Listen to a veteran — it shows respect

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Despite 10 years of continual conflict, the American people apparently are divorced from reality when it comes to those in uniform.

The diminishing number of bumper stickers supporting troops does not tell the full story. These and the familiar refrain, “Thank you for your service,” reflect nice gestures, but mask a larger disconnect between defenders and the defended.

A survey released by the Pew Research Center in October 2011 shows this beyond a doubt.

An astounding 75 percent of Americans believe it's not unfair for the all-volunteer Armed Forces to assume virtually the complete burden of combating Islamic terrorism.

After all, said those polled, it's “just part of being in the military.” In other words, the public is perfectly content to let a fraction of a percent of the population shoulder full responsibility for its safety.

Members of the military have been all too aware of such sentiments for a long time.

Despite the conventional wisdom about what younger veterans supposedly want, there is every indication that they, too, want to share their stories. Invite them to a Veterans of Foreign Wars Post or American Legion event and listen.

It shows respect.

Provide whatever help you can in our community to those in need. Make sure the disconnect between the public and the veteran does not include the VFW or American Legion.

My next article will include facts about American veterans, research programs and information about the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program.

New programs available to veterans

New programs have recently been implemented for:

• Veterans who may qualify for additional education benefits.

• Unemployed veterans with a serviced-connected disability who may qualify for additional vocational rehabilitation and employment benefits.

• Businesses that hire veterans and may earn tax credits.

• Special employers that qualify for incentives.

I have information on these programs in my office. Come in and I can give you all the information on any of these programs.

Veterans receive additional time to qualify for benefits

Veterans of the Persian Gulf War with undiagnosed illnesses have an additional five years to qualify for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Not all the wounds of war are fully understood," Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said. “When there is uncertainty about the connection between a medical problem and military service, veterans are entitled to the benefit of the doubt.”

Craig Community Telehealth Clinic reminder

The Craig Community Telehealth Clinic offers U.S. veterans state-of-the-art technology as well as onsite nursing support and remote practitioner availability. The goal is to provide an extensive array of health care services to veterans in a setting that is both accessible and professional.

To appropriately plan and coordinate your visit, access to the clinic is by appointment only. The clinic cannot handle emergency needs. Flu shot walk-ins are still ongoing for veterans currently enrolled in the VAMC health care system. For more information, call 824-6721.

Tele-psych services now available

Veterans can now get tele-pysch services at the Craig Community Telehealth Clinic. All veterans need to do is call 970-263-2824 to set up a follow-up appointment for their mental health visit to be done there.

If there are any questions, contact Jayne Scribner at VAMC Grand Junction via phone or email. Her email address is jayne.scribner@va.gov.

For information on these programs and/or other veterans’ benefits, call or stop in the Moffat County Veterans Service Office at 480 Barclay St., west of the Bank of Colorado parking lot.
Call 824-3246 or fax 824-7108. The e-mail address is veterans@moffatcounty.net. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Other times can be arranged by appointment only.
Bring a copy of your separation papers (DD-214) for application for VA programs and for filing at our office.

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