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DMVA Digest June 13, 2018

A publication of Pennsylvania's Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
 
  DMVA News
PA Women Veterans Survey Open Through Midnight, June 18, 2018:
The Wolf Administration is working to identify the needs and unique challenges of Pennsylvania's nearly 60,000 women veterans. A comprehensive survey is available online for easy completion and submission until June 18, 2018 at midnight. Take the survey today! Visit: Survey.
Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans Reminded To Apply For Bonus Program:
Eligible Pennsylvania veterans who served on active duty in the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations from Aug. 2, 1990 to Aug. 31, 1991, still have time to collect a special one-time payment to honor their service and sacrifice. Applications for the Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans Bonus are due by Aug. 31, 2018. Read more.
  Around the State
Air Force Veteran Supports Women Who've Served:
Air Force veteran Rhonda Smith has started a business to support fellow female veterans. Smith thinks that women sometimes have a slightly different experience than men in the military, having to prove their place. "In my experience, I had to work twice as hard and twice as long to earn my credit and earn my dues, and I did that willingly, but there is a difference," she said of her time in the Air Force. Read more. 
FatherFest To Feature A Variety Of Aircraft At Helicopter Museum:
Various aircraft from military to home-built will highlight this year’s FatherFest on Sunday, June 17, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the American Helicopter Museum & Education Center (Chester County). The legendary annual event, which began in 2000 as a way to honor dads for all they do, also features antique cars and motorcycles, food trucks, a beer garden, sports-oriented inflatable games and more. Read more.
Helping Veterans Cast Their Way Home:
Fourteen veterans recently took part in the God’s Country Chapter of Trout Unlimited Project Healing Waters fly fishing retreat on the peaceful streams of Potter County. Project Healing Waters takes military personnel who have been injured or disabled and teaches them to tie flies and fly fish which helps aid their physical and emotional recovery by introducing and rebuilding skills they can employ for lifelong recreation. Read more. 
Man Known For His Talks About Serving In World War II:
For many people around the world, 96-year-old Guy Prestia of North Sewickley (Beaver County) is an icon. People like to hear him speak about his experiences during World War II. Veterans don’t typically like to talk about what they went through serving in war, but Prestia has used his time to speak to schools, groups and organizations about the good times and bad times he had serving in wartime Europe. Read more. 
Veterans Community Home:
The Veterans Community Home LLC is looking for adult men, seeking independent living, who can live on their own and want to enjoy the company of others. The Veterans Community Home is located in Lebanon County, just minutes from the Lebanon VA Medical Center and shopping. Everything you need is included, such as a home with semi private rooms, three meals provided daily, laundry, housekeeping, cable TV, internet/wifi, security, parking, social activities, pool table, card games and much more. This all-inclusive price is $699 a month. Get 10 percent off for the first month if you sign up by June 15, 2018. Call Maria 717-579-3829 or Creig 717-329-2524 for a private showing. Website.
Veterans Who Are Homeless Or At Risk Of Homelessness:
Are you a veteran? Do you know someone who is a veteran? The Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) provides help for veterans to acquire permanent housing or to attain stability-rental assistance for veterans in McKean, Potter, Cameron and Elk counties. Contact: Jim Line at 814-389-5065 or email james.line@ntcac.org
Volunteers Needed To Collect Army Veterans' Recollections:
Oral histories will be collected for U.S. Army War College archives. Edinboro University of Pennsylvania is looking for volunteers to collect Army veterans' recollections for the service's historical archives. Volunteers will be trained by members of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center Veterans Ambassador Program on June 20-21 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the university. Read more.
  Across the Nation
Army Veteran Got His Life And His Daughter Back Thanks To Compensated Work Therapy Program:
Across from Craig Robbins’ desk in his large office in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Palo Alto carpentry building is a picture of his daughter at her eighth grade graduation. For Robbins, that photo is a reminder of what pushed him to change his life for the better years ago. “My biggest priority was being a better father and making sure my daughter is raised the right way,” Robbins said, explaining why he worked so hard to turn his life around from where it was a decade ago. Read more.
Department Of Veterans Affairs (VA) Commits $17 Million To Expand Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program:
VA is taking action to address intimate partner violence by earmarking $17 million in funds to support veterans in need. The funds will strengthen intimate partner violence assistance programs in VA facilities nationwide. “VA recognizes that intimate partner violence is a health issue faced by many veterans and their families,” said Acting VA Secretary Peter O’Rourke. Read more.
Department Of Veterans Affairs (VA) Joins Nationwide Effort To Stop Opioid Abuse:
The White House made a significant announcement about combating youth opioid abuse and unveiled a new youth opioid prevention ad campaign. The opioid epidemic is spreading across America and is affecting a widening group of people. The impact of this crisis cannot be overstated. Read more. 
Department Of Veterans Affairs (VA) Study Finds Effective, Inexpensive Skin Cancer Drug:
A recent VA study has revealed an effective, cost-efficient method for the prevention of nonmelanoma skin cancer, the most common cancer in the U.S. Investigators at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System discovered that, over a three-year period, patients treated with topical fluorouracil 5 percent (5-FU) had decreased skin cancer-related health care costs. Read more.
Habitat For Humanity Palmyra, NJ:
- Habitat for Humanity of Burlington County and Greater Trenton-Princeton will build two brand new single family homes in Palmyra, NJ that we hope to sell to veterans. 
- Point of contact: Taquana Wright direct at 856-441-3626 or office at 856-439-6717 
Income guidelines. 
Available Homes.
Hometown Hero Earns France’s Highest Military Award For Service During WWII:
The Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs has a myriad of veterans with incredible stories at its veterans' homes. Recently, at the Southwest Louisiana Veterans Home Pfc. Amadia Broussard was presented with the highest French meritorious military award for his actions during World War II. Vincent Sciama, consul general of France, bestowed the National Order of the Legion to Broussard, who was surrounded by friends and family, at the veterans home in Jennings, Louisiana. Read more.
Is It Alzheimer's? Stay Ahead Of Memory Problems:
In healthy aging, it’s common to have trouble remembering names of people, places, and other things. If memory problems are seriously affecting your daily life, they could be early signs of Alzheimer's disease. It’s important to know the difference between natural memory loss and Alzheimer’s. Many older adults are not willing to be tested for memory problems. Read more.
Statement By Acting U.S. Department Of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Peter O’Rourke – President Trump Signs Historic MISSION Act:
President Trump kept his promise to the nation’s veterans and signed the historic VA MISSION Act into law. His leadership in the Rose Garden is testament to his commitment to veterans, caregivers and their families. The bipartisan support fostered by the tireless work of both the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairmen Rep. Phil Roe and Sen. Johnny Isakson, along with members of the committees, led to the overwhelming passage of the Act. Read more.
U.S. Department Of Veterans Affairs (VA) Assistance To Veterans Who Are Severely Disabled:
Did you know VA offers housing grants to veterans with certain service-connected disabilities and disabilities resulting from aging? VA stepped in when Peter, an Army veteran, had physical challenges navigating his home. “The VA provided me with a grant which allowed us to equip our house for complete handicapped access,” he says. Read more.
Veteran's Story First Army Assignment Was Training Messenger Dogs:
Pennsylvania native Al Barzanti knew he didn’t want to go back to the coal mines after finishing his hitch in the United States Army in early 1945. “I was a timber man,” he said. “My job was to put up the wood timbers in the mine shafts so the shaft wouldn’t collapse. They’d dig a far way back into the mountain and every few yards we had to put a wood brace on each side (of the shaft) to support the cross-beam on the ceiling. It was dangerous work.” Read more. 
Vets Call For Full Accounting Of Korea War Missing At Trump-Kim Summit:
The overriding topic of the Singapore summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is denuclearization, but Keith Harman, national commander of the 1.7-million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars, said in a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump that those long missing from the war should also be a priority. Read more. 
Vietnam-Era Veteran Uses New Knees To Escape From Alcatraz:
Two weeks after George Mink had both knees replaced, while in rehab at the St. Louis VA Medical Center one of the specialists in charge of physical activity said to the lifelong athlete, “I heard that you’re talking about riding and running with your knees.” Mink said “yeah absolutely, I’m just counting down the days until these babies get better.” She said “I’ll tell you what,” and she went and got a three wheeled bike and brought it to his hospital bed. “So you want to ride again, right?” “Absolutely,” Mink replied. Read more. 
What Service Members Should Know When Choosing A College:
Thinking about college? You already have the discipline it takes to pursue higher education. From big universities to small colleges, you have plenty of options and each has something unique to offer. Here’s how to compare your college options and find the right institution for your education goals. Read more.
  Employment Opportunities
This listing is offered as a resource to both Pennsylvania's veterans and businesses that seek to employ veterans. The DMVA has not investigated the positions being offered or the businesses listed, and does not warrant or guarantee either the availability or the terms and conditions of the positions listed. Please contact the employers represented in this listing directly. To have an employment opportunity listed please email: RA-VA-Newsletter@pa.gov
Greater Lancaster Community Job Fair:
- June 14, 2018, 1-4 p.m. 
- Farm and Home Foundation of Lancaster, 1383 Arcadia Rd., Lancaster, PA (Lancaster County) 
- Any questions call 1-800-572-9041 or email info@relianthiring.com 
- Free to job seekers! We recruit dozens of employers and employment resource providers. 
Register. 
Facebook page.
Law Enforcement Hiring Expo:
- June 19, 2018, 1-5 p.m. 
- The Farm Show Complex, PA Preferred Banquet Hall (3rd Level), 2300 N. Cameron St., Harrisburg, PA (Dauphin County) 
- Parking: Free at North Parking lot (Industrial Rd./Wildwood Dr. entrance) 
- The event is free to attend. 
Register. 
Facebook page. 
Veterans' Job Fair:
- June 20, 2018, 9 a.m.-noon 
- Lebanon VA Medical Center, 1700 South Lincoln Ave., Building 37, Lebanon, PA (Lebanon County) 
- Point of contact: Ryan Treadway at 717-274-2554, Ext. 122 
- This event is free, but you must be a veteran to attend. Be sure to bring a copy of your resume!
Harrisburg Nursing & Healthcare Hiring Expo:
- June 20, 2018, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. 
- The Farm Show Complex, PA Preferred Banquet Hall (3rd level), 2300 North Cameron St., Harrisburg, PA (Dauphin County) 
- The event is Absolutely free for career seekers and parking is free at the North Parking lot (Industrial Rd./Wildwood Dr. entrance) 
Facebook page. 
Preregister.
Cumberland County Director Of Veteran Affairs:
Cumberland County is looking for talented, self-motivated individuals to join our team. If you are ready to be a part of an exciting team, we encourage you to continue with this online job application. This position is to provide advice, assistance and counseling to the public concerning veteran benefits and services. This job posting will close at 4:30 p.m. on June 29, 2018. Apply.
Accepting Applications For The 2018 Season – Make A Difference In Your Community By Becoming An Organic Farmer:
Rodale Institute’s Veteran Farmer Training Program is a two-to-four month, 100 percent hands-on, paid learning opportunity for veterans. Veterans learn at Rodale Institute, a leader in organic agriculture research and education nestled on a 333-acre organic farm in Kutztown, PA (Berks County). For more information go to the Rodale Institutewebsite or contact Lyndsey Antanitis, program manager, at veterans@rodaleinstitute.org.
Governor Tom Wolf Announces AmerisourceBergen Selects Pennsylvania For Expansion Of National Headquarters, Adding More Than 550 New Jobs:
Governor Tom Wolf announced that AmerisourceBergen, a global health care solutions provider, has selected Pennsylvania as the location to expand its national headquarters, a move that is expected to create more than 550 new family-sustaining jobs in Montgomery County where the expansion will take place. “This project is so significant not just because one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical distributors is expanding its headquarters here, but because of the magnitude of that expansion,” Governor Wolf said. Read more.
U.S. Department Of Veterans Affairs (VA) Is Looking For Medical Center Directors To Honor America’s Veterans In These Locations:
New locations seeking medical center directors and executive directors. The recent “Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017,” dramatically speeds up hiring of medical center and network director positions. Thanks to the new law, VA now has the flexibility to hire qualified health care executives expeditiously to lead its key health care organizations without going through a previously cumbersome and time-consuming hiring process. Read more. 
Waste Management Hiring CDL Rolloff Drivers In Beach Lake, Telford and Pen Argyl:
- Text WASTE to 51893 or call 1-877-220-5627 for more information 
- Requirements: Must be at least 21 years of age, hold a current Class A or B CDL with air brake endorsement, have one year of experience operating a vehicle requiring a CDL or equivalent and military driving within the last seven years. 
- These positions are eligible for a special bonus. 
Apply. 
  Veteran Events
This listing is offered as a service to individuals and organizations to promote their veteran and military-oriented events being held in Pennsylvania. The information is taken directly from emailed submissions from requestors. DMVA is not responsible for incorrect information submitted. Please send details on events to RA-VA-Newsletter@pa.gov and include the following key pieces of information: 1. Name of event, 2. Date of event, 3. Time of event, 4. Address of event, 5. County of event, 6. Event website, 7. Point of contact name, 8. POC phone number, 9. POC email address, and 10. Additional details/coordinating instructions (fees, pre-registration, etc.)
Flag Day Celebration And Flag Retirement Ceremony:
- June 14, 2018, 3-8 p.m., Music by Gabe Traynor, 5-6 p.m., flag retirement ceremony begins at 6 p.m. 
- Classic Harley-Davidson, 983 James Dr., Leesport, PA (Berks County) 
- Food provided by Mission BBQ and will be for sale, 4-7:30 p.m. All proceeds will benefit Wreaths Across America, Indiantown Gap National Cemetery 
Facebook page.
Open House At Southeastern Veterans' Center, Spring City, PA:
- Saturday, June 16, 2018, 12:30-2:30 p.m. 
- Southeastern Veterans' Center (SEVC), One Veterans' Dr., Spring City, PA (Chester County) 
- Point of contact: Jill Alwine at 610-948-2406 or email jialwine@pa.gov 
- The public is invited to an open house showcasing the Memory Care Unit. Take a tour, meet the staff, enjoy refreshments, participate in activities and experience the comradery of fellow veterans. 
SEVC website.
Veterans Breakfast Club (VBC) Morning Event:
- June 19, 2018, 8:30-10:30 a.m. 
- Christ United Methodist Church, 44 Highland Rd., Bethel Park, PA (Allegheny County). 
- R.S.V.P to 412-623-9029 or email Lauren@veteransbreakfastclub.com – mention DMVA Digest when you R.S.V.P. 
- The cost to have breakfast is $12 and the event is free if you choose not to eat. 
- The VBC is a nonprofit that creates communities of listening around veterans and their stories. Storytelling events, both morning and night, are held throughout western Pennsylvania. Veterans from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan share their stories. They are open to the public, and you don’t need to be a veteran to attend. 
Facebook page.
PTSD Care And Support Real Warriors Campaign Resources:
- June 21, 2018, 1-2 p.m. 
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop after experiencing, witnessing or learning the details of a traumatic event. This webinar will discuss PTSD signs, symptoms and treatment options, as well as how to overcome barriers to seeking care. An overview of Real Warriors Campaign resources for service members, veterans and families who are coping with PTSD will also be provided. Join us for a presentation and Q&A session. 
Register. 
Women Veterans Summer Leadership Retreat 2018:
- June 22-23, 2018 
- Conference Center and Golf Club, 800 Ridge Rd., Lafeyette Hill, PA (Montgomery County) 
- Any questions call 215-836-4262 or email Info@WomenVetsRock.org 
- It's more than a conference, it's a leadership experience. Women veterans, reservists, National Guard, ROTC, military spouses and moms are all invited to attend. 
Website.
Ride With The Vets Poker Fun Run:
- June 24, 2018, kickstands are up at 11 a.m., so come early to register! 
- Appalachian Harley Davidson, 6695 Carlisle Pike, Mechanicsburg, PA (Cumberland County) 
- Point of contact: 717-567-3634 
- The cost is $15 per person or $20 per couple. motorcycles or cars are welcome to join in. Prizes will be awarded at the end of the poker run and the New Bloomfield VFW will be providing all participants a delicious chicken dinner with a beverage. 
Facebook event.
Veteran Job Club Opens In Meadville (Crawford County):
- 2nd & 4th Friday of the Month, June 29, 2018, 9:30-11:30 a.m. 
- PMI, 764 Bessemer St., #105, Meadville, PA (Crawford County) 
- Points of contact: Marty Acri at 814-860-2861, Lorie Panitzke at 814-860-2008, or Nicole Siira at 814-860-2128 
- The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Erie Medical Center (Erie County) provides a free job club open to all veterans interested in obtaining employment. Starting June 29, the medical center will be expanding the Job Club to the Meadville community. All veterans interested in seeking employment are invited to attend the veteran Job Club in Meadville. This Job Club offers employment assistance with resumes, interviewing, job searching and support throughout the process.
Next Generation Farm Summit:
- June 29, 2018, noon-3:30 p.m. 
- J. Roy Houston Conservation Center and Donohoe Center, 214-218 Donohoe Rd., Greensburg, PA (Westmoreland County) 
- Point of contact: Sandy Donovan at 724-837-5271 
- Farmers and those aspiring to be farmers are encouraged to attend the Next Generation Farm Summit to learn about new trends and markets in agriculture. The event will feature a light lunch, short presentations and exhibits by industry representatives who can answer your questions about the next generation of farming. 
- There is no cost to attend, but advanced registration is required by June 20. Register.
Women Veterans Town Hall And Expo:
- June 30, 2018, 9 a.m.-noon 
- U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, 950 Soldiers Dr., Carlisle, PA (Cumberland County) 
- Point of contact: Crystal Petery at 717-861-6904 or email cpeteryshe@pa.gov 
- The Governor’s Advisory Council on Veterans Services is inviting women veterans and those actively serving to attend a free town hall and expo. Learn about programs and services available to you, speak with representatives from various state agencies and pick up valuable resource materials. 
- Attendees are not required to register for this event and it is open to women veterans, women service members, and their families.
Veterans Breakfast Club (VBC) Morning Event:
- July 4, 2018, 9-11 a.m. 
- Conemaugh Township Fire Department, 1942 Kring St., Tire Hill, PA (Somerset County) 
- R.S.V.P. to 412-623-9029 or email Lauren@VeteransBreakfastClub.com. Please mention the DMVA Digest when you R.S.V.P. 
- Free breakfast provided by the Richland American Legion Post #849. The VBC is a nonprofit that creates communities of listening around veterans and their stories. Veterans from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan share their stories. They are open to the public, and you don’t need to be a veteran to attend. 
Facebook page. 
Welcome Home Event:
- July 13, 2018, 6-9 p.m. 
- Erie Zoo, 423 W 38th St., Erie, PA (Erie County) 
- Tickets for the annual Welcome Home Veterans Appreciation Event at the Erie Zoo are available and free to veterans (four available per veteran). In addition to providing fun for the whole family, this event is a one-stop-shop for veterans and their families to meet with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) representatives on-site and veteran-related community resources to help connect veterans to the right services. 
Facebook page. 
Ticket pickup locations.
Introduction To Whole Health Class:
- Second and fourth Friday of every month 9-11 a.m. 
- Erie VA Medical Center, 135 East 38th St., Erie, PA (Erie County) 
- Point of contact: Will Lachner at 814-860-2447 
- Whole Health coaches are available to help recently discharged veterans and their families work through challenges that arise from transitioning from military service by equipping them with tools for self-care and well-being. Family members are highly encouraged to attend.
Veterans Family Fishing Program:
- Second and fourth Sunday of each month through Nov. 25, 2018, 1-5 p.m. 
- Fisherman's Paradise, 1150 Spring Creek Rd., Bellefonte, PA (Centre County) 
- Point of contact: James H. Lanning at 814-238-2086 or email jlanningvsp@gmail.com 
- All veterans and active duty military personnel are invited to learn fly fishing, improve your existing skills and learn about conservation projects to keep our streams and watersheds healthy and protected. Fishing gear, supplies and fishing licenses are provided as needed as well as a one-year membership to Trout Unlimited. 

Pittsburgh Vet Center Newsletter

The Next Tactical Taco Tuesday will be Tuesday June 19.  The event will include a special recognition of veterans of the Vietnam War and those veterans will be given the opportunity to share their experiences with the rest of the group.

Come join us for free tacos and connect with your fellow veterans.  All future Tactical Taco Tuesday's will be from 6-8pm on the published dates. Attendees to the June 19 TTT will receive free tickets to the Thursday June 21 Pittsburgh Pirates game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Future dates :
August 21: Afghanistan Veterans Recognition
Please RSVP for all events to Ryan.Ahl@va.gov or 412-920-1765
 
Photos from the May 22 Tactical Taco Tuesday
In honor of Memorial Day, the Pittsburgh Vet Center set up a Fallen Comrade Table to honor those who we lost in service. Vet Center Counselor, Ryan Burcham, read a script to honor those comrades in observance of Memorial Day.

Vet Center in the Community
The Pittsburgh Vet Center attended the "Support Our Troops" rally at Irvine Park Gazebo in Beaver hosted by the Vietnam Veterans of America. Pictured is Congressman Conor Lamb, Pennsylvania's 18th District, Mr. Larry Googins, President of VVA Chapter 862, and Ryan Burcham, Marriage and Family Counselor at the Pittsburgh Vet Center.

Pittsburgh Vet Center Hours

Sunday:
Closed

Monday:
8:30 am - 8:00 pm

Tuesday:
8:00 am - 7:30 pm

Wednesday:
8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Thursday:
8:00 am - 4:30  pm

Friday:
8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Saturday:
Closed

Holidays:
July 4: Closed
 
Vet Center Groups

Groups Sessions are held at the Pittsburgh Vet Center location. Please contact the Vet Center if you are interested in joining a group, a screening process is required prior to group participation.

Schedule:
Mondays: OIF/OEF Group, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Tuesdays: Vietnam Group, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Wednesdays: Vietnam Group, 1:00-3:00 p.m.


Community Access Points
 
Community Access Points are where you can find Vet Center Counselors on a regular basis providing services at different places around Pittsburgh. The goal of the Community Access Point is to provide convenient locations for you to meet with Vet Center counselors.
 
 
African American Vietnam Group
Time: Thursdays, 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Place: Kingsley Community Center, 6435 Frankstown Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15206
 
OIF/OEF Group
Time: Thursdays, 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
Place: VA Hospital, University Drive, Pittsburgh PA 15219
 
OIF/OEF Group
Time: Wednesdays, 3:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. 
Place: VA Hospital Heinz Campus, 1010 Delafield Rd, Pittsburgh PA 15238
 
*For Appointments at Group Therapy or Community Access Points contact the Vet Center at 412-920-1765

Veterans Yoga Group
 
The Pittsburgh Vet Center hosts a yoga group every Tuesday
10:30 a.m – 11:30 a.m.
Veterans and family members of all ages and abilities are welcome to join!
For more information call the Pittsburgh Vet Center at 412-920-1765
 


Semper Fi Odyssey

Semper Fi Odyssey is a six-day, holistic transition-assistance event with a curriculum designed to get participants ready for life after military service while preparing them for success.  The camp is located in Boswell, PA. Retreat sessions have between twenty-five and thirty-five participants attending. All participants will be grouped into teams of three to five and each team is assigned a Team Leader that is committed to each participant’s individual progress. Our veteran Team Leaders, many of whom have walked in the same shoes as our participants, are carefully screened volunteer business professionals who have successfully transitioned out of the military and into the civilian workplace. The next Semper Fi Odyssesy camp is scheduled for June 24-30, 2018.  Interested veterans can contact Dan Pultz at dan@dmpultz.com


https://youtu.be/qonrvWTja3I

Life Changing Service Dogs for Veterans

Read a recent Post Gazette Story about Life Changing Service Dogs for Veterans here! 
A new dog training campus will be coming to the Pittsburgh area at the end of 2019!
 
Life Changing Service Dogs for Veterans is a Pittsburgh based organization that collaborates with Florida based Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs to provide service dogs to veterans in need in the Pittsburgh region with a mission to reduce suicide among America’s veterans.  Life Changing Service Dogs for Veterans has raised nearly $500,000 in order to provide service dogs to veterans free of charge. These specially trained dogs receive over 1,500 hours of training to provide assistance to veterans in need due to physical disabilities, cognitive issues related to Traumatic Brain Injury, and PTSD. Life Changing Service Dogs for Veterans is a collaborative effort between Veterans Cable Services, Inc. and Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs. More information on the organization can be found at: http://lifechangingservicedogsforveterans.org/  
The Veterans Leadership Program of Western PA is now accepting registrations for their annual fundraising ride from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C.  This is a fantastic event!

Registration can be done here: https://www.classy.org/event/335-miles-for-veterans-2018/e135044

The Veterans Breakfast Club
The Veterans Breakfast Club (VBC) is celebrating its 10 Year Anniversary this year.  They host morning and evening events with a mission to create communities of learning around veterans and their stories to ensure this living history will never be forgotten. The VBC also has a podcast called the Longest War that features the stories of post-9/11 veterans.  You can listen to the podcast here.

The VBC holds over 60 total events every year all over the Pittsburgh area.  All are welcome to attend these events. The full calendar of events can be found at the VBC website: www.veteransbreakfastclub.com 

The VBC recently took a trip to Vietnam and is planning a WWII Tour of Europe on September 11-25, 2018.  For more information, visit their website.

VA Issues New Policy to Protect Veteran Homeowners from Predatory Lending

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has issued a new policy implementing the May 2018 Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, to protect Veteran homeowners from predatory lending practices when obtaining a VA-guaranteed refinance loan. 
 
The act helps protect Veterans and service members from the dangers associated with repeatedly refinancing their home loans, requiring, among other things, the seasoning of the original loan and a recoupment period for fees, closing costs, and expenses related to the refinance.
 
“We want to ensure Veterans have the informed ability to take advantage of economic opportunities and make sound decisions that enable them to prosper when using their benefits,” said Acting VA Secretary Peter O’Rourke. “This is yet another tool that will help Veterans meet their personal goals.”
 
The act also provides for a specified interest rate decrease and for protections of loan-to-value ratios. A refinancing loan must meet the requirements specified in the act or VA will not guarantee the loan.
 
VA recently implemented a policy where lenders provide Veteran borrowers a comparison of their existing VA-backed home loan to the proposed one when refinancing to ensure borrowers are set up for success. This is also referred to as a recoupment or break-even analysis, which helps Veteran borrowers clearly understand the costs of refinancing, the monthly payment savings, and the overall impact on their finances. 
 
VA-backed home loans generally do not require a down payment, have low closing costs, and are the lowest rates among all loan products in the marketplace. Notably, VA-backed home loans also continue to outperform other products in the market. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, VA guaranteed more than 740,000 loans for a total of $189 billion, an all-time record for the VA Home Loan Program. Over the past three years, VA has guaranteed more than 2 million VA home loans for over $500 billion.
 
The VA Home Loan Program’s mission is to maximize Veterans’ and service members’ opportunity to obtain, retain, and adapt homes by providing a viable and fiscally responsible benefit program in recognition of their service to the nation. In addition, VA also helps severely disabled Veterans adapt their homes to live more independently by providing up to $81,080 for home modifications. For more information, including eligibility criteria, visit Housing Grants for Disabled Veterans.

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