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Author: TriSec    Date: 12/17/2019 10:48:19

Good Morning.

'tis a quiet morn on this week before a major religious holiday. We're expecting increasing snow and ice during the day, and "the powers" have just decided that we're going to run trolleys in the middle of it all. In any case - it's a quiet day on the veteran's front.

To quote Bob Dorough, "It's a time when the greedy give a dime to the needy". If your holiday plans include some charitable gifts, there's a few agencies working with veterans that may be worthy of your dime.

Before a chance meeting at a basketball game a few years ago, Vietnam veteran Mike Donnelly had never heard of the Quality of Life Plus Program. But that nonprofit organization has changed his life, he said.

The charity sponsored a project where engineering students at the University of Cincinnati designed and built a custom device that lifts his scooter carrier/lift to the hitch on the back of his car. The Department of Veterans Affairs had provided him with the scooter and a carrier/lift, but he and his wife were unable to lift the 200-pound carrier enough to attach it to the hitch on his large car.

Donnelly’s exposure to Agent Orange in the Army caused him numerous health problems. With his mobility issues, including problems with balance, he can’t walk any distance. Since receiving the device in May, he’s been able to transport the scooter, opening up many more activities.

It’s projects like this one that resulted in the Quality of Life Plus Program receiving the highest honor, and a $50,000 award, in the 2019 Newman’s Own Awards competition. Four other organizations are each receiving $37,500 in the competition, which is in its 20th year of honoring non-profit organizations for their innovative programs created to improve military quality of life. In those 20 years, more than $2 million has been awarded to 174 non-profit programs.

This year, more than 200 entries were received in the competition, which is sponsored by Newman’s Own, the Fisher House Foundation and media partner Military Times. The winners will be honored at a ceremony at the Pentagon in early 2020.

“At Newman’s Own, we are honored to carry on Paul Newman’s legacy by supporting organizations that help improve the quality of life of our military members and their families,” said Jeff Smith, vice president of operations at Newman’s Own, Inc. Actor Paul Newman, a Navy veteran who served in the Pacific during World War II, later came up with his own line of salad dressings, sauces, pizzas and other items, and determined that all profits from Newman’s Own sales would go to charities.

Other Newman’s Own Award winners, each receiving $37,500, are:

Drive for Hope, a program of the nonprofit Hope for the Warriors. This comprehensive driving program helps service members and veterans regain their ability to drive — and their independence — following a catastrophic wound, injury and/or illness, with costs paid by the organization. Working with the Driver Rehabilitation Center of Excellence, Drive for Hope provides a comprehensive driving program at no cost to the warriors, working with medical providers, and helping them regain driving skills in adaptive vehicles. Hope for the Warriors, founded by military families at Camp Lejeune, N.C. in 2006, provides a variety of programs for service members, veterans and families focused on transition, health and wellness, peer engagement and connections to community resources.

Stack-Up Overwatch Program is a suicide prevention and crisis intervention initiative that uses online gaming to connect veterans to a team of trained and certified crisis management volunteers, around the clock. The connection is made by way of Stack-Up’s Discord channel, where the online gamers communicate with each other in real time. The Overwatch program began in January, 2018, to provide a mechanism for those who need someone to talk to, especially around the holidays. Through the nonprofit’s partnership with PsychArmor Institute, volunteers go through specified training and evaluation. Stack Up’s mission is to bring comfort and friendship to veterans coping with PTSD or transitioning to civilian life.

The Rosie Network’s Service2CEO initiative is a 12-month individualized entrepreneurship and literacy training program offered at no cost to military spouses, veterans and service members transitioning to civilian life. Participants can choose between two tracks: launching a business, and growing a business. The program is housed in a shared office environment in the Military Entrepreneur Development Center in San Diego and at Rosie chapters in Seattle; at Fort Belvoir, Va.; at Camp Pendleton, Calif.; and San Antonio. More than 60 percent of the participants are military spouses. The Rosie Network based in San Diego, was founded by local Navy SEAL spouses.

The Military Family Wellness Center at Columbia University Irving Medical Center provides free, evidence-based treatment for post-traumatic stress, depression, and other mental health needs to veterans, active duty, Guard and Reserve members and their families, including military caregivers. The center provides assessment and treatment for those who don’t qualify for, don’t benefit from, or may be reluctant to use traditional providers. It’s located in Columbia University’s Department of Psychiatry, which is the largest in the U.S. The cost-free services are provided with confidentiality and privacy, minimal bureaucracy, and a wide range of treatment options. The center also provides tele-mental health services to patients who are unable physically to come to appointments, by conducting sessions over a secure audio/video link.

So - have a Happy Winter Holiday to the best that you are able - from all your friends here at AAV.


4 comments (Latest Comment: 12/17/2019 19:49:26 by Raine)
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