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RockVets Newsletter
March 2021
Volume XIII, Issue 3

 
There Was No John Wayne....

Our Loss -- Heaven's Gain

The 23rd of this month will mark three years since Jerry Donnellan passed away, but we all know he left his mark on our veterans and our community.  His many accomplishments, his sense of humor, his concern for others -- will be remembered always.  Here is another great editorial that Jerry penned back in January of 1994....but still rings true today.

January 25, 1994
THERE WAS NO JOHN WAYNE

World War II and Korean War veterans may only now begin to feel the wounds they received 40 or 50 years ago.  These wounds left no visible scars, but they were hit by psychic shrapnel.  What in the past was called "shell-shock", "battle fatigue" or during the Civil War referred to as "soldier's heart", is known today as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  The key word in this is "post".  

After the war in Vietnam, more studies were done on the psychological hangover of war--perhaps because it was the nature of that war, or perhaps because there were no heroes.  The bottom line is that you cannot take an individual from a normal society like ours, place them into a combat zone, bring them quickly back and expect them not to have some psychological baggage with them.  How much baggage and how well they coped depends on many things:  who they were, how they were raised, how old they were at the time, what they returned to, how much trauma they saw, etc.

There are many common myths about combat trauma--the main one is that real men don't get this crap.  Another is that women aren't in combat, so it doesn't apply to them. Yet another is that it only applies to those guys who sit in a corner and can do nothing but stare.  A lot of veterans figure that it can't be them--they have a job, they pay their bills, they take care of their family--so, it doesn't bother them.  Trauma, like any other disorder, can affect you slightly, totally or somewhere in between.  It's all in how you deal with it.  The trick is however, to deal with it before it deals with you.

As for the real men not having trauma:  trauma is as real as a bullet.  Audie Murphy (World War II hero), could have been the poster boy for PTSD.  However, because of the glare of the spotlight he maintained a front.  Look closely or read his biography--he drank heavily, constantly lived on the edge, slept with a .45 automatic under his pillow.  Towards the end of his life he even built a bunker in the back of his garage in a very exclusive neighborhood.  Yes, real men get it; if a bullet can puncture your skin, trauma can puncture your mind.

"Very few veterans who have PTSD know they have it," so says VA expert Dr. Matthew Friedman.  As for women, women in war didn't have to be on the front lines to see carnage.  Not limited to, but nurses in particular, could see more blood and death in one day than the average line troops saw in a month.  Further, they couldn't fight back.  At least the soldiers could try and get even.  

The question though is, "Why now for the World War II and Korean vets?"  The reason we're seeing it surface now is that after the war, people were expected to be like John Wayne, so they did what was expected--they carried on.  Those who had recurring memories of the war or nightmares, tried to bury their thoughts or build walls around them.  Some turned to booze to anesthesize themselves when their feelings came back too strongly.  More dove into work and kept themselves busy, some becoming workaholics so their minds wouldn't have time to dwell on the past.  

Now these folks are retiring.  Now, there is time.  The mind is letting down the defenses and the walls built long ago--in some cases, so long ago that the vet has forgotten why they were built. Suddenly, feelings they haven't felt for years are coming back.  Places, events, sounds, smells are triggering memories and dreams not thought of in years.  Although it seems odd, it's normal. For that matter, it's perfectly normal.  It's a normal reaction to an abnormal set of events known as combat.  

The important thing to remember is that you're not crazy, or if you are, you have a whole bunch of company who is just as crazy as you.  Since 1981 the Department of Veterans' Affairs has been paying compensation to veterans suffering from PTSD.  You know that if you can get the VA to part with money, it must be a real malady, or perhaps they're crazy too!

If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, contact the Rockland County Veterans' Office at 20 Squadron Blvd., Suite 480, New City, New York 10956.  Call for an appointment or speak with one of the Veterans' Counselors -- (914) 638-5244 or contact the VA directly at the Veterans Crisis Line:  1-800-273-8255 and press 1.  
VA PTSD Website:      https://www.ptsd.va.gov
2021 New York City Fleet Week News
Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard To Present Virtual Fleet Week New York Through Memorial Day

The U.S. Navy (USN), Marine Corps (USMC) and Coast Guard (USCG) are proud to present Virtual Fleet Week New York 2021, May 26-31, hosted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The weeklong event is a new way for the residents of New York City and the surrounding tri-state area to continue to take part in the annual celebration despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Viewers are encouraged to check back each day as new content is added to the line-up, including live question-and-answer sessions, and virtual ship tours.

“We're excited to once again connect with people online in New York and around the world,” said Rear Adm. Charles W. Rock, Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic. “No matter where you are, people will be able to find us on social media and watch whnever it is convenient for them so they can see how the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard safeguard our nation and how incredible the men and women who serve in unifrom are.”

This year’s schedule of events is still under development, but will occur on Fleet Week New York’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. For up-to-date information on all FWNY events, “Like” FleetWeekNewYork on Facebook, and “Follow” @FleetWeekNYC on Twitter and Instagram.    For further information, contact Jose Morales (NYPD Retired)
Director of Public Relations & Communications, New Jersey and New York Detective Crime Clinic, P.O. Box 4126, Middletown, N. Y. 10941-4126

Wasteful Spending in the New $1.9 Trillion Stimulus?

Back in January of 2004, there was a lot of self-praise by politicians  about the Omnibus bill they passed.  They talked about how much good they were doing for our veterans so of course, I thought that was a great thing.  But, I decided to actually read through the Omnibus Bill (that took a long time!) and realized that out of this huge Omibus Bill, very little actually went to help veterans and most of it was political pork such as a Tropical Forest in Iowa and many other such projects!  

I thought you might be interested in seeing what is in this current $1.9 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Bill.....do you know where our Representatives in Congress are spending our money?  9% for Covid-19 related....91% for other items listed in this article from Forbes Magazine.  The Bill has passed the House of Representatives and will be sent to the U.S. Senate.

Feb 22, 2021 http://www.forbes.com
Is There Wasteful Spending In The New $1.9 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Bill?
Adam Andrzejewski - Senior Contributor, Policy


Over the weekend, the U.S. House posted a first draft version of the “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021” – a $1.9 trillion emergency aid package to help America recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Previous legislation has already provided at least $4 trillion in funds for testing, paid family leave, small business relief, direct payments to individuals and families, the Kennedy Center, and a plethora of non-related Covid-19 “relief.”

Since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership team essentially wrote the bill, our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com found what House Democrats consider coronavirus-recovery “essential” spending:

$1.5 million earmarked for the Seaway International Bridge, which connects New York to Canada. Senate Leader Chuck Schumer hails from New York.

$50 million for “family planning” – going to non-profits, i.e. Planned Parenthood, or public entities, including for “services for adolescents[.]”

$852 million for AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps Vista, and the National Senior Service Corps – the Corporation for National and Community Service – civic volunteer agencies. This includes $9 million for the AmeriCorp inspector general to conduct oversight and audits of the largess. AmeriCorps received a $1.1 billion FY2020 appropriation.

Here are some other entities receiving funds:

$200 million in the bill to The Institute of Museum and Library Services (FY2019 budget: $230 million). This agency is so small that it doesn’t even employ an inspector general.

$270 million funds the National Endowment of the Arts and the Humanities
(FY2019 budget: $253 million) – In 2017, our study showed eighty-percent of all non-profit grant making flowed to well-heeled organizations with over $1 million in assets.
A quick spotlight on agencies and entities receiving “coronavirus recovery” money in the bill includes:

$350 billion to bailout the 50 States and the District of Columbia. The allocation formula uses the unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of 2020. Therefore, states like New York and California –who had strict economic lockdown policies and high unemployment – will get bailout money. States like Florida and South Dakota – who were open for business – will get less.

$128.5 billion to fund K-12 education. The CBO determined that most of the money in education will be distributed in 2022 through 2028, when the pandemic is over.

$86 billion to save nearly 200 pension plans insured by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. There are no reforms mandated while these badly managed pensions are bailed-out. Many of these pension plans are co-managed by unions.

$50 billion goes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). A portion of these funds is earmarked to reimburse up to $7,000 for funeral and burial costs related to Covid-19 deaths.

$39.6 billion to higher education. This amount is three times the money – $12.5 billion – that higher ed received with the massive CARES Act funding from last March.

$1.5 billion for Amtrak – the National Railroad Passenger Corporation. In FY2020, Congress appropriated $3 billion for Amtrak ($2 billion in annual appropriations, plus an additional $1 billion in the CARES Act COVID relief bill). In the three years before the pandemic, AMTRAK lost $392 million – even after a $5 billion taxpayer subsidy (FY2017-FY2019).

To read entire article:    https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2021/02/22/is-there-waste-or-bloated-spending-in-the-19-trillion-coronavirus-stimulus-bill/?sh=7b84495039db    

Veterans Medical Clinic in New City

Veterans Medical Clinic in New City, NY

March will mark the 25th Anniversary of the opening of the Veterans Clinic here in Rockland County. The Clinic came together at the County Health Complex in Pomona as a joint project of the County of Rockland and the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA).  Jerry Donnellan approached the VA with the idea of getting health care into the community making it easier for our aging veteran population to get health care services without having to travel for an hour to the VA Hospital.

Some years before, with following the same outline, we had opened a Clinic specifically about Agent Orange, when Ed Gamache was the Director of the Montrose VA Hospital. Based on the successful operation of the Agent Orange Clinic in the early 90's and with the aid of Jim Farsetta, then VISN Director for the VA of the NY Metropolitan area, in March of 1996 we opened a full-service VA Clinic the first of such clinics in the country. Allowing the VA to operate rent free in the County Complex was just the necessary push to get the Clinic started.

This blueprint has been replicated more than 1400 times across the country now and the Clinic that was birthed in Pomona now has its own office based at 345 North Main Street in New City. Prior to the opening of the Clinic, roughly 250 veterans in Rockland County used the out-patient services of the DVA. Since the Clinic opened that number has gone to over 6,500 - and those are real numbers that continue to grow.

For further information about veterans accessing the VA clinic in Rockland, call the VA Clinic directly at: 845-634-8942. They are located at 345 North Main Street, Upper Level, New City, New York 10956. View the website for the New City Veterans Medical Clinic here:
http://www.hudsonvalley.va.gov/locations/New_City_Community_Clinic.asp
VA Launches Ethics Principles for Access to Veteran Data

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Feb. 22, 2021
VA launches public guidance to further protect Veterans’ personal information

WASHINGTON — This February the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) launched Ethics Principles for Access to and Use of Veteran Data as part of ongoing efforts to protect Veteran data.

The new online resource outlines nine principles for communicating clear expectations on how Veteran data is to be managed and viewed by Veterans, staff, VA partners and other stakeholders.

These principles reinforce VA’s standards of data privacy and protection maintained during VA’s distribution of nearly 2 million COVID-19 vaccinations to date, and other critical health care services during the coronavirus pandemic.

“VA’s principle-based ethics framework takes a proactive approach to data management and privacy by setting standards for our partners to follow,” says Acting VA Under Secretary for Health Richard Stone, M.D. “VA is applying this framework to all data interoperability initiatives, including those tied to our COVID-19 response and modernization efforts.”

Having clearly defined integrities for everyone who accesses or uses Veteran data puts VA at the forefront of organizational responsibility for ethical data practices. Veterans trust VA to promote and respect their privacy, confidentiality and autonomy within the services the department provides and supports. The department will continue to uphold that trust by remaining consistent with VA’s I-CARE values of integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect and excellence to promote and ensure responsible practices whenever Veteran data is accessed or used.

The ethics framework was developed by the Data Ethics Work Group established by the VA Interoperability Leadership team and the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) National Center for Ethics in Health Care, along with input from Veterans. The department is actively working to ensure all VA directives, policies and standards reflect these principles which the agency anticipates completing by the end of 2022.

Learn more about VA’s COVID-19 vaccination response and how VHA’s National Center for Ethics in Health Care continues to work proactively to build trust in managing access and use of Veteran data.  

To read full article: https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/includes/viewPDF.cfm?id=5625

Virtual Vietnam Veteran Wall

Vietnam Veteran Virtual Wall

You may already be aware of this website -- it is a link to a Virtual Wall of all those who died during the Viet Nam War. It contains the names, photos when available, and other information about those we've lost. http://www.virtualwall.org/iStates.htm


When you go on the VVA Chapter #333 website, look under the heading of "Fallen Heroes" and you will see information and photos for the 46 guys from Rockland who were killed in action in Vietnam.  It took many years to find photos for all of them.  Our Watchfires are an ongoing tribute to each of them.   Here is a link to that page:  https://www.vva333.com/fallen-hero-s

Updated VVA Chapter 333 Website

From Roy Tschudy, President, VVA Chapter #333
I encourage you take a few moments and check out our updated website for VVA Chapter 333. Our new Webmaster Debbie Frank has been updating the site to make it more uniform and colorful. In the picture section there are a few of us from back in our military days, I am sure that Debbie is continuing to add the photos sent to her. If you did send me and/ or Debbie a photo and it is not yet posted, please give Deb a little time to do so. I have no doubt based on her other managed Websites that when completed/updated, it will be first class!  Link to VVA #333 website here:  https://www.vva333.com.  

Roy Tschudy Interview by Clarkstown Supervisor

Roy Tschudy, President of VVA #333, was recently interviewed by Clarkstown Town Supervisor, George Hoehmann.  
Here is a link to the interview:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI76APVvdAI


One-third of Troops Refuse Coronavirus Vaccine

One-third of troops offered coronavirus vaccine have refused, DOD official tells Congress
Stars & Stripes Photo: In a January 11, 2021 photo, a sailor on board the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio receives the coronavirus vaccine.  JACOB MILHAM/U.S. NAVY
Story By COREY DICKSTEIN | STARS AND STRIPES
Published: February 17, 2021

WASHINGTON — About one-third of U.S. troops offered the coronavirus vaccine as of Wednesday have refused the inoculation, top Defense Department officials told House lawmakers.

The Defense Department has fully vaccinated about 147,000 of its troops across the force, including active-duty, National Guard and reserves, Robert Salesses, the Pentagon’s homeland defense chief, told the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. Another roughly 212,000 service members have received their first of two doses of the vaccine, he said.

Pentagon officials in recent weeks had declined to provide information about the number of troops vaccinated or an estimate of how many have declined the vaccination. Salesses provided the numbers at the request of Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, the committee’s top Republican.

Pentagon officials want to see more service members and other members of the Defense Department community accept the vaccinations, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Jeff Taliaferro, the Joint Chiefs of Staff vice operations director.

Link to Article:  https://www.stripes.com/one-third-of-troops-offered-coronavirus-vaccine-have-refused-dod-official-tells-congress-1.662530?utm_medium=email&utm_source=Stars+and+Stripes+Emails&utm_campaign=Daily+Headlines

VVA National President Speaks at Congressional Committee

Rowan to Present VVA’s 2021 Legislative Priorities Before Joint House and Senate Vets Affairs Committees

Vietnam Veterans of America National President John Rowan will present VVA’s 2021 legislative priorities and policy initiatives before the joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees.

When: Thursday, March 4, 2021 - 10:00 a.m.
Where: The hearing will be virtual and will be streamed live on YouTube and Facebook
Link to youtube: https://www.youtube.com/houseveteransaffairs


First Panel: The American Legion
Second Panel: Multi-VSOs – Vietnam Veterans of America, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Jewish War Veterans, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Wounded Warriors Project, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

NASA's Perseverance Rover Landed on Mars on 2/18/2021

Seven minutes to Mars: NASA's Perseverance Rover Attempts Most Dangerous Landing Yet. -- NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

All landings on Mars are difficult, but NASA's Perseverance rover is attempting to touch down in the most challenging terrain on Mars ever targeted.

The intense entry, descent, and landing phase, known as EDL, begins when the spacecraft reaches the top of the Martian atmosphere. Engineers have referred to the time it takes to land on Mars as the "seven minutes of terror."

The landing sequence is complex and targeting a location like Jezero Crater on Mars is only possible because of new landing technologies known as Range Trigger and Terrain-Relative Navigation. The Perseverance rover landed on the surface of Mars on February 18, 2021 after traveling to Mars for the past seven months.

For more information about Perseverance, visit https://mars.nasa.gov/perseverance
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
7 Minutes to Mars video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4tdMR5HLtg


Watch Perseverance's landing video (and hear Mars for the first time)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cr56P7K2zuQ

Employment Opportunities and Information
Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction of the Veterans Administration:
The link below lists current positions have been announced for the Office of Acquisition, Logistics and Construction (OALC). This is not a complete listing of all Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) vacancies and may not include all positions announced for OALC. You may access VA recruitment information on the VA Jobs site at this link: https://www.va.gov/jobs/

If you wish copies of announcements listed below, please contact the individual identified in the specific announcement.  Here is the link to the OALC Job Listings:   
https://www.va.gov/oalc/career.asp

Montefiore-Nyack Hospital, Nyack, New York 10960
See link for full listing and information about career opportunities at Nyack Hospital, Nyack, New York.  https://montefiorenyackcareers.org

Good Samaritan Hospital, Suffern, New York.  Good Samaritan Hospital is affiliated with Westchester Medical Center.  See this link for available employment - https://wmchealthjobs.org/search-jobs/

Rockland County Employment Information:
Here is a link to current job openings available in Rockland County
http://rocklandgov.com/departments/personnel/job-opportunities/

Rockland County Veterans' Credits:
http://rocklandgov.com/files/8115/1120/9567/Veterans_Credit_Info.pdf

New York City Civil Service Jobs, Tests, and Results as listed in The Chief:
http://thechiefleader.com/news/civil_service/

MTA Metro-North Railroad has ongoing employment opportunities:
To apply for current jobs with the MTA, please go to the MTA Employment Portal at:  http://web.mta.info/mta/employment/

NYC Green Book Online: The Green Book is the official directory of the City of New York.  An indispensable reference guide for anyone living or working in New York City. Includes detailed listings of agencies. Website: http://a856-gbol.nyc.gov/GBOLWebsite/
Rockland County Marine Corps League

Rockland County Marine Corps League regularly receives donations of handicap assistance equipment for disabled veterans from people who want to help. The donated equipment is available for free to military veterans and their families. The items include the following:


  • Handicap-Accessible van
  • Motorized Wheelchairs
  • Manual Wheelchairs
  • Oxygen Generator
  • Walkers
  • Bath Chairs
  • Transfer Benches
  • Braces
  • Crutches
  • Canes

If you have need of any of this equipment, contact the folks at the Rockland County Marine Corps League - 845-323-8774 or via e-mail: drobin137@icloud.com.
RockVets Monthly Newsletter

RockVets is an Outreach program of New York Vets, Inc.,  a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization established in 1992, to advocate for those who have worn the uniform of the U.S. Military, no matter where or when they served.


The volunteers at New York Vets / RockVets publish this monthly e-newsletter.  We welcome your thoughts, questions, and feedback. E-mail: NewYorkVets@gmail.com.

We are not affiliated with Rockland County Government nor the Veterans Service Agency of Rockland.

Each month, our newsletter reaches more than 1500 local veterans or those interested in veterans' welfare. Please use this forum to let veterans know of any information, resources, links or events of interest.  Send information to NewYorkVets@gmail.com and feel free to pass this newsletter along to others who may be interested.

Our Mailing Address
New York Vets, Inc. / RockVets
P.O. Box 387
Tomkins Cove, New York 10986                                                           

Pat McGlade
Co-Founder / Director
Email: NewYorkVets@gmail.com
Facebook: www.Rockvets.com