Veterans GOODNEWS for Nov. 25

Veterans GOODNEWS for Nov. 25

Good news for veteransMotorcycle group donates Thanksgiving baskets to veterans (Corpus Christi Caller Times)
Six military families won’t go without a Thanksgiving meal this year, thanks to a group of combat brothers. Members of the Coastal Bend Chapter of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association gave out six Thanksgiving food baskets Monday, each with a turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie and various other trimmings. “Our primary mission is helping our fellow veterans,” said Jack Nyitrai, public relations officer with the association. He said this is the first time the group, which has about 50 members, has given out the Thanksgiving baskets. With group donations, fundraisers and turkey donations from Jay Woodall and Pam Danser from the Corpus Christi Medical Center, they were able to help 32 family members.

The veteran who took home the National Book Award (The Daily Beast)
Commentary: “Redeployment,” Phil Klay’s National Book Award-winning book of short stories, opens with the lines: “We shot dogs. Not by accident. We did it on purpose, and we called it Operation Scooby. I’m a dog person so I thought about that a lot.” “We shot dogs.” You can’t help but hear it, the bravado fading but still there over the final notes of remorse. It starts to sound like you said it yourself. The book goes on like that, examining the war in Iraq through the eyes of its combatants, providing some of the war’s only reliable narrators. I met Klay, a Marine veteran of Iraq, in 2008 at a writing workshop for veterans run by New York University. Together we edited an anthology of short fiction by veteran writers, Fire and Forget: Short Stories From the Long War, along with Roy Scranton, Matt Gallagher, and Perry O’Brien, three other veterans we’d met at the workshop. Klay won last week’s National Book Award for “Redeployment” about the fascination of war, whether Brooklyn is “cancerous with novelists,” and police militarization after Ferguson.

Veteran with cancer gets wish to see his son lecture at Pitt (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
The speeches, the handshakes, the red-white-and-blue cake — it was all a surprise, and a lot more public acclamation than retired U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Jeffrey Raymond Wheeler, a Vietnam War veteran with terminal lung cancer, was used to receiving for his service in Da Nang in the mid-1960s.  Sitting up as straight as he could in his wheelchair, Mr. Wheeler, a 68-year-old former coal miner from Wheeling, W.Va., listened quietly to words of praise from a veterans services spokesman for the University of Pittsburgh. He shook hands with his many well-wishers, accepting their thanks and thanked them in return for attending the reception.  Mr. Wheeler’s cancer has left him weakened, making the wheelchair necessary. But when it was time to face the cameras, he stood and to a spot in front of the Marine Corps and United States flags, and spoke from his heart. Why, he was asked, was one of his final wishes to see his elder son, Pitt mathematics lecturer Jeffrey Paul Wheeler, teach a class?  “He’s special in my life, like my other son,” he said, as his wife, Ruth Ann, stood nearby. “God blessed me, blessed both of us, with two wonderful sons.”

Colorado center helps Native American veterans heal ‘wounded hearts’ (Colorado Public Radio)
Approximately 140 soldiers returned to Fort Carson last week after a nine month deployment in Afghanistan, a sign that the U.S. combat mission there is winding down. As more soldiers come home, public health experts at the University of Colorado are paying close attention to a subset of U.S. troops: Native Americans. That’s because American Indians and Native Alaskans who serve in combat are two to three times more likely than their white peers to suffer mental anxiety including post-traumatic stress disorder, says Spero Manson. He teaches public health and psychiatry and leads the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health at the University of Colorado’s School of Public Health. American Indians and Alaska Natives constitute roughly 1 percent of the current military and veterans, but suffer from PTSD at a disproportionate rate. Overall, veterans of the Vietnam War suffer rates of PTSD as high as 30 percent, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. For veterans of the recent Iraq war, it’s about 20 percent. For American Indians and Alaska Natives, the rates are much higher according to studies, Manson says.

GoDaddy founder doubles up his year-end donation for veterans’ care (Chronicle of Philanthropy)
For the second year in a row, GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons is doubling up his year-end matching-gift push to raise money for wounded veterans through the Semper Fi Fund. The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation pledged $5-million as a matching gift this year after Mr. Parsons offered matching grants of $1-million in 2012 and $2.5-million in 2013, with support from GoDaddy Cares. The $10-million goal this year, including matching donations, represents nearly half the total annual revenue for Semper Fi, which helps wounded veterans and their families. “We call it our giving season to help support our programs throughout the year,” said Karen Guenther, president of the Semper Fi Fund. “This will allow us to bring on more staff and allow us to do more programming.” The matching-gift campaigns create excitement among donors and staff and boost the success of Semper Fi’s year-end campaigns. “They love that their dollars are doubled and they can have double impact,” Ms. Guenther said. “It’s been a fun and exciting call to action.”

7-Eleven will give one veteran a chance at a franchise (Western Journalism)
According to recent reports, convenience store chain 7-Eleven has launched a contest that will give one veteran the chance to own his or her own franchise. According to the retailer’s website, veterans are already given preferential treatment in the franchising process. Vets always receive up to $50,000 off of the franchise fee and unique financing opportunities, the company explains. For the winner of ‘Operation: Take Command,’ however, the chain will be giving away a franchise location. “7-Eleven knows our U.S. military veterans have what it takes to grow a successful business,” the site states. “That’s why we offer special military incentives – to make franchising with 7-Eleven easier than ever.” The winner will be announced next April, the month after finalists are announced, according to a contest website. Those still in the running will be asked to create a video explaining why they should win. The three finalists who receive the highest number of votes will then be interviewed by company officials to determine the ultimate winner.

U.S. Army captain develops sparkling tea beverage (Bevnet)
According to Forbes, military veterans are 45% more likely to start their own businesses than civilians; and are found to have a greater five-year success rate than the new ventures of non-veterans. Among these many talented individuals is U.S. Army Captain Wonny Kim, founder and CEO of ChaiElixir, offering “Refreshing Effervescence” in the form of all natural sparkling tea beverages. Kim’s military career began in 2007 and served on active duty for roughly six years. He has since joined the Army Reserves and has redeployed his skills to the business world.