Military & Veterans News
Loebsack Joins USO on National Day of Service to Honor Military PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Joe Hand   
Friday, 14 September 2012 14:39

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack today joined the USO for a care package stuffing event to honor and thank members of our military on this National Day of Service.  Operation USO Care Package was initiated by the USO in 2001 as a response to 9/11 to provide our troops deployed overseas with much needed toiletries and entertainment items and international calling cards so they can stay in touch with loved ones here at home.

“I am honored to join the USO to give back to our troops who are protecting our freedom overseas, especially on this day as we participate in service activities to remember the victims of the 9/11 attack and honor the men and women who are serving our nation,”  said Loebsack.  “Our servicemembers devote themselves to our country each and every day with honor and distinction. Providing them with a care package is a simple but meaningful way we can thank them for their service and lift their spirits.”

A high resolution copy of the photo can be seen here.

 
Marine gunny walks in Fashion Week NYC show PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Carlos Cruz   
Friday, 14 September 2012 14:34

Gunnery Sgt. Stephanie Borges, a Rock Island, Ill., native, walks the runway during the "Strut: the fashionable mom" fashion show during Fashion Week NYC, Sept. 10. Borges is the aviation supply chief for Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 49 and is the mother of four. The show featured ladies who are both business leaders and mothers.

Marine gunny walks in Fashion Week NYC show

Photo by Randall Clinton

 
Braley Provision to Protect Veterans’ Education Benefits Passes House with Bipartisan Support PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Amanda Bowman   
Friday, 14 September 2012 14:33

Measure will block deceptive targeting of vets and increase transparency

Dubuque, IA – Today, the US House passed HR 4057, the Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act, which includes Rep. Braley’s provision to target deceptive marketing practices by some educational institutions by providing veterans with standard information about available higher education options.

“Veterans deserve honest and accessible information about their educational opportunities so they can make informed choices on how to pursue the education they have earned,” Braley said. “This is a positive consumer protection for America’s returning veterans.  I’m encouraged that this proposal attracted such strong bipartisan support.  It shows what’s possible when we put aside party labels and work together to do good for men and women who have sacrificed so much for us.”

Rep. Braley offered his provision as an amendment to HR 4057 in June when the legislation was considered and passed out of the House Veterans Affairs Committee of which Braley is a member.

HR 4057 is part of a package of bipartisan bills authored by Rep. Braley (IA-01), dubbed the “Blueprint for Veterans’ Opportunity”, that was approved by the US House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in June. Braley’s “Blueprint” will help improve economic opportunities and job protections for America’s military veterans. More information on Rep. Braley’s “Blueprint” can be found here: http://go.usa.gov/rf2z

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Lt. Governor Simon to honor Illinois’ Fallen Heroes PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Justin Stofferahn   
Thursday, 13 September 2012 08:04

Will open ‘Portrait of a Soldier’ exhibit on anniversary of September 11

CENTRALIA – September 11, 2012. On the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon will pay tribute to Illinois military service members that have been killed since the start of the Global War on Terror.

Simon will speak at the opening ceremonies for the “Portrait of a Soldier” exhibit at 6 p.m. tonight at Kaskaskia College. The traveling memorial will be on display at the college until September 24 and features hand-sketched portraits of nearly 300 fallen service members from Illinois.

“On this anniversary we remember those we lost as a result of the attacks on September 11, and the brave military heroes who have defended our country since,” Simon said. “The 'Portrait of a Soldier' exhibit honors and commemorates the young men and women that gave the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedom.”

Among the fallen service members from the Kaskaskia College-area included in the exhibit is Marine Lance Cpl. Torrey Stoffel-Gray of Patoka. Stoffel-Gray was 19 years old and on his second tour of duty when he was killed by hostile fire in Iraq on April 11, 2004. Stoffel-Gray was 17 years old when he joined the Marines and was credited with saving the life of friend Aaron Gordon of San Diego, Calif., during the invasion of Iraq.

Also included in the exhibit is Army Spc. Casey Hills of Salem. Hills died in Iraq on June 24, 2009 at the age of 23 when the vehicle he was in rolled over after coming under attack. Hills was part of a mission providing security for convoys driving into Iraq and volunteered for the mission so a fellow soldier could attend a naturalization ceremony to become an American citizen.

Several other service members from the Kaskaskia College District are featured in the “Portrait of a Soldier” exhibit and include Marine Staff Sgt. Jordan Emrick of Hoyleton; Marine Lance Cpl. Nicholas B. Kleiboeker of Odin; Army Sgt. Matthew Straughter of St. Charles, Missouri whose parents were Kaskaskia students; Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan Kyle Price of Woodlawn; and Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Melton of Germantown.

“We at Kaskaskia College are honored to be paying tribute to the 288 fallen heroes from Illinois in the Global War on Terror since September 11, 2001. We shall never forget these men and women who served this nation so proudly in preserving the freedoms we all enjoy as Americans,” said Kaskaskia College President Dr. Jim Underwood. “We are very proud to have on display the ‘Portrait of a Soldier’ exhibit in honor and memory of the fallen heroes from Illinois.  It is a pleasure to have Lt. Governor Sheila Simon present to speak and represent the state of Illinois at this very special occasion.  We also welcome family members of these fallen heroes and the public to this proud event.”

These service members will also be recognized by the “Veteran’s Tribute” that Kaskaskia College is constructing on campus to recognize past, present and future veterans from the college’s district. The memorial is completely funded by private donations and will feature a six-foot-tall eagle sculpture, two walls with the names and branches of area veterans, and the seals of all five branches of service.

Seen by thousands of people at more than 100 venues across the state since 2005, “Portrait of a Soldier” is a tribute to the nearly 300 men and women from Illinois killed in the line of duty since 2001. Artist Cameron Schilling drew the first portrait in 2004, when he sketched Army Spc. Charles Neeley, a 19-year old Mattoon resident who died in Tikrit, Iraq, and presented the sketch to Neeley’s parents. Months later, while a student at Eastern Illinois University, Schilling committed to draw a portrait of every Illinois service member.

Governor Quinn today directed state buildings to fly their flags at half-staff today and also called on Illinois residents to take time to thank a veteran, help a military family or salute a Gold Star family. For more information on the “Portrait of a Soldier” exhibit and ways to help veterans and military families, visit www.operationhomefront.org.

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U.S. Veteran Charities: Beyond Lip Service PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 10 September 2012 14:05
SEAL Team 6 Author Discusses Value of Legit Nonprofits

With the war in Afghanistan set to end in 2014, and the Iraq war having ended two years ago, charities that help veterans and their families may be busier than ever – but without the public awareness generated by an ongoing conflict.

Support for the war effort in Afghanistan is on par with the unpopular Vietnam War during the early 1970s, according to a recent Associated Press-GfK poll; only 27 percent of Americans support the effort in Afghanistan. A fundamental difference between then and now, however, is Americans’ nearly unanimous support of U.S. troops, says J. L. Narmi, author of SEAL Team 6, bin Laden and Beyond (www.narminovels.com).

“The vitriol expressed toward our Vietnam veterans by many was disgusting, but I think we learned from that injustice, and most Americans think the troops deserve much more support than they’re getting,” says Narmi, who comes from a military family. All proceeds from his book sales will go to support veterans’ charities.

“The problem is that funding, whether it’s through government or private charities, doesn’t match the expressed support,” he says. “And I worry that will only get worse as these soldiers move out of the public eye and try to take up peace-time lives.”

Narmi cites some good resources for Americans looking for quality charities that support the troops:

• The Wounded Warrior Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org): With advances in protective gear and life-saving medical technology, fewer troops are coming home in coffins than in previous wars, but more are coming back with lifelong injury. This charity seeks to foster a generation of well-adjusted wounded service members, and to raise public awareness about their needs and how fellow military men and women can help each other.

• The Navy SEAL Foundation (www.navysealfoundation.org): As detailed in Narmi’s novel, SEALs are among the most physically and mentally talented individuals in the world. But they, along with their families, endure enormous stressors, many of which are never discussed due to the nature of their duties. This charity supports these elite warriors and their families.

• Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org): Whether or not you think you know about the legitimacy of a charitable organization, it doesn’t hurt to take a few minutes to verify an organization’s status. This site is widely recognized by investigative reporters to be a reliable resource in reporting a nonprofit’s activity. The above two groups, in which Narmi has donated money, have been verified via Charity Navigator.

• Still not sure? … Skepticism is understandable. It seems the more we hear or read about charities, the more we learn that we shouldn’t simply take their word for how donations will be spent. Media coverage spotlights those outlier groups that are clearly fraudulent; however, most charitable organizations are absolutely streamlined, with workers donating their time or receiving a minimal wage. It has never been easier to verify a charity’s reputation. Additionally, for those with the time and willingness, individuals may create their own nonprofit. Narmi is working to set up his own, called Hire the Vets!

“If everyone who said they support the troops gave just a modest amount to help a veteran that has risked his or her life for our freedom, we would come across far fewer tragedies on the news about vet-related joblessness, homelessness and suicide,” he says.

About J. L. Narmi

J. L. Narmi comes from family with deep roots in the military; his brother, retired Rear Admiral Ronald E. Narmi, worked closely with SEAL teams throughout his career. Narmi’s fascination with the Navy SEALs resulted in “”SEAL Team 6, bin Laden and Beyond,” which was completed just eight days before the real-life mission that resulted in bin Laden’s death. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa and earned his MBA from Creighton University. Narmi is a graduate of the Securities Industry Institute of the Wharton School – University of Pennsylvania.

 
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