Four-year-old Daughter’s First Steps Cheers Military Mom

Fox news reported this heart-warming story on Christmas Eve.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. —  Little Cheyenne Leslie entered the Ocean Medical Center and ran into the arms of her physical therapist, to the cheers of smiling staff workers as the girl seemed unhindered by her arm and leg brace. It was a dress rehearsal of sorts. Read the rest of the story here.

All Gave Some

Our Memorial Garden at the Veterans Center features a brass plaque that reads “All Gave Some, Some Gave All.”  Here’s the Billy Ray Cyrus song that insipred it.  We thought our readers would like it, so we’re posting it here.

Christmas Cheer for a Marine

From Tampa Bay Online.

RIVERVIEW – Marine Lance Cpl. John T. Doody was recovering nicely from injuries sustained when a sniper attacked him in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2007.

Then another enemy struck. A staph infection broke off and headed to his brain, cutting off oxygen and leaving him comatose for four months. Doctors said the 25-year-old would likely never again have high-brain function.

Physicians at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego recommended Doody transfer to the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa. That was in February. Since then, Doody’s mother, Chris Ott, has seen considerable progress.

Although confined to a wheelchair and blind, the young retired Marine can talk and understand. But he needs lots of help.  Read the story here of how the community pulled together for this young Marine.

PVA President: Give Veterans What They Have Earned.

From the Wichita Eagle.

BY RANDY L. PLEVA

In this season of giving, it seems appropriate that we honor those people who have gifted their lives to their country, and who live with the injuries and sacrifices they made in this important service.

Read the complete story here.

Gwill Brickworks, USMC vet, interviewed by SLCN TV

Katt Linden and Everett Linden are in the studio to talk about The Linden Prize then the secret musical guests get festive with a rendition of Santa Baby. Stay tuned for the interview with Gwill Brickworks, US Marine Corps vet.  Gwill is one of the five co-founders of the U.S. Military Veterans Center.

Breaking News: Bid for Quicker VA Payments Rejected

December 17, 2008

Associated Press|by HOPE YEN

WASHINGTON – A federal judge on Wednesday rejected a bid by veterans groups to force the Veterans Affairs Department to speed up handling of its disability claims, saying it was not the court’s role to impose quicker deadlines.  Vietnam Veterans of America and Veterans of Modern Warfare, which represent roughly 60,000 military veterans, had filed the lawsuit asking the VA process initial disability claims within 90 days and resolve appeals within 180 days. If the VA failed to do so, the two groups were seeking interim payments of roughly $350 a month.

At a court hearing Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said he was sympathetic to the plight of disabled veterans, many of whom he acknowledged might face unemployment and homelessness in a tightening economy. But Walton said that setting a blanket rule of 90 days for processing claims was a role for Congress and the VA secretary to decide.

Currently, thousands of veterans endure six-month waits for disability benefits and appeals that take years, despite promises by current VA Secretary James Peake and his predecessor, Jim Nicholson, to reduce delays. More recently, Congress passed legislation that sets up a VA pilot program aimed at speeding the processing of disability claims.

“It has to be appreciated that courts play a limited role,” Walton told a courtroom filled with about two dozen veterans and their family members. “I am being asked here in a sense to run the VA and set in place a timeline that Congress has not.”

“As much as I as an individual would like to see claims expeditiously concluded, …I just don’t see how I could provide the relief,” he added. “If I did, I would be reversed in a heartbeat.”

Earlier in the hearing, Robert Cattanach, an attorney representing veterans, called the VA’s delays “egregious and unacceptable.” Noting that the backlogs have persisted for nearly a decade, Cattanach argued that the VA has no incentive or requirement to improve its practices without a clear deadline.

“Give some help to these veterans who so desperately need it,” he pleaded.

But government attorney Ron Wiltsie countered that the VA is working to reduce delays and has made some improvement. In recent months, the VA has added dozens of claims processors and now says it has whittled delays from 178 days to about 163 days. The VA should be allowed to continue its work without micromanagement and blanket judgments from a federal judge who has not reviewed the individual cases, Wiltsie said.

The hearing comes as the VA is scrambling to upgrade government technology systems before new legislation providing for millions of dollars in new GI education benefits takes effect next August. On Saturday, the VA also said it was working to pay back millions of dollars in government benefits to surviving spouses of veterans who – due to computer glitches – were wrongfully denied disability checks during the month of their spouse’s death.

President-elect Barack Obama has pledged to “fix the benefits bureaucracy” at the VA. Earlier this month, he named retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, a former Army chief of staff, to be the next VA secretary.  Julie Mock, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Veterans of Modern Warfare, said she and other veterans are tired of broken promises and months of delays.

“It’s time the VA is held accountable,” she said. “We’re hopeful that President-elect Obama will make drastic changes.”

About the U.S. Military Veterans Center in Second Life

Information on VA benefits. Notices, news, history for members of the U.S. Military Veteran group in Second Life (SL). Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard active duty, veteran, retired and their families are eligible to join.

Click the highlighted text to be instantly transported to Second Life, where you can create a virtual person or character called an avatar. After creating the avatar, use this link http://slurl.com/secondlife/Asha/30/44/40, called a SLURL, to “teleport” your virtual self to the U.S. Military Veterans Center.

When you arrive, send an Instant Message to one of the Veterans Center owners: Asdzaa Oh, Gwill Brickworks (USMC)HONDO Slade (USN), Nomad Albatros (USN), or Cowboy Wayne (USN) to request a tour or membership in our group, U.S. Military Veteran.  If you need assistance right away, send an Instant Message to Asdzaa Oh, who can often get back to the Veterans Center right away or find someone to help.  If you are in any state of crisis, please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to be connected to a crisis worker.

Scroll down to read blog posts about events and other things we’re doing in Second Life. We’ve also selected some Frequently Used Websites that may be helpful to you. Browse our Blog Archive for other news you may have missed.

The U.S. Military Veterans Center in Second Life. Proudly serving active duty, veteran and retired service members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard as well as their families.

Created by five friends who met initially in the metaverse of Second Life, the U.S. Military Veterans center serves as the headquarters for the group. Four of the five are veterans: HONDO Slade, Cowboy Wayne and Nomad Albatros served in the U.S. Navy. Gwill Brickworks is a U.S. Marine Corps vet.  Asdzaa Oh was an Army wife from 1984 to 1990.

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