VFW Action Corps Weekly
August 14, 2020
In This Issue:
1. Adaptive Housing Bill Becomes Law
2. Respite Relief for Caregivers
3. VA Prepares to Welcome Back Volunteers
4. Arlington National Cemetery Releases New Education Program
5. DOD Offers Expanded Child Care Service
6. Complete the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry
7. MIA Update
1. Adaptive Housing Bill Becomes Law: This week, the president signed into law VFW-supported H.R. 3504, the Ryan Kules and Paul Benne Specially Adaptive Housing Improvement Act of 2019. The new law will provide enhancements to VA’s Specially Adapted Housing program by increasing the number of grants awarded, raising the dollar amount of the individual grants, and expanding the number of times qualified veterans can use a housing grant. This change will help certain severely disabled veterans purchase adaptive homes or upgrade existing homes to meet their specific needs for daily living activities. The VFW applauds the passage of this important bill which will greatly benefit veterans.
2. Respite Relief for Caregivers: VA and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation teamed with CareLinx to provide more than 40,000 hours of non-medical home care respite relief for over 1,600 family caregivers of veterans in California, Florida, and Texas. Caregivers can apply for a qualified health care professional for 24 hours of free respite relief. CareLinx services include mobility, meals, housekeeping, exercise, bathing, toileting, medication reminders, companionship, and transportation. This partnership should help build future relationships between public and private stakeholders to support military and veteran families. Read more.
3. VA Prepares to Welcome Back Volunteers: VA announced this week plans to gradually and safely reintroduce volunteers to its health care facilities. Most volunteer activities have been paused to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Some volunteer roles may be modified or performed virtually. Individual VA facilities will tailor the reintegration of volunteers based on the facilities’ operational needs and the volunteers’ abilities. Learn more.
4. Arlington National Cemetery Releases New Education Program: Arlington National Cemetery announced the release of its new education program, which has resources for elementary, middle and high school students, as well as for lifelong learners. This program aims to showcase the diverse history of the United States by honoring the sacrifices and lives of those buried at Arlington, to support remembrance of past military conflicts, and to encourage personal connections to America’s diverse history. The program currently has three modules –– the African American Experience, the Spanish American War, and Exploring Arlington, with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier coming soon. This program also includes curated readings and walking tours with the option of virtually exploring the cemetery. Learn more.
5. DOD Offers Expanded Child Care Service: The Department of Defense is providing an additional way for military parents to find child care solutions for hourly care. Military OneSource will expand its offerings through a national online service that enables families to find, hire, and pay for care. Families will have access to a free monthly subscription service with a secure, searchable network of care providers. Learn more.
6. Complete the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry: All veterans who served in eligible locations should include their information in the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pits Registry. Participation in the registry is very important as it will allow VA to track burn pit exposure and draw inferences regarding associated adverse health effects. Exposure to burn pits may be associated with respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). Recently, VA stated that veterans with underlying respiratory conditions may be at greater risk for developing complications related to COVID-19. Service members and veterans who have already signed up for the registry should make sure that their contact information, phone number, address, and email are up-to-date.
7. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced one new identification and one burial update for service members who have been missing and unaccounted-for from WWII and the Korean War. Returning home for burial with full military honors are:
— Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Charles D. Miller, 19, of Albany, Indiana, was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, while the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Miller died on the third day of battle, Nov. 22, 1943. Miller will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. The date has yet to be determined. Read about Miller.
— Army Sgt. James N. Stryker, 20, was a member of Company L, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action on May 18, 1951, when the enemy attacked his unit near Han’gye, South Korea. His remains could not be immediately recovered, but he was not officially declared dead until after the Armistice was signed July 27, 1953. Interment services are pending. Read about Stryker.
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