Monday, November 10, 2014

A Unique Way To Honor Our Veterans ~ 2014

How will you honor our Veterans this year?


Of late when Memorial Day or Veterans Day holidays approach we notice people will turn to the social media platforms to thank their parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents who served. Maybe they change their own profile photo to one of their father or mother. You will see a lot of messages and tweets going back and forth which include restaurants offering a free meal for Veterans on November 11th or #Concertforvalor taking place in the Capital Mall.

Twitter feed 11/10/2014 9:10AM MST

While all of these very positive actions are celebratory, do they really have a long lasting effect when so many of our veterans continue to need care for their physical and emotional service injuries? We thought about this last evening while watching 60 Minutes' Scott Pelley interview the new United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald.

'Cleaning Up The VA' - Robert McDonald style


Actually Secretary McDonald likes to be called Bob. So when you watch this interview with Bob, take care to listen how he is establishing new goals, defining the mission and lays out the issues that have made management of the Veterans Administration so difficult.



If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

 Hopefully you watched the 12 minute episode and learned the following:
  • Veterans Administration has 340,000 employees
  • Secretary McDonald report he needs to fire at least 1000 employees for violating the Veterans Administration values, some may need to be prosecuted
  • The VA needs to hire somewhere in the neighborhood of 28,000 
  • The Secretary also clearly stated he needs 2,500 mental health professionals, pointing out that just since 2006, 400,000 veterans have applied for mental health services. 
  • Currently the VA has 12 websites, the Secretary's goal is to have one portal by next year

A unique way to honor our Veterans...


Today Secretary McDonald will announce a major reorganization for the VA. But this week, actually Friday November 14th, there will be a committee hearing in Congress to review H.R. 5059 - The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act.
"To direct the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide for the conduct of annual evaluations of mental health care and suicide prevention programs of the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs, to review the terms or characterization of the discharge or separation of certain individuals from the Armed Forces, to require a pilot program on loan repayment for psychiatrists who agree to serve in the Veterans Health Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes." 
Many veterans struggle with unemployment, homelessness, substance abuse, mental health issues like post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and currently each day 22 veterans commit suicide. This week why not reach out to your congress person and express your support for H.R. 5059?

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