The official blog of American Veteran Magazine, the national quarterly publication of AMVETS.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beautification Project Begins for Homeless Veterans Facility in Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. (October 27, 2011) – As part of The Home Depot Foundation’s “Celebration of Service” initiative to honor U.S. military veterans, approximately 20 volunteers from Team Depot®, The Home Depot’s associate-led volunteer force, will provide landscaping and complete other beautification projects grounds on the grounds of Volunteers of America’s Liberty Landing facility for homeless veterans in Fort Wayne

Where: Liberty Landing, 2833 South Calhoun Street, Fort Wayne, Ind.
Volunteers of America of Indiana’s new 49-bed transitional housing facility, serving honorably-discharged veterans from Fort Wayne and
the surrounding area.
Who: Employees of Home Depot Store #2009, working alongside volunteers from the Homes for Wounded Warriors Program (HWWP)
What: Volunteers will remove overgrown trees, plants and shrubbery to prepare the Liberty Landing grounds for new landscaping. They will then plant new
trees, plants, mulch and grass, as well as construct a pave stone retention wall on the property.

“Projects like Liberty Landing are only possible when the community comes together to support them,” Volunteers of America’s President/CEO Tim Campbell said. “Volunteers of America sincerely thanks our friends at The Home Depot Foundation and Fort Wayne Team Depot, as well as the Homes for Wounded Warriors Program, for helping make Liberty Landing a beautiful, welcoming place for the veterans who will reside there.”
Liberty Landing is expected to open later this fall, with a dedication ceremony scheduled December 8, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. In addition to housing, veterans will be provided individualized, strength-based case management services the help them become self-sufficient by linking them with community, employment, housing and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs resources.
Team Depot Captain Steve Bratten states, “Team Depot is excited to partner with Volunteers of America of Indiana to improve the community in which we do business by improving the lives of those who have given for us so selflessly. There are many individuals who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances as a direct result of serving our country and it is our duty to do what we can to help them restore their lives. We are proud to partner in this service project with many volunteers from the Homes for Wounded Warriors Program (HWWP).”

“Celebration of Service” is a major campaign by The Home Depot and The Home Depot Foundation to enhance the lives of U.S. military veterans and to highlight the needs and opportunities they face. The campaign includes:
• 200 service projects: In partnership with The Mission Continues, The Home Depot associate-volunteers will be completing 200 service projects directly aimed at improving homes, facilities and community centers where veterans and their families live and receive services.
• $9 million in grants: Each Monday between September 11 and November 11, The Home Depot Foundation will announce grants of approximately $1 million to nonprofits dedicated to veterans’ housing issues.
• A gift card that gives back: When customers purchase this specially-themed Home Depot gift card during Celebration of Service, five percent of the value placed on the card will go to The Home Depot Foundation to support nonprofits dedicated to veterans’ housing needs. Gift cards may be purchased in our stores or online at
• 3 Doors Down: During Celebration of Service, when you buy multi-platinum rock band 3 Doors Down’s new CD “Time of My Life” from, $1 of the sale will go directly to support The Home Depot Foundation’s veterans’ housing initiatives. The music of 3 Doors Down has inspired and comforted veterans, active duty troops and their families for many years
To learn more about The Home Depot Foundation’s commitment to veterans and “Celebration of Service” campaign, please visit

Volunteers of America is a national, nonprofit, faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need live healthy, safe and productive lives. Since 1896, our ministry of service has supported and empowered America’s most vulnerable groups, including seniors, people with disabilities, at-risk youth, men and women returning from prison, homeless individuals and families, those recovering from addictions and many others. Through hundreds of human service programs, including housing and health care, Volunteers of America helps more than 2 million people in over 400 communities. We offer a variety of services for older Americans, in particular, that allow them to maintain their independence and quality of life – everything from an occasional helping hand to full-time care. Our work touches the mind, body, heart and ultimately the spirit of those we serve, integrating our deep compassion with highly effective programs and services. Learn more at

The Home Depot Foundation is committed to ensuring that every U.S. military veteran has a safe place to call home. In April 2011, the Foundation pledged a three-year, $30 million initiative to address veterans’ critical housing needs.

Since its formation in 2002, The Home Depot Foundation has granted more than $270 million to nonprofit organizations improving homes and lives in local communities. To learn more and see our associates in action, visit, follow us on Twitter @homedepotfdn, and like us on Facebook at

Homes for Wounded Warriors Program (HWWP) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide specially designed new or remodeled homes to Seriously Wounded post 9/11 veterans in order to improve their quality of life through the help of the communities. For more information please visit or contact Steve Bratten at

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Sept. 6, 2011 - Rabbi Simeon Kobrinetz, an Air Force veteran, Past National Chaplain and former director of the Veteran Affairs Chaplain Service, passed away only weeks before the dedication ceremony of the Jewish Chaplain's Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery Monday, Oct. 24.

Rabbi Kobrinetz was the first Jewish Chaplain in the Air Force to reach the rank of brigadier general, and he was the first and only Jewish National Chaplain to serve AMVETS. He was National Chaplain in 1977-1978.

Kobrinetz was instrumental in planning the dedication of the Jewish Chaplains Memorial. He is the third rabbi in history to be buried on Chaplain's Hill.

All who knew Rabbi Kobrinetz felt he was a dedicated man, who loved veterans.

This year marks the 150th year of Jewish Chaplains in service to the U.S. Military.

Rabbi Kobrinetz is survived by his wife, Beverly Kobrinetz, his children Nina (Alex) Multak, David (Nancy) Kobrinetz and Alisa (Scott) Chernack; and his sister Rita Bassett. He was the loving grandfather of Ariel, Ilana and Benjamin Multak, Shayna Kobrinetz and Daniel and Jared Chernack.

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National Youth Transitions Center Opens Doors: First Center Devoted Exclusively to Serving Youth with Disabilities and Wounded Veterans

Washington, D.C. (October 26, 2011) -- Surrounded by healthcare, labor, community and military leaders, The National Youth Transitions Center (NYTC) was launched and officially opened its doors today, making needed services available to hundreds of young adults across the country. Developed by the HSC Foundation, the NYTC will, for the first time, bring multiple organizations together in one space to provide much-needed transition services, research, public policy, and wounded veterans’ services to youth. The center will provide assistance for youth with physical, sensory, intellectual, and emotional disabilities like autism, and to veterans making that difficult transition from life on the battlefield to life as a civilian.

“The National Youth Transitions Center will enhance the ability of young people and veterans to re-enter the workforce, participate in and contribute to community life, and to become productive members of society. This vitally-needed center will bring together experts from across the country to ensure that our youth and young veterans with disabilities are included in all aspects of our communities,” said Thomas Chapman, President and CEO of the HSC Foundation. “We’re making sure a neglected youth population doesn’t fall through the cracks as they enter adulthood.”

More than 40 organizations (see attached list) are collaborating with the center and will see youth and young veterans with disabilities (ages 14-26) to help get them ready for higher education and the workforce. Twelve of these organizations are housed in the new, state of the art, seven-story facility that is located in northwest Washington D.C. near Georgetown University’s campus. It will be equipped with the latest technology to provide services not only to youth at the center, but across the nation.

Some of the services they will provide include:

• Personal development and leadership training

• School¬-to-¬work readiness training

• Family education and support

• Work based learning (mentoring and internships)

• Career counseling and exploration

Ari Ne’eman is the president and co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), one of the organizations collaborating with the National Youth Transition Center. Ne’eman also sits on the National Council on Disability—a position he has held since being confirmed by the Senate last year. He says a center like this is long overdue.

"The National Youth Transitions Center is an extraordinary project that ASAN is proud to be a part of. By bringing together disability organizations from across the spectrum of our broad community, we can make progress we never could manage on our own. We're stronger together - and the NYTC is making that happen,” Ne’eman says.

For young people with disabilities that do not have assistance, the outcome is grim, as statistics have shown:

 Youth with disabilities are more than twice as likely as their peers to drop out of school, and they will face much higher unemployment rates.

 The adjudication rate of youth with disabilities is four times higher than for youth without disabilities.

 Youth with disabilities are three times more likely to live in poverty as adults than their peers without disabilities.

In addition to serving youth with disabilities, the center will also serve young veterans who are making that difficult transition from life on the battlefield to life in an office or college environment (especially when that transition brings with it new mental and physical disabilities).

Veterans like 27-year old Ryan Lamke understand the need for a center like this all too well. Lamke joined the Marine Corps after the September 11, 2001, attacks. He served for four years doing two deployments in Iraq. After being blown up by several roadside bombs and a grenade, Lamke suffered multiple brain and orthopedic injuries forcing him to resign from active duty. He found going back to civilian life was more difficult than he ever imagined.

“When you get out of the military it’s as if you have to go through a whole new boot camp. When you enroll in basic training, you’re taught how to be a solider, when you get out you need to be taught the same things, but most people don’t understand that,” Lamke says. “When I came back I had to learn not only how to deal with the people I had left behind I had to learn simple things like budgeting, paying bills, and most importantly understanding how to trust people in the civilian world again. That coupled with my injuries made life incredibly complicated,” Lamke says.

Until now, there has not been a comprehensive facility that really offered a safe haven for young veterans to talk about their problems and experiences. The NYTC is partnering with The Student Veterans of America not only to give them that place, but also to be surrounded by the support of young counselors and employment advisors who have faced and overcome the same issues as the men and women they’re helping.

“The National Youth Transition Center is about employment, education, freedom, and independence and you can’t have independence without an education or a job. We’re giving them the tools to help them build a path to independence and reach their highest potential,” Chapman said.

The partners at the center envision a multitude of benefits that include:

• For youth and veterans with disabilities: Readiness for jobs or college, eased reentry into their communities as well as confidence and skill

• For employers: Outstanding, capable employees ready to help reach goals and fulfill missions

• For the disabilities and transitions fields: New thinking and learning from research, evaluation, advocacy, and models of service

• For the nation: A valuable human resource for the future

The official opening ceremony was attended by several members of Congress including Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.) and Rep. Gregg Harper (MI), as well as Sue Swenson, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Department of Education, Ortiz, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary of Veterans’ Employment and Training Services for the Department of Labor, and Gen. Gale Pollock.

About The HSC Foundation
The HSC Foundation (HSCF) is dedicated to improving access to services for individuals who face social and health care barriers due to disability and chronic illness. It puts a particular emphasis on youth, especially those who are transitioning to adulthood. Health Services for Children with Special Needs, Inc., The HSC Pediatric Center, HSC Home Care, LLC and Special Needs Consulting Services are subsidiary organizations of the Foundation. To learn more about The HSC Foundation, visit

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Friday, October 21, 2011

President Obama Has Ended the War in Iraq

In 2008, in the height of the presidential campaign, then-Senator Obama made a promise to give our military a new mission: ending the war in Iraq.

As the election unfolded, he reiterated this pledge again and again -- but cautioned that we would be "as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in."

Last year, the President made progress toward achieving that goal. He brought an end to the combat mission in Iraq, and through the course of the past 14 months, more than 100,000 troops have returned to their families.

Now, that promise will be wholly fulfilled. Today, President Obama announced that the rest of our troops will be home by the holidays:

Over the next two months, our troops in Iraq—tens of thousands of them—will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home. The last American soldiers will cross the border out of Iraq—with their heads held high, proud of their success, and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops. That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end.

But this moment represents more than an accomplishment for the President. It marks a monumental change of focus for our military and a fundamental shift in the way that the our nation will engage in the world:

The United States is moving forward, from a position of strength. The long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this year. The transition in Afghanistan is moving forward, and our troops are finally coming home. As they do, fewer deployments and more time training will help keep our military the very best in the world. And as we welcome home our newest veterans, we’ll never stop working to give them and their families the care, the benefits, and the opportunities that they have earned.

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Veteran Employment Hindered In Local Communities By Ability to Reach Unemployed

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity held two field hearings to discuss the employment problems facing veterans in local communities and how to solve those issues. The two hearings led by Subcommittee Chairman, Rep. Marlin Stutzman, and Ranking Member, Rep. Bruce Braley, were held in Waterloo, Iowa, and Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Iowa is home to 56 Army National Guard armories in 53 communities. Northeast Indiana has a veteran population of 48,000. Both communities have been active in supporting measures to help servicemembers transition to civilian life.

“We traveled to Iowa and Indiana this week to hear directly from the communities to learn more about the employment difficulties facing our National Guard, Reserve, and military,” stated Rep. Marlin Stutzman, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Veterans’ Affairs. “It is shocking that as many as 30 percent of returning members of the Guard and Reserves do not come home to a job in this country. We must find ways to help these men and women find meaningful employment after having served their nation.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Indiana’s overall veteran unemployment rate in September was 6.9 percent, while it was lower in Iowa at 5.8 percent. Yet, 35.6 percent of OIF/OEF veterans’ aged 20 to 24 are currently unemployed—four times higher than the national average.

“We heard this week that one of the greatest obstacles to unemployed veterans in these communities is that many employers don’t know where to go find veterans to hire,” Stutzman said. “We need to look for new ways to connect veterans with employers. This week we heard some good ideas such as increasing the outreach to local employers, especially small businesses, to ensure they understand how to contact state agencies who can get them in touch with unemployed veterans.”

Business leaders and members of the National Guard and Reserve in Waterloo and Fort Wayne both pledged to continue to work together to help lower veteran unemployment in their states.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

First Lady Michelle Obama Announces Major Private Sector Commitment to Hire 25,000 Veterans and Military Spouses in Support of Joining Forces

Yesterday AMVETS participated in a White House conference call announcing that the American Logistics Association (ALA) and their 270 affiliate companies have committed to hiring 25,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013. This initiative falls in line with the President's challenges to eradicate homelessness among veterans by 2015 and to hire 100,000 post-9/11 veterans or their spouses by the end of 2013. AMVETS understands that the government must play a vital role in these initiatives, but it is time for the private sector to make a larger contribution. Our brothers and sisters in arms havent fought for the United States government alone. Every single citizen of our great nation reap the benefits of the sacrifices our military service members make on a daily basis. It's about time more companies in the private sector stepped up to help lower the devastating rate of unemployment among veterans, which currently stands at 13 percent.

Below is the official press release from the White House:

270 companies committing to employ veterans and military spouses

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, while visiting Joint Base Langley-Eustis with President Obama on Day Three of the American Jobs Act bus tour, First Lady Michelle Obama announced that the American Logistics Association (ALA) and their 270 affiliate companies have committed to hiring 25,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013. This commitment is part of the First Lady’s and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces initiative to support veterans and military families. The ALA’s commitment will fulfill a quarter of the President’s challenge to the private sector to hire or train 100,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013. The announcement comes as the President and First Lady visit Joint Base Langley-Eustis to discuss the critical importance of hiring America’s veterans.

“We ask our men and women in uniform to leave their careers, leave their families, and risk their lives to fight for our country,” said President Obama. “The last thing they should have to do is fight for a job when they come home. That’s why I’ve made increasing job opportunities for veterans a critical priority for my Administration and why the American Jobs Act I proposed includes tax credits to make it easier for businesses to hire America’s veterans.”

“The ALA’s commitment today is the largest coordinated effort by the private sector we’ve seen in years, maybe ever. And they’re making these hires not just because it’s the right thing to do or the patriotic thing to do. They’re doing it because it’s good for their bottom line. They know that these veterans and military spouses represent the best, and they want them on their team,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “And that’s what Joining Forces is about, tapping into all that goodwill that’s out there, all across America, in every sector of society, and channeling it into meaningful action that’s a win-win for everyone.”

Led by the largest consumer packaged goods companies in the United States, the ALA includes major manufacturers such as Tysons Foods, Coca Cola, Unilever and ConAgra along with a multitude of specialty suppliers to the on-base military consumer channel. With annual sales of nearly $20 billion, these companies provide goods and services to a military channel comprised of military commissaries (grocery stores), exchanges (convenience stores, department stores, food concessions, gas stations, communications and electronics, ship’s stores, tactical retail outlets), Morale, Welfare, and Recreation sales and services (restaurants, child care, fitness centers, libraries, auto service) and Veteran’s Canteen Service (retail outlets in VA Hospitals and offices), as well as retail outlets on Coast Guard bases. To achieve its goal, the Association will be teaming up with several on-going employment programs including the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) and the Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden created Joining Forces to bring Americans together to recognize, honor and take action to support veterans and military families as they serve our country and throughout their lives. The initiative aims to educate, challenge, and spark action from all sectors of society to ensure veterans and military families have the support they have earned. The initiative focuses on key priority areas – employment, education, and wellness while raising awareness about the service, sacrifice, and needs of America’s veterans and military families.

The ALA’s commitment to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013 will further promote the goal of Joining Forces to create greater connections between the American public and those inspirational men and women who have served and sacrificed so greatly for this country.
For more information about Joining Forces, visit

To learn more about the American Jobs Act, visit

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Membership Report For September 2011

Membership Report For September 2011

At the end of September we were 177,829 members strong. Congratulations California and welcome CA-2011. Congratulations Florida and welcome FL-1064. Thank you both for blazing the trail we all are walking on!

Ohio Career Centers gave a great presentation for our newly formed Call of Duty Endowment Career Centers. California, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia were represented at the training. We will learn from the successes demonstrated by Ohio AMVETS.

Returning veterans throughout America will benefit from your hard work. We know its voluntary and coming from the heart. Every state should be looking for career center locations. Soldiers need jobs and the collective experience in AMVETS will help them get jobs. Most of you have traveled the roads these young men and women are on. Show them the way.

The season of giving is approaching. AMVETS National Headquarters reached out to three outstanding servicemembers to reward their service with Life memberships. We will find more.

Each department should look for deserving veterans in their states. Make sure every recruiter in your state knows AMVETS appreciates the service they are providing to our country. Know the veteran in your town serving and show you appreciate their service with an AMVETS gift membership.

Stay connected and ride the digital wave. It gets easier every day.

Go to , checkout the new video then click on the Facebook link. Your post could have a Facebook page. Hook up with someone to help or call us. Sons of AMVETS, these young patriots travel digital roads every day. Build a bridge.
Each department should have a digital guru slot. Find a wizard, fill the slot and use digital media as a force multiplier.

-Harry Neal,
National Membership Director

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

College Credit for Heroes

For the 2011-2012 academic year, Coleman College for Health Sciences at Houston Community College is offering an accelerated alternative delivery Surgical Technology Certificate program for eligible veterans. The College Credit for Heroes Surgical Technology Certificate program is designed to assist veterans who received their Surgical Technology training while in the military and worked in the field during their service to our country. Eligible veterans will receive college credit at Houston Community College for some of their training and experience, successfully complete two distance education courses, and sit for the National Surgical Technology Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) exam at the end of the program. Passing the NBSTSA will enable the veteran to go to work in the field of Surgical Technology making as much as $22 per hour, or $45,762 annually (
Please call 713-718-7233 or e-mail, CCHI Surgical Technology, to determine eligibility. Go to:

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Helping a Homeless Veteran Only a Phone Call Away

VA’s Homeless Veterans Program Office is on a mission to ensure that everyone from VA employees, to first responders and civilian personnel know who and where to call should they encounter a homeless Veteran or a Veteran at-risk of becoming homeless. A major homeless outreach and awareness campaign is under way in 28 cities across the nation as part of VA’s commitment to eliminate Veteran homelessness by 2015. The initial phase of the massive outreach effort is designed to inform and educate those in frequent contact with homeless Veterans have them serve as messengers b directing Veterans to three primary channels: the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans (1-877-424-3838); the VA Homeless Veterans Website at ;and local VA medical centers. These major events will include brochures and other information as well as advertising posters at bus stops and radio and TV ads to promote “Make the call.”

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

AMVETS Supports the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act of 2011

While no single piece of legislation is perfect, AMVETS National Legislative Director Diane Zumatto believes H.R. 2433 - Veterans Opportunity to Work Act of 2011, will positively impact veterans in multiple areas including: making improvements to the TAP (Transition Assistance Program); allowing up to 100,000 unemployed veterans from all eras to receive up to 12 months of Montgomery G.I. Bill benefits; strengthening USERRA (Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act) protections for National Guard/Reserve members; and working with the DOL (Department of Labor) will help to remove credentialing/licensing impediments for transitioning Servicemembers.

Also, one of the particular points of interest and importance to our members is that this legislation in not limited to only Post 9/11 veterans, but all veterans from age 35 – 60 (of which there are approx. 868,000 according to the House Veterans Affairs Committee).

Here is a copy of the letter from AMVETS supporting the VOW Act, H.R. 2433:

Please contact your Congressional Representative and tell him or her that you support the VOW Act and it needs to be passed once it reaches the Senate!

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

One Step Closer...

Yesterday, the House passed by voice vote, a provision that would open all VA facilities to various types of assistance dogs. Currently, only seeing-eye dogs are allowed entry into VA facilities. AMVETS Legislation Department has diligently championed this cause as it will make life much easier for our veterans who rely on these service dogs for improved quality of life.

Here is an excerpt from the Army Times article by staff writer, Rick Maze about this positive step forward:

The Veterans Affairs Department soon could be going to the dogs after a key House vote Tuesday to expand the types of assistance dogs allowed in VA facilities.

VA service-dog regulations, last changed in 1985, guarantee access to only seeing-eye dogs. Other canines trained to help with mobility, hearing impairment, seizure disorders or post-traumatic stress or other mental illnesses are allowed onto VA facilities only by local policy, which is inconsistently applied.

“As a result of current regulations, disabled veterans may be denied entrance to VA medical facilities if accompanied by their VA-approved service dog,” the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee said in an Oct. 5 report about why the change is needed.

To read the article in its entirety click here.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Allows federal employees to take up to 12 weeks off to deal with situation at home
Photo by Lance Cpl. Alfred V. Lopez

OCT. 11, 2011 – WASHINGTON, D.C. – Many service members will say one of the toughest parts about a deployment is saying goodbye to their family. Soon new changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) will make that farewell easier to handle. Beginning October 31, federal employees who have an active duty family member will be allowed to take up to 12 weeks off of unpaid time to deal with the emotional stress at home that often times accompanies deployment.

“If you haven’t experienced this moment of goodbye then you just don’t get it. This law change allows a person to take the time off and deal with the emotional toll that this farewell imposes. It gives them the mental security of knowing their job will be safe when they return” said Lisa Windsor, retired Army colonel currently practicing Military Law at Tully Rinckey PLLC. “Someone is looking into the eyes of their loved one who they will not see again for months if not years so the last thing they should be concerned about is their job.”

The new changes will also apply to all military-run, deployment related counseling services for the employee and the service member’s child. Finding child care, attending school related conferences and making financial and legal preparations could qualify as FMLA-covered leave. It will even allow a family member to spend some quality time (up to 5 days) with the service member when he or she returns home on leave.

“This law change is brand new and many employers will not be aware of it. Employees face a personal crisis when a loved one is called to active duty. Employers who give them a hard time for attempting to address such a crisis will soon be facing one of their own – only it will be prompted by a civil lawsuit” said Ms. Windsor, a former Army JAG attorney.

The FMLA was created in 1993 to provide job protection for employees taking time off to deal with approved medical and family reasons. In 2008 Congress made the first of what would be many revisions to the act to further protect employees with family members serving in the military.

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Another Incident of Veterans' Personal Information Being Stolen

Over the last few years there have been several instances of personally identifying information being stolen from trusted sources. It happened at the VA in 2008, the Army's Fort Belvoir in Virginia in 2009, and this time, 4.6 million Tricare beneficiaries’ data was stolen last month from a locked car in Texas. The information was stored on tapes that were being transferred between government facilities by a Science Applications International Corp (SAIC) employee, however, in most instances the confidential information was stored on laptops.

This most recent theft of Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers and health data including data from patients seen at military treatment facilities in San Antonio between 1992 and Sept. 7, 2011, as well as those who filled prescriptions or had lab tests processed at San Antonio-area military health facilities during the same period were contained on backup tapes of Tricare electronic health records.

According to a statement released Thursday by McLean, Va.,-based SAIC, there has been no indication that the data has been misused and the tapes contained no financial data, credit card information or bank account numbers. But thieves can use information such as names and Social Security numbers to obtain credit cards and acquire loans.

While beneficiaries can place a free 90-day fraud alert on their credit by registering with the Federal Trade Commission, I wonder when this rash of incidents will come to an end. Since that question is impossible to answer, what can we do to prevent this from occurring?

What we can do is demand that our private information be guarded more closely. Maybe it isn't a good idea to transport this type of information in a personal vehicle. And if that can not be avoided, then the driver should not be allowed to make any pit stops between drop-ff and pick-up facilities. Unfortunately, that would only cover transporting documents, and not theft that occurs in actual facilities/buildings. With that said, I believe that we should all keep a closer watch on our credit and initiate those fraud alerts as often as the FTC allows.

What do you think? Leave your comments below.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Keeping Posted Spotlight: Best AMVETS Honor Guard in Florida

The Honor Guard of AMVETS Post 312 of North Port, Florida competed at the Department of Florida AMVETS State Convention in Orlando Florida. Honor Guard Commander Rick Howard, Bob Anttila, Ron Larrivee, Barbara McGann and Richard Swore took First Place as the AMVETS best Honor Guard in the State of Florida.

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