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VA BLOG — “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan.” – President Abraham Lincoln President Lincoln articulated for the nation a basic truth: that those who have made the greatest sacrifices in service to their country deserve their country’s service in return. And as our nation’s Veterans know all too well, service requires action. Fulfilling the promise that President Lincoln made on behalf of the country is the mission of VA. It’s also the chosen responsibility of the physicians, nurses, allied health and other health care professionals who work every day to honor the service of our Veterans by caring for them with compassion, dedication and exceptional skill.
MILITARY TIMES — In his first public speech since taking over the Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie on Wednesday reiterated his promises to push that bureaucracy towards more customer-friendly practices and more flexible access for beneficiaries. “VA exists to make life easier for veterans,” he told a crowd of veterans at the AMVETS annual convention in Orlando, Florida. “So my prime directive is customer service. When a veteran comes in to VA, it is not up to him to get VA to say ‘yes.’ It is up to VA to give the veteran tools.”
LAKE COUNTY NEWS — A one-stop local assistance center, or LAC, for those impacted by the Mendocino Complex fire will open Friday, Aug. 10. The center will be located at the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center, 3985 Country Club Drive. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 10, through Friday, Aug. 17. A wide-ranging array of services and expertise will be available.
AEROTECH NEWS — Elvie Ancheta is the director of the William J. “Pete” Knight Veterans Home in Lancaster, Calif. She enjoys working at the home and with the resident veterans. “I have so much respect and compassion for what they’ve been through,” she says. “I have a soft spot in my heart for older folks because my grandparents raised me. I see their faces in the veterans I work with here,” she said. Working with the resident vets, in a way, is like a chance to take care of her grandparents.
STARS AND STRIPES — Two of the nation’s largest veteran service organizations hold opposing views on the Defense Department’s plan to tighten rules next year on the transfer of Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits to servicemembers’ spouses and children. DOD officials have said that, starting in July 2019, eligibility to transfer GI Bill benefits to family will be limited to servicemembers having fewer than 16 years’ total service — active duty, drilling reserve or a combination of the two.
MILITARY TIMES — Capitol Hill advocates are hoping to help ready the next generation of national veterans leaders by having them learn from the current ones. Officials from HillVets this week announced a new mentorship program that will feature big names from the world of veterans and national security policy: former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel; House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe, R-Tenn.; former Air Force Secretary Deborah James; and former Army Secretary Patrick Murphy, among others.
STARS AND STRIPES — When our servicemembers wear the uniform, they make a commitment to serve our country. In return, our country makes a commitment to them: to take care of our heroes when they come home. This Congress has been the most productive in decades in delivering results for our veterans. We’ve sent bipartisan legislation to President Donald Trump’s desk that brings accountability to the Department of Veterans Affairs, increases transparency in the timeliness and quality of care, and streamlines the broken appeals process for disability claims — and passed the largest expansion of GI Bill benefits since the original GI Bill was signed into law. The House has passed more than 70 veterans bills and 26 of those have been signed by the president.
PROPUBLICA — Last February, shortly after Peter O’Rourke became chief of staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs, he received an email from Bruce Moskowitz with his input on a new mental health initiative for the VA. “Received,” O’Rourke replied. “I will begin a project plan and develop a timeline for action.” O’Rourke treated the email as an order, but Moskowitz is not his boss. In fact, he is not even a government official. Moskowitz is a Palm Beach doctor who helps wealthy people obtain high-service “concierge” medical care.
MILITARY TIMES — Congressional Democrats are demanding the White House clarify who is leading veterans policy efforts for the administration after a ProPublica investigation found evidence a trio of executives with personal ties to President Donald Trump have been privately influencing department decisions. “This situation reeks of corruption and cronyism,” said Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., and ranking member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “If these revelations prove true … that would amount to an unprecedented, disturbing, and profoundly unacceptable betrayal of our nation’s veterans.”
VOICE OF OC — The Irvine Planning Commission wants to send the City Council as fast as possible all available environmental reports and any potential development contracts in or near the Great Park that could affect development of a veterans cemetery. The Commission voted 4-1 Aug. 2 to direct staff to research a 2012 environmental study of the entire area and work with the city attorney to review any contractual obligations the city has on the land. The commission set Sept. 6 as a deadline for the information to come back to the Planning Commission, before going to the Council.
NAVY TIMES — Several advertisements line the walls of Virginia’s Norfolk International Airport touting “get a bachelor’s quick” route for service members. Some are from reputable schools. Some are not. More than half of the Navy’s sailors were primarily motivated to join the military for educational benefits. Yet the current system for enlisted sailors to obtain higher education is not structured to support them after they leave the service. Some assume that hard-charging sailors will figure out the college application process on their own.
KHN.ORG — Debbie Dobrosky noticed a peculiar hue in the sky on Monday — “a very ugly yellow casting” — as she peeked outside. A large cloud of smoke had begun to cover the sun. By Tuesday, the smoke was so heavy that “even inside my apartment I’ve had to use my inhaler twice this morning, which is not a normal thing,” said Dobrosky, a Riverside County, Calif., resident who lives about 30 miles from a fast-growing fire in the Cleveland National Forest.
STARS AND STRIPES — Like any good intern, Francisco Joaquin took copious notes during a seminar on how to get a job. Build a network. Scrub your social-media presence. Prepare for interview questions. Dress the part. Sitting in a windowless conference room near Union Station, Joaquin dressed the part that July day: tan slacks, button-down shirt, red lanyard. Like the two dozen interns sitting around him – and the thousands of other students who pour into Washington every summer — Joaquin traveled a long way for this opportunity.
TASK & PURPOSE — Our sister company, Hirepurpose, wants to make sure that the most talented workforce in America can find work where employers know their value. Hiring managers know that the veteran and military community have the values and work ethic needed to succeed. Check out this week’s featured jobs from top companies specifically looking for your military experience!