Veterans’ GOODNEWS for Nov. 10

Veterans’ GOODNEWS for Nov. 10

Good news for veteransLos Angeles cemetery honors veterans with 170,000 flags (NPR)
This weekend at the Riverside National Cemetery an hour east of Los Angeles, hundreds of volunteers – girl scouts, boy scouts, community groups and families – placed American flags by 170,000 grave sites in preparation for Veteran’s Day this Tuesday. For the active service members in the crowd it’s especially meaningful.

Veterans courts relieve strife brought home by troops (Houston Chronicle)
Commentary: As this Veterans Day approaches, it is appropriate to honor those who have served our country. Veterans Day is not only flags and parades, though. It is a reminder that, every day, we all have a chance to do something to assist those who have sacrificed so much in our name. That is why we are letting our community know that, even in the criminal justice system, there can be a place where compassion and justice meet. That place is called the Veterans’ Court, and this Veterans Day marks the fifth anniversary of the first such court in Texas, which was started right here in Harris County in November 2009. Like most great ideas, this one had many people who helped give it a start. From folks in the Legislature who drafted and pushed for the bill in 2009 that authorized the creation of treatment courts for returning vets, to the large number of federal, state, county, judicial and nonprofit officials who helped bring the statute to life in the Harris County district courts, to the local private bar associations, prosecutors and court staff who worked tirelessly to make the implementation work on a day-to-day basis – all are owed a debt of gratitude.

Dogs of War: A&E makes reality show about veterans with PTSD (Fox News)
When Jim Stanek returned from his deployment with the 1st Infantry Division of the Army with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, he saw first-hand in therapy the impact service dogs can have on veterans. But when he and his wife, Lindsey, tried to get him a service dog, they faced long waiting lists and price tags of up to $60,000. “We decided to take it upon ourselves to try and address the issue head on,” Lindsey Stanek told FOX411. So they founded Paws and Stripes, an organization that trains rescue dogs and veterans to work together so the shelter animals can be service dogs for their veteran owners. The program is funded by donations and is free for the veterans. Now, their efforts are being brought into the spotlight as part of a new docuseries on A&E titled “Dogs of War.” The show premieres on Veterans Day.

Torn apart by storm, a tribute to veterans is pieced together again (New York Times)
The late April tornado screamed for 41 miles across Arkansas, but its toll was especially vicious here: Just three years after another storm had leveled Vilonia, this city was flattened anew. Homes crumbled into piles of splintered wood and concrete. Businesses buckled under winds experts said reached 190 m.p.h. And on South College Street, Vilonia’s Museum of Veterans and Military History, a tribute born from the destruction of the 2011 tornado, was ruined. Like so much else here these days, the museum is in the midst of a revival. Its supporters will miss their initial deadline for opening — Veterans Day, which is Tuesday — but the museum’s collection, which dates to the Revolutionary War, will soon rest within a building that its designers say will withstand all but the most severe tornadoes.

Veterans parachute to inform public about PTSD dangers (Houston Chronicle)
To the casual observer, Dave Herwig might have looked like the hero of an action movie as he landed on a small patch of star-shaped brick without breaking his stride Sunday. He jogged around the pavement, parachute equipment trailing behind him, and high-fived the surrounding crowd on the Kemah Boardwalk as they reached forward to touch his hand. In his wake came two others – Charles Cooley and Kris Ward – who were met with equal applause as they joined Mario Rivera, who had landed before them. Herwig and the others had just dropped 3,500 feet from an airplane as part of their performance with the All Veteran Group, which performs in military and veteran-themed events across the country. The stuff of nightmares for some, they have all done this several thousand times each in their service as paratroopers with the U.S. Army.

Wall Street offers veterans a foot in the door (CNBC)
Chris Phillips’ enthusiasm was hard to miss. With a broad smile and a firm handshake, she made sure each veteran waiting to speak with her received her complete time and attention. Phillips, a military recruiter, talent management specialist for PNC Bank and Marine Corps veteran, is part of a contingent of Veterans on Wall Street (VOWS). The group, which held a conference at Goldman Sachs’ headquarters in New York City last week, aims to help former service members land jobs in the rough and tumble world of finance. The fourth annual “Veteran Employment Symposium and Resource Fair” is an added bonus for an industry that is often viewed with deep scorn by the public, especially after the financial crisis of 2008. Those problems, however, don’t deter people like Phillips, who called the veterans who come out looking for employment “the best of the best.”

Veterans are more likely to be homeowners (Marketwatch)
U.S. veterans are far more likely to be become homeowners than the rest of the civilian population. Households headed by veterans have a 79% homeownership rate, significantly higher than the 63% rate for households headed by civilians who’ve never served in the military, according to data released Monday by real-estate website Trulia, which crunched the numbers from the 2013 the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey’s “Public Use Microdata Sample.” That data are based on whether the head of the household is a spouse, unmarried or a veteran. One obvious reason: Older Americans are more likely to own homes. The median age for a veteran is 64 compared to 45 for the rest of the population, the report found. Although Gulf War veterans are relatively young with a median age of 41, they’re far outnumbered by baby boomers (who are 50 to 68 years old) and members of the Silent Generation (those born during the Great Depression and World War II). Even adjusting for the age gap, however, there is still a 7-percentage point difference.

JetBlue paints one of its planes in honor of military vets (USA Today)
JetBlue says it’s honoring the nation’s military veterans by adding a special “Vets in Blue” paint job to one of its Airbus A320 jets. The new paint scheme — “livery,” in airline vernacular — will feature a blue fuselage along with yellow ribbon on the tail. Its rollout is timed to coincide with the upcoming Veterans Day holiday, which falls on Tuesday. “‘Vets in Blue’ is JetBlue’s unique way to salute veterans both at our airline and in our local communities,” JetBlue CEO Dave Barger says in a statement. “It is our duty to honor the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms. Our ‘Vets in Blue’ livery and program is a small symbol of our appreciation and support for our military service members.”

Meet the 6 military dogs to be honored in Veterans’ Day parade (New York Post)
Popular adages may promise every dog its day, but the sad reality is canines that serve in the US military — sniffing out bombs, mines and other explosive devices — aren’t even guaranteed return transport after multiple tours of duty overseas. Often, they are left behind with new owners abroad when their handlers return home. “The dogs and these veterans work side by side. To separate them, I think, is a crime,” says Lois Pope, a longtime veterans advocate who began lobbying last year to return all four-legged defenders to the states for adoption by the servicement with whom they’d bonded. Since April the American Humane Association — along with Mission K9 Rescue and the US War Dogs Association — has facilitated the reunion of 20 retired military dogs with their loving human veterans.

Combat veterans find solace in hunting (USA Today)
They cleared roads for troops in Afghanistan until a year ago. Head on a swivel. Inspect every groove in the dirt road. Study every rock. Bomb hunters, they called themselves. Such was the job’s importance and risk that regular Army guys called the Reserves in the 402nd Engineer Company of Des Moines something else: “Rock stars,” said Patrick Perkins — or foolish. Perkins sat on a pickup truck gate, guzzling a huge can of Monster energy drink. Nick Mason, his brother in arms with the U.S. Army Reserves, put in a big chew of tobacco. They painted their faces and put on camouflage gear. This time, they were hunting deer, not bombs. Hunting helps them. It’s helped a lot of combat veterans coming back home, and it’s why a growing number of organizations are taking veterans out to hunt, including Perkins’ nonprofit, Heroes Hunting.