Friday, May 06, 2011

Veterans issues

Alicia Banks (Shelby Star) reports, "Troy Yocum looked at the worn bottoms of his Merrell hiking boots. They were the seventh pair of he’s worn in the past year. He expected this after walking more than 30 million steps in a journey across the United States."


(Troy Yocum photo taken by John Crosby)

Hike for our Heroes is a non-profit started by Iraq War veteran Troy Yocum who is hiking across the country to raise awareness and money for veterans issues. He began the walk last April.

Banks notes, "The journey will end September in Louisville on mile 7,000."

Troy Yocum's hiking to raise awareness about the issues facing veterans. Channel 3000 reports on another veterans attempting to assist others, Bob Curry:

While Curry struggled for decades, the Gulf War and the terror attacks of 9/11 triggered even more memories from Vietnam that he had tried to forget. A year later, in October 2002, Curry drank himself into a blackout, got behind the wheel of his car and hit a motorcycle head-on.
Curry was charged with homicide by intoxicated used of a motor vehicle. He said that while in jail, he tried to commit suicide several times to end everything that he was struggling with. He survived but was left with great pain.
"I destroyed not only this other family who I didn't know -- but also my own, who would have to carry this guilt of what I had just done," Curry said.
But a year and a half later -- for the first time ever -- a jury recognized the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder. In an unprecedented move, Curry was found not guilty by reason of insanity because of PTSD. He then worked through more than six years of treatment.
And to help deal with the guilt, and to prevent others from following his same path, he started Dryhootch.

John Stofflet (NBC 15) adds:

Curry is co-founder of Dryhootch--a Milwaukee non-profit coffeehouse that serves much more than coffee. "The mission is, we say, to help the veteran and their family who survived the war to survive the peace. When you're in the military, your brother is the person next to you, or your sister, and so we want to create that bond here and help the veteran, who gets back and their family members, by being their battle buddy here."
Veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan facing addiction or mental health issues can talk to other vets in counseling sessions, or they can just talk informally over coffee.

On veterans issues, we'll again note this from Senator Patty Murray's office:

(Washington, D.C.) - Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee introduced legislation to increase veterans' compensation through a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA). The COLA increase would affect several important benefits, including veterans' disability compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children. It is projected that over 3.5 million veterans and survivors will receive compensation benefits in Fiscal Year 2012.
"It's been two years since our veterans saw an increase in their benefits through a COLA, and those have been two difficult years," said Chairman Murray. "In a still challenging economy so many of our veterans depend upon the benefits they receive in order to meet their most basic needs, as well as those of their spouses and children. We have an obligation to the men and women who have sacrificed so much to serve our country and who now deserve nothing less than the full support of a grateful nation. A COLA increase will help brings us one step closer to fulfilling our nation's promise to care for our brave veterans and their families."
The Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2011 directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to increase the rates of veterans' compensation to keep pace with a rise in the cost-of-living, should an adjustment be prompted by an increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The bill specifies that the increase would affect veterans' disability compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children, and certain related benefits.
The COLA increase for veterans will match the annual increase provided to Social Security recipients. The COLA is designed to offset inflation and other factors that lead to the rising cost of living over time. The COLA rate is based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index.
A bipartisan group of Senators signed on to co-sponsor the bill including the Committee's Ranking Member Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) as well as Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV), Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Senator Jim Webb (D-VA), Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), Senator Mark Begich (D-AK), Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE), Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Senator John Boozman (R-AR).

Matt McAlvanah

Communications Director

U.S. Senator Patty Murray

202-224-2834 - press office

202--224-0228 - direct

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