Recently we celebrated anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. There are still many of us old warriors out there and Chapter 416 of the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) has put out some recent information that may be useful. Many thanks to the 416th’s 1st VP – Ron Becker for much of this information.
The Southeastern Blind Rehabilitation Center’s Golf Tournament will be held May 11, 2017 beginning at 8:00AM at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course, on Oxmoor Road. The tournament fee for 3 golfers is $500 (includes greens fee, cart and refreshments. One blind golfer can be included with this threesome for free. Call (205) 902-5946 to get more information, but hurry!
Two very good websites are now available:
•To view Title 38: Code of Federal Regulations Documents look at http://www.benefits.va.gov/warms/topic-title38.asp.
•www.myhealth.va.gov provides bi-month newsletters to keep vets informed about important healthcare issues.
The Alabama Department of Archives and History is sponsoring a program called “Collecting Vietnam.” If you brought home documents, photos, and other memorabilia from Vietnam, that you would like to have exhibited, please contact Sherrie Hamil, Registrar, at 334-353-4726. It is also possible to be video-interviewed about your stories and experiences from the Vietnam War.
REMINDER ON VA HOME LOANS
(Not just for Vietnam vets, but all veterans): If you used a VA Loan and have paid it off, you are eligible for a new VA Loan. Check this website: va.gov/homeloans/. Be sure to remember that no one real estate agent has an exclusive access for VA loans, which may be used for refinancing.
NEVER AGAIN WILL ONE GENERATION OF VETERANS ABANDON ANOTHER
The Veterans Crisis Line is 1-800-273-8255, then press 1.
VVA Chapter 416 now has well over 200 members (both actual combat vets and Vietnam –era vets). Each member is urged to find other VN vets and issue them a hearty “WELCOME HOME !!!:
One slogan that means a great deal to Vietnam Veterans is: ‘ALL GAVE SOME, SOME GAVE ALL.”
SUICIDE HOTLINE TROUBLES
An audit done on March 20, 2017 by new VA Secretary David Shulkin discovered that about a third of the calls to the Veterans Crisis Line late last year were bounced to back-up centers run by outside contractors. The rollover calls happened when phone lines were busy, leading to possible half-hour waits on the Suicide prevention line!
Suicide among veterans is a terrible problem with 20+ vets taking their lives each DAY! Rollover calls have however decreased from 30% in November, 2016 to less than 1% in late March, 2017.
Begun in 2007, the crisis hotline has answered nearly 3 million calls and dispatched emergency responders in approximately 74,000 times. The rollover problem last year caused Congress to pass legislation requiring that all messages and calls to the hotline be answered in a quick and time-appropriate manner.
Training and a second call center, based in Atlanta, has helped lower the time problems and should get the Crisis Line out of its own crisis.
Gerald “Joe” Stahlkuppe is a combat Army veteran of the Vietnam War. An ordained clergyman, public speaker and author of several books, he lives with his wife in Gardendale.
Questions or veterans issues you would like to see addressed in the column can be directed to Stahlkuppe at P.O. Box 849, Gardendale, AL 35071 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.