Veterans

(Shula Neuman/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster today announced criminal charges against a St. Charles man accused of falsely collecting donations for the Wounded Warriors Project, a national nonprofit organization that assists wounded American veterans. 

(Courtesy AnthemUSA)

Plans are coming together for Oasis Residential@Emerson, a new supportive living community in St. Louis for veterans and other individuals with mental health issues, said business partners Sherman Strong and Kendall Brune.

Robert Peterson / St. Louis Public Radio

Officials with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs were in St. Louis today in an effort to get homeless veterans off the street and into housing immediately.

The outreach to veterans was part of the required winter count of homeless people in the city. Officials with the VA went out with teams, conducting the count to be able to offer immediate help to chronically homeless veterans. It was part of the Obama administration's efforts to end homelessness among veterans by 2015.

Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

Wanda Pierson was 500 miles from home on a wintry December morning waiting to visit her son who was undergoing treatment in the spinal cord injury unit at the Jefferson Barracks VA Medical Center.

(Courtesy Marleah Leslie & Associates)

In "Beyond Glory," actor and playwright Stephen Lang takes on the roles of eight men awarded the Medal of Honor, the country's highest military honor. The one-man play will be performed in St. Louis on Saturday, November 16 at Washington University's Edison Theatre.

Lang, whose credits include "Avatar," "Conan the Barbarian" and the Broadway production of "The Speed of Darkness," adapted the play from a book by the same name written by Larry Smith in 2003.

Joseph Leahy

Salutes fired in downtown St. Louis this morning at the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum in honor of the sacrifices made by U.S. armed service members for their country. Parades, ceremonies and speeches in the St. Louis area over the three-day weekend marked the 95th anniversary of the end of WWI, known previously as Armistice Day.

(Courtesy Six String Heroes)

For veterans struggling to adjust to civilian life, playing music can provide a means of focus and escape. That's the founding idea of Six String Heroes, a non-profit organization based at Jefferson Barracks. The organization connects St. Louis area veterans with guitar lessons as a means of music therapy.

After six lessons, veterans can earn a free guitar. So far, more than 170 guitars have been awarded.

Darcella Craven
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Air Force veteran Lachelle Stevenson, 40, of Belleville is researching what it would take to open an after-school tutoring center.

“It’s a personal goal to own my own business,” said Stevenson who attended a workshop last week hosted by the St. Louis office of the Small Business Administration to learn about the nuts and bolts of business start-ups.

(By Minesweeper [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Updated after today’s show.

Backlogs in disability claims.  Over-prescription of opiate narcotics. Exposure to blood-borne pathogens. Loose spending habits. In the last few years, the VA health care system has received a lot of negative media attention.

But according to Lynn Welling, that doesn’t mean veterans are receiving poor quality care. He is the chief of staff for the St. Louis VA Health Care System and a former Navy doctor.

(Bernt Rostad)

On day two of the government shutdown, it continues to cause headaches, including for a group of Missouri and Kansas veterans that flew to Washington. 

The nonprofit Heartland Honor Flight organized the trip and the closed National World War II Memorial was the first stop Wednesday. The group was met by many Missouri and Kansas lawmakers, who helped them get inside the memorial where barriers had been set up. 

(Flickr/807MDSC)

A 65-year-old Vietnam War veteran from St. Louis County received a Purple Heart medal more than 44 years after he was wounded overseas.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill's office says it helped secure the award for Walter Sitzwohl after his wife contacted the senator's office this summer. McCaskill is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Sitzwohl was first assigned to the A Company, 158th Assault Helicopter Battalion and deployed to Vietnam with that unit. He later transferred to D Company, 101st AHB in March 1969, based out of Phu Bai.

Jerry Tovo (Courtesy Missouri History Museum)

 During the Vietnam War, Jerry Tovo was a drill sergeant, training soldiers to go to war. After he left the military, Tovo became a professional photographer, specializing in advertising. But in 2011, he took his photography in a less commercial direction--photographing homeless veterans across the country.

Tovo's motivation for the project originated with an understanding of the problems that can lead to homelessness  among veterans.

(via Flickr/U.S. Army Garrison, Miami)

At first glance, veterans of the post 9/11 wars and St. Louis youth in high crime neighborhoods don't have much in common. But two things unite them: both are considered at-risk and both can have a tough time finding jobs.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Military veterans from across the nation are in St. Louis this weekend to receive training and take part in community improvement efforts.

The more than 80 veterans were joined by hundreds of community volunteers on Saturday to spruce up the Boys and Girls Club in north St. Louis City, building a picnic area, installing a new track and putting a fresh coat of paint on community areas. 

(via Flickr/KurtClark)

Memorial Day is one of just a couple days a year in which attention is brought specifically to veterans.

While the remembrance earlier this week is a reminder of veterans’ service to the country, the issues and needs associated with returning veterans is an ongoing issue.  Many veterans struggle with health and emotional issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), have difficulty finding jobs and trouble finding a new normalcy in civilian life.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, the wait time for veterans to receive benefits has skyrocketed from 116 days in 2009 to 330 days now. In response, US Representative Bill Enyart is sponsoring legislation to try to reduce that wait.

What the bill would do is pay partial, provisional benefits for veterans whose cases aren't handled within 125 days after they are submitted. Currently, that would apply to more than half a million veterans.

(via Flickr/KurtClark)

As of May 6, 2013, there were 19,900 veterans waiting to hear a response from the St. Louis Regional VA "about compensation for a disease, injury or illness linked to service in the military."

Where does that number, and classification of it, come from? The Center for Investigative Reporting has released a huge set of data (which is periodically updated) from the nation's Department of Veterans' Affairs and its local offices.  

U.S. VETS

Making the transition from the military to civilian life can be difficult. 

Many veterans come out of the military with combat trauma, a condition which must be dealt with before they can move on.  And many don’t admit their condition for fear their discharge will be delayed or they won’t be able to get jobs needing a security clearance or jobs in law enforcement. 

Only a fraction of those with combat trauma register with a VA hospital.

Jeff D. Corrigan

The Missouri Veterans History Project is a not-for-profit organization which seeks to capture the oral history of as many Missouri veterans as possible.

According to the group’s website, “Our nation’s veterans each have a unique perspective to share about our history. First-hand recollections of their service provide a richer and more personal context to historical accounts.”

Robert Peterson / St. Louis Public Radio

The transition from active military service to civilian life can challenge veterans and put a strain on a city’s homelessness resources.

Pages