veterans

The suicide rate for Michigan veterans is more than twice as high as the state's overall rate, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs last month.

A report says troubles at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans’ Home are largely resolved.

A 2016, audit of the home revealed that the home was chronically understaffed, and instances of patient abuse and neglect. There were also issues with dispensing drugs and un-answered calls for assistance.

The state Auditor General’s Office released a follow-up report Thursday. It says care at the home has improved. For example, it found caregivers keep better track of where patients are, and the home is looking into patient complaints more thoroughly.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is the country's largest integrated health system. Nearly nine million of America’s veterans get medical care from the VA.

Ninety-six years ago today, the precursor to what we now know as the VA began with a stroke of President Warren G. Harding’s pen.

Kevin Trimble’s life changed forever on September 18, 2011. A private in the army, his unit was sweeping a village in Afghanistan for IEDs when, as he puts it, they found one the hard way. Specialist Ryan James Cook, the soldier who stepped on the IED, died immediately. Kevin was standing eleven feet away and lost both legs and his left arm.

Minutes later, on the other side of the ocean, his sister, Deborah Trimble, answered her phone. A military police officer with the Air Force, she was her brother’s emergency contact, and she tried to understand what the sergeant at the other end of the line was telling her. Her brother was still on his way to the hospital, and the extent of his injuries was not yet clear.

Who can understand the problems, fears and worries of veterans and military service members better than someone who has served?

That's the idea behind Buddy-to-Buddy. It's the only program of its kind in Michigan, focused on peer support. Veterans who can help other vets and service members. 

Veterans Administration

A new project aimed at improving veterans’ health care has the support of Grand Traverse County. County commissioners passed a resolution tonight supporting Project Cherry Tree, a group that wants to connect local veterans with local health care services.

Right now, many veterans have to drive to Saginaw or Ann Arbor for medical care.

Leaders of the new project want to connect veterans with health care services closer to home. The group also wants to provide educational and job opportunities.

While personnel are still in the military, the doctors they see understand their experiences in combat, or in other situations, might mean they have certain healthcare issues.

Once veterans are out of the military, though, their private physicians might not even think to ask if they’ve served. That’s an oversight one doctor is working to correct.

Dave Dunckel says he played the role of the tough Army guy during his 15-month deployment to Iraq.
Dave Dunckel

Command Sgt. Maj. Dave Dunckel had many different jobs during his 25-year career in the Army. But in the spring of 2006 the Army asked him to do something that changed his life. 

They asked him to notify a family in Eagle, Michigan, that their 19-year-old son had been killed in Iraq. 

“It was horrible,” he says.

As he drove home that night, the 48-year-old Dunckel decided he couldn’t go back to a desk job in the Army. He resigned his position, and volunteered for an individual deployment. 

 


Peter Payette

Mark Baker announced in December he was selling his farm. But now he says he has a new plan: he wants to help other military veterans take up farming.

 

It's impossible to know just how many homeless veterans are on America's streets.

The federal government estimates that there are nearly 50,000 vets who are homeless on any given night.

The National Coalition on Homeless Veterans tells us they've served in every conflict from World War II right up to Iraq and Afghanistan, although nearly half of homeless veterans served in Vietnam.

The reasons they are homeless are many: lack of affordable housing, inability to make a livable income, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse.

The Medal of Honor is the United States highest military honor.

It’s awarded to soldiers for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty.”


Seventy years ago this week, the Empire of Japan surrendered. That announcement on August 15, 1945 ended the fighting in World War II.

Edward Morisette came from New Baltimore. He joined the Navy in July 1944 when he was just 17 years old. He saw combat when the U.S. retook the Philippine Islands. Kamikaze pilots attacked his landing ship during the Battle of Okinawa, the bloodiest battle of the war in the Pacific.

After the war, Morisette returned home to Michigan and went on to serve as a police officer in Mt Clemens.

There are two Iraq war veterans now serving in the state Legislature.

Sen. David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, and Rep. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville, both took their seats in November 2014, and they’re working hard toward a goal of improving veterans’ affairs here in Michigan.

Vet to media: We're not all broken

Jul 9, 2015

The Next Idea

I am a veteran of two wars – one in Iraq, the other in Afghanistan.  Joining the military has been the best decision of my life.  But if you spend any time watching the news or scrolling through social media, you might wonder why I would say that. 

The Motor City Blight Busters are developing Veteran's Village Center, which provides housing for veterans and the opportunity to work with their organization.

The Center is currently under renovation. It’s located in Northwest Detroit near other properties owned by Blight Busters. 

As civilians it can be hard to know what to say or what to ask when you encounter veterans who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Often people will thank veterans for their service, but Erin Smith, a psychologist with the Veterans Administration Ann Arbor Healthcare system, says this can be a complicated statement for veterans to process.

The Department of Defense reports 20,000 service members experienced at least one sexual assault in 2014. That's virtually unchanged since 2010, despite the Department of Defense's insistence that it has tackled the problem and that "most active-duty members received effective training on sexual assault."

When veterans come home they are thanked for their service, but what is provided for them to make the transition from the military to civilian life?

From 1995 to 2006 Sherman Powell served in the Army, first as an infantry officer, then as a tank officer.  He was among the first veterans to return home from the Iraq War.

The Next Idea             

I can’t recall a time when I was thanked for my military service and didn’t wonder just what exactly that person meant. Were they thankful that I took the defense of the nation in hand? Did they think that I stood watch on some specified border between insurgents and our coalition forces? Perhaps it was simply good American manners that they show appreciation for those who serve.

A new poll from Michigan Radio and Public Sector Consultants asks voters in Michigan about their perception of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The survey of 600 Michigan voters found that a strong majority support the military as an employment option, despite the fact that most do not have family currently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Soldiers who left school in the 1960s and early 1970s to fight in Vietnam now qualify for a high school diploma in Michigan.

As graduation ceremonies approach, leaders at Traverse City Area Public Schools are encouraging them to take advantage.

“There’s no course required for the veteran to come back to take. There’s no test that they need to pass,” says TCAPS Human Resources Executive Director Chris Davis. “It is a benefit that they deserve and that we are honored to be able to give to our veterans.”

There's new legislation at the state Capitol that would help protect veterans with service dogs from discrimination.

State Senator David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, served in Iraq and he is sponsoring the bills.

It was one of the most jubilant days in history.

VE Day: the end of the Second World War in Europe. 

David Kiley of Ann Arbor has a unique link to that historic day 70 years ago.

Veterans in northern Michigan rarely face long wait times for health care. That’s according to a new report that compares wait times at veterans’ health facilities across the country.

Nationally, nearly three percent of veterans have to wait longer than 30 days for a medical appointment. But at clinics in Gaylord and Traverse City, that percentage is almost down to zero.

There's a lot of talk about supporting our military veterans as they come home and transition back to civilian life. The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency is standing by to help vets in a variety of ways, from employment to benefits and resources to transition assistance.

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