Veterans

Soldier saluting
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

North Carolina is taking a day to recognize the estimated 700,000-plus veterans living in the state.

American Legion branches around North Carolina are honoring local veterans today after parades in Raleigh and Fayetteville over the weekend.  N.C. Central University is among those that have invited veterans to speak at their events today. 

Ann Jones of Fayetteville Technical Community College says the school is hosting its own Veterans Day ceremony Monday morning.  She says veterans who take classes there use their experience to help fellow students.

Soldier saluting
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

First Lieutenant Nathan Rimpf of Raleigh lost both his legs to an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan last year.  He received a Purple Heart and got two titanium legs when he returned. And on Thursday he'll be a new home owner.

GI Bill
UNC

With major military installations and affordable public higher education, North Carolina is well-suited to take advantage of the high number of veterans looking to attend college. The federal government has spent more than $30 billion on the post 9-11 GI bill since revamping it four years ago – a number that is likely to increase sharply as more military personnel are discharged.

Soldier saluting
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

A group of young veterans in the state is working to make the transition to civilian life easier for former members of the military.  Veterans Leadership Council of North Carolina Cares is raising money to rehabilitate buildings at the John Umstead Property in Butner.  John Turner, executive director of the organization, says when it's completed the facility will provide mental health services, physical rehabilitation and job training for homeless and at risk vets. 

Veteran student, Fort Bragg
Fayetteville Tech Community College

East Carolina University has launched a crash course for veterans to learn modern manufacturing skills. 

The two-week pilot program started Monday morning.  The courses, which are free to veterans, are designed to help them reintegrate and work in North Carolina when they complete their service.

The Durham VA Medical Center
Durham VA Medical Center

The latest research suggests that for veterans, social support is just as important as medical care.

Host Frank Stasio talks with UNC Chapel Hill Associate Professor of Psychiatry Eric Elbogen, about his study showing that vets lacking social and financial stability are more likely to engage in violent behavior than those with posttraumatic stress disorder. Joining the conversation are Pete Tillman, public affairs officer for the Durham VA Medical Center, and Jason Hansman of Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America.

The weight of paper files at the VA's Winston-Salem office threatened to collapse the floor.
Office of the Inspector General/Department of Veterans Affairs

Hundreds of thousands of veterans have been waiting months - sometimes years - for their disability claims to be processed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Recently, piled up claims threatened to buckle the floor at the Winston-Salem office. 

Coming Home: Stories of Veterans Returning from War

More than two million veterans have come home so far from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. For returning veterans, reintegrating into society can be a challenge. How do you find your place, when you’ve changed and the people you love don’t recognize you? When that old life is gone and you have to start a new one from scratch. In this hour State of the Re:Union explores reintegration and asks the question: how do you come back home from war?

Monday May 27 at noon and 9pm

Veteran student, Fort Bragg
Fayetteville Tech Community College

Veterans who want to go back to school will soon have access to academic counseling and career advice through a new program at Fayetteville Technical Community College.  The school has purchased a building on Fort Bragg Road to serve as a veterans center on campus.  President Larry Keen says veterans will be given special assessments and mentoring to help them graduate, get work, or start a new business.

Soldier saluting
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

North Carolina will open its newest full-service State Veterans Home Thursday in Kinston.  Residents there can have on-site registered nurses, therapists and service officers to assist with VA benefits to deal with their physical injuries.  They will also be either next to, or a short drive from, a local hospital should they need more intensive medical care. 

The Fayetteville VA Medical Center and Womack Army Medical Center are joining forces on a new physical rehabilitation facility. The Community Rehabilitation Clinic will be built with $6.7 million in federal funds for initiatives to share resources between the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs. Fayetteville VA Medical Center Director Elizabeth Goolsby says collaborating with Womack will combine their resources and expertise to provide better care and save money.

America's veterans were honored today at a ceremony in Chapel Hill.

Master of Ceremony: World War II

Gurnal Scott: One by one...their conflicts were called.

Master of Ceremony: Korea

And those who served stood at attention.

Post traumatic stress disorder may be linked to a smaller brain area regulating fear and anxiety response. That's the finding of a new study from researchers at Duke. Psychiatry professor Raj Morey works at Duke and the Durham VA. He's the lead author of the study.

An advocacy group says it plans to file a lawsuit against the UNC system, alleging inconsistent and unfair treatment of veterans. Jason Thigpen is president of Student Veterans Advocacy Group.

"The UNC school system across the board - universities and community colleges - have invariably misclassified many of these student veterans and family members as out-of-state residents, when they meet all the qualifications to be considered an in-state resident for tuition purposes," said Thigpen.

“One Man…Two Titanium Legs…100 Chickens.” That’s the tag line for a forthcoming documentary called “The Farmer Veteran Project” produced by Vittles Films. The movie centers around the story of Alex Sutton, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who was seriously injured on his final tour of duty. Sutton now raises heirloom chickens in North Carolina and uses farming as a way to heal from the trauma of combat.

Social Stability Can Combat Violence In Veterans

Jun 26, 2012

A new survey led by a University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill professor counters some of the myths about what makes veterans violent.

Asma Khalid: Eric Elbogen is a professor at UNC and the lead researcher on this study. He says too often post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is used as the stock explanation for veteran violence.

Job Fair For Veterans

Jun 1, 2012

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a job fair for veterans and military spouses in Chapel Hill today. It's part of a national initiative to curb the high unemployment rate among veterans.

A recent report from the Department of Veteran Affairs revealed a stark truth: every 80 minutes, a veteran takes his or her own life. The risk of suicide is even greater for service members suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

Ten veterans in North Carolina received France’s highest honor in a special ceremony yesterday. The French Consul General in Atlanta awarded the Legion of Honour to a group of World War Two veterans in a ceremony at the old state capitol building. The retired service members say they were lucky to survive a war that changed their lives forever.

Durham will soon be home to some of North Carolina's first housing for homeless veterans with disabilities. The 10-unit complex near Northgate Mall will have affordable rents and will connect tenants with support services.

Jess Brandes is projects coordinator for CASA, the nonprofit developing the site. She says Durham has a lot of services for veterans because of the VA medical center there.

Veterans in need of health care in eastern North Carolina will soon have a bigger facility. An expansion of the Veterans Administration clinic in Greenville gets underway with a ground breaking ceremony Thursday morning. Peter Tillman works for the Durham VA Medical Center. He says the expansion will allow the Greenville clinic to offer more services.

Communities all over North Carolina will gather today to honor the country's military veterans. Raleigh will play host to an Air Force band performance as well as the annual Veterans Day parade. In Johnston County, high school students are producing a video presentation for local veterans. District spokeswoman Terri Sessoms says ROTC students will also perform an armed exhibition drill.

A Veteran's clinic and several hundred jobs are likely heading to Kernersville.

App Helps Vets with PTSD

Jul 15, 2011

Many veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who come into Veterans Affairs Hospitals are being diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. There are many ways to treat them, but one challenge for therapists is helping veterans track of their symptoms and learn how to deal with them. Now the VA has introduced a smart phone application to help.

A homeless shelter for women veterans in Fayetteville is getting a makeover. The ABC reality television program "Extreme Makeover Home Edition," selected the shelter run by former Navy officer Barbara Marshall. Her organization Steps-n-Stages works to house women vets in the home. It will be renovated by a company called Blue Ridge Log Cabins. The show has also partnered with the USO of North Carolina to organize a food drive for the Second Harvest Food Bank. Renee Lane is director of the Fort Bragg Center of the USO of North Carolina. She says there will be a big food drive this Sunday in Festival Park in downtown Fayetteville.

A new park honoring all members of the military opens Monday in Fayetteville. A dedication ceremony for the North Carolina Veterans' State Park is scheduled for 10 a.m. on the Fourth of July. Jennifer Lowe works for the city of Fayetteville. She says among the displays is the "Oath Wall" which features the raised hands of military members taking the enlistment oath.

A new project aims to give combat veterans and their families some rest and relaxation on the beach. Kevin McCabe is one of the founders of the Cape Hatteras Wounded Warriors project. Its main goal is to provide Purple Heart recipients with vacation getaways on Hatteras Island. McCabe says the idea was born out of a desire to give something back to those who have served their country.

A community college in Jacksonville is seeing a number of its students struggle with the effects of traumatic brain injuries. School administrators at Coastal Carolina Community College held a presentation this week to get the word out to students about the help available to them. The proximity to Camp Lejeune and the large veteran population means a number of students have suffered injuries in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Christopher Sabin, the college’s Director for Veterans Programs, says many students hide their problems:

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