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DVNF’s Mid-Year Program Report

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How DVNF Programs have helped our veterans in 2017 Health & Comfort One of the most difficult things for us to do as a nonprofit is celebrate accomplishments, knowing there are so many more veterans in need of help. However, it is important to measure the impact of our programs. One such program DVNF has is the Health & Comfort program, by which we send critically-needed items like clothing, toiletries, and other vital goods to homeless and low-income veterans at stand down events and shelters. This program has already reached veterans in communities up and down the United States so far in 2017. So far this year, we’ve sent 11 Health & Comfort shipments! Thousands of veterans now have clothing they may not have been able to afford, a new suit to help them land a job, or even something as

Guest Blog: Hidden Pain

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By: Ana Yelen, Healing Warriors Program When we first launched Healing Warriors Program, one of our staunchest supporters, told us the reason our program was so important for her.  This woman, a teacher, mentor and medical professional, shared with us a story she had been unable to share in over 30 years: the anguish of her dad’s death, over what they called shell-shock and we call PTSD, quietly trickled out.  It was a heart-wrenching story, made even more tragic by the fact that thirty years later, we continue to lose veterans at alarming rates because of pain and post traumatic stress. But the problem is complex and finds expression in a multitude of ways, from the homeless veterans living day to day, to the veteran who has transitioned back to civilian life and is seemingly reintegrated into their prior life. 

GUEST BLOG: Healing and Empowering Military Families to Thrive

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Project Sanctuary works with DVNF to support heroes in need Not an hour goes by for Jim* without reliving the horrors of that day. One moment he was on a fairly typical mission in Iraq. The next he lay trying to clear the dust from his eyes and inventory the full extent of his injuries. The months that followed seemed like a series of snapshots, each one building upon the last to ensure Jim’s survival. Doctors had prepared him that the odds were against his walking again. After three surgeries, recovery became Jim’s new mission and perhaps the most grueling of all, trying to make his body move as it had before. Post-traumatic stress and a traumatic brain injury induced nightmares, flashbacks and migraines. Jim often found it ironic that the virtues of freedom and independence for which he had

DVNF Veteran Employee Spotlight – Tammi Jean Franklin

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A Female Veteran with a Unique Experience As part of DVNF’s commitment to serving the men and women who stood in our defense, we understand the importance of having team members who have been in their shoes. The following story gives some background on one of the veterans working at DVNF. Tammi Jean Franklin, DVNF’s Donor Services Specialist, is a Navy veteran who came to DVNF in 2016. She is a Vietnam Era Sailor, and the story of her military experience as a woman in the 1970’s is best understood through the culture of the time. It’s quite remarkable how far we’ve come since that time. Tammi Jean served in the Navy from 1973-1977. She enlisted at age 18. In contrast to today’s standards, “girls and boys” were not considered adults until the age of 21 so Tammi Jean’s parents had to

Remembering Heroes of D-Day

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The overcast sky was an appropriate omen to the reality of that summer day. The humming of planes resonated loudly. Even if the men could hear one another talking, no one spoke a word. There was a certain understanding of what they would soon face, and their likely last moments would be spent in self-reflection. Though internally overwrought with fear, acceptance of their likely fates and recognition of this just cause gave them some sense of serenity. The droning engines were soon peppered with loud, intermittent booms. A passive thunder on such an overcast day seemed unsurprising. Through the gray fog, a faint glimpse of the rocky inlays of the shore could be seen, the beach shielded from vision by the tall bulkhead of the amphibious boats they occupied. The booms grew louder and louder. The closer to the shore

DVNF and O2O Give New Suits to Veterans

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Suits to veterans transitioning from the military On May 6th, DVNF teamed up with Onward2Opportunity (O2O) to give out new suits to veterans, as well as a full outfit of business clothing to these transitioning service members in North Carolina. The event marked the second shipment of business attire DVNF has sent this year through its corporate sponsor, Joseph A. Bank. Nearly $150,000 worth of dress clothing was given to the veterans who will graduate from O2O's vocational training program on May 19th. The goal of the shipment was to equip these veterans with new business clothing so they could be prepared for interviews and employment in a new civilian career. Onward to Success. Thank you, @DVNF! pic.twitter.com/0beqRWzf3D — Onward2Opportunity (@Onward2Opp) May 6, 2017 Onward 2 Opportunity is a comprehensive training and career placement service for transitioning service members. They

PTSD – A Guide to Understanding and Getting Treatment

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What is PTSD, and who does it affect? Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an illness that affects approximately one-in-five veterans from all eras. It is an acute reaction to a traumatic event that can cause negative symptoms associated with that trauma. The technical definition of PTSD is “a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.” Symptoms  Did you know that there are 4 main types of PTSD symptoms? 1) Reliving the event When a traumatic event happens, a lasting symptom of PTSD is the reliving of the traumatic event. At any point you can feel that sense of horror you had when the event happened. This may come about through nightmares, flashbacks, or a trigger like a sight, smell, or sound that

Mental Health Awareness Month and What You Should Know

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and at DVNF, this holds added meaning. Mental health is a common issue that’s mentioned when talking about veterans. Military service not only challenges veterans physically; it tests them mentally even more. And when it comes to combat, the mind is just as vulnerable to injuries as the body. Combat has changed drastically over the course of several decades. While advancements in modern technology and medicine have helped save lives, is it coming at the expense of our veterans’ mental health? TBI Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is becoming more prominent in today’s warfare. In fact, according to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), among post-9/11 veterans, more than 360,000 have suffered a TBI, accounting for 22% of combat casualties. This injury can be a problem that’s

Female Veteran Suicide Rate Increasing

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Veteran Suicide Still a Growing Concern - Especially for Female Veterans Veterans take their own lives at an alarming average of 20 each day. However, female veteran suicide continues to grow as well. What's behind this alarming and upsetting trend? According to the NPR piece, women veterans are two to five times more likely to take their own lives than civilian women. The audio discusses many common contributing factors to this trend, including: PTSD Financial concerns Loneliness Depression Family concerns However, they mentioned a few additional factors that are a bit more troubling. Military Sexual Trauma (MST) Sexual assault and/or abuse is an issue that continues to pop up in headlines. It's become a contentious issue that comes about in sports all too often. Regrettably, it is not discussed enough when it comes to the military. Did you know that one in four women

DVNF Veteran Employee Spotlight – Nicholi Ambersley

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A Navy Veteran with a Great Perspective As part of DVNF’s commitment to serving the men and women who stood in our defense, we understand the importance of having team members who have been in their shoes. The following story gives some background on one of the veterans working at DVNF. Nicholi Ambersley, DVNF’s Donor Services Specialist, came to DVNF in 2016. This soft-spoken Navy veteran is originally from the island of Jamaica, having moved to New Jersey in 1997. Nicholi spent nearly 10 years in the Navy, serving from 2004 to 2014. His highest rank was Petty Officer Second Class (E-5). He served at a Naval Operation Support Center (NOSC) in New Jersey for a few years. Here, he receive the duty of funeral honors. This role required him to make sure that those who served before and passed away received