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white cloud

(2,567 posts)
Sun Sep 30, 2012, 03:33 PM Sep 2012

First Lady Seeks More Help for Military Families

Spread the word. Michelle and Jill are working hard for the Vets.

Michelle Obama has been everywhere from a West Point mess hall to a NASCAR speedway in the past year to drum up support for military families through her "joining forces" campaign. On Wednesday, she marked the program's one-year anniversary by taking stock of what's been done and challenging Americans to do even more.

At a chilly ceremony on the White House lawn, Mrs. Obama praised businesses, churches, schools and other organizations for working to hire more veterans and provide other services to military families but added, "we are not here to pat ourselves on the back."

"There is so much more to do," she said. "It's a time for us to redouble our efforts."

Paul Rieckhoff, executive director and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, attended the White House event, and said afterward that while the first lady's campaign has been a welcome effort, many veterans of the two conflicts still aren't feeling its impact.

He credited the first lady for bringing new attention to the needs of military families and veterans, but said much more needs to be done to make sure promised jobs actually are delivered and to address the rising suicide rate among veterans, an issue he said the White House has shied away from.

"Mowing lawns for military families is great, but we've also got a spiking suicide rate," he said.

Reichoff said the White House would have to carefully navigate how to push the program in an election year without allowing it to become bogged down by partisanship.

"It's a very complicated dance to do, especially in an election year," he said.

Handled right, though, the initiative can be boost for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, offering the administration a patriotic platform that's guaranteed to be popular even if the war in Afghanistan is not.

After the White House event, Mrs. Obama and Jill Biden, the wife of the vice president, set out on a two-day anniversary tour with stops in Pennsylvania, New York, Louisiana and Florida to celebrate all things military and announce two milestones for the campaign:

-A commitment by more than 150 nursing organizations and hundreds of nursing schools to train current and future nurses on how to recognize and care for those with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries. The injuries have affected 1 in 6 of the troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq - more than 300,000 veterans.

-The hiring of the 50,000th person under the president's pledge last summer to promote the employment or training of 100,000 more veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013. Because military families move around so much, it can be hard for spouses to find and keep good jobs. Companies have pledged to hire 160,000 more veterans and spouses in coming years.

The first lady also will talk up the program Wednesday night on Stephen Colbert's TV show, "The Colbert Report."

7 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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First Lady Seeks More Help for Military Families (Original Post) white cloud Sep 2012 OP
K&R! pinboy3niner Sep 2012 #1
No..... Thank you pinboy3 niner for you service. white cloud Sep 2012 #2
I've seen a lot of veterans hired by my agency Victor_c3 Sep 2012 #3
Great post Victor and wish you the best in the world white cloud Oct 2012 #4
Thank you so much for sharing your perspective here, Victor pinboy3niner Oct 2012 #5
Thanks. Your reply means a lot to me Victor_c3 Oct 2012 #6
I had a friend whose VA psychiatrist encouraged him to write about his war experience pinboy3niner Oct 2012 #7


(3,557 posts)
3. I've seen a lot of veterans hired by my agency
Sun Sep 30, 2012, 09:32 PM
Sep 2012

I work for the federal government and I was the first Iraq/Afghanistan veteran hired in my facility when I took my current job in Feb 2010. Since then, easily 2/3 of the new people hired are veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. The only people I'm aware of who aren't veterans who've been hired are for jobs that require a PHD in a field of science or some other crazy education requirement. There really has been a noticiable surge in highering veterans in the last year or two.

Veterans highering preference made a world of difference in my life. I love workng for the Federal Government. It is a great family friendly employer, decent benefits, my job is rewarding, and I love the feeling of performing important work and giving back to our country.


(53,339 posts)
5. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective here, Victor
Wed Oct 3, 2012, 12:43 AM
Oct 2012

Not just in this post, but in all of your contributions to DU.

We VN vets are old fogies now. In our day, a lot of us buried our experience and didn't talk about it for many reasons. In my case, it took me 16 years to open up and talk about it--even with my little brother, who had been there with me.

It's really a BFD to see recent vets sharing their experiences and their views. Despite the personal struggles you are going through, you are making a huge and important contribution.

It's also heartening to hear that you found a great job doing work that you love.

My first job after my war also was federal. The private sector wasn't real keen on hiring someone who, they heard, might "go off" at any moment . But the federal agency guy who interviewed me happened to be a WWII vet who saw my service experience as an asset to the agency. And I worked my ass off and earned recognition and multiple awards, including one of my agency's two top awards.

In struggling through your own trauma, your work to help your brother and sister vets and to enlighten others will aso help you. One caution: While helping others, never forget to take care of yourself. From one who's been there, done that. I learned the hard way.

I'm glad to have you with us, and especially glad to see such a great communicator speaking out to share his war generation's perspective. Keep on doing what you're doing, Victor, and be sure to take care of yourself along the way. As my battalion's unofficial motto went, Drive On! Some day, I expect to be reading your book--and when you're doing one more book signing and some guy tells you he's pinboy3niner, I hope you'll remember me.


(3,557 posts)
6. Thanks. Your reply means a lot to me
Wed Oct 3, 2012, 10:39 AM
Oct 2012

Maybe it's some insecurity on my part, but I kind of feel like I'm going to be perceived as a "whiny bitch" by veterans and guys who've gone through things similar to me when I talk about my experiences and struggles.

Writing and getting my story out there is something I'm getting very serious about. I've bounced the idea around my head for a while and the time for thinking about it is done. I just need to start doing it and let things fall in order. The more I tell people I'm actually going to write a book, the more I'm committing myself to getting it done.

Even if it doesn't amount to anything I'll at least have a narrative to pass on to my family that will answer some of their questions about what I did in the war. My grandfather was an infantryman in WWII and I know almost nothing about what he did. He never talked about it to my father or to me and he died about 14 years ago, before I was able to really ask him some serious questions. There is a hole in me for not having some of those answers.

Hey, if I ever get my book finished and published I'll be sure to keep an eye out for you and a few other guys. I keep an eye out for your posts and those of a few others on this forum. Trust me, I won't forget who you are. I've fallen in love with the community on this forum and I don't plan on going anywhere anytime soon.


(53,339 posts)
7. I had a friend whose VA psychiatrist encouraged him to write about his war experience
Fri Oct 5, 2012, 02:05 AM
Oct 2012

So he did, often doing his writing in the coffee bar of Kramer Books, a D.C. bookstore. The bookstore owner took an interest and helped my friend publish his work in softcover pamphlets at first--until Random House also took an interest.

Random House published a hardcover edition of my friend's work.

I have a signed copy of his book, and I'm looking forward to having a signed copy of yours.

My friend, Rod Kane, is no longer with us. He'd served as a combat medic with the 1st Cav in VN. Rod survived the war and its traumatic aftermath (barely) and had protested with Vietnam Veterans Against the War, but he had a hereditary form of emphysema. I used to drive from Virginia to pick him up in Maryland to take him to his appointments at the Virginia hospital where he eventually got a lung transplant that extended his life by about 8 years. During that time, seeing his book published meant a lot to Rod--and I'm glad he got to see that before we lost him.

Keep writing, Victor. I'm pulling for you. And I know that if my friend Rod were here, he'd be pulling for you, too.

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