Feb, 2008     Volume 8 - Issue 5




The Newsletter

Photo Gallery

Birthdays & Anniversaries

New Readers & Returns

Honoring our Veterans

Memory Lane

In Memoria


HHS Hall of Fame


Last month's HixNews

I am sending this to all of you to remember our brothers and sisters who have died or are sick from Agent Orange.
Joe Ingino, 67

Agent Orange Quilt of Tears Video
After seeing the video, editor Bob Casale wrote:
"I lost a friend in 1979...Mike Goldsmith...from complications concerning Agent Orange.
Mike was Steve's brother...who ran the class reunion last year."
                 Bob Casale, Mike Goldsmith, Jack McCarren - circa 1957

Veterans Health Alliance of Long Island: A New "Group" In Town

Part Three of "What Every Veteran Needs To Know" has been pushed back
for some information about a new group on Long Island: "Veterans
Health Alliance of Long Island." And while I realize a good portion of
us HHS grads are no longer on "da ilend," I also realize the concepts
that follow will work anywhere there is a group of those who care
enough for our country's veterans to put their time and energy into
the cause so many claim to espouse. If any of this perks your
interest, feel free to give me a holler.

About the Veterans Health Alliance of Long Island

"Promote the health and well-being of veterans and their families
through advocacy, and a broad array of services," the mission
statement for the Veterans Health Alliance of Long Island ("VHALI"), a
new veterans support consortium.

There is no doubt that our veterans population includes individuals,
and in some cases their families, that have a variety of health
support issues. We who provide veterans support also have no doubt
that: there are veterans who will not turn to the (government run)
Department of Veterans Affairs ("VA"), preferring to receive
assistance from community based services; there are those services
just not provided by the VA; there are other organizations that can
and do provide the full gamut of health related services to our
veteran population, including services that complement those already
provided by the VA such as service to the veteran's children,
assistance with the transportation, and a centralized list of
community resources, and; these other organizations are not
necessarily that well known among the veteran population. That's where
VHALI comes in.

This consortium includes participation, so far, by: Central Nassau
Guidance and Counseling, Family and Children's Association, Hofstra
University, Mental Health Association of Nassau County, Mental Health
Association of Suffolk County, Nassau County Department of Mental
Health, Chemical Dependency and Developmental Disabilities Services,
Nassau County Veterans Service Agency, New Ground - a non-profit
independent agency seeking to provide long term housing and case
management for homeless veterans who are in recovery, New York State
Office of Mental Health Long Island Field Office, North Shore-Long
Island Jewish Rosen Center, Peninsula Counseling Center, The
Interfaith Nutrition Network, Vietnam Veterans of America #82 Nassau
County's Chapter, and Vietnam Veterans of America New York State

Only having had its second meeting, and while having been around for
less than six months, it is clear that VHALI has hit the street
running. Presently it has identified three areas to immediately
pursue, creating three Workgroups with initial suggested tasks.

Outreach Workgroup

Communication with Active Duty / Guard / Reserve Units and Families:
link up Readiness Coordinator so presentations on "what to expect" can
be given to soldiers and their families by community providers.
Providers can also alert the families as to what supports are
available to them during the deployment, and, the Marines do an
outstanding job of notifying their troops about what services are
available when they return home; use the Marines as a "best practice"
for the other branches.

Anti-Stigma Campaign: use some of the Nassau County Anti-Stigma
Campaign funds to develop materials geared for veterans; develop a CD
/ Video featuring veterans speaking about getting help with PTSD; use
a website to disseminate information, as many young veterans primarily
use the internet as a way of communication, and; outreach to College
Campuses for younger veterans. (72% of the current Veterans use the GI
Bill to go to College).

Advocacy Workgroup

A small group of 3 5 providers will attempt to schedule meetings
with local congressman to discuss access issues with the VA, and the
possibility of subcontracting for services. HR 67 would provide local
Veteran Service Agencies with $1 per veteran. These funds could be
used to expand services. The measure has passed the House but is stuck
in the Senate.

Program And Training Workgroup

There are some "best practice" models in other states regarding
veterans health care. (i.e. The "Errera Community" in Connecticut,
Vet-to-Vet). These models should be explored and brought to Nassau
County. Understand: Combat related PTSD; the different needs of the
different generations of veterans; the veterans benefits system; and,
other factors impacting health and wellness (e.g., Traumatic Brain
Injury, exposure to Agent Orange, Depleted Uranium).

About Veteran Mental Illness and Employment

Many Service Professionals have said that many veterans with
psychiatric disabilities are unemployed and/or underemployed even
though they say that they want to work. It was the purpose of the
authors of a fifteen-brochure series on "Mental Illness and
Employment" to provide information and encouragement, to de-mystify
the process of going to work, and to help people know what questions
to ask and what issues to consider so they can make good work-related
decisions for themselves. This brochure series was designed by its
authors primarily to be a self-help tool for individuals and small
groups. These brochures and a facilitator's guide are being made
available for anyone's use at
( http://www.waltsdorsai.net/vetsmentalhealth.htm ).

Something New

This month I introduce my (almost) not commented "Article of the
Month." Every month I'll include excerpts from an article that "hits
the nail on the head" regarding veteran affairs. I say (almost) not
commented on as I'll only provide one short line of comment at the
beginning of the article. That said...

This Month's Not Commented on Article - N-E-G-L-E-C-T... Tells me what
you think of me!

NEGLECT OF VETERANS UNCONSCIONABLE -- "If the American government and the American people continue to break faith with the young men and
women who have sworn to defend them...then we can't be surprised when,
if we call on them to serve in the future, no one responds." "To care
for him who shall have borne the battle..." Those words, from Abraham
Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, are quite literally carved into
the walls of the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Veterans
Affairs in Washington, D.C. With that kind of authority for its
mission statement, the American people have every reason to expect
that the VA and other government agencies would be unswerving in their
devotion to the care and well-being of the men and women who have
served in the nation's wars, especially those who have been wounded in
combat. But with numbing regularity over the past few years, the
public has heard tales that demonstrate that America's veterans are
being ill-served by many of those whose task it is to help them. Just
this week, in Attleboro, a homeless Army reservist, who reportedly
served tours of duty in Bosnia and Iraq, was arrested and jailed
without bail on charges he broke into a vacant factory building, where
he started a small fire, evidently in an effort to stay warm. And as
America's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq enter their seventh years, the
number of homeless veterans is growing. There are 336,000 veterans of
all wars in the United States who were homeless at some point in 2006,
according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. How did
America come to fall so far short of its promises to those who
volunteered to serve in its armed forces? There are a number of
reasons. But the neglect of those who have served their country
honorably cannot be excused. If the American government and the
American people continue to break faith with the young men and women
who have sworn to defend them - and who rightfully expect that the
nation will help them when they return wounded in mind or in body -
then we can't be surprised when, if we call on them to serve in the
future, no one responds.
( http://www.thesunchronicle.com/articles/2008/01/20/opinion/opinion01.txt  
and http://www.vawatchdog.org/08/nf08/nfJAN08/nf012108-3.htm )

Hicksville Trivia: If you knew how, and it wasn't all that difficult,
you could open the doors of either Gertz elevator between floors --
which would stop the elevator -- and leave notes. In the early '60s
(no cell-phones, no real way to contact friends unless you knew
exactly where and when to call) this was a sure way to get the word
out about that upcoming weekend event.

Lest We Forget: Currently there are (at least) 4,804 Veterans of
Modern Warfare who no longer will be "asking" our government for a
dime . . .

Till next month be well... and remember, "Let No Veteran Ever Stand Alone!"


-- --- --- Walt Schmidt Veteran Services Officer 
- - --- TOBay's Veteran Services Division
- - - - "Let No Veteran Ever Stand Alone!" 
--- --- WorkDayTime: 516.733.8414 & 24/7 Voice Mail 
- - --- Anytime: 24/7 Voice Mail 516.799.8300 
- - - - Website: http://www.waltsdorsai.net/  Ken Sun - 
Weekly Column: http://experts.longisland.com/veterans  
"To know yet to think that one does not know is best; 
Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty." - Lao-Tzu 71:1