[Reprint of Editorial by Jerry Donnellan. RockVets Newsletter - August 2015]
August 6th comes again and with it 70+ years of debate as to whether or not we should have dropped the Bomb on Hiroshima. Reality is, the second after the bombardier on the Enola Gay yelled "Bombs Away" that discussion was moot.
However, a kind of collective guilt is carried by this country to the point that in 1995 our then-President suggested that celebrating V-J (Victory in Japan) Day was somehow wrong. We should call it Victory in the Pacific - as if we were fighting someone other than the Japanese? This guilt tends to show itself in small ways as if the Japanese military wasn't all that bad. One of these ways is the Japanese Battle Flag being used to promote a popular drink today called the Kamikaze. The average person 70 years later doesn't see any harm in that decoration. However, to the Marine who served on Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Tarawa, or the Sailor who watched the actual kamikaze tear through the deck of his carrier, it's a different story. That Flag of the Rising Sun is every bit as hateful as the swastika of the Nazis or the Confederate Battle Flag. Under that symbol, tens of millions of people died. This seems to point out just how much has been forgotten. Those World War II GIs wrote this country a blank check made out to the USA, for an amount up to and including their lives, for the duration. I'm afraid many people no longer understand that kind of sacrifice.
I'll bet a lot of folks don't know that a World War II military base once displaced much of Orangeburg. In late September 1942, the Army Corps of Engineers came into Orangeburg, New York, gathered the residents in the small schoolhouse on Greenbush Road, and told them, in no uncertain terms, that they had two weeks to get out of town.
I'm sure the Corps of Engineers phrased it better, but the bottom line was the residents had to move -- bag and baggage. Their property was being taken from Blauvelt Road down to the New Jersey border, and from east to west from what we now know as Western Highway to what was then known as Rockland State Hospital. In a couple of weeks those people were gone, and ground was broken for Camp Shanks.
Camp Shanks opened in January of '43 and started out-processing GIs to Europe and North Africa. One of the truly astounding things is that in that short time of three months, 2,500 buildings were erected. Today you couldn't put a deck on your house in three months! Also, 500,000 Nazi and Italian POWs were processed through Camp Shanks and sent back to Europe towards the end of the War and then after the War.
It is my understanding that three-quarters of the troops involved in the D-Day Invasion came out of Orangeburg, New York. Equally as amazing is, as quickly as it came together -- it went away -- and today, other than a few markers, Camp Shanks is gone. Let's hope its history isn't gone too.
VA Hudson Valley Health Care System will hold a Community Town Hall on August 1, 2019 from
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the Rockland County Fire Training Center, 35 Firemen’s Memorial Drive, Pomona, New York 10970. For further information, call the New City Medical Center at 845-634-8995.
❖ The Town Hall is open to Veterans, family members, and the public
❖ Learn about the VA MISSION Act and how it will affect Veterans
❖ Medical Center leaders will be on hand to answer questions
Veterans Win With Mission Act Reforms
30 Jul 2019. Military.com | Editorial By Robert Wilkie
Robert Wilkie (@SecWilkie) is secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
According to early headlines in the media, the Department of Veterans Affairs' implementation of the MISSION Act was going to be something of a mess.
One story said to "expect glitches." Another said it was "confusing." Some lawmakers who supported the bipartisan bill suddenly warned about the possibility of "overreach" by the Trump Administration, while others warned of a "tech nightmare."
But thanks to thousands of dedicated VA workers around the country and President Donald J. Trump's support for this historic reform, elements of the MISSION Act took effect on June 6, and veterans immediately began benefitting from the largest transformation in veterans' health care since the end of World War II.
This achievement was met mostly by silence in the media -- which is as close as the press ever gets to saying, "good job." But because this revolution is likely to affect the health care decisions of millions of veterans for years to come, it's worth explaining how the MISSION Act has changed the lives of America's heroes for the better.
At its core, the MISSION Act reflects the president's vision that veterans need to be at the center of their health care decisions. If it's too long a drive to the VA, if wait times are too long, if we can't offer the services a veteran needs, or if it's simply in the best medical interest of a veteran to use non-VA services, they can now seek care in their community.
That change was a long time coming for our rural veterans, many of whom live nowhere close to a VA hospital or clinic. And it's much more than just an "extension" of the Choice program enacted under President Obama. That program was temporary, narrow and incomplete, while the MISSION Act is permanent and will put a much broader group of veterans in the driver's seat when it comes to their health.
The response from those who wore the uniform to defend this great Nation was immediate and sustained. A tool we developed to decide whether veterans are eligible for community care is being used tens of thousands of times each day.
The MISSION Act also created an urgent care benefit that finally gives veterans what others have in their neighborhood -- access to nearby care to treat ailments that need immediate attention, like the flu or a sprained ankle. One veteran in Texas said this change is a "godsend" because under the old system, getting a sore throat treated meant a 45-minute ride each way to the VA.
And he's not alone. Thousands of urgent care visits have been scheduled for veterans under the MISSION Act. By mid-July, we were starting to exceed 500 visits each day, and that number has been growing each week as veterans learn more about this important new benefit.
In the end, the MISSION Act simply gives the VA what all other major healthcare systems have -- a way of referring patients to outside care when needed. Community care is one piece of that, as is the new urgent care benefit. We have nearly 5,000 urgent care providers in our network so far, and that number is expanding as we continue to provide veterans with more options to get care when and where they need it.
Washington, D.C., has a history of bungling the implementation of major new programs and forgetting that it has the power to positively affect the lives of millions of Americans. The MISSION Act is a welcome shock to that system that shows the Trump Administration is willing and able to buckle down and deliver real reform.
Our veterans, who answered the call and fought for our freedom and our interests around the world, deserve nothing less.
VA enhances research and education efforts related to airborne hazards and burn pit exposure with newly restructured research hub
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently established the Airborne Hazards and Burn Pits Center of Excellence (AHBPCE) as part of its ongoing efforts to improve health care for Veterans.
“VA is addressing Veterans concerns about the health effects of airborne hazards and burn pit exposure,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Establishing this program through the center is a testament to that and we will continue to collaborate with outside partners to ensure its ongoing success.”
The AHBPCE, located at the New Jersey War Related Illness and Injury Study Center, will specialize in clinical and transitional research related to airborne hazards and burn pit exposure. The new center, which formally began operations in May 2019, will initially focus on:
Expanding understanding of health outcomes and treatments with intensive clinical research to support Veterans that may have been affected by airborne hazards and open burn pits.
VA providers may consult with the AHBPCE about the assessment and treatment needs of Veterans enrolled in VA Healthcare with airborne hazard and burn pit exposure. When appropriate, Veterans may be invited for a comprehensive, multi-day health evaluation from a specialized team. Referral is done for complex clinical presentations that are unable to be diagnosed or if a development of a medical management plan is impossible to do locally.
Veterans receiving VA-authorized care in the community may be referred for consultation or an examination for the same clinical reasons.
Enhancing training and education initiatives to build and expand a network of specialized clinicians
Analyzing Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry data to monitor VA’s overall clinical response to exposure concerns
The center will continue to work closely with the Department of Defense and with academic partners.
For more information about AHBPCE, please visit https://www.warrelatedillness.va.gov/
Hudson Valley Veterans Stand-Down - August 9th
HUDSON VALLEY VETERANS STAND-DOWN - Hosted by Ulster County
August 9, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This event will be held at the Saugerties Cantine Veterans Memorial Complex, Pavilion Street, Saugerties, NY 12477
There will be free refreshments and lunch. Veterans Services, Veterans in need, Homeless Veterans and Vet Networking, including over 40 providers and exhibitors! Veterans Benefits assistance from accredited officers - Military surplus clothing - VA Clinic.
For more information contact Ulster County Veterans Services at 845-340-3190. Also call if you need transportation.
VA Transfer of Electronic Health Records
VA achieves critical milestone in its Electronic Health Record Modernization Program
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently transferred the health records of 23.5 million Veterans to a Cerner Corp. data center, setting the stage for the records to be processed this summer in support of VA’s and Department of Defense’s (DoD) common electronic health record solution.
This initial data migration phase of VA’s Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM), which began in late spring, is an important milestone reflecting the decision to replace Veterans Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) with the Cerner Millennium EHR solution that powers DoD’s Military Health System (MHS GENESIS).
“For decades, VA and DoD have been struggling to achieve interoperability and seamlessly share patient records between our health systems — placing an unfair burden on our Veterans and their families,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “No Veteran, family member or caregiver should have to carry boxes of paper, medical and service records around. This data migration is the first step to solving that problem for good.”
To date, over 78 billion records have been compiled from all VA medical centers, accounting for 50 terabytes (equivalent to about 850,000 hours of music) of data storage across 21 clinical areas of patient health records, which includes lab results; pharmacy prescriptions; inpatient and outpatient diagnoses and procedures; and other medical data of both living and deceased Veterans.
New data will move into the Cerner system automatically from VistA in near real time, and then make its way to the Cerner Millennium EHR, which will provide shared access with VA, DoD and community care providers. As future phases are completed, service members’ medical records from their years of active duty will reside in one comprehensive EHR.
This modernization effort moves VA one step closer toward achieving an interoperable EHR system that will improve military career transitions and drive better clinical outcomes.
Gold Star Mom - Collecting Ties in Honor of Her Son
From Gold Star Mom - Hope Hollinsworth of Yonkers, New York: I'm doing a tie drive in honor of my son. It doesn't start until August 18th and ends on his birthday, which is October 18th. All the ties that are collected are being handed out to Veterans at a breakfast on November 7th.
Last year there were 700 Veterans in attendance and I partnered with City of Yonkers and the New York State Division of Veterans Services. This year I'm working with them again, along with Volunteer Services of New York, in hopes of surpassing my goal of brand new ties, which was 200 last year.
It would be grand if new ties can be bow ties/regular ties, ties from responders, sports teams, service branches, corporations, etc. Variety would be awesome.
Forward to: Hope Hollinsworth - Yonkers City Hall - 40 South Broadway - Room 210 - Yonkers, NY 10701
National Resource Directory
National Resource Directory available for service members, veterans and their families
The National Resource Directory and the Office of Warrior Care Policy engage with programs for Service Members and Veterans across the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, other U.S. Government agencies, and associated organizations. The National Resource Directory (NRD) is a resource website that connects wounded warriors, Service Members, Veterans, their families, and caregivers to programs and services that support them.
It provides access to services and resources at the national, state and local levels to support recovery, rehabilitation and community reintegration. Visitors can find information on a variety of topics that supply an abundance of vetted resources. For help finding resources on the site, visit the How to Use this Site section of the NRD. Please see below for some of our major categories.
American Red Cross
Benefits & Compensation
Community Of Care
Education & Training
Family & Caregiver Support
Military Adaptive Sports Program
Other Services & Resources
Portfolio Of Veterans Benefits (PVB)
Transportation & Travel
Port Authority Veteran Internship Program
The Port Authority is proud to announce the launch of the 2nd iteration of the Emergency Management Veteran Internship Program for qualified college Veteran students who are enrolled either full-time or part-time in an accredited degree program.
The Office of Emergency Management’s (OEM’s) Mission is to strengthen the Port Authority’s ability to mitigate and respond to security risks and other natural or manmade hazards by developing and implementing plans and programs to preserve life, protect vital public infrastructure, restore core business functions, manage crisis events, and help maintain the highest quality and most efficient transportation services so important to the well-being and economic competitiveness of the region.
During this one-year program, participants will have the opportunity to rotate throughout various assignments within the Office of Emergency Management that offer on the job experience and education in several functions such as:
• Training and Exercise: Develops and conducts facility exercises that exceed compliance based on DHS's Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP).
• Strategic Preparedness: Coordinates emergency logistical needs with line departments and PAPD. Manages the multi-hazard risk management program.
• Operations: Administers and manages the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) including mobile response assets, and the agency watch desk.
• Mitigation and Recovery: Coordinates with federal and state partners for post disaster reimbursements and other funding opportunities. Manages the natural hazard risk assessments and participates in mitigation and resiliency planning.
• Grants: Identifies funding sources, reviews and interprets the grant guidance for agency eligibility for grant opportunities and compliance.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Undersecretary for Benefits, Dr. Paul R. Lawrence, reported on his organization’s performance for the third quarter of fiscal year 2019 in a livestream broadcast today. The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) provides disability, education, and other forms of benefits earned through military service.
“Being open and transparent about how VBA measures up against its quarterly targets continues to build trust between VA and those we are dedicated to serving,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilke. “VA’s Benefits Administration lays it all on the table, highlighting the organization’s accomplishments, opportunities for improvement and plans for ongoing initiatives.”
VBA met or exceeded this quarter’s targets in the majority of its business lines. In the last eight weeks of the quarter, VBA completed more than 261,000 disability compensation claims, which is above the eight-week cumulative target of 255,000. For the entire quarter, VBA completed nearly 351,000 of these claims exceeding their target of 335,000. This was done in an average of 105 days, which is above the longstanding goal of 125 days to complete these claims.
VBA also exceeded targets for completing claims in Veterans Pension, the number of field examinations conducted in the Fiduciary Program and the timeliness of processing original education claims. Additionally, the Insurance Program exceeded its goal to locate beneficiaries upon an insured Veteran’s passing. To read full press release: https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/includes/viewPDF.cfm?id=5284
Technology and Veterans Dental Care
Army Veteran Mark Gehrke had been missing his teeth for years and his upper jaw had significant bone problems. His dentist, Dr. Christopher French, created a 3D printed model of his upper jaw to plan the surgical placement of four dental implants, using the model as a guide to plan the placement of the implants. Gehrke was thankful: “I appreciate getting the best care possible.”
3D technology helps create guides for dental implant placement and medical models which aid in surgical planning. A digital capture is transferred to a 3D Printer or Dental Mill to create the dental surgical guides or other products needed to support Veteran Patient care. In 2018, there were over 600 patients needing surgical guides and 185 patients needing intra-oral occlusion guides at the Minneapolis VA.
Currently, Veterans travel to and from many VA Dental Clinics with waiting times up to six weeks for oral surgery and dental appliances primarily due to turn-around times from outsource vendors. Access and care are improved when VA Dental Clinics are able to create dental appliances in-house with faster service for Veterans. Read more:
Local and Free Dental Screening and Cleaning for Veterans
To guarantee you’ll be seen, please make an appointment for your free veteran dental screening and cleaning. Bring proof of having served in the military to your dental appointment. Discharge status is not necessary to qualify. These free services are open to all who have served.
To find the HRHCare health center that offers dental care closest to you, view the link:!
Every veteran can receive a free dental screening and cleaning at HRHCare! http://rocklandgov.com/files/3415/4240/4577/Vet_Dental_Flyer.pdf
Veterans Benefit From Equine Therapy
Veterans at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System are partnering with horses on their road to recovery.
While participating in Equine Assisted Learning workshops at the Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy in Sarasota, Florida, Veterans in the Warriors in Transition program do a lot more than simply ride.
“What we do here is a lot of team building and grounding exercises,” explains Bay Pines Recreation Therapist Elizabeth Blankenship. “We learn about the horses, their behaviors, how they communicate with each other, and then we move into speaking about how we communicate and interact with others on a personal level and then draw a connection to what we’ve learned here, to our everyday lives.”
The goal is that by partnering with horses, Veterans will acquire new ways of coping with anxiety and stress. As prey animals, horses are highly sensitive to emotions and the messages behind them. Through observing how horses relate to one another and then interacting with the horses themselves, workshop participants learn to ask for space, set healthy boundaries, lead without force, relax without losing awareness and rebuild trust.
The program was developed by Terry Murray, a U.S. Navy Veteran, and Warriors in Transition facilitator, to help active-duty military and Veterans as they navigate the challenges of repeated deployment cycles.
According to Murray, equine-assisted learning can result in the growth of new brain cells. “There are biomedical changes in the brain that are occurring when people are in nature and are working with the horses in this environment.”
For U.S. Army Veteran Jesse Raoul, equine therapy has “helped me re-establish relationships with people that I’ve been dealing with. It also has helped me to learn to live a healthier and better quality of life.
Here is some information on the HANDCYCLE PROGRAM from Roy Tsudy of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter #333: In 2013, VVA Chapter 333 created their Handcycle Program. Roy, along with fellow chapter Vietnam veteran Marcus Arroyo and others (via fund raising along with donations) have purchased and donated 13 of these cycles to military veterans with leg amputations and / or spinal cord injuries. Unfortunately, due to strict adherence to HIPPA law, they cannot easily locate veterans who can benefit from having one of the hand cycles. They find the candidates via extensive research or word of mouth.
With that in mind, if you know of any veteran with combat related injuries who would like to own a Handcycle free of charge, please contact Roy Tschudy -- e-mail: email@example.com so a proper vetting process can begin by both Marcus and Roy.
Roy Tschudy and Marcus Arroyo have recently presented a mountain bike to an Army Combat veteran. The veteran was injured during his tour of duty in Iraq. He has a wife and a daughter and lives in the Hudson Valley.
Because of the efforts of many Chapter 333 members who contribute their time for fundraising events at street fairs, Palisades Center mall events and so on, Roy and Marcus are truly humbled to have the opportunity to assist a "brother" in need!
Roy Tschudy, Vietnam veteran and Co-Chair of the Handcycle Program, has written a book about Vietnam titled: "ENDLESS." All proceeds of the sale of Roy's book will be donated to the Hand-Cycle Program.
"ENDLESS" is available in paperback or e-book form and can be purchased on Amazon.com at this link:
Careers for People with Disabilities:401 Columbus Ave., Valhalla, NY 10595 (914) 741-JOBS (5627)
Helps individuals with learning, intellectual, developmental, psychiatric, and/or physical disabilities find jobs. Provides extensive on-the-job training and ongoing support services. For further information: http://www.careersforpeoplewithdisabilities.org/
USIS-US Information Systems, Pearl River, New York has numerous jobs available and we appreciate their reaching out to our veterans. USIS is located at 35 West Jefferson Avenue, Pearl River, NY10965. Their website is: http://www.usis.net/. If interested in any of these positions, please send an updated resume to: Anjelica Pagnozzi - Recruitment@usis.net (845) 353-9248. Please submit resumes and questions to Anjelica Pagnozzi: firstname.lastname@example.org
Creative Design Construction:Nicole@creativedesignconstruction.com - Creative Design Construction, 204 Livingston Street in Northvale, New Jersey 07647, works all over the Rockland/Bergen County area, are currently looking to expand production teams and are interested in candidates that are willing to learn or have experience in construction. We thought this might be a great opportunity for veterans that are returning from service. We sincerely appreciate their service and would love to give them the opportunity for full-time employment. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Nicole at 201-768-5813. View their website here: https://creativedesignconstruction.com/
Montefiore-Nyack Hospital, Nyack, New York 10960
See link for full listing and information about career opportunities at Nyack Hospital, Nyack, New York.
Good Samaritan Hospital, Suffern, New York. Good Samaritan Hospital is affiliated with Westchester Medical Center. See this link for available employment - https://wmchealthjobs.org/search-jobs/
NYC Green Book Online: The Green Book is the official directory of the City of New York. An indispensable reference guide for anyone living or working with New York City. Includes detailed listings of agencies. Website:http://a856-gbol.nyc.gov/GBOLWebsite/
For your information, here are the addresses for some of our local veterans' organizations:
Rockland County Marine Corps League, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970
Military Order of the Purple Heart, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970
Vietnam Veterans of America, P.O. Box 243, New City, New York 10956
Nam Knights, 1 Western Highway, Tappan, New York 10983
Korean War Veterans, P.O. Box 304, New City, New York 10956
R.C. Military Order of the Purple Heart, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970
Jewish War Veterans, P.O. Box 38, New City, New York 10956
Veterans of Foreign Wars, P.O. Box 921, New City, New York 10956
Air Force Association, Chapter 251, 207 Treetop Circle, Nanuet, New York 10954
Rockland County American Legion, 86 South Reld Drive, Pearl River, New York 10965
Combat Vet ID Cards Available Combat Veteran ID Cards are available. If you are a combat veteran, you can get this card at the County Clerk's Office which is located at 1 South Main Street, Suite 100, New City, New York 10956. To apply for the Combat Veteran ID Card, or the F.A.V.O.R. card for all veterans, if you don't already have one, bring your DD214 to the County Clerk's Office. They'll take your photo and make up a card for you.
For further information, contact the Rockland County Clerk's Office at (845) 638-5076.
This new Combat Veteran ID Card offers all of the same benefits as the F.A.V.O.R. (Find and Assist Veterans of Record) card, which includes almost 1000 discounts to Rockland's veterans, but this new CVID card has specific advantages. The CVID card is co-sponsored by the Rockland County Police Benevolent Association and will be recognized by our local law enforcement agencies. So if you ever get pulled over, along with your license, registration, and insurance card, show the police officer your Combat Vet ID card so he knows you're an in-country vet.
Useful Telephone Numbers for Veterans
Rockland County Veterans Service Agency
Rockland County Sheriff’s Office
Veterans Peer-to-Peer (Counseling)
People to People (Food)
Montrose VA Hospital
New City VA Clinic
Rape Crisis Services (Main)
Rape Crisis Services (24/7)
Home Health Care
Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency
Nyack Hospital Emergency
Mental Health Association of Rockland County
Mobile Mental Health
West Point (nearest military base)
New York National Guard (Orangeburg, NY)
Army Reserve (Orangeburg, NY)
Rockland County Housing Action Coalition
Meals on Wheels
Rockland County Marine Corps League Auxiliary
The Rockland County Marine Corps League Auxiliary continues its on-going campaign - Pet Rescue - to reunite our troops with pets they may have had to leave in Afghanistan. Cans and bottles (no glass bottles) that can be recycled for cash, may be brought to Kearsing Edwards American Legion Post 1600, 20 Station Road in Pomona, New York. They are collected by ARC Pet Rescue volunteers and recycled. Contributions for the Pet Rescue Project are also welcome! The funds pay for food and water to sustain pets on their journey home; their transportation is free. For more information contact Chairman Dale Fisher 845-304- 3595.
Rockland County Marine Corps League - MASH Unit
We regularly receive donations of handicap assistance equipment for disabled veterans from people who want to help. Our donated equipment is available for free to military veterans and their families. The items include the following:
If you have need of any of this equipment, contact the folks at the Rockland County Marine Corps League - 845-323-8774 or via e-mail: email@example.com.
RockVets Newsletter - A Project of New York Vets
RockVets is an Outreach project of New York Vets, Inc. - a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization established in 1992, to advocate for those who have worn the uniform of the U.S. Military, no matter where or when they served.
The volunteers at New York Vets / RockVets publish this monthly e-newsletter. We welcome your thoughts, questions, and feedback. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are not affiliated with Rockland County Government nor the Veterans Service Agency of Rockland.
At the discretion of the editor, we'd be happy to add your upcoming events to our newsletter. Please submit the details to us as soon as possible, but no later than the 25th of each month so we can get the information in the following issue. Send information to email@example.com.