August 2009 - 7th_ 14th_ _ 21st September 2009 - 4th_ 11th _ 18th

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August 2009 - 7th_ 14th_ _ 21st September 2009 - 4th_ 11th _ 18th Powered By Docstoc
					    In a landmark agreement, a joint
solution has been reached between            could not receive the full education
the State of California and the U.S.         benefits provided by the new
Department of Veterans Affairs               Post-9/11 GI Bill.
(USDVA) concerning the                           The Post-9/11 GI Bill educational
implementation of the new Post-9/11          benefit authorizes the USDVA to pay
GI Bill in California. Prior to this joint   the actual tuition and fees charged by
solution, the implementation of this         a university up to the maximum
measure prevented California                 in-state tuition and fees charged by
                                                                                           In light of the fiscal emergency
veterans planning to attend private          the most expensive public university
                                                                                       California is in the midst of and in an
colleges and universities from               in the state. In interpreting the
                                                                                       effort to save money, Governor
receiving their full education benefits.     statute in its implementing regulation,
                                                                                       Schwarzenegger has issued Executive
This joint agreement reached                 the USDVA determined that it must
                                                                                       Order S-13-09, mandating that state
between the CalVet, the USDVA and            set separate state maximums for
                                                                                       offices be closed three Fridays each
the University of California ensures         tuition and fees, as opposed to a
eligible California veterans have            single combined total. In California,
                                                                                           In compliance with Executive
access to the education benefits             public schools have traditionally
                                                                                       Order S-13-09, CalVet Headquarters
earned through their service to our          charged no tuition but relatively high
                                                                                       and District Offices will be closed
country.                                     fees. Thus a student attending a
                                                                                       three Fridays each month through
    In April 2009, CalVet raised the         private school in California would
                                                                                       June 2010. The specific dates offices
Post-9/11 GI Bill tuition/fee issue with     receive much less of a basic tuition
                                                                                       will be closed are as follows:
the USDVA. The practice of charging          benefit under the Post-9/11 GI Bill
“fees” for attending California’s            program than students at private            August 2009 - 7th, 14th, & 21st
public colleges and universities rather      schools in other states.                  September 2009 - 4th, 11th & 18th
than charging “tuition” created a                Recently, California’s public          October 2009- 2nd, 9th & 16th
situation where veterans attending           universities introduced a new billing
private institutions of higher learning
     Almost 700 senior veterans met on      shop, then off to get some rest. Clocks     its way to make visiting Vets feel
June 1st in Birmingham, Alabama for the     in Birmingham run two hours ahead of        welcome the entire week of the Golden
23rd Annual VA Golden Age Games.            ours here in California.                    Age Games, with many of the local
The five-day competition pitted veteran         Registration took up much of            tourist attractions opening their doors
against veteran in a variety of events,     Monday, June 1st with early dinner and      to us for free. Some vets enjoyed the
ranging from checkers and dominoes, to      spectacular opening ceremonies,             Barber Motorcycle Museum, with its
such traditional events as discus and       featuring a soul-stirring performance of    multistory display of more than 1,100
shot put. Golden Age Game contestants       the National Anthem by a local pre-teen     motorcycles.
are classified according to their age and   diva with a voice bigger than herself.          The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
level of physical                                              Competition began in     extended free admission to 2009
limitation, if any, and the                                earnest on Tuesday, and      Golden Age Game Vets. It provided
event is held at a                                         when the dust finally        deeply disturbing, yet richly rewarding
different location each                                    settled at the end of the    insights into the history of race relations
year. The 2010 Golden                                      week, June 5th, Richard      in America and of the painful and
Age Games will be in                                       Conway had a Silver          sometimes brutal progress of the Civil
Des Moines, Iowa.                                          Medal for Shuffleboard, Al   Rights Movement. The Birmingham Civil
    The Veterans Home                                      Curtis earned a Silver       Rights Institute is located across the
of California, Chula Vista                                 Medal in the Air Rifle       street from the 16th Street Baptist
(VHC-CV) Team                                              competition, and Richard     Church, the place of worship where one
endured a long and tiring                                  Frost took the Silver        Sunday in 1963, four young girls lost
flight to Birmingham, and                                  Medal for Table Tennis.      their lives in the blast of a Ku Klux Klan
the big question upon                                      Bernard Gary won a           bomb.
arrival was whether to                                     Bronze Medal for                 This year’s Golden Age Games were
eat and then go to sleep, or just go to     Checkers and Richard Reese was              well-organized and focused on providing
sleep. The spartan amenities of modern      awarded two Bronze Medals, one for          a pleasant and satisfying experience for
air travel left growling stomachs, so it    Checkers and the other for Croquet.         competitors, and with more than a
was hot sandwiches in the hotel coffee          The City of Birmingham went out of
thousand volunteers to help, staffing was
never a problem.
    Despite its status as the largest city
in Alabama, Birmingham retains its
charming, small-town flavor. Strangers           In Southern California, Cinco de
smile and speak to you on the street,        Mayo (5th of May in English) is an
and the generic terms for out-of-state       occasion to celebrate Mexican
tourists seem to be “Darlin” and             heritage, down a few Coronas, and
“Sweetie.”                                   ingest mass quantities of tortilla chips
                                             & guacamole. And that, except for
                                             the Coronas, is precisely what
                                             happened May 5th at the Veterans
                                             Home of California, Chula Vista.
                                                 Any Cinco de Mayo fiesta without
                                             a Mariachi band can only be classified
                                             as a fraud, but this fiesta with its
                                             Mariachi was the real deal — two
                                             trumpets, a violin, a vihuela (a
                                             high-pitched, five-string guitar) and a
                                             guitarrón (a small-scaled acoustic
                                             bass ).
                                                 Lively ranchero music from
                                             Mexico’s State of Jalisco rang through
                                             the Main Dining Room as residents
                                             and staff members partied in full
                                             fiesta mode.
    Veterans Home of California –         nearly doubled for the day as local      with a splendid barbecue featuring
Chula Vista residents and their           civic leaders and neighbors joined       many and varied choices. As a special
guests had high praise for what many      with the families of residents and       blast from the past, Coca-Cola was
said was the best Founders’ Day           employees for the party, with the        served in the traditional hourglass
celebration in the nine-year history      little ones having a ball. The           six-ounce bottles of yesteryear.
of the home.                              ever-popular air playhouse was in use
    It was a day for families and         the entire day, and the campus rang
friends to celebrate the public spirit    with the giggles and squeals of
and will of the local few whose vision    children at play. Many had their faces
for a California Veterans Home in         painted in various colors and motifs,
Chula Vista more than ten years ago       ranging from beautiful princesses to
is today a dream long since fulfilled.    scary crocodiles and dinosaurs.
That dream remains a work in                   Assembly Member Mary Salas was
progress as renovation of resident        in attendance, as were Chula Vista
living quarters moves ahead.              Mayor Cheryl Cox and her husband,
    Fans of Annette Funicello and Paul    Greg Cox, Chairman of the San
Anka and other “oldies” reveled in        Diego County Board of Supervisors.
the Beach Blanket Bingo theme of          All three are long-time supporters of
the event. Staff members produced a       the Veterans Home.
rocking and rolling all-female (almost)        The Home’s standing alcohol ban
reincarnation of the Beach Boys,          was relaxed somewhat for the day,
complete with some historically           with beer and wine (2-drink limit)
accurate choreography.                    added to the usual beverage menu.
    The Veterans Home population          Kitchen staff delivered the goods
                                         The U.S. Army’s 234th birthday was June 14th. The Veterans Home of
                                      California-Chula Vista celebrated the Army‘s birthday on June 15th along
                                      with home resident Joan De Munbrun, who turned 96 that day.
                                         Joan De Munbrun (née Schwochert), enlisted in the Women's Army
                                      Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) in 1942. She was attached to the Army Air Corps
                                      at Eagle Pass, Texas, serving as a
                                      photographer and photographic
                                      laboratory technician. De Munbrun
                                      was then transferred to Lowery Field
                                      at Denver, where she served as an
                                      instructor on the maintenance and
                                      operation of the aerial camera.
                                         After the war, De Munbrun
    But there is more to Cinco de     attended photography school under
Mayo than just a fiesta. The holiday  the GI Bill. She later became a staff
commemorates the Battle of Puebla. photographer for New Mexico
On May 5, 1862, 4,000 ill-equipped    Highlands University in Las Vegas,
Mexican troops went up against        N.M. She married, and has one son,
8,000 well-armed and well-equipped Ronald De Munbrun. She also has
French soldiers, members of an army, three grandchildren and six
which had not been defeated in the    great-grandchildren.
field since the Battle of Waterloo       De Munbrun was employed for 25
some 50 years earlier. The outcome    years as an accountant with the
proved an upset. When the day was     World Wide Construction Company.
done, 462 French soldiers lay dead,   After retirement, she took up
while only 83 Mexicans lost their     painting and photography as hobbies.
lives. The French were routed! But a De Munbrun is, and for many years
single victory, no matter how         has been, actively involved in
glorious, does not win a war, and in  veterans’ affairs. In 2003, the
the end, the French were successful   American Legion named her
in occupying the country for the next Legionnaire of the Year for the State
3 years.                              of California.
                                         Administrator Manke agreed,
                                         explaining that everyone could feel
                                         the beauty and warmth of the new
                                         Home and how each and every detail
                                         was built with the comfort of the
                                         veteran in mind. “It was with great
                                                               pride that I was
    On a recent                                                able to take           Staff from the Veterans Homes of
trip to Southern                                               Acting Secretary    California (VHC) participated in, and
California, Acting                                             Brautigan           supported, the San Diego Veterans
Secretary Roger                                                through the         Stand Down July 18 and 19, the
Brautigan made an                                              Veterans Home       oldest and one of the largest Stand
eagerly anticipated                                            and show him the    Down events in the state. Also
visit to one of the                                            wonderful           lending his support at the event, held
newest Veterans                                                craftsmanship and   at San Diego High School, was
Homes of                                                       care that has       Thomas Richards, California Veterans
California, located in the lovely        been given in the day-to-day              Board Member.
coastal city of Ventura.                 construction of the Home,”                   Veterans Stand Downs are events
    Although still under construction explained Manke. Also contributing           held throughout the state in different
and expected to open this fall, the      to the beauty of the outdoor space        communities at which CalVet, the
stunning facility looks picture perfect, was Mr. Rolla J. Wilhite from             United States Department of
thanks to the great work of Viola        Berylwood Tree Farms Nursery, who         Veterans Affairs, local volunteers,
Construction Company and their           generously donated countless trees        non-profit organizations and
construction manager Bob Gibbons. and plantings to enhance and beautify            community groups come together to
Acting Secretary Brautigan was very the picturesque grounds.                       provide services and assistance to
pleased with the progress and quality       Before his trip back to                homeless veterans. At these events,
of the construction and workmanship Sacramento, Mr. Brautigan also spent           veterans are provided medical, dental
that went into every detail of the       some time visiting staff at CalVet’s      and legal services, and they are also
Home. On hand to provide a               temporary offices in Van Nuys.            given a place to sleep and bathe and
personal tour were Brenda Manke,         There, he conveyed his appreciation       rest up for a couple of days.
the Home’s Administrator, and Louis to staff and stressed the importance              CalVet staff on hand to provide
Koff, Administrator for the new          of always striving to make meaningful     additional support, California
Veterans Home of California – West improvements. “The Department’s                 benefits information and fact sheets
Los Angeles, also under construction employees, each and every one of              on the Veterans Homes of California,
and estimated to open in mid-2010.       you, are so important to our              included: from VHC West Los
Chief of Plant Operations, Peter         mission,” he said. “You are on the        Angeles were Louis Koff,
Cho, also lent his expertise to the      front lines, directly helping our         Administrator and Joe Deas, Hospital
tour.                                    veterans. And it is wonderful for all     General Services Administrator:
    “This new Veterans Home looks        of us to be part of these exciting new    from VHC Chula Vista were Jane
wonderful,” said Brautigan. “And not Veterans Homes from construction              Bergman, Administrator,
just on the inside, but outside as well. to completion. I want to thank you
The landscaping and the trees,           for the great jobs you are all doing.”
everything is just beautiful.”
   The California Department of
Veterans Affairs (CalVet) was
honored to assist in hosting the
highly-anticipated June 2009 meeting     community classes, art exhibits and        Jewish War Veterans, and Mrs.
of the California Veterans Board and     special events, as well as maintaining     William J. “Pete” Knight.
Veterans Affairs Forum. The City of      eleven city parks.                            What also made this meeting
Lancaster was very gracious in               During the CalVet Board meeting,       special was that all CalVet Board
offering the Lancaster City Council      the Strategic Plan, admissions policy      members, as well as Acting Secretary
Chambers for the meeting, which is       for the Veterans Homes of                  Roger Brautigan and Deputy
just up the street from the William J.   California, and the GI Bill were just      Secretary for External Affairs JP
“Pete” Knight Veterans Home of           some of the many items discussed.          Tremblay, were escorted on a special
California – Lancaster. The              In addition to staff, also in attendance   walkthrough of the new veterans
community where the newest               were Colonel Tom Craft, U. S. Navy         home by Administrator Lisa Grod.
Veterans Home of California is being     (Ret.), Colonel Joseph N. Smith,           The beautiful new facility, which has
constructed is home to beautiful and     USMC (Ret.), Robert Ortiz, Los             received endless support from
relaxing desert landscapes. Each         Angeles County Veterans Services           high-desert communities, is
season, the City of Lancaster hosts      Officer, Steve Rosmarin, Past              progressing well and estimated to
nearly 100 athletic programs,            Department Commander, California           open this fall.

                                                                               other wonderful organizations.
                                                                                   Rose Ann Klope, representing
                                                                               Camarillo Quilters Association,
                                                                               invited Administrator Brenda Manke
                                                                               to join her and the crafty quilters at
                                            Those who sleep under a quilt,     their June 9 meeting to personally
                                         sleep under a blanket of love, so the observe the work of 300 members.
                                         old saying goes. That beautiful adage Manke could feel the love that went
                                         could not be truer of the             into every stitch of nearly 90
                                         breathtaking and intricate quilts     handmade quilted masterpieces,
                                         made by hand with tender loving care many with patriotic designs, that
                                         by the many members of the            were on display and will be donated
                                         Camarillo Quilters for the future     to the new Veterans Home of
                                         veteran residents of the Veterans     California – Ventura during the grand
                                         Home of California – Ventura. The     opening ceremony this fall. “The love
                                         group also donates quilts to many
                                                                             patriotism and friendship filled the
                                                                             convention auditorium and memories
                                                                             and support were shared by all. In an
                                                                             adjacent auditorium, CalVet staff
                                                                             provided information on the new
                                                                             Veterans Homes of California for
                                                                             Greater Los Angeles and Ventura
                                                                             Counties, as well as information on
                                                                             Veterans Homes already in operation
                                                                             in Yountville, Barstow and Chula
                                                                             Vista. Also distributed were veterans
                                                                             benefits brochures and new Network
    Amid the Color Guard, the         can request information on California of Care leaflets. Other Veteran
American flags and colorful Garrison state benefits, Disabled Veteran        Service Organizations and vendors
caps were nearly 1,000 proud and      Business Enterprise, college fee       were also on hand.
brave members of the Veterans of      waiver for dependents, employment,         CalVet sincerely thanks each and
Foreign Wars (VFW), Department of education, healthcare,                     every one of the 2.2 million Veterans
California, at their Annual           transportation, CalVet Home Loans, of Foreign Wars for their dedicated
Convention at the Doubletree Hotel legal and financial assistance, Women service. It was an honor and pleasure
in Ontario on June 20. After the Call Veterans Roster, compensation and      for CalVet staff to attend this annual
to Order by Everett Martin, VFW       pension benefits, Veterans License     event. The wonderful and moving
Convention Chairman, and a lovely     Plate Program, Agent Orange,           convention concluded when the
invocation by Department Chaplain     traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic audience joined in as soloist Lynda
Ed Ford, soloist Lynda Smith, sang a  stress syndrome, and Veterans          Smith sang “Proud to Be an
beautiful rendition of the National   Homes of California.                   American,” one of the many
Anthem.                                  A strong sense of camaraderie,      highlights of the memorable day.
    Jack Kirwan, CalVet Chief of
Administrative Services, expressed
his appreciation to all members of
the VFW and spoke eloquently about
CalVet’s services and benefits. He    Jim Miller, Skilled Nursing Facility
also brought to everyone’s attention Manager and Dr. Paul Wagner, Chief
the Veterans Resource Book, a highly Medical Officer, Brenda Yarbrough,
sought-after reference guide,         Personnel Specialist, and Debbie
produced by CalVet, and one of the    Priess, Office Technician. After
newest information books available    several moving speeches,
for veterans. The new Veterans        Congressman Bob Filner, 51st
Reintegration Program was also a      District, held a press conference to   Newsom, and other local elected
topic of his speech, recommending     speak further on the plight of         officials.
that all veterans sign up to ensure   homeless veterans. Also present and        A Veterans Stand Down was also
that they receive the California      showing their support were             held in Ventura at the National
benefits they so richly deserve.      Assembly Member Mary Salas, 79th       Guard Armory from July 24 – 26,
Through this new program, Veterans District, San Francisco Mayor Gavin       2009.
                                            “Thanks and appreciation for your
                                            service and dedication to our nation.
                                            Sincerely, Camarillo Quilters.”
and care that the Camarillo Quilters            It has been said quilts are like
put into the making of these quilts         friends. They are a great source of
will warm the bodies and souls of           comfort and warmth. What great
our home members,” Manke said.              friends the veterans have in the
   It was quilter Denise McConica           Camarillo Quilters!
who first brought the idea of crafting
quilts for the future Veterans Home
members to the attention of the
group, explained Klope. “After she
brought the idea to us, there was
such a big response that instead of 60
quilts, one for each veteran, we now
have over 90!” she added
enthusiastically. A special label of love
will be attached to each one. The
labels were designed and created by
quilter Jane Aiello. They read,
   On July 13, 2009, all 960 Veterans   commendation packets as a thank         Appreciation was presented to the
Home Employees received a               you for their service.                  Home’s Administrator, Marcella
Freedom Team Salute                         The Yountville Army Veterans        McCormack, for the home’s
Commendation Packet, which              were also honored back in               outstanding service and support of
included individually imprinted         November as part of our Veterans        the Armed Forces of the United
packets containing an official U.S.     Day Celebrations. Major General         States of America.
Army Lapel pin, an official Army        (Ret) Ron Markarian and Colonel            A special thanks goes out to Steve
decal, a Certificate of Appreciation    (Ret) Billie Miller presented Freedom   Schilling, Special Representative at
signed by both the Chief of Staff and   Team Salute Commendation Packets        the Veterans Home of California –
Secretary of the Army, and a letter     to our Army veterans. There are         Yountville, for initiating this program
of thanks signed by both the Chief of   approximately 300 Army veterans         for both residents and staff.
Staff and the Secretary of the Army.    living in the home. Additionally a
Staff and members received these        plaque with a Certificate of
                                                  It wasn’t until approximately 2:00    It’s funny how the soundtrack I
                                               a.m. that I finally awoke and was        invented was dirtier and funnier than
                                               completely aware of what I had been      what the actual soundtrack must
                                               through the last 20 or so hours. The     have been. By playing this little
                                               actual incisions didn’t hurt, but my     mental game, I passed the time until
                                               stomach muscles felt like I had done     6:00 a.m. when the nurse told me I
                                               a couple thousand sit-ups. I thought     had to get up and walk. Good luck
                                               that I should get up to go to the        with that, I thought. I struggled on
                                               bathroom, since I knew I had not         my own, but didn’t even manage to
                                               gone since the night before, but then    get my feet off the bed, so the nurse
                                               discovered I was wearing a catheter      helped me to stand. It took lots of
    In the previous article I left the story   and simply relaxed and tried to fall     courage to take the first step, but I
at the point where I went under the            back asleep. This time sleep evaded      did it, and thus began my first
effects of the anesthesia on the day of        me and I became aware that there         post-operative walk. Needless to say,
my gastric bypass.                             was another patient in the bed next      it didn’t go quite as I had hoped. I
                                               to mine. Poor guy, from what I was       must have gotten ten yards out of my
   I awoke shortly after 5:00 p.m.,            able to hear, he was there to have a     room when I felt like vomiting
but only for a few seconds. I could            foot amputated, but the doctor had       because the room was wildly
sense someone was standing by my               been extremely busy and had              spinning. The nurse led me back to
bed. Barely opening my eyes I saw              postponed his operation time and         bed where I sat for a few minutes
one of my sisters and a niece smiling          time again that day. I felt sorry for    chewing on crushed ice, which
at me. I remember saying “hi” and                                                       seemed to calm my stomach.
then going back into a deep sleep. I
don’t recall feeling any major pain,
just not being able to freely
rearrange myself in the hospital bed.
   It must have been a couple of
hours later when I once more
opened my eyes and found family
members standing by my bed. Every              the gentleman because he had not
one of them had questions, but all I           eaten or drank anything for more            At 9:00 a.m. a second nurse
could do was smile. Within a couple            than 36 hours.                           encouraged me to try and walk again
of minutes I closed my eyes and fell              I tried reaching for the television   and this time I successfully navigated
back into a deep sleep. In the deep            remote control, but found I could        the circumference of the ward. In
fog I found myself in, I remember the          not because of my sore stomach           fact, the nurse kept telling me to
nurse checking my vitals and family            muscles. So I lay in bed and watched     slow down. The rest of the day was
members rubbing my feet.                       Hogan’s Heroes without any sound.        spent waiting for my
                                          carry more than 10 pounds.                   setting. I am now seen and
                                              Progress after my surgery was            acknowledged. But most importantly,
                                          both rapid and nothing short of              I am happy with my body. It is no
                                          amazing. By the time I came back to          longer my prison and enemy.
                                          work I had lost a total of 30 pounds             I know that I will have to watch
                                          and was walking approximately 20             what I eat for the rest of my life, but
                                          minutes twice a day. I even started          any person who chooses to be
                                          taking the stairs when going to              healthy does the same. I have given
                                          different offices around the building.       up carbonated drinks and caffeine for
                                          In terms of my eating, I now try to          life, but that is a small price to pay
doctor to release me. It seems he
                                          eat between 60 and 80 grams of               for feeling so great. I know that
was extremely busy because he didn’t
                                          protein each day, as well as drinking        exercise is not something to dread
come see me until around 4:00 p.m.
                                          at least 60 ounces of liquid. Yes, I said    but something to embrace, because it
“You are doing fabulous,” he said.
                                          liquid. Decaffeinated coffee and tea,        just makes me feel good. Food is
“Once you drink 10 ounces of water
                                          milk, and soups are all sources of           something I must eat to stay alive and
you will be free to go. I’ll give the
                                          water our bodies can use. On top of          active, not my source of comfort. If I
order to release you so you can go
                                          this I drink one or two protein drinks       want to eat something, anything, no
home and rest.” That sounded easy
                                          daily, which consist of at least 45          matter the calorie content, I simply
enough, but drinking those 10 ounces
                                          ounces of water, a heaping scoop of          tell myself that it is okay to enjoy it,
of water took me the rest of the
                                          protein powder, and Crystal Light,           as long as I only take enough for a
afternoon. Finally, after having the
                                          when taking my walks around the              good taste. After all, the first and last
catheter removed and taking forever
                                          neighborhood. For the record, I am           bites of something are the best.
to dress in baggy sweats, my sister,
                                          now walking between four and five                Finally, some folks have told me
who had spent the afternoon with
                                          miles 4 or 5 days a week.                    that I took the easy way. I assure
me, called for an orderly to take me
                                              It is now approximately eight            you, there is nothing easy about what
to my car. As I reached the car I
                                          months since my surgery and my               I have gone through and will go
realized I had just spent 36 hours in
                                          total weight loss so far is 85 pounds.       through for the rest of my life. I
the hospital. Boy, was I glad to be
                                          Although I should lose between 95            know I risked death but being obese
going home.
                                          and 120 pounds over the course of            was not living anyway. To anyone
   The first 3 days after surgery
                                          the first year, I am happy where I am        considering taking steps to improve
were the toughest. I needed help
                                          for the time being.                          their lives via weight loss surgery, I
getting off the couch, since sleeping
                                              In terms of changes in my life, all I    say, we only get one life; it is such a
on my bed was nearly impossible. But
                                          can say is that I am so glad I decided       pity having to live only half of it
things improved dramatically by the
                                          to take steps to tackle my weight            because of obesity. I have chosen to
4th and 5th days. The next big hurdle
                                          problem. In spite of all the difficulties    live and now want it all or nothing.
was drinking my protein drinks,
                                          I encountered, I only wish I had done        What I have done may not be for
water, liquid soups, and gelatin in the
                                          this sooner. I am now living, as             every fat person. I do believe some
required amounts at the required
                                          opposed to just being. It is an              folks are happy being obese, and the
times. When your stomach is the size
                                          amazing feeling being able to go into        beauty is that there is nothing wrong
of your thumb, it takes discipline to
                                          any store and purchase clothes               with that.
eat and drink slowly and carefully. By
                                          off-the-rack. That is, of course,                My journey has just begun and I
the 7th day after surgery I decided to
                                          before my salary dropped to 1999             am so excited about seeing where it
take my first walk around the
                                          levels. Before my surgery, the only          takes me. Only this time, the extra
neighborhood. I got about halfway
                                          things I could wear from Macy’s were         baggage I carry is folded neatly inside
around the block before needing to
                                          cologne, sunglasses, and ties. I no          a suitcase.
go back home to catch my breath. I
                                          longer worry if the chairs in
kept working on my walks twice a
                                          restaurants will break or if I will fit in
day until I managed to walk the three
                                          a booth. I no longer fall back into my
blocks to the nearest supermarket to
                                          car seat when trying to get out, but
buy a few groceries. For the first few
                                          simply stand and close the door. I no
months, one is not allowed to lift or
                                          longer feel invisible when in a public
AUGUST 12-13                    SEPTEMBER 11-12
CalVet Board Meeting            2009 CalVet Women Veterans
Burbank, CA                     Conference
Contact: Bonnie Kelly           Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel
(916) 653-2041                  Los Angeles, CA
                                Contact: Yvette Kelley
AUGUST 21-23                    (916) 653-2192
Yuba-Sutter Stand Down
Marysville, CA                  WVConferences.aspx
Contact: Marvin King            Please see end of newsletter for
(530) 749-4967                  more information regarding this             event.
StandDown.aspx                  SEPTEMBER 12-14
                                6th Annual City of Compton
                                Homeless Veterans Stand Down
                                Compton, CA
                                Contact: Ivan Mason
                                (310) 868-5130, ext. 3009

OCTOBER 30                      SEPTEMBER 18-20
CalVet Secretary’s Conference   Sacramento Homeless Veterans
CalVet Headquarters             Stand Down
Sacramento, CA                  Sacramento, CA
Contact: JP Tremblay            Contact: Alex Briones
(916) 653-2192                  (916) 641-7599
By John Ochoa                                 After his first tour of duty in
California Mexican American               Vietnam, Stephen came home to find
Veterans Memorial and Beautification that his brother Frank had orders to
Committee                                 go to Vietnam. Frank was married
                                          with children. Stephen did not want
    Stephen Rivera, a Vietnam War         his brother to be placed in harm’s
Veteran, died on May 9, 2008, in          way with the possibility of leaving his
Sacramento, California. His family        children fatherless. His sisters recall
and friends recall that each year on      that he loved his brother and nieces
Memorial Day and Veterans Day,            and nephews so much that he
Stephen led the Color Guard               lobbied Senator Alan Cranston and
honoring Latino Veterans at the           Congressman John Moss to reverse              The Redondo Beach Veterans
California Mexican American               his brother’s order to Vietnam, and       Memorial Task Force needs your help
Veterans Memorial across the West         instead, send him for his second tour     to construct a memorial honoring
steps of the State Capitol. This past     of duty.                                  the service of our nation’s veterans.
Memorial Day, Stephen’s family and            Stephen completed his military        The Task Force was organized
friends gathered at the State Capitol service in January 1971. When he              following the approval of a
to honor and remember his                 returned home he did not become an        conceptual design by the City
contributions to his country and his      ordinary citizen. He became an            Council of Redondo Beach to
support of veterans and the               extraordinary veteran who always          develop a park memorial. The cost to
California Mexican American               put veterans first. He was a founding     complete the memorial, which will be
Veterans’ Memorial.                       member of the United Brotherhood          located in Veterans Park in Redondo
    On October 30, 1963, Stephen          of Vietnam Veterans, an organization      Beach, is estimated to be $250,000.
joined the US Army. He loved the          that was a vital force in providing       At this time, they are more than
military and served two tours of duty financial support for the construction        halfway to their goal and are enlisting
in Vietnam. His family reports that he of the California Vietnam Veterans           your assistance to finish this
was awarded the Silver Star for           Memorial. Annually, the United            honorable endeavor. With your help,
Bravery in Action; the Bronze Star        Brotherhood participates in the           this memorial will become a reality!
with Valor Device for valor while in      Native American Blessing Ceremony             For more information regarding
combat, the Air Medal with four Oak at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial                this veterans memorial, please visit
Leaf Clusters, the Combat                 and the reading of names each             the Redondo Beach Veterans
Infantryman’s Badge for service in        Veterans Day.                             Memorial Task Force website at
combat, and was a proud member of             Family and friends have sponsored,
the 101st Airborne Division and the       small community fundraisers to carry      where you will find a wealth of
elite US Army Rangers. Not bad for a on Stephen’s support of the                    information about the planned
kid from Sacramento who spent             California Mexican American               memorial and instructions on how
many hours volunteering in the            Veterans Memorial. Passing by the         you can contribute. Feel free to
community, from cleaning the local        memorial today one would have a           contact Ernie O’Dell at
Catholic school and church to             hard time knowing that the lone           (310) 318-0652 with any questions or
feeding the homeless. Steven always       soldier or ‘El Soldado’ as it is known,   if you desire additional information.
gave life his all, for both as a civilian commemorates the valor and
and as a soldier he did not hold back. sacrifice of Latino veterans.
    Local artist, Gereon Rios, has
released his rendering of the
Veterans Memorial which will be
built at the currently-being-
constructed Veterans Affairs Sonora
Medical Clinic (part of the Palo Alto
Health Care System). The Memorial
will honor all veterans from the five
military services and the Merchant       site at
                                                                                       The World War II Era statue
Marines.                                     Limited editions of the artist’s
                                                                                   stands alone with no prominent
    The Veterans Memorial is being       rendering are also available for
                                                                                   memorial name or historical
financed by donations for                purchase by the public. Each edition
                                                                                   narrative to describe the
commemorative bricks and pavers,         will have a run of 500 copies only and
                                                                                   contribution of Latino veterans.
which will pave the walkway from the     will be numbered and signed by
                                                                                   Around it we find only grass, which
front door of the Clinic to the          Gereon Rios. The 16-7/8x12-inch,
                                                                                   makes it difficult to view the statue
Memorial. A 4x8-inch brick donation      color laser print will sell for $20 and
                                                                                   up close, especially for the disabled.
is $50 and an 8x8-inch paver             the 12x18-inch color laser print,
                                                                                   In short, the statue stands alone and
donation is $100. It is an opportunity   which will also feature a picture of
                                                                                   is in need of beautification and
to honor any veteran’s service. Brick    the building site (the Clinic), the
                                                                                   enhancement to bring it up to the
and paver donation forms are             sculptor’s originating idea of the
                                                                                   architectural level of other
available at various locations           Memorial, and will be personally
                                                                                   memorials at our State’s Capitol.
throughout the County or may be          dedicated to the patron, will sell for
                                                                                       To continue Stephen Rivera’s
obtained through Chapter 391’s web       $25.
                                                                                   support of veterans, his family
                                                                                   encourages all California families to
                                  CalVet’s website at                              support the beautification of the
                         which provides a               California Mexican American
                                  wealth of information or to call                 Veterans Memorial at the State
November 2009 - 6th, 13th & 20th 800.952.5626 for assistance. Thank                Capitol. It was his wish that the
December 2009 - 4th, 11th & 18th you for your patience in this fiscal              Memorial take its proper place
 January 2010 - 8th, 15th & 22nd emergency.                                        among the other historic
 February 2010 - 5th, 12th & 19th    The Governor's Executive Order                commemorations of California’s
  March 2010 - 5th, 12th & 19th   may be viewed at                                 history. Donations in support of the
   April 2010 - 2nd, 9th & 16th            Memorial are tax deductible and may
   May 2010 - 7th, 14th & 21st    34/.                                             be made online at
    June 2010 - 4th, 11th & 18th                                                   www.mexicanamericanveteransmem
                                                                          or mailed to:
   We apologize for any
                                                                                       California Mexican American
inconvenience this causes our
                                                                                            Veterans’ Memorial
veterans, their families, and our
                                                                                       c/o California Department of
other customers. CalVet will be open
                                                                                              Veterans Affairs
during normal business hours during
                                                                                               1227 O Street
the rest of each month’s workdays.
                                                                                          Sacramento, CA 95814
   Stakeholders are invited to visit
line item, “Educational Fee/Tuition.”
The USDVA has determined that,
under its existing regulations, the
                                          By Brad White
Department can consider this new
                                          National Chairman
billing line item as “tuition” for the
                                          Yellow Ribbon America
purpose of calculating the state’s
maximum payments. In California               The State Capitol Award
alone, approximately 80 schools have      Ceremony on June 24, 2009 for the
entered into more than 235                2009 Outstanding Support for
agreements for the 2009-2010 school       California’s Military Members and
year. The new maximum, in-state           their Families Award Event and Press
tuition amount for California public      Conference was amazing. The 2009
institutions is now $287 per credit       Award was designed to recognize
hour.                                     and honor America’s cities, local
    The Yellow Ribbon program, a          businesses, organizations and
provision of the new Post-9/11 GI Bill,   individuals who have made
funds tuition expenses that exceed        tremendous personal contributions
the highest public in-state               on a consistent basis to help their
undergraduate tuition rate. Private       local military members and their
institutions can contribute up to 50      families in their communities during
percent of those expenses, and the        wartime.
USDVA will match this additional              We had the opportunity to             creating a positive transition home,
funding for eligible students.            recognize and award many selfless         Heroes to Hometowns inspires
    The Yellow Ribbon program is          people, businesses, local                 community growth and establishes a
reserved for veterans eligible for the    governments and community                 support network for Service
New Post-9/11 GI Bill at the 100          organizations from all over California.   Members and their families that allow
percent benefit level. This includes      We wish to congratulate and thank         them to ease into their hometown or
those who served at least 36 months       you all once again for your heartfelt     new surroundings. The Yellow
on active duty or served at least 30      help and support of California’s          Ribbon America Community
continuous days and were discharged       military members and especially their     Outreach Campaign for America's
due to a service-connected injury.        families with our State Christmas and     Military & their Families is a
    Additional information about the      other Community Support Drives.           sponsored project of the America's
New Post-9/11 GI Bill and Yellow              Yellow Ribbon America is a proud      Heroes Foundation. The America's
Ribbon program, as well as the            National Community Outreach               Heroes Foundation is a tax-exempt,
USDVA’s other educational benefits,       Partner for the Defense                   not-for-profit; Veterans Organization
can be obtained by visiting the           Department's "America Supports            as defined under Sections 501(c) (3)
USDVA’s Web site        You" and Military Severely Injured        of the Internal Revenue Code Tax
or by calling 1-888-GIBILL-1 (or          Center's "Heroes to Hometowns"            ID# 59-3830542. For more
1-888-442-4551).                          programs. America Supports You            information visit the YRA’s website at
                                          spotlights efforts by American  
                                          citizens and industries to support the
                                          nation's men and women in uniform.
                                          Heroes to Hometowns is designed
                                          to welcome home Service Members
                                          who, because of injuries sustained,
                                          can no longer serve in the military. In
                                                              Richard Brown
                                                                 I am writing this letter to express my sincere
                                                              gratitude to the Veterans Community Support Network
                                                              (VCSN) for two reasons. First, for paying $53.75 for
                                                              round-trip train tickets to San Quentin State Prison for
                                                              me to interview with the State of California for a
Annette Foster & Harris Jones                                 position as a Staff Services Budget Analyst. I did not
                                                              have any other means of getting to this job interview at
Hello and Good Morning:                                       San Quentin, therefore; without Adonna Selby of
    Me and my fiancé, Harris Jones are both Disabled          Veterans Resources providing your information and
Veterans - I am 30%, but I have been working as a             moral support and encouraging me to "keep the faith"
LVN/LPN, but my license needs to be renewed, and I            during this severely tough job market, I do not believe I
don't have the money for it and I have been here since        would have made it to another job interview. Thanks
March 15, and still unable to get a job or a place to live.   again to Jan Wald for her speed in handling this
I stay on and off at my daughter's home and in my car,        important business situation.
but soon it will be just my car, due to she is moving and        Second, I am indebted to the Veterans Community
I don't want to continue being a burden on her and my         Support Network due to the fact that I was hired by the
grandchildren. Harris is 60% disabled, and on SSD and         State of California on 28 May 2009 in the Employment
he is unable to work due to his health problems, and he       Development Department in San Jose. It was this
has been down here since May 1.                               agency that paid for my transportation to San Jose on 11
    We had some money to move in a place, but were            May 2009 for the Employment Program Representative
unable to find a place, this is due to me and Harris both     job vacancy. I began work on 8 June 2009 and I am
have bad credit, and I just learned that I have an eviction   excited to begin my career with the State of California.
on me that I did not know about and Harris has a              However, I will desperately need expedited financial
misdemeanor on his record. We has been going to so            assistance in relocation and housing due to the fact that
many places trying to get a places and paying the app fee     I will not get my first paycheck until the end of June
and credit check fee with the promise that they will          from the State. I hope that this agency will be able to
work with us, and they turn around and said sorry and         once again help me in this critical situation.
keep the money. And so now we are out of money, to               I hope that other veterans are able to achieve their
move in Harris has $40 left for gas for his car and mine.     goals of employment, education, and in other areas with
    We just need someone to rent a place to us and give       the aid of this vital non-profit agency. Thanks for caring,
us a chance to prove we are good tenants, that we just        believing, and supporting military veterans in the civilian
made some mistakes in the past.                               world. I salute you!
    Thank you for taking the time to read this, and we        Thanks sincerely,
would be so happy and blessed for any help.                   Richard Brown
Harris Jones/Annette Foster
                                                              A FOLLOW-UP FROM RICHARD
RESULTS                                                           I would like to say "Thanks A Million" to everyone
     The Veterans Community Support Network paid              associated with VSN for helping me get some financial
     for Annette’s LVN/LPN license renewal.                   aid in my relocation efforts to San Jose. This will help
     The Soldiers’ Angels Project contacted the USDVA         me tremendously in getting a place to live in San Jose. I
     at Mather so they could get in touch with Annette        just received a prayer from a stranger, which gave such
     to help her complete an application for an LVN job       incredible inspiration to me that I now feel with that
     there.                                                   prayer and VSN'S charity/loan I will be successful in
    The Soldiers’ Angels Project helped with the housing      finding a place to live and begin working for EDD in San
issue. As of June 3, 2009, Annette and her fiancé moved       Jose on 8 June 2009.
into a 1 bedroom apartment, have a telephone, and
were expecting a nursing license in the mail.
    Mail or fax the completed form below to find
out more information regarding your veteran benefits.
Memorial Day was observed a few months
ago, but its significance and sacredness never
should, nor should we ever let the memory of
our fallen drift away. To ensure that their          GOLD ($5,000 - $14,999)
sacrifice, and that of their families, will always   Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of CA
be remembered, “Project: Gold Star” was              California VetFund
launched. In November 2008, Governor
Schwarzenegger signed SB 1455 – the Gold             SILVER ($1,000 - $4,999)
Star Family License Plate Bill authored by           American Legion Post #287
Senator Dave Cogdill of Modesto. This bill           Roger & Arvie Brautigan
authorizes a uniquely designed special license       American Legion Post #43
plate for families whose loved one is killed
while serving on active duty in the military.        BRONZE ($100 - $999)
The start-up costs for this license plate            Disabled American Veterans Chapter #28
however - estimated to be approximately              Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #5689
$300,000 - must not impact the state’s               Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #9946
general fund and, therefore, must be raised          Thomas & Betty Johnson
from private sources.                                Gerald Yamamoto
                                                     Stockton Marine Corps Club
To date, we have received only $16,611 in            Horst Laube
donations. This is why we need your help. In         John Kirwan
spite of these difficult economic times we are       Alice Astafan
asking that you find a way to donate to this         Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #5991
most worthy and important cause. Whether             Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #10110
you send a few dollars, a few hundred or a few       American Legion Post #172
thousand, all donations are welcome and will
propel us to our goal. Your donations are tax
                                                     COPPER ($50 - $99)
deductible and you will receive a receipt and a
                                                     Lt. Demora Nicole Wright
thank you letter for your contribution. A
                                                     American Legion Post #755
donation form is available on the next page of
                                                     Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #1525
this newsletter or on our website: As well, you can call us at
                                                     CONTRIBUTORS ($1 - $49)
(916) 653-2192 and we will mail one to you.
                                                     Kenneth W. Lark
                                                     Marlow Benner
We can think of no better way to both
                                                     Mitch Silberman
sanctify the sacrifice of our fallen heroes and
                                                     Dr. MaryAnn Poole
honor the families whose lives were changed
forever than by getting these Gold Star
License plates produced.                             TOTAL TO DATE: $16,611
Please feel free to contact the
Office of Public Affairs at (916) 653-2192
if you have questions regarding
Project: Gold Star.

Please see the attached Donation Form.
Name: Mr. / Mrs. / Ms.
City:                                              State:                 Zip:
Telephone:                                         Fax:
Name of donor(s) as it should be acknowledged:
Enclosed is a donation of: $

I would like to donate via credit card:
Bankcard Account Number:                                            Exp. Date:
Amount: $                                   MasterCard   Visa
Cardholder Name (please print):
Cardholder Signature:                                                  Date:
I pledge $                                 over a                 year period.
My first pledge payment of $                              is enclosed.
Please mail a pledge reminder to me: annually          monthly          quarterly
                                         semi-annually    other
I would like to contribute a gift in-kind:

My donation is in memory of:
My donation is in honor of:
Please mail an acknowledgement to: (name)

Acknowledge this commitment?     Yes        No

                  Signature                                          Date
   CalVet Women
Veterans Conference
   Continuing Our
 Legacy: Telling Our
   September 11-12
Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles
Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles
     Hotel (LAX Airport)
     Hotel (LAX Airport)
6101 West Century Boulevard
 6101 West Century Boulevard
    Los Angeles, CA 90045
    Los Angeles, CA 90045
    Phone: (310) 642-1111
     Phone: (310) 642-1111
    Toll-free 888-716-8130
    Toll-free 888-716-8130
  To provide a network forum for women
  veterans from all wars,
  To educate women veterans on their benefits
  and available health care programs,
  To provide assistance    with   employment
  opportunities, and
  To facilitate an open forum with legislative
  representatives and women commissions.

 Registration information available at

                CalVet Women Veterans Conference 2009
                  Continuing Our Legacy: Telling Our Stories
                                  September 11-12
                      Hotel Registration Card
                      Sheraton Gateway Los Angelles Hotell (Airport)
                      Sheraton Gateway Los Ange es Hote (Airport)
                             6101 West Century Boullevard
                              6101 West Century Bou evard
                                 Los Angelles,, CA 90045
                                 Los Ange es CA 90045
                          Phone:: (310) 642-1111 / Tollll-free 888-716-8130
                          Phone (310) 642-1111 / To -free 888-716-8130
                   Group Name::
                   Group Name        Women and Miinoriity Veterans Affaiirs
                                     Women and M nor ty Veterans Affa rs
                   Group Code::
                   Group Code        MWVA
                   Check iin:: September 11,, 2009
                   Check n September 11 2009
                   Check out:: September 12,, 2009
                   Check out September 12 2009

                       Onlliine hotell reservatiions can be made at::
                        On ne hote reservat ons can be made at

    CalVet Women Veterans Conference 2009
   Continuing Our Legacy: Telling Our Stories

 ConfereenceRegiistrat ion Form
  Confer nce Reg strat n Form
Name: __________________________________________
Organization: _____________________________________
Address: _________________________________________
City: _______________________ State: _____ Zip: _______
Tel: ____________________________________________
Email: __________________________________________
Branch of Service: __________________________________
Special needs (explain): ______________________________
 Please send registration forms and $25.00 fee (make checks out
        to Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 500) to:
           Viietnam Veterans of Ameriica,, Chapter 500
            V etnam Veterans of Amer ca Chapter 500
             Attentiion:: Women Veterans Conference
             Attent on Women Veterans Conference
                          P..O.. Box 255484
                          P O Box 255484
                      Sacramento,, CA 95865
                       Sacramento CA 95865
                       Contact:: 916-653-2551
                       Contact 916-653-2551

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