newsletter DECEMBER 2010 CALVET USES NEW TECHNOLOGY TO REACH OUT TO RETURNING VETS Social Media and YouTube Governor Schwarzenegger and the California Department of Veterans Affairs through its Operation Welcome Home initiative has partnered with six-timeCALVET SPIRIT AWARD UFC Heavyweight Champion of the The Northern California Veterans Cemetery in Igo was the big winner in the World Randy Couture to reach out toInaugural CalVet Spirit Award. There was a tie for second place between the Veterans recently returning veterans and connectServices Division at headquarters and the California Veterans Home, Ventura. them with the benefits and services they It was very hard selecting the best because all were “So Great,” said have earned.Undersecretary Rocky Chavez. The submissions clearly show that we have very “If we are going to reach out to thetalented and enthusiastic people that work for Veterans. new generation of veterans who grew Continued on page 2 >>GOVERNORSCHWARZENEGGER On December 9 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger joined California Department of Veterans Affairs insidePRESENTS GOLD (CalVet) Secretary Roger Brautigan and Veterans Services p.2STAR FAMILY LICENSE Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Director George Valverde to present the Ventura Vet Home p.9PLATES TO THREE first three Gold Star Family License Plates Upcoming Events p.10FAMILIES WHO LOST to the families of three men killed in theSONS IN IRAQ line of duty. Continued on page 2 >>REMINDER All veterans are reminded that the fastest way to County and secure the benefits you have earned is by visiting your local inquire Veterans ServiceOffice. A listing of these offices is available at www.cacvso.org or on CalVet’s website atwww.calvet.ca.gov/resources/database.aspx
veterans services << Continued from cover design a new license plate to be made Mobile App “The Gold Star Family License Plate is available to Gold Star families. Under the Additionally the Department a reminder to all of us of those who have provisions of the bill, the cost of setting implemented a new mobile application lost their lives while defending ours, up the program was to be covered by for the Android platform smart phones and of their families who face each day private donations collected by CalVet. that allows veterans to sign up for without their loved ones,” said Governor The Department reached the designated Operation Welcome Home and to get Schwarzenegger. “I am grateful to all amount of $300,000 in donations and information about the closest resource who made this license plate possible, direct pledges this past November. As for services and benefit assistance. The and may we never forget the courage, a token of the state’s appreciation for mobile app can be found in the official bravery and sacrifice of those in the their sacrifice, the legislation provides a Android Market and online at Armed Forces.” special waiver of some fees for Gold Star www.appbrain.com, search ‘CalVet’. The Governor presented the first families obtaining the plate. Since the Governor launched three Gold Star Family License Plates Originally established after World War Operation Welcome home the CalVet to Mike Anderson, whose son Mike I, the Gold Star has come to symbolize Department through its nine regional Anderson Jr. was killed in Iraq on the sacrifice a family makes when teams statewide, has connected December 14, 2004; Kevin and Leianne someone in their family is killed in the with more than 34,000 veterans and Graves (photo on cover), whose son Joey line of duty while serving in the U.S. made more than 54,000 referrals to Graves was killed in Iraq on July 25, Armed Forces. services and benefits including 17,302 2006; and to Dianne Layfield, whose son The Gold Star License Plates include, for employment benefits, 13,801 for Travis Layfield was killed in Iraq on April on the left side, a Gold Star on a blue education benefits, and more than 5,000 6, 2004. field surrounded by a wreath of small referrals for mental health related to “This is a recognition that is worthy white stars; along the bottom of the PTSD and TBI. of our efforts and is a small token for plate, the words “Gold Star Family” in There are approximately 2 million the families who have given so much to gold on a blue field; on the right corner, veterans living in California today and protect our nation our freedom,” said an image of a small folded American every year approximately 30,000 new Secretary Brautigan. “I am honored to Flag. veterans return home to this state. The have played a small part in this process.” purpose of Operation Welcome Home is << Continued from cover “The Gold Star Family License Plate is to connect those returning veterans to up with computers and the internet, the services and benefits that they have an honor to those families whose family we have to capitalize on those earned through their honorable service members paid the ultimate sacrifice,” technologies to make sure they know in the Armed Forces of the United said DMV Director George Valverde. about the services and benefits they States. The California Department of “The California DMV is proud to join have earned,” said Roger Brautigan, Veterans Affairs provides services to with the Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary of the California Department veterans through state-run veterans in making this recognition possible of Veterans Affairs. homes, through its farm and home for thousands of families throughout In a new Public Service loan program and through its advocacy California.” Announcement released this month division that represents and advises The Gold Star Family License Plate on YouTube and Facebook, Randy veterans as they work through the was creates when the Governor signed Couture encourages veterans to benefits process of the U.S. Department SB 1455 by Senator Dave Cogdill connect with their benefits by of Veterans Affairs. (R-Modesto) and Senator Jeff Denham signing up for information through (R-Merced) in 2008, which enables family Operation Welcome home at the members who have lost an active duty Facebook page. The video can be member of the U.S. Armed Forces in viewed on YouTube (www.youtube. current and prior wars to obtain a Gold com/operationwelcomehome) and Star Family License Plate honoring the2 Facebook (www.facebook.com/ sacrifices their families have endured. operationwelcomehome). This legislation directed the DMV to
veterans servicesVETERANS LEADER HELPING OURDONATES MILITARY HEROES EARN AHISTORY BOOKS TO HIGHER EDUCATIONFRESNO STATE Approximately 2.3 million veteransBy Dr. Gary Rice reside in California and of those about 350,000 are eligible to receive G.I. Bill The military history selection at benefits to help cover the cost of theirHenry Madden Library at California State education.University, Fresno grew considerably As home to the most veterans in thewhen retired Air Force Sgt. Bill Dietzel • Active-duty servicemembers may United States, California has created acleaned out his hangar and donated 500 use Department of Defense tuition host of programs to encourage veteransbooks. assistance and other educational or current servicemen and women to Dietzel is the publisher and editor of benefits at all CSU campuses. take advantage of the state’s wealthVeterans Magazine and the organizer • Servicemembers who have a of postsecondary educational options,of the annual Veterans Day Parade in California “home of record” are such as the California State University.Fresno. He has been active in local, state eligible to pay California resident The CSU serves veterans, active-and national veterans community affairs fees regardless of current duty duty military personnel and theirfor 30 years. station or assignment. dependents with a variety of services Dietzel’s decision to scale back his • Dependents of service-connected and initiatives. The CSU is a leader in thecollection was good news for the library. disabled veterans may be eligible statewide Troops to College initiative “These are new books for the most for waiver of systemwide fees while that provides advice to veterans,part,” said David Tyckoson, associate attending any CSU campus. reservists and dependents of servicedean of the Madden Library. “The disabled or deceased veterans ondonation definitely enhances our As part of the ongoing effort to completing and filing VA claim forms formilitary history collection.” support servicemembers in gaining federal and state education assistance Dietzel’s generosity means that a higher education, the CSU has programs. Through the Veteran Affairsmoney earmarked to buy some of the developed professional science Coordinators at each campus, the CSUvolumes in his collection can be used to programs for veterans and military is able to assist individuals with specialpurchase other books, Tyckoson added. personnel. registration procedures required for Dietzel decided to make the donation The CSU has launched a Veterans students who are sponsored under onewhile assisting with lining up veterans Initiative as part of its leadership in of the VA Fee Waiver programs.for the California War Veterans Oral Professional Science Master’s (PSM) Some key provisions of Troops toHistory Project, which is housed at the programs. The purpose of the initiative is College include:Madden Library. He will be recognized to make the PSM Degree and Certificate • All active-duty military personnelas a donor in a plate in each book. programs available to veterans, active stationed in California and their Tyckoson said the library welcomes duty military and other members of dependents are eligible for waiver ofdonations of books and other items, the military community. The programs non-resident fees while attending asbut recommends potential donors first build upon the skills of military an undergraduate and for one yearcontact the library to discuss suitability personnel who have backgrounds in while attending graduate studiesand need. science, technology, engineering and within the CSU.Servicemembers For more information, contact mathematics fields and prepare them who remain in California afterTyckoson at (559) 278-5678 or davety@ for employment in high demand science discharge from active duty maycsufresno.edu. and technology positions in the civilian also be eligible for a waiver of non- resident fees. sector. 3 First published in the CSU Leader
veterans services DISABILITY EVALUATION STREAMLINED There are a couple of programs created to ease medical separation and speeds benefit payments for servicemembers too wounded, sick or injured to stay in the military will expand to all military medical sites across the services by October 2011. These new programs bring together USDVA (VA) and military medical separation processes while servicemembers are still on active duty. Under the new system, wounded, ill or injured servicemembers receive medical evaluations by VA- certified doctors using VA guidelines, while Department of Defense (DOD) officials use these exams to determine if a servicemember is able to continue in uniform. For servicemembers, the process is faster—with only one set of examinations to complete. The Pre-Discharge Program is a joint VA and DOD program that affords service members the opportunity to file claims for disability compensation up to 180 days prior to separation or retirement from active duty or full-time National Guard or Reserve duty (Titles 10 and 32). The four components of the Pre-Discharge Program are: • Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) • Quick Start • Disability Evaluation System (Pilot program) • Seriously Injured/Very Seriously Injured (SI/VSI) Find an advocate, either a County Veteran Service Office or Veteran Service Organization, fill out a VA Form 21-22 and complete the new two page VA Form 526c, Pre-Discharge Compensation Claim and submit it with your service treatment records (originals or copies) to the VA location nearest to you. The pilot program has been operating in 27 sites. For more information, visit www.army.mil/standto/archive/2010/03/05/ .4
veterans serviceseBENEFITS Operation Welcome Home: www.veterans.ca.gov Support: www.gwtvetsinneed.org Tired of being on hold, getting the run-around, not getting the answer youwanted, or just being in the dark about your claim? Relief: If you answered yes to any of the above questions eBenefits is your solution. The www.afrtrust.orgUnited States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has made things easier to find outthe status of your claim and to view other documentation and correspondence from Job Fair:the VA. www.military.com/career-expo/ eBenefits provides two main services. It’s a catalog of links to information onother websites about military and Veteran benefits. And it provides a personalized Assistance:workspace called My eBenefits which gives quick access to all the online tools www.jointservicessupport.orgnow integrated into eBenefits - tools that let you do things like apply for benefits, Veterans & Families:download your DD 214, and see your benefits status online. www.veteransandfamilies.org Service members, Veterans, and family members can register for eBenefits, whichaffords access to the secure features in My eBenefits and allows the portal to bepersonalized to the user’s needs. You must be enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) to create an account. CHECK OUT OUR For more information and for enrollment visit www.ebenefits.va.gov. SOCIAL NETWORKS!COMMITTEE ADVANCES VETERAN BILLS The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, led by Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA),recently approved two bills. H.R. 3949—the Veterans Small Business Assistanceand Servicemembers Protection Act of 2009—(1) would include amending theServicemembers Civil Relief Act to improve the equitable relief available forservicemembers called to active duty, including allowing greater flexibility for familycell phone plans, rental leases, and motor vehicle leases when a servicememberhas changed duty stations or been deployed. H.R. 1168 would authorize livingstipend and moving assistance to veterans who have been unemployed for at least4 months, who are not eligible for training or education under VA, and who areenrolled in a U.S. Department of Labor re-training program. 5
veterans services BUYER BEWARE! Hucksters are now promising older veterans that they can get instant eligibility for additional VA benefits if they purchase certain financial products NEW NATIONAL CEMETERY OPENING through them. California now has nine National as a columbarium, providing a full range The scam involves getting an Cemeteries with the opening of the of burial alternatives to approximately unsuspecting veteran to transfer Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego 235,000 Veterans in the San Diego retirement assets into an irrevocable officially opened on November 22, 2010 County area. Nearby Fort Rosecrans trust so the family appears to be providing its first burials of Veterans and National Cemetery closed to casket impoverished. That helps the family family members at the new facility. burials in 1966, although it stays active meet eligibility requirements for a VA “This is a special day for California’s with casketed interments of family pension and related programs. Veterans,” said Secretary of Veterans members of those currently interred Although the VA doesn’t examine Affairs Eric K. Shinseki in a prepared and inurnments of cremated remains. a veteran’s asset history when statement. “By building a national shrine Riverside National Cemetery, located determining eligibility, Medicare does. in San Diego, we will provide a final approximately 90 miles from San Diego, If a veteran has transferred assets to resting place and lasting tribute to the was until now the nearest national secure eligibility, that veteran’s benefits men and women who have faithfully cemetery offering full burial options. could be jeopardized. The greater served our Nation.” When completed, the first phase of concern, however, is that the new trust “San Diego is home of some of the construction will include approximately created typically contains investments highest concentrations of veterans in 11,500 casket gravesites; 4,900 in-ground that are inappropriate for older veterans the state, and it is fitting that the newest cremation sites; 10,000 columbarium since they can take a decade or longer to National Cemetery is located in this niches; an administration building and generate income. great community that has such a long maintenance complex; two committal Before making any kind of and strong history with the U.S. Military service shelters; and a public assembly investment, check the sales agent’s and our veterans,” said Undersecretary area. The project will also incorporate record by contacting the California of the California Department of Veterans systems for water distribution, roads, Department of Corporations at (866) Affairs Rocky Chavez. utilities, signs and landscaping. 275-2677 or by visiting www.corp.ca.gov. Military honors at the opening Information on VA burial benefits To get reliable information about ceremony included a rifle salute and can be obtained from national cemetery how to qualify for veterans benefits, the playing of “Taps.” Acting USDVA offices, from the Internet at contacting the California Department Undersecretary for Memorial Affairs www.cem.va.gov or by calling VA of Veterans Affairs, Operation Welcome Steve Muro gave remarks and was regional offices toll-free at (800) 827- Home at (800) 952-5626 or visit joined by CalVet Undersecretary 1000. To make burial arrangements www.veterans.ca.gov. Chavez, USDVA and local officials in the at the time of need at any VA national interment of cremated remains. Casket cemetery, call the National Cemetery burial options will be available in early Scheduling Office at (800) 535-1117. 2011. Additional information about the The 313-acre Miramar National Miramar National Cemetery is available Cemetery will offer in-ground gravesites by calling the Fort Rosecrans National6 for caskets and cremated remains as well Cemetery office at (619) 553-2084.
veterans servicesEDUCATING OUR COUNTRY’S LEADERS veterans and their families and promotes community awareness on the issuesBy Stephanie Thara veterans face.California State Univesrity,Office of the Chancellor California State University, Fullerton: CSUF maintains groups like the Student The California State University (CSU) takes pride in being able to have a campus Veterans Association (SVA), whichin every region of the state and close to nearly every military base in California. assists student veterans in successfullyIn 2009, the CSU instituted a statewide initiative where a total of 115 slots across transitioning from military service toall 23 campuses will be reserved for active duty or veteran service members. university life through camaraderie,Each slot guarantees admission on the basis of each veteran’s commanders’ networking and advocacy. SVA not onlyrecommendations. As part of the CSU’s Troops to College initiative, each of the 23 serves as a go-to resource for universitycampuses has veteran service representatives dedicated to helping veterans and knowledge, but as a support groupactive-duty personnel take advantage of the university’s incredible opportunities to all servicemembers. In honor ofand to make full use of their benefits. Veterans Day, CSUF’s SVA and Veteran Many CSU campuses offer student veteran groups, along with unique amenities Student Services recently salutedand events, including: campus veterans with a “Wall of Heroes,” showcasing photos of those who haveSan Diego State University: On Nov. 4, SDSU opened its expanded Veterans Center, served or are currently serving in thewhich now serves more than 1,000 veteran, active-duty and reservist students and military. Similarly, CSUF hosts weeklyabout 600 military dependents. While SDSU opened the first Veterans Center in the “veteran lunch get-togethers” to act asCSU system two years ago, the increasing student-veteran population outgrew the a forum for discussing veteran issues,location. The center now includes a Veterans Administration (VA) office, making share information, build connectionsSDSU the first university in California and the second in the nation to have a VA office and encourage student veterans. Theon campus. In addition to the Veterans Center, the university also houses the Troops university has luncheons twice a week;to Teachers and Troops to Engineers programs, the first on-campus residence for one for all veterans and one specificallystudent-veterans in the country and the VetSuccess program. for women veterans.California State University, Sacramento: CSUS is home to organizations such asthe Student Veteran Organization (SVO). SVO offers a non-political environment First published in the CSU Leaderwhere university veterans, active duty personnel, reservists, families and otherscan meet, share information and plan activities. It is designed to emulate thecamaraderie military personnel experienced while in the service. Also, the universityhas a Veterans/ROTC Alumni Chapter, which aims to make a positive difference forstudent veterans through creating a fraternal and service oriented environmentthat assists military members and their families. The chapter offers professional and 7social networking opportunities, develops scholarship opportunities for student
veterans services SERVING THOSE WHO SERVE By Stephanie Thara, CSU Leader Through the programs and • California Maritime Academy exceptional comradeship that • California State University, San Marcos each campus Veteran Affairs Office • California State University, Bakersfield establishes, many CSU campuses • California State University, Chico have been able to be a home away • California State University, Fresno from home for student veterans. The • California State University, Long Beach campuses have been commended by a • California State University, Monterey Bay variety of military media for thoroughly • California State University, Northridge assisting servicemembers in obtaining a • California State University, Sacramento higher education and integrating them • California State University, San Bernardino into the community and university life. • Humboldt State University Among the 23 campuses offering • San Diego State University high-quality education for military personnel, the following universities Military Times EDGE ranked the following campuses in its “Best for Vets were ranked among G.I. Jobs Magazine’s Colleges: 2010” list: “Military Friendly 2011 List.” The list • Cal State San Bernardino honors the top 15 percent of colleges • Cal State San Marcos and universities that are doing the • CSU, Chico most to embrace America’s military • Long Beach State members and veterans as students. • San Diego State The magazine polled more than 7,000 schools nationwide, examining criteria The magazine surveyed 4,000 colleges, evaluating each college’s financial such as efforts to recruit and retain assistance, academic flexibility, campus culture and support services for student military and veteran students, results in veterans. The list ranked 100 universities, listing CSU campuses as five of only 13 recruiting military and veteran students colleges in California to receive the prestigious distinction. and academic accreditations. First published in the CSU Leader8
VENTURANEWS FROM OURveterans homesTHE DAY I The lyrics in the second stanza of “America The Beautiful” depicts the The real estate community of Ventura County has been very generous andREMEMBERED PEARL American way of life, ‘0 Beautiful for donated money for the materials toHARBOR Hero’s Proved in liberating strife, who build a sixth bed as well as funds to buyBy Bill F. more than self their country loved and soil to fill it and support the gardeningVentura Veterans Home Resident mercy more than life’. efforts. Many have also come out to the site to weed and plant the gardens On December 7, 1924, I made my by the driveway. Many thanks to theseentrance into the world. Seventeen years VETERANS’ HOME caring individuals. Jerry keeps adding to the flower beds,later I was celebrating my birthday withmy high school classmates. The radio GARDEN HISTORY with Bob’s help, in addition to planting By Barbara Hill a forest out by the flag ceremony area.was playing our favorite big band music,and suddenly a news flash broke in, Someday we’ll be able to wander The gardens have been planted through the trees for a nature walk, andand announced the Japanese bombed just over a year, and already have a bit rest under the shade of countless trees.Pearl Harbor. We thought that such an of history. My favorite picture of the We’re going to need a hammock or two.announcement was another of Olsen gardens is one of Lynda standing on top A memorial rose garden and an areaWelles radio pranks. in her sandals digging rocks out of the of natives plants are being planned at The following day, December 8, 1941, soil. I’m convinced the abundance of the present. Michael Glenn of thePresident FDR presented this message blooms and veggies in the raised beds is U. S. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife will giveto Congress: Yesterday, December 7th, due to the time taken to improve the soil a talk on December 10 to introduce the1941- A date which will live in infamy, before we started. concept of supporting migrating birdsthe United States of America was The first things planted were and butterflies with this native plantsuddenly and deliberately attacked by artichokes, sugar snap peas and sweet habitat. We hope to turn the first shovelthe Naval Air Forces of the Empire of pears. They were all tremendously of dirt on these two gardens in January.Japan. As Commanding Chief of the successful with each artichoke plant As I write this, I muse about howAnny and Navy, I have taken all measures producing over 60 ‘chokes’, the sugar these small beginnings will influencenecessary for our defense. We will snap peas so sweet, everyone passing by the landscape for the enjoyment of thealways remember the character of the plucked a few to munch, and the sweet veterans living here now, and thoseon slaughter against us... a portion of peas had to be picked every two days to to come in the future. When we plantthe message has been omitted in order keep up with the blooms. a three foot tree, I envision it as it willto exemplify the true meaning of the Fresh beets, green beans, Al’s grow, how we’ll decorate the twopresident’s message. tomatoes, onions, herbs, peppers, kale, small Christmas trees recently planted Following an immediate Declaration cucumbers, lettuce and spinach are when their stature becomes apparentof War against Japan and Germany, the some of our successes. We didn’t do to all and the beauty they add to ourUnited States responded in kind, and as well with pumpkins and melons- environment.the war was quickly on two fronts, Asia -no matter how much secret sauce Enjoy knowing you are all involved in and Europe. By the time of the war’s end Jerry used. Bob and Marie have been creating this history to be rememberedin August 1945, the United Sates would busy planting sweet peas for a repeat for years to come.have enlisted 16 million combatants of colorful blooms for each table plusof which there would be more than radishes, onions, carrots, beets and360,000 casualties. cauliflower to enhance the dinner salads. The song famous in 1942 was “Let’s Al has also donated two avocado treesremember Pearl Harbor as we go and on the west side of the building. This ismeet the foe.” Beginning in 1945 Active the start of our orchard.Duty Military members were discharged The first five raised beds have been 9and returned home to their loved ones. so much fun, we needed a sixth one.
eventsCalVet News UPCOMINGCalifornia Department ofVeterans Affairs1227 O Street, Room 300 DECEMBERSacramento, CA 95814P (916) 653-2192F (916) 653-2611 DECEMBER 25, firstname.lastname@example.orgDeputy Secretary for External Affairs KNMF Veterans Personal Care DayJP Tremblay Downtown LA Encampments and streets near shelters Los Angeles, CAEditor 7:00 am - 11:00 amJP Tremblay Contact: Doris Nickelson (310) 545-2937Graphic DesignersThomas MoralezAngela Slater JANUARY JANUARY 3, 2011 Edmond G. Brown Swearing in Ceremony as 39th Governor of Californiastaff California State Capitol Sacramento, CA Note: To view more events, visit www.veterans.ca.gov/news.shtml