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Ask a Vet
Author: TriSec    Date: 03/30/2010 10:09:54

Good Morning.

Today is our 2,568th day in Iraq and our 3,096th day in Afghanistan.

We'll start this morning as we always do, with the latest casualty figures from our ongoing wars, courtesy of Antiwar.com:

American Deaths
Since war began (3/19/03): 4385
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 4246
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3922
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3526
Since Obama Inauguration (1/20/09): 157

Other Coalition Troops - Iraq: 318
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 1,029
Other Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 673
Contractor Employee Deaths - Iraq: 1,457
Journalists - Iraq: 338
Academics Killed - Iraq: 437

We find this morning's cost of war passing through:

$ 977, 068, 900, 000 . 00



I've got two contrasting stories for you this morning. We'll start locally...with a company called Florence Electric, in Taunton, MA. One of the things a Reservist is supposed to count on is getting his job back once his service is done. Every now and again, though....somebody comes along and tries to circumvent the law.







The most important thing you can do when you come back from war — and Chris Thornton has done it three times — is hug your kids, kiss your wife, and go back to work.

“What you want, more than anything,’’ Chris Thornton says, “is that sense of normalcy. Everything back to what it was before you left.’’

He is a chief petty officer in the Navy reserves and last spring he finished a yearlong deployment to Iraq. In civilian life, he was a foreman for Florence Electric in Taunton, and he was just happy to go back to work and start to feel normal again.

But three weeks into his old life, Joe Pereira, one of the supervisors at Florence Electric, called him into the office.

“There had been a lot of cutbacks, and I figured Joe was going to say I had to take a hit, a 10 percent pay cut or something like that,’’ Thornton said.

If only. Joe Pereira said they were letting him go.

“You kind of lost your spot,’’ Thornton says Pereira told him.

Chris Thornton walked out of that office, wondering how he was going to take care of his wife and three kids, and knowing in his heart that he’d been wronged. He knew there were five guys still working who had less time with the company, and that if he had lost his spot, he lost it serving his country.

Chris Thornton fought in the first war in Iraq, Operation Desert Storm. A lot of guys who fought then came back and found their jobs had been given away. In response, Congress passed a law that says employers have to rehire returning vets who give up their jobs to serve and can’t lay them off for at least a year, except for cause.

Chris Thornton remembered that a guy in his unit from Hingham named Keith Jermyn had been laid off from his electrician’s job in 2006 after they got back from Iraq. Jermyn had called his state representative, Garrett Bradley, who in civilian life is a lawyer.

Bradley had gone to bat for Jermyn and got him his back pay and his job back. So Jermyn called Bradley again, asking him to help his buddy Chris Thornton, and Bradley quickly agreed. Bradley figured it would just take a few letters, reminding Thornton’s boss of the law that protects returning veterans.

Instead, Bradley got an indignant response from the law firm of Nixon Peabody, saying, in effect, bring it on.

“The law is pretty clear on this,’’ Bradley said.

But the law is, like war, a murky thing, and people see what they see or what they want to see.

Eli Florence, the president of the electrical company that bears his name, doesn’t appreciate being called names, especially if that name is anti-veteran. He proudly displays a certificate from the Department of Defense that his company got for holding jobs for returning veterans — the very thing Chris Thornton says they didn’t do for him.

Eli Florence was offended when he was accused of breaking the law created to protect returning veterans.

“It is very insulting,’’ Eli Florence says. “They know how we feel about the military. This is a slap in the face.’’

Joe Pereira says he never said anything about Chris Thornton losing his spot.

“Those words were never said by me,’’ Pereira says.

Eli Florence says they had cause the lay off Chris Thornton. The cause was a lousy economy. He says 25 percent of people in the electrical business are out of work.

Eli Florence says his company has sent gift baskets to Iraq, sent money to the families of employees serving overseas. He says they bent over backward for Thornton.

“We were already in the process of laying people off when Chris came back,’’ he said. “He was the last journeyman to be laid off. We ran out of options. His perception is different. Maybe if I was in his position, I’d see it his way.’’

Chris Thornton is looking for the wages he lost. We’re talking maybe 50 grand. There is a good chance Eli Florence will spend that much, maybe even more, defending himself.

“I hate paying lawyers,’’ said Eli Florence.

“He hates paying lawyers,’’ said Eli Florence’s lawyer, David Rosenthal.

So, why not take the money he’s paying lawyers and pay Chris Thornton instead?

continued...



But then on the other hand, there's thousands of folks out there that go above and beyond in order to take care of our returning vets. I've just learned of an organization that uses the peace of fishing to help our vets cope with what they've been through. It's called Project Healing Waters, and at least one of my co-workers at ol' LL Bean is heavily involved in the local branch in Massachusetts.


Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, INC. (PHWFF) was founded in 2005 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC), with the help of local Trout Unlimited (TU) and Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) volunteers. Our mission: Assist in the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active duty military personnel and veterans through fly fishing and fly tying education and outings.

PHWFF provides basic fly fishing, fly casting, and fly tying instruction for wounded personnel, ranging from beginners to those with prior fly fishing experience, who are adapting their skills to their new abilities. While initially focused on military personnel in the Washington, DC area, PHWFF has expanded and is offering its services to active military personnel and veterans in military and Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals across the nation. Currently, over 70 such programs have been established in the U.S. and Canada.

Since its inception, PHWFF has been helping disabled active duty personnel and veterans to overcome the obstacles associated with their military service-related disabilities. The relearning of the fine motor skills required in fly fishing and fly tying has proven to be particularly effective in the overall rehabilitation of the disabled.
While PHWFF emphasizes the skills of fly fishing and fly tying to help the patients regain the use of their damaged bodies, perhaps the greatest benefit is in their realization that a more normal life is possible. Fly fishing can be a lifelong re-creation, both physically and emotionally.

PHWFF partners directly with fly fishing oriented organizations such as the FFF and TU. Within local clubs and chapters, volunteers, working with hospital staff, donate their time to teach the various skills involved in the sport of fly fishing to Project participants. PHWFF, a 501©(3) non-profit charity incorporated in the State of Maryland, is dependent on tax-deductible financial donations and the help of numerous volunteers to meet the educational, training, equipment, transportation, and related outing needs of the participants. PHWFF strives to effectively serve its deserving participants, who have made great sacrifices in the service of our Nation.


So...two organizations, two very different reactions to returning vets. Say, I wonder which one is run by Republicans?


36 comments (Latest Comment: 03/31/2010 00:29:22 by livingonli)
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Comment by wickedpam on 03/30/2010 12:42:44
Morning

Comment by Raine on 03/30/2010 13:11:58
G'morning!





That first story gets my blood boiling.

Comment by TriSec on 03/30/2010 13:20:59
BBC is talking about a sports story (Pakistan/India cricket) which led to a brief discussion of "major sports rivalries".



First one out of the gate....Sox/Yanks. TRMS: Nice!



Ready for Opening Day?

Comment by TriSec on 03/30/2010 13:23:52
I know we can get some action if I post this....



Give em' a call!



Now if somebody would post this on facebook and pass it along to IAVA..... (I didn't think to cross-post it this morning.)



Comment by TriSec on 03/30/2010 13:30:42
Say, I just heard the large Hadron collider is up and running this morning.



How long do you think until they create an artificial black hole and suck the earth into oblivion?



{which would solve an awful lot of problems, don't ya think?}



Comment by BobR on 03/30/2010 13:46:55
Quote by TriSec:

I know we can get some action if I post this....



Give em' a call!



Now if somebody would post this on facebook and pass it along to IAVA..... (I didn't think to cross-post it this morning.)





Comment by velveeta jones on 03/30/2010 13:59:26
Wow. I cannot believe that first story. Just ............ makes me angry.



Comment by Raine on 03/30/2010 14:33:50
They just played a bumper for Cream!

Comment by Raine on 03/30/2010 14:49:40
Quote by BobR:

Quote by TriSec:

I know we can get some action if I post this....



Give em' a call!



Now if somebody would post this on facebook and pass it along to IAVA..... (I didn't think to cross-post it this morning.)



That is the company mentioned in the article from this morning. I may create a note on Facebook about this later and tag IAVA and Reikoff.



Comment by Raine on 03/30/2010 15:16:57


Comment by BobR on 03/30/2010 15:46:37
Quote by Raine:

Quote by BobR:

Quote by TriSec:

I know we can get some action if I post this....



Give em' a call!



Now if somebody would post this on facebook and pass it along to IAVA..... (I didn't think to cross-post it this morning.)



That is the company mentioned in the article from this morning. I may create a note on Facebook about this later and tag IAVA and Reikoff.



ah ok - I was focused on the soldier and his dilemma and wasn't paying attention to the name of the company.

Comment by livingonli on 03/30/2010 16:07:37
Good day everyone.



An early day at the salt mine today. 5 hours of European Soccer in HD and then Islanders-Rangers tonight. Well, I do need the money so I have to grab the OT when I can.

Comment by livingonli on 03/30/2010 16:29:01
Did everyone see the story Lizz posted on her fan facebook page?

Comment by TriSec on 03/30/2010 16:41:34
I need to build an ark. Anyone have any cubits lying around?



I'll take two of every Liberal. Repukes can effin'die.

Comment by livingonli on 03/30/2010 16:42:27
Count me in. Weather Channel says were supposed to get between 8 and 9 inches of rain before this is over.

Comment by wickedpam on 03/30/2010 16:45:57
Quote by livingonli:

Did everyone see the story Lizz posted on her fan facebook page?






yeah, "shared" it already

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/30/2010 16:59:25
Quote by livingonli:

Good day everyone.



An early day at the salt mine today. 5 hours of European Soccer in HD and then Islanders-Rangers tonight. Well, I do need the money so I have to grab the OT when I can.




Sweet! Five hours of football (soccer)! What league, Liv?

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/30/2010 17:01:18
Quote by TriSec:

I need to build an ark. Anyone have any cubits lying around?



I'll take two of every Liberal. Repukes can effin'die.




Tri, you have your own cubits, two of them actually. Just measure your forearms and you are underway.



Comment by livingonli on 03/30/2010 17:11:07
Quote by Mondobubba:

Quote by livingonli:

Good day everyone.



An early day at the salt mine today. 5 hours of European Soccer in HD and then Islanders-Rangers tonight. Well, I do need the money so I have to grab the OT when I can.




Sweet! Five hours of football (soccer)! What league, Liv?


English Premier League right now and then UEFA at 2:30 PM which is live. Right now, it's Manchester United vs. Bolton.

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/30/2010 17:22:16
So my long nightmare is sorta over. I start a long term temp gig on Mondee.

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/30/2010 17:24:52
Quote by livingonli:

Quote by Mondobubba:

Quote by livingonli:

Good day everyone.



An early day at the salt mine today. 5 hours of European Soccer in HD and then Islanders-Rangers tonight. Well, I do need the money so I have to grab the OT when I can.




Sweet! Five hours of football (soccer)! What league, Liv?


English Premier League right now and then UEFA at 2:30 PM which is live. Right now, it's Manchester United vs. Bolton.




Man U, slowly I turned... GO BOLTON! Actually, I support Chelsea and Arsenal, just to piss of my friend Alex who supports Man U. Think Yankees/Cowboys/Braves. Man U is the team those in the know love to hate. Unless of course you are from Manchester.

Comment by livingonli on 03/30/2010 17:26:27
Quote by Mondobubba:

So my long nightmare is sorta over. I start a long term temp gig on Mondee.


Congrats. Hopefully this means the start of better things.

Comment by livingonli on 03/30/2010 17:27:14
Quote by Mondobubba:

Quote by livingonli:

Quote by Mondobubba:

Quote by livingonli:

Good day everyone.



An early day at the salt mine today. 5 hours of European Soccer in HD and then Islanders-Rangers tonight. Well, I do need the money so I have to grab the OT when I can.




Sweet! Five hours of football (soccer)! What league, Liv?


English Premier League right now and then UEFA at 2:30 PM which is live. Right now, it's Manchester United vs. Bolton.




Man U, slowly I turned... GO BOLTON! Actually, I support Chelsea and Arsenal, just to piss of my friend Alex who supports Man U. Think Yankees/Cowboys/Braves. Man U is the team those in the know love to hate. Unless of course you are from Manchester.


And right now Man U. is up 2-0.

Comment by TriSec on 03/30/2010 17:33:46
I'm sure it's just a precaution, but the captain has asked for all the women and children on the boat deck with their lifebelts on.





Comment by livingonli on 03/30/2010 17:45:12
Now it's 4-0 by the Evil Manchester.

Comment by TriSec on 03/30/2010 18:14:36
I have just been advised that they are evacuating parts of my neighborhood again. We're on the high ground; we didn't have to go anywhere 2 weeks ago, so we should be OK again.



It's Linden Street....the same area that was on the national news last time.



Of course, I rode the commuter rail today, and the trackbed goes right through the flood zone. I hope I can get home.



Comment by livingonli on 03/30/2010 18:38:10
Now it's Manchester United vs. FC Bavern-Muchen (Munich). This match is live, the previous one was taped over the weekend.

Comment by TriSec on 03/30/2010 19:48:02
Going to run for an earlier train. Wish me luck!



I've been listening to the scanner all afternoon....the city is breaking down. Fires, accidents, MBTA service disruptions, highway closures, the whole gamut.



Maybe the Mayans were right; they just got the year wrong.



Comment by Raine on 03/30/2010 20:08:16
Quote by Mondobubba:

So my long nightmare is sorta over. I start a long term temp gig on Mondee.


awesome! congrats!

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/30/2010 21:41:03
Quote by TriSec:

Going to run for an earlier train. Wish me luck!



I've been listening to the scanner all afternoon....the city is breaking down. Fires, accidents, MBTA service disruptions, highway closures, the whole gamut.



Maybe the Mayans were right; they just got the year wrong.





What, no earthquakes or tidal waves? Wussies!

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/30/2010 22:03:54
Fuck you very much Wal-mart. Fuck you for your constant downward pressure you put on your supplies. Fuck you for forcing Target out of the lower margin, higher priced watch market. Fuck you for limited my local choices. I didn't want to buy my new Armitron automatic watch on on line because like most humans I am wired for instant gratification. Fuck you Wal-mart, fuck you.

Comment by clintster on 03/30/2010 23:14:40
Quote by Mondobubba:

Fuck you very much Wal-mart. Fuck you for your constant downward pressure you put on your supplies. Fuck you for forcing Target out of the lower margin, higher priced watch market. Fuck you for limited my local choices. I didn't want to buy my new Armitron automatic watch on on line because like most humans I am wired for instant gratification. Fuck you Wal-mart, fuck you.




Don't hold back, Mondo. How do you feel about Wal-mart?

:rofl:

Comment by livingonli on 03/30/2010 23:20:10
The Munich team did beat Manchester United 2-1 during stoppage time.



Now it's back to the battle for New York Hockey at the Nassau Mausoleum. Wang is still pushing to get that POS arena updated and less rustic.

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/30/2010 23:36:04
Quote by clintster:

Quote by Mondobubba:

Fuck you very much Wal-mart. Fuck you for your constant downward pressure you put on your supplies. Fuck you for forcing Target out of the lower margin, higher priced watch market. Fuck you for limited my local choices. I didn't want to buy my new Armitron automatic watch on on line because like most humans I am wired for instant gratification. Fuck you Wal-mart, fuck you.




Don't hold back, Mondo. How do you feel about Wal-mart?

:rofl:




Fuck them, fuck the the fucking horses they fucking road in on, the fuckers.

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/31/2010 00:10:17
Quote by livingonli:

The Munich team did beat Manchester United 2-1 during stoppage time.



Now it's back to the battle for New York Hockey at the Nassau Mausoleum. Wang is still pushing to get that POS arena updated and less rustic.




Meh just UEFA.

Comment by livingonli on 03/31/2010 00:29:22
Quote by Mondobubba:

Quote by livingonli:

The Munich team did beat Manchester United 2-1 during stoppage time.



Now it's back to the battle for New York Hockey at the Nassau Mausoleum. Wang is still pushing to get that POS arena updated and less rustic.




Meh just UEFA.


They're actually going to show the Championship Game in May on Fox broadcast and not just relegate it to Fox Soccer Channel or FSN.