Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Michigan Veterans News & Resources for Aug. 30, 2022

Michigan Veterans News

Get your PACT Act questions answered

PACT act q&A

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

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:

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

GALA 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

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

recruits photo

SERVICE MEMBERS PARTICIPATE IN A JOINT ENLISTMENT CEREMONY. National Guard photo by Spc. Kelsea Cook The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

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

Zaneta Adams photo

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.


VFW National Home, MVAA to hold Family Fun Ruck/Walk

VFW Home 1


VFW National Home daycare

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.

The 9 a.m. event, hosted by the VFW National Home and the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, is open to everyone.

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

More news and events ...

One year later, troops and veterans involved in Afghanistan exit grapple with mental scars

Everything you need to know about Monkeypox, from VA News

Veterans denied $14M after VA mishandles Lejeune water claims

Veterans Crisis Line: Dial 988 then Press 1


The Veterans Crisis Line is staffed by caring, qualified crisis responders who are there to help. Many of these responders are veterans themselves.

Online Resources



Call 1-800-MICH-VET



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