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Guest Blog: HERL Trains Vets in Manufacturing

  Dr. Rory Cooper (left), Director of HERL, talking with a veteran in his program. We at the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL) – a partnership between the University of Pittsburgh and VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System – take great pride in our work with Veterans. Our efforts are aimed at improving every aspect of their lives and the lives of their families, whether through programs to assist with the transition from the military to enrollment in STEM-related fields of study, or research that will improve their level of satisfaction and participation in everyday life activities. (more…)

Guest Blog: Vets Explore Self-Expression Through Art

By: Kristen Hughes Director of Arts in Healing The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts Support from the Disabled Veterans National Foundation has enabled Arts in Healing to provide 10-12 hours per week of visual art, music, creative writing, drama and dance to veterans served through the Robley Rex VA Medical Center and to test-drive the concept for a veteran/civilian cooperative called “Warrior’s Heart Community.” [caption id="attachment_5523" align="alignright" width="282"] A community member viewing artwork created by veterans in Warriors’ Heart Community pilot project[/caption] Warrior’s Heart Community recently completed a highly successful 9 week pilot project, based on steps outlined in The Warrior’s Return, by Dr. Ed Tick of Soldier’s Heart. The process involved veterans sharing stories about their combat experiences and ensuing struggles with civilians who listened non-judgmentally and without attempting to fix or offer advice, serving as Sacred Witnesses to

For Many Vets, Misconduct Discharges A Sentence to Homelessness

It’s no secret that veterans often find themselves at a disadvantage when exiting the military. Financial difficulty, family stress, and uncertainty about job prospects can often be a formula for disaster for these veterans, and many wind up homeless. But then there are other veterans who become victims of their own irresponsibility, and are branded as such for years to come. According to the LA Times, a study among Post-9/11 VA patients from 2001 to 2011 showed that around 5.6 percent were discharged from the military for misconduct. However, that small percentage accounted for over 28 percent of veterans who became homeless in their first year after leaving the military. Note that this does not include service members with a “dishonorable” discharge, as they are not eligible for VA services. The group surveyed here was discharged for misconduct – usually

Guest Blog: Vets Rehabilitate in the Great Outdoors

By: Sandra Budak Executive Director Honoring Our Veterans Honoring Our Veterans is committed to helping our nation’s veterans heal. We are very fortunate to have the Disabled Veterans National Foundation partner with us in this endeavor. We truly believe we are making a difference in these warriors’ lives. This June, seven combat wounded veterans from across the country enjoyed water sports recreation in stunning Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Without the Foundation’s generous support, we would not be able to offer these rehabilitative therapy programs. With beautiful lakes at the base of the spectacular Teton Range and a nationally designated scenic river, Jackson Hole is the ideal location for water sports recreation. The activities we offer wounded veterans during this session strengthen physical, cognitive, emotional, and social functioning. We offer these programs to wounded veterans at no charge; airfare, transportation, lodging, activities, equipment and meals

Guest Blog: 3 Booming Tech Careers for Disabled Veterans

By Rick Kuehn, CEO at GruntRoll; exited the Marines  in 2010 as a Corporal. One of the many challenges facing disabled Veterans is finding suitable employment. Veterans suffering from PTSD often find difficulty in working in tight-quartered, high-energy environments like the standard American workplace. As a result, some Veterans are turning towards work-from-home professions to overcome the incompatibility some face with a traditional office environment. The youngest generation of combat Veterans are blessed with the distinct advantage of having grown up with technology, and possess a natural affinity to it. These fields are so in-demand that many of the positions aren’t being filled. In a generation of unemployed college graduates, you can find a lucrative career working from home without stepping foot into a classroom. 1) Software Developer The Software Developer is currently the number one most in-demand profession in the

Guest Blog: Make it Count

By the Student Veterans of America President and CEO, D. Wayne Robinson. As you settle into the new semester, make it count by lending a helping hand By the time you’re reading this, classes have started up on college campuses around the country and the semester is in full swing. The scene is much the same as in years previous: syllabi have been handed out and summarily discarded, students justify ignoring the professor with a PowerPoint presentation they’ll wait to open until the night before the final, and the lecture halls have stratified themselves into the barely conscious in back, and overly alert and eager in the front. You may notice one difference, however. Around campus and in among the mixed enthusiasm in the classroom are a handful of veterans. You may also notice that that handful is just a

Clarence: An Inspirational Story on Overcoming Traumatic Brain Injury

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="584"] Clarence[/caption] Meet Clarence. Clarence is the young veteran working at the mill machine in the photo you see above. He has been out of the military for 3 years now, having served in combat right out of high school. Clarence is currently finishing out the Advanced Inclusive Manufacturing (AIM) program at the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL) at the University of Pittsburgh. This program is one that teaches veterans like Clarence the basics of machinery, which will give them a leg up in a high-demand field. Clarence suffered a major traumatic brain injury (TBI) during a deployment. Now he has a form of visual agnosia, in which he lacks the ability to visually recall images in his mind. He told us during our visit to the HERL lab that remembering how an object should look when

5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Women Vets

This March, DVNF is celebrating Women’s History Month. Their service was overlooked for decades, but they have been an integral force in our military’s operations. We cannot thank them enough for all they have done, and want them to know how truly important they are, and have always been, to the operation of the U.S. Military. So, here are 5 things you probably didn’t know about women veterans!                        

Yuba-Sutter Stand Down- Day 2

We arrived at the grassy basin once again on Friday, the weather identical to Thursday. The difference today though, the population of veterans and volunteers had more than doubled! We could tell immediately that we were going to have a very active day. More tents and RV’s had been set up, most for healthcare services. The Red Cross also sent in a truck and representatives were handing out various good to the vets and their families. The strange part about it was that this event on the second day almost seemed like base camp in a war zone. In a way, it sort of was—just a very different type of war. This was a war on homelessness, a crusade to remember the forgotten, a battle to provide. The much needed reinforcements had arrived. The wounds of the warriors were not

Yuba-Sutter Veterans Stand Down – Day 1

We arrived at the event in Riverfront Park Thursday morning and everyone was in high gear. Tents set up, people bustling about every which way. The location at the park was perfect. All tents were set up in a shallow basin adjacent to the river. The grass, a rich green with oak trees scattered sparsely across the plot—not overwhelming the area, but providing an ideal amount of shade. Naturally, for a late August day in northern California, the sun was bright, and there was not a cloud in the sky. The sounds of the leaves faintly brushing around in the trees and voices filling the air, only occasionally interrupted by the sounds of a Harley’s deep, perpetual groaning. The motorcycles, as you can imagine, were abundant, for these were predominantly Veterans of Vietnam, “Eternal Riders” as they call themselves. Three