just a way to give back to those who have been giving to the country over the years,” said Bruce Domoto, an assistant scoutmaster of Boy Scouts Troop 161. “I know our boys appreciate it. They get to spend some time with the vets, and they really enjoy it.”
Post Cmdr. Gary Foster said the event started 30 years ago with about 40 veterans in attendance.
“This picnic got to be about 600 veterans at one point, so it became pretty large,” Foster said. “And I think we’re somewhere in that category today, even with the inclement weather.”
Foster thanked all the veterans who came out Wednesday and all the volunteers who helped make the 30th anniversary picnic possible.
“I also have to give a special thanks to the Illinois AMVETS Service Foundation, because without their help and all the things that they do, this would not be possible because the Illinois [AMVETS] Service Foundation gives us a $5,000 grant to hold this picnic,” Foster said.

NEWS Cary-Grove AMVETS holds 30th annual picnic to honor veterans

Nate Linhart | Northwest Herald

Wednesday morning showers didn’t deter hundreds of veterans from coming to Fox River Grove to enjoy a day out of the hospital.

The 30th annual picnic for veterans, hosted by Cary-Grove AMVETS Pearl Harbor Memorial Post 245, was held at Lions Park in Fox River Grove.

Despite the early rain, this is a great turnout,” picnic chairman Bob Janu said. “There’s probably more [veterans] here than last year.”

Hospitalized veterans came from Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago and the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in Hines. After getting off the buses, the first group of veterans was greeted by volunteers holding umbrellas to protect the veterans from the heavy rain.

“The picnic shows that they want to get out,” Janu said. “They’re in the hospital a lot and this allows them to get out and relax.”

The rain cleared about an hour into the event, allowing veterans to enjoy outdoor activities such as bags, fishing and pontoon boat rides. Food and drinks also were offered during the event, along with karaoke and bingo.

Navy veteran Walter McKinley, who came from Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, said this was his second time attending the picnic.

“I think this event is fantastic,” McKinley said. “It makes me feel so good to see people who appreciate veterans here. I really look forward to coming out here.”
During the event, McKinley recited a poem he wrote called “I am a Veteran” in front of an audience.

“It tells people a little of what it’s like being a veteran,” McKinley said. “I recite it every chance I get, and I wrote it when I got home from Vietnam.”
Event volunteers included Boy Scouts Troop 161 in Cary and members from various AMVETS posts from across the state.

“We’ve been doing this forever, and this is just a way to give back to those who have been giving to the country over the years,” said Bruce Domoto, an assistant scoutmaster of Boy Scouts Troop 161. “I know our boys appreciate it. They get to spend some time with the vets, and they really enjoy it.”

Post Cmdr. Gary Foster said the event started 30 years ago with about 40 veterans in attendance.

“This picnic got to be about 600 veterans at one point, so it became pretty large,” Foster said. “And I think we’re somewhere in that category today, even with the inclement weather.”

Foster thanked all the veterans who came out Wednesday and all the volunteers who helped make the 30th anniversary picnic possible.

“I also have to give a special thanks to the Illinois AMVETS Service Foundation, because without their help and all the things that they do, this would not be possible because the Illinois [AMVETS] Service Foundation gives us a $5,000 grant to hold this picnic,” Foster said.

AV Podcast – Coach Calhoun (Air Force Academy)

On today’s AV Podcast we open with SECVA Shulkin’s plans to expand mental healthcare to veteran’s with less than honorable discharges. We segment to an interview with Air Force Academy Head Football Coach Tony Calhoun, talk a bit on the Netflix flick War Machine, and close it out with some PTSD awareness discussion.