WBEZ | Veterans http://www.wbez.org/tags/veterans Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Senators Want Moratorium on Dismissing Soldiers During Investigation http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-02-01/senators-want-moratorium-dismissing-soldiers-during <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/morrison-edit_custom-1c52a64c3259d5d3348a9acdceda04d47704ab63-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Four U.S. senators are calling on the Army to stop kicking out soldiers who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and have been diagnosed with mental health problems or traumatic brain injuries &ndash; effective immediately.</p><p>The senators say they&#39;re motivated by an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/10/28/451146230/missed-treatment-soldiers-with-mental-health-issues-dismissed-for-misconduct">investigation</a>&nbsp;by NPR and Colorado Public Radio that revealed the Army has continued to discharge troubled troops for misconduct, even though the Army&#39;s then- Acting Secretary Eric Fanning&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/12/04/458458063/army-says-it-will-review-cases-of-dismissed-soldiers-with-mental-health-problems">promised late last year</a>&nbsp;to investigate whether the practice is unfair.</p><p>We found that since 2009, the Army has kicked out more than 22,000 mentally-wounded combat troops on the grounds of misconduct, and taken away their benefits, instead of helping them. As a result of that report, 12 Democrat senators&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/04/454675053/lawmakers-call-for-army-to-investigate-misconduct-discharges-of-service-members">sent a letter</a>to Fanning and the general who run the Army, demanding an investigation.</p><p>Developments since then raise questions about the Army&#39;s investigation. For instance, Fanning appointed Debra Wada, the Army&#39;s assistant secretary in charge of Manpower and Reserve Affairs to lead the review.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s puzzling and troubling,&quot; says David Sonenshine, a former military prosecutor who now works with the National Veterans Legal Services Program.Two weeks after she was named, Wada signed a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/documents/2016/feb/Morrison-Final-Order.pdf">document ordering commanders to dismiss Larry Morrison</a>, a highly-decorated combat soldier who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He was one of the soldiers profiled in the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cpr.org/news/story/investigation-army-kicked-out-thousands-soldiers-brain-injuries-mental-health-issues">original report</a>&nbsp;by NPR an CPR.</p><p>He says because &quot;the person who&#39;s in charge of the investigation is also the same person who ultimately reviews some of these administrative separations, [it] creates the picture that there&#39;s just something unfair or unobjective about the process.&quot;</p><p>Morrison&#39;s Army records suggest he&#39;s the kind of soldier that senators say the Army should help, not punish. He&#39;s a 20-year veteran. He fought four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. And the Army awarded him a Bronze Star.</p><p>After Morrison came home to Fort Carson, in Colorado, he was diagnosed with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder. He pleaded guilty to drunken and reckless driving. Commanders at Fort Carson also alleged he belonged to a &quot;criminal&quot; motorcycle gang &mdash; which Morrison denies. They asked top Army officials for clearance to kick him out for misconduct.</p><p>Now that Wada has signed the order, Morrison won&#39;t be able to receive a combat soldier&#39;s usual benefits, including free health care.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;ve given them all of my youthful years, I&#39;m 42 years old,&quot; Morrison says. &quot;And now they want to put me out with no benefits. They want to give me an &#39;other than honorable&#39; discharge, so I can&#39;t get a job, I can&#39;t go to school, and [they&#39;re going to] take my 20-year retirement away. So they want to put me on the streets with nothing.&quot;</p><p>Four senators tell NPR and CPR they want the Army to stop dismissing soldiers diagnosed with mental health problems until the Army finishes its investigation.</p><p>&quot;The Army needs to halt the discharge process,&quot; says Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. &quot;What it does, it stops any kind of wrongdoing from going forward.&quot;</p><p>&quot;It seems to me to be common sense that the Army would impose a moratorium on taking disciplinary actions against soldiers while they undergo this review,&quot; says Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.</p><p>&quot;If something is concerning enough to investigate, common sense says that you wait until the results of that investigation, before you take further action,&quot; says Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. &quot;And I think that&#39;s just garden variety fairness.&quot;</p><p>Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., also tells NPR and CPR that she wants the Army to impose a temporary moratorium on discharging combat troops for misconduct if they&#39;ve been diagnosed with mental health problems or brain injuries.</p><p>Army officials declined to say whether they&#39;ll comply with the senators&#39; requests for a moratorium. They also declined our requests for an interview.</p><p>&quot;The review is ongoing, so it would be premature for us to comment on any aspect of it at this time,&quot; Jennifer Johnson, an Army spokesperson, tells NPR in a written statement.</p><p>Meanwhile, Morrison just got his final orders. The Army will kick him out Thursday, Feb. 4.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/02/01/464907342/senators-want-moratorium-on-dismissing-soldiers-during-investigation?ft=nprml&amp;f=464907342"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 01 Feb 2016 16:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-02-01/senators-want-moratorium-dismissing-soldiers-during Chicago Teens and Combat Veterans Join Forces to Process Trauma http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-25/chicago-teens-and-combat-veterans-join-forces-process <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/urbanwarriors09edit_custom-9459b1b92239d1fd205db74ec32154c764aa2bf7-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>If you took a map of Chicago and put down a tack for each person shot last year, you&#39;d need nearly 3,000 tacks.</p><p>Of those, 101 would be clustered in the neighborhood of East Garfield Park. That&#39;s where 15-year-old Jim Courtney-Clarks lives.</p><p>&quot;To be honest, I really don&#39;t like it,&quot; Courtney-Clarks says. &quot;Every time you look up somebody else is getting killed, and I never know if it&#39;s me or somebody I am really close to.&quot;</p><p>For kids in some Chicago neighborhoods, walking up and down the same street where there was a beating or a shooting or a body is just part of life &mdash; one that isn&#39;t always talked about.</p><p>That&#39;s something the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ymcachicago.org/programs/youth-safety-and-violence-prevention-programs#urbanwarriors">Urban Warriors program</a>&nbsp;is trying to change. The YMCA of Metro Chicago project connects kids like Courtney-Clarks, who live in high-violence neighborhoods, with veterans who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan and who might understand what they&#39;re going through.</p><p>The program is built on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/types/violence/effects-community-violence-children.asp">the idea that these kids are experiencing trauma and need to process it</a>, and that witnessing or experiencing violence can affect how they behave at home, react at school, or lead them to commit violence themselves.</p><div id="res464038552" previewtitle="The Urban Warriors program takes place at YMCAs in the Chicago's Humboldt Park and Little Village neighborhoods."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The Urban Warriors program takes place at YMCAs in the Chicago's Humboldt Park and Little Village neighborhoods." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/22/urbanwarriors10_custom-9deeb04db577c9d1425fccc75cfffe2537dc05ac-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 404px; width: 620px;" title="The Urban Warriors program takes place at YMCAs in the Chicago's Humboldt Park and Little Village neighborhoods. (Alyssa Schukar for NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>The man behind the program is Eddie Bocanegra. Today he&#39;s the co-executive director of youth safety and violence prevention programs at the YMCA. But 20 years ago, he was a 19-year-old gang member serving prison time on felony murder charges.</p></div></div></div><p>Bocanegra traces the idea for Urban Warriors back to a conversation he had while he was in prison. It was during a visit from his brother, Gabriel Bocanegra, a decorated Army veteran who had done two tours of duty in Iraq.</p><p>Fresh from therapy, Gabriel told his brother stories about struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder &mdash; and how he thought Eddie was also dealing with the effects of trauma.</p><p>Eddie was skeptical, but his brother pressed him, recalling the violence of their childhood &mdash; black eyes, stab wounds, run-ins with the police. The trauma was ongoing, his brother said.</p><p>&quot;&#39;Every time that I come and visit you, what you talk to me about is prison assaults, you talk about people who commit suicide. ... You talk about it as if it was just normal,&#39;&quot; Eddie remembers his brother telling him. &quot;And he was explaining to me, &#39;Like, Eddie, actually this does something to you. And the reason why you&#39;re pretty upset most of the time, or you&#39;re not sleeping well, is because of what you&#39;ve been through.&#39;&quot;</p><p>Eddie says he was in denial. &quot;I have never been to war,&quot; he thought. &quot;This is normal, this is nothing, compared to what I know (my brother has) gone through.&quot;</p><div id="res464300250" previewtitle="After serving 14 years for a gang-related murder, Eddie Bocanegra graduated from the University of Chicago and created the Urban Warriors program. He is co-executive director of youth safety and violence prevention at the YMCA in Chicago."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="After serving 14 years for a gang-related murder, Eddie Bocanegra graduated from the University of Chicago and created the Urban Warriors program. He is co-executive director of youth safety and violence prevention at the YMCA in Chicago." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/25/urbanwarriors01_custom-ed98562d0ee128191414d6a3cea03c86a23138fa-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 419px; width: 620px;" title="After serving 14 years for a gang-related murder, Eddie Bocanegra graduated from the University of Chicago and created the Urban Warriors program. He is co-executive director of youth safety and violence prevention at the YMCA in Chicago. (Alyssa Schukar for NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>His brother urged Eddie to see a therapist when he got out of prison. When he was released, he did eventually. He also returned to the Chicago neighborhoods where he was once a gang member and worked for an anti-violence program.</p></div></div></div><p>Many of the gang members Bocanegra met had witnessed violence or been victims as kids. He wanted to get to them sooner, using people they respect as mentors. He gave the kids a list of potential role models from the neighborhood; they liked the idea of veterans.</p><p>&quot;Kids identify themselves as soldiers, because they live in war zone communities,&quot; Bocanegra says. &quot;They make the parallels between, veterans, you know, carry guns, we carry guns. They got ranks, we got ranks. They got their army uniforms, we got our gang colors. And the list went on and on.&quot;</p><p>For the last two years, he&#39;s put this idea into practice with the Urban Warriors program.</p><p>On a Saturday morning late last year at Chicago&#39;s Kelly Hall YMCA, a group of seven veterans &mdash; a mix of black, white and Latino men, some of whom grew up in the same neighborhoods as the teens &mdash; sit in a circle. The dozen or so boys shuffle in one by one. Some are cheerful, some sullen with sweatshirt hoods and baseball caps pulled low. They grab granola bars and take a seat.</p><p>Mikhail Dasovich is a 25-year-old Marine Corps veteran helping to lead the session. He joined Urban Warriors after seeing a flyer about the program at his therapist&#39;s office where he was getting help for PTSD.</p><p>The tough stories started from the very first meeting, Dasovich recalls.</p><div id="res464300912" previewtitle="(Top, left) In an exercise designed to open up the conversation between veterans and teenagers, Navy veteran Jamal McPherson waits for others to ask him questions. (Top, right) Veteran Mikhail Dasovich, who served as a Marine in Sangin in Afghanistan, shares his tattoos with participants. (Bottom) Bocanegra speaks at the start of the day's program."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="(Top, left) In an exercise designed to open up the conversation between veterans and teenagers, Navy veteran Jamal McPherson waits for others to ask him questions. (Top, right) Veteran Mikhail Dasovich, who served as a Marine in Sangin in Afghanistan, shares his tattoos with participants. (Bottom) Bocanegra speaks at the start of the day's program." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/25/urbanwarriors17edit_custom-16a9142bf50ae834ab166096a4614ade47047c46-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 615px; width: 620px;" title="Top, left: In an exercise designed to open up the conversation between veterans and teenagers, Navy veteran Jamal McPherson waits for others to ask him questions. Top, right: Veteran Mikhail Dasovich, who served as a Marine in Sangin in Afghanistan, shares his tattoos with participants. Bottom: Bocanegra speaks at the start of the day's program. (Alyssa Schukar for NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>&quot;I was very, very nervous, and all of the youth were looking at me. And everyone&#39;s clowning, everyone&#39;s joking,&quot; he says. &quot;And one of the youth ... he says to me like, &#39;Hey, you ever seen someone get shot in front of you?&#39; And the whole room went silent, and I was like &#39;Oh man, like, this quick, huh?&#39;&quot;</p></div></div></div><p>Dasovich told the group about watching his platoon sergeant get shot, right in front of him, during the war.</p><p>&quot;I went into detail, what seeing my father figure getting tore up by rifle bullets, what that did to me emotionally,&quot; Dasovich says.</p><p>Immediately, the teen who asked the question then offered up his story.</p><p>&quot;Right from my answer [he] goes in to describe how he had to watch his two cousins get gunned down right in front of him.&quot; Dasovich says. &quot;And that was something I had never felt before, to have such a young man so effortlessly describe the execution of his family members.&quot;</p><p>&quot;These kids, before they&#39;re 16, have, in essence, really been to combat,&quot; he says.</p><div id="res464317723" previewtitle="(Left to right) Jim Courtney-Clarks, 15; Noel Melecio, 15; and Marine veteran Mikhail Dasovich, 25."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="(Left to right) Jim Courtney-Clarks, 15; Noel Melecio, 15; and Marine veteran Mikhail Dasovich, 25." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/25/urbanwarriors-composite_custom-cfbd2854205a4609c17a4294c21b326676008b9a-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 307px; width: 620px;" title="Left to right, Jim Courtney-Clarks, 15; Noel Melecio, 15; and Marine veteran Mikhail Dasovich, 25. (Alyssa Schukar for NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>Dasovich says he sees the effects of neighborhood violence on some of the teenagers, and recognizes some of the same habits he picked up serving in combat.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;I see the same levels of self-awareness with these kids when we&#39;re outside, just seeing how they&#39;re looking around,&quot; he says. &quot;It piques up right in me, remembering just having to check my sectors, always feeling like I had to check my back when I came home from the war.&quot;</p><p>Being alert is just a way of life for most of these boys. Fifteen-year-old Noel Melecio brings up a few recent attacks in his neighborhood, Logan Square. He says he thinks the same thing almost happened to him.</p><p>&quot;Me and my friend were walking, and I look back and I see there&#39;s one group of kids behind me, which is like two or three kids and then across the street I see another group of kids,&quot; he says. &quot;I think they&#39;re trying to wrap around so they can get in front of us, so I tell my friend, &#39;Start running.&#39; And we start running and they start chasing us.&quot;</p><p>Melecio got away, and later shared the story with the vets and kids in the group.</p><p>For Urban Warriors that&#39;s the idea: The teens talk about what they&#39;re going through, the veterans help them figure out how to process it.</p><p>But getting them to open up takes time. Over the program&#39;s 16 weeks, the veterans build trust through team building, talking and sometimes just playing.</p><p>At the recent Saturday session, that included a rowdy race through a makeshift obstacle course of folding chairs and lunch tables. The catch: a blindfolded member on each team and a military-like mandate that no one is left behind.</p><div id="res464301124" previewtitle="(From left) Marine veterans Richard Rivera and Dasovich help a youth participate in a trust-building exercise."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="(From left) Marine veterans Richard Rivera and Dasovich help a youth participate in a trust-building exercise." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/25/urbanwarriors16_custom-47a2ab1062415bbaca2998835e8302f16d863c9f-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 405px; width: 620px;" title="From left, Marine veterans Richard Rivera and Dasovich help a youth participate in a trust-building exercise. (Alyssa Schukar for NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>Eventually they break into small groups &mdash; three or four kids for each veteran. And that&#39;s where they get at the most difficult subjects: suicide, loss, grief. They might have endured the deaths of family or friends, witnessed assaults or other violence.</p></div></div></div><p>Melecio says it wasn&#39;t easy for him to share at first.</p><p>&quot;It was like, all we do is just come here and sit here and just talk about feelings,&quot; he says. &quot;I can do that anywhere else.&quot;</p><p>The program is voluntary and some kids do drop out. Melecio says the veterans are what got him to stay.</p><p>&quot;Anywhere else anybody would just tell you, &#39;Oh, you&#39;ll be OK,&#39; or they&#39;ll pat you on the back or something. But them, they like get into your feelings and help you sort them out,&quot; he says.</p><p>But just sticking it out isn&#39;t a measure of success. In fact, people around the country are weighing this idea &mdash; that neighborhood violence can cause trauma that should be treated.</p><div id="res464301485" previewtitle="Noel Melecio, 15, talks with YMCA outreach worker John Vergara during a recent Urban Warriors session."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Noel Melecio, 15, talks with YMCA outreach worker John Vergara during a recent Urban Warriors session." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/25/urbanwarriors09edit_custom-9459b1b92239d1fd205db74ec32154c764aa2bf7-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="Noel Melecio, 15, talks with YMCA outreach worker John Vergara during a recent Urban Warriors session. (Alyssa Schukar for NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>In California, a handful of families&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/10/01/445001579/ruling-in-compton-schools-case-trauma-could-cause-disability">sued the Compton school district</a>&nbsp;arguing that trauma is a disability that schools should accommodate. Baltimore is putting workers, city-wide,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/health/bs-hs-trauma-training-20150827-story.html.">through train</a><a href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/health/bs-hs-trauma-training-20150827-story.html.">ing to detect and understand trauma</a>&nbsp;in the communities they serve.</p></div></div></div><p>The Urban Warriors program raises many questions: How do you know if a kid is coping better? What about the vets? Does mentoring help them deal with PTSD? Researchers from the University of Chicago have begun studying the kids who have completed the program &mdash; currently about 80 &mdash; in order to start answering those questions.</p><p>In the meantime, Jim Courtney-Clarks, the teenager wondering whether he&#39;d be the next shooting victim in his neighborhood, is unequivocal. He says Urban Warriors has changed the way he thinks about his future.</p><p>&quot;The past week, I was just thinking about dropping out of school,&quot; he says. &quot;Until today. And I see that it&#39;s a lot of stuff that I can accomplish if I stay in school, by looking at the veterans. Like I&#39;m not sure if I want to go to college, but I might want to join the police academy or just go to the Navy or something.&quot;</p><p>For Courtney-Clarks and the veterans of Urban Warriors, that&#39;s a start.</p></p> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 16:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-25/chicago-teens-and-combat-veterans-join-forces-process Homeless Veterans Face Challenges Beyond the Rental Check http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-edition/2015-12-23/homeless-veterans-face-challenges-beyond-rental-check-114277 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/istock_000073856607_large_wide-202b2b7b955e64900d2a3f581ce6ac8fc0d44742-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res459365481" previewtitle="Homeless veterans face an uphill climb — and not simply because of the tight housing markets in cities. Even if they've found open properties, and have the rental checks to pay for them, some landlords are still reluctant to accept them."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Homeless veterans face an uphill climb — and not simply because of the tight housing markets in cities. Even if they've found open properties, and have the rental checks to pay for them, some landlords are still reluctant to accept them." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/11/istock_000073856607_large_wide-202b2b7b955e64900d2a3f581ce6ac8fc0d44742-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="Homeless veterans face an uphill climb — and not simply because of the tight housing markets in cities. Even if they've found open properties, and have the rental checks to pay for them, some landlords are still reluctant to accept them. (Heiko Kueverling /iStockphoto)" /></div><div><div><p>The Obama administration says it wants to end veterans homelessness by the end of this year &mdash; but it&#39;s not going to happen. That&#39;s partly because, despite government support, many landlords remain reluctant to rent to homeless individuals.</p></div></div></div><p>At the end of October, almost 6,200 homeless military veterans had government vouchers to cover their rent, but they had yet to find landlords willing to accept them. Among those vets is Joseph Coles of Washington, D.C., where you&#39;re lucky to get a one-bedroom apartment for less than $1,400 a month.</p><p>&quot;At one time you could get an apartment anywhere for nothing,&quot; Coles says. &quot;Now, with so many people moving in there, we&#39;re at the mercy of the landlords and apartment complexes. They can choose who they want and who they don&#39;t want.&quot;</p><p>So Coles, who&#39;s been searching since September, has yet to find a place. He&#39;s in temporary transitional housing now but doesn&#39;t know what he&#39;ll do if an apartment doesn&#39;t come through soon.</p><div id="res459344649" previewtitle="&quot;We're at the mercy of the landlords and apartment complexes,&quot; Joseph Coles says."><div><div><p>&quot;I shudder to think about that,&quot; he says.</p></div></div></div><p>The problem is popping up everywhere, especially in tight rental markets like Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco. In Miami, government vouchers will cover $900 a month in rent for a one-bedroom apartment, but those are hard to find.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re out there begging, pleading and doing whatever is necessary to persuade landlords to participate in our program,&quot; says Ron Book, chairman of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.homelesstrust.org/">Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust</a>, which is trying to place 200 homeless vets by year&#39;s end. Earlier this month, the trust held a telethon with a local TV station, which produced dozens of promising leads.</p><p>Book says they&#39;re fighting not only a tight rental market but stereotypes as well.</p><p>&quot;Quite candidly, look, there&#39;s always going to be some hesitancy by landlords to house somebody that they perceive having lived on the streets,&quot; Book says.</p><p><img alt="&quot;We're at the mercy of the landlords and apartment complexes,&quot; Joseph Coles says." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/11/fullsizerender_custom-25bdd69eca852996a155569ca8bdecef84bae25c-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 426px; width: 320px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="&quot;We're at the mercy of the landlords and apartment complexes,&quot; Joseph Coles says. (Pam Fessler/NPR)" /></p><p>Part of his appeal, then, has been to make sure landlords know that their new tenants have been screened and that, once housed, they&#39;ll get whatever support they need, like mental health services and job counseling.</p><p>Still, Eric Grumdahl, who is coordinating&nbsp;<a href="http://mn.gov/mdva/resources/familyassistance/homelessveteranpreventionandassistance.jsp">Minnesota&#39;s effort to end veterans homelessness</a>, knows landlords are being asked to take a leap of faith. His state recently decided to offer property owners a $1,000 signing bonus for each vet they house by the end of January &mdash; &quot;to recognize that we are asking landlords to affirmatively choose to house veterans who, frankly, in this market would be very easy to screen out,&quot; Grumdahl says.</p><p>&quot;They&#39;re often veterans that are facing challenges that may have to do with the fact that they have poor rental history or very little rental history.&quot;</p><p>And it&#39;s not just veterans. Washington, D.C., is trying to house 700 homeless families and another 1,000 individuals as soon as possible. The city just hired a team of navigators to work with potential landlords.</p><p>It can be a tough sell, though. Navigator LaShun Lawson recently tried to finalize a deal with property manager Oswald Durant, of Oasis Realty, who has six available units and wants to help &mdash; but needs some reassurance.</p><p>First, he wants to make sure that the apartments will be inspected by the city quickly, so tenants can move in as soon as possible.</p><div id="res459347457"><div>&quot;Because everyone wants it quick,&quot; Durant tells Lawson. &quot;You want it quickly. We want it quickly. We definitely don&#39;t want to go over 30 days.&quot;</div></div><div id="res459347765"><div>The city has agreed to advance Durant $1,000 for each apartment he holds open for a month, until the deal can be finalized.</div></div><p>The guaranteed rental payments are attractive to Durant, but like other landlords, he also worries about getting mired in bureaucracy, or having to deal with a problem tenant on his own.</p><p>&quot;So who is it that comes to visit the client in their house every four months? The caseworker?&quot; he asks.</p><p>Lawson assures him that the city will be sending caseworkers to make sure the tenants are adjusting and receiving the help they need.</p><p>Eventually, Durant agrees, on a trial basis. He says if it works out, he might have some additional units to rent out to homeless families in the future.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/12/23/459255700/beyond-the-rental-check-homeless-vets-face-other-challenges?ft=nprml&amp;f=459255700" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 23 Dec 2015 16:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-edition/2015-12-23/homeless-veterans-face-challenges-beyond-rental-check-114277 Defying Stereotypes, Number Of Incarcerated Veterans In U.S. Drops http://www.wbez.org/news/defying-stereotypes-number-incarcerated-veterans-us-drops-114073 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/promo-vets-seamus-e80c9a2eb338238b7350828185e8db3a8729e3d8.png" alt="" /><p><p>The number of military veterans in the country&#39;s jails and prisons continues to drop, a new report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows.</p><p data-pym-src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/vets-prison-military-20151203/child.html">&nbsp;</p><script src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/vets-prison-military-20151203/js/lib/pym.js" type="text/javascript"></script><p>&nbsp;</p><div id="con458537860" previewtitle="Incarceration rates"><div id="res458537856"><div id="responsive-embed-vets-prison-rate-20151203"><iframe frameborder="0" height="680px" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/vets-prison-rate-20151203/child.html?initialWidth=305&amp;childId=responsive-embed-vets-prison-rate-20151203&amp;parentUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.npr.org%2Fsections%2Fthetwo-way%2F2015%2F12%2F07%2F458501774%2Fdefying-stereotypes-number-of-incarcerated-veterans-in-u-s-drops%3Fft%3Dnprml%26f%3D458501774" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: initial; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;" width="620"></iframe></div></div></div><div id="res458503553">It&#39;s the first government report that includes significant numbers of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan &mdash; and the findings defy stereotypes that returning war veterans are prone to crime.</div><p>The data show that veterans are less likely to be behind bars than nonveterans. The study tracked an estimated 181,500 incarcerated veterans in 2011-2012, 99 percent of whom were male. During that period, veterans made up 8 percent of inmates in local jails and in state and federal prisons, excluding military facilities.</p><p>The Bureau of Justice Statistics began tracking the number of incarcerated veterans after the Vietnam War. In 1978, about 24 percent of prisoners were veterans. That number has fallen steadily since then, as the military switched from the draft to an all-volunteer force. In 1998, veterans had nearly the same incarceration rates as those who never served, and the number has been declining ever since.</p><p>Those veterans in prisons and jails reported higher rates than civilians of mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Less than a third of veterans behind bars actually saw combat, but those who did also reported higher rates of mental health issues, according to the report.</p><p>On average, veterans doing time are almost 12 years older than nonveterans and are less likely to have multiple previous offenses.</p><p>The decline in the veterans prison population tracks national demographics. Across the country, the number of veterans is shrinking fast as the millions of vets from World War II and Korea reach their 80s and 90s, and Vietnam vets reach their 70s.</p><p>Advocates for veterans also credit the lower incarceration rate partly to increased services for returning veterans. For example, most states now have &quot;veterans courts,&quot; where veterans can get treatment for PTSD and drug abuse in lieu of jail time for certain crimes.</p><div id="res458535934"><div id="responsive-embed-vets-prison-health-20151203"><iframe frameborder="0" height="731px" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/vets-prison-health-20151203/child.html?initialWidth=774&amp;childId=responsive-embed-vets-prison-health-20151203&amp;parentUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.npr.org%2Fsections%2Fthetwo-way%2F2015%2F12%2F07%2F458501774%2Fdefying-stereotypes-number-of-incarcerated-veterans-in-u-s-drops%3Fft%3Dnprml%26f%3D458501774" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: initial; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;" width="620"></iframe></div></div><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/12/07/458501774/defying-stereotypes-number-of-incarcerated-veterans-in-u-s-drops?ft=nprml&amp;f=458501774" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 07 Dec 2015 11:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/defying-stereotypes-number-incarcerated-veterans-us-drops-114073 South Side ‘forward operating base’ serves more than just veterans http://www.wbez.org/news/south-side-%E2%80%98forward-operating-base%E2%80%99-serves-more-just-veterans-113739 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CV2-Doc.JPG" style="height: 405px; width: 540px;" title="Daniel “Doc” Habeel with a picture of his father William George II, who served as a lieutenant in World War II. (WBEZ/Yolanda Perdomo)" /></p><p>Just inside the doors of the <a href="http://www.rtwvetcenter.org/">RTW Veterans Center</a> on S. Martin Luther King Dr. a long hallway is lined with a dozen framed pictures.</p><p>Ranging from abolitionist Frederick Douglas to Henry Flipper, the first black graduate of West Point, to General Colin Powell, it&rsquo;s literally a hall of fame of black servicemen throughout history.</p><p>That history includes RTW&rsquo;s founder Daniel &ldquo;Doc&rdquo; Habeel who served in Vietnam as well as his father, grandfather and other relatives who carried on a military tradition. It also now includes two of Habeel&#39;s children who&rsquo;ve served in Iraq and Afghanistan.</p><p>Habeel decided to open an outpost of the Muslim American Veterans Association several years ago. It was during a MAVA fish fry fundraiser in 2011 that he noticed something.</p><p>&ldquo;Some of the people that came to the fish fry they really didn&rsquo;t have the money that we were looking for $10 a plate all you can eat,&rdquo; said Habeel. &ldquo;What they came with was some change. But we fed them anyway.&rdquo;</p><p>Habeel says some of the same people came back the following day.</p><p>&ldquo;And they wanted to know if there was any fish left,&rdquo; remembered Habeel. &ldquo;And there was and we fed them again.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CV1-building.JPG" style="height: 385px; width: 320px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: left;" title="RTW has been in the community since 2011. Habeel says they’ve served at least 2,000 people since opening. (WBEZ/Yolanda Perdomo)" /></p><p>Then some showed up on the <em>third </em>day.</p><p>&ldquo;And that day we made a commitment that if anyone comes to this door hungry, they would never leave hungry,&rdquo; said Habeel.</p><p>Shortly afterward, he and his wife Arnetha started the RTW, which stands for Remaking the World. They originally intended to help needy veterans find food, clothing and a place to get out of the cold.</p><p>But they soon realized the needs of the neighborhood were much greater. Habeel said he began to think of their sturdy, three-story graystone as a &quot;forward operating base&quot; in a war zone.</p><p>&ldquo;We have to go in and rescue our neighborhoods,&rdquo; said Habeel. &ldquo;From poverty, gangs, drugs, crime, violence and urban terrorism.&rdquo;</p><p>Hazel Parker comes for lunch everyday at 1 p.m sharp. On this day, she&rsquo;s getting a plate of b-b-q chicken to go. Parker says she spent a year in the Army, not long enough to rack up benefits. Injured in a motorcycle accident in the 1980s, a stroke permanently slurred her speech. Now Parker says fluid behind her knees has forced her to use a wheelchair.</p><p>&ldquo;My leg hurts like hell, said Parker. &ldquo;I need two knee replacement surgeries.&rdquo;</p><p>Parker lives around the corner from the RTW and says it helps everyone in the neighborhood &mdash; no questions asked. There&rsquo;s a community garden on the vacant lot next door. Inside the greystone, one converted bedroom holds canned goods and another has long racks of clothing. On the third floor there&rsquo;s a computer lab for anyone who needs help finding a job.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CV3-Hazel.JPG" style="text-align: center; height: 551px; width: 540px;" title="Hazel Parker gets free meals from RTW every day. (WBEZ/Yolanda Perdomo)" /></p><p>Gwendolyn Washington, a former Army lieutenant, says the staff prepares anywhere from 75 to 150 meals a day for those in need.</p><p>&ldquo;They&rsquo;re grateful they&rsquo;re here. Especially the little kids after school. They get pastries&rdquo;, said Washington, who recalled passing out hams a few weeks ago. &ldquo;A little boy came up and said &lsquo;could I take one?&rsquo; I said &lsquo;what are you going to do with that ham?&rsquo; He said &lsquo;I&rsquo;m going to take it to my mother.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Habeel says they rely on volunteers and donations from the community to keep the pantry full.</p><p>In the meantime, he&rsquo;s also keeping an eye on what&rsquo;s brewing across the street. If Washington Park is chosen as the site of the new Obama Presidential Center, future commercial development could be built steps away. Habeel isn&rsquo;t opposed to the idea but worries it could displace the RTW and those it serves.</p><p>Habeel says it wouldn&rsquo;t be his first battle for survival. And he promised to follow the old Army Creed ... to never leave a fallen comrade.</p><p><em>Follow WBEZ reporter Yolanda Perdomo on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/yolandanews">@yolandanews</a></em></p></p> Wed, 11 Nov 2015 11:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/south-side-%E2%80%98forward-operating-base%E2%80%99-serves-more-just-veterans-113739 Missed Treatment: Soldiers with mental health issues dismissed for 'misconduct' http://www.wbez.org/news/missed-treatment-soldiers-mental-health-issues-dismissed-misconduct-113562 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/14006211340_825e7fb5d9_o.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Staff Sgt. Eric James, an Army sniper who served two tours in Iraq, paused before he walked into a psychiatrist&#39;s office at Fort Carson, Colo. It was April 3, 2014. James clicked record on his smartphone, and then tucked the phone and his car keys inside his cap as he walked through the door to the chair by the therapist&#39;s desk.</p><p>As he sat there sharing his fears and telling the therapist he&#39;d been thinking about suicide &mdash; all while secretly recording the entire session &mdash; James was inadvertently helping to bring a problem within the Army to light: As it tries to deal with thousands of soldiers who misbehave after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and then being diagnosed with mental health disorders and traumatic brain injuries, the military sometimes moves to kick them out of the service rather than provide the treatment they need.</p><p>The Army tried to dismiss James in 2013, because he had been stopped for drunken driving two years earlier. This despite pledges by Army commanders and a 2009 congressional edict to make sure such misconduct is not the result of mental issues brought home from the wars.</p><p>Saying he wanted evidence to protect himself, James made secret recordings of more than 20 hours of sessions with therapists and officers at Fort Carson. In the recordings, counselors can be heard berating him for suggesting he has serious mental health problems. They try to convince him his experiences in Iraq were not too traumatic &mdash; and even seem to ignore him when he talks about wanting to commit suicide.</p><div id="res452320375"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Eric James with his mother, Beverly Morris, and father, Robert James. Eric secretly recorded more than 20 hours of sessions he had with behavioral health specialists and Army officials." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/27/eric-james_custom-be5b4a28a440ad22f075b03318719aacb50f3646-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 482px; width: 620px;" title="Eric James with his mother, Beverly Morris, and father, Robert James. Eric secretly recorded more than 20 hours of sessions he had with behavioral health specialists and Army officials. (Michael de Yoanna/Colorado Public Radio)" /></div><div><p>When Army leaders heard about the recordings, they ordered an investigation. It concluded that James had been mistreated, and two of his therapists were subsequently reprimanded.</p></div></div><p>But the general who runs the Army&#39;s medical system said the investigation also reached another conclusion: The mistreatment of soldiers at Fort Carson was &quot;not systemic.&quot;</p><p>NPR and Colorado Public Radio also conducted an investigation, based on hours of secret recordings from James, hundreds of pages of confidential documents from Fort Carson, and interviews with dozens of sources both inside and outside the base. And that evidence suggests the Army failed to pursue key evidence in its investigation, ruling out claims of mistreatment from nine other war veterans without ever interviewing or even contacting the men.</p><p>And according to figures acquired by NPR and CPR under the Freedom of Information Act, the Army has been pushing out soldiers diagnosed with mental health problems not just at Fort Carson but at bases across the country.</p><p>The figures show that since January 2009, the Army has &quot;separated&quot; 22,000 soldiers for &quot;misconduct&quot; after they came back from Iraq and Afghanistan and were diagnosed with mental health problems or TBI. As a result, many of the dismissed soldiers have not received crucial retirement and health care benefits that soldiers receive with an honorable discharge.</p><div id="res452600607"><div id="responsive-embed-army-discharges-all-20151027"><iframe frameborder="0" height="988px" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/army-discharges-all-20151027/child.html?initialWidth=775&amp;childId=responsive-embed-army-discharges-all-20151027&amp;parentUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.npr.org%2F2015%2F10%2F28%2F451146230%2Fmissed-treatment-soldiers-with-mental-health-issues-dismissed-for-misconduct%3Fft%3Dnprml%26f%3D451146230" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: initial; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;" width="100%"></iframe></div></div><p>The cases of the 10 soldiers we investigated raise a question: Why would commanders kick out soldiers for misconduct, instead of giving them more intensive treatment or a medical retirement on the grounds that they have persistent mental health problems? Sources both inside and outside Fort Carson suggested one possible answer: It takes less time and money to get rid of problem soldiers on the grounds of misconduct.</p><p>One of the Army&#39;s top officials who oversees mental health, Lt. Col. Chris Ivany, tells NPR and CPR that the Army is not violating the spirit of the 2009 law by dismissing tens of thousands of soldiers for misconduct after they came back from the wars, even though they were diagnosed with TBI or mental health disorders.</p><p>For instance, he says the soldiers&#39; &quot;functional impairment was not severe&quot; enough in some cases to affect their judgment. In other cases, the soldiers&#39; disorders might have been serious when they were diagnosed, but their &quot;condition subsequently improved&quot; before they committed misconduct &mdash; so they can&#39;t blame the war for causing them to misbehave.</p><p>And in other cases, Ivany says, soldiers&#39; medical records show they were diagnosed with a mental health disorder &mdash; but only because a medical worker wrote it down as &quot;a preliminary best estimate, but on further evaluation, the diagnosis was clarified&quot; and perhaps dropped. All this &quot;clearly shows that there is no systemic attempt&quot; to dismiss soldiers with mental problems on the grounds of misconduct, Ivany says.</p><p>Army officials would not discuss any of the current and former soldiers&#39; cases, on the grounds that they&#39;re protecting the men&#39;s privacy.</p><p>James says he never set out to &quot;expose&quot; Fort Carson or embarrass anybody. He says he started recording his meetings with officers and mental health staff to keep an accurate record of the conversations.</p><p>James&#39; two tours in Iraq occurred during some of the bloodiest fighting. He watched through his sniper scope as his targets died and he saw his buddies die, too. He suffered a traumatic brain injury when his Humvee flipped upside down, according to Army records.</p><p>James&#39; parents say he began to unravel after he returned to Fort Carson in 2009.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s pretty hard as a parent to see your kid go the way he did,&quot; says his father, Robert James. &quot;He was happy-go-lucky. Now he&#39;s depressed, and he&#39;s always down and out.&quot;</p><p>&quot;This isn&#39;t the boy, the young man, I raised,&quot; says his mother, Beverly Morris. &quot;He is totally a whole different person.&quot;</p><p>James says after he came home from his last deployment, his life was in shambles.</p><p>&quot;I was angry; I was getting in fights. I drank at least 12 beers every night, so I could pass out &mdash; that was the only way I could get any sleep. It&#39;s like my mom said, she was the person I&#39;d always call, and I would call her, you know, after I&#39;d been drinking so much and it&#39;s late at night and I&#39;d tell her, &#39;Mom, look, I need help. Every day I wish I was dead,&#39; &quot; James says.</p><p>Then one night in 2011, local police pulled James over for drunken driving in Colorado Springs. Two years later, officers at Fort Carson told him they were going to &quot;chapter&quot; him out of the Army for misconduct, as a result of that DUI. James says he knew that meant he might never get the retirement pay or health insurance that the Army promised when he enlisted. Getting forced to leave without an honorable discharge could also mean that he could have trouble finding a decent job.</p><p>We&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/series/11609328/mental-health-care-at-fort-carson">first reported in 2006</a>&nbsp;that Fort Carson was kicking out some soldiers who had mental health problems and committed &quot;misconduct,&quot; instead of helping them. Less than three years later, Congress passed the law to help stop the practice.</p><p>The law does not forbid the Army to dismiss troops with mental disorders who commit misconduct, but a spokesman for one of the key congressional committees that drafted the language says members of Congress &quot;wanted to make sure the military was not putting people out that have service-related medical issues because the services have a responsibility to get them the care they need.&quot;</p><p><strong>Secret Recordings Lead To Investigation</strong></p><p>James&#39; recordings veer from mundane conversations about scheduling appointments to sessions in which James despairs about his life.</p><p>In one, James tells a therapist that he feels angry and miserable most of the time. He doesn&#39;t trust anybody, and he isolates himself.</p><p>&quot;Like, remember I told you I&#39;m like, I feel like I&#39;m coming into a combat zone when I drive on the base,&quot; he asks the counselor. And then he starts trying to talk about some of his scariest experiences in Iraq. &quot;In, like, one month, there was over 1,000 IEDs and multiple ambushes.&quot;</p><div id="res452318217"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Evans Army Community Hospital, which stands on the Fort Carson military base, is a central part of the base's behavioral health system." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/27/evans_custom-71c2d82e183d532d7a0ab9de393b14c46f6f878d-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Evans Army Community Hospital, which stands on the Fort Carson military base, is a central part of the base's behavioral health system. (Courtesy of Evans Army Community Hospital/U.S. Army)" /></div><div><div><p>Standard therapy textbooks say that counselors can help patients best when they are supportive, build trust and are empathetic. When patients feel safe enough to share their deepest fears, a therapist can then help them understand their problems and start to get better.</p></div></div></div><p>The therapist responds, interrupting him: &quot;Yeah, it was a suck fest ... big time. ... But it was not an emotionally crippling experience,&quot; she declares. &quot;Because for the last six years, you&#39;ve been able to get up and come to work. Have you had things that lingered and it affected you? Yes. But you&#39;re not emotionally crippled. You&#39;re not a in a corner rocking back and forth and drooling.&quot;</p><p>In another session, James meets with one of the Army&#39;s chief psychiatrists at Fort Carson. A few weeks before, James had filled out a survey used to help diagnose PTSD. James ranked many of his symptoms as &quot;5s,&quot; the most extreme symptoms, which potentially signals that the person is in crisis. But the Army psychiatrist doesn&#39;t try to get James to open up and explain his answers. Instead, the psychiatrist challenges him.</p><p>&quot;When I see &#39;extreme,&#39; you should be in a hospital,&quot; the psychiatrist says in a confrontational tone. &quot;People that put that down, all those 5s, most of those people need to be in a hospital to be stabilized.&quot;</p><p>The psychiatrist suggests that since James is able to report for duty at Fort Carson, he must be exaggerating his symptoms.</p><p>&quot;Because right now, you shouldn&#39;t be walking around, if that&#39;s how bad you&#39;re doing,&quot; the psychiatrist says gruffly, after scolding James and repeatedly interrupting him.</p><p>In yet another session, with another Army psychiatrist at Fort Carson, James sounds like he&#39;s close to the breaking point. He cries audibly as he tells the psychiatrist that he wanted to kill himself hours before.</p><p>&quot;I can&#39;t do it, Sir, I&#39;m ... losing my mind,&quot; James says. &quot;Like, last night I just wanted to ... take all my pills and,&quot; James pauses, his voice shaking, &quot;couldn&#39;t do it sir. This is killing me, physically and mentally.&quot;</p><p>As James continues sniffling, the psychiatrist changes the topic. He speaks in a soothing voice, but he never asks James what he is feeling about committing suicide.</p><p>&quot;I spent almost a week listening to all of Eric James&#39; recordings,&quot; says Andrew Pogany, CEO of Uniformed Services Justice and Advocacy Group, a legal services nonprofit that Pogany and a colleague created to help soldiers in trouble. &quot;It painted a picture that was mortifying. And horrifying.&quot;</p><div id="res452250146"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Andrew Pogany and Robert Alvarez, co-founders of the Uniformed Services Justice and Advocacy Group, alerted the Army's surgeon general to 10 Fort Carson soldiers who were dismissed for &quot;misconduct&quot; instead of being given more intensive mental health treatment." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/27/andrew-and-robert-edit_custom-e8b4b72084ce3da6b7e82ea658716686638c3bd1-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Andrew Pogany and Robert Alvarez, co-founders of the Uniformed Services Justice and Advocacy Group, alerted the Army's surgeon general to 10 Fort Carson soldiers who were dismissed for &quot;misconduct&quot; instead of being given more intensive mental health treatment. (Michael de Yoanna/Colorado Public Radio)" /></div><div><div><p>Pogany used to be a soldier himself at Fort Carson. He fought back against the Army for mistreating him, and won. Pogany and his co-director, Robert Alvarez, sent some of James&#39; recordings to Charles Hoge, a psychiatrist and retired colonel who advises Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, the Army&#39;s surgeon general.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;What no one fully appreciates is the serious nature of what transpired during clinical encounters with at least two mental health providers at Fort Carson,&quot; Hoge warned one of the general&#39;s top aides in an&nbsp;<a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2489041-email-from-charles-hoge-to-lt-gen-patricia-horoho.html">internal email</a>. He wrote that some of what he heard &quot;demonstrates unprofessionalism, hostility, and lack of empathy&quot; and &quot;potential for negligence leading to significant potential harm.&quot;</p><p>Less than one month later, Horoho ordered an investigation of Fort Carson. She announced&nbsp;<a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2489022-investigation-summary.html">the results</a>&nbsp;at a press conference in February.</p><p>&quot;The investigation concluded that we had two providers that actually showed a lack of dignity and respect to one soldier,&quot; Horoho told reporters. In other words, the investigation found that James was the only soldier at Fort Carson who had been mistreated.</p><p>&quot;I thought the investigation was a very thorough investigation. I believed it gave the facts and certified that there wasn&#39;t a systemic problem,&quot; she said.</p><div id="res452050826"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, the Army's surgeon general, ordered an investigation at Fort Carson and concluded mistreatment of soldiers was &quot;not systemic.&quot;" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/26/horoho-2014_custom-affa3d349b103b5141643de89a6498785289fde0-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 360px; width: 300px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, the Army's surgeon general, ordered an investigation at Fort Carson and concluded mistreatment of soldiers was &quot;not systemic.&quot; (U.S. Army)" /></div></div><p>Also, according to Horoho, two of the therapists who worked with James had been reprimanded.</p><p>Meanwhile, commanders at Fort Carson did a dramatic about-face: Instead of dismissing James from the Army, they sent him for treatment at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence in Bethesda, Md., the nation&#39;s top military center for TBI and PTSD. The Army also gave James a medical retirement, with honor and full benefits.</p><p>Horoho also ordered staff at Fort Carson to get special training. According to an Army document, mental health employees took a few hours off work to discuss issues such as &quot;dignity and respect during patient encounters.&quot; The Army also made it easier for soldiers to appeal if they feel they have been mistreated.</p><p>But Horoho stressed the takeaway conclusion two more times at the press conference: &quot;I have not seen anything that&#39;s systemic in the way that our behavior health providers treat our patients,&quot; she added.</p><p>Here&#39;s what&#39;s curious about Horoho&#39;s declarations: Documents show that the Uniformed Services Justice and Advocacy Group told investigators under oath that commanders and mental health staff at Fort Carson have mistreated many soldiers &mdash; and thrown many out of the Army for misconduct after they came home from the wars with mental health problems. The advocates told investigators about nine current and former soldiers, in addition to James, who they said were typical cases.</p><p>NPR and CPR contacted all of those soldiers. They told us that Horoho&#39;s investigators never contacted them.</p><p>&quot;Every case has a slightly different flavor, there&#39;s slightly different facts to it,&quot; says Pogany. &quot;But when you take a step back, it is all the same stuff. If [Army officials] honestly want to fix this problem, they need to understand what&#39;s going on here and they need to admit that this is going on across the board.&quot;</p><p><strong>The Case Of Jason Holmer</strong></p><p>Consider the case of Jason Holmer &mdash; one of the names on the list that investigators never called. Holmer deployed three times to Afghanistan and Iraq. The Army awarded him the Bronze Star, one of the service&#39;s most prestigious medals.</p><p>One night, Holmer and his unit were ambushed. A mortar round landed about 10 meters from him &quot;and it lifted us up off the ground,&quot; Holmer says.</p><p>That was the first possible TBI documented in Holmer&#39;s medical records.</p><p>The story of what happened after he came home echoes James&#39; transformation. Holmer says his wife told him he was a different person &mdash; and they divorced. His medical records show he suffered &quot;major depression&quot; and &quot;feelings of hopelessness&quot; and &quot;high irritability.&quot; He had trouble remembering things &mdash; a common TBI symptom &mdash; and he couldn&#39;t sleep.</p><p>&quot;I had one doctor saying, &#39;Oh, you just got some anxiety, here&#39;s some sleeping medication and antidepressants. You&#39;ll be fine,&#39; &quot; Holmer says.</p><p>Instead, Holmer started drinking a lot. Then one night in 2012, police found him sleeping in his blue Dodge Ram pickup truck, parked along the side of the road. They charged him with driving under the influence. And three days later, the Army started the process of dismissing him for misconduct.</p><p>Commanders sent Holmer to a therapist at Fort Carson, in line with the 2009 law, to evaluate whether PTSD or TBI might have played a role in causing his behavior. His medical records show he had some classic symptoms.</p><p>But soon, Holmer received a curious email written by the therapist. The therapist had not intended Holmer to see it, but she sent her email to an officer who accidentally forwarded it to Holmer.</p><p>&quot;At this time, while [Holmer] may have a significant [behavioral health] condition, I&#39;ll be able to clear him,&quot; the therapist wrote. &quot;I believe it would be in our best interest to assist in expediting the process.&quot; In military language, that means it would be in their best interest to kick Holmer out for misconduct.</p><p>The therapist signed her email with a smiley face.</p><p><strong>The Case Of James Vanni</strong></p><p>And consider the case of Sgt. James Vanni. He deployed to Iraq in 2004, and then was assigned to a base near Sadr City.</p><p>&quot;Our Day 1, we got ambushed,&quot; he says. &quot;Day 1. We lost eight guys dead that day, and 60 more wounded.&quot;</p><div id="res452245758"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="James Vanni, at his home in Colorado Springs, Colo." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/27/colorado-ptsd-investigation-stroomer-017_custom-74e518dd2d17b19a44a8ce2d3fa215a9b9258671-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="James Vanni, at his home in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Theo Stroomer for NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>Vanni and his wife say he still wakes up screaming from a recurring nightmare about the first victim he watched die that day.</p></div></div></div><p>After he returned home, he started&nbsp;&nbsp;unraveling &mdash; much like the other eight soldiers whom the Army&#39;s investigators did not interview. His Army records list at least one TBI, and possibly more, and show that he reported getting frequent headaches and was forgetting things. An ambulance took him to the emergency room one morning because it looked like he was having a heart attack. It turned out to be a panic attack.</p><p>Vanni&#39;s wife, Michelle, says he would also fly into rages, &quot;screaming and yelling and throwing stuff&quot; at her and their two children. &quot;It&#39;s like he hated to be around us,&quot; she says.</p><p>He also kept threatening to kill himself.</p><div id="res452321915"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Vanni and his wife, Michelle, in 2008." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/27/vanni-personal_custom-2afee36def2657c6a9fd732289a93305b1d579c8-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 186px; width: 300px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Vanni and his wife, Michelle, in 2008. (Courtesy of James Vanni)" /></div><div><p>At 1 a.m. the day before Christmas, Vanni freaked out after he and Michelle had an argument. Vanni says he can&#39;t remember much about what happened. &quot;The whole incident is really blurry to me,&quot; he says.</p></div></div><p>&quot;He came in the house screaming and yelling, and he made absolutely no sense,&quot; Michelle says. &quot;I mean, he even turned and he was just talking to the wall, like he was talking to somebody. He was pointing the gun, but there was no magazine in it, you know I didn&#39;t know that, so I tried to call 911, because he was scaring me. &quot;</p><p>Michelle says when the police arrived she told them he was depressed, suicidal and needed help.</p><p>&quot;They told me they were taking him to a hospital,&quot; she says.</p><p>Instead, the police took Vanni to jail.</p><p>Officers at Fort Carson then started the process of dismissing Vanni from the Army without benefits, on the grounds that he committed domestic violence. An Army psychiatrist evaluated Vanni, as the law requires.</p><p>His conclusion: &quot;This service member does not suffer from any deployment related mental health issues,&quot; the psychiatrist wrote. It was the same psychiatrist who was later reprimanded for mistreating James.</p><div id="res452321559"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The dining room at the Vanni home." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/27/colorado-ptsd-investigation-stroomer-020_custom-c661ae7a5dac1a2243e64706fa192258362ac01c-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 415px; width: 620px;" title="The dining room at the Vanni home.(Theo Stroomer for NPR)" /></div><div><p><strong>Independent Adviser: Soldiers Deserve &#39;Benefit Of The Doubt&#39;</strong></p></div></div><p>Horoho&#39;s spokeswoman, Maria Tolleson, acknowledged that investigators did not get in touch with the nine soldiers whom soldiers&#39; rights advocates named as examples of how some troops at Fort Carson have been mistreated. She wrote in an email that Army staff reviewed soldiers&#39; files &quot;for quality and standard of care in accordance with [the Army&#39;s] regulatory guidance,&quot; and the &quot;review of these files did not reveal any provider misconduct.&quot;</p><p>But NPR and CPR also obtained the soldiers&#39; records, with their permission, and we asked three independent psychiatrists to review them. Two of those psychiatrists served as top medical officers in the military. And all three say that based on the records they have seen, they would have advised the Army not to dismiss these soldiers for misconduct.</p><p>&quot;Especially for our soldiers who are coming back not just with post-traumatic stress disorder, but with traumatic brain injury and other wounds, I really think that we as a society need to take that into account,&quot; says Col. Elspeth Ritchie, who served as the Army&#39;s top adviser on mental health during some of the worst fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. &quot;I think as a society, they deserve to have us do everything we can to support them. I absolutely would want them to get the benefit of the doubt.&quot;</p><p>Some sources who work with Fort Carson say perhaps commanders used to dismiss soldiers unfairly, but things have changed.</p><p><img alt="Bottles of medicine at Vanni's home. He says he still has nightmares from his time serving in Iraq." class="img" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/27/colorado-ptsd-investigation-stroomer-019_custom-067d2b00a2ee02ee8ec8987ddd698e0167e55841-s400-c85.jpg" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 10px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 14px; line-height: 18.6667px; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; max-width: none; display: block; height: 207px; width: 300px; float: left; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);" title="Bottles of medicine at Vanni's home. He says he still has nightmares from his time serving in Iraq. (Theo Stroomer for NPR)" /></p><p>&quot;I&#39;m encouraged by this. I think there&#39;s been a shift,&quot; says Miriam Blum, an independent psychologist in Colorado Springs. She estimates that she has treated hundreds of soldiers based at Fort Carson. &quot;What I experience, what I hear from soldiers and what I see with soldiers, is that Fort Carson is doing many things to address the mental health issues of the soldiers before any kind of disciplinary procedure is even remotely considered. I see [that] soldiers who are seeking help are getting help.&quot;</p><p>Peter Chiarelli, the Army&#39;s vice chief of staff from 2008 to 2012, agrees that commanders at Fort Carson, and other bases across the country, are doing a far better job of identifying and helping soldiers in trouble. But he says NPR and CPR are making the issue of mental health and misconduct sound simpler than it really is.</p><p>&quot;It would be wonderful if we could tell 100 percent of the time whether or not that misconduct is because an individual is, in fact, acting bad or it&#39;s because they have some kind of a mental issue,&quot; Chiarelli says. &quot;But the fact of the matter is &mdash; and this is the important point for you to understand &mdash; is our diagnostics are so horrible we cannot always make that determination.&quot;</p><p>Chiarelli says that given the uncertainties and the enormous pressures on the Army, it makes sense for commanders to push out soldiers who have mental health problems and commit misconduct.</p><p>&quot;Does it make sense if they&#39;re going to be nondeployable for a long period of time, and if we don&#39;t have good diagnostics and good treatments, yes it does make sense. Because I need deployable soldiers inside my ranks,&quot; he says. &quot;The Army has a mission and that&#39;s to fight and win our nation&#39;s wars. When people have any kind of an illness and are not deployable, they&#39;re not going to be available to do that.&quot;</p><p>Actually, it turns out that some of the soldiers NPR and CPR followed did not get kicked out after all. That includes Vanni and Holmer. An Army official, speaking on background, says that demonstrates that commanders are willing to take a second look and reverse course and treat soldiers fairly.</p><p>The soldiers we interviewed say that commanders took that second look only after the soldiers&#39; rights advocates intervened and threatened to take their stories to Congress and the media.</p><p><strong>The Case Of Larry Morrison</strong></p><p>Meanwhile, our investigation found that Fort Carson has decided to dismiss yet another soldier to whom the Army awarded the Bronze Star &mdash; suggesting that Horoho&#39;s actions have not fixed the problems.</p><p>Sgt. Larry Morrison, 42, has served 20 years in the Army. He led soldiers on three deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. Army records show Morrison was scheduled for a medical retirement due to chronic PTSD, with honor and full benefits, on March 17 of this year. But at roughly 3 p.m. that day, Morrison&#39;s commander handed him a document announcing that the Army was going to dismiss him for misconduct instead.</p><div id="res452049727" previewtitle="Larry Morrison is appealing the Army's decision to dismiss him for misconduct."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Larry Morrison is appealing the Army's decision to dismiss him for misconduct." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/26/morrison-edit_custom-d68933cb7cfa1e4d25635e6dde48f35ba3557ba5-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 410px; width: 620px;" title="Larry Morrison is appealing the Army's decision to dismiss him for misconduct. (Michael de Yoanna/Colorado Public Radio)" /></div></div><p>Officers who have served with Morrison told us he is one of the best leaders they have ever known. Capt.Tyson Walsh, who commanded Morrison in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011, says Morrison was &quot;phenomenal&quot; and served as one of his platoon sergeants during a &quot;brutal deployment.&quot;</p><p>Walsh says Morrison was the mentor who held the unit together.</p><p>&quot;The Sgt. Morrison I know stands for honesty and integrity,&quot; he says. &quot;I&#39;ve had to put my life in his hands more than once. And every single time I did, it was the right answer.&quot;</p><p>But Army documents list three justifications for kicking him out: Morrison pleaded guilty two years earlier to drunken and reckless driving, and, according to the Army, he belongs to a &quot;criminal&quot; motorcycle gang that a federal report links to shootings and drugs.</p><p>Morrison and other soldiers told us it&#39;s not a gang but one of the most popular bike clubs for African-American troops.</p><p>Fort Carson&#39;s decision to dismiss Morrison is not yet final. Because he has served so many years, the Department of the Army has to sign off, and he&#39;s still waiting to hear the final decision. Meanwhile, he&#39;s working part time as a security guard at a chain clothing store.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;ve given [the Army] all of my youthful years. I&#39;m 42 years old now,&quot; Morrison says, in a defeated-sounding monotone. &quot;And now they want to put me out with no benefits, they want to give me an other-than-honorable discharge &mdash; so I can&#39;t get a job, I can&#39;t go to school &mdash; and take my retirement away. So they want to put me on the streets with nothing.&quot;</p><p>Morrison says he struggles to get just a few hours of sleep each night before he wakes up from recurring nightmares about a buddy who was killed in Afghanistan. A doctor prescribed medication to help him sleep, but Morrison says he doesn&#39;t always take it.</p><p>&quot;Nightmares are bad but at the same time, they&#39;re good, actually, because the nightmares help you remember the guys that are gone,&quot; Morrison says. &quot;And you know you can&#39;t go see them, you can&#39;t call them and you can&#39;t go talk to them. So sometimes you want the nightmares &mdash; to help you to spend time with the guys that are actually gone.&quot;</p><p>NPR and CPR sent more than half a dozen emails to Horoho, telling her that soldiers like Morrison are still getting kicked out of Fort Carson and asking to talk with her about the issues. We also asked to interview the top two generals in the Army, to find out what they make of the fact that the Army has pushed out tens of thousands of troops in recent years who came back from the wars with mental health disorders.</p><p>None of the generals would meet with us.</p><p><em>NPR&#39;s Courtney Mabeus and Barbara Van Woerkom contributed to this report.</em></p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/10/28/451146230/missed-treatment-soldiers-with-mental-health-issues-dismissed-for-misconduct?ft=nprml&amp;f=451146230" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 29 Oct 2015 16:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/missed-treatment-soldiers-mental-health-issues-dismissed-misconduct-113562 Vets' best friend: Two veterans trekking cross-country with the dogs that 'saved their lives' http://www.wbez.org/news/vets-best-friend-two-veterans-trekking-cross-country-dogs-saved-their-lives-112082 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/dan-and-spanky-l-joe-and-c-t 2_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Approximately 22 veterans lose their lives to suicide every day, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. That number didn&rsquo;t sit well with Chicagoan Joe Trainor Jr. and fellow veteran Dan Spangler.</p><p>So they drafted up a plan to walk across the nation with nothing more than 50 dollars, the shoes on their feet and their dogs. They&rsquo;ve dubbed the trip &ldquo;Operation Keep Your Spanky,&rdquo; in honor of Spangler&rsquo;s dog, who he says saved his life.</p><p>The two veterans left the gates of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina on April 26th and expect to complete their 6,000 mile trek on Memorial Day, May 25th.</p><p>WBEZ&rsquo;s Yun Tai, an Iraq War veteran himself, caught up with the two vets when they passed through Chicago.</p></p> Mon, 25 May 2015 09:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/vets-best-friend-two-veterans-trekking-cross-country-dogs-saved-their-lives-112082 Indiana's veterans service officers help vets get more benefits http://www.wbez.org/news/indianas-veterans-service-officers-help-vets-get-more-benefits-111398 <p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/indianavso016_custom-e39d107fe13df481bde64af40dd8510467f310ea-s1500-c85.jpg" style="height: 427px; width: 620px;" title="Grant County Veterans Service Officer Bob Kelley, right, works with World War II Army veteran Frederick Kern at the Grant County Government Building in Marion, Ind., on Monday. Aaron P. Bernstein for NPR" /></div><p><em>NPR &mdash; along with seven public radio stations around the country &mdash; is chronicling the lives of America&#39;s troops where they live. We&#39;re calling the project &quot;</em><em><a href="http://www.npr.org/series/363340041/back-at-base">Back at Base</a></em><em>.&quot; This story is Part 2 of a three-part&nbsp;</em><em><a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/01/13/376134776/va-data-show-disparities-in-veteran-benefits-spending" target="_blank">series</a></em><em>&nbsp;about veteran benefits.</em></p><p>The latest data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs show Indiana &mdash; which has the 35th highest number of veterans in the U.S. &mdash; receives $4,935 per veteran each year. If they received as much as Utah &mdash; which has the 35th highest return &mdash; Indiana vets would receive on average another $558. And if they received the national average of $6,088, that&#39;s another $1,153.</p><p>Retired Brig. Gen. Jim Bauerele has spent years working to match veterans with their benefits.</p><p>&quot;I think Indiana has neglected veterans,&quot; he says. &quot;I think veterans are uneducated as to what their benefits are, and there has been little effort undertaken to communicate and get that to veterans.&quot;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/map-va-benefits-in.png" style="height: 462px; width: 320px; float: right; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" title="Source: NPR analysis of Department of Veterans Affairs data Credit: Robert Benincasa and Alyson Hurt/NPR" />Back in 2010, a VA survey found that nationwide&nbsp;<a href="http://www.va.gov/SURVIVORS/docs/NVSSurveyFinalWeightedReport.pdf" target="_blank">fewer than half of veterans</a>&nbsp;understood their benefits, whether it was medical care, college tuition or pension and disability payments.</p><p>There are all sorts of reasons why veterans in one area may not receive as many benefits as veterans in another. Veterans from different eras, such as Vietnam or Iraq, can receive different amounts. Older vets might receive more benefits.</p><p><a href="http://www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/Applying.asp" target="_blank">VA applications</a>&nbsp;are also notoriously difficult to complete. Vets don&#39;t always get the help and guidance they need.</p><p>Bauerele says one reason for the poor showing in Indiana can be traced to what are called&nbsp;<a href="http://nacvso.org/" target="_blank">veterans service officers</a>&nbsp;(VSOs). County-level VSOs are part of a system operating in 28 states, and they&#39;re supposed to help vets get the benefits they&#39;ve earned. Some VSOs operate on the state level, and veterans groups like the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars have their own VSOs, which operate in most states.</p><p>Some county-level VSOs in Indiana operate on a shoestring.</p><p>&quot;Some counties have an officer who is part-time, works three days a week, part-time and doesn&#39;t even have an office or a computer,&quot; Bauerele says.</p><p>So depending on where they live, one vet might find an office with a full-time staff trained to file paperwork with the VA, while another might find a closed office, or a VSO who can&#39;t navigate the system.</p><p>And without help, filing a VA claim can be tough.</p><p>Tom Nichols, a 29-year-old Indiana National Guard veteran, has struggled to file his disability claim. After returning from Iraq in 2010, he became addicted to drugs and alcohol. Eventually, he landed in treatment for PTSD.</p><p>Not only does Nichols not understand his benefits &mdash; he doesn&#39;t really know the best way to get them, either. He hasn&#39;t tried a VSO because he says it&#39;s too much trouble.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;ve got to go to some VFW to track down this guy, and it&#39;s only the first Thursday of every month,&quot; Nichols says.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/indianavso014_custom-2468c15859245a2a7f6c60de83e60d06824a0531-s1500-c85.jpg" style="height: 405px; width: 620px;" title="Pamphlets detailing services available to veterans are displayed in VSO Bob Kelley's office in Marion, Ind. Aaron P. Bernstein for NPR" /></div><p>So he filled out the paperwork himself. To some of the medical questions, he just wrote &quot;ask my doctor,&quot; which could be part of the reason his claim didn&#39;t go through. Advocates say the VA rejects claims for reasons as simple as using an outdated version of the form.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s basically on me to go out there and receive this,&quot; Nichols says.</p><p>But a trained VSO can cut months and years off the time it takes veterans to receive benefits from the VA.</p><p>&quot;You never want to apply for benefits on your own, unless you have some experience with it,&quot; says Bob Kelley, the VSO for Grant County, one of the Indiana counties receiving the most from the VA.</p><p>The VA&#39;s own data show&nbsp;<a href="http://www.va.gov/vetdata/docs/surveysandstudies/state_variance_study-volumes_1_2.pdf" target="_blank">vets who give VSOs power of attorney</a>&nbsp;receive more than double the disability benefits of vets who file their own claims.</p><p>David McLenachen, acting deputy undersecretary for disability assistance for the VA, agrees that VSOs routinely help the system work.</p><p>&quot;It can be overwhelming for somebody to prepare a claim and submit it,&quot; he says. &quot;The VSOs can be very successful at helping with the claim process.&quot;</p><p>Kelley also goes to nursing homes and Veterans of Foreign Wars halls to tell veterans about their benefits, often on his own time. He would do more, but his county won&#39;t pay for an assistant until January.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s not a career,&quot; Kelley says. &quot;In the state of Indiana, it&#39;s not a career. When I retired from the military after 25 years, I was hired on at $28,000, and that&#39;s the average salary.&quot;</p><p>But the state is trying to give VSOs more resources in order to ensure all veterans have access to them.</p><p>In the past year, the state paid for software and training so county VSOs could file claims electronically. And for the first time, the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs set up workshops to explain federal benefits to vets.</p><p>Bauerele is part of the Military Veterans Coalition of Indiana, which is pushing to reform the system in Indiana. He&#39;d like to see better pay for county officers, and he wants the state to offer more help. VSOs like the American Legion already process thousands of VA claims.</p><p>&quot;Every dollar you give a veteran is new money from outside the state coming into the state,&quot; Bauerele says. &quot;That&#39;ll pay for a lot of Cadillacs, a lot of homes.&quot;</p><p><em>NPR&#39;s Robert Benincasa contributed to this report.</em></p><p>-<em><a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/01/14/374055310/indiana-s-veterans-service-officers-operate-on-a-shoe-string">via NPR News</a></em></p></p> Wed, 14 Jan 2015 08:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/indianas-veterans-service-officers-help-vets-get-more-benefits-111398 Veteran takes on Veterans Day http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-11-11/veteran-takes-veterans-day-111088 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP315713251574.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Veteran Rory Fanning says on Veterans Day, instead of thanking our troops we should be finding ways to truly support their needs. He joins us to tell us why he thinks we should abolish the holiday.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-how-to-really-support-our-troops-on-vete/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-how-to-really-support-our-troops-on-vete.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-how-to-really-support-our-troops-on-vete" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Veteran takes on Veterans Day" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 11:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-11-11/veteran-takes-veterans-day-111088 Morning Shift: School resegregation in the 21st century http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-05-19/morning-shift-school-resegregation-21st-century <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Cover Flickr ECU Digital Collections.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We find out how to prepare for an emergency in Chicago. And, we examine the legacy of Brown vs. The Board of Education and the face of school segregation today.<br />&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-school-segregation-for-the-21st-cent/embed?header=false&border=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-school-segregation-for-the-21st-cent.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-school-segregation-for-the-21st-cent" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: School resegregation in the 21st century" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 19 May 2014 08:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-05-19/morning-shift-school-resegregation-21st-century