Chatter | Talk about veterans from around the web


Martha Ann Kaczmarczyk, 62, of Knoxville, Tennessee, pleaded guilty in September  in U.S. District Court to a scheme in which she tried to get disability payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs for her husband Charles’ alleged PTSD. Charles also pleaded guilty. Both are expected to be charged over the coming holiday season.

Rising awareness

Two U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs public awareness campaigns designed to help Veterans who seek mental health care assistance have received 43industry and association awards for communication and design excellence.

According to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki, the videos, which have had more than 500 TV impressions, resonate because the veterans watching can relate to the true stories that they see and hear in them. More than 400,000 veterans or their family members have called the lines leading to the rescue of 23,000 actively suicidal veterans.

The Veterans Crisis Line and Make the Connection campaigns seek to reach Veterans, their families and their friends dealing with crises or other mental health challenges.

Better bids

A bid to make the Deparment of Veterans Affairs more “small-business” friendly may have slowed equipment orders and prosthetic repairs for wounded veterans as they work to include small businesses in their $17 billion contracting stream

“It appears the VA’s acquisition goals are negatively impacting veterans care and service,” said Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio. “I think our veterans deserve better.”

New home

As Washington state lawmakers continue to debate building a fourth veterans home in Walla-Walla, the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs broke ground last month in Lebanon, Ore. for a $30 million 154 bed “small house” model.

The new veterans home will have a community center, rehabilitation facilities, a library and a chapel. Built on land donated by Linn County, the home will serve veterans in the Willamette Valley and is expected to open in late 2014.

Shameful politics

Senator Patty Murray late last month called the Republican blockage of a bill that sought to give priority to Post 9/11 veterans in the job market “shocking and shameful.”

Modeled after the Civillian Conservation Corps, the bill was largely considered bi-partisan with eight of the 12 provisions coming from Republicans originally.

Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma said the federal government already had six job-training programs for veterans and there was no way to monitor how well they were working. He said that the way forward was not to increase debt.

Unemployment for Post 9/11 veterans reached 10.9% in August, nearly 3 percent higher than national unemployment rate for the same month.