Veterans and Addiction
Veterans often cope with stress after returning from multiple deployments. They may also suffer from illnesses and injuries that can contribute to a substance use disorder. Addiction delays an already complex social reintegration process and can have negative repercussions. However, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers treatment plans to support veterans as they recover from...
Rolling Thunder comes to an end; 2019 will be last ride | WTOP
WASHINGTON — One of the nation’s most iconic displays of support for military veterans, those missing in action and prisoners of war is coming to an end.
The annual Rolling Thunder ride — which has brought thousands of bikers to the D.C. area for decades — is hitting the brakes. They won’t be riding after their May 2019 run, group officials confirmed to WTOP.
The key issues cited by the group are costs and communication problems with the Pentagon Police Department.
“We had so many problems in the last two or three years with the [Pentagon Police] and the parking facilities after we leave the Pentagon parking lot,” Rolling Thunder, Inc. board member Gus Dante told WTOP.
“And then it came to a boil this year when, the south lot, we had not one motorcycle. In the year before we had 10,000 bikes,” Dante said. “In the main lot, they were being turned away.”
Police escorted members to various areas around the National Mall, Dante explained. But bikes were supposed to go to the Lincoln Memorial, where a stage had been set up for ceremonies after the run.
“It cost us $60,000 just to rent the Pentagon parking lot, about $200,000 for the whole ball of wax — to promote the POW/MIA issue and veterans causes,” Dante said. “So that’s one of the main reasons.”
“They just had enough,” he said.
After the 2019 run, “We are going to do it in our local areas, various states,” he said.
It’s now up to the 90 chapters themselves to independently put rides together. For example, the New Jersey chapters can team up with Pennsylvania and New York, and maybe part of New England, and gather at a centralized location.
Dante says there are a lot of members who believe independent organization will work out even better than Washington.
He believes future rides will be “more personal” and get “more coverage” for veterans issues.
“Let’s face it, we got coverage for a few seconds in D.C. and that was the end of it,” Dante told WTOP.
The reason the ride exists is to raise money and awareness for veteran issues.
“I’m a POW activist,” Dante said. “We’re trying to bring that [to] the forefront. … We can never forget POWs, MIAs that are still missing — 83,000 are still unaccounted for from all the wars.”
Rolling Thunder, Inc. Founder and Executive Director Sgt. Artie Miller sent an excerpt of the January 2019 letter that he will be sending to the group’s millions of supporters:
“Rolling Thunder® XXXII, “Ride for Freedom” will take place on May 26, 2019 in Washington, D.C. — the final Thunder Run in D.C. This will be the last demonstration the organization does as a unit in Washington. It has been a hard decision to make, after much discussion and thought over the last six months Rolling Thunder National Officers have concluded to end our 32 year annual D.C. Memorial Weekend event.
As a result of changing times the organization and Mission needed to be reorganized and reevaluated. Reasons which determined our decision were the Pentagon Security Police/Washington Police officials continued lack of cooperation, increased harassment to our supporters and sponsors. As demonstrated this past Rolling Thunder “Ride for Freedom” XXXI many of our supporters were diverted and prevented from entering the South Pentagon/Boundary Lots. Event staging costs have soared to $200,000.00 plus, lack of new Corporate Sponsor funding and the general public declined support of our event product sales (patches/pins/stick flags) in the Pentagon Lots. Financial factors are draining the organization funds if we continued this major costly annual event in Washington.
We will continue the POW/MIA Mission through our ninety Rolling Thunder State Chapters across America coordinating demonstrations starting 2020 Memorial Weekend in their own states, or joining forces with other state chapters. Hopefully, many supporters who could not make the trip to DC can participate in their state and we may get more media coverage on the state level on the POW/MIA issue than we received in DC. This will be the final mailing of our Rolling Thunder “Ride for Freedom” Washington, DC. See our website rollingthunder1.com periodically for updates regarding 2020 State Chapter “Ride for Freedom” demonstrations. Remember our POWs/MIAs, our Troops serving and God Bless the United States of America! Hope to see you at Rolling Thunder XXXII, “Ride for Freedom” the last thunder demonstration in Washington, DC.”
The story was first reported by WTOP news partner NBC Washington.
Rolling Thunder was established in 1987 to call attention to any prisoners of war or those listed as missing in action. Riders said they are also committed to helping U.S. veterans from all wars.
Many of the bikes fly American flags or the black and white POW/MIA flag, which features the silhouette of a bowed head and the words, “You Are Not Forgotten.”
“This is a tribute to all the fighting men and women of the United States, the sacrifices they made, and it’s to honor them,” said John Santillo of Vernon, New Jersey, told WTOP during the 2018 event.
WTOP’s Kristi King and John Domen contributed to this report.
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Special | 56m 46s
Jeremiah Denton battled the North Vietnamese for eight long years as a prisoner in the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison. Family, friends, and fellow POWs help tell the story of this American hero who returned from Vietnam and became a U.S. Senator from Alabama in this new APT original film.
VILLAGES FOR VETERANS IS HELPING SGT. PAM KELLY
WHAT'S GOING ON | FEBRUARY 21, 2018
BY LEIGH NEELY
Tuesday night at Lake Miona Recreation Center in The Villages, the whole gang gathered to lend a hand to Villagers for Veterans. The group had a fundraiser to help Sgt. Pam Kelly, who was injured while training for deployment to Iraq. As result, she lost the use of both legs and her right arm. Previously, the group raised money to help Pam get a service dog.
Now, Villagers for Veterans wants to build a house or modify an existing house in The Villages so Pam can be more independent and do activities on her own. For the fundraiser, Marie decided to get a photo of Pam in front of a typical house in The Villages. The photo was then made into a large jigsaw puzzle. Each person was asked to buy a puzzle piece for $50. Though the puzzle is large, the individual pieces, which are magnetic, are small. Marie hopes this will increase the amount of money the group can raise.
Marie is not shy about helping veterans. She began the organization because she wanted to provide whatever these men and women who served so bravely need to help in healing.
Pam says she had a lot of trouble adjusting to life after her accident. “I had planned to be in the army for life,” she says. “I didn’t know what to do to be a civilian. I felt like I had lost my soul.”
According to her story posted on the Villagers for Veterans website, she became active in adaptive sports and found renewed joy. She excelled in bicycling, swimming, and archery. Unfortunately, this ended when she had to have surgery on her good arm, which left her with painful nerve damage and means more surgeries in the future.
Her small home in Tampa is not equipped for Pam’s wheelchair and the room she needs to move about independently. Villagers for Veterans wants to help her find a home in The Villages, possibly on the historic side, so she can be more independent and get out to enjoy activities in the town square.
A good time was had by all!
If you’d like to donate, go to their website www.villagersforveterans.org and follow the instructions. The fourth annual Orchid Gala, the group’s biggest fundraising event, is April 28, 6-9pm, at Savannah Center in The Villages. Tickets are also available on the website.
Honor Flight Network
Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America's veterans for all their sacrifices.
Oct 2015 - Newsletter - Click here
Our Brave Veterans
By Colleen Young
Our American flag flies high in the breeze
In honor of those in the military
Who fight to keep our country free
Who have died to protect our liberty
Never shirking responsibility
Never avoiding work or their duty
Ready to meet head on obligations
Ready to give all for our nation
Stars and stripes, wave high with pride
Our pledge and allegiance we will not hide
With Respect and honor
And untold wonder
We will always remember
And forever ponder
What our flag stands for
Praise God for our brave veterans
Outstanding men and women
Remaining firm and true to the end
Thank them all again and again
For in service to our great country
They have suffered, bled, and died
Our homeland is kept safe
As they continue to take their place
Living lives of sacrifice
THE BATTLING BOYS OF BENGHAZI
We're the battling boys of Benghazi
No fame, no glory, no paparazzi.
Just a fiery death in a blazing hell
Defending our country we loved so well.
It wasn't our job, but we answered the call,
fought to the Consulate and scaled the wall.
We pulled twenty Countrymen from the jaws of fate
Led them to safety, and stood at the gate.
Just the two of us, and foes by the score,
But we stood fast to bar the door.
Three calls for reinforcement, but all were denied,
So we fought, and we fought, and we fought ‘til we died.
We gave our all for our Uncle Sam,
But Barack Obama didn't give a damn.
Just two dead seals who carried the load
No thanks to us..........we were just
"Bumps In The Road".
Hold our troops in your loving hands.
Protect them as they protect us.
Bless them & their families for the selfless acts they perform
for us in our time of need.
In Jesus name,
"OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING,
A VETERAN DIED TODAY."
He was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion,
Telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he once fought in
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
They were heroes, every one.
And 'tho sometimes to his neighbors
His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly
For they knew where of he spoke.
But we'll hear his tales no longer,
For ol' Joe has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer
For a Veteran died today.
He won't be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.
He held a job and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won't note his passing,
'Tho a Veteran died today.
When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing,
And proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell of their life stories
From the time that they were young,
But the passing of a Veteran
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.
Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Some jerk who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
And offers up his life?
The politician's stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate,
To the service that he gives.
While the ordinary Veteran,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension, small.
It is not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom
That our country now enjoys
Should you find yourself in danger,
With your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out,
With his ever-waffling stand?
Or would you want a Veteran
His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Veteran,
Who would fight until the end.
He was just a common Veteran,
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his likes again.
For when countries are in conflict,
We find the Veteran's part,
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start.
If we cannot do him honour
While he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage
At the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline
In the paper that might say:
"OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING,
A VETERAN DIED TODAY."
The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1,chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals is available.
More about the Veterans Crisis Line
Friends of Special Operations Speaks (SOS) We are building a NEW Special Operations Speaks (SOS) and Vets in the Fight (VIF) Website. Please visit our Twitter feed at @SpecOpsSpeaks and our Facebook page "Special Operations Speaks". On weekends listen to the conservative DonSmithShow.com Saturdays, from noon to 2:00pm (ET) and hear our Vets in the Fight Situation Report (SITREP).
"Betrayed" Exposing the High Cost of the War on Terror.
Betrayed’ – Billy Vaughn and MG Vallely’s new book on Extortion 17 (With Foreword By Lt. General ‘Jerry’ Boykin)
“Grief and politics don’t mix. When raw, aching grief and the dirtiest kind of politics meet, a hot volcano of pain and outrage erupts that is unstoppable. But it is necessary. It is the only way things might ever be clean again.” ~ Diana West
The warriors on that CH-47 Chinook helicopter were compromised by their leaders:
Karen & Billy Vaughan's
Son Aaron Vaughan resting in Arlington National Cemetery
Combat Veterans to Careers Mission Statement