LISTEN LIVE

Veterans

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

There are some things that veterans just don’t feel comfortable talking about, except possibly with another veteran.

That sacred bond, shared between veterans, can transcend time and generations - especially among those wounded, disabled or experienced in combat.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Tampa Bay veterans, 60 and older, and their spouses can get free legal help drafting a will and related documents like advanced medical directives.

The Stetson University College of Law has joined with volunteer attorneys from the area to offer the "Wills for Warriors" program for a fourth year.

Veterans must meet some income guidelines and can’t own property outside Florida because it makes the will too complicated.

At a warehouse near Dallas, a black Lab named Papi tugs on a rope to open a fridge and passes his trainer a plastic water bottle with his mouth.

Service dogs are often trained to help veterans with physical disabilities. Now, a growing number are being trained to meet the demand from vets with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues.

Those dogs learn extra tricks — how to sweep a house for intruders, for example, so a veteran feels safe.

When Anthony McCann opened a thick manila envelope from the Department of Veterans Affairs last year, he expected to find his own medical records inside.

Instead, he found over 250 pages of deeply revealing personal information on another veteran's mental health.

"It had everything about him, and I could have done anything with it," McCann said in an interview.

The federal government has acknowledged that it wrongly declared more than 100 veterans dead and suspended their benefit payments, and says it is changing its policy of confirming deaths.

Pasco Support Services for Veteran Families

The Department of Veterans Affairs has the goal of ending veterans’ homelessness by January 1. That means any homeless veteran wanting housing will get it within a month or less.

The less-developed nature of Pasco County has created additional challenges when it comes to finding, counting and serving homeless veterans.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

A 2014 survey found that almost 20 percent of the households using the Feeding Tampa Bay food bank were either veterans or active duty military.

The Norman family is a military family recently arrived from Colorado and transitioning into civilian life in Tampa. Never in a million years did the parents imagine that they would need help feeding their children.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

A Hillsborough circuit judge is calling on the University of South Florida to live up to its recent ranking as a top "veteran friendly" university.

Judge Greg Holder has asked USF President Judy Genshaft to readmit a student veteran who was expelled after an off-campus incident in August 2014.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

"Debt of Honor: Disabled Veterans in American History" airs this month on PBS stations across the country, and on WUSF-TV on Sunday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

If you can’t attend a Veteran’s Day parade or ceremony this Wednesday, there is something else you can do to honor a veteran.

The Library of Congress is hoping civilians will help gather veterans’ stories and then submit their recordings to the Veterans’ History Project.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

There’s a military tradition called a “Stand Down.” It’s when soldiers get a temporary break from combat for a shower, hot meal and peaceful night’s sleep.

Recently, Pasco County held a Stand Down for veterans in our community who are fighting a different kind of battle with homelessness, substance abuse or mental health issues.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

It was only a few years ago that the Florida legislature gave counties permission to create Veterans Treatment Courts as an alternative to criminal prosecution of former military members charged with misdemeanors and third-degree felonies.

Since, 23 courts have been created, but only nine have received state money, including Pinellas and Pasco Counties.

Others, such as the Veterans Treatment Court in Hillsborough County, get none.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

A new medical director is at the helm of Tampa’s James A. Haley VA Medical Center. Joe D. Battle has only been on the job seven weeks but already has a long “to do” list.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

The war on terror in Afghanistan is now the nation’s longest running war. But the United States has been involved in many more conflicts over the centuries.

Operation Neptune Spear. Operation Deny Flight. Operation Praying Mantis. The Invasion of Grenada. The Berlin Blockade. These lesser-known names are among the 26 conflicts noted on the Committed Forces Memorial, a collection of granite pedestals surrounding a bronze globe just inside the entrance to the Hillsborough County Veteran’s Memorial Park in Tampa.

It’s hard to find anything more quintessentially American than the artwork of Norman Rockwell.

The Tampa Museum of Art has.

It’s offering free admission to Rockwell’s art today to military, veterans and their families. The exhibit, American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell, is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

There’s no shortage of stories about veterans who have had their disability benefit claims denied by the Veterans Administration, or their appeals paperwork lost.

The VA claims process can be complex, time consuming and downright frustrating.

But there’s help for veterans who have hit a roadblock in their quest for benefits they earned while serving in the military.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants money to start planning to build the state's eighth and ninth nursing homes for veterans.

Scott will announce Monday that he is asking for $7.4 million from state legislators. Scott wants the money to help build a recently-approved home in St. Lucie County as well as two additional homes.

Groundbreaking on the nursing home in St. Lucie County is scheduled to begin later this year. No sites have been chosen for the next two.

Department of Veterans Affairs

Military service involves more than the person wearing the uniform – families are always a part of that equation.

A team of three University of South Florida psychology doctoral students and a graduate of the School of Social Work are conducting a research study looking at how reintegration affects military veterans and their children.

Their focus looks at how veterans are “reintegrating” to both civilian and academic life and also examines the student veterans’ well-being and that of their children.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Bringing together veterans’ service organizations to share ideas and create networks was one of the goals of The Patterson Foundation’s Veterans Legacy Summit that concluded last weekend in Sarasota.

It brought one veteran to Florida to share how he’s using his mechanical background to inspire kids on Chicago’s Southside.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

The transition from military service to civilian life can be full of challenges.

As part of our Veterans Coming Home project -- made possible in part by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting -- we gathered a panel to talk about this transition at the Veterans Legacy Summit hosted by The Patterson Foundation on Nov. 15 at Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota. 

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Beyond the battlefield and the barracks, some of Florida’s 1.5 million veterans have had trouble transitioning to civilian life. Yet, there are signs that poetry, art and performance are helping veterans adjust.

With Veterans’ Day approaching, we bring you their stories this week in a special edition of Florida Matters.

Tessa Wiseman / WUSF Public Media

The new Secretary of Veterans Affairs has temporarily assigned Kathleen Fogarty, the director of Tampa's James A. Haley VA Medical Center, to help restore trust and transparency at one of the most troubled VA networks that oversees the Phoenix VA hospital.

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

Secret patient waiting lists, delayed medical care, retaliation against whistleblowers  are all reasons why trust in the VA hit an all-time low this spring especially on Capitol Hill.

The new Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert “Bob” McDonald is trying to restore that trust. He’s started by visiting as many VA facilities as possible during his first 90 days in office.

McDonald toured several Florida VA facilities this week and he invited U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee of Veterans Affairs, to come along.

VA.gov / Department of Veterans Affairs

Tampa's James A. Haley VA Medical Center, 13000 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., is inviting veterans and their families to voice their concerns about service and share their ideas on how to improve at a town hall today, Sept. 4, 2014, at 3:30 p.m.

It is the second such veterans' town hall held in as many days in the Tampa Bay region.

Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

Here’s an opportunity for veterans and their family members who want to share ideas, compliments and complaints with the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System and St. Petersburg VA Regional Office.

It’s a town hall, scheduled Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014 as part of the “improved communication” called for by new VA Secretary Robert McDonald.

The goal is to hear directly from veterans.

Tessa Wiseman / WUSF Public Media

When teachers ask this fall, “What did you do on your summer vacation?”  nearly four dozen Tampa teenagers will answer, “I spent it at the James A. Haley VA Hospital.”

For more than a decade, Haley has been operating a summer Youth Volunteer program that gives teenagers insight into health care careers while at the same time helping veterans.

Veterans and military family members looking for a job or a new career – today is your day. Several Florida state agencies are sponsoring Paychecks for Patriots.

There are 18 hiring events planned throughout Florida Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. organized by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), and the Florida National Guard.

USO Day Room Opens at Haley VA Hospital

Jul 1, 2014
WUSF

Tampa's James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital officially opened a USO Day Room today, located next to the Spinal Cord Injury Center where there are many long-term patients.

This is the first time a USO center has been built inside of a veterans' hospital. Senior Vice President of the USO John Hanson said that although the 1,900-square foot space is not the largest USO center, its impact will be "profound."

Gov. Scott Honors Veterans For Service

Jun 30, 2014

Two hundred veterans were honored by Gov. Rick Scott in a ceremony at the American Legion Post 111 Tuesday. This was the first stop of his weeklong Veterans Service Award Tour.

Arnie Mount, who was one of the veterans recognized by Scott, served in the Navy for 25 years. He said he appreciates the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs and the governor for taking the opportunity to reach out to veterans.

Latest Research Showcased at Haley VA Hospital

Jun 19, 2014
Yoselis Ramos / WUSF

A few dozen researchers were abuzz showing off their projects under way at the James A. Haley VA Hospital. The public showcase held Thursday is a part of National VA Research Week. Projects varied from genetics to obesity.

Carl Hayward, a physical therapist with the VA, has invented the stand bar, which attaches to motorized wheelchairs to help people get off their seat and stand. Hayward said it goes beyond helping improve posture.

Pages