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In This Issue March 12, 2012

Special Notice: If you are a veteran in emotional crisis and need help RIGHT NOW, call this toll-free number 1-800-273-8255, available 24/7, and tell them you are a veteran. All calls are confidential.

VA Caregiver Hotline

VVA's Annual Testimony

John Rowan to Deliver VVA Annual Testimony

John Rowan

On March 21, at 10:00 am, Vietnam Veterans of America National President John Rowan will deliver VVA's Annual Testimony before the Joint House and Senate Committees on Veterans' Affairs. The hearing will be held on Capitol Hill at the Dirksen Office Building, Room G-50, Washington, D.C.

New VVA Chapter

Wayne Reynolds and Dick Southern To Host VVA Chapter Forming Meeting in Colorado Springs

March 24, 2012
10:00 a.m. until Noon
Clarion Hotel and Conference Center

The meeting will be held at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center
located at 314 West Bijou St., Colorado Springs.

VVA will use the Bordeaux Meeting Room on
Saturday, March 24, from 10 a.m.-12 Noon.

The Clarion Hotel is centrally located in downtown Colorado Springs, just off the Bijou St. exit ramp from Interstate 25, to the west. This makes it very accessible to people from all parts of town.

VVA Region 9 Director, Dick Southern, and VVA National Treasurer, Wayne Reynolds, will host this meeting, and invite all Vietnam veterans in the Colorado Springs area to make this meeting and join the forming chapter.

[ download the flyer here ]

New VVA Chapter

New VVA Chapter Forming in Kern County, California

A new VVA Chapter is forming in Kern County, California. For more information, contact Mark Smith by phone at 661-805-5956 or by email at msmith@trihydro.com

White House Summit

PA VVA State Council President Larry Holman Attends White House Summit in Philadelphia

On March 2, Larry Holman, President of the VVA Pennsylvania State Council, attended the White House Community Partnership Summit, an all-day event held at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. The Philadelphia summit is the 11th of such summits, convened by the White House, in partnership with other Federal agencies, including the General Services Administration (GSA); Housing and Urban Development (HUD); Department of Labor (DOL); and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). 

The intent of the summits, which have been held over the past few months at various locations across the nation, is to connect senior Obama Administration officials with leaders from community, civic, and local governmental organizations, as well as with leaders from the non-profit and business sectors.

Administrator Martha Johnson, noting that the object of the summit was to generate dialogue on critical issues, advised that the discussions would be parsed, deconstructed, and subjected to root-cause analysis. Among the dozens of discussions being convened at half-hour intervals, Holman attended two which dealt directly with veterans’ issues: Women Veterans and Veterans Education.

Addressing representatives of OPM, VA, and DOL, Holman emphasized the importance of hiring veterans. He noted that having a job not only bolsters a veteran’s self-esteem, it also serves to mitigate substance abuse, family violence, homelessness, incarceration, and suicide.  Calling for a maximum commitment from the administration, Holman offered the following regarding veterans employment: 

All Federal agencies be required, either through legislation or Executive Order, to fill a minimum of 20 percent of all occurring vacancies with veterans;

All Federal job announcements be made available to all veterans, no matter where they reside;

All Federal hiring managers be required to justify the hiring of a non-veteran when a veteran has applied for the same position.

[ for more information on the Philadelphia Summit ]

C. difficile

Deadly New Germ Spreading Through Medical Facilities

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), infections from Clostridium difficile, a bacteria that causes diarrhea and other health issues, is a patient safety concern in all types of medical facilities, not just hospitals as traditionally thought. While many healthcare-associated infections, such as bloodstream infections, declined in the past decade, C. difficile infection rates and deaths climbed to historic highs. C. difficile infections are linked to 14,000 deaths in the US each year. Deaths related to C. difficile increased 400% between 2000 and 2007, due in part to a stronger germ strain. Most C. difficile infections are connected with receiving medical care. Almost half of infections occur in people younger than 65, but more than 90% of deaths occur in people 65 and older. About 25% of C. difficile infections first show symptoms in hospital patients; 75% first show in nursing home patients or in people recently cared for in doctors' offices and clinics. C. difficile infections can be prevented. Early results from hospital prevention projects show 20% fewer C. difficile infections in less than 2 years with infection-prevention and control measures.

VVA Testimony

Weidman Delivers VVA Testimony before HCVA Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity

Good afternoon Chairman Stutzman, Ranking Member Braley, and distinguished Members of the House Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.  On behalf of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) National President John Rowan and our officers and members, we thank you for the opportunity to appear today to share our views on H.R. 3329, H.R. 3483, H.R. 3610, H.R. 3670, H.R. 3524, H.R. 4048, H.R. 4051, H.R. 4057 and H.R. 4072.

I ask that you enter our full statement in the record, and I will briefly summarize some of the most important points of our statement.

[ read the complete testimony ]

[ to view the webcast, click here ]

Army Discharge Review Board Hearings

Army Discharge Review Board to Hold Hearings in St. Petersburg, Florida

The Army Discharge Review Board will travel to St. Petersburg, Florida, in early August to conduct panels to hear issues from former soldiers regarding the equity and propriety of the discharges that were issued within the past 15 years.

Anyone who is interested in having his/her case heard should go to the Army Review Boards Agency website:  http://arba.army.pentagon.mil/, fill out the
DD Form 293, select Personal Appearance, and indicate Tampa/St. Pete as the location he/she prefers to make the personal appearance. The Army Discharge Review Board also holds hearings in Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Washington, DC.  For more information, please contact Marc McCabe, Veterans Service Officer for VVA Florida State Council, at 727-319-7515.    

St. Patrick's Day Parade

251st New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade
To Honor Veterans of the United States

St. Patrick's Day Parade

Special Recognition to Salute the Service and Sacrifice of Lt. Michael Murphy, USN, Posthumous Recipient of the Medal of Honor

New York, N.Y., March 8, 2011 – The oldest, biggest, and best St. Patrick's Day Parade in the world will honor all American veterans and salute one in particular when it marches up Fifth Avenue on March 17th. This year, the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade celebrates the service and sacrifice of all American veterans. Receiving special recognition will be Long Island native Lt. Michael Murphy, USN, posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor for heroic and selfless actions in conflict in Afghanistan.

Each year, the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade recognizes the efforts of an outstanding charity or distinguished group of people who serve to make the world better. This year, the parade committee – led by chairman John Dunleavy, a veteran of the U.S. Army – has chosen to honor all American veterans from every branch of service and from every war or conflict.

[ read entire press release ]

Ceremonial Observation

New York Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day
Recognition Day Flyer

[ download the flyer here ]

Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans 3rd Annual Reunion

Montgomery County, Maryland, to Hold Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event

Montgomery County, MD, Government, in partnership with the Montgomery County Commission on Veterans Affairs, is hosting its 3rd Annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event on Wednesday, March 28, 2012, at the Silver Spring Building at Veterans Plaza, from 6 – 8:30 p.m. For GPS, the address is 8525 Fenton Street, Silver Spring, MD. The event will feature a panel of experts talking about Agent Orange, health care, and VA benefits. County Executive Isiah Leggett will host a reception at 7:30 where featuring a slide program of memorial photos entitled, "A Means to Heal," by Michael F. Walsh, lifelong County resident, MCPS teacher for 30 years, who served in Vietnam from 1967-68.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Montgomery County Commission on Veterans Affairs Office at 240-777-1246. All veterans, their families, and interested persons are invited to attend.

The event is free and open to the public. Veterans are encouraged to wear their uniforms or service organization insignia.

[ download the flyer here ]

Jim Webb Press Release

Senator Webb Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Preserve Post-9/11 G.I. Bill

Abuses by some schools put landmark program, veterans' education at risk

WASHINGTON, DC — Senator Jim Webb (D-VA), author of the landmark Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, has introduced bipartisan legislation to preserve those veterans' education benefits from abuses by certain schools. Troubling statistics show that the cost to taxpayers to send a veteran to a for-profit school is more than double the cost of a public university and that eight of 10 educational institutions collecting the most V.A. benefits are for-profit schools.

The Military and Veterans Educational Reform Act of 2012, cosponsored by Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Scott Brown (R-MA), would make critical reforms to protect the integrity of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and military tuition assistance. It would require schools participating in educational assistance programs through both the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense to meet the same educational standards currently required for other federal funding.

[ read more ]


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