ta Depar Minnesota Veteran
Volume 4, Issue 10 October 2010
State Offers Flood Relief
In this Issue
• State Offers Flood Relief
• From the Desk of the As a result of severe flooding in parts
Commissioner of the state, the Minnesota Depart-
• Governor’s 2010 Yellow ment of Veterans Affairs (MDVA)
Photo from the Office of Governor Tim Pawlenty
Ribbon Summit is offering Flood Relief Grants for
• Senator Vickerman Retires reimbursable expenses to Veterans in
from Public Service approximately 35 Minnesota coun-
• Minnesota C.O.R.E. ties.
• ‘Stop Loss’ Pay Deadline Affected counties include Blue
Approaches Earth, Brown, Carver, Chippewa, Sept. 24, 2010 - Gov. Pawlenty meets with
• VA Releases Regulations Cottonwood, Dakota, Dodge, Farib- residents in southern Minnesota affected by
for Gulf War, Iraq, Afghani- ault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, flooding due to heavy rain.
stan Veterans Houston, Jackson, Lac Qui Parle, Le
• Unveiling of New AMVET Sueur, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Mower, Veterans and their families should
Plaque Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Olmsted, contact their local County Veterans
• Higher Education Update Pipestone, Ramsey, Rice, Rock, Scott, Service Officer (CVSO) for more
• State Recognizes Sibley, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, information on this program or to
Minneapolis Veterans Watonwan, Winona and Yellow request a Flood Relief Grant. For
Home Medicine. The most severe damage CVSO contact information, visit
• Dog, a Veteran’s Best is focused in Blue Earth, Goodhue, www.MinnesotaVeteran.org or call
Friend Martin, Olmsted, Rice, Steele and 1-888-LINKVET (546-5838).
• Legion Fights for Parents’ Wabasha counties.
Veterans Homes Benefits All eligible applications and copies of
• Upcoming Events Veterans, their families and surviving receipts must be dated between the
spouses may be eligible for reim- disaster timeframe, as designated by
bursement assistance funds of up the Governor and/or FEMA. Appli-
to $750 if they have not received cations must be postmarked by Dec.
FEMA or other assistance. 31, 2010.
Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA)
20 West 12th Street, St. Paul, MN 55155-2071
Phone (651) 296-2562 • Fax (651) 296-3154 • website www.mdva.state.mn.us
Volume 4, Issue 10 2
From the Desk of the Commissioner
Although we have enjoyed warmer than usual temperatures the
past week or so, the changing leaves, football games and back-
to-school season all add up to one certainty – fall has arrived.
As our Minnesota Veterans resume classes at colleges, univer-
sities and trade programs across the state, I am reminded of
the dedication and service provided by our campus regional
coordinators in the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs
Higher Education program.
In addition to helping students navigate the world of benefits
and providing veteran resource centers, this program shapes
institutions’ policies and programs, providing tools for success
to our Veteran students. For more information about this out-
standing program, visit www.MyMiliaryEducation.org.
Michael Pugliese, MDVA Commissioner
As we all know, severe flooding has impacted approximately 35
counties in Minnesota. I want to make sure that affected Veter-
ans, their families and surviving spouses are aware they may be eligible for reimbursement assistance
funds of up to $750 if they have not received FEMA or other assistance. For more information, see
the cover story in this issue of Minnesota Veteran or contact your local County Veterans Service Offi-
Lastly, I am pleased to report that the Minneapolis Veterans Home is moving forward on renovations
of Building 16, the future location of our Domiciliary program on the Minneapolis Campus.
This project will continue to move us in the direction of our strategic plan by providing this country’s
heroes with state-of-the-art care in a patient-centered environment. But we couldn’t do any of this
without support from you, our valued stakeholders. Thank you for making Minnesota military Veter-
ans and their families a continued priority.
Michael Pugliese, Commissioner
Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs
Volume 4, Issue 10 3
Governor’s 2010 Yellow Ribbon Summit
An estimated 85 cities, counties, businesses and
organizations attended the 2010 Governor’s Yel-
low Ribbon Summit in Farmington on Sept. 22.
Attendees participated in a daylong training ses-
sion focused on learning to better support those
who serve and their families.
The day ended with a ceremony attended by
state dignitaries and city, county and company
representatives. At the event, Gov. Pawlenty and Gov. Tim Pawlenty congratulates representatives from
Maj. Gen. Larry Shellito, Adjutant General of the Globe University/Minnesota School of Business during
Minnesota National Guard, presented each new the Governor’s Yellow Ribbon Summit.
Yellow Ribbon entity with an official state procla-
mation of their new status.
This recognition comes after a community or
Gov. Pawlenty thanked everyone in the room organization has completed an action plan that
for their work to support those who serve and re- outlines how it can - and will - help military ser-
minded the audience “that as a country we must vice members and their families. To learn more
stay focused on this cause.” about the Yellow Ribbon program, visit
Senator Vickerman Retires from Public Service
After 24 years as an elected official, District 22 Senator
James Vickerman is retiring from the Minnesota Legisla-
ture. Sen. Vickerman has served on several committees
and budgetary divisions. His work for Veterans as chair
of the Senate Agriculture and Veterans Committee has
made him an ally for Minnesota Veterans.
During his tenure, he helped maintain funding for Veter-
ans in times of budget cuts. Sen. Vickerman also secured
funding for the Luverne Veterans Home’s dementia unit
and has made it a legislative priority to build new Minne-
Commissioner Michael Pugliese presents a certifi-
sota State Veterans Cemeteries.
cate of appreciation to Sen. Vickerman.
Volume 4, Issue 10 4
Minnesota C.O.R.E. Program Honored
or organization that has made the biggest differ-
ence in “stirring up a movement of hope” among
those LSS serves. MDVA is recognized for its work
on the Minnesota C.O.R.E. program.
The Minnesota C.O.R.E. program, a partner-
ship between LSS and MDVA, is a statewide case
management-based program, which offers service
members, Veterans and their families support and
Photo by LSS of Minnesota
assistance for a wide range of issues.
“Through this program, MDVA is able to provide
crucial counseling services to underserved Veter-
Commissioner Michael Pugliese accepts the “Movement ans, military members and families across the state.
of Hope Award” at the LSS of Minnesota’s annual With the built-in network LSS brings to the table,
Celebration for Changing Lives on Sept. 18. this program is reaching families in rural areas,”
said Michael Pugliese, MDVA commissioner.
The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs is
the 2010 recipient of the Lutheran Social Service To learn more about C.O.R.E., visit
(LSS) of Minnesota “Movement of Hope Award.” www.MinnesotaVeteran.org and enter keyword “CORE.”
This annual award recognizes a community leader
‘Stop Loss’ Pay Deadline Approaches
The application deadline for special retroactive ‘stop loss’ pay is Dec. 3
The White House, U.S. Depart- service members who served who received a bonus for vol-
ment of Defense and the U.S. between Sept. 11, 2001 and Sept. untarily reenlisting or extending
Department of Veterans Affairs 30, 2009 and whose service was their service are not eligible, it is
reminds service members and extended due to ‘stop loss’ are strongly recommended that all
Veterans whose service in Iraq eligible for $500 per month in who may be eligible submit an
or Afghanistan was involuntarily retroactive pay for each month application before the deadline.
extended or whose retirement their service was extended. The deadline to apply is to Dec.
was suspended due to ‘stop 3, 2010. Tens of thousands of
loss,’ to apply for the special Eligible individuals should approved Veterans have received
retroactive pay to which they are submit their applications for this payments on average of nearly
entitled. retroactive pay at $4,000 each.
Under legislation President Visit www.defense.gov/stoploss for
Obama signed into law last year, While by law service members details on this earned benefit.
Volume 4, Issue 10 5
VA Releases Regulation for Gulf War,Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) jejuni, coxiella burnetii (Q fever), malaria, myco-
has announced the publication of a final regula- bacterium tuberculosis, nontyphoid salmonella,
tion in the Federal Register that makes it easier shigella, visceral leishmaniasis and west nile virus.
for Veterans to obtain VA health care and disabil-
ity compensation for certain diseases associated With the final rule, Veterans will only have to
with service in Southwest Asia (including Iraq) or show service in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan
Afghanistan. and that they had one of the nine diseases within
a certain time after service and have a current
The final regulation establishes new presumptions disability as a result of that disease. Most of these
of service-connection for nine specific infectious diseases would be diagnosed within one year of
diseases associated with military service in South- return from service, though some conditions may
west Asia beginning on or after Aug. 2, 1990 manifest later.
through Sept. 19, 2001.
For information about health problems associated with
The final regulation reflects an association be- service in Southwest Asia and Afghanistan and VA
tween service in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan programs, go to www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures.
and nine diseases: brucellosis, campylobacter
Unveiling of New AMVET Plaque
In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month,
Veterans and citizens alike gathered for the unveil-
ing of the new AMVET plaque on Sept. 28. Minne-
sota State Sen. Patricia Torres-Ray and former State
House Rep. Augustine “Willie” Dominguez unveiled
the plaque in remembrance of all those who put their
lives on the line. The ceremony honored all Minne-
sota Veterans, but emphasized Hispanic and Latino
The unveiling ceremony took place in the Court of
Honor on the Minnesota State Capitol grounds. The State Sen. Patricia Torres-Ray and former State
Minnesota National Guard sponsored the event to House Rep. Augustine Dominguez unveil the new
celebrate those overlooked in the service. AMVET plaque in the Court of Honor.
Sen. Torres-Ray spoke and urged more Senate support for Hispanic service members. After the
ceremony, attendees viewed a Hispanic heritage display showcase and World War II Veterans shared
Volume 4, Issue 10 6
Higher Education Update:
Back To School…Supportive Colleges
MDVA Higher Education Central Region Coordinator
Aug. 23 was the first day back to school for
many Minnesota service members. Many had
just returned over the summer from a recent de-
ployment with plans to attend school, some for
the first time and others as a returning student.
Photo by Brainerd Spotted®
Veteran enrollment rates have increased for the
fall semester at most Minnesota colleges and
universities. Many schools across the state make
sure Veteran students know they are appreci-
Members of the U.S. Army Reserve 309th Engineering ated by hosting welcome back ceremonies in
Company stand in formation during a deployment event at Veterans resource centers, and one college this
Central Lakes Community College. semester even planned a farewell ceremony.
While many students and staff were just getting into the groove of things, the first day of school at
Central Lakes College (CLC) in Brainerd was a bit different. The college opened its doors not only to
students, but also to deploying members of the Army Reserve 309th Engineering Company. Stu-
dents and staff from CLC who frequent the Veterans resource center as well as staff from the Higher
Education Veterans Program worked together to make sure the 122 members of the unit knew they
had local support and would be missed. The students and staff held a send-off event in their honor
before their deployment to Afghanistan.
The ceremony was held on the Central Lakes College campus and was completely funded by the
Veterans Center Foundation Fund. In addition to the 122 soldiers, approximately 250 family mem-
bers, CLC students, staff and community members attended. It was a great way for current military
students and college staff to show their appreciation for the local service members who continue to
support this country. Central Lakes College Veterans Resource Center is connected to the community
and is superior when it comes to supporting Veterans.
The Minnesota Higher Education Veterans Program serves the higher education needs of students who are Veterans,
military members or family members. For information about educational benefits and how to obtain your military tran-
scripts call 1-888-LinkVet (546-5838) or visit www.MyMilitaryEducation.org.
Volume 4, Issue 10 7
State Honors the Minneapolis Veterans Home
The Minneapolis Veterans Home received the Governor’s Award from the state of Minnesota for its
work on improving the way the Home conducts Resident admissions.
“This project improved the quality of the admission process for our Veterans and their families,
thereby making a sometimes difficult day of transition easier and less stressful,” said Robin Gaustad,
Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs quality control director.
The team and their project are a part of the State of Minnesota’s Enterprise LEAN program. The
program is a coordinated state government initiative focused on improving the organizational perfor-
mance and results in Minnesota’s state government agencies. The group set out to understand what
processes and procedures are working for the Home’s admission process and how the process can
improve for Veterans and their families while also saving time and money.
The team included, Dianne Grammond, social services, Karen Proffer, finance, Becky Goetz, utiliza-
tion management, Jill Smith, Minneapolis Home assistant administrator/director of nursing, Dianne
Shea, admissions, Bonnie Hagstrom, health information director, Ron Kaylor, Minneapolis Home
quality assurance director, Robin Gaustad, MDVA quality control
Using the process LEAN approach and embracing tools from the
Six Sigma management philosophy, Enterprise LEAN has a simple
goal of helping Minnesota state government work better for its
customers and employees.
This award is the first of its kind and the Enterprise LEAN steer-
ing committee plans to recognize excellent projects each year.
“This was an extremely important process to work on. It has
created substantial improvements, which have been implemented
and sustained, and these improvements have been spread through-
out the other Veterans Homes,” said Tom Baumann, Enterprise
LEAN steering committee member.
After this success, the Minnesota Veterans Homes network will
implement the new process in the remaining four Homes, located
in Fergus Falls, Hastings, Luverne and Silver Bay. The Minneapolis Veterans Homes
received a “Wheaties” box com-
To learn more about the Minneapolis and all five state Veterans Homes, memorating their work on bettering the
visit www.MVH.state.mn.us or call 1-888-LinkVet (546-5838) Resident admissions process.
Volume 4, Issue 10 8
Dog, a Veteran’s Best Friend
Most people are excited to find a $5 bi-
cycle or $20 kitchen table at a garage sale.
Linda Ball walked away from a sale in
2004 with a seven acre piece of property
-- just the sort of place she needed to
start Pawsitive Perspectives Assistance
Dogs or Paw PADs for short.
Ball is the executive director of the
nonprofit, which provides highly trained
Sgt. 1st Class Darla Jacobs of the Minnesota Army National assistance dogs to the disabled.
Gaurd rewards Tupi (foreground) and Kachina (background) dur-
ing a training session at the Paw PADs facility in Savage. Paw PADS currently runs three pro-
grams. The Project YES (Youth Em-
powerment Services) matches dogs in training with at risk teens, in order to increase their leadership
skills, personal responsibility and empathy through working with the canines and the Social Interac-
tion Therapy (S.I.T.) program allows the community to socialize dogs in training through a variety of
Paw PADs has also made a large commitment to serving those who have served. Its third program,
Paw Corps is an innovative initiative where Veterans are helping Veterans. In the program, Veterans
are responsible for training service dogs, which are matched with disabled Veterans.
Ball and her staff believe training dogs is extremely beneficial to Veterans dealing with issues related
to reintegration, depression, post traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse.
As they train the service dogs for their fellow Veterans, they focus on positive interactions, which
allow them to improve patience, control frustration and regulate their emotions, important elements
that are key to reconnecting with civilian life.
Ball explains that dogs can be the perfect alternative therapy for Veterans with service related issues.
“Dogs are loyal, while family and friends may not always want to hear about combat experiences.
Dogs don’t judge, and they listen unconditionally.”
continued on next page
Volume 4, Issue 10 9
Currently there is a three to five year wait for service
dogs. Paw PADs wants to fill the needs of Veterans
first. The organization has eight dogs in training at their
seven-acre facility in Savage, Minn.
The training facility is a multi-level home, which allows
the animals and trainers to work on day-to-day tasks and
navigate a home setting. There are also seven acres for
the dogs to practice their skills and play when they aren’t
Darla Jacobs, a Minnesota Army National Guard mem-
ber and a recently returned Veteran, participates in the
Paws Corps program where she works with the dogs a
few times a week.
“I came back physically whole and this is a way I can
give back to those who came back disabled,” said Ja-
cobs. “It’s exciting to think that some other Vet is going
to get one of these dogs,” she continued.
Jacobs has been on three deployments, is a mother of
teenagers and a wife of a fellow Minnesota National
Guard member. Deployments and service have tested
her and her family but time with the dogs is therapeutic.
“For me, it has been healing in more ways than one.
When I came back, everything was different. This brings
me stability and a purpose,” she said.
Ball and Paw PADs are currently exploring ways to expand the Paw Linda Ball, PawPADS executive director,
Corps program and are excited about assisting those who sacrificed demonstrates with Macy during an information
their independence in the line of duty. Learn more about the Paw session with representatives from the Minnesota
PADs program, volunteer opportunities and how to support the organi- Department of Veterans Affairs and the St.
zation at www.pawpads.org. Cloud VA Medical Center.
To request alternative formats of this information, please contact MDVA at (612) 728-1287
or email@example.com or through the Minnesota Relay Service at 1 (800) 627-3529.
Volume 4, Issue 10 10
Legion Fights for Parents’ Veterans Home Benefits
After a decades-long campaign waged by the Chairman of the National Association of State
American Legion and sympathetic advocates, the Veterans Homes, also offered his thanks by say-
U.S. Senate passed legislation that will grant state ing “(we) appreciate the efforts of Sen. Ensign
veterans home care privileges to all Gold Star and Rep. William “Mac” Thornberry of Texas
mothers and fathers; parents who have lost sons (who introduced the House bill in late January)
or daughters during military service. Since the to correct the inequity created by the definition,
post-Civil War era, only parents who had sacri- which requires Gold Star Parents to have lost
ficed all of their children in service were eligible “all” of their children to wartime service in or-
for Veterans Home residency. The pas- der to be considered for admission to a state
sage by an unanimous voice vote veterans home. We prayed that
followed overwhelming passage they would be successful with
of similar legislation at the their efforts.”
end of June.
The American Legion’s
“To lose one’s child to the effort to honor all Gold
service of our country Star parents with much
is the ultimate sacrifice deserved care goes back
a parent can make,” said many years. It was
Tim Tetz, director of the a special project of
American Legion’s legisla- Paul Morin, the Legion’s
tive division. “We owe them national commander in
much more than a debt of 2006-2007 and was superin-
gratitude. It is heartening to see tendent of a Veterans Home
that Congress is now making in his native Massachusetts.
an honorable payment on that “The contribution of Commander
debt.” Morin and fellow American Legion movers and
shakers in correcting this inequity cannot be
Tetz, formerly the executive director of the overstated,” concluded Mr. Tetz.
Nevada Office of Veterans Services, was among
those who encouraged Sen. John Ensign (R- The House and Senate bills will now be presented
Nev.) to introduce enabling legislation into the to a joint conference committee for reconciliation
Senate making that state one of the prime driving of any differences with the final version to be
forces behind the move to open veterans’ home forwarded President Obama.
care to more gold star parents. Tetz credited En-
sign as being “hugely supportive” of the Senate This story was complied from an American Legion press
measure. Nevada’s Gary Bermeosolo, Legislative release.
We Want to Hear From You! If you have story ideas, events, would like to nominate a Veteran
for the Veteran in the Spotlight column or just have information for MDVA’s Minnesota Veteran news-
letter, contact Sarah Graves at Sarah.Graves@state.mn.us or (651) 757-1550.
Volume 4, Issue 10 11
Project New Hope Retreat Oct. 15 - 17
Camp New Hope is located in McGregor, Minn. The camp is nestled in the heart of the
Savanna State Forest. The pristine 40 acre site overlooks beautiful, scenic Glacier Lake
and has a quarter mile of lake shore with beautiful private walking trails and a wide range
of recreation options. Contact Jen Billington at (218) 851-5839 or by e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit, http://projectnewhope.net.
Veterans Entrepreneur Seminars Oct. 13, 20 & 27
OIF and OEF Veterans are invited to attend an upcoming “How to Start a Small Business Seminar.”
Attendees will hear from experts in the field, learn from experienced Veteran business owners, learn
about multiple entrepreneurial programs and resources, network with fellow entrepreneurs and link up
with an experienced mentor Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the seminars run until 1 p.m. For details
on locations and registration visit take place in various locations www.BeyondtheYellowRibbon.org.
WWII History Roundtable Oct. 28
Emerson Wiles III, author of “Forgotten Raiders,” will discuss his experiences locat-
ing and identifying the remains of Marines from the 2nd Marine Battalion, who were
left behind after the attack of Makin Island in 1942 and executed by the Japanese.
Representatives from MIA Hunters will talk about recent expeditions to New Guin-
ea. The WWII History Roundtable is held at Historic Fort Snelling, 200 Tower Ave,
St. Paul, MN 55111. For information, call (612) 726-1171.
Veterans Day Nov. 11
The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and the Minnesota
Commander’s Task Force will host the State of Minnesota Veterans
Day Program Thursday, Nov. 11 at the Veterans Memorial Community
Center, 8055 Barbara Avenue Inver Grove Heights, Minn. The program
begins at 10 a.m. Information about this and other Veterans Day events
is located at www.mdva.state.mn.us/Events/VeteransDay2010. If you
would like your event added to the calendar please e-mail
MDVA.Communications@state.mn.us with details.
For a complete listing of events across the state of Minnesota, visit http://calendar.mdva.state.mn.us.