Monday, April 11, 2011

Care Givers, Warrior Gateway and More

Honor the fallen.  List of all casualties from OIF/OEF on here.

The last few weeks have been very full.  Ranger veteran Mike Schlitz (wounded in Baghdad four years ago) and I went to DC to work GallantFew contacts and met with Congressman Mike Pompeo (KS-R); Ranger (wounded) veteran John Rego; LTG (ret) and Ranger veteran Jim Dubik; Mr. Junior Ortiz, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Veterans' Employment and Training Services, US Depart of Labor; and Mr. Matt Flavin, Director of White House Policy for Veterans and Wounded Warriors.  From DC we went to NY as invited guests of Mr. Chris Brady at the fund-raising dinner for the Disabled Sports USA foundation.  We are very encouraged at the support from each of these levels for our innovative program of matching Ranger veterans with Ranger veteran mentors in their home towns.

Because we were traveling, US Army Veteran Boone Cutler guest-hosted The New American Veteran internet radio show that week.  Boone is the founder of National Warfighter and author of ‘Voodoo in Sadr City, and he chronicled the rewards and challenges of those who care for the greatest of this generation.  Caregivers are the unsung heroes to our most seriously wounded Warfighters.  During the interview Robbi Schlitz; caregiver to her son Iraq War Hero SFC Michael Schlitz, shared her story from when she received the painful news that SFC Schlitz had been badly burned in an IED explosion during the Surge in Iraq and through his step-by-step process of continual recovery.  Cheryl Lawhorne-Scott, author of ‘Combat-Related Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD: A Resource and Recovery Guide, joined the conversation and gave us all a powerful perspective about what needs to be done to improve Warfighter care and how to locate difficult-to-find resources.   Special call in guest was Steve Newton of Silverstar Families asking for caregivers to join his organization to create political power.  Please listen to the interview here.

Last week I interviewed Mr. Devin Holmes, Executive Director of Warrior Gateway.  Warrior Gateway is a nonprofit (non-government funded) listing of resources for veterans.  Think "Jane's List".  A veteran can search for resources in his or her own local area and see how others who have used the services have rated them.  The veteran can add his/her own rating as well.  Devin estimates the services costs less than one dollar a year for every veteran of OIF/OEF so it is very cost-effective.  He also pointed out an interesting fact, that less than 49% of OIF/OEF veterans are registered with the VA.  Listen to the interview here.

General Stanley McChrystal recently spoke in the TED series.  Watch the video here.

Suicide Rate Triples for Female Soldiers at War

The suicide rate for female Soldiers triples when they go to war, according to the first round of preliminary data from an Army study.  The findings show that the suicide rate rises from five per 100,000 to 15 per 100,000 among female Soldiers at war.  Scientists are not sure why but say they will look into whether women feel isolated in a male-dominated war zone or suffer greater anxieties about leaving behind children and other loved ones.

A key goal of the five-year research effort, led by the National Institute of Mental Health, is to identify categories of Soldiers most at risk for suicide.  The Army suicide rate has more than doubled since 2004 from 10 to 22 per 100,000 among active-duty Soldiers, surpassing the rate for civilians of the same age and gender.  To read this article in full, please go to:

Love this quote - pulled from an email sent to me last week:

"The willingness with which our young are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation. "

George Washington

RLTW and V/R


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