Get your PACT Act questions answered
Join the VA from 1-2 p.m. ET on Thursday, Sept. 8 to discuss your health and benefits questions related to environmental exposures, burn pits and caregivers/survivors on the PACT Act.
Type your questions in advance at RallyPoint.com.
You can ask questions to the following people:
Dr. William J Culpepper - Deputy Director, Epidemiology Program, VA
LTC Peter Rumm MD - Director of Policy, Health Outcomes Military Exposures, VA
FN Shanna Smith-Jackson - Acting DEPDIR, Health Outcomes Military Exposures, VA
Daniel Brown - Program Analyst, VA
Jacqueline Imboden - Special Advisor, Compensation Services, VBA
Rachel Jones - Assistant Director, Office of Administrative Review, VA
RDML Ann Duff - Director of the Office of Survivors Assistance, VA
Terra Vincent - Senior Toxicologist, Health Outcomes Military Exposures, VA
Cpl Heather McKibben - Program Analyst, Office of Policy and Oversight, VBA
RallyPoint answers and discussion conduct: https://rly.pt/33ySsg0
Learn more about the PACT Act, which was recently signed into law, at the VA website.
Nominations now open for MVAA's annual veteran and veteran-advocate awards
Know a veteran, veteran advocate or veteran service provider who goes above and beyond?
The MVAA is now accepting nominations for the 2022 Michigan Military & Veterans Gala awards. The awards will be presented at the gala on Nov. 5, 2022 at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing.
Submit your nominations now! The awards include:
- 2022 Veteran of the Year
- MVAA and Trust Fund Exceptional Service Award
- Veteran-Friendly Volunteer of the Year
- Community Outreach and Regional Engagement (CORE) Award
- DMVA Employee of the Year
- VA Employee of the Year
- Veteran Service Provider of the Year (Veteran Service Organizations and County-level Veteran Affairs Offices)
To vote and get more information about nomination criteria, visit Michigan.gov/MVAA.
Stay tuned for more details on the gala.
VA extends temporary hardship suspension for benefit debts
The Department of Veterans Affairs is extending its financial hardship suspension on benefit debts, meaning that veterans who request assistance will not have to pay benefit debts until Dec. 31.
This relief option, which was established to help veterans through the COVID-19 pandemic, had been set to expire on Sept. 30. Benefit debts include debts related to disability compensation, non-service-connected pension, and education benefits.
Beginning in September, debt notification letters will be mailed to affected veterans notifying them of the extended hardship suspension option, as well as extended debt repayment plans, waivers and compromises.
Read more at VA News.
Veterans may be key to solving military recruitment crisis
America's all-volunteer military force is in crisis, and our veterans and military families can help, a Marine Corps colonel writes in Military Times.
With just two months left in the fiscal year, this promises to be the worst year for military recruiting since 1973, the year that the draft ended.
The Army, with the largest recruiting challenge in terms of raw numbers, is the smallest it's been since 1939, two years before the United States entered World War II. Yet the Army has cut its recruiting targets to likely achievable levels instead of what's required. The Air Force, which needs to replace about 50,000 members per year, was more than 4,000 recruits below where it should have been in late June. The Navy and the Marine Corps appear on track to meet their annual goals but acknowledge the challenges of the current recruiting environment.
We need our veterans and military families to step up to help their country once again to prevent the national security crisis that would occur if our military were unable to fight and win when called upon. We need veterans' assistance in issuing the call to serve and persuading more young people to answer. The situation is critical: The share of young adults who said they would consider military service currently stands at 9%, the lowest number since 2007, according to a Defense Department survey conducted in the fall of 2021.
Read the rest of the commentary in Military TImes.
MVAA Director elected to executive role with national veterans organization
MVAA Director Zaneta Adams was recently elected junior vice president of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA), one of the largest and most influential service providers for veterans in the nation.
As junior VP, Adams is third in command at NASDVA and chairs the legislative committee, meaning she'll play a vital role in determining what veteran-specific issues NASDVA will present before Congress.
Adams, who started her one-year term at NASDVA on Aug. 17, is the first state veterans director from Michigan to serve as an elected official for the organization since 1975-76 and only the third one in NASDVA's 76-year history.
NASDVA was created in 1946 to coordinate efforts for veterans receiving state and federal benefits and to carry out the responsibility for veteran services and programming. The organization represents all 50 states and six territories, with one member from each state and territory voting for the executive leadership team every year.
Read more at Michigan.gov/MVAA.
VFW National Home, MVAA to hold Family Fun Ruck/Walk
A Family Fun Ruck/Walk will be held Saturday, Oct. 8 at the VFW National Home in Eaton Rapids to raise money for the home, which houses struggling military families at no cost.
A military ruck march is a 12-mile walk with a 45-pound rucksack traveling at no less than one mile every 15 minutes. The Family Fun Ruck/Walk is a little less intense, with options for a full 5K ruck with all trails used at the National Home campus, or "mini rucks" using smaller trail loops.
Bring your own ruck sack or you can purchase one similar to this Canvas Double Strap Ruck Sack. Kids are welcome and encouraged to wear a backpack that is age-appropriate for their size.
The $35 ticket purchase will cover snacks, a picnic lunch, event t-shirt and lots of fun family activities.
Buy tickets at Eventbrite.
WWII veteran receives France's highest hoonor
Ernest Marvel has a case full of medals in his Delaware home.
He was awarded his most recent addition, the French Legion of Honor, in July — almost 80 years after he helped liberate the country from the Germans in World War II.
Marvel, now 98, has rarely left the Bethany Beach area, save for the war.
"I'm a home boy," he said.
He speaks fondly of his family. His garden is his pride and joy. He likes to dance and sing karaoke on the weekends at the local VFW and Eagles Club.
But Marvel also holds dark memories of a different time, when heroes had to fight through Europe to free thousands held in concentration camps under Adolf Hitler's control.
He was one of those heroes.
In 1945, Marvel made his way through French and German villages, across the Rhine River and to the gates of Dachau ...
Read the full story and see the images of Ernest Marvel at Military.com.
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August 7, 2022
Gov. Whitmer Proclaims August 7 as Purple Heart Day
LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer has recognized August 7, 2022, as Purple Heart Day to remember and pay honor to the service members of the U.S. Armed Forces that were wounded or killed in enemy action while serving our country.
"On Purple Heart Day, we honor those who put their lives on the line for our nation and the timeless cause of freedom," said Governor Whitmer. "We owe our wounded service members, veterans and fallen heroes our gratitude. Thank you for standing up for us all and sacrificing so much to keep us safe. We will honor your service through our words and our actions."
"We acknowledge the bravery and valor displayed by these courageous soldiers who took up arms to fight for our nation," said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. "Those who suffered an injury or lost their lives in the line of duty deserve our admiration and gratitude as do the families of our fallen heroes.
The Purple Heart was originally introduced in 1782 by General George Washington as the Badge of Military Merit and was awarded to soldiers in the Continental Army who fought during the American Revolution. It was not until the bicentennial of his birth in 1932 that the award became known as the Purple Heart. The first service member to receive the modern-day Purple Heart was Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur for his service in the Pacific theater during World War II.
View the proclamation here.