Thursday, January 25, 2024

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Tiny House Village For Veterans in Flint’ Expected to Break Ground In June. Michigan Veterans News & Resources for Jan. 24, 2024

Michigan Veterans News

More women veterans are homeless, bucking overall trend

Homeless woman veteran

Although total homelessness among all veterans decreased by 4.5% from 2020 to 2023, homelessness among women veterans actually increased by nearly 24%, according to recently released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In that same period, the number of unsheltered women veterans—those living on the streets, in a car or in another unsafe situation—jumped nearly 48%.

While the general proportion of women veterans experiencing homelessness is still low, the trend is concerning, given that the VA estimates women are on track to make up 18% of all U.S. veterans by 2040.

The VA acknowledges that it must accelerate efforts to provide housing solutionshealth care and community employment services to address the unique challenges of nearly 2 million women veterans—the fastest growing segment of the veteran population—and their families.

Read more in VA News.

If you are a veteran who is homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness, contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at (877) 4AID-VET (877-424-3838). You can also visit VA Homeless Programs.

Senate bill would offer veterans with lost medical records a way to access disability benefits

The chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Jon Tester, wants to ensure that veterans have a new way to access disability benefits when their medical records have been lost transitioning between the Defense Department and the VA. 

Tester, D-Montana, has introduced the Fred Hamilton Veterans' Lost Records Act —named for the Montana Veterans of Foreign Wars state chief of staff—as a way for veterans to provide alternative evidence when their service medical records are incomplete due to damage or loss by the federal government.

An Air Force veteran, Hamilton was exposed to toxins during his career in Vietnam and other deployments and his military treatment records were lost upon his retirement, Tester's office said. 

Thanks to provisions in the 2022 Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act (PACT Act), VA benefits eligibility applies for veterans with toxic exposures dating as far back as the Vietnam era, but still does not offer full coverage to veterans like Hamilton without access to their medical records.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. Read more in Government Executive.

'My way of giving back:' MVAA employee honors late husband, Iraq War veteran through her work

Kate Preston with photo of husband Darren

Kate Preston has two words tattooed on the inside of her wrist: "Love, Darren."

"It's in his handwriting," Preston says. "It was from the first letter he wrote me when he went to bootcamp."

Kate Preston's tattoo - the handwriting of her late husband

She touches the ink, recalling memories of her husband who passed away in October 2015. Sgt. Darren Preston was a carpenter in the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) out of Fort Carson, Colorado. He joined the Army in 2005, a few years after high school.

Darren would deal with physical pain from his deployments, injuries to his back and ankle, along with PTSD. He sought treatment from a VA doctor, who would often switch medications and dosages to try to find something that would work.

But ultimately, the combination of medications led to his death. In 2015, on the day that Kate, Darren and their two children were set to move into a new home, Kate found her husband unresponsive.

An autopsy would determine that Darren's death was due to an accidental overdose from a combination of Zoloft and extended-release morphine.

"I struggled with that for a long time and didn't tell people because I didn't want them to think he was an addict," Preston says. "I knew he struggled with PTSD, but a lot of people didn't. On the outside he seemed totally normal and happy."

Read the full story at

Kate's story is part of the MVAA's I Am a Veteran campaign, which tells the stories of Michigan veterans through their own words or through those of their loved ones.

Trevor and Taylor Preston

The Prestons' children, Trevor and Taylor, at their father's gravesite.

'Tiny Homes' for veterans in Flint expected to break ground in June

Tiny Veteran Village rendering

Images courtesy of Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee Counties

A 'tiny house' village for veterans on Flint's north side will include 24 homes and a Community Resource Center when the complex is completed in mid-2025.

The $3.5 million Sacred Heart Veteran Village is expected to break ground in June 2024, according to property owner Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee Counties.

The property was acquired by the agency after the Sacred Heart Catholic Church and School were closed and demolished. It's located on East Moore Street across from the North End Soup Kitchen run by Catholic Charities.

Veterans in Sacred Heart Village will be housed for one to three years in ADA compliant homes, which will average between 250 to 400 square feet in dimension.

The groundbreaking on Phase 1 is scheduled for June 2024 to complete the Community Veteran Resource Center and the first 12-14 permanent tiny homes. The target date for Phase 1 completion is January 2025. Phase 2 will include an additional 12 homes with a target completion date of summer 2025.

Katie Baxter, CEO of Catholic Charities, said the village's community resource center will serve as a hub for residents and include a full range of essential support programs and classes.

"We plan to have all kinds of wraparound services for veterans, including financial literacy, employment, mental health counseling, trauma services, substance abuse, spiritual support and exercise," she told the Grand Blanc View. "All the things that veterans will need to feel safe and have a stable transition."

Visit the Catholic Charities website for more information, to fill out a volunteer form to help at the village or to donate.

Tiny Home Village Resource Center

No Barriers USA seeks veterans with disabilities for 2024 Warriors programs


No Barriers USA, which provides programs for veterans with visible and invisible disabilities, is excited to launch its 2024 season with the opening of applications for its No Barriers Warriors program. The application period opened on Jan. 9.

In 2024, No Barriers Warriors will have several programs for veterans with disabilities: basecamp experiences in Red Feather, Colorado, and backcountry expeditions in the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming and Northern Colorado, as well as the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina.

According to No Barriers USA's website, the experience for veterans is free. They will provide you with a flight and all meals, lodging and necessary equipment from the time you land at your destination to the moment you take off. They ask that veterans take it upon themselves to travel to and from their chosen airport.

Read more at VA News.

France gets ready to say 'merci' to WWII vets for D-Day's 80th anniversary this year

D-Day image

France is getting ready to show its gratitude toward World War II veterans who will return, many for the last time, to Normandy beaches this year for 80th anniversary commemorations of D-Day to mark the defeat of the Nazis.

A ceremony at Omaha Beach, with many heads of state expected to be present, will be honoring the nearly 160,000 troops from Britain, the U.S., Canada and other nations who landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday that D-Day celebrations, alongside the Paris Olympics, will be "France's rendezvous with the world."

Read more from the Associated Press.

5 tips for succeeding even when you're the only veteran in the room

People in business meeting

There you are. You've got your first post-military job. You're excited, ready and anxious to dive in. You know there will be a lot to learn, but you learn quickly.

Walking into your first day on the new job, you dressed to impress (and also fit in), brushed up on your elevator pitch (so you can introduce yourself to new colleagues) and even packed a lunch so you won't have to go off premises when it's time.

Then comes your first opportunity to introduce yourself to a new teammate: Your boss initiates the meeting by telling you, "This is Bob. He's been with us as a project lead for six years. He's one of our star programmers!" Bob seems happy with this introduction.

Now your turn. You offer, "My name is Chris. I was a 90A and just finished up as the S1 for the 728th. I ran the battalion PAC and was responsible for OERs, NCOERs, awards and all MILPO actions. Until we came out of the box in October, I was XO for the 308th Quartermaster Company."

And just like that, the wheels start to fall off ...

Read the rest at

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



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This email was sent to using GovDelivery Communications Cloud on behalf of: Michigan Department of Military & Veterans Affairs · 3411 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. · Lansing, MI 48906

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Friday, January 19, 2024

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Michigan Veterans News & Resources for Jan. 18, 2024 (Women Veterans, VA May Surprise You)

Michigan Veterans News

Defense Department expands retiree, dependent ID card renewals by mail

ID card

Military retirees and their dependents based in the U.S. may now renew their military ID cards online and receive them by mail, relieving them of a trip to the on-base ID card office.

The Defense Department announced Tuesday that it's expanding a pilot program that began in 2023 and initially allowed certain dependents' Uniformed Services Identification cards, or USID, to be renewed by mail.

Portions of the renewal process have previously been available online. However, the pilot program allows online ordering from start to finish. While in the past the renewed card had to be retrieved in person at a local ID card facility, it will instead be delivered by mail under the pilot program.


Woman veterans, VA may surprise you

VA women health care

Women veterans, if you haven't checked out VA in a while, things have changed. We recognize each of you are unique and your health care needs are not "one-size-fits-all." That's why VA continues to expand its services, so we can provide you with the best care possible to better fit your needs.

Learn more at VA News.

VA and Arthritis Foundation support veterans' health and wellness

Arthritis story

Veterans and service members experience arthritis at higher rates than the civilian population. VA is committed to supporting veterans with arthritis, ensuring they maintain a high quality of life.

In 2021, VA partnered with the Arthritis Foundation to increase access to care, education and support for veterans with arthritis. The partnership, facilitated by the National Center for Healthcare Advancement and Partnerships (HAP), increases access to valuable resources and initiatives to improve veterans' health and well-being.

Through the VA-Arthritis Foundation partnership, veterans living with arthritis gain access to an extensive collection of Arthritis Foundation health and wellness resources to support their physical and emotional well-being.

Walking programs such as the Arthritis Foundation's Walk with Ease (WWE) can help veterans embark on a more active lifestyle. WWE is a community-based physical activity and self-management education program that helps veterans with arthritis increase their physical activity.

Read more at VA News.

WWII veteran Bud Prottengeier: Going strong at 100

Bud Prottengeier volunteers at school

Bud Prottengeier volunteers at Bendle Schools in Burton. Contributed photo

Bud Prottengeier, Navy

In 1942, Maurice "Bud" Prottengeier, an 18-year-old college student, decided to enlist in the Navy along with his friends before they were drafted into World War II. Although that was 82 years ago, the Flint native has no problem recalling the details.

"At the time, I was in my second year of junior college at Northport College in Chicago," Prottengier says. "We all knew that we were probably going to have to go somewhere. We went down and joined the Navy that day."

On Jan. 13, 2024, Pottinger, surrounded by friends and family, celebrated his 100th birthday—one of only about 5,000 surviving WWII veterans in Michigan.

Prottengeier, a widower and father of three, is living proof that age is just a number. He still swims and does yoga, volunteers at a school in the Flint area and can recite the names of his fellow sailors and tell you how much he made in the Navy more than eight decades ago.

Prottengeier is our latest profile in the MVAA's I Am a Veteran campaign. Read his full story on our Special Advocacy/I Am a Veteran page.

Post-holiday winter blues? VA can help

VA mental health care

Now that the holidays are over and winter is settling in, are you feeling sad, depressed or just plain down? You're not alone. Many people feel that way around this time of year.

The good news is that the VA can help you cope with the post-holiday winter blues—in person and virtually.

How to get help right away

Any veteran in acute suicidal crisis can go to any VA or non-VA health care facility for emergency health care at no cost.

This includes inpatient or crisis residential care for up to 30 days and outpatient care for up to 90 days. 

You don't need to be enrolled in VA health care to get care.

Call or walk into any VA medical center—anytime, day or night. Find your nearest VA health facility

Call or walk into any Vet Center during clinic hours. Find your nearest Vet Center

Call us at 877-222-8387. The VA is here Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. If you have hearing loss, call TTY: 800-877-8339.

Access the Veterans Crisis Line 24/7

The Veterans Crisis Line is a free, confidential service that supports veterans and their family and friends. It can support veterans experiencing mental health crises and connect users with resources. Respondents are trained professionals who are qualified to support veteran issues.

To access this service, call 988 and then press 1. You can also chat online or text 838255.

Read more at VA News.

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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