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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.
     Program	Honored
  •	 ‘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, 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
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
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.”          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 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
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
service members.

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
their stories.
                             Volume 4, Issue 10                                                                               6

                      Higher Education Update:
                      Back To School…Supportive Colleges
                                                                                   Laura Boden
                                                                                   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
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 or call 1-888-LinkVet (546-5838)               Resident admissions process.
Volume 4, Issue 10                                                                              8

Dog, a Veteran’s Best Friend
                                                                Sarah Graves

                                                                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                                           Cloud VA Medical Center.

To request alternative formats of this information, please contact MDVA at (612) 728-1287
or 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 or (651) 757-1550.
 Volume 4, Issue 10                                                                         11

                                     Upcoming Events
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
      Or visit,

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

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 If you
                                would like your event added to the calendar please e-mail
                       with details.

For a complete listing of events across the state of Minnesota, visit

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